At what age do you begin discipline? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 53 Old 03-22-2011, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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DS is 26 mos old.  He's a sweet kid, generally well behaved.  I've avoided having to discipline him because for the most part, if he is acting up, I can redirect him or distract him.  Very seldom to I have to just say "no" to what he is doing.  And when I do say no, he, of course, has a tantrum.  So I try to avoid having to say "no" to him - it makes things more pleasant for both of us.

 

DH does not see this the same way.  I feel like DS does something "wrong", DH says "no", DS melts down.  DH will put DS in time out for some infractions (such as throwing toys).  I just feel like he unnescesarrily escalates things.  He, on the other hand, says that I am too soft and am afraid of saying no.

 

Both of us are into gentle discipline as we define it (not sure what common definition is) which to us means that we do not spank or hit, do not yell or use nasty tone, and try not to act out of anger.  

 

Am I too soft?  Does DS just need to get used to hearing no?

So for an example, DH goes to get a banana.  I leave the room, and DS starts screaming.  I come back, ask what happened.  DH says "he wanted to hold the banana".  I said, so let him hold the banana.  DH says well, what if he made a mess?  Well, so what?  He wants to hold the banana.  It's exciting for him to be involved in whatever Daddy is doing.  I figure no harm in letting him hold the banana.  

 

There are other examples - this one sounds pretty petty when I reread it - but this is our typical pattern.  

 

Am I wrong?

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#2 of 53 Old 03-22-2011, 10:44 PM
 
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Well, discipline really means teaching, right? So it begins on day one, when you explain to your baby what you are doing as you change their diaper, and if they cry, you commiserate that yes, that wipe was really cold, but pretty soon they will be snug in a dry diaper, and so on and so forth.

 

I don't avoid telling my kids, "No" because I'm afraid of their reaction. I try to consider their opinion, and let them do it there way if I can. If not, I explain why. They don't always understand (especially when they were younger.) A tantrum is more an expression of frustration and disappointment then a "punishment" for the parent. I try to be sympathetic, but I don't let it discourage me from keeping my kids safe, or doing what I need to do during the day.

 

Does this make sense? In the case that you were writing about, I would have let him hold the banana. But if he started to smash it, I would intervene. If he went back to the smashing, I would take it away, saying, "Please don't smash my snack." If he screamed, I'd let him scream. It doesn't seem like a hill to die on, one way or the other, if you know what I mean.

 

If your DH generally has a good relationship with your son, I would encourage him to take him out on his own more. I always feel that the second year is a good time for dads to develop a deeper relationship with their kids, and now that nursing isn't such a huge part of your son's life, your DH should be able to take him for a couple of hours without either of them needing you. Your DH will develop his own style of discipline and care for your son, and frankly, it's easier for most men to do that without their wives leaping in to "help." Even though my kids are 8 and 5, I still find myself offering "helpful" suggestions, when really, my kids adore DH and he does really well with them. Everyone benefits from some "daddy only" time.

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#3 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 01:25 AM
 
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Hi,

 

I agree with you that we should avoid saying No unless there is a good reason , we should also give an explanation, show some empathy and try find something else for the kid to do -  No because ...., but you can ......

 

discipline means to teach and the best way to teach is to encourage thinking , not ' thinking ' what's in it for me , what will I get if  i do ..., or what will be done to me , but rather how my actions impact on others and the environment

 

The litmus test is for imho good intervention is whether the relationship is improved or intact and learning is taking place.

 

We can teach kids how to handle frustration by solving problems , finding something different to do or just wearing different lenses - no big deal , it is not the end of the world  and we need to model this type of flexibility and problem solving 

 

Mary

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#4 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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I don't avoid 'no' because I think it's important to be clear on the rules. If all I did was distract/redirect then I think it's only a job half done.

I don't see your banana example as a disciplinary issue though.

Anyway, by 26 mos my kids definitely knew what 'no' meant and there were deliberate consequences for their actions. I don't do time outs much but I will send my older (4) y/o to his room to get a grip sometimes. My DD is 2.5 and she knows that if she throws a toy it's purposefully removed from her. If she hits her brother she's not allowed to play with him (and some stern words from me and an apology from her). Bad behavior in public means we go home, etc etc.

I actually have much higher standards for her behavior than I did of my son at this age. Partly b/c I found out the hard way that kids are capable of much more than I thought. Once I raised my expectations and really got firm with consequences with my son, he was like a new (better!) child.

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#5 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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It sounds like your dh may be one of those people that believes "he should do it because I said so."  (If I'm reading the banana incident correctly.)  Honestly, I don't think this philospohy works.  I think it's best to let the kids explore their world in any safe and reasonable way.  Kids are always messy with food.  For me, I say ok, you can eat the yogurt yourself, but you have to sit at the table with a bib on. 

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with saving the no's for the really important things.  (No, you can't hit, throw toys, cross the street without holding my hand, etc...)  It does make for a more peaceful household.  My son sounds alot like your son.  He's very easy going and it's been easy to parent him.  I'm pretty permissive and he's doing great.  He's almost 4 and listens great and is very obedient. 

 

IMO - It's ok to not say no just for the sake of saying no.  Try to work with dh on ways he can say yes.  Maybe if you take that view of things everyone will be happier.  (ie, no you can't hit me, but you can hit this pillow.  No, you can't throw your toys, but you can throw the basketball into the basket.  Yes, you have to hold hands while crossing the street, but you can hold mommy's hand or daddy's hand.  We've even done we'll each hold bear-bear's hand.) 


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#6 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 01:35 PM
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Your DH doesn't understand appropriate 2 year old behavior and has unrealistic expectations. A really good book is The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/Science-Parenting-Margot-Sunderland/dp/075663993X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300998521&sr=1-1 . The focus of the book is how are parenting effects our child's neurological development. It goes into normal child development and the causes of misbehavior.   The link does have a  'look inside'. We found it at our library and after reading it a couple of times I bought a used one off amazon.

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#7 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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Just going with the Banana Incident - that's one you should've let your husband handle.  He and your son were on their own.  It sounds like your husband was trying to eat and your son wanted to squish a banana.  Your husband has the right to say no, you can't have my food and/or no, I don't want to clean up a mess right now.  If YOU want to come in and give him a banana and clean it up, that's for you.  Maybe your husband isn't down with wasting food as entertainment?  I just can't see where he did anything wrong.  Sometimes the answer is just no.  Sometimes kids don't like to hear no.  They don't have to like it, they are welcome to express themselves by crying (or whatever is age-appropriate) but it's also ok to say no when the answer is no. 

 

I don't know about time out for a 26 month old.  Short of sitting on her, my child never would've stayed anywhere at all for more than ten seconds, whether I called it a Time Out or Santa's Fun Time Happy Spot.  She would have been WAY too focused on "I don't want to sit here" to have a clue that she was experiencing a consequence or learning a lesson.  For something like wanting something she couldn't have, I would've just found something else, removed the object, or removed her.  There may have been tears.  Sometimes that's just the way it is.

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#8 of 53 Old 03-24-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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The throwing toys is situational.  I did give times to throw -- redirect but we also had strict "NO".  NO throwing in living room.  No throwing toys that were not designed to be thrown.  But we also did redirect, sometimes we needed something firmer. 

 

As for holding the banana -- that is what high chairs are for.  There are many reasons to have the rule to sit down to eat.  If they were in the living room I could see saying, "No I hold the banana we are in the living room."  I would be more than willing to move to an eating place or move a high chair into the living room.  But I do see sometimes were the mess isn't worth it.  

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#9 of 53 Old 03-25-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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I agree that we should avoid saying no just for the sake of saying no, that kids need to be provided with a safe environment to explore their world physically and messily even.  However, I agree with your husband that at times we need to set limits, and there is nothing wrong with saying no and facing the tantrum.  Tantrums are just baby's way of saying "I don't like that!"  And it's okay for them to have those feelings and express them in a way that is safe and doesn't hurt themselves or others.  Avoiding those conflicts is dangerous, as it doesn't allow them the opportunity to explore those feelings and develop the coping skills necessary for those emotions.

 

I think it important to have a balance, and your DH may be overcompensating if he feels you're not allowing your child enough opportunities to deal with "no".  Tantrums are a pain, but they are a phase that toddlers NEED to go through.  If you spend his toddlerhood avoiding tantrums they will be much more likely to rear their ugly head in older childhood and adolescence than if you let them have the tantrums now.

 

 

 

 


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#10 of 53 Old 03-25-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Discipline (as in teaching) begins on day one here.

 

It's hard to comment more generally, but in the specific example i am seeing you are mad that your DH "made" your DS cry by refusing to give over his own food to be held...?  Your son had no right to expect other people will let him hold their food if they don't want to.  Refusing was well within your husband's rights, and more likely to be the response your son would encounter in the real world (not many people want others to "hold" their food before they eat it) and i think it was handled appropriately.  I too would have refused.

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#11 of 53 Old 03-26-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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Doesn't sound petty to me.  That stuff is really frustrating, especially when you are finding your feet with GD.  It's a tough age and when you're not sure you're on the same page as your partner it just adds to the stress.  hug.gif

 

I agree with almost everything that's been said here - discipline begins from day one, your husband may not realize what's age appropriate, and I also seem to be going down the same road as D_McG with first and second children.

 

I think the problem is that you and your DH are seeing the solution to the problem as A or B - you think you should let him hold the banana and clean up after him and your DH thinks that shouldn't let him hold the banana and he should be taking no for an answer.  The classic permissive-authoritarian dichotomy.  I wouldn't be interested in either solution...I have a low degree of patience for cleaning up banana all day and also a low degree of patience for tantrums lol.gif  Instead I would try to approach it by spelling out the problem with the child and looking for win-win solutions.  Your son is really young so at that age I would probably give him choices rather than getting him to come up with alternatives.  I might try "you want to hold the banana, but I'm worried about a mess.  Do you want to hold the banana sitting in your chair, or eat it here while I hold it?"  Or if it's a situation that comes up all the time then it might be time to set down some house rules so that you're not facing a bunch of judgment calls all the time. 

 

Even so (if your DS is anything like my DD) you will not avoid all tantrums, but hopefully you will be able to reduce them.  My DD is really strong willed and I am working to channel that energy in a positive way, making real decisions for herself and helping decide things for our family.  It hasn't been easy to start thinking this way but it is starting to really pay off!

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#12 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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As for Time outs...

 

I saved them for when when DS was hurting people, like biting or screeching at ear drum breaking volumes directly in someone's ear, or scratching, and only after 2 warnings and we keep it age appropriate meaning:  It was after 2 warnings, it was a minute for each year of age, I used an egg timer to time it, and I followed it with a double length "time in" talking about why he reacted that way and what we can do to not let that happen again.  We started at about age 18 months, when he really got the hang of his teeth.

 

Now that he is 5 we still occassionally do time outs, when he is having a hard time being civil in the common family spaces.  Mostly it is so that DH and I have time to calm down so we don't lose our cool and shout or swing, but it is always less than 5 minutes, and is always followed by a ten-twenty minute heart to heart and serious cuddle session.

 

Obviously this doesn't give the same results in the short term for behavior like my parent's method of spaking with the wooden spoon once or twice and then just having it hanging there as a constant threat "Do you want me to get the spoon?"  But it has worked well to interrupt destructive, violent and hurtful behavior in the moment, and has built our communication skills (on all ends actually), so that we have more words to express our needs.

 

I don't give time outs for throwing stuff. They get two warnings and then I just take the stuff away...and not for a little while.  For weeks the first time (hoping they mature enough to play with it properly) then months, or a year, or if I see it will never be used appropriately by my kid, I give it away.  Some kids can handle china dolls.  Some kids need a world of Nerf, know what I mean?

 

 

 

 


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#13 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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I started using the naughty chair with my 2 1/2 year old a few months ago when she would throw fits for not getting her way.  I mean, she would go on and on and on for 20 minutes or more sometimes.  At first she wouldn't stay on the naughty chair, but she soon knew what it was and knew that she didn't wanna stay there, so she would run to another chair and curl up with her blanket and pillow and cry for a few minutes.  Then, once I put her there for refusing to help me pick up the puzzle pieces she had just thrown on the floor, and she stayed there for 2 minutes, and that's when I think she really got it.  I haven't actually put her there since, but the chair is still there for her to see, and I remind her about the naughty chair when she starts to throw a fit, and she calms down immediately and I get her interested in doing something else. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmRiyam View Post

I started using the naughty chair with my 2 1/2 year old a few months ago when she would throw fits for not getting her way.  I mean, she would go on and on and on for 20 minutes or more sometimes.  At first she wouldn't stay on the naughty chair, but she soon knew what it was and knew that she didn't wanna stay there, so she would run to another chair and curl up with her blanket and pillow and cry for a few minutes.  Then, once I put her there for refusing to help me pick up the puzzle pieces she had just thrown on the floor, and she stayed there for 2 minutes, and that's when I think she really got it.  I haven't actually put her there since, but the chair is still there for her to see, and I remind her about the naughty chair when she starts to throw a fit, and she calms down immediately and I get her interested in doing something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 



See, to each their own, but I think there is something about calling it the "naughty chair" that makes it so shaming and humiliating.  I couldn't do that, not for something developmentally normative like tossing pieces of toys everywhere and not wanting to do the hard work of putting it away.  I would have just told her that either she helps pick up the pieces or I will put the puzzle away for a long LONG time.  It doesn't take them long to realize this consequence.  I only had to put away my son's track pieces once for four days and he has never questioned my resolve on that issue ever again for anything he really cares about.  Now if he leaves stuff on the floor he knows he has one chance and it's either pick it up or say goodbye as it get's taken to the Kids Foundation we volunteer with and he can play with it there when we go to play with the kids.  It's pretty simple.  If you can't take care of it, it doesn't get to live with you. Something about that naughty chair sitting there as a threat just reminds me of my mother's wooden spoon collection, especially the creepy ones that had smiling faces burned onto them and bow ties around the handle necks.

 

It also doesn't seem logical.  If she has to go sit on the naughty chair for not helping, how can she help you then?

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#15 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 05:53 PM
 
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Please read the Dr. Sears disciple book it is so helpful. Like many have said on her it is about teaching your child and it all starts day 1 with getting to really know your child. Each one is different and should be dealt with differently. Also knowing what behavior is age appropriate is important, a 2 your old might want to hold a banana. I really doubt if his father let him, he would do it as an adult in the "real world". The book has really helped me with my 2 1/2 year old, I hope you'll check it out.
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#16 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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Sounds like we are in a somewhat similar situation. My DH uses 'No' much more frequently than I do, but by now his 'No' is less respected than my. Because I choose my battles, so I can be consistent in upholding the rules. If I say 'No', DD (36 months) and (DS 11 months) know I mean it. If my children cry as a response to my 'No' I take that as a positive response. It means they understood me. I usually give them a hug and explain 'I love you, but you still can't...'. Usually, that works fine for us.

If I were to try to forbid my children mess making, I'd not only use the N-word no stop, but also keep my children from learning how to eat or deal without being too messy. So with me, DD comes to do a lot of things herself. If the mess is made deliberately, I make DD help with the clean up. So far that worked well for us.

I used time out only for about five times with DD so far. Usually, I just repeat myself until she obeys. Since my span of attention is longer than that of a toddler that approach works well for us.
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#17 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I will and do say "no" when I really have to say no.

 

Reasoning with him is not really effective.  He's not that verbal.  I do explain why I am saying no or stopping something but I don't think it's very effective at this point.  

 

I'm with poster above - I don't say no very often, so DS's reaction to mine is different than to DH.  

 

I think my main issue is that DH and I are approaching this differently.  He's in total agreement about not hitting, but he is still a bit of an authoritarian in his approach.  I'm probably more of a distractor in my approach.  We probably have to duke it out or something.  

 

Sigh.

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#18 of 53 Old 03-27-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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Redirecting or distracting is discipline.

 

I think others have said most of what I'd say: Discipline begins at birth.

 

That being said, it does sound like you're a bit afraid of your son's screaming/tantrums. I'm all for distraction, redirection and saying yes when possible. However, at some point in time in the very near future, he's going to quit being quite so easily redirected. Somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3, my kids' memories really improved and I could no longer distract or redirect. Thus, I had to develop some tools for dealing with their meltdowns. It was at that point that I realized that my job had shifted between infancy and toddlerhood, but I was still parenting my toddlers as if they were infants.

 

In infancy, your main job as a parent is to meet your child's needs. Crying is a sign of an unmet need. Somewhere in toddlerhood, crying also begins to mean an unmet want or frustration over the world. You can't always say yes. (It is, for example, perfectly reasonable to not let your 2 year old hold your banana if you're going to eat it.) So, your job shifts from preventing crying to helping your child deal with his frustration. That doesn't mean that you should increase his frustration, which is why distraction and redirection are still a good idea. But at some point in time, he's going to cry. You won't be able to prevent it, and you both will have to deal. (I remember one epic meltdown with ds when his candy can broke and I could not fix it. All I could do was hold him.)

 

I'll also say that I think your dh also has some things to learn. Even if you do timeouts, they're not recommended for kids under 3 because they don't understand the connection between the timeout and the 'infraction'. Even after 3, they're of dubious value. I did use them, but mostly when I was either at my wits' end, or when someone was hitting and we needed separation for everyone's safety.  He can work on redirection and distraction, and saying 'yes'. I've said 'yes' to a lot of things when my initial reaction was "no!" My kids rollerblade in the house. They've ridden air mattresses down the stairs. Dd and her friend mixed water and flour together in the kitchen the other day and created a lovely mess.

 

Instead of saying "no", you can both work on telling your son what to do with the toy. "Keep the toy on the floor." is much more effective than "no" or "don't throw the toy". If someone tells you "don't look over your shoulder" how hard is it to not look over your shoulder? Apply that to a 2 year old. If you tell them not to throw, it's really tempting to throw.

 

Work too, on having the consequence be directly related to the crime. If he throws toys, a better solution, IMO, is to put the toy away and find him things he can throw.

 

You'll need to decide whether you want to use timeout in your discipline or not. It was a necessary, if seldom used, tool for me. At times, I simply needed the separation from my kids to get my act together. Other parents can make do without it. We always reconnected afterward. Both my kids have learned to separate themselves when they're overwhelmed. Now if they can learn to do it without slamming their doors, they'll have more control than their mom!


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#19 of 53 Old 03-28-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I don't know your son but I think there is a learning curve for kids as well as for parents with GD.  I felt the exact same way about my DD around 2.5 but somewhere around 3 or 3.5 it kicked in, but only after I had really been consistent with GD.  I don't know if it was developmental or related to something I was doing but it might be worth sticking with it or trying different approaches and offering choices more often.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

Reasoning with him is not really effective.  He's not that verbal.  I do explain why I am saying no or stopping something but I don't think it's very effective at this point. 

 

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#20 of 53 Old 03-28-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Just going with the Banana Incident - that's one you should've let your husband handle.  He and your son were on their own.  It sounds like your husband was trying to eat and your son wanted to squish a banana.  Your husband has the right to say no, you can't have my food and/or no, I don't want to clean up a mess right now.  If YOU want to come in and give him a banana and clean it up, that's for you.  Maybe your husband isn't down with wasting food as entertainment?  I just can't see where he did anything wrong.  Sometimes the answer is just no.  Sometimes kids don't like to hear no.  They don't have to like it, they are welcome to express themselves by crying (or whatever is age-appropriate) but it's also ok to say no when the answer is no. 

 

I don't know about time out for a 26 month old.  Short of sitting on her, my child never would've stayed anywhere at all for more than ten seconds, whether I called it a Time Out or Santa's Fun Time Happy Spot.  She would have been WAY too focused on "I don't want to sit here" to have a clue that she was experiencing a consequence or learning a lesson.  For something like wanting something she couldn't have, I would've just found something else, removed the object, or removed her.  There may have been tears.  Sometimes that's just the way it is.


 

Good post, I agree.
 

 


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#21 of 53 Old 03-28-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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See, to each their own, but I think there is something about calling it the "naughty chair" that makes it so shaming and humiliating.  I couldn't do that, not for something developmentally normative like tossing pieces of toys everywhere and not wanting to do the hard work of putting it away.  I would have just told her that either she helps pick up the pieces or I will put the puzzle away for a long LONG time.  It doesn't take them long to realize this consequence.  I only had to put away my son's track pieces once for four days and he has never questioned my resolve on that issue ever again for anything he really cares about.  Now if he leaves stuff on the floor he knows he has one chance and it's either pick it up or say goodbye as it get's taken to the Kids Foundation we volunteer with and he can play with it there when we go to play with the kids.  It's pretty simple.  If you can't take care of it, it doesn't get to live with you. Something about that naughty chair sitting there as a threat just reminds me of my mother's wooden spoon collection, especially the creepy ones that had smiling faces burned onto them and bow ties around the handle necks.

 

It also doesn't seem logical.  If she has to go sit on the naughty chair for not helping, how can she help you then?




I never thought of it as shaming and humiliating.  I learned this method of discipline from Supernanny.  It is working, and I think it's better than yelling or hitting, which I wouldn't do, but that's how I was raised and I don't think it really taught us anything to be yelled at or spanked.

 

she didn't just refuse to help pick up the puzzle pieces, she started stepping on them too.  She knew she was being bad, and she made the choice.  I could tell she was pushing me.

 

Before finding this forum, I'd never heard of Gentle Discipline.  I really don't know what it is or how to do that.  Can anyone direct me to some good articles or literature on the subject?

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#22 of 53 Old 03-28-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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Discipline is something intrinsic, we can't give it to someone.  Discipline has become synonymous with punishment or consequences, but it is something that develops within a child in the right conditions.  They learn the discipline to carry them through the many issues of life.  We don't have any unnatural consequences or try to impart some kind of discipline on the kids.  

 

When I say no to my son, he might melt down, but I just hug him and empathise.  Tantrums, tears, anger, frustration... all of it gets a hug around here.  If he doesn't want a hug, I just offer affection and empathy while he pours his anger out and is ready to be held when the tears inevitably follow.  

 

Sometimes they have a build up of emotions that need releasing and will have what we call the BCS (broken cookie syndrome).  It's where they melt down over something like a broken cookie but really it is just they can no longer hold on to their feelings - past hurts or current ones - and it pours out over something unrelated and relatively small.

 

It helps me to remind myself children are people too.  My 9 year old daughter and my husband get my full undivided attention when they are angry or upset, and my 3 yo son is just as deserving of my love.  More so, because he has less ability to process his feelings.  Tantrums are wonderful opportunities to help them heal past trauma if dealt with compassionately and patiently, it also models how to react to other people's emotional pain.  I remember when my son would arch back in my arms during a tantrum, like a baby coming out of the birth canal...  I have no way to prove this but I felt in my heart he was processing his birth trauma.  He was almost crushed in my uterus.  It took him a long time and many crying fits to process it.  All of it in-arms.

 

After a big release though, he is like a new boy, very calm and focused and happy for the rest of the day.  

 

I just thought it might be helpful to know there is another way to view and react to tantrums.  Parents can feel at the mercy of their kid's emotions, worried about saying no due to the melt down, but this reminds us that they are just processing feelings, and each time is actually a gift we are given that we can return to them in helping them to heal.  I could never even consider punishing emotional expression, not even the biggest of rage filled outbursts.  I'm afraid we might create another generation of emotionally repressed medication addicts if we do.

 

 

 

BTW, Supernanny should be removed from public viewing, she is causing nothing but damage to our new people.  She's got all the compassion of a mosquito and all the understanding of a child's  emotional development of a sushi roll. 

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#23 of 53 Old 03-28-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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BTW, the biggest single sign that a child needs to release hurt/trauma/stress is "misbehaviour".  Aggressive behaviour, etc, that is my clue that the tears or tantrum is not far behind.  I get prepared, and then set the stage for them to feel safe enough to fall apart.  My kids already feel safe in this way but some families have to first show the child this because emotions have been punished in the past.  And then I accept however they DO fall apart, and be their emotional rock while they purge.  

 

It can be challenging at first, but it gets easier, and the meltdowns get fewer and fewer as past hurts are processed, then they're only dealing with fresh ones so they are less intense and less often.  My daughter only had a few after I started this when she was very little.  If my son keeps harping about what he can't have, I just keep gently saying he can't have it, and that I understand how frustrating that is, and that I am here for him while he deals with it.  

 

It gives us our power to parent back.  It is very liberating.  And the bonus is, you don't have to do things we as parents would rather not do, such as punish, because it becomes moot... you suddenly understand where all their behaviour comes from, and what it needs to be addressed.


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#24 of 53 Old 03-29-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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I just wanna say that I don't jump to mention the naughty chair to my daughter every time she's doing anything 'wrong'.  It's like a once a week thing, and it's something that works because she doesn't wanna sit there.  What I have read about GD is that it's really idealistic in the way that there's no need for rewards or punishments, but to me, this is unrealistic.  Rewards and punishments exist in so many ways in our lives.  It's also the way of many religions.  Many believe that there will be a judgment day, and everyone will be judged by God for our actions and then be rewarded or punished.  Many people believe in heaven and hell.  So, how is that so damaging to us to want rewards and fear punishments?  Doesn't it make us want to be better and do better?  Why not use that with our kids in some situations?  I believe there should be a balance between GD and other forms of discipline.  You have to see what is best for the situation you're in.  Most parents aren't trying to do anything to hurt their kids or prevent them from developing emotionally.  Parents try to bring out the best in their kids in the ways they know how, and I don't think any one system works for every child in the same way.

 

 

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Originally Posted by UmmRiyam View Post

I just wanna say that I don't jump to mention the naughty chair to my daughter every time she's doing anything 'wrong'.  It's like a once a week thing, and it's something that works because she doesn't wanna sit there.  What I have read about GD is that it's really idealistic in the way that there's no need for rewards or punishments, but to me, this is unrealistic.  Rewards and punishments exist in so many ways in our lives.  It's also the way of many religions.  Many believe that there will be a judgment day, and everyone will be judged by God for our actions and then be rewarded or punished.  Many people believe in heaven and hell.  So, how is that so damaging to us to want rewards and fear punishments?  Doesn't it make us want to be better and do better?  Why not use that with our kids in some situations?  I believe there should be a balance between GD and other forms of discipline.  You have to see what is best for the situation you're in.  Most parents aren't trying to do anything to hurt their kids or prevent them from developing emotionally.  Parents try to bring out the best in their kids in the ways they know how, and I don't think any one system works for every child in the same way.

 

 



Hi UmmRiyam!

 

Welcome to the GD forum.  I think you're going to find a lot of really useful tools and ideas here. 

 

You're right, GD is sort of about idealistic parenting and no one is perfect.  We are all doing the best we can, and even those who do believe in corporal punishment feel this way.  I come here because I find it helps to recognize when the tools I have chosen might not be doing the job as well as I thought, and the folks here help me brainstorm better ideas.

 

I do not believe in forcing religion on my kids, and I am not sure that even if I did, I would want them making their life decisions based on whether or not they went to hell, but rather, whether or not they felt good about their choices. 

 

GD isn't about removal of all consequences and rewards (that might be some of the Unconditional parenting philosophy, but I don't really know), but it IS about trying to find gentle ways of raising little people. 

 

There are lots of schools.  Not hitting and shouting is just part of it.  I try to have logical consequences where natural consequences are not acceptable, and natural consequences when they are.  For example:  If my son wants to throw my necklace off the balcony, the logical consequence is that he will not be allowed in my room where my nice things are stored, and he will not be allowed out on the balcony until I can trust him to not throw stuff of of it.  On the other hand if he insists he wants to go out in shorts on a cold day I let him, and when he cries that it is cold he has a choice of either cutting the trip to the park short or suffering the cold and making a better choice next time.  I'm okay with that (it doesn't get dangerously cold here, just uncomfortable).  This is a chance for him to learn about choices and decide which choices to make next time. .

 

I also reward. I am motivated by rewards and bonuses and I have no problem with that aspect. I try to make rewards connected to the achievement or the behavior.  So if DS has helped do the dinner dishes, I let him blow bubbles with me off the balcony from the dish soap, or if he has done really well in his reading class we get to go to the book store and pick out a new book on whatever topic he wants.  I think these sort of rewards can help kids feel good about their choices and help them to make better choices in the future because they see positive consequences for those choices in the same way that negative consequences deter them from making bad choices...I just try to be careful about the consequences I choose, like I don't give money for grades or a clean room, and I don't take away toys because he's being rude, for example.

 

You'll find a lot of different ideas on this board to help you be the parent you want to be, and we have all had our ideas dissected and shot down.  Don't worry. Just visiting this board means you have an interest in being a gentle parent and that's an awesome step.

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#26 of 53 Old 03-29-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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Oh and if your own self-discipline is about fearing punishment, rather than making good choices, when the threat of punishment goes away (ie the child gets bigger and stronger than you, or you die, or they go away or grow up...) what real LEARNING has taken place that allows that child (possibly now adult) to make sound choices?

 

I know for me, there was nothing...so when my parents trusted me to be on my own at the age of 14 I started doing things I would have been punished for if they had found out and started highlighting for them the good things that they literally paid me for with cash, (which I used to fund the activities that would have gotten me punshied if they had known.)  When I went away to university it was even worse.

 

I had to learn a lot of hard life lessons between 17 and 24, and I wish I had been taught to make better choices...and truthfully my parents did a pretty good job with me...you should have seen some of my friends whose parents were REALLY strict.

 

As a teacher I know my students don't behave or misbehave because of a system of punishments, but because of the consequences they will see as a result of their choices.  They know we will have interactive fun activities if they can control themselves, and will have to sit quietly writing if they don't (because I can't organize fun activities with choas in the room) and that the better choices they make the more they learn and the better prepared they are for the future, and the more they goof around, the more likely they are fail and have to repeat the year.  It's all up to them, and they make better choices for it.

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#27 of 53 Old 03-29-2011, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UmmRiyam View PostSo, how is that so damaging to us to want rewards and fear punishments? 

 

 


Tantrums are how small humans learn to deal with overwhelming emotions. It's developmentally useful and helps the individual begin to become emotionally mature. When a parent punishes or isolates for tantrums the child can become afraid to express being overwhelmed and learn to hide their emotions. Learning to hide the reactions to emotion instead of learning to deal with emotions undermines the person progress to emotional maturity and can lead to adult coping behavior that's harmful. Just one example of how fear can damage.

 

There's a really good book on how our parenting effects our children's brain development. It's The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland.  Unlike Supernanny who has her show and time that she's dealt with kids as experience Margot Sunderland is director of education and training at The Centre for Child Mental Health London. She has several books for children with various mental health issues. The book is built on over 30 years of neurological research and it's pretty easy to read.

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#28 of 53 Old 03-29-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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This thread has been very informative--thanks to all the posters!  Calm, I'm so interested in your take, it's very refreshing!  I know that as an adult I still have tantrums (embarrassing but true!) and the thing I need most at that time is a huge hug from my husband, not a big lecture about how I'm misbehaving.  I had a day yesterday with my toddler where he was constantly pushing my buttons--throwing toys, putting toys in his mouth, throwing his books on the floor, drooling drinks and chewed food out of his mouth, etc.  ALL DAY.  I know this is probably a reaction to our new babe (4 weeks old) and that he was just needing attention/feeling frustrated.  I was trying to be firm by telling him he is not allowed to do those things but also trying to give him the undivided attention he surely needs but the behavior did not really improve.  We did have a great morning today, but I'm sure there will be many more days of "acting out".  Just wondering how you deal with the "misbehaviors" as the come and how you prepare yourself and the environment for the upcoming meltdown.  Or if there are other resources for how you do things, could you point me to them?

Thank you! 

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Originally Posted by Calm View Post

BTW, the biggest single sign that a child needs to release hurt/trauma/stress is "misbehaviour".  Aggressive behaviour, etc, that is my clue that the tears or tantrum is not far behind.  I get prepared, and then set the stage for them to feel safe enough to fall apart.  My kids already feel safe in this way but some families have to first show the child this because emotions have been punished in the past.  And then I accept however they DO fall apart, and be their emotional rock while they purge.  

 

It can be challenging at first, but it gets easier, and the meltdowns get fewer and fewer as past hurts are processed, then they're only dealing with fresh ones so they are less intense and less often.  My daughter only had a few after I started this when she was very little.  If my son keeps harping about what he can't have, I just keep gently saying he can't have it, and that I understand how frustrating that is, and that I am here for him while he deals with it.  

 

It gives us our power to parent back.  It is very liberating.  And the bonus is, you don't have to do things we as parents would rather not do, such as punish, because it becomes moot... you suddenly understand where all their behaviour comes from, and what it needs to be addressed.



 


Kat, Mama to M (July 2008) and another babe due in Feb '11
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#29 of 53 Old 03-29-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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Ms Fortune-I can completely sympathize with your situation. I greatly value a calm, cooperative environment so I am willing to let the kids "hold the banana" but not the matches, if that makes any sense. My husband thinks these episodes of conflict precipitated by his saying no are a necessary learning experience, but for the life of me I can't figure out what the children actually learn from any of this. Except that dad says no alot and won't let me hold the banana. I gather from your post that your frustration stems from the feeling that your husband creates unnecessary conflict by saying no when you can see there is another alternative that wouldn't result in an unhappy, battle of the wills with a tantruming toddler. It's great that your dh values GD, and there is definitely a learning curve. If you spend more time with your child, you've had more of a chance to notice the cause/effect relationship of saying no. Therefore, you've already modified your approach accordingly. Maybe he just needs more time to figure it out? If you must bring it up with him to maintain a home environment that you are comfortable living in, the conversation will go better if your dh doesn't feel criticized, which so often leads to defensiveness and then you won't be heard at all. Be empathetic to his feelings as well-he may be very frustrated with the difficulties he is encountering without realizing the root cause. Don't worry that you aren't disciplining your child. As others said, discipline is teaching. Children learn by example so leading by example is a great strategy! You don't want to end up with a child who says no to all of your requests, another good reason to avoid saying no as often as you can. With my first child, I wondered when to start using discipline. But it began with my clumsy unsure attempts to nurse him in the first few minutes of life, where he first learned he could depend on me to nurture, care for, and comfort him.
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This thread has been very informative--thanks to all the posters!  Calm, I'm so interested in your take, it's very refreshing!  I know that as an adult I still have tantrums (embarrassing but true!) and the thing I need most at that time is a huge hug from my husband, not a big lecture about how I'm misbehaving.  I had a day yesterday with my toddler where he was constantly pushing my buttons--throwing toys, putting toys in his mouth, throwing his books on the floor, drooling drinks and chewed food out of his mouth, etc.  ALL DAY.  I know this is probably a reaction to our new babe (4 weeks old) and that he was just needing attention/feeling frustrated.  I was trying to be firm by telling him he is not allowed to do those things but also trying to give him the undivided attention he surely needs but the behavior did not really improve.  We did have a great morning today, but I'm sure there will be many more days of "acting out".  Just wondering how you deal with the "misbehaviors" as the come and how you prepare yourself and the environment for the upcoming meltdown.  Or if there are other resources for how you do things, could you point me to them?

Thank you! 



 


I know you were asking Calm, but I have insomnia and am butting in!  I think it helps a lot to stop thinking of it or calling it misbehavior, and instead think of it the way you explained it above, as needing attention/feeling frustrated.  The more you can help with that, the less the undesirable behavior will occur.  When I act out, it's generally because I haven't had enough sleep, or I'm stressed and need a hug and some empathy.  Or a long break.  Maybe think what makes you feel better when you're at your breaking point and try to give that to your son.  Does he need to get out (to the park)?  Does the day need to be less hectic (make a conscious effort to slow down, turn off talk radio, skip errands for a day, whatever)?  Or just read books together all day (working around the four week old, of course--but at least that age is usually easy to read books around).  Fill him up with love, recharge him.  Maybe take a break from telling him what's not allowed.  He probably already knows (since those are the things he's doing when frustrated).  Oh, and talk to him about how he feels, let him know that you understand.  Even tell him that you feel that way sometimes and what you find helpful at those times.  Just like you said above, what helps you when you throw a tantrum.  Sounds like you're on the right track :)

 

I'm going to go try to sleep now so I can be nice to my kids all day tomorrow ;-)

 


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