I`m rereading several of my GD/AP-books right now, to fresh up on my "the ABC og Gentle Discipline/Attachment Parenting".
And it got me curious on what other mamas have as their safest, most tried and true tools in their GD/AP-toolbox.
What are the things that has saved you when days have been rough? What would be your best advice for a new-to-GD/AP mama/papa?
for me anything that promotes kids thinking , perspective taking and problem solving so talking with your kid , meaning you listen and use dialog questions to promote discussion is the best tool we have
favourite books - Alfie Kohn - Unconditional parenting
Myrna Shure series
Ross Greene - cps - collaborative problem solving = Lost at school , the explosive child
blog that combines Ak , Ross Greene and Myrna Shure http://allankatz-parentingislearning.blogspot.com
My current absolute favorite is "describe what you see" from How to Talk so Kids Will Listen. "That spill needs a towel." "Your brother is crying because his toy was taken away" etc. What I like about this one is that it doesn't invite any blowback so you can use it early and often to defuse a situation before it escalates. Once you start it is so easy!
Another one is from my interpretation of UP (possibly misinterpretation...). The idea in the book is to assume the best possible motives. DD used to be really bad for not listening and we used to always fall into the trap of repeating the instruction or getting her in trouble for ignoring us. I guess all we had to say was "DD, did you hear me?" Works GREAT.
I also use some techniques from Honey I Wrecked the Kids - I especially like the way that book correlates power struggles with kids trying to fulfill the need to be autonomous and to contribute. Our DD is very strong willed and this book really encouraged me to help her channel that energy into independent self-care and a voice in family decisions. We also started doing family meetings since I read that book and while so far it hasn't impacted on our parenting I'm happy to have that structure in place for future years.
If I knew a mama or papa was new to GD I would definitely tell them that it's a learning curve. If you're trying to introduce something like problem solving together it might not work right out of the gate, but it's worth pursuing. I don't know if it's developmental or because of how we parented her as a toddler but DD took awhile to warm up to the technique and is only now doing really well with it at four years old.
The other thing I would say is to be true to yourself and let go of any guilt you have in finding balance in the family and creating a home environment that works for you. I know that I personally am not very laid-back so I set a high standard for behavior with my kids. Others would not be comfortable with the amount of structure we have in our family, but I am actually able to be a much gentler parent that way. I find that a lot of structure leads to fewer judgment calls, thus fewer power struggles. Also since the general level of respect is high I have a lot more patience to deal with situations when they do come up.
structure is important , but what matters imho is how we set up the structure - together with the kid , or alone . We can bring kids into the process by asking them to plan their day - planning = choice with intention and then let them reflect - remembering with analysis . So we don't need to order them around but refer to the list/schedule or plan that they have made up
I have to be honest and say I haven't read a lot of books on the matter, but I have read a lot about childhood development in University, studying to be a teacher, and I have read a lot about Non-violent communcation as an educator for peace and conflict resolution, and that has all colored my parenting choices to one degree or another. I am also fairly driven to avoid conflict and violence, and to look for solutions in my life, so that too has helped.
My best resource for help has been here and in particulr a huge shout out to Mamazee who always has stellar advice and a gentle perspective on parenting issues.
My best tools have been modelling, and empathy. It has also helped hugely to remember not to take the tantrums and the bad behavior as a personal reflection of my child's feelings for me. It is hard to remember.
I recall reading once in Happiest Toddler on the Block that toddlers are very much like foreigners in a strange land trying to speak the local language, thinking they are doing and okay job and not getting anywhere. As a traveller I found that analogy to be one of the best reminders for me of what my toddler and even my older child is going through. I know what it is like to be searching my internal ohrase book for the words and not quite finding them, or thinking I have found them and not have people understand me...not a big deal when I can see and reach and meet my needs myself, a HUGE deal when I am tired, hungry, in pain, or afraid. At the age of 35 I still ocassionally have temper tantrums of a sort, definitely melt downs, when this happens to me, and I am now at about the fluency of the average 10 year old spanish speaker. So when my kids are mid-melt down, or are waging an attack of bad behavior, I ask myself first...what's going on? Does he need a snack? Does he need a nap? Does he need a chat and a cuddle? What's the dilly-yo? Then I feel in a much better place for problem solving, because rather than feel attacked, I feel there is something I can do. Feeling impotent against a child's tantrums is terrifying, and it makes me irrationally angry about the tantrum. Understanding that these choices are normal emotional reactions for someone who doesn't have the language (or maturity) to express their feelings or needs, helps a lot.
Never mind - somehow jumped to the wrong thread.
Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) , Emma (5/03) , Evan (7/05) , & Jenna (6/09)
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing Aaron Ambrose (11/07)