Does GD Breed Wild Children? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-12-2011, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Preface- I only have an 8 mo so there's really not much GD going on at all yet. And I readily admit I'm a new mom who knows little about all this stuff. I was a 4th grade teacher for 7 years so I've got about 200 kids that I've "helped" raise but other than that, nope, nothing.

 

Okay, I recently read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Unconditional Parenting. Then I wrote a blog post about it here. When I posted a link to my blog post on Facebook, I got mostly "yeah right, that doesn't work in real life" comments from moms. I don't want to seem naive and clueless but I kinda feel that way now. Even though all their comments were kind, it really was like they were all rolling their eyes at me and laughing. Or maybe that's just how I interpreted it! eyesroll.gif

 

So- What is your experience? Does GD REALLY work? When DH and I attempt to raise our son this way, will he turn in to a wild hooligan? Right now I'm obviously very much against spanking and really even time outs. But I've never needed to do either to my kid! Then on the other hand, I don't want to raise mindless drone who obeys everything I say or a kid I need to punish/bribe all day. 

 

I guess I just need some reassurance. Did your kids turn out respectful and well behaved? Is GD working for you? How do I NOT feel like I'm an innocent mama with my head in the clouds?!?!

 

Thanks:)


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Old 05-12-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Not at all!! All my friends who use GD have the sweetest most laid-back kids, sure some people think their wild but that's because they're acting like normal kids and most adults nowadays have forgotten what that looks like.

 

That being said my kids are wild, but if I were to use non GD techniques it would be worse. Fortunately my 2 really spirited kiddo's respond very well to GD. And, we only use UP, time-in, and NVC here.


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Old 05-12-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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Not in my experience.  I think it depends on how you interpret GD and Alfie Kohn though.  Neither style says not to have rules, discipline, or boundaries.  Both approaches encourage being thoughtful of the rules, boundaries, and discipline that is used though.  Alfie Kohn just seems to encourage much deeper thought and writes in a way that seems to be meant to challenge our beliefs so we can reflect on them but even he talks about setting some limits and not engaging in repetitive debate when the answer won't change.  I think it is harder when kids are young and you are worried about them turning out badly, as they get older and you see that it really does work you will probably start to relax.  Even parents who spank are often hardest on the first and ease up a lot as the kids get older or they have more kids because they see what a little thing most kid stuff is.

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Old 05-12-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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I don't think that GD breeds wildness.  For us, GD has bred adventurous, confident, articulate, trusting, and fun children.  They also happen to be a little wild sometimes.


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Old 05-12-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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Some kids will be wild no matter how they are raised. Some kids will be mild no matter how they are raised.

I don't think GD makes kids wilder than they would be otherwise. I think the only kind of parenting that would make children less wild would be if children were literally afraid of their parents, they would be less wild when their parents were present. But generally I don't think we have as much control over our kids' temperaments as we'd like to think we have.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.


Maybe I missed the boat somewhere, but I thought that some of the core tenents of GD (in addition to listening/respect) was setting boundaries as well as implementing consequences when those boundaries are breached.  I think perhaps your friend was cherry-picking certain aspects of GD but not setting boundaries.  To me, that is not GD, but no discipline at all.

 

OP, we have had a lot of success with GD.  It is not to say that our DD's personality is easy to deal with at times, but others have commented on how well-mannered and respectful she is of others.  She does have her wild moments (like any young child) but when she needs to step up to the plate, not just at home but in public, she's with the program, so to speak.  I have neighbors who utilize corporal punishment and all kinds of punitive responses on their kids on a daily basis.  Their kids don't understand boundaries though.  I have to laugh when I think about it, but my DH in a fit of frustration the other day (after said kids were running through our apartment going through drawers and creating a mess) said:  'those kids are bad seeds.'  I wouldn't go as far as saying something like that, but the general lack of respect that they have for others and the property of others is a little unnerving and living proof that the street runs both ways.
 

 


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Old 05-12-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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To me gd is not about letting my kids get away with whatever they want or respecting and responding to their every wish. That way I think they would be selfish and maybe wild too! We gd and I think my kids are pretty normal, a little wild sometimes too but respectful. I guess only time will tell!


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Old 05-12-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Some kids will be wild no matter how they are raised. Some kids will be mild no matter how they are raised.

I don't think GD makes kids wilder than they would be otherwise. I think the only kind of parenting that would make children less wild would be if children were literally afraid of their parents, they would be less wild when their parents were present. But generally I don't think we have as much control over our kids' temperaments as we'd like to think we have.


Yep. Especially when they're little.

 

When they get older (around 6-8?) it's a little different, because it somewhat switches from "discipline" to more "instilling values, character, and morals," and on that end, GD (if we just define it as "non violent, no screaming, treat your kid with kindness and empathy") probably makes them less wild (compared to hitting and screaming, etc.)

 

That said, I do think UP probably would have been really, really bad for my "spirited" kid. He really seems to need a more authoritative and strict style of parenting to not be in a permanently bad mood. My mellow kid is only 3 and a half, but I think the only thing that would "make" her anything besides cooperative and happy would be abuse and neglect?

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Old 05-12-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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In order for us (I am referring to my family) to be successful GD parents we decided on some non-negotiable rules. They aren't very many, and they resolve around being respectful and polite and non-violent.

 

 

Quote:
 One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things.

 

And this is not respectful or polite, or I would argue even GD. It is taking the "easy" way out, even though it will lead to bigger and bigger problems down the road.

 

GD is not being permissive. I think of it as picking the battles most important to you, keeping the family rules simply and clear, having clear and fair consequences, and not being punitive.

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Old 05-12-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

In order for us (I am referring to my family) to be successful GD parents we decided on some non-negotiable rules. They aren't very many, and they resolve around being respectful and polite and non-violent.

 

 

 

And this is not respectful or polite, or I would argue even GD. It is taking the "easy" way out, even though it will lead to bigger and bigger problems down the road.

 

GD is not being permissive. I think of it as picking the battles most important to you, keeping the family rules simply and clear, having clear and fair consequences, and not being punitive.


How do you define "punitive?"

 

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Old 05-12-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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 How do you define "punitive?"

 

Over the top punishment designed to get back at a child for wrong doing. It is punishment as payback for the wrong doing-making it so personal and hurtful. We avoid that type of punishment at all costs.

 

 

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Old 05-12-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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I can't speak for all kids, but I can speak for my own twin sons, who are almost 17 years old. They are polite, respectful, and have solid core values. In 1994 I had never heard of GD, but that's essentially what DH and I have done - treat our children with respect, set age-appropriate limits and enforce them with natural and logical consequences, and above all, be consistent.

 

That said, our kids have laways been good rule-followers. I realize that they have easy-going personalities, and would probably be pretty good kids no matter how they were raised - but I doubt we would have the same kind of relationship. The worst time we ever had with our sons was in 3rd grade, when J had a teacher who used punitive discipline. J didn't know how to deal with it, and responded by acting out, and not wanting to go to school at all. It took 2 years of really wonderful teachers to get him back to where he had been in school.

 

GD definitely does NOT mean no discipline - remember, discipline means "to teach", and all kids require teaching. I consider myself to be a pretty hard-nose parent, but that doesn't mean my sons were subjected to physical punishment or time-outs. It means that I made rules that were fair, and I enforced them consistently. In our house, the rules applied to the parents as well as the kids (if they can't eat popsicles on the white couch, neither can DH).

 

A simple example: bed time. The boys would periodically ask for a later bed time - after all, their freinds got to stay up later! I told them that bed time was determined by how much sleep they needed, and they had a time schedule in the morning that couldn't be changed (school). I said if they could consistently wake up on their own before the alarm went off, we would know that they were getting enough sleep, and they could stay up later. But if they needed an alarm (or Mom) to wake them up every day, they either were getting the right amount of sleep or not enough. We had the conversation several times over a few years, but eventually it stuck - and now, as high school juniors, my sons go to bed at a decent time every night (sometimes before I do).

 

I read "How to Talk..." when my sons were about 10, and I was already doing just about everything in the book. Another one I like is "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso.


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Old 05-12-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

 

 

Over the top punishment designed to get back at a child for wrong doing. It is punishment as payback for the wrong doing-making it so personal and hurtful. We avoid that type of punishment at all costs.

 

 



Aahh...gotcha. Some people define punitive in such a way that any use of time out qualifies, so I was just wondering.

 

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Old 05-12-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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Wait, it the argument here that being kind and respectful to people while trying to understand their point of view and stating your own boundaries usually results in disrespectful behavior? When I'm kind and honest with adults, I tend to get honesty and kindness in return. I'm not sure why this would be different for children.

 

I think everyone needs to be able to state their own boundaries. It doesn't necessarily need to result in hard and fast rules (except perhaps not hurting others). I believe in behaving ethically. I think we're managing to give our kids that message without time outs, punishments, or rewards. Is it messy? Yes. We get frustrated with one another because we're human beings trying to get along and live together with constantly conflicting needs and desires. We can still be respectful of one another and demand respect without resorting to autocratic rule.


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Old 05-12-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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Are time outs and rewards "not GD?"

 

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:09 PM
 
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Not all people who do GD use time outs and rewards, but I think of GD just as meaning discipline without harsh, physical, or shaming type punishments. As the words say, discipline that is gentle (and I would think emotionally as well as physicall gentle.) GD seems like an umbrella term that could include different specifics.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post

Are time outs and rewards "not GD?"

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Not all people who do GD use time outs and rewards, but I think of GD just as meaning discipline without harsh, physical, or shaming type punishments. As the words say, discipline that is gentle (and I would think emotionally as well as physicall gentle.) GD seems like an umbrella term that could include different specifics.


^Yes.

 

I believe that time outs and rewards as assumed tools are counter-productive to my goals, as they are as coercive as punishment, if not as harsh as corporal punishment. Not everyone believes that, I understand, but I feel like it's difficult to deny. I realize that most people seem them as tools to achieving a pleasant workable life.


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Old 05-12-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.



GD does not mean consequence free, and consequences do not have to be physically or emoitonally harsh to be effective. 

 

Maybe your friend just didn't think dinner or the subsequent going shopping was a battle worth standing her ground over (is 5:45 a particularly bad time to go shopping?  I am sort of out of touch with US culture...is that like rush hour at the A & P?) at that time.  If you've been fighting all day or say you made a promise you forgot about...it might be the right thing to do in that situation for HER.  I don't think it's fair to judge the child's entire personality for now and ever after over one little incident like that...but I gather you have other examples to prove he is indeed a wild child as a resultof the parenting softness. Maybe she really is a push over and will have to find a balance between respecting herself and respecting her kids.  I think it is very hard to teach our kids respect if we do not first and foremost foster a sense of respect for ourselves. 

 

For many parents GD is a journey, a swinging pendulum that has gone far to one side as a result of harsh parents of their own, and a decision to do things differently, or a gut instinct to never hit the child and having no tools to implement other ways of communicating and teaching.  It takes a few years, or even kids to get it right, and every day is a learning experience and a journey of self discovery.  I don't think there is anything wrong with that.  We are not born parents, we are made parents through trial and error.

 

In my experience harsh punishment based discipline (which don't seem to be what you would do anyway, so I guess I am confused) do not guarantee mild manner either.  My niece has been spanked and screamed at forced physically into her room by having the door TIED shut and she is still wild and aggressive and rude at times (she is also sweet at times).

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchick View Post

I don't think that GD breeds wildness.  For us, GD has bred adventurous, confident, articulate, trusting, and fun children.  They also happen to be a little wild sometimes.


 

Me too.  In fact for us GD has led to more self awareness, and more introspection as parents and a more open insightful relationship with our kids, in comparison with friends and family who have done things the harsher way.  We are notably more open with him, more attentive, and respectful and we are careful not to hold double standards, because he calls us on it when we do.  Maybe we would have had a kid like that anyway, but the anecdotal evidence I see around me tells me otherwise.

 

The thing is I think GD positions me more strategically for managing the wildness is more effective ways.  Instead of expecting DS to behave no matter what and being sorely disappointed when ocassionally he doesn't, and starting a battle of dirty looks and threats and eventually name calling and punitive measures (sometimes Time Outs are for everyone to cool down and get a grip, but sometimes they are used as a way of revenge for bad behavior that might not even be their fault), I recognize cues and make choices accordingly.  I know DS needs protein in his blood stream to be calm and happy.  So I ALWAYS carry a snack with me.  I know DD is a crank pot if she doesn't have her afternoon nursies and nap.  I know they both are unpredictable after 5pm.  So I don't take them places after 5pm if their behavior is important or going to be judged (nor do I invite people over who I think might be judgy)  I had a party invite tonight and was told I could bring the kids but rather than bring them and have people say "what wild kids she has...what they need a smack on the bottom!"  I thought better of it and have decided to send my regards and keep them home.  I'll be at the party on Saturday when I have a babysitter lined up.

 

I think ultimately GD strives to build a relationship of intimacy and emotional connection, trust and consistency.  It is about building a world of respect and safety and love for your children.  It is about teaching our children to have empathy and to use that empathy to communicate their needs without violence and abuse and hopefully learn to recognize their needs, and ask for their needs to be met in respectful ways, and accept the responsibility of their own needs gracefully when others cannot help them.  We also strive to show them the logical and natural consequences of their actions and choices, and be respectful of their journey of self discovery in this world in ways that are safe and gentle. 

 

These are lofty goals, and no one that I know lives up to them at all times...but we aspire, and if nothing else we can teach our children to aspire for a better, less violent (passively and physically violent) world, too.
 


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Old 05-12-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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For some reason this part did not pick up in my quote in my post above...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sere234 View Post

So- What is your experience? Does GD REALLY work? When DH and I attempt to raise our son this way, will he turn in to a wild hooligan? Right now I'm obviously very much against spanking and really even time outs. But I've never needed to do either to my kid! Then on the other hand, I don't want to raise mindless drone who obeys everything I say or a kid I need to punish/bribe all day. 

 

I guess I just need some reassurance. Did your kids turn out respectful and well behaved? Is GD working for you? How do I NOT feel like I'm an innocent mama with my head in the clouds?!?!

 

Thanks:)



So in a nutshell, yes it is working for us and DS has turned out great and things are really going well with DD, too, though at 16 months it's more baby management then discipline, but at this age with DS we were still heavily relying on TOs and frowning and mostly shouting to get our point across, then trying to counteract that with lots of hugs and talking it out to balance it.  It took us a while to get past the hurt there and move into a better place with DS.

 

The thing is that it is hella difficult for a while to keep order and be the parent you want to be.  It is hard to shake the habits of our parents, and the legacy they gave us with their own discipline methods.  It is not easy to skip parties and fun stuff  with friends and family and have to leave events because you realize that the only way you are going to get your kid to behave the way you need them to is with threats of violence, aggression, name calling, or bribing.  It is not easy to be prepared at all times to meet the physical needs of your children that are keeping them from being golden sweet, and it is not easy to have the patience and presence of mind to not take deeply personally when they embarass you in front of others, or when they get mad, seem ungrateful, or swing at you or call you names.  It is not easy to remain calm and detached but also loving and empathetic.  It is not easy to observe their actions without judgement and find ways to meet their needs.

 

It's flipping EXHAUSTING!  There are days when it is just easier to scream and shout,,,but the damage done to the trust and love is undeniable and very very difficult to repair. 

 

It seems easy because after all, who would ever want to raise a hand to their child?  But it's very time consuming and at times I feel like a huge failure.  But then I see my kid interact with people of all ages like a confident equal, with respect and kindness and empathy, intellect and curiosity, and I think...not bad, lady, not bad!

 


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Old 05-12-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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My GD kiddo is no more or less wild or whiny than my friends kids who are raised with tons of yelling, shame, spanking and unnecessary/unfair time outs (I'm not against time outs but I do think there are many occasions where using them is inappropriate and hurtful.)

 

The main difference I see between our kids is that my child is easier to correct and will even correct herself at times when she does get wild and disrespectful and that my kiddo seems more confident and attached.  She doesn't cling to me the same way my friend's children do and in fact her children (ages 4 and 2) act more similar to how mine did at 1 when she went through a huge separation anxiety/clingy phase.

 

Granted, there are plenty of variables that could be the cause of these differences including simply having different personalities (my daughter handles her daddy's deployment worlds better than her children, especially her 4 year old, does) and having two children of course can lead to more problems simply due to sibling rivalry and wanting plenty of mommy time but I definitely prefer not yelling and not shaming.  It creates a more peaceful space even when my 2 year old is still acting like a two year old complete with whining and tantrums, and plenty of wild times.

 

I don't practice GD to have a better behaved child at all times, I practice to help my child learn how to correct herself and understand why she's doing that.

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Old 05-12-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Yes I think that follwowing the GD tennets without also implementing reasonable limits or teaching children that respect needs to flow both to and from them can lead to children who don't have a sense of the needs of others, or how to operate respectfully in community.  

 

That being said, I think that it's the exception rather than the rule that GD parents don't think through this and do their best to help their children navigate their way through the world successfully.

Most GD parents are pretty mindful. 

 


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Old 05-12-2011, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

 

This isn't GD. This is being permissive and catering to a child's unreasonable demands. A GD way to handle a tantrum about an unreasonable request is to calmly comfort the child, labeling the child's emotion while not giving in. The main difference in handling a tantrum in a GD way is that the parent doesn't punish or isolate the child, but helps them deal with their overwhelming feelings. For example when a parent who is using GD has to leave a park abruptly because it's about to storm, she picks up her tantruming kicking and screaming toddler saying "I'm sorry you're sad, but we have to leave the park. Storms are dangerous." . Then when they are in the car there is no shouting, threatening or lecturing just calm sympathy and maybe a snack. It's not that a parent using GD doesn't say no, it's that they say no in a respectful way. It's the difference between using a time out or a time in. One is isolating and the other is a way of connecting and maybe an opportunity to teach the why behind the no.

 

Some people are permissive and call it GD. It's not though. GD is still discipline it's just gentle, nonviolent, more sympathetic and often calmer. It's saying something quietly instead of shouting. It's giving explanations along with the demand. It's stopping a dangerous behavior, then talking about it calmly instead of giving a consequence of some kind.

 

To the main question. I think acting like a little wild child is more a temperament issue than a discipline one. Some kids are just busier, more intense, more high energy than others. I think using GD is more work when they are little and have no impulse control but much less work as they get older.  If you haven't been using punishment your child has no reason to hide things or sneak. If you've been discussing the whys behind all of your nos and boundaries, your child is more able to recognize good choices. My DD is very intense and high energy, but now at 5 is an empathetic, polite, charming but still busy kid. She doesn't get into stuff she's not supposed to have, she isn't destructive and plays on her own. When she is bossy or whiny,  really normal 5 year old stuff, we let her know it's rude and not how we treat each other.

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Old 05-12-2011, 11:38 PM
 
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Yes, it really does work. I get comments on how polite and well-behaved my kids are all the time. People are particularly impressed with how well they behave when we're not around and how well they're able to articulate their feelings and concerns.

 

A great example from today:

 

Dd (age 6, nearly 7) was upset after school today because I can't go with her class on the field trip tomorrow. She sounded jealous and disappointed because she really wanted me to go. (As a university professor, I have a flexible schedule, but when the field trip starts at 9 am, and I teach at 9 am, I can't go.) She was whining. And crying.

 

I was having one of my better GD days, so instead of just sending her to her room to get her whines out (as I sometimes do), I invited her up to my room to snuggle on the bed. I did this because I knew that she'd been short on 'momma time' lately because I'd been sick last week, and as soon as I got well, dh came down with the stomach flu I'd had, and then ds got it. We'd been in survival mode for about a week.

 

We snuggled for a bit while dd cried. I did all the "How to Talk..." language and just let her cry. In a few minutes, it came out that she was nervous about being in a field trip group with a parent she didn't know.  We talked. I asked her if it would help to call her teacher and tell her that dd wanted to be in a group with either the teacher or the aide. Dd sobbed that teacher had told them they didn't get to pick their groups. I told her that we could talk to her teacher, and that I bet we could work something out.  I called school, talked to the teacher, and explained the situation. The teacher was relieved to know, and quickly changed dd's group. Dd had burst into tears at the end of the school day and had only told her teacher that she was sad that I couldn't come. Once I told dd that she would be in the aide's group, she cheered right up. Problem solved.

I guess my point of the long story is: If I hadn't done the whole "how to talk.." type validating dd's feelings, I would never have gotten to the bottom of what was bothering her. If I hadn't had the insight to know that what dd really needed was to snuggle, I wouldn't have been in a position to do the talk that got to the bottom of what was bothering her. As it was, we could, and the situation improved. I'm not always that insightful or patient, but it was enough for today. After we solved the 'problem' we spent a little time playing stuffed animals (Playful Parenting is another favorite parenting book.) The connection that we built lasted long enough that dd was able to weather her disappointment 30 minutes later of having to be dragged to her brother's baseball game with dad.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.

 

As others have argued, there's a difference between no discipline and gentle discipline. I would have done what you did and I consider it GD.

 

For example: My dd is free to show her emotions (and she's got a lot of big ones). She's not free to make the rest of the family miserable because of it. We're making progress I think. She was having issues tonight (she was tired, had had a big day) and was having a minor fit when she went up to brush her teeth. She closed the bathroom door while she brushed her teeth and had her little cry without inflicting it on the whole family. She fell asleep about 5 minutes after getting into  bed, so I know being tired was the problem.



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Originally Posted by mamakay View Post

How do you define "punitive?"

 


I would define it as something that's intended solely to make the child feel sorry or to make the 'pay' for what they did, with no thought to what they're learning from it. So, grounding your child because they mouthed off to you is punitive. Grounding your child for an evening because they couldn't stay away from a downed powerline is not.  (The one and only time I ever got grounded as a child was in the downed powerline scenario. My parents didn't believe in grounding, and I don't either.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post

Are time outs and rewards "not GD?"

 


 

They can be. Is the time out because your child needs time to cool down? That's GD. Is it to make them 'pay' for their misbehavior? Then it's not. GD is much more subtle than it might appear at first glance. A lot of it depends on your reason and philosophy for doing things. As such, it really requires some pretty deep introspection, as others have noted. Why am I doing this? Why is my child doing this? What can help my child learn the skills they need?

 

As I noted above, our dd gets sent to her room fairly often. But it's not punitive. It's just that I can't stand to hear her whine. (It's getting better, but it's taken a lot of work on our part.)

 

I've done rewards sparingly. There's good evidence that if you use rewards you focus the child on external motivation and they often lose internal motivation. One of the basic 'tenets' of GD, as far as I'm concerned, is that you assume your child wants to do well, and you work with them to help that come through. So, I dont believe in rewards for things like daily chores or grades or general good behavior. At times, however, a child needs to learn a specific skill -- that skill could be learning to keep their hands to themselves and not hit or it could be learning to wipe their own bottom. In those cases, rewards can work wonders to teach a very specific thing. At least they worked wonders teaching my ds to wipe his own darn bottom. Dd is completely unmotivated by rewards!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

I don't practice GD to have a better behaved child at all times, I practice to help my child learn how to correct herself and understand why she's doing that.


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Old 05-13-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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It's true that when you have an eight-month-old, you really haven't been challenged in terms of your own limits, so it's hard to say what you'll do in the future when your kid does the sometimes shocking and horrible things they all do without knowing. Like, what will you do when your kid smashes his head against yours on purpose? Or bites you? Bites your friend's kid? Lies about another kid just to get the kid in trouble? There are endless discipline challenges ahead and it's hard to know how that will rub against your own past, trigger you in some way and make you want to scream. That said, I do think you are on the right path, but you also need something else as a parent to stay on that path, something that I don't think these books talks about. When things start to get tough, maybe in about two more years, or when you have your next child, you're going to need to take care of yourself by meditating or doing something that can center you when times get tough. And they will. And you will want to yell or put your kid in time out or even criticize. It's hard to imagine now, but every attached parent I know has lost it or lost themselves at some time. I don't think gentle discipline leads to a wild kid. No discipline or inconsistent discipline does. You will need to say no. You will need to remove your child from situations. Instead of a time out, for example, when your child bites a kid, you lovingly leave the playdate. No second chances. You are still with your child, loving them, but they have lost the privilege to continue playing. If your child lies to get another child in trouble, they need to apologize in person to all people concerned and do something that they come up with to make up for what they've done. So you aren't spanking (aka beating) your child, you aren't sticking them in time-out (aka prison/rejection) and you aren't criticizing them (aka destroying their self-esteem). You are showing them that when they hurt another person, the fun for everyone ends and later, you're making them take responsibility for their actions when they are old enough.

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Old 05-13-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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I don't believe it leads to wild children. Like everyone else, I think inconsistant parenting does. My 4 1/2 year old certainly has the energy level of a 4 1/2 year old, but he's much more calm than the kids at many of his activities whose parents just ignore their children's behavior. He's not wild or out of control.

In our house, decisions have consequences, and he knows that. For instance, he gets the same meals as my husband and I. He has the choice of not eating whatever I put in front of him, but he knows there will be no other food until the next meal. If it's dinner and there was a desert, I remind him as he's choosing, that he wont get the desert his father & I will be having, because he has to eat the healthy to get any junk. He knows we wont say that and not follow through, so, most nights, he eats with no issues (and he eats stuff most of our friends are amazed at, but he doesn't get seperate meals). Every now and then, he chooses not to, and he doesn't eat until breakfast. It's his choice, and I'm fine with him making that choice. He doesn't throw a fit about it, he either eats or he doesn't.

We do occasionally use time outs, which I know some people are okay with under GD and others are not. We used them by removing him from situations he was unable to handle (our big time out getters are violence and being cruel to someone else), and time out consisted of us talking to him about what was going on - why it's never okay to hit anyone, even pets. What that does to the person/animal you're hitting, etc. Now, we almost never need to take time outs, and he'll occasionally say, I need some time alone, and go to his room. He chooses to remove himself from a situation that is too much for him to handle. We give him his space, and he comes back when he feels better.

It works for us, and I do think it works for most people if consistancy is key. If there's no consistancy - he whines about dinner one night and gets a fluffernutter, why wouldn't he whine every night? And kids are smart - they remember very well when they were given into, and it's not a hard leap to get to, well, if I keep whinning, maybe they give in again.

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Old 05-13-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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Also, I think it's funny to add that we don't yell at our kid, we've never hit him, and we just talk him through any issues, yet we've been told how strict we are as parents. Because we don't ingore discipline. There's definitely a difference.

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Old 05-13-2011, 05:44 AM
 
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I'm in the camp of Some are wild no matter what and some are mild no matter what.  

 

DD1 is 5.  She can be incredibly high needs and challenging.  Some people are shocked at how full on she is.  Some tell me she's a normal child and my expectations are crazy.  Some people tell me my attempts at GD have made her act how she does, some have told me doing GD "wrong" has made her act like she does.  Whatever, it's always agreed that anything she does is my fault (and she agrees too!).  I don't smack but i sure want to.  Sometimes when i've tried every single suggestion in the GD handbooks and DD is throwing my efforts back in my face i wonder why i don't smack, but i still don't.

 

Her sister is only 11 months old but is already INCREDIBLY mellow by comparison.  Maybe she will be easier on me to raise, maybe she won't.

 

Ultimately i practice GD so *I* can have peace that i tried my best at the way i thought was best.  I don't expect it to bring about wild/tame/perfect/terrible people.  I think that parenting cannot overcome personality.

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Old 05-13-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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GD doesn't breed wildness because the child knows that there are rules and boundaries, but they are supported through gentle guidance and loving assistance, not through draconian measures. Some kids do have more of a fire in the belly or mischief in the heart, but I think they'd end up less wild with GD than with a more authoritarian style of child-rearing.

 

I think that Kohn is right that kids will ultimately "do as we do, and say what we say, but they will not do what we say" if our actions are not in line with our professed values.

 

GD principles (I think) will push you towards being an authoritative parent (as opposed to authoritarian or permissive).GD principles help the parent be the one who guides, sets age-appropriate boundaries and limits, and allows kids to make mistakes, learn consequences, and figure out how to become a polite, respectful, resourceful person over the course of the 18+ years that the child is in your house. Respect breeds respect -- GD encourages the parent to look at situations through the child's eyes and to have empathy, even when your kid is misbehaving. GD does not punish a child in order to shame, humiliate, or cow them into submission.

 

I think it's also true that if kids don't have rigid boundaries, they have less to push against and tend not to get as wild. I often think of what a horseback riding instructor of mine told me about how to hold the reins: "Think of the reins as little birds. You don't want to hold them so loosely that the bird flies away, nor so tight that you crush it to death."


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Old 05-13-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I believe that time outs and rewards as assumed tools are counter-productive to my goals, as they are as coercive as punishment, if not as harsh as corporal punishment. Not everyone believes that, I understand, but I feel like it's difficult to deny. I realize that most people seem them as tools to achieving a pleasant workable life.


I can see a time-out or reward be either appropriate or inappropriate. So much depends on the situation and the child.

 

Example: Kid is throwing food on the floor at dinner.

If it's a 10 month old, taking kid away from table is not appropriate to that developmental stage. Useless punishment.

If it's my 3 1/2 year old, my response at this point is: "Throwing food is impolite, and we practice good manners at the table so everyone can enjoy their meal. You have a choice: you can stop throwing food on the floor, or you can be exucsed from the table until you are ready to come back with a dustpan and whisk broom. I will help you clean it up, and you can resume the meal with us. Which one do you want to do?" If he picks former and continues the behavior, he is told that he is now excused and can leave the table, the food is moved aside, and he's told he can finish it when he's ready.

If we are at a restaurant, I'd take the him to the bathroom or outside for a time-in, talk about manners (maybe I'd suggest we play a game of being posh or something to refocus him on manners once we are back). If it seemed like he was just too tired/wired/crazy and we needed to cut bait and leave the restaurant, we would. (This has never happened. He is super-good at restaurants. The home scenario has happened though).

 

I would not give a reward to get a kid to stop whining for candy in a grocery store or for cleaning up something I had asked him to clean up. But if you need a little encouragement to get over a hump with potty-learning, a sticker chart or a jar of M&Ms seems like an okay motivator. I would also feel fine about asking the kid to sit through something distasteful with the promise of relief at the end -- I am asking you to be polite and quiet while I make this business call. After I am done, I will go outside with you and we can play. To me, that is okay and not coercive. It recognizes that these things are hard for kids and that he should be 'rewarded' for being held on a tight rein with getting to run wild for a little while.

 

But at 3 1/2, we are still in the 'easy' stage of parenting with fairly concrete issues rather than more nuanced emotional and social ones.

 


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