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Old 01-29-2011, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm new to GD so tell me about it!  My DD is 18.5 months and of the high spirited temperament.  I share this temperament so obviously trying to AP my little can be challenging sometimes.  I'm intrigued by GD and would appreciate an idiot's guide from BTDT to see if it's right for us!  TIA!

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Old 01-30-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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There are things about GD that I understand and some that I don't- I'll just say that to start withwinky.gif

 

I think that the basic principle behind it is the same as what is behind being AP; treat others as you would want to be treated.  That children will learn to respect others by being respected and so forth.  And also children learning how to come to terms with their strong emotions with the support and gentle guidance of the adults in their lives.  Punishments like "time-outs" and spanking are not helpful when it comes to teaching a child how to cope with emotions.  Instead, it is better to listen and validate the child's feelings without trying to change reality for them. 

 

There are a lot of articles out there about it that can give you a good idea of what it is, without reading a whole book.  But there are books if you want to dive in further.  The only one I have read so far is Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.  It was pretty good, I definitely got some good ideas from it, but I'm also looking at some more structured approaches.

 


wife to DH 6/25/05, mama to DS 5/26/08 & DS2 9/1/10
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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GD means different things to different people.  I would say the core of it is to treat your kids respectfully (not putting them down, belittling them, bullying them, etc) and not to use physical violence towards kids (spanking etc).  Discipline is viewed as teaching as opposed to punishing - or rather, there are those on the "spectrum" of GD who use punishments but the goal is to teach (ie. using natural or logical consequences) instead of just to dominate.  I would say most or all GD parents strive towards never yelling.

 

Besides that there are a million shades of grey.  Some parents don't believe in using any rewards or bribes - some do.  Some think praise is harmful - some think it's beneficial.  Some believe in always achieving consensus between adults and children on every issue.  Some do time-outs, some do time-ins, some do neither.  Etc, etc.  Keep reading  here at the GD board and you'll find all kinds of interesting approaches and ideas.  I've certainly learned a lot from the wise mamas here!

 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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Old 01-30-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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I agree with the above posts. GD is different for everyone and everyone seems to practice it just a bit differently.
 
I think for me gentle discipline is about using intuition and trusting my instincts. Being curious and always reaching for logic first helps too. Keep positive, see the good in every situation and person, pick your battles and don't sweat the small stuff but always acknowledge it. Enjoy your children and laugh a lot!
 
I will suggest that you read read read and ask ask ask, then find a formula that works best for your family. For my family structure and a bit of formality works. We respect our children as individuals and support them in who they are and what they want to do. That said, we are mommy and daddy and we head the family/household. There are rules that everyone is expected to follow and tasks that have to be accomplished to keep our home running comfortably for everyone. Because everyone in our family/home being happy and healthy is priority #1. That goes for parents, children, kitties and plants! Respect for everyone living in our home as well as those just visiting. We expect our children to participate, listen to us (with plenty of listening to them) and respect our wishes, because they know we have their and our families best interests at heart.
 
There is no perfect way to parent and no one single way to practice attachment parenting and gentle discipline in my opinion. Find the best fit for you and yours. 
 
Do you have anything specific you'd like to know about? I'd be happy to share any experience I have.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think at this point it is more just learning where to start?  My DD is 18.5 months and incredibly high spirited.  She is very intelligent but doesn't speak yet.  She communicates beautifully with me via points, looks, vocal sounds.  Her lack of ability to speak makes her very frustrated some times and we are currently in speech therapy trying to help her work through her speech issues.  She has no medium - she's either up or down and flips like a switch.  She doesn't listen to ANY requests that don't fit with what she wants to do.  I'd like to start laying better groundwork for the future and try and provide her with discipline that helps her work through her high emotions/fits and anger.

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:22 PM
 
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She sounds absolutely lovely and very smart, its so great that you two have found a way to communicate. Communication is always the key, right?
 
First off, it does get better as they get older, I promise you. When my children were/are at that age, its a lot of modeling behavior. I've always had little monkey see/monkey dos at that age, they were always eager to do what mommy was doing. Just an example here, one thing that has been an issue for me in the past. Putting on coats when its chilly outside. So I have my coat and their coat and as I am putting mine on I say, "I like to wear my coat/sweater so I don't freeze when I go outside... burrrr!" Then I hold out theirs. If they don't want to put it on, its fine, I don't force it. I just take the coat with me. I've yet to have a child with hypothermia. The behavior starts sinking in and they learn a consequence if they choose not to wear a jacket. This was a really simple example, but I hope it makes a point. Pick your battles with GD - sometimes the logical consequence is already there.
 
As for high emotions. Ah fun. BTDT. Just wait for the preteen years! Hehe, anyhoo this is what I do, others may have different tactics. When I first see a meltdown beginning to build I don't address it right away. I observe and see if I can pinpoint what triggered it. Sometimes its super obvious, other times not so much. I give them a couple of minutes to be crabby and then I swoop in for the snuggle. They can still cry and holler, but I'll ignore that for the time being. Lots of hugs and kisses and "I love you SO much!" and "I know you are upset/mad/fuming (whatever) and when you are ready we will work together to fix it." and I might also start talking about something calmly and quietly -  if I have identified the issue I might work that in. "Remember that time Reagan broke his airplane and it took him and Daddy two days to fix it?" or even praise them a bit "You are such a clever girl, its so wonderful how you helped me fold laundry today." 
 
Okay, to be honest, when they are as young as your daughter (or really melting down), they may not be really hearing you or understanding what you are saying. They do understand that you love them, you are not upset and you are calm. For me focusing on my love for my child and how awesome they are, helps me get through the meltdown, because watching your child go through that high emotion can be heart wrenching. Then when they settle down, the two of us can fix the issue together. If discipline is involved I do it when the meltdown is over. Last thing a frustrated, angry and/or upset child can do is focus on yet another task. So swoop in with love, let them know you understand, reinforce that they are a good kid and then deal with the issue when everyone is calm enough to be fully present.
 
You know what I've had happen after doing this enough times? I've had my children swoop me into a hug when they are upset or angry (even at me!) and tell me they are mad/upset/the plant looked at them wrong/whatever the meltdown of the moment is. They just sorta learn that when we have an issue, we face it together and with love and caring for each other.
 
I've found that having clear boundaries for behavior (take their boundaries into consideration as well - this is mostly for when they are older) and reasonable expectations really help as well as keeping some type of consistent schedule (one that is flexible though - just for moments like these). Expectations are different in all families, just look at what is important to you. Be consistent with those expectations but don't always expect them to want to meet them. You know? It'll sink in. 

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Originally Posted by TheSlingMama View Post

I think at this point it is more just learning where to start?  My DD is 18.5 months and incredibly high spirited.  She is very intelligent but doesn't speak yet.  She communicates beautifully with me via points, looks, vocal sounds.  Her lack of ability to speak makes her very frustrated some times and we are currently in speech therapy trying to help her work through her speech issues.  She has no medium - she's either up or down and flips like a switch.  She doesn't listen to ANY requests that don't fit with what she wants to do.  I'd like to start laying better groundwork for the future and try and provide her with discipline that helps her work through her high emotions/fits and anger.

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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You might find some useful info in the articles here http://www.naturalchild.org/articles/gentle_guidance.html

I also love this article on toddler testing, and I HIGHLY recommend the book by the authors of the article- Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. It was a life saver for me when ds1 was little!! Now that ds2 is 19mos old, I'm finding it useful all over again!

 

Like the pp's said, there is a wide range of GD. Imo, it's easier to start when they're little, because neither of you have to "unlearn" other types of discipline and interaction. 

 

Ds2 is highly spirited. lol. He's like your dd- only "listens" when it works for him. lol. That's frustrating sometimes! But it helps to remember that he's not doing it to irritate me. It just...is what toddlers do. lol. I try to redirect in a way that honors his impulse. That is, if he's writing on the wall, I tell him he can write on paper. Whatever he's doing, if it's unacceptable, I give him a way to express that impulse in a socially acceptable way. Now, this was easier with ds1, who was relatively happy to be redirected as long as it was related to what he was doing (but it made him MAD to be distracted to something unrelated!). Ds2 gets his mind on something and isn't nearly as easy to redirect. But he's learning.

Imo, they learn a lot more about self control and what is socially acceptable if you give them the opportunity to do the right thing/make the right decisions, rather than *making* them do the right thing.

For example... say ds2 is playing in the dirt of the plant. I think he learns a lot more about socially acceptable behavior and self control when I tell him that it makes a mess and I don't want him to play in the dirt, then I tell him what he CAN do instead and give him a chance to move himself to the acceptable activity. I don't think he learns those things when I physically take him away from the plant. Not that option 2 is a bad thing, and sometimes I just have to do it that way. But I can just SEE the wheels turning in his little head when I give him the opportunity to process the whole thing, and redirect himself.

I saw the same thing with ds1 (who admittedly wasn't nearly as spirited), and he's always had amazing impulse control for his age.


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Old 02-03-2011, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm bolded.  winky.gif

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Originally Posted by darjeelingmomma View Post

 

She sounds absolutely lovely and very smart, its so great that you two have found a way to communicate. Communication is always the key, right?
 
Absolutely!  thumb.gif
 
First off, it does get better as they get older, I promise you. When my children were/are at that age, its a lot of modeling behavior. I've always had little monkey see/monkey dos at that age, they were always eager to do what mommy was doing. Just an example here, one thing that has been an issue for me in the past. Putting on coats when its chilly outside. So I have my coat and their coat and as I am putting mine on I say, "I like to wear my coat/sweater so I don't freeze when I go outside... burrrr!" Then I hold out theirs. If they don't want to put it on, its fine, I don't force it. I just take the coat with me. I've yet to have a child with hypothermia. The behavior starts sinking in and they learn a consequence if they choose not to wear a jacket. This was a really simple example, but I hope it makes a point. Pick your battles with GD - sometimes the logical consequence is already there.
 
That's what we've been doing so far.  Luckily we don't have an issue with coats - she LOVES to put hers on because it means we're going somewhere.  That's how we taught her to be gentle with the dog (gentle or he goes away) and it worked.
 
As for high emotions. Ah fun. BTDT. Just wait for the preteen years! Hehe, anyhoo this is what I do, others may have different tactics. When I first see a meltdown beginning to build I don't address it right away. I observe and see if I can pinpoint what triggered it. Sometimes its super obvious, other times not so much. I give them a couple of minutes to be crabby and then I swoop in for the snuggle. They can still cry and holler, but I'll ignore that for the time being. Lots of hugs and kisses and "I love you SO much!" and "I know you are upset/mad/fuming (whatever) and when you are ready we will work together to fix it." and I might also start talking about something calmly and quietly -  if I have identified the issue I might work that in. "Remember that time Reagan broke his airplane and it took him and Daddy two days to fix it?" or even praise them a bit "You are such a clever girl, its so wonderful how you helped me fold laundry today." 
 
That is a great idea, thank you!  Lol, my friend's daughter is the same so I know what I've got to look forward to in the teens!  yikes2.gif 
 
Okay, to be honest, when they are as young as your daughter (or really melting down), they may not be really hearing you or understanding what you are saying. They do understand that you love them, you are not upset and you are calm. For me focusing on my love for my child and how awesome they are, helps me get through the meltdown, because watching your child go through that high emotion can be heart wrenching. Then when they settle down, the two of us can fix the issue together. If discipline is involved I do it when the meltdown is over. Last thing a frustrated, angry and/or upset child can do is focus on yet another task. So swoop in with love, let them know you understand, reinforce that they are a good kid and then deal with the issue when everyone is calm enough to be fully present.
 
You know what I've had happen after doing this enough times? I've had my children swoop me into a hug when they are upset or angry (even at me!) and tell me they are mad/upset/the plant looked at them wrong/whatever the meltdown of the moment is. They just sorta learn that when we have an issue, we face it together and with love and caring for each other.
 
I've found that having clear boundaries for behavior (take their boundaries into consideration as well - this is mostly for when they are older) and reasonable expectations really help as well as keeping some type of consistent schedule (one that is flexible though - just for moments like these). Expectations are different in all families, just look at what is important to you. Be consistent with those expectations but don't always expect them to want to meet them. You know? It'll sink in. 
 
That is awesome!  We're working on developing a rhythm as she's always been one that doesn't handle change at all.  I really appreciate your ideas and your response.  It's been super helpful for me in learning where to start.  Thank you so much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSlingMama View Post

I think at this point it is more just learning where to start?  My DD is 18.5 months and incredibly high spirited.  She is very intelligent but doesn't speak yet.  She communicates beautifully with me via points, looks, vocal sounds.  Her lack of ability to speak makes her very frustrated some times and we are currently in speech therapy trying to help her work through her speech issues.  She has no medium - she's either up or down and flips like a switch.  She doesn't listen to ANY requests that don't fit with what she wants to do.  I'd like to start laying better groundwork for the future and try and provide her with discipline that helps her work through her high emotions/fits and anger.



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Old 02-03-2011, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevaMajka View Post

You might find some useful info in the articles here http://www.naturalchild.org/articles/gentle_guidance.html

I also love this article on toddler testing, and I HIGHLY recommend the book by the authors of the article- Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. It was a life saver for me when ds1 was little!! Now that ds2 is 19mos old, I'm finding it useful all over again!

 

Like the pp's said, there is a wide range of GD. Imo, it's easier to start when they're little, because neither of you have to "unlearn" other types of discipline and interaction. 

 

Ds2 is highly spirited. lol. He's like your dd- only "listens" when it works for him. lol. That's frustrating sometimes! But it helps to remember that he's not doing it to irritate me. It just...is what toddlers do. lol. I try to redirect in a way that honors his impulse. That is, if he's writing on the wall, I tell him he can write on paper. Whatever he's doing, if it's unacceptable, I give him a way to express that impulse in a socially acceptable way. Now, this was easier with ds1, who was relatively happy to be redirected as long as it was related to what he was doing (but it made him MAD to be distracted to something unrelated!). Ds2 gets his mind on something and isn't nearly as easy to redirect. But he's learning.

Imo, they learn a lot more about self control and what is socially acceptable if you give them the opportunity to do the right thing/make the right decisions, rather than *making* them do the right thing.

For example... say ds2 is playing in the dirt of the plant. I think he learns a lot more about socially acceptable behavior and self control when I tell him that it makes a mess and I don't want him to play in the dirt, then I tell him what he CAN do instead and give him a chance to move himself to the acceptable activity. I don't think he learns those things when I physically take him away from the plant. Not that option 2 is a bad thing, and sometimes I just have to do it that way. But I can just SEE the wheels turning in his little head when I give him the opportunity to process the whole thing, and redirect himself.

I saw the same thing with ds1 (who admittedly wasn't nearly as spirited), and he's always had amazing impulse control for his age.



Thank you, I'll check those resources out.  DD doesn't take well to redirection at all so I'll give your technique a shot and see if that works!

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Old 02-10-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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To me GD is really about teaching rather than punishing and covering everything with love. As darjeelingmomma mentioned, I also like to focus on how much I love my child in those intense moments when they just will not listen or have done something they were not supposed to. It isn't easy for me at all! I grew up in a verbally abusive household, though it was never directed at me, I witnessed my parents fighting nearly every day. It takes a lot of self-discipline to model the behavior I want to see in my children. I fail at times, but when I don't it always pays off. 

 

Through our gentle approach our daughter is really incredible when it comes to behavior and we get compliments on it from other people and parents. When they find out we don't 'punish' her, they wonder how it is possible to raise children who behave well without punishment. We just treat her like an adult in a way, despite her child-like behavior. We talk to her a lot, we explain emotions, consequences, and even though she is only two, she perfectly understands everything. Even when she doesn't, she understands by our tone of voice, intonation, and the feeling of love toward her. 

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Old 02-11-2011, 12:50 AM
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I'm also new to GD but I've been doing a lot of reading and background research about AP-friendly parenting. I HIGHLY recommend the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. His ideas are appropriate for toddlers and beyond and are based on actual research, not just his own parenting philosophy. I really like that he cares so much about the child's perspective and about the parent-child relationship. I also found this link that summarizes Kohn's ideas and a few others: 

http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2010/02/11/toddler-ten-commandments/ My son is only 14 months but I have been using these principles with him and it is AMAZING how well it works.  He is also quite "spirited" so I am happy to have found a way to relate to him based on respect and love, a way that he responds very well to.

 

I would also not worry too much about your daughter's communication "issues". Many children don't say a word until they can put together full sentences (my husband was like that), many say very little until age 2 or 3. While it can be frustrating for a child to have a hard time communicating, adding the extra pressure of expectation could make it even more stressful. I have been using baby sign language with my son for the last couple of months and it has helped immensely! It's easy, fun, and creates another way to bond with your child. Here's a link to some videos of useful baby signs:

http://www.babysignlanguagedictionary-mysmarthands.com/Baby_Sign_Language_Dictionary_-_My_Smart_Hands.html

 

I hope this helps. Best wishes!

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