Very worried about how to discipline - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 12-09-2011, 04:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey there mamas!

 

I am new here.

 

DH and I are hoping to conceive out first baby soon. I have been reading around on here to get a feel for parenting and some of your stories are just horrible! From ten year olds still crapping their pants to five year olds still nursing, I'm quite scared!!!

 

I was raised with plenty of 'no', 'go to your room', 'put that down NOW' and smacking. I can honestly say it has truly not harmed me. My mum and I have a great relationship now, although we weren't friends when I was a child. But I don't think you can be friends with your kid till they're an adult.

 

I don't quite understand why saying 'no' or giving your child a slap on the hand is so bad. It honestly seems to me that if some of these methods had been implimented earlier in some cases cited on these boards, perhaps there wouldn't be the toilet/violence/nursing issues some of you poor dears have got.

 

Any advice would be greatly recieved. It seems parenting has changed a lot since I was a child, and I'm not going to be allowed to do what my own mother did to control my future children.

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#2 of 19 Old 12-09-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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Keep in mind that folks posting are trying to get help with situations that are actually outside of what would be considered the norm (not that the norm is the best or the way things should be done).  

 

My take on all of it is that we are all trying our best to stay and create relationships with our children--mutually respectful, loving and compassionate relationship.  And, in the midst of that we make choices that work best for our own families.  Whether that is child led weaning (in many cultures a 5 year old nursing is not outside of the norm) or how to best handle challenging behaviors with children who may have special needs.  

 

There are many places on the web and in real life that advocate things like spanking or punitive time outs.  But, at mothering, these forums are intended to create a space where parents can find alternatives to these forums.  So, if you are here because you genuinely want to learn about the alternatives to how you were raised--and would like to parent your child differently, welcome.  If you are here in order to attack or accuse folks who have made parenting choices that seem unusual or challenging to you than please find another place and space--neither you, nor the folks who come here for support, will be happy here.  

 

Assuming that you are here in order to learn, some books that I would recommend to you as you prepare for parenting:  Playful Parenting; Gentle Discipline, Ages 1-3; The Baby Book by Dr. Sears.  

 

Some websites you may find helpful: kellymom.com (great for breastfeeding support); naturalparentsnetwork.com (great links and interesting essays by various parent bloggers); askmoxie.org (a question and answer site that has some great information about developmental shifts in babies/toddlers and older children).  

 

Now, other parents, what resources would you like to suggest to TTC1983?  It sounds like the OP is really looking for some help here.


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#3 of 19 Old 12-09-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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wishin & hopin, I don't think I could have said it better myself. 

 

I would like to add that the entire Dr. Sears series is a great gentle introduction to natural parenting.  He has a fabulous pregnancy book, too.  And, of course, as wishin' said the Baby Book is great and so is the Attachment Parenting Book and the Breastfeeding Book. 

 

No one's saying you have to be your kids best friend, just that you treat them respectfully and like human beings.  Think about being as a parent, the best boss you've ever had.  That boss encouraged you to do your best and was someone everybody wanted to work for.  The group worked great as a team and got a lot done under the guidance of this wonderful boss.  The boss was never punitive because they didn't have to be.  The boss only had to give you a disappointed look and you would immediately shape up because you really liked the boss and only wanted their approval.   

 

Or think about a well run preschool.  Do preschool teachers ever hit kids?  Of course not.  They don't even do time outs in preschool.  They lead and mantain order and actually get a lot done.  My ds is in a public park district preschool and there has never been one discipline incident with any of the kids.  It's 20 kids and 2 teachers.  Yes, they have to remind the kids of the rules often.  Yes, they have had to step in and move a kid to a different activity.  But, that's just how it goes. 

 

That's good parenting. 


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#4 of 19 Old 12-09-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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I don't think people here practicing extended nursing are having a problem with it and trying to get it to stop, so I don't think that's relevant. Also, learning to use the toilet hopefully wouldn't involve violence. Do you really think that would be helpful in teaching a child to use the toilet? I can't even imagine anyone doing that. Most parents here don't nurse 5-year-olds, and many parents here practice elimination communication, where kids get potty trained very young. I don't think those issues should scare you off MDC.

 

I know people in the world use violence to teach children not to be violent, but it seems very counter-productive to me, to try to teach a child not to hit by hitting. Children learn thorugh what we do much more than by what we say, and if we are forcing our way thorugh violence, they are learning that their way can be forced thorugh violence too.

 

I live in a small town so I know the parenting styles of many other parents here, certainly ther parents of my older kid's friends, and I see a definite trend of bullies having been spanked and otherwise had severe and/or physical punishment used. The non-violent kids seem to be those who have been spanked the least. I do think that hitting a toddler can keep a toddler from doing anything around the person doing the hitting that they think might lead to getting hit, but from what I've seen, the long-term lesson is that hitting is a powerful way to get other people to do what you want or not do what you don't want, and that long-term lesson really seems to stick.

 

Remember that when you see a post here, it's someone asking for help, and therefore someone having problems. You don't see questions asked by the many parents here whose children don't have problems with aggression. There will be some children who have challenging issues regardless of parenting style.

 

If you are interested in gentle discipline, this place can be a great resource for you. Advocating physical punishment is against the rules here so be forewarned about that. If you have specific questions about how we would handle specific problems, ask away!

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#5 of 19 Old 12-11-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTC1983 View Post

I don't quite understand why saying 'no' or giving your child a slap on the hand is so bad. It honestly seems to me that if some of these methods had been implimented earlier in some cases cited on these boards, perhaps there wouldn't be the toilet/violence/nursing issues some of you poor dears have got.

 

Children learn by example.  It's difficult to teach a child not to hit by hitting.  

 

You're reading about the problems here.  When people have well-behaved children, they don't need the help and they don't start threads in here ;-)  Like all the people whose babies sleep well...they don't post much in the nighttime parenting forum. 

 

I also find myself thinking that a lot of the problems I read on here could have been solved by earlier intervention, so you're not wrong there.  It's just hard to see it when you yourself are the parent.  Kids go through so many phases and so many things work themselves out without any intervention on the parent's part.  It's hard to know what needs to be nipped in the bud and when to pick your battles, especially with your first child.

 

Good on you for reading up before you TTC.  "The Baby Book" by Dr. Sears is a great first book.

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#6 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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You've gotten great advice here.  I just wanted to add that I was in your shoes many years ago and what I realized is that families have various legacies that they pass along to their children.  It's up to those children to make a choice to continue those legacies or leave them in the past (which they, quite often, belong).  

 

For me, I definitely wanted to share my families' legacies of strong work ethic, love of family, cooking.  I definitely didn't want to share the legacy of abuse, both physical and verbal.  When my son was younger, my mother would tell me that all he needed was a good swift swat on the tush to get him in line (he was incredibly active).  She'd tell me that I've taken it to the other extreme (here being too physical and me not being physical enough).  On the rare occasions where the thought of giving him a pop on the butt crossed my mind, I'd get physically ill. She'd joke that "chasing me around the house with a knife may have been a bit over the top...".  She didn't discipline me, she abused me.   My son knows discipline and consequences.  Neither of which involve violence or cruelty (name calling, being put down, etc.).  He's one of the most polite little boys you'll ever meet and even though he's an only child, shares with other children beautifully.  He's kind and loving and wonderful and that didn't happen by my beating him.  

 

In my humble opinion, physical discipline is lazy parenting.  Gentle discipline requires thought (before/during/after) and patience.  Both in your child and in yourself.  Finding a technique that works with your child may be easy or may be challenging.  I've had to switch gears on many occasions.  But it's worth it.


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#7 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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Every child is different -- it's impossible to look at someone else's child to know what, if anything, would have spared them the problem they are currently going through. One of my kids has special needs that are not obvious to casual observers, and I've had extended family members tell me that if only I disciplined her differently, she would act different. She's on the autism spectrum, and I'm deeply thankful that I started out with GD even before knowing her diagnosis. Even before I understood the reasons for her behavior, I treated her gently. She's 15 now and growing into a lovely (though unusual) young woman. I wonder if she would be doing so well if I had smacked her hand and butt, and yelled and screamed, and shamed and humiliated her for all her bad behaviors when she was little -- before I even knew she had special needs.

 

It's really quite heartbreaking to think about.

 

GD doesn't mean NO discipline, and switching to a new paradigm, one that most of us were not raised with, is bumpy. Most of us don't have good examples IRL of how this works day to day. I give my kids lots of freedom, but I do set boundaries and I set them firmly.

 

No matter how you discipline your child, there will be moments that they behave badly. Overall, my kids are super, but they have their moments. All kids do.

 

The question of gentle discipline is about YOUR behavior,  not theirs. The question is whether you choose to be non-violent with your child or not. That's all. For me, it was always a moral question, not a results question. I believe it's wrong to intentionally physically hurt another human being.

 

The next question became how do I teach my children to moral and to behave in socially acceptable ways? To me, it never made sense to stop behaving in acceptable ways to teach them how to behave. I always figured they are learning far more from what I do than what I say. If I want to teach kindness and gentleness, then I need to model kindness and gentleness in my interactions with them.


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#8 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Every child is different -- it's impossible to look at someone else's child to know what, if anything, would have spared them the problem they are currently going through. One of my kids has special needs that are not obvious to casual observers, and I've had extended family members tell me that if only I disciplined her differently, she would act different. She's on the autism spectrum, and I'm deeply thankful that I started out with GD even before knowing her diagnosis. Even before I understood the reasons for her behavior, I treated her gently. She's 15 now and growing into a lovely (though unusual) young woman. I wonder if she would be doing so well if I had smacked her hand and butt, and yelled and screamed, and shamed and humiliated her for all her bad behaviors when she was little -- before I even knew she had special needs.

 

It's really quite heartbreaking to think about.

 

GD doesn't mean NO discipline, and switching to a new paradigm, one that most of us were not raised with, is bumpy. Most of us don't have good examples IRL of how this works day to day. I give my kids lots of freedom, but I do set boundaries and I set them firmly.

 

No matter how you discipline your child, there will be moments that they behave badly. Overall, my kids are super, but they have their moments. All kids do.

 

The question of gentle discipline is about YOUR behavior,  not theirs. The question is whether you choose to be non-violent with your child or not. That's all. For me, it was always a moral question, not a results question. I believe it's wrong to intentionally physically hurt another human being.

 

The next question became how do I teach my children to moral and to behave in socially acceptable ways? To me, it never made sense to stop behaving in acceptable ways to teach them how to behave. I always figured they are learning far more from what I do than what I say. If I want to teach kindness and gentleness, then I need to model kindness and gentleness in my interactions with them.


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#9 of 19 Old 12-13-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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I love this thread, regardless of whether the original poster ever reads it or ever intended to be met with respect and actual caring advice...could it perhaps be a sticky aimed at folks who are venturing into the world of gentle discipline but don't know where to start, what it is, or why people choose it?  


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#10 of 19 Old 12-13-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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I agree.  Very respectful and kind responses here!

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#11 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 02:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello again.

 

Thanks to those who replied. Yes, I am genuinely looking for information. I understand that a lot of posts here are regarding problems, it's just some things (the extended nursing thing really freaks me out - I hate the thought of nursing full stop, to be fair) seem to be treated as normal. I will remember that I may be reading things wrong.

 

Part of the issue for me is that I'm not all that bothered about having a kid anyway. It's DH pushing for it. I told him before we married I didn't really want any, and it most likely wouldn't change, but he thinks 'all women have to have babies' and I'm just being silly.

 

But the whole thing terrifies me! I don't like myself that much., the thought of making another me doesn't really appeal. And I have no idea what I'll do when the kid starts acting up. As I mentioned in my OP, my mother used corporal punishment, deprived me of cuddles, things like that. She'd push me away when I'd been naughty, and then tell me when I'd had enough 'alone time' and could be back in the room with her.

 

I don't handle stress well. I don't really like kids I see out and about (though that's mainly down to the non-existent 'parenting' scroates round here employ). It bothers me that my child will mix with these mini-sociopaths as well. I'm not sure I'd even really be giving anything to this child, the world is so horrid.

 

I realise I've gone off at a tangent. But of all the things that bother me, discipline is the kicker. I don't want my child to fear me (I was certainly scared of my mum) but then you can't just let them do what they want.

 

I could also just be making excuses because I don't really feel it's the right thing for me.

 

Thanks again.

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#12 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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You should never compromise what you know in your heart to be true for anyone.  It sounds like you would really benefit from therapy.  You can work through your emotions surrounding your mother and decide if you truly want to live child free.  If that is the case, you and your husband should part ways because you both deserve to be happy and it sounds like in order for him to be happy, a child must enter your life.  Not everyone should be a mother (I know mine never should have been) and that doesn't make you any less of a woman.

 

Wishing you the best of luck and much peace in your journey.


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#13 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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#14 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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The wonderful thing about children is (that for the most part) they start out in your family as newborn little lumps...and gradually you can grow to know them and who they are as themselves and in your family.  If you do choose to have children (and I second the therapy suggestion) know that your children are yours, you will get to know who they are and you will both grow and change.  Also know, it's a 24/7 job and that no job is wonderful 24/7 and everyone has their moments--grown ups and kids alike.  All in all tho', it's great that you are doing research and thinking ahead to the kind of parent you want to be.  

 

Regarding what you witness in public places...What you may see of children you don't have a relationship with is just a few minute snap shot of someone's day, is just that, a snapshot (and knowing myself, I sure as heck wouldn't want to start my parenting journey with a toddler in the midst of a rough phase!) of a life.  It's hard to judge anything on a few moments--or even hours (we recently had to fly and my child screamed for over an hour, he was in pain because of his ears and teething, no one on that flight knows that he is a charming and sweet little boy who is swift to hug, easy to redirect and a general joy to be around), so be gentle as you witness folks trying their best to parent in public places.  And, if you have kids, I can pretty much guarantee that at some point you will have a public meltdown and that you will probably not handle it well (because most of us have these moments!) but that the payoff of love is most assuredly worth those moments.  

 

In general, I believe in the idea that people "have to feel good to do good" and that if something is off with my child I can usually find the reason (teething, tired, having a rough time with a transition, hungry) and it's far easier to act proactively to prevent problems (by helping my child "feel good") then to deal with the problems or aftermath.  I choose gentle discipline for my family because I grew up afraid of my mother...and while I want to teach respect, I don't want to teach fear--and, I think that with gentle discipline I will be able to accomplish this.  

 

Trust me, we're pretty strict.  Toys get cleaned up, food is meant to be eaten, not thrown, we don't tolerate hitting/biting--but when these things occur, we find ways in which to model gentleness and respect while at the same time making sure our son knows what we expect (if food gets thrown, the meal is over; you throw a toy at the dog, the toy is put away and you aren't allowed to play with the dog; you bite, you get put down, told "no biting" and then redirected to an appropriate item for biting, such as a teether).  

 

As for breast feeding.  Nursing is a relationship between a parent and a child, and it will be up to you AND your child to decide how long and what the parameters of that relationship will be.  Most parents here who are practicing extended nursing do so because they believe it to be beneficial for both parties involved in the nursing relationship.  Your kid, your rules.  And, the families who participate in these forums are all unique and have chosen, for the most part, paths that work for their own families.  And, many of us come here when we find that we need to re-set the path, and perhaps change direction or seek companions on the journey.  So, we post our troubles but also our joys.  

 

Good luck, I'm glad you came back...we are all on a journey and we all have to start somewhere.  

 

 


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#15 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TTC1983 View Post
Part of the issue for me is that I'm not all that bothered about having a kid anyway. It's DH pushing for it. I told him before we married I didn't really want any, and it most likely wouldn't change, but he thinks 'all women have to have babies' and I'm just being silly.

 

But the whole thing terrifies me! I don't like myself that much., the thought of making another me doesn't really appeal. ...

 

I don't handle stress well. I don't really like kids I see out and about ...It bothers me that my child will mix with these mini-sociopaths as well. I'm not sure I'd even really be giving anything to this child, the world is so horrid....

 

I could also just be making excuses because I don't really feel it's the right thing for me.

 

 


 

I recommend marriage counseling because your DH isn't hearing what you are saying, which to me is a bigger problem than how you will discipline any future children. Figuring out how to really listen to each other and respect each other's points of views is very important, whether or not you decide to have kids.

 

Depending on your age, the kid question isn't one you need to figure out right now. You can just leave it an open issue. There are lots of wonderful reasons to have a child, but I think the world would be a better place if more parents really though through what they were getting themselves into, worked on their relationship with each other first, and went into it for the right reasons. The fact that your DH isn't hearing what you are saying is NOT a good reason to make a whole new person.

 

May be the counseling process would be great for you guys, and you could both get some clarity. May be you would end up resolving some of your issues and then like the idea of a child, may be you would get more clear on the fact that it isn't for you.

 

But clarity is a good thing in life.

 

A spouse hearing what you are saying rather than telling you that you are being silly is a good thing. You aren't being silly -- you are being real, being honest, being who you are.


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#16 of 19 Old 12-14-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTC1983 View Post

Hello again.

 

Thanks to those who replied. Yes, I am genuinely looking for information. I understand that a lot of posts here are regarding problems, it's just some things (the extended nursing thing really freaks me out - I hate the thought of nursing full stop, to be fair) seem to be treated as normal. I will remember that I may be reading things wrong.

 

 


A lot of things on MDC are treated as normal which are not necessarily considered so on other more mainstream site. Extended breastfeeding is considered normal on here, for sure, you're not reading that wrong. You'll also see a lot of discussion on the gentle discipline threads about behaviour which is developmentally appropriate. For example, tantrums or hitting are both normal things that children do at certain stages. It doesn't mean we're happy for the behaviour to continue, just that we acknowledge that there is nothing inherently wrong with a child who does these things and we look for ways to help them through the stage which respect other people's rights without punitively punishing a child for doing something which is part of the growing up process. Most of the posters here are pretty proactive in their parenting, it's just that proactive doesn't mean smacking, shaming, shouting etc which we're all striving not to use.

 

I agree with Linda that councelling may be useful to help you and your partner come to an understanding regarding children. I don't think there is anything wrong with deciding not to have children but, for the sake of your relationship, you need to come to some agreement eventually.

 


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#17 of 19 Old 01-10-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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OP, you may not come back to read this post but I had to write this for you. I was raised by a mother who thinks she is a great mom but I have lots of emotional issues thanks to her. I am grateful to her now because every parent fails at something, she failed at emotionally connecting to me but provided me with food, her presence, her parenting and her best efforts.
You say that your mom hitting you has not harmed you in anyway. I beg to differ. I am sorry to hear you dont like yourself. Have you ever thought about the possibility that a child( you) who may have been treated with violence would grow up to not love one ownself. Self love is critical for a human to thrive. I was where you are. I never wanted children. And I thought my mom was great, its me who was horrible. I am healing now and have a 21 month old boy for whom I gave up my career willingly and I now realize how much hatred towards myself my mom is responsible for.


I hope you find peace, sis.

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#18 of 19 Old 01-10-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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Oh crap, I didn't realize nursing til age 5 was a discipline issue!  haha

 

OP, I say this with all the respect I can muster up in my typing fingers...please don't conceive a child until you have had some good, productive therapy to sort through the trauma you experienced from your somewhat-abusive/emotionally neglectful childhood.

 

On a bright note, I too was hit and pushed away, but when my ds1 was born, it all vanished and I have managed to raise him and his little bro with love, kindness, and gentleness.  Well, not always, but the majority of the time.  So it is possible that you will one day be a great mother.  Best wishes!


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#19 of 19 Old 01-11-2012, 03:57 PM
 
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I am a strong believer in waiting until you are good and ready to have children. DH and I were married 7 years before TTC - I had a temper, and I didn't think it was fair to a child to bring him into our home until I had my temper under control. For years both DH and I were sure we wouldn't ever have children.

 

But we changed our minds - both of us - and we're terrific parents (if I do say so myself). We ended up having twins, and if we hadn't been completely ready for ONE baby, two might have been devastating.

 

My DH was raised with punative discpiline, and he used to say "I'll be the world's best Dad - all I have to do is the opposite of whatever my parents did". Unfortunately knowing what not to do is not the same as knowing what TO do. He felt very strongly that he didn't want to spank our kids, but he didn't know what to do instead.

 

Our twins are 17 years old now, and they are good boys. Our parenting philosophy is based on trust and respect - we respect our kids, and have tried very hard to never give them a reason to not trust us. We treat them the way we want to be treated, and have the same rules for everyone (for example, if the kids can't eat red popsicles in the living room, neither can DH).

 

One of the most important parts of our philoophy was to teach them what TO do, instead of what NOT to do. I'm convinced that young children cannot comprehend the word "Don't". If you tell them "Don't jump on the bed", not only do they hear "... jump on the bed... Mom said Jump on the bed...", they can't think of an alternative. If you say "Feet on the floor!", they understand what you want them to do. It takes a little practice, but pretty soon you get in the habit of using "do" statements instead of Don't.

 

Another important tip is to have age-appropriate expectations. You wouldn't expect a 2-yr-old to read; you shouldn't expect them to sit still and quiet for 20 minutes either.


If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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