So if you don't spank....what do you do? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-04-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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Two things. First, punishing is not the only way to set a boundary. Simply saying, "Spitting is not acceptable" sets a boundary.

Second, as to this:

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Hmm, I guess i feel isolation is warranted because spitting is a really big deal to me.
I really don't think punishment teaches what I am trying to teach. I don't think it teaches that in the case of small things or big things. What specifically do you think isolation teaches in this case? I think it just teaches, "When my mom gets really mad, she puts me in my room." And then makes the child more upset (either angry or sad) which makes teaching more difficult afterward. Plus it separates any teachable action from the event, and that time separation doesn't help, either. And it could increase the anger at grandma. "If grandma hadn't stopped me from playing with the VCR, I wouldn't have gotten put in my room." Which makes it harder to teach empathy for the grandma, which is the lesson I would be trying to teach.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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mamazee--I think you make a strong point where you distinguish between constant/out of control spitting and a one time spit--in terms of separation being part of a response. My reaction would differ with those two situations as well.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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Two things. First, punishing is not the only way to set a boundary. Simply saying, "Spitting is not acceptable" sets a boundary.

Second, as to this:



I really don't think punishment teaches what I am trying to teach. I don't think it teaches that in the case of small things or big things. What specifically do you think isolation teaches in this case? I think it just teaches, "When my mom gets really mad, she puts me in my room." And then makes the child more upset (either angry or sad) which makes teaching more difficult afterward. Plus it separates any teachable action from the event, and that time separation doesn't help, either. And it could increase the anger at grandma. "If grandma hadn't stopped me from playing with the VCR, I wouldn't have gotten put in my room." Which makes it harder to teach empathy for the grandma, which is the lesson I would be trying to teach.
Actually, i never put DD in her room and i didn't say i would - i said i would remove MYSELF from her and make it clear i didn't want to talk about it or be around her until i'd been able to wash myself and calm down. That for us doesn't extend to shutting people in rooms, only to being physically or emotionally removed (as far as is safe and practical) while we have chance to calm down. When "time out" IS used by DD she generally puts herself in it in just this way to do just this thing. I feel this is a perfectly reasonable reaction given she just (in this hypothetical) spat in my face.

If i say "spitting is not acceptable" DD would say "why?" and the very second i open that dialogue, while she is still emotionally in the place where she spat on me, she is going to argue the toss and force a power struggle (what can i say, she's an Aries, confrontation is her hobby ) and the lesson is forgotten in the tussle of getting one over, verbally, and "winning" the conversation - her father is VERY like this, he sees every conversation as something to be "won" or "lost". I know, because i have watched her father struggle with her in exactly this way that 5 minutes later she has forgotten about the thing that sparked the issue (spitting) and is focussed entirely on "winning". Thus i am not willing to open discussion on it with her in the moment. There is no discussion. She deals better with actions in these instances, i know from experience with her that making a statement is just chatter to her, whereas if she can witness with her own eyes how much it has affected me, it has a far more profound impact. So i don't hide it from her when she's done something i consider thoroughly terrible.

I'm positive (i have met them) there are kids in the world who need to know that they shouldn't spit in someone's face, and that someone saying to them "that's not acceptable" is going to be a valuable step on the path of that bit of knowledge. I know some kids need to learn about having compassion for someone else and not treating them badly through discussions. But i also know that's not the kid i have here. THIS kid is at the stage of saying "well i don't love you anymore" because it DOES hurt (i respond "well i will always love you") and she WANTS it to hurt because she is experimenting with emotional boundaries and how she can affect them in other people. She is the daughter and grand daughter of socially astute women, who are easily skilled enough to manipulate if they need to (i don't mean in a negative way - an example of startlingly effective social manipulation i witnessed when i was 14 and my mother broke up a knife fight between a drug dealer and a user who owed him money by taking the knife from the dealer's hand and putting a cup of tea in its place) and she is one of us in that regard. She's not subtle or sensitive yet, but she is primarily interested in twisting any conversation to make it work to her own advantage. 5 minutes in discussion and she could have her father agreeing that spitting was the right thing to do. Discussion in the moment does my DD no favours. In the moment she needs to see baldly what effect what she has done is having. Discussion is for later. Discussion is relentless in this house, she talks from dawn till dusk, she asks me thousands of questions a day, we talk about anything and everything.

Reading this back i make her sound devious, but she isn't, she's just really smart and really astute and verbally she's miles ahead of her emotional capabilities. I must stress again, she has NEVER spit in my face, and she hasn't even raised a hand to hit me in about 8 months, and in the 6 months before THAT she didn't actually hit, she'd just raise her hand and i'd remind her to count, breathe, and she'd get a hold on it again.

As an aside the attitude that "if grandma hadn't moved me away from the dvd i wouldn't be in my room" is not one i would support. I am very quick to accept blame, clarify my fault and explain how i will rectify and DD is already picking this up. In this house we accept when OUR actions have caused a problem and we apologise and move forwards with reparation. When she HAS done something, on the odd occasion she's begun with "if you hadn't!" or "it's YOUR fault" i ask her what i could have done differently, and then what she could have done differently, and she is already capable of saying "you were taking a long time to get my drink, but i would have it by now if i hadn't thrown the cup". We have a mini cheer when we have hit on what either of us can do differently each time to avoid the same thing happening, and it's working for us, she seems to learn really fast and feel genuine satisfaction at her growing ability to solve and avoid problems.

I guess without spending time together it might be hard to see how our approach can work, but it definitely does work for the kid i have here (like i said, i'm prepared for it to be useless with the next one! ), just as i'm sure your approach works really well for your kids. I guess the longer i parent and the more kids and families i meet the more i realise how much everything can vary.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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I can understand taking preventative measures. And in some cases I do think we just "do something" or punish just because we feel pressure to, especially from other people (like people who just got spit on). But in this situation I think there would definitely need to be a boundary set. Could you please explain to me the advantage of "not doing anything." and is there any situation where you personally would feel the need to "do something?"
I'm saying breaking the habit of feeling compelled to do something is valuable. Taking away the need to react, replacing it with looking for ways to avoid and resolve the conflict.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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[QUOTE=GoBecGo;15025438]If i say "spitting is not acceptable" DD would say "why?" and the very second i open that dialogue, while she is still emotionally in the place where she spat on me, she is going to argue the toss and force a power struggle (what can i say, she's an Aries, confrontation is her hobby ) and the lesson is forgotten in the tussle of getting one over, verbally, and "winning" the conversation - her father is VERY like this, he sees every conversation as something to be "won" or "lost". I know, because i have watched her father struggle with her in exactly this way that 5 minutes later she has forgotten about the thing that sparked the issue (spitting) and is focussed entirely on "winning". Thus i am not willing to open discussion on it with her in the moment. There is no discussion. She deals better with actions in these instances, i know from experience with her that making a statement is just chatter to her, whereas if she can witness with her own eyes how much it has affected me, it has a far more profound impact. So i don't hide it from her when she's done something i consider thoroughly terrible.

I'm positive (i have met them) there are kids in the world who need to know that they shouldn't spit in someone's face, and that someone saying to them "that's not acceptable" is going to be a valuable step on the path of that bit of knowledge. I know some kids need to learn about having compassion for someone else and not treating them badly through discussions. But i also know that's not the kid i have here. THIS kid is at the stage of saying "well i don't love you anymore" because it DOES hurt (i respond "well i will always love you") and she WANTS it to hurt because she is experimenting with emotional boundaries and how she can affect them in other people. She is the daughter and grand daughter of socially astute women, who are easily skilled enough to manipulate if they need to (i don't mean in a negative way - an example of startlingly effective social manipulation i witnessed when i was 14 and my mother broke up a knife fight between a drug dealer and a user who owed him money by taking the knife from the dealer's hand and putting a cup of tea in its place) and she is one of us in that regard. She's not subtle or sensitive yet, but she is primarily interested in twisting any conversation to make it work to her own advantage. 5 minutes in discussion and she could have her father agreeing that spitting was the right thing to do. Discussion in the moment does my DD no favours. In the moment she needs to see baldly what effect what she has done is having. Discussion is for later. Discussion is relentless in this house, she talks from dawn till dusk, she asks me thousands of questions a day, we talk about anything and everything.

[QUOTE]

Your daughter doesn't sound unusual to me. At least she sounds a lot how my older daughter was at that age.

The purpose of saying "this is not acceptable" isn't because she doesn't know it's wrong. It's to set the boundary. You can establish that as a boundary without punishing for it. If you are punishing to set the boundary, what are you teaching if not "this is not acceptable"?

And of course she'll say "why", but that's part of the benefit. It opens communication and discussion. All kids try to talk their way out of it, and I've got a little smartie too so I understand that, but we're the parents and we are capable of not getting talked out of things.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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To be honest, since it's never happened to me, all of this is theoretical anyway. But i probably WOULD say that it wasn't acceptable, but as well as removing myself, rather than instead.

How do you keep a child who's like that focussed on the issue of what they have done if you discuss it in the moment? It's not so much that i can't stop her talking me out of my reaction, more that to her it seems that if we can talk about it right away then it didn't really matter (i don't know why, because 90% of the deviations from ideal (i don't want to say bad behaviour because really it's annoying when she rips wallpaper off the hall walls, but it's not criminal activity!) we DO talk about right away, so it's not like i'm silently enraged and distant over every little thing (probably only a few things ever in fact). SHE reacts by taking herself off alone if she's totally enraged, perhaps she interprets less than this to mean that it wasn't so bad afterall?

Due to something that happened to me a long time ago someone spitting in my face is a massive trigger for me. I'm one of those people, possibly due to being an abuse survivor, who has horrifically violent internal reactions to certain emotions - one of the main reasons i don't smack is that i don't believe that's a road it would be safe for me personally to even put one foot on - so i do consider my reactions. I just know if something like that happens (i can't think of anything she's actually done which made me enraged to this point...coming up blank, but imagining the spitting scenario i can certainly imagine it would be such an occasion) and i allow immediate discussion within 2 minutes she's entirely absorbed in arguing, and doesn't give a toss about what happened, how the wronged person felt, or what she could do to help.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, not me. I said we talk to my DD, 4 years old, about her rude behavior when she's calmer. Sometimes I suggest she go to her room until she feels like being with people. If she actually spit in my face I'd say "oooo, gross. That was really rude." and I'd get out of spitting range. I might ask her what she was angry about. My DD's rude behavior is usually yelling, being bossy or hitting. I feel preschoolers are very much still learning how to be people so I don't take rudeness personal. Emotional control and manners just aren't completely in place. We're teaching our DD how to behave by modeling so being rude to her when she's rude doesn't make sense. We have reacted loudly when hurt, but it's more a loud "owie!!" followed by a "be more careful/gentle". We don't do timeouts or punitive.

Someone mentioned they want "my kids do what I ask because .....". Well we want our DD to do things because it's a good idea, because the behavior fits the kind of person she wants to be, because she likes being helpful ....... not to please us.
THERE my brain was NOT operating late that night. THAT is what I was going for, I want them to WANT to do things because it's the right thing to do, because they know it's right, not because they fear me and are trying to avoid my wrath.

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The problem is that you're looking at this from an adult perspective rather than a 3-year-old's perspective. "No action justifies a response like that." Well, some actions justify a strong reaction. Not spitting, which we understand as adults, but 3-year-olds don't usually have a lot of actions at their disposal and are still learning which reactions are OK and which are off limits. If your 3-year-old feels heard, that you understand why he got so angry, he might feel less need to act out. He's developing a sense of justice and being heard will help him feel less like he needs to get back. As will giving him other actions to take or words to use when he feels he's been wronged and has to respond.

The reason I wouldn't punish is because I don't believe punishment teaches what I want to teach. That doesn't mean "except when something is really bad" because then I would think that punishment works best and therefore has to at least be used when something is really important. I dont' think punishment teaches good behavior ever, therfore I just don't use it. The only reason I think people want to punish in this case is becasue a grandma was involved and they want to appeal to her anger and desire for revenge from having had the child spit at her.

If the problem stared becasue he didn't feel heard and felt like he was wronged, punishing him is just going to make him feel less heard and more wronged. That isn't a solution. Let him know that he's heard, that spitting is not an acceptable way to respond when he gets angry at someone, and give him alternatives. But I do think you should listen to why he was angry because the more he feels he is heard, the less he will act out to be heard.
This is where I was trying to go. I'm not going to sit with my 3 year old and try to talk all about what happened, I feel like it detracts from the point. Also, besides the justification of the behavior, why should she have to "justify" *why* she is angry? By trying to explain the situation, it's also feeding the idea (in my mind) that she has to justify this emotion.

I'd rather just deal with what is going on in the moment "WOW you must have been *really angry* to do that." than go back and try to discuss what happened to cause it.

The "problem" in this case is that she's extremely angry. Many situations will provoke that feeling for her. The *real* goal here is that she learn to deal with the emotion. And I want her to know that there's nothing at all wrong with her feeling that way. The 'issue' is how she chose to deal with it in that moment. So she needs to have me help her figure out things she can do instead.

Because she is 3 and she is in a moment of strong emotion, she probably won't be ready to sit down and figure this out until she's had a chance to calm down. This is probably best accomplished with some quiet time, in this case, possibly with me, since *i'm* not the one she's angry with.

So...more accurately, I don't want to--unless *she* initiates it--go into a whole drawn-out discussion of what led to the feeling. I just don't feel it's relevant, and it, to me, sends the message that she needs to 'justify' her feeling. Which is not the message I want to send.

(someone mentioned the 3 year old's perspective, I get how the 3 year old just wouldn't get why spitting is *so wrong* in the eyes of an adult. So she would not see it as "trying to justify her actions" the way I said I would. But I think a kid could easily begin to realize the message of "I have to justify why I feel the way I do." I don't know if a 3 year old would 'get' that yet but I don't entirely know she WOULDN'T either. And it's just not where I want to go.)

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My responses in BOLD

The discussing and the processing and the giving of better tools- that all needs to happen, but you're right, it's not going to happen in the moment, and it's not okay to let the behavior continue while the child calms down.

EXACTLY why I would want to remove DD from the situation and give her a chance to calm down. I believe allowing the undesired behavior to continue, doing nothing to change the situation, excuses and encourages the behavior. If I 'excuse' this because she is 'only 3' and doesn't understand how unacceptable it is in the eyes of an adult, then at what age do I stop excusing her? Unacceptable behavior is unacceptable and needs to be addressed no matter what, this is how they learn. (If I'd posted saying she was running and screaming in the library, most everyone here would agree she needs to be removed from the library, I think, no matter *what* age she was, whether she could be expected to know what the rules are or not, because in our society, this is not acceptable behavior in a library.)



I don't see how it aids my DD for me to hide MY emotions in order to teach her how to handle her own. If anyone ever spits in her face i want her to know it's absolutely fine for her to get out of there, and that when someone is acting like that towards her following her urge to GET AWAY from that person, rather than stay and try to help them, is absolutely ok. I agree that she is young and not in control of her emotions, but to me it is really super important that she gets, as early as possible, that it is NEVER ok to spit in someone's face, no matter WHAT she is feeling.

ITA!

I believe for people who grew up being spanked that it's a process to get there. Despite lots of turmoil as a child, my mother did not believe in spanking. It wasn't part of my childhood, and so it's really easy for me to look at it completely from an outsider's perspective. My ILs did spank, and my husband struggles with the same idea of "then what do you do when..." It's been a journey for him to work on learning other ways to handle conflict.

Thank you for this, Brandi Rhoades. This is how I feel. I've hesitated before and NOT posted stuff here out of a fear of being judged for not 'being there' yet. But how else is somebody who WANTS to learn how to be different supposed to accomplish it? I said it was 'easy' when I was a preschool teacher because the kids just did not provoke the emotion in me that seeing my OWN kids do these things does (they didn't, I was actually well known for calm, cool, collected responses lol, and there is the argument that *most* children save their 'worst' for their parents, because that is who they feel the 'safest' with)...and well, I have had *nothing* in my life to show me what to do with this level of emotion. There's anger at them, but it's more, it's frustration with myself as in "how could *I* have raised a child that would..." maybe that is anger at myself.
I think we need to have patience and space for those who are *trying* to get there. I think I've come a long way just in even beginning to THINK about it, because I'm 99% positive nobody in my past thought twice about what they were doing.


I have more, will be back later DS2 just got up and he will not be happy with me interacting with a screen for much longer!

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Old 02-05-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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It isn't about justifying. It's about listening. "Wow, you were really angry. What made you so angry?" Ifs he doesn't want to talk about it, fine, but she might want to be heard.

And not punishing doesn't mean "excusing" and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with encouraging. Encouraging would be, "Wow, great mouth muscles! That was some spitting!" Something positive done in an attempt to make it continue.

Also, stopping someone from running through the library screaming isn't the same as putting someone in a room after she spat at someone and is no longer spitting. If she were running around spitting on everyone, I'd move her to protect other people, but if she spat one time and stopped, putting her in her room isn't stopping her from spitting. The spitting is over. It's just a punishment.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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Hmm, I guess i feel isolation is warranted because spitting is a really big deal to me. It's not like chucking a toy or even hitting (in as much as DD CAN hit, at nearly 4). If she spit on the bus driver she would face a criminal charge in this city (there was an 8 year old permanently banned from all city transport and sent to the Children's Panel last month for spitting, granted on more than one occasion, at his school bus driver - the drivers carry dna swab kits for that in this city and it is regarded and treated as assault).

If DD ever spit on me my priority would be to communicate VERY memorably that it is in. no. way. acceptable, no matter what she is feeling, no matter what i have asked of her. It is the sort of aggressive behaviour i would personally save to escape from an attacker who had already gotten hold of me. Not someone who wanted me to go to bed.

Punishment versus consequent is semantics to me - if DD spit in her best friends face her best friend would avoid her like the plague, to punish her for spitting in their face. THAT punishment from the friend, one of ostracising, would be a natural consequence, but also a change of behaviour or circumstance to attempt to modify DD's feelings or behaviour towards that friend - a punishment. I am not against showing her the results of her actions, i just simultaneously try to model the sort of behaviour i think is acceptable. It is acceptable to me to remove one's self from someone who spat in my face, but not to hit them. So yes, i will get away from her, but not hit her.

I find the repeated posts about talking, understanding and relating to one's child somewhat ridiculous. I've been raising her nearly 4 years, full time. We do understand one another! We talk all the time and relate well enough that she's never actually spat in anyone's face. I actually know parents who smack who have incredibly close relationships with their kids, with kids who feel they can rely on their parents and turn to them, it's not what i want to do because i think it doesn't work, but i also don't believe that one cannot simultaneously use punishment as a parenting tool (or consequences if you'd prefer to call it that) and be a good, loving parent. The bigger picture is so important in this context. I would absolutely react as i've detailed to spitting. There is probably nothing else which would bring this response - perhaps the second violent act against a much smaller defenceless child (again, she's never done this) would warrant this. For extreme behaviour she gets an extreme reaction - from me, from the general world. The difference is that after *I* have walked off disgusted, washed my face, and avoided her until i've calmed down, i'm her Mama still, we're going to talk about it, make up, and in a few minutes she gets a new clean slate with me. I love her, she knows i love her. She is very secure in this, my demonstrating that her ACTIONS are not loveable doesn't translate into ME not loving HER. She doesn't get that with the rest of the world, the consequences for acting in this sort of way towards other people are potentially far more long-lasting. For me it's my JOB to teach her what she should expect if she acts in a given way - including being told how wonderful and helpful she is when she is - not my job to rationalise her every action with the feeling behind it. Understanding why she spat does not, in almost any situation, mitigate what she has done. She is a very verbal child, and she uses it well to test boundaries. If i demonstrated no disgust but began talking to her about how she mustn't spit but is she angry she would invent descriptions for 10 different kinds of spitting and try them all out to see if i really meant it. I have to parent the kid in front of me, she benefits from a dialogue on so many grey areas, but for black and white issues like this she does far better with very clear boundaries.

Of COURSE, with all the hundreds of kinds of person in the world, and all of us parenting little individuals YMMV.

Yes, i'm really strict/harsh/mean by some standards. But i have a really good thing going with my kid here, i feel strongly i'm on the right track for us. I am fully prepared for the new baby to arrive in June requiring a completely different approach, which is why this place is so great, because i am pretty much guaranteed that whatever kind of kid i get next one of you wise mama's will had encountered and overcome whatever problems i have.
Amen.

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Old 02-05-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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I haven't read all the responses, but I wanted to share a bit of family folklore with you...

When she was very young, my sister-in-law spit at her brother. Their mother had a very creative solution that ABSOLUTELY cured SIL from spitting at anyone ever again.

She had to sit at the kitchen table and spit into a glass until it was full. A small glass, but still. Spit spit spit.

She was sick of spitting by the time that was over!

I don't know if that would work with a 3 year old, but I do like the consistency of the consequences with the unacceptable behavior.

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Old 02-05-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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It isn't about justifying. It's about listening. "Wow, you were really angry. What made you so angry?" Ifs he doesn't want to talk about it, fine, but she might want to be heard.

And not punishing doesn't mean "excusing" and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with encouraging. Encouraging would be, "Wow, great mouth muscles! That was some spitting!" Something positive done in an attempt to make it continue.
Thank you, mamazee. I've been avoiding any further replies because I SO strongly disagree with using a "natural consequence" as punishment on a child of such a young age, but you've done such a great job at saying what I've been trying to say (in ALL your replies) that I just had to comment.

I could NOT agree with this more. I'd quote other posts from you, but I won't waste space. Just thanks.

To the others who disagree with me, I will add though that whether the consequence (in this case, for spitting) is physical (spanking) or emotional (love withdrawl), violent or abusive is not the message I was trying to imply. But I do feel (strongly) that this method of "natural consequence parenting" (on a 3 year old), is ABSOLUTELY NOT gentle. We're going to have to agree to disagree on that one.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I don't understand the problem with natural consequences? The natural consequence of treating someone poorly is they don't want to be around you for the moment. A three year old feels the same way when a playmate hits them, spits on them, rips a toy away, whatever. I'd validate and encourage that decision from THEM to say "I don't want to play with this person who treated me badly" so what's wrong with it going the other way too?

I want my children to be comfortable setting and enforcing their own boundaries, specifically regarding what treatment they will tolerate from others. I teach this by respecting boundaries in others, and pointing out to my child that their behaviors can impact how others feel about them. To do otherwise, in my opinion, is unfair to my child and sets them up with unrealistic expectations about how their world, and eventually the real world, works.

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Old 02-06-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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Ok so I'm wondering...what are the natural consequences?

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Old 02-06-2010, 01:00 AM
 
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Not playing with someone is not the same as puttign someone in their room.

And the best way to teach children to expect to be treated well is simply to treat them well.

I think the natural consequence of spitting on someone would be for that person to say, "Ewwwww! You spat on me!" and run off and wash his/her face. Whatever would actually naturally happen without someone trying to think of what should happen. And I think most people would feel bad for causing that reaction.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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Not playing with someone is not the same as puttign someone in their room.

And the best way to teach children to expect to be treated well is simply to treat them well.

I think the natural consequence of spitting on someone would be for that person to say, "Ewwwww! You spat on me!" and run off and wash his/her face. Whatever would actually naturally happen without someone trying to think of what should happen. And I think most people would feel bad for causing that reaction.
Ok but thinking of the toddlers I have known...wouldn't that have the risk of encouraging spitting? I've found a bit of "eww" or "oww!" to entice giggling and repeats.

I don't know...maybe in this situation w/ the 3yo particularly doing it out of anger...it wouldn't cause this?

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Old 02-06-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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I don't understand the problem with natural consequences? The natural consequence of treating someone poorly is they don't want to be around you for the moment. A three year old feels the same way when a playmate hits them, spits on them, rips a toy away, whatever. I'd validate and encourage that decision from THEM to say "I don't want to play with this person who treated me badly" so what's wrong with it going the other way too?
IMO. Teaching a child to walk away when someone spits on them (or takes their toy or whatever), is not the same as punishing that child for doing that same behavior to the other child. A natural consequence (for most kids I've dealt with) is to rip the toy back from the kid who tried to take it from them, or punch or hit when another child does something to them (like spit). Or they might just scream that Jimmy did something they didn't like, and run off to their mother for help. But is this not why we're here? To help?

What I don't understand is how someone can justify punishing a young child for a behavior they don't understand, rather than teaching that the said behavior was not appropriate for the situation. I don't believe removal from situation, or time out, teaches anything other than preventing a behavior to avoid a punishment or consequence, and it could cause a resentment towards the parent (at least at the time - "I hate my mom! She's so mean for getting mad like that! She should be mad at Grandma! I really hate her for getting me in trouble.", etc). It certainly doesn't teach the child to act towards the feelings of the other person. On top of that, I don't believe it's fair to the child, when this type of punishment will often leave the child feeling upset and confused, and very likely more angry than they were to begin with. The method works. I just don't agree with it.

I'm truly and honestly trying to understand this, but some of you are making a good argument as to why I dislike it so much in the first place, and I'm feeling nothing but an even stronger dislike to this technique of "gentle parenting". I choose not to use the word "discipline" because I don't believe that discipline should = punishment.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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Maybe I'm not being clear or something? I didn't suggest punishing the child? I said if the child is allowed to not be around someone that treats them badly (I would hope that's encouraged, at least), what is wrong with the gma in this situation saying "I don't want to play w/you, you spit on me" and then leaving the immediate area of the child? It's a natural reaction to not want to be around someone who acts like that and the child then learns not to treat people accordingly.

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Old 02-06-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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I think people just have different ideas about what 'natural consequences' means. Heck, I've heard spanking mamas calling spanking a natural consequence.

I actually like your scenario. Although still, with a 3yo, I think it still might be more beneficial to focus on identifying the child's emotions and working through the response. Grandma saying that seems logical, but will the 3yo 1) understand why Grandma is leaving him and 2) understand what to do differently in the future? Three year olds still need lots of external regulation as their cortex is still developing, you know? And emotions are hard for them to work through, on top of figuring out social boundaries and acceptable practices.

In the case of spitting out of anger, it really pronounces to me that this child cannot verbalize, or is not confident verbalizing. Spitting gets the message that she can't say across to the person. So if I was the parent, I would not want her to be confused about why everyone is disapproving. At what? Her? Her emotions? Her opinion? Or her behavior? And I would want her to know what she could do in the future so she learns from it.

I guess, after typing this out, that now I feel natural consequences don't really fit here. A natural consequence seems to work best when the child has the ability to choose behavior and chooses a poor behavior. Like a teen who chooses to ignore a reasonable curfew.

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Old 02-06-2010, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love ds unconditionally, but I do not love and accept all of his behavior unconditionally. There is a difference, and learning this distinction is a key part of healthy relationships as we grow up. I think stopping a behavior because it offends people, and makes them not want to be near you, is a good reason to stop this kind of behavior (spitting in a person's face). In my experience, ds did not feel unloved, he felt like I was being real with him. I agree, we need to be teaching--and it may be semantics or just perception as to which part of a response is teaching vs. punitive.
VERY well said. This is how I feel about my kids....I love them unconditionally and BECAUSE of that, I want to teach them how to behave in ways that will help them be accepted and loved by others.

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Old 02-06-2010, 03:35 AM
 
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I would like to recommend Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn for you frustrated mamas.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:31 AM
 
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Maybe I'm not being clear or something? I didn't suggest punishing the child? I said if the child is allowed to not be around someone that treats them badly (I would hope that's encouraged, at least), what is wrong with the gma in this situation saying "I don't want to play w/you, you spit on me" and then leaving the immediate area of the child? It's a natural reaction to not want to be around someone who acts like that and the child then learns not to treat people accordingly.
Just to clarify, I wasn't speaking to, or about you at all. I was speaking in general about those who remove the spitter from the situation as punishment for spitting. If your goal is to teach that spitting on someone makes the other not want to be around you though, then would it not make more sense to remove the person who was spat upon? "I'm sorry that you got spit on. That wasn't very nice. Let's take a break from playing and go clean you up." That doesn't really make much sense to me at all (as I would think it would be rather self-rewarding for the spitter), but it's late and this thread has gone somewhat out of control. LOL

Based on what you're saying about the natural consequences...
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It isn't about justifying. It's about listening. "Wow, you were really angry. What made you so angry?" Ifs he doesn't want to talk about it, fine, but she might want to be heard.

I'd likely stop at the first line...DD is the type who will follow that sort of thing with a "yeah" or "no" If she said nothing else, I might ask her if she wanted to talk about it.

I'm on the fence on whether saying "What made you angry?" and "WHY are you angry?" (like "you shouldn't be") are the same thing...

I don't know *why* that is such a big thing in my mind, making sure she, or my other two, don't feel like they have to justify their emotions to me. I guess that is part of ME never being "heard."

And not punishing doesn't mean "excusing" and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with encouraging. Encouraging would be, "Wow, great mouth muscles! That was some spitting!" Something positive done in an attempt to make it continue.

Hmmm true that on the encouraging.

I'm still working on this whole idea of not punishing yet not *excusing.* It's a whole new idea to me, as it's certainly NOT what I was raised on, and what I was told to do even in daycare and preschool was basically various forms of punishment, mostly time-out, removal of privileges, "if you do XYZ, you can no longer play with ZYX" type stuff, rewards for some and not others, you get the idea. (There were, however, *some* other methods, like seating certain children near you or apart from certain other children to avoid problems, things like that.)

This is an educational thread for me, and I see lots of ideas here that I think *do* fit the idea of "not excusing" but not *punishing* behavior. I will be trying these out the next time something happens that warrants it.

Also, stopping someone from running through the library screaming isn't the same as putting someone in a room after she spat at someone and is no longer spitting. If she were running around spitting on everyone, I'd move her to protect other people, but if she spat one time and stopped, putting her in her room isn't stopping her from spitting. The spitting is over. It's just a punishment.
True that. It was a one-time spit in response to being removed. So the spitting is done. She now needs a response that teaches that this is *unacceptable* and I think one of the least effective of these would be an isolated time-out.

Let's see...."isolated" no interaction with anyone to give her any sort of input as to what's happened and what was wrong.

And she's already angry, that's WHY she spit. Given that this is my daughter, trying to force her to stay in a time-out spot is going to make her MORE angry.

AND when *I* try to put her in time-out, she does not stay there. It turns into this prolonged power-struggle thing which results in tons of attention for her and totally shifts the focus off of what she did and onto this power struggle.

So...what I *wanted* to do was make sure she learns that spitting on someone is absolutely NOT acceptable no matter what that person just did. (She is THREE, let's save any possible escape-from-attacker scenes and all that. Let's stick to everyday-living scenarios with people she lives with.)

What I just succeeded in doing was engaging in a power struggle, giving her tons of extra attention (negative attention is still attention) and made her *more* angry....anger is not a frame of mind conducive to *learning.* And by the time we're done fighting about her staying in this time-out, we've probably BOTH forgotten what started this!

Yeah, I think there's more effective methods out there....methods that address her behavior without doing all of this!

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Old 02-06-2010, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't understand the problem with natural consequences? The natural consequence of treating someone poorly is they don't want to be around you for the moment. A three year old feels the same way when a playmate hits them, spits on them, rips a toy away, whatever. I'd validate and encourage that decision from THEM to say "I don't want to play with this person who treated me badly" so what's wrong with it going the other way too?

I want my children to be comfortable setting and enforcing their own boundaries, specifically regarding what treatment they will tolerate from others. I teach this by respecting boundaries in others, and pointing out to my child that their behaviors can impact how others feel about them. To do otherwise, in my opinion, is unfair to my child and sets them up with unrealistic expectations about how their world, and eventually the real world, works.
ABSOLUTELY! If I would tell my 3 year old it's perfectly OK for her to say "I don't want to play with you right now!" to someone who is being mean to her, then what is wrong with Grandma walking away from her, going to wash her face, even saying "I'm going to go do something else for awhile until we're both not angry anymore." (and then of course that is the truth, when Grandma comes back, they make up.)
What better way could there possibly be for someone to learn the consequences of her actions, and that sometimes you just need to leave someone alone for a little while until they are ready to hear your apology?

If we were talking about two siblings in this scenario, I don't think anyone here would say it would be wrong for the "spit on" child to walk away and not want to be around the "spitter" for awhile.

Just because this is an adult and the one doing the spitting is a 3 year old does not mean the adult should pretend that their feelings were not hurt, or that they were not disgusted, or whatever the case might be.

In fact, that right there, in my mind is the best way my daughter could *learn*, from actually living through and talking about the true consequences of her actions. ("I want to go watch TV in Grandma's room." "Well, dear, Grandma went in to be alone because she was angry about you spitting on her...." "Oh, I could tell her I'm sorry...." apologies, hugs, scenario done.)

As long as it is a *true* scenario reflecting *authentic* feelings and reactions, and not something where anyone is playing out a scene to "teach a child a lesson."

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Old 02-06-2010, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The upshot of this whole nearly 100 post discussion?

I've figured out something that will probably carry us through *many* situations in life.

I've seen the 'light' that spanking obviously does not teach anything, that's why I came with a post like this. Because I want another response.

I am actually pretty glad isolation doesn't work with this child...because it really doesn't *teach* anything either, especially in a situation like this.

If I could replay this particular scenario....here's what I would want to do and why.

I would want MY MOM to be the one to take the time away from DD. (which she would want to do)

Why? Well, because when somebody treats you like that, you *don't* want to be around them. It doesn't matter if you are 3 or 103, doesn't matter if the person doing it to you is 3 or 103, you don't want to be around a person who is being mean to you. I think this is the best way for someone to learn what kind of treatment you're going to accept from them.

And DD is going to hear whatever needs to be heard much better from me, a person who she is not angry with at the moment.

The first thing she's going to hear, the minute I step between them, (and I would, you'd have to know these two to know that I as parent need to step into this scene and take over if I want it to go non-punishment-like) is a firm "We DO NOT spit on people!" Boundary drawn. From there, Grandma has left the room, and DD and I can talk about what happened and better reactions.

I almost guarantee that within a few minutes of Grandma being alone in her room, DD will want something from her. Which would give us an opportunity to talk about why Grandma went to be away from her and what she can do to help Grandma know that she is sorry and want to be around her again. (she *would* be sorry, she's sweet and doesn't *want* to hurt anyone, she is THREE and doesn't think ahead when she's overcome by anger and frustration at not being able to do something she wants to do)

I think this gives her an opportunity to interact and *learn from* this situation, and that it addresses the behavior at hand without imposing anything 'fake.'

And it avoids the power-struggle that *is* me attempting to use time-out with her. Don't ask me why it works for her dad and not for me, doesn't matter, *I* need to do what works between her and me.

*my mom* would likely think I've not really "done anything" but that is her problem. She had her chance, this is mine.

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Old 02-06-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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Ok but thinking of the toddlers I have known...wouldn't that have the risk of encouraging spitting? I've found a bit of "eww" or "oww!" to entice giggling and repeats.

I don't know...maybe in this situation w/ the 3yo particularly doing it out of anger...it wouldn't cause this?
A natural consequence isn't an attempt to teach or not to teach, it is what happens naturally. Simply what happens if no one forces anything. If you are talkign about a consequence someone makes happen intended to teach, your'e talking about a punishment, not a natural consequence.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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A natural consequence isn't an attempt to teach or not to teach, it is what happens naturally. Simply what happens if no one forces anything. If you are talkign about a consequence someone makes happen intended to teach, your'e talking about a punishment, not a natural consequence.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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I think it is hard not to punish a kid especially when you know that what he or she did was really bad. Sometimes I get tempted to spank my 6 year old kid when he talks back. But never did I lay a hand on my him because I know that aside from discipline, I will be teaching him cruelty too.

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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The first thing she's going to hear, the minute I step between them, (and I would, you'd have to know these two to know that I as parent need to step into this scene and take over if I want it to go non-punishment-like) is a firm "We DO NOT spit on people!" Boundary drawn. From there, Grandma has left the room, and DD and I can talk about what happened and better reactions.

I almost guarantee that within a few minutes of Grandma being alone in her room, DD will want something from her. Which would give us an opportunity to talk about why Grandma went to be away from her and what she can do to help Grandma know that she is sorry and want to be around her again. (she *would* be sorry, she's sweet and doesn't *want* to hurt anyone, she is THREE and doesn't think ahead when she's overcome by anger and frustration at not being able to do something she wants to do)

I think this gives her an opportunity to interact and *learn from* this situation, and that it addresses the behavior at hand without imposing anything 'fake.'

And it avoids the power-struggle that *is* me attempting to use time-out with her. Don't ask me why it works for her dad and not for me, doesn't matter, *I* need to do what works between her and me.

*my mom* would likely think I've not really "done anything" but that is her problem. She had her chance, this is mine.
Well said!! I'm really glad this thread happened. You really seem to have a good grasp at how gentle parenting works.
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