Okay...I give up: what're the reasons?
Generally speaking, if I feel that my children are behaving in ways that would warant this sort of judgement I would probably leave, remove my children, or stop spending time around people who have unrealistic expectations of my children (like Miranda in Sex and the City says "Mommy needs two hands to eat her 8$ cake" so I don't take my son to places I know he can't behave as expected, right?). That being said, I have only raised my children in Latin America and have never had the experience of perfect strangers ever advocating violence against a child for misbehavior in the supermarket or such place. Here, if a child is having a tantrum at the check out, or the bank, or the government office, they give them a lollipop and move you to the front of the line to get you out. In fact I have been tempted to bribe DS to make a scene just so we can get out faster. If a child is misbehaving in a restaurant here, the waitress comes over to play peekaboo with them and take them for a tour of the garden so you can eat in peace, or brings them crayons and a few paper placemats...sooooo, my frame of reference may be a little different. LOL
On the rare occassions someone has frowned upon the behavior of my children (like they did to my SIL -- who by the way does spank-- once in Scotland at a restaurant) or attributed what they perceived to be poor behavior to my parenting techniques, I have always chalked it up their being ignorant on child development, and rather uptight (I mean is silence during a meal REALLY that important at TGI Fridays at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon with Brit-Brit blaring in the background?). Once my parents frowned a bit over my son (then 3.5) trantruming over leaving a toy store, but after diffusing the situation in a matter of 20 or so minutes with empathy and distraction rather than threatening to punish him for being upset or trying to bribe him with sweets (neither of which worked when they tried both), they saw the value in what we do, and when the tantrum dissolved into genuine tears over missing his daddy (who was away with family for 4 weeks) his Papa's death from cancer of only a few months, and having moved from his home six months before that, they remembered that sometimes even tiny people have big feelings, and they too are entitled to have those feelings treated with empathy and love rather than threats of violence. They saw we might be onto something better than a smack on the bum. Even my grandfather,a hardened spanker and life long rage-aholic learned the benefits of kindness and love in final years by spending time with us.
Don't you have a hard time putting stock in the judgements of people who do not know what they are talking about? I do, and I highly urge anyone who feels judged by these sort of people to stop and think seriously before renting these kinds of people any space in your soul, your heart, or your head. They do not deserve one iota of consideration. They are contributing to a world of passive violence against their own children, creating a hostile environment in their own homes that relies on opression to keep the peace. How can I feel concerned about their opinion of me or my children? As long as I am doing my best to avoid a situation where my parenting is directly infringing on their rights, as long as I am monitoring the impact my children's behavior has on other's enjoyment and sense of peace, then why should they even care? More often than not, those people will be too busy worrying about what people think about the behavior of their own kids to even notice what I'm doing with mine.
So, in the interest of trying to understand what you mean, what are the reasons for worrying about the negative judgments of violent parents? Can someone please explain?
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
GD does not mean wild kids. I know lots of well behaved children that are in families that do not practice physical discipline. They have consequences, and sometimes punishment for older kids, but there is never a threat of violence.
I also know some families well who practice what they say is GD but is actually no discipline at all. Their kids are wild and rude and poorly behaved all the time and there is no reaction from the parents. There is simply no discipline at all. I don't know anyone in real life who is an effective GD parent. But these boards have put into a more positive light. I certainly think it is possible.
coming late to the party...
My kids have always been GD'ed and are now 12 and 14. They've pretty much always had lovely behavior. While I'm willing to take some credit for that, some it is just their personalities. They are both fairly compliant and quiet, and in our culture, that means "good." I think I could have had a different child, done everything the same, and had comments about how wild they were.
I think that rather than selecting a discipline technique based on hoped for outcomes, as if raising a child were like following a recipe for cookies, it makes more sense to focus on making our own behavior non-violent and respectful, which is what GD is about.
None of us control whether or not our children will always be non-violent and respectful, but we can chose that path for ourselves. That's really our only choice. How they behave is really kinda up to them. I think it is ultimately easier for a child to chose to be non-violent and respectful when they've had that constantly modeled for them, but there aren't any garantees. They have free will.
My opinion has changed over the years and is influenced by volunteering at my kids alternative school, which has lots of touchy feelly, new aged parents, and kids whose behavior is really all over the place. Some kids are just easier to mold into socially acceptable behavior than other kids. They are all treated gently at school and most are treatled gently at home, but that doesn't mean that they all are gentle to each other, quiet, and do all the things they are supposed to.
but everything has pros and cons
I agree it's hard not to feel judged when your children are not behaving in a manner that's appropriate to the location/circumstances. I do, think, however, that a lot depends on your community. I'm blessed to have both a family and a church community where they expect kids to make noise and need to move, and where there appears to be a high level of understanding of what's developmentally appropriate. But if you don't have that in your community, yeah, you can feel judged. It's one of the reasons that I try to smile at parents hose kids are having a meltdown in public -- to let them know that at least one person knows that it's hard work.
Sorry for the crappy title, I wasn't sure exactly what I was trying to say.
Tonight my dh and I took our almost 2 year old dd to a concert by my old college choir.
At the end of the concert, the director (who was my director and I know he's a super nice guy) took a moment to shake hands with 2 little boys (like 5 and 7-ish) who were sitting in the front and had been super well-behaved the whole time.
Regardless of the discipline techniques used, I think it's unwise to compare the behavior of a 1 1/2 year old toddler to 5 and 7 year old children. They're developmentally at very different stages. I suspect, OP, that you were feeling embarrassed simply because you have a toddler (who was behaving like a toddler). I'd be willing to bet money that when she's 7, she'll be able to sit still. When ds was ~2 1/2, he spent one entire church service putting the kneeler up and down at the end of the pew, pretending it was sweeping the "garbage" back into the truck. When he was 3, I had to take him out of my cousin's wedding because he was putting up such a fuss.
He's 9 now, and serves as an acolyte, and everyone always complements him on how well he does. He sits still, he follows directions, he actually mouths the words (can't tell if he sings because I can't hear him), and I have a sneaking suspicion it's nearly sub-vocal. Regardless, the only thing that really changed was his age and development. I'd love to say it was my stellar parenting, but really, he's a good kid, who tries hard, and I try to stand back and not screw him up too much.
You know, I don't think that the general public really thinks about all of the different "methods" of discipline when they look at a kid's behavior. I don't think a lot of people even know about GD, or what it's really about. At least I wasn't aware of all of the different kinds of discipline that there are before I had kids. People just tend to think either that kid is well behaved or not. Then again, I could be completely naive.
I agree wholeheartedly. when I see a kid losing it in public, I usually think "hmm.. must be naptime". I don't think "Oh my gosh, those parents should be doing XYZ." I don't think I'm in the minority.
DS is 3, which IIRC is about the age of the OP's child. Someone earlier mentioned that part of GD is recognizing age-appropriate behavior. There are members of society, generally adult members, who are not pleased by certain age-appropriate behaviors of infants and toddlers, especially crying and needing to move around. We have had to leave events when he couldn't settle down, and it's disappointing but we work through it.
I have relatives who believe in Dr. Dobson's writings. They wouldn't dream of striking an infant, but apparently toddllers are okay I can remember a visit when DS was small. We had done a LOT of redirecting, but finally got to a point where we had to tell DS "no." Da told him "no," ma told him "no," he burst into tears from surprise, and we comforted him but held our ground. I could see our relative's surprise that we DID discipline, just differently.
I think if you are human and you feel judged, it sucks. It makes you feel insecure. Sometimes these judgemental people are not violent strangers but those misguided people we love, grew up with, or who may have raised us. I think if you are beyond reacting to being judged then that's great. I, for one, am still growing and changing and trying to be more confident, so yeah, when someone makes a comment about how I raise my kid it bugs me. I'm not about to change it, though.
Yeah, no. I get that. Being judged SUCKS and it hurts, especially from the people you love. We are all human here, and we all have hurt feelings when others dismiss us, and it's okay to feel hurt. But it's not about being "beyond reacting". It's about choosing HOW to react. I just can't understand choosing to react passively with "worry" and fear.
So, I choose to react by educating, modelling and most importantly setting firm boundaries of safety around my children. As I stated in my example above, when my family and loved ones criticize my ways I show them how it works. It doesn't usually take long for them to see my point of view, but the other side of that is that I advocate fiercely on behalf of my children. DH and I have a ZERO tolerance policy for advocacy of violence around or about our children. So when people do make comments about how all my kid needs is a smack on the bum (like MIL did ONCE), they are given ONE very stern verbal warning that speak of violence, threats or other oppressive tactics will not be tolerated within earshot of my child, be it about my child or about another child (ie MIL, although entitled to the rights to spank my SIL's kids, is not even allowed to threaten a spanking to my nieces in front of my kid or we leave the house immediately explaining to DS that Grandma is in a bad mood and it is not safe for us to be around her right now -- because that is the truth). We get right up in their personal space and lock eyes and in a low toned stern voice we say "NO," like you would to a badly behaved dog; " you will not discuss that in front of my child. Are we clear?" After that, if they continue, they lose all rights to spend time alone with my child, and moreover will be told off vociferously, and firmly and in front of my child should they ever do it again.
If they do it when he's not around, let's get into it! I will gladly educate them and argue with them until they understand.
So as I keep saying, Judgement hurts and is unpleasant, and no one likes to be judged, but if you really believe in what you are doing...what are you going to DO about it next time? When the OPs child is old enough for her to face this sort of abuse, what is SHE going to do about? Are you going to passively worry about others' negative opinions of you, others' opinions whose choices you do not even respect? Or are you going to FIGHT for your beliefs and educate those who wish to advocate for violence and oppression?
One of the best ways of growing confident in your beliefs is educating yourself well enough to educate others.
So my advice on how to react? Be sad, feel it. Embrace it. Then do something about it. If people like us don't challenge the mainstream and stand up against it when it tries to sweep us under, how will the tides ever turn? Who ELSE is going to tell them they are wrong?
But when someone makes me feel bad it sucks. So sue me.
I don't see what one has to do with the other. Not really sure what the argument is so i'm gonna bow out now.
Op, don't worry about it. Just keep fighting the power. You're doing the right thing. It's normal to feel insecure sometimes. Everything will work out and it will all be worth it!
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !