Any other gentle discipline moms with very high expectations of behavior? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-16-2011, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I read threads and think, "jeesh, I'm such a hard a**". I have really high expectations of DDs behavior. I insist on manners. If she wants something she needs to ask in a polite tone and say something like "could I have some milk please, mommy". I will not give her anything unless she asks me nicely. I also tell her to say thank you to cashiers, waitresses, anyone who gives us a service. I don't let her run in our apartment, because I don't want to disturb our downstairs neighbors. I also don't let her talk loudly in restaurants or in public spaces in general. I'll also tell her when I think her behavior is inappropriate, like if she has a fit over something small and she usually stops. I'm really cheery and kind when I correct her. I never get mad at her when she breaks the "rules" or punish her, I just remind her how to act. I dunno, it seems to be paying off. She's definitely much more polite than most toddlers. She always says please and thank you and rarely acts demanding. It's really cute, and people compliment her manners a lot. But sometimes I feel like I'm the most uptight mom about this stuff. I'm not at all uptight about messes or anything, just manners and social interactions. Anyone else like this? Or am I just an old fuddy duddy?

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Old 04-16-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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I'm with you 110%.  I want to set them up for successful and emotionally-rewarding social interactions.  They won't know where to start if we don't teach them.  

 

We try to always be polite, especially in public.  We find that we're frequently treated with greater respect/courtesy than the customers before us who neglected to exercise basic manners.  We have even been thanked for being polite.  It means a great deal to others to be treated with respect.

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Old 04-16-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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I don't think you are alone. 

 

I do think there are certain things that are age appropriate though, too.  So when DS was between 18 mos and 2, we didn't insist on please and thank you for basic requests, but would model before handing things over.  So if he asked for water, I was not going to withhold the water but would look to DH who would say "may I have some water, mommy?" and I would say "Yes, honey." and he would say "Thank you, Mommy."

 

and then we'd give it to DS, and wait a moment and then say "You're welcome."

 

But as he got older and was capable of meeting his OWN needs we then did at times insist on a politeness system.  For example, he did not NEED me to get the water at the age of 3, he could go to the water cooler himself and get some in his own cup, but if he wanted me to I was happy to if he asked nicely (not necessarily please and thank you, BTW).

 

In public he has just seemed to pick up the politeness required of him to get what he wants.  We never insisted.  I guess he just watched the way we treat people and modelled that.  I don't know though.  Whenever we have tried to correct him most people poo-poo our efforts and say "that's okay, he's only a small boy, relax!"  But I do feel it is important to treat others, especially those in the service industry who are often taken for granted, with kindeness, dignity and respect. 

 

What do you do if she continues an unwanted behavior after asking her nicely to stop/reminding her of manners?


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Old 04-16-2011, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think you are alone. 

 

I do think there are certain things that are age appropriate though, too.  So when DS was between 18 mos and 2, we didn't insist on please and thank you for basic requests, but would model before handing things over.  So if he asked for water, I was not going to withhold the water but would look to DH who would say "may I have some water, mommy?" and I would say "Yes, honey." and he would say "Thank you, Mommy."

 

and then we'd give it to DS, and wait a moment and then say "You're welcome."

 

But as he got older and was capable of meeting his OWN needs we then did at times insist on a politeness system.  For example, he did not NEED me to get the water at the age of 3, he could go to the water cooler himself and get some in his own cup, but if he wanted me to I was happy to if he asked nicely (not necessarily please and thank you, BTW).

 

In public he has just seemed to pick up the politeness required of him to get what he wants.  We never insisted.  I guess he just watched the way we treat people and modelled that.  I don't know though.  Whenever we have tried to correct him most people poo-poo our efforts and say "that's okay, he's only a small boy, relax!"  But I do feel it is important to treat others, especially those in the service industry who are often taken for granted, with kindeness, dignity and respect. 

 

What do you do if she continues an unwanted behavior after asking her nicely to stop/reminding her of manners?


She almost always says it back nicely, after I remind her. Of course, if she's really tired or upset about something else it's not something I insist on (although I always repeat back to her how I would want to hear it). It never seems to distress her at all.
I know what you mean about people saying it's not a big deal and that they're just kids, blah, blah. I guess I feel like they need these lessons young so they become habits. I know so many rude children, and I so don't want mine to be like that! It seriously grates on my nerves when kids don't say please and thank you or ask for things in a demanding voice.

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Old 04-16-2011, 06:07 PM
 
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Good for you!  I also insist on polite manners and proper behavior, and believe I do so in a developmentally appropriate and gentle manner.  I  believe it pays off, too--My son is now 15, and I must admit it is very gratifying  when adults with whom he interacts at school or in the community compliment me on his great manners and respectful behavior! 

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Old 04-16-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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I'm with you. We taught manners to our daughter at a very young age, and along with that we demonstrated sincere gratitude and appreciation for many day-to-day situations, so that she would learn to see and model that behavior. As a result I have a kind, considerate, polite, and empathetic child who is a pleasure to have anywhere with me in public and at home. She is seven years old now, but people commented on her manners even at age two. I know that she will thank the wait-staff when someone brings her food and water, she thanks parants when she has a playdate at a friend's home, she holds the door for people to go through, she is usually aware of her noise level in public places, she is sincerely thankful for her food... and she is also one of the most happy and "free" children that I know.

We have been very strong believers in gentle dicipline from day one. I personally don't think that guidance and correction in manners and behavior is anti-GD in any way. People that know how to think of others and treat them kindly, and who know how to expect the same treatment in return, will wind up having much better social interactions in their lives, IMO.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:19 PM
 
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I'm not a hard ass but I deeply value treating all people with respect and kindness-which is at base what "manners" means to me. So I treat people with kindness and respect and we have always modeled polite behavior (we did not demand it, but consistently modeled it). And we have discussed with DD what is considered polite and what is considered rude, so that she is aware of social whatchamajiggers (can't think of the word).

 

So for example I don't do alot of saying things like "Use your manners" or "Can you say please/thank you" and stuff like that. Instead if I notice DD wants someone's attention I might say "you'd like to talk to so-and-so? Go up to her put your hand on her arm and say excuse me please, and she'll probably be happy to talk with you." Or if she want's to call her cousin or grandmother on the phone I might suggest that she say "Hello, this is DD calling may I speak with Cousin?" So that she knows the polite way to talk on the phone or get someone's attention. Or if there is a situation in which she should say thank you, but she doesn't I will say it for her.... I actually did that more when she was little, now I might quietly say to her "Oh you forgot to tell so and so thanks you," and she'll run over and do it.

 

In other words I give her tools or strategies for talking politely with people. We've been doing this since she was quite young (18 months or so) and she is generally a pretty polite person.One funny thing I feel like I've noticed from time to time is people acting like their child should instinctively know how to be polite, like you should come out of the womb saying thank you and excuse me, and they seem absolutely astounded when their kids don't "use their manners" instinctively. I think politeness is a learned cultural behavior--a series of skills for navigating in society that need to be taught and explained. It's one of my jobs as a parent to teach DD those skills.

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Old 04-16-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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I agree with all of the above.  thumb.gif


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Old 04-16-2011, 08:56 PM
 
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I have fairly high standards for politeness and quite high standards for behavior. At the same time, I also have a child who would not imitate anything verbally. Ever. He's got a stubborn streak a mile wide. If we had made him say "please" before he got something, he would have chosen to go without. (Seriously, this is the child who spent an hour sitting next to his rain boots at daycare because he wanted the teacher to put them on, and she knew he could do it. He had the choice of putting his own boots on or playing inside. He chose to sit by his boots.) Also, a lot of 2 year olds aren't verbal enough to string together the words "could I have some milk please, mommy" (ds was, but wouldn't at age 2.)

 

Because of that, we didn't really start working on verbal manners with ds until age 3. We did a lot of modeling. A ton. We also gave him non-verbal options wherever possible (you hurt your sister, do you want to say "i'm sorry" or give her a hug?), and he'd invariably choose the non-verbal option. We did start prompting for 'can I have.." type requests until closer to 4. We started with "Is that the same as "Can I have some water please momma?" and moved on to "how do you say that more politely?" By middle-late 4, I could just raise my eyebrows and he'd often rephrase. Funny enough, though, he'd never use please and thank you, even with "Can I have some water" type statements. It wasn't until age 5 when he spent an afternoon with a friend and stayed to dinner that I realized he even would. His friends' mom commented on how nicely ds said please and thank you and my jaw dropped.

 

As for loud voices or running - that really depends on your child. If my kids were too loud in a public place, I'd take them out. Not as punishment, but as a courtesy to other diners/shoppers/patrons. I think it's unrealistic to expect all toddlers to be able to keep quiet and still in public places. I worry that people who say "I don't tolerate that in my child" simply have a fairly easy-going child. Ds was "beautifully behaved" in public if you looked at him. He stuck to us like glue. He was selectively mute. He loved to observe. Dd was not. She was loud, impatient, and wiggly. She would dash off in the opposite direction in a minute. She loved to 'talk' (read, screech as an infant), and still has to be reminded to keep her voice at a reasonable level. She explores by touching, not observing. We 'solved' the issue by simply not going out much with her when she was a toddler. We didn't eat out. We knew that when we took her to church, she'd last about 10 minutes and then either need the nursery, or better yet, to run in the narthex. We didn't take her shopping.

 

So, for me, I try to keep my expectations age appropriate and tailor them to the child. My children are polite, kind and helpful most of the time. We get complements on their behavior a lot. They're even polite to each other at  times. Ds needed help with something the other day, and I overheard him saying "Hey M, can you do me a favor please? Can you come hold this while I tape it on?" "Sure," she replied. He taped it and said "Thank you." Pretty good from a kid who couldn't be bribed to say "thank you" at all when he was 2.

 

 


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Old 04-17-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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I'm like this, too. I'm interested in reading all the responses because I've sort of come to the conclusion after reading this board for months that "Gentle Discipline" (as defined on this board) isn't for me. I know that GD is such a broad thing though, and I've hoped that there's maybe somewhere on the spectrum I could fall. As it is I seem to fall on the "way too harsh" end lol. I don't like how sometimes "age-appropriateness" is used to justify what, IMO, is bad behavior. Yes, I said it....bad behavior. Anyhow....I'm sorta kidding and obviously I'm not dismissing the whole thing or I wouldn't be here, and I am speaking very generally. But interested to read some more replies. My own baby is only 8 months and the rest of my direct experience is with other children in my family (niece, nephew, cousins....)

 

Sorry for typos, nak


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Old 04-17-2011, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm like this, too. I'm interested in reading all the responses because I've sort of come to the conclusion after reading this board for months that "Gentle Discipline" (as defined on this board) isn't for me. I know that GD is such a broad thing though, and I've hoped that there's maybe somewhere on the spectrum I could fall. As it is I seem to fall on the "way too harsh" end lol. I don't like how sometimes "age-appropriateness" is used to justify what, IMO, is bad behavior. Yes, I said it....bad behavior. Anyhow....I'm sorta kidding and obviously I'm not dismissing the whole thing or I wouldn't be here, and I am speaking very generally. But interested to read some more replies. My own baby is only 8 months and the rest of my direct experience is with other children in my family (niece, nephew, cousins....)

 

Sorry for typos, nak


I know! Sometimes I feel like I am way more strict than other moms. Although I am very playful and fun loving and generally a very "sweet" mom there are some things I simply expect and frankly feel like I deserve. Is that awful? One of the habits I'd like to break dd of, although I think she's still too young, is the constant asking for various foods and drinks when we sit down for lunch. I think it's my fault because I generally serve lunch in stages. For instance I'll slice up an apple and let her eat it while I prepare a sandwich, so I think she has this idea that lunch is a free for all and it's my job to get her juice, then milk, oh no water, etc. On the one hand I love her and I want to give her anything she wants, but on the other I don't want her to think of me as her personal gofer yk?

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Old 04-17-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I think that LynnS6 made some really good points.  I'm coming from a background where GD was unheard of (in fact, anything less than corporal punishment was seen as parental neglect and kids would grow up to be felons, etc.).  Funny, but corporal punishment in my household was often a result of an angry and frustrated parent.  Things just weren't thought through.  "Discipline" was quickly administered and no one asked any questions.  Fear of pain usually dictated behavior.  My personal opinion (and perhaps the opinions of others):  that doesn't instill a sense of morality or even an understanding of social graces.  It is simply a cause and effect sort of thing.  

 

Gentle discipline in my opinion involves an intense engagement with the child on the rights and wrongs and it is a lot of work.  Despite the hardness of it, I think it is supremely important that children learn how to appropriately behave in society and how to appropriately interact with other individuals.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do think there is a way to act in public and I think that respect of others' space is important.  I mean, how many times on MDC do we hear of moms/dads complaining that others have crossed personal boundaries?  Little people don't learn this stuff on their own (arguably they may learn through trial and error, but why subject them to that?).  As PPs discussed above, age appropriateness plays a big role, but the whole wild child thing past the point of toddlerhood or other special condition should not be an issue if we are teaching our children to properly act in public (or even in familial situations).  

 

I'm surround by rude adults everyday, and sometimes I stare them down in their rudeness.  People who walk around like they are the only person in the universe and all us schlubs should just step out onto the street so they can pass really PMO.  irked.gif  Sorry, ranting here, but I strive to teach DD not to be one of them.  It is important to me that she be empathetic of others, and that empathy is not a weakness, and that standing up for yourself doesn't have to reach the level of rude unless extreme circumstances require otherwise.  It is entirely possible to teach this through GD. In fact, I wouldn't even call this GD, I would just call these moments teachable moments.  If the child doesn't know, then why are they being disciplined for same?  It is a learning process.


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Old 04-17-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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I probably belong here as well. I'm definitely not a permissive parent nor am I a consensual one.

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Old 04-17-2011, 04:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post

I'm like this, too. I'm interested in reading all the responses because I've sort of come to the conclusion after reading this board for months that "Gentle Discipline" (as defined on this board) isn't for me. I know that GD is such a broad thing though, and I've hoped that there's maybe somewhere on the spectrum I could fall. As it is I seem to fall on the "way too harsh" end lol. I don't like how sometimes "age-appropriateness" is used to justify what, IMO, is bad behavior. Yes, I said it....bad behavior. Anyhow....I'm sorta kidding and obviously I'm not dismissing the whole thing or I wouldn't be here, and I am speaking very generally. But interested to read some more replies. My own baby is only 8 months and the rest of my direct experience is with other children in my family (niece, nephew, cousins....)

 

Sorry for typos, nak

Well I definitely consider myself to be a practitioner of GD and have learned tons of great things from the more experienced mamas on this board. I don't think practicing GD means that you don't care about manners etc. As I said up thread, manners--at least for me--are about treating others with respect and kindness AND (for me) so is practicing GD. I expect my children to treat others with respect and I treat my children with the same respect I expect them to show to others. The way I see it manners and GD have a completely symbiotic relationship--they are not at all mutually exclusive.

 

Having said that I also think that sometimes people confuse being permissive (or just not really dealing with you child) with GD; and that is not the kind of gentle discipline I practice.
 

 

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Old 04-17-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post

I'm like this, too. I'm interested in reading all the responses because I've sort of come to the conclusion after reading this board for months that "Gentle Discipline" (as defined on this board) isn't for me. I know that GD is such a broad thing though, and I've hoped that there's maybe somewhere on the spectrum I could fall. As it is I seem to fall on the "way too harsh" end lol. I don't like how sometimes "age-appropriateness" is used to justify what, IMO, is bad behavior. Yes, I said it....bad behavior. Anyhow....I'm sorta kidding and obviously I'm not dismissing the whole thing or I wouldn't be here, and I am speaking very generally. But interested to read some more replies. My own baby is only 8 months and the rest of my direct experience is with other children in my family (niece, nephew, cousins....)

 

Sorry for typos, nak



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Old 04-17-2011, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that LynnS6 made some really good points.  I'm coming from a background where GD was unheard of (in fact, anything less than corporal punishment was seen as parental neglect and kids would grow up to be felons, etc.).  Funny, but corporal punishment in my household was often a result of an angry and frustrated parent.  Things just weren't thought through.  "Discipline" was quickly administered and no one asked any questions.  Fear of pain usually dictated behavior.  My personal opinion (and perhaps the opinions of others):  that doesn't instill a sense of morality or even an understanding of social graces.  It is simply a cause and effect sort of thing.  

 

Gentle discipline in my opinion involves an intense engagement with the child on the rights and wrongs and it is a lot of work.  Despite the hardness of it, I think it is supremely important that children learn how to appropriately behave in society and how to appropriately interact with other individuals.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do think there is a way to act in public and I think that respect of others' space is important.  I mean, how many times on MDC do we hear of moms/dads complaining that others have crossed personal boundaries?  Little people don't learn this stuff on their own (arguably they may learn through trial and error, but why subject them to that?).  As PPs discussed above, age appropriateness plays a big role, but the whole wild child thing past the point of toddlerhood or other special condition should not be an issue if we are teaching our children to properly act in public (or even in familial situations).  

 

I'm surround by rude adults everyday, and sometimes I stare them down in their rudeness.  People who walk around like they are the only person in the universe and all us schlubs should just step out onto the street so they can pass really PMO.  irked.gif  Sorry, ranting here, but I strive to teach DD not to be one of them.  It is important to me that she be empathetic of others, and that empathy is not a weakness, and that standing up for yourself doesn't have to reach the level of rude unless extreme circumstances require otherwise.  It is entirely possible to teach this through GD. In fact, I wouldn't even call this GD, I would just call these moments teachable moments.  If the child doesn't know, then why are they being disciplined for same?  It is a learning process.


I totally love this post! Sometimes I feel like gentle discipline is similar to maintaining a clean home with natural cleaning products. If you clean the toilet often with baking soda you rarely need to use heavy duty cleaning products. Same with your oven etc.
I don't want to rag on other parents, but one thing I've noticed is that people get distracted and don't notice when their kid is whining until it gets out of hand. Then the mother yells "you're driving me crazy!". As hard as it is, I always try to address this stuff before it makes me nuts. The first time DD whines for something I try to always cheerfully correct her and demonstrate the proper way to ask for something. I have to say it's draining, but I think it's important to be consistent. I hope that eventually it won't even occur to DD to ask for something in a whiny voice. Fingers crossed!

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Old 04-17-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

 

Gentle discipline in my opinion involves an intense engagement with the child on the rights and wrongs and it is a lot of work.  Despite the hardness of it, I think it is supremely important that children learn how to appropriately behave in society and how to appropriately interact with other individuals.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do think there is a way to act in public and I think that respect of others' space is important.  I mean, how many times on MDC do we hear of moms/dads complaining that others have crossed personal boundaries?  Little people don't learn this stuff on their own (arguably they may learn through trial and error, but why subject them to that?).  As PPs discussed above, age appropriateness plays a big role, but the whole wild child thing past the point of toddlerhood or other special condition should not be an issue if we are teaching our children to properly act in public (or even in familial situations).  

 

I'm surround by rude adults everyday, and sometimes I stare them down in their rudeness.  People who walk around like they are the only person in the universe and all us schlubs should just step out onto the street so they can pass really PMO.  irked.gif  Sorry, ranting here, but I strive to teach DD not to be one of them.  It is important to me that she be empathetic of others, and that empathy is not a weakness, and that standing up for yourself doesn't have to reach the level of rude unless extreme circumstances require otherwise.  It is entirely possible to teach this through GD. In fact, I wouldn't even call this GD, I would just call these moments teachable moments.  If the child doesn't know, then why are they being disciplined for same?  It is a learning process.


So true!  In fact I would go as faras to say that GD methods of modelling empathy and respect and then teaching how to find it is indeed the best ways to teach children this.  The GD parent is generally far more equipped to recognize the cues that lead up to unwanted behavior and nip it in the bud early (because we recognize the cause and effect factor of behavior such as low protein = cranky child, rather than viewing early childhood as a battle of wills to be won or lost by a group of pint sized puppet masters, and we believe that ultimately children WANT to behave well and please people and want to be happy and feel fulfilled), or remove them from other people's space before it gets out of hand...even before the end of toddlerhood, even from birth.

 

I think there is gentle discipline (teaching), permissive parenting (anarchy) and then their is authoritative parenting (opression). I think it takes time to untrain the habits of control we learn from our patriarchial and indeed opressive societies, but ultimately I believe discipline, like Socrates teaching his pupils, teaches children the skills to be communicators, critical thinkers (which does make life more difficult) and invested citizens of the world, but that anarchy will always fail the people by breeding selfishness and entitlement, and that opressive regimes are always toppled by the peope because the law of the land is ruling by strength and fear, not respect and cooperation. 


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Old 04-17-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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I totally love this post! Sometimes I feel like gentle discipline is similar to maintaining a clean home with natural cleaning products. If you clean the toilet often with baking soda you rarely need to use heavy duty cleaning products. Same with your oven etc.
I don't want to rag on other parents, but one thing I've noticed is that people get distracted and don't notice when their kid is whining until it gets out of hand. Then the mother yells "you're driving me crazy!". As hard as it is, I always try to address this stuff before it makes me nuts. The first time DD whines for something I try to always cheerfully correct her and demonstrate the proper way to ask for something. I have to say it's draining, but I think it's important to be consistent. I hope that eventually it won't even occur to DD to ask for something in a whiny voice. Fingers crossed!



Definitely, and in fact you'll get better at figuring out why she's whining at all. I learned that DS, who I knew could ask nicely, had dips in protein levels, so he would whine and I would reach in my bag and grab a whole wheat cracker and peanut butter sandwich for him as I modelled the polite way to ask for his need to be met...I'd say "Eat this first, then try asking again like this: 'Mommy, can I ride on the carousel, please?' okay?", or if I heard him say something rude to his cousins, I'd call him over for a handful of nuts then while he sat on my lap we'd talk calmly about apologizing or having a nap and then apologizing.  He's learned to recognize his own cues, now too...sometimes.  And then there will be time where that doesn't work and you realize they are having a hormone surge that they can't control (like when you're pregnant and you start crying hysterically because the restaurant is out of sweet and sour soup, and that's all you waned,ALL DAY, and there isn't any, dammit and you think you may never recover...they hit those moments at about 5, 9 and then of course there is puberty, which can last anywhere from a day to 20 years, LOL), and you just have to ride it out with patience and calm and constancy.

 

Even adults whine when they are hungry, tired, overworked, or stressed out.  It is unrealistic to think she will ever not whine ever unless you can manage her stress, hunger, sleep, and comfort levels 24/7 with total perfection.  If you figure that out...let me know  how you did it.thumb.gif

 


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Old 04-17-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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. I don't like how sometimes "age-appropriateness" is used to justify what, IMO, is bad behavior. Yes, I said it....bad behavior. Anyhow....I'm sorta kidding and obviously I'm not dismissing the whole thing or I wouldn't be here, and I am speaking very generally. But interested to read some more replies. My own baby is only 8 months and the rest of my direct experience is with other children in my family (niece, nephew, cousins....)

 

Sorry for typos, nak


But how you deal with that "bad" behavior or whether you consider it bad does depend on age-appropriateness. If a 9 month old pulls all the books of my mother's shelf, is that bad behavior? No, it's my fault for not preventing access or keeping an eye on the baby. If my 6 year old does that, then yes, it's not age-appropriate. If my 6 year old did that, you'd better believe she'd be helping me put those books back on the shelf and I wouldn't be pleased. However, I wouldn't punish, I'd figure out what she was doing, teach her how to fix the problem and let it go.

 

Another example: Our 6 year old had a major whining fest, bordering on tantrum, before dinner. She was hungry. She'd been out to a soccer match with dh and he hadn't brought a snack with. I got that. I'd given her some cheese. (I'd actually offered her some fruit snacks and she said "I don't want anything with sugar" telling me that she's getting a good sense for what her body needs.) But the rice wasn't ready and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I gave her cheese. I then offered my sympathy. She was escalating. So, after 3-5 minutes of whining, we asked her to go upstairs. She was not happy. But she went (mostly because we had marched her up there many times before). She had her fit (rather loudly) in our room. She came down about 3 minutes before dinner was ready, had dinner and was fine. Was her fit 'bad' behavior? I don't think so. She was hungry and tired and was not self-regulating. There was no punishment, just an insistence that she not inflict her whines on the rest of the family (who were also hungry).

 

For me, the essence of GD is teaching a child. Each child learns differently. Ds learns by repeated observation. Dd learns by doing. That means each child needs a different kind of "discipline". Each child also has different issues.

 

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Gentle discipline in my opinion involves an intense engagement with the child on the rights and wrongs and it is a lot of work.  Despite the hardness of it, I think it is supremely important that children learn how to appropriately behave in society and how to appropriately interact with other individuals.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do think there is a way to act in public and I think that respect of others' space is important.  I mean, how many times on MDC do we hear of moms/dads complaining that others have crossed personal boundaries?  Little people don't learn this stuff on their own (arguably they may learn through trial and error, but why subject them to that?).  As PPs discussed above, age appropriateness plays a big role, but the whole wild child thing past the point of toddlerhood or other special condition should not be an issue if we are teaching our children to properly act in public (or even in familial situations).  

 

<snip>

It is entirely possible to teach this through GD. In fact, I wouldn't even call this GD, I would just call these moments teachable moments.  If the child doesn't know, then why are they being disciplined for same?  It is a learning process.


Yes, it does involve a lot of intense engagement, which is why I think fewer people practice it than punitive discipline. It feels, at times, easier to punish after the fact, than it is to work with a child to help them learn. I think that's short sighted, however, because the older children I know where were raised with GD really have learned and are generally responsible, pleasant kids. (Not without mistakes, but they take responsibility for their mistakes, usually.)

 

I disagree that teaching isn't GD. The key for GD for me is that it's teaching and learning.  As for 'teachable moments', for me these are the heart of GD. If I can teach my child to think through an action or a consequence, then I've achieved something because it means that they are more likely to be able to carry forward by themselves in the future. It's important to remember that children learn in different ways and different rates. There are kids who need a lot more physical action and aren't ready to sit still places at 4 or 5. If that's your child, then it makes sense to me to not put them in positions where they'd have to do that, and to give them lots of time for physical action. If your child is slow to warm up, then model social nicities, but don't punish them for not using them. Teach them, as we did our son, "when you don't say hello to people, they think you don't like them". And after about 50 repetitions, he got it.


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Old 04-17-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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I pick my battles but I have very strict standards for my kids' behavior-- no whining, unwarranted complaining, insulting others, no foul language, no eye rolling, sighing, and they are required to help with chores and do homeschool if they expect to maintain certain privileges like computer/ TV use.  Gentle discipline and high behavior standards can and do go together!  Too often people think gentle discipline means letting your kids run wild and never saying no.  I say no constantly.  But I don't spank, I don't yell (one DD occasionally makes me lose it and yell but not for a while), insult, or criticize beyond just plainly and calmly explaining that rude behavior is unacceptable and will get you nowhere in life.  I'm not afraid of my kids or saying no to them.

 

The main consequence for bad behavior is loss of TV/ computer use.  This rarely happens and usually only to one of my kids (the one who occasionally makes me snap and yell!).  If things get worse, then a time out in their room (10-30 minutes depending on how bad it was) and beyond that an early bedtime.  But the latter two almost never happen.  I make no apologies for having high standards, I have too many kids to let them mistreat each other!

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Old 04-18-2011, 06:15 AM
 
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I have very high expectations and think my kids are pretty well behaved. They know the rules, know the consequences for not following the rules, etc. I try to be kind and calm but yeah, definitely have high standards. I'm frequently amazed at what people let their kids get away with!

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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Old 04-18-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I disagree that teaching isn't GD. The key for GD for me is that it's teaching and learning.  As for 'teachable moments', for me these are the heart of GD. If I can teach my child to think through an action or a consequence, then I've achieved something because it means that they are more likely to be able to carry forward by themselves in the future. It's important to remember that children learn in different ways and different rates. There are kids who need a lot more physical action and aren't ready to sit still places at 4 or 5. If that's your child, then it makes sense to me to not put them in positions where they'd have to do that, and to give them lots of time for physical action. If your child is slow to warm up, then model social nicities, but don't punish them for not using them. Teach them, as we did our son, "when you don't say hello to people, they think you don't like them". And after about 50 repetitions, he got it.


After thinking about it, I suppose I agree.  I guess I have a hard time getting past the word "discipline" as it denotes a certain punitive thing to me.  I realize that isn't the spirit of GD, but I tend to put a lot of stock in words.  I wish I could think of a better term. 
 

 


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Old 04-18-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Sometimes I read threads and think, "jeesh, I'm such a hard a**". I have really high expectations of DDs behavior. I insist on manners. If she wants something she needs to ask in a polite tone and say something like "could I have some milk please, mommy". I will not give her anything unless she asks me nicely. I also tell her to say thank you to cashiers, waitresses, anyone who gives us a service. I don't let her run in our apartment, because I don't want to disturb our downstairs neighbors. I also don't let her talk loudly in restaurants or in public spaces in general. I'll also tell her when I think her behavior is inappropriate, like if she has a fit over something small and she usually stops. I'm really cheery and kind when I correct her.
I never get mad at her when she breaks the "rules" or punish her, I just remind her how to act. I dunno, it seems to be paying off. She's definitely much more polite than most toddlers. She always says please and thank you and rarely acts demanding. It's really cute, and people compliment her manners a lot. But sometimes I feel like I'm the most uptight mom about this stuff. I'm not at all uptight about messes or anything, just manners and social interactions. Anyone else like this? Or am I just an old fuddy duddy?

I guess I look for balance. My 2-year-old is easy to keep quiet and happy, and always says please and thank you, and is cherry when corrected. But my 9-year-old, while polite and cheery and well behaved now, was an incredibly intense toddler and preschooler and I had to sometimes just get through an outing without her flying into a 3-hour out-of-control tantrum. Some of what you're describing was simply out of her reach at that age, and I think it's important to match expectations with the reality of a child's abilities. I look for the long term, not the short term immediate behavior. And it has paid off with the 9-year-old. I hope you don't assume everyone with a child unable to match your child's behavior is permissive? Children are very individual and they aren't all able to handle the same things.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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After thinking about it, I suppose I agree.  I guess I have a hard time getting past the word "discipline" as it denotes a certain punitive thing to me.  I realize that isn't the spirit of GD, but I tend to put a lot of stock in words.  I wish I could think of a better term. 
 

 



If it's just semantics perhaps Gentle Parenting, or Gentle Teaching.  Or if semantics and etymology are your thing: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=discipline

 

The modern connotation is physical or emotional or social punishment, but still the DENOTATION and indeed the original meaning and root of the word is teaching and  learning...this helped to shift my view of the word.


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Old 04-18-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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If it's just semantics perhaps Gentle Parenting, or Gentle Teaching.  Or if semantics and etymology are your thing: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=discipline

 

The modern connotation is physical or emotional or social punishment, but still the DENOTATION and indeed the original meaning and root of the word is teaching and  learning...this helped to shift my view of the word.


Thanks Hakeber, that was helpful! 
 

 


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Old 04-18-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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If it's just semantics perhaps Gentle Parenting, or Gentle Teaching.  Or if semantics and etymology are your thing: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=discipline

 

The modern connotation is physical or emotional or social punishment, but still the DENOTATION and indeed the original meaning and root of the word is teaching and  learning...this helped to shift my view of the word.


This knowledge has helped shift my thinking too.  I almost want to mount a campaign to 'take back' the word discipline and reframe it as teaching. While the first meaning for discipline listed in my Merriam-Webster is "punishment" an alternative meaning is "training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character". So, I do discipline my children. I just try hard not to punish. (I haven't always succeeded, mind you, but everyone's human!)

 


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Old 04-20-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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Ds was "beautifully behaved" in public if you looked at him. He stuck to us like glue. He was selectively mute. He loved to observe. Dd was not. She was loud, impatient, and wiggly. She would dash off in the opposite direction in a minute. She loved to 'talk' (read, screech as an infant), and still has to be reminded to keep her voice at a reasonable level. She explores by touching, not observing. We 'solved' the issue by simply not going out much with her when she was a toddler. We didn't eat out. We knew that when we took her to church, she'd last about 10 minutes and then either need the nursery, or better yet, to run in the narthex. We didn't take her shopping.>>>>>>

 

Same thing here.  My 2 older girls were pretty easy out in public or sitting in church, at a restaurant, etc.  Then came my son and we pretty much did what you described, just stayed home for the most part lol.  He honestly at 6 still can have trouble with sitting through church but does pretty well in school.


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Old 04-20-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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Great thread. I've been nodding along to most of the replies. I think I have pretty high standards for the things that are important to me -- treating other people with respect and courtesy, while also being confident enough to stand up for yourself.

I've heard some GD parents say that they don't force kids to say please and thank you. I understand their reasons, but I don't necessarily agree. From the time he could talk, I've taught DS to have good manners.

For me, one of the most important parts of gentle discipline is pulling my own weight and helping DS have the tools he needs to behave properly. Before anything else, I try really hard to make sure that he gets enough rest, stays fed, gets enough physical activity (he's REALLY physically oriented) and isn't totally overwhelmed. He's three, and I respect that three year olds have limits. I also always try to make sure he knows the expectations before we go into a situation. If we're about to walk into a restaurant or store, we'll have a conversation about what we're doing and what the rules are. It doesn't work perfectly every time, but as he's getting older it's definitely paying off.

Also, I think the very most important thing is modeling the behavior you want from them. DS sees me treating other people, including him, with courtesy and respect.

 


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