Lately I've been feeling kinda down about how people react to our decision to use GD with our kid. I've recently found out that several different family members and friends are talking behind our backs about it. Some have said things like: "Good luck, can't wait to see how that turns out!" in a doubtful, laughing way. Some call us naive for thinking we can raise our kid without spanking, grounding, or yelling. Another thinks if we just spanked our kid he wouldn't be so curious and exploring (he is a very into everything boy!).
I stand my ground, try to remind them that we DO have boundaries and consequences and that our son is expected to be a contributing member of our family. The fact that we choose to always respect DS and never hit him and that we use words other than no is the only way I think we and other family members differ on raising kids. And maybe the fact that DS is so very curious and active, they probably think if we spanked he would be less inclined to want to get into everything. And honestly, though DS wants to climb or get into everything, we don't let him. We keep him safe and make sure to let him know our boundaries. He's not a wild child, he just a very active CHILD.
Dang, it's just disheartening to hear that they can't wait until DS is a teen or grown up so we can see how silly our plans were. I'm just really down about it now and wish I had support, wishwishwish I could hear them say "Wow, he does listen" "Wow, it's amazing how that really works!" or something positive.
Thoughts? Anyone else feeling the same way?
Me: Sarah, married to: J, mommy to: C (8/10) and E (11/12)
Kudos to you mama for standing your ground. I have had similar experiences in the past with my family when my kids were younger. I learned to ignore them because it simply wasn't worth the fight. I know the comments are hurtful, but keep reminding yourself that the end result is a child who will become an adult who is capable of love and empathy and learning how to negotiate with others without using force. Keep up the good work!
Really, I don't think that there's much you can do to convince them that GD works, other than to to wait for your son to grow up and show that he isn't out of control and that he is respectful. The fact that your family is talking behind your back also demonstrates that there is perhaps some immaturity going on. One rule that I learned by being president of our parent-teacher organization was that if I didn't hear something directly, then I wasn't going to acknowledge it. If someone had a big enough problem, they could talk to me. If it wasn't worth their time in talking directly to me, it wasn't worth my mental energy in worrying about it. I'll admit it's pretty hard to implement this sometimes, but it does stop the gossip in its tracks.
What people don't seem to understand is that GD doesn't stop children from being children. Toddlers are still going to test their boundaries physically. 3 year olds are still going to try to see how far they can push you. 4 year olds are still going to test social boundaries. Your 10 year old is still going to roll his eyes and sigh loudly when you ask him to empty the dishwasher.
But in the long run, I think GD works better. GD is sensitive to kids' needs. Ds is a highly sensitive introvert. He's also incredibly stubborn (or to put it positively, he has a very strong sense of self). Authoritarian parenting would have crushed his spirit. He's got sensory issues and spanking would have overwhelmed him and destroyed his trust. Dd is a real fireball. She needs much clearer, firmer boundaries. At the same time, authoritarian parenting would have ruined our relationship, because she would have met every act of aggression with more aggression of her own. (And I know this because I've not been a perfect parent; I do yell and get angry; I've spanked dd once or twice, even though I swore I never would. I'm not proud of it, and I did apologize.) If you just spank, you've got one tool. If you just do timeouts, you've got one tool. GD has opened a whole new box of tools for me.
But as wytchywoman said, the pay-off when they are functioning adults who can are respectful and compassionate. My kids are only half grown. They've certainly got times when they're not all that well behaved at home. My kids just bickered while brushing their teeth. On the other hand, the older they get, the more they're becoming really good kids. It's not all GD, obviously. I can't even claim that it's all our parenting. But I like to think that we haven't screwed up too badly.
One rule that I learned by being president of our parent-teacher organization was that if I didn't hear something directly, then I wasn't going to acknowledge it. If someone had a big enough problem, they could talk to me. If it wasn't worth their time in talking directly to me, it wasn't worth my mental energy in worrying about it. I'll admit it's pretty hard to implement this sometimes, but it does stop the gossip in its tracks.
Love this! I'm going to have to write this down and remember it!
What a good point. Thanks for the encouragement!
Me: Sarah, married to: J, mommy to: C (8/10) and E (11/12)
Don't let the Traditionalists influence you in any way. Look where society has gone with all the punishing it has been doing over the years. Two books to give you support and guidance:
PARENT EFFECTIVENESS TRAINING by Thomas Gordon and
HOLD ONTO YOUR KIDS by Gordon Neufeld. Also, see if you can rent from a library, Alfie Kohn's DVD on UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING. The people who are trying to influence you are living in the past. Our complex society needs children who grow up knowing who they are with self-discipline and self-confidence. And without their curiosity and creativity destroyed by punishments.
Also see my website parenttrainingseattle.com and read what I say about Perissiveness and Training Seals. Freedom For Parents will help you, too.
You are going in the right direction. Don't let anyone throw you off course and try to make you attempt to control your active little boy by HURTING HIM. Is this Love?
Ya know, I never spanked, grounded or really yelled..... well, ok, I yelled.
My sister in law spanked all the time. To the point that I thought it was abuse.
All of our kids are young adults now, and they are all really wonderful adults. Not one of them has any major issues.
My own child is extremely sloppy and messy, and downright filthy. I never used any sort of punishment with her... maybe if I'd been a little more proactive in teaching her to clean up after herself she wouldn't be like this. But, my nephew who was punished and spanked and yelled at is also a complete slob. His parents actively taught him to work and clean up after himself.. yet, he's still as gross as my daughter. He's married too.
So, let them think what they want, and prove them wrong. My sister in law was always annoyed that I didn't spank or punish. Now she sees that my child is a very productive bright and wonderful adult. She makes really good decisions, and I never have to worry about her doing something without thinking it through first.
I would try to find more like-minded folks to spend my time with if I were you. I am guessing that you have a lot of extended family close by, which can be great in terms of the support, but hard if their values differ. Are there any attachment parenting type groups in your area? I would reach out to others to ask for support. It can really help when those who are close to us don't agree. Being disrespected is not fun.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama