Forgive me for asking a stupid question, but... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-17-2013, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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With all the threads discussing differences in GD parenting styles, I realized that I don't really know how "non" GD parenting differs. I have relied mainly on this forum and books recommended here since I became a parent. This type of discipline seems natural and normal to me. Normal enough that I'm not sure what the "other" parents could possibly be doing.
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#2 of 6 Old 01-17-2013, 04:19 PM
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When I think of non-gentle parenting/discipline I think of things like smacking/hitting and other physical punishments, shaming and blaming, shouting, name-calling. That sort of thing.

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#3 of 6 Old 01-17-2013, 05:28 PM
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Yeah, I'd say yelling, spanking, etc... just generally disrespectful attitudes toward kids... punishments that leave the child feeling anxious/fearful/intimidated/ashamed... Basically I'd say it looks like the way DH & I were raised but I guess that's meaningless since I'm just a random internet person! wink1.gif

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#4 of 6 Old 01-17-2013, 05:42 PM
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I define GD as more than just not hitting. I guess I think of it as thoughtful discipline, if that makes sense. For example, while permissive parenting is fairly gentle, I don't really think of that as GD any more than I think of super strict authoratative parenting as GD, yk? Depending on where you live it's possible that you don't know anyone who doesn't practice something that could be defined as GD. 

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#5 of 6 Old 01-18-2013, 06:03 AM
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Another thing that pops out at me is isolation. Time outs - especially with very young kids who don't understand - without explanation or reconnection instead of time in with a parent to talk about what happened and why that is dangerous/inconsiderate/unacceptable. I'm not talking about giving an upset child time and space if they need it to calm down enough to talk but isolating a child who feels rejected by a parent as a result. I've seen it done with a 1.5 year old and just didn't get it. Also the threat of a time out. If its a neutral thing then why threaten with it?! My friend did this when her DD got upset when my DD was touching her toys. They are both under two! All the girl needed was 20 or so minutes to see that the other kid wouldn't break or take her things. Once she understood that, she was handing toys to my lil girl. When the tables were reversed and my DD was getting upset that another kiddo was touching her stuff, I gave her hugs and said "it's ok honey, M is just playing with (whatever) for a minute. You can have it back when she's done." a period of adjustment and my DD was happily sharing her toys too.
I think another facet of GD is understanding that some behaviours aren't done on purpose to upset us parents but that they are part of a child's development. For instance, my DD tantrumming about her friend holding her toy isn't because she hates this other child. She simply doesn't understand that bunny belongs to K but M is playing with bunny now - K will have bunny back in a short while. Same thing with leaving the park before she's ready or not being able to wear a specific shirt. GD parents empathize with the child and explain what is happening and why. Non GD parents tend to think of it as acting out and will often ignore it or worse, punish it.
I hope that made some sense, we had a rough night over here.
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#6 of 6 Old 01-18-2013, 10:26 AM
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Also, here are the guidelines for the GD forum, which give a good overview of what is considered GD at least in terms of posting guidelines. I'd be disinclined to talk too much more about "what isn't GD" because I wouldn't want to imply that I think there is an "us" vs "them". I definitely think it's a spectrum. I think virtually all parents practice GD sometimes and parents who consider themselves GD sometimes fall short of their goals. One of the nicest effects of GD, IMO, is that with practice you tend to extend that sort of understanding to others...including one's self. orngbiggrin.gif

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