What does 'gentle discipline' mean to you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-02-2013, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Just curious as to what people perceive to be 'gentle discipline' in their homes? Does this just mean no spanking? So you strive for no yellling? What about time-outs? Also, how old are your children and how does this seem to be working so far.

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#2 of 5 Old 09-02-2013, 09:59 AM
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I don't use time outs but I definitely think they can be done gently. The only things I don't consider part of gentle discipline are things that involve physical punishment and anything involving something emotionally destructive like humiliation. Human beings have a variety of emotions so I don't think someone who loses his/her temper and yells occasionally is not practicing gentle discipline so long as they aren't destructive and apologize for losing their temper and take responsibility for it. I try to get myself somewhere I can calm down before I reach that point but I am sure I yell out of frustration occasionally. If I do, I apologize and say I lost my temper - not that my child made me yell. To blame the child for it would be destructive. But screaming or yelling at your child as a discipline technique is not gentle.

My kids are 11 and 4 and it's working out well. There are obviously frustrations but I don't see more with my kids than with kids parented with other discipline styles.

I decided not to use time outs largely because they weren't gentle for us specifically due to my daughter's temperament. She would get very physical in resisting being put in or staying in time out, and it would have been more physical and violent than a spanking in that situation, so I had to work things out without them.

I do like the idea of "time in" where a parent and a child sit together somewhere quiet to let the child calm down better than time out, but that might not work well for some kids just like time outs wouldn't with my spirited kid. My younger kid would probably sit in time out but I'm not used to dealing with things in that way at this point.
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#3 of 5 Old 09-02-2013, 01:26 PM
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our boys are 4y.o and 18months old.

GD for us is working/living with the kids, not against them.

our relationship with the kids is our tool for discipline.

I beleive that kids are always ''good'', they never want to be mean, they strive to please us and learn from us.

all we have to do for discipline is : maintaining a good and conncted relationship with our kids, model the behavior we want to teach and fill their physical and emotional needs.

They do the rest!

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#4 of 5 Old 09-02-2013, 07:52 PM
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I don't think gd is a check off list of not doing something or always doing something (with the exception of not spanking and not using verbally or emotionally abusive techniques), it is more a process of taking into account the child's needs and desires along with our own boundaries and being reflective in how you parent and the effect of my actions on the child as a whole person. 


I lean a lot towards Alfie Kohn's work and love his framework on being reflective when deciding on the boundaries we decide are necessary for our families.  I also like Myrna Shure's work and the book How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.  I also like some of the Love and Logic approach because it helped me to be more laid back about letting my dd know what I was willing to do and not do then letting her make her own choices from there without constant nagging about the possible consequences.


In actual practice most of what I do with my dd is listen actively, support her as she makes different plans and discovers her growing interests, observe, reflect, talk, give her a lot of one on one time, and slowly let up on some the boundaries that make up our lives.  She is ten and this has worked very well for us so far with some bumps at a few stages where she made enormous developmental jumps.

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#5 of 5 Old 09-03-2013, 03:00 AM
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Well I think it means listening to your kids, looking at your kids, seeing what they need. 


I also think that if you love your kids, think about your relationship with them, take enough care of yourself and apologise, and try to work out how not to do it again, when you screw up, then you are probably going to be doing as well as anyway. (obviously if you are hitting your kids or yelling dreadful stuff it might be time to get some help).


Of course it looks different at different ages. I think to send a 10 year old to their room for being monstrously rude to everyone else for the seventh time that day is an entirely different event to making a two year old sit with an egg timer on a step. 


I also think a kid who is loved, who has confident, happy parents who genuinely, for the most part, like to have them in their lives, who is part of a family that works things out but also knows when to stop overanalysing, is not likely to have such fragile self esteem that they can't cope when their parents yell occasionally or whatever. And if they do-either becaue they are just like that or because of other factors-, I think they are well placed to recover that self esteem.

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