"Gentle discipline breeds wild kids." - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you say when someone says this to you?

My older child was pretty wild when she was little. She just could not settle down. My younger one, in contrast, is pretty easy. They've been raised the same and they're very different, so I feel like wildness is more about personality then how a kid is raised.

And I know I was wild growing up and I was not raised with GD, and I know other kids from schools and the current and former neighborhood who are wild but were not raised with GD.

To be fair, I do also know kids raised with GD who are wild.

I think there's a confirmation bias issue when people look at GD kids and assume it's the discipline style that caused it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias#cite_note-plous233-2

And I notice that when people see kids raised with GD who are wild, they assume it's because the parents use GD, but when kids who are spanked are wild, no one assumes it's the spankings causing it. People I know (I'm thinking specifically of people in my family) seem to assume the kid's parents haven't been strict ENOUGH. It's like the solution is to always go stricter. No one ever seems to think it's a good idea to back off and try something more gentle. Why is that?

I guess I have a lot of thoughts. What do you think about this? Does GD cause kids to be wilder? Am I right that there's confirmation bias in play?
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#2 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Depends on the kids I think. Personalities differ and children have different challenges as they grow. Some are really eager to please and GD works perfectly. Some might take a little stricter approach or they'll stay wild.

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#3 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 06:35 PM
 
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Of course there's confirmation bias. I have the same confirmation bias when I see kids who are spanked and are poorly "behaved".

I think the discipline style causes their poor behavior.

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#4 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 06:49 PM
 
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Kids are just wild. I don't think any style causes it. Unless there is abuse it is hard to know how a child is parented just by their behavior, especially public behavior where they are eager to be noticed.
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#5 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 09:37 PM
 
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I agree with everything said above, but I also think there may be some SLIGHT truth to the thought that GD causes wilder kids...or rather, the perception that it does.  To be clear, I am in no way saying that I think GD, when done properly, causes wild kids, or that spanking or whatever the non-GD people do is a better way of disciplining your child.  However, I do think that there are people that think they are doing GD when in fact they are doing very little discipline at all; I also think there are people that think they are disciplining when they spank and they're actually bordering on or actually crossing the line into abuse.  Basically, there are parents screwing up in every group.  The outliers among the spanking group, though, may tend to have less wild kids because their kids are cowed and/or terrified of being hit.  The outliers among the GD have kids that know there are no consequences for their actions, and therefore may skew more wild because they know they can get away with it.

 

Just my two cents.  I personally do think that gentle discipline on the bell curve of kids produces the most grounded, empathetic, polite, and high esteem kids overall, but that's because I use it. =)  But it's also because I definitely focus on the discipline part, with "gentle" just being the adjective to describe it when required.

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#6 of 33 Old 11-04-2013, 02:05 AM
 
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I think GD can cause wild kids. I think my kids are fairly wild, in that they are quite untamed, very self directed. I'm quite happy with that. There is an extent to which, IMO, GD is explictly about allowing kids more freedom to be kids and be a bit untamed and I think that can certainly mean that at some stages, a GD kid is less well behaved than a non-GD kid. 

 

Kids will vary so much in this. Some kids "get" empathy at an early age. Others don't.  I've posted elsewhere about this but I'd say my 10 year old is just starting to really, really get it while my 8 year old has always been very empathic. (and this doesn't always translate into one being "nicer" than the other either). The real question for me is what kind of adult am I raising, and what kind of relationship will that kid have with me. What will that kid see as normal in terms of their interactions with others and with their own kids. 

 

I don't appreciate wildness in my kids where it negatively impacts on others. If my kids are attending activities (they are homeschooled) I do expect them to behave appropriately, to follow instructions, etc. When they have guests over, I don't expect out of control behaviour and I don't expect, generally, for them to be running about and hurting each other or property or whatever. 

 

But aside from anything that impacts on another person, its very often my kids who are running ahead, shouting in the park (at appropriate times of day), who can appear pretty wild and, as a group with friends, probably a like a bunch of out of control kids a lot of the time. Except that they are not, they will all "come out of it" remarkably fast if an adult tells them to. I think a part of the problem is that as a society we measure parental success by how adult-like kids are, and to me, that's pretty unhealthy. A good childhood, where everything can be explored, exclaimed over, investigated loudly, is a precursor to a healthy adulthood, IMO. 


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#7 of 33 Old 11-04-2013, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think a part of the problem is that as a society we measure parental success by how adult-like kids are, and to me, that's pretty unhealthy.

This is a really good point. Thanks for that!
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#8 of 33 Old 11-08-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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What does wild mean? Does it mean an active 2 year old or does it mean a teen that is having problems with the police, pregnant, uses drugs, and has dropped out of school? Almost all children have multiple influences in their lives. Just because they get gentle discipline at home they get lots of other messages from other sources in their lives. 

 

There is a theory in psychology that you can do everything right as a parent and there is still a chance your child will turn out "bad". You can do everything wrong and your child turn out "good". The children that turn out bad for no known reason may have some unknown problem and genetic reason. The child that turns out good may have some kind of survival DNA advantage. I don't think they know how many of us are these kinds of people, maybe 10-20 percent. You can have a wild child and no matter how wonderful of parenting you give that child you won't be able to change them. The best you can do is help them do the best with what they are.

 

What gentile discipline is about is how you parent, not about how your children behave.  

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#9 of 33 Old 11-09-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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With my personality and my dad's personality, we were what some people might label "strong willed child". I kept this in mind when parenting my dd. I really felt that when parenting me if my parents had used more gentle discipline or parenting style instead of "do what I say now because I say so", I would have responded better. They tried spankings, time-outs, groundings, writing sentences, taking away privileges with me and didn't get much results. I felt that if they hadn't been so domineering about it in the first place, I would not have needed as much discipline in the second place. I have kept this in mind when dealing with my daughter and have had great results so far.

 

It is very much a personality thing. My oldest brother was a model child, My second brother (who is my step brother) was also not a "wild" child but he did have some anger issues as a teen. Me, I was definitely a wild child from childhood to teen years. We were all parented the same.

 

I also agree that you can't go by how a child acts in public.


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#10 of 33 Old 11-09-2013, 07:56 AM
 
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   I was a wild kid who got spanked plenty.  I've always thought that what that part of the 'discipline' I recieved as a child taught me was how to be a really good liar and not get caught.  I also had loving parents who were doing what they believed to be best, and I knew that.  I spent a lot of time with loving grandparents who never laid a hand on me, although I knew that they had used spanking on their own children.

   I married a man who had been neglected as a child, but never spanked.  When we had kids we decided not to spank.  I educated myself on creative, gentle discipline and wrapped my head around trying to make the punishment suit the crime and putting the kids in the position of having to choose their own restrictions based on the infraction.  I will not say that none of my 6 daughters has ever gone through a wild phase, for some of them have, but really, for having this many kids and having gone through quite a few life passages that were not particularly easy, my children are pretty well grounded and do not act out in either socially or personally destructive ways.

   It is difficult and time consuming to parent creatively and holisticly when you are stressed and tired or going through a difficult process like unemployment or divorce, but it is possible and well worth the effort.  My kids are between the ages of 13 and 31 at this time, so I am not out the woods yet, but I don't think I would change much at this point.

   I did have these kids at home and breastfeed all of them for 4-5 years.  Our initial emotional connections were strong.  I am self employed and tended to take them to work with me  in the early months and years.  I am and always was the primary parent, for both nurturing and discipline.  My ex was always supportive of what I did as long as he didn't have to engage much or do anything.    What is funny to me is that my kids all seem to 'fit in the box' so to speak.  I would have accepted more outrageous and creative behavior, but it has never really come up.  Kids need limits to be safe, they need to be loved and they need to know that you love them unconditionally.  I may not like something my daughter says or does, but I will always love her; she is so much more than an extention of myself.  Quality time sounds good but is impractical because kids tend to need you when they need you and not when it's convienient.   That makes it easy for the kid to try to guilt you, if you're doing the best you can, that has to be good enough and the kid needs to know that.  Be authentic, it is enough.

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#11 of 33 Old 11-09-2013, 08:04 AM
 
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However, I do think that there are people that think they are doing GD when in fact they are doing very little discipline at all; I also think there are people that think they are disciplining when they spank and they're actually bordering on or actually crossing the line into abuse.  Basically, there are parents screwing up in every group.  The outliers among the spanking group, though, may tend to have less wild kids because their kids are cowed and/or terrified of being hit.  The outliers among the GD have kids that know there are no consequences for their actions, and therefore may skew more wild because they know they can get away with it.

 

Just my two cents.  I personally do think that gentle discipline on the bell curve of kids produces the most grounded, empathetic, polite, and high esteem kids overall, but that's because I use it. =)  But it's also because I definitely focus on the discipline part, with "gentle" just being the adjective to describe it when required.

I agree with this, especially with the bolded part.

 

I never had anyone tell my that my kids are wild, but I had plenty of people telling me they were well behaved. However, they aren't obedient in the least. My ds is very responsible, but he wouldn't do things just because people (including me) told him to.

I am also a believer in gentle discipline (with the emphasis on "discipline").


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#12 of 33 Old 11-09-2013, 08:56 AM
 
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I think GD might seem "wild" because they likely feel more comfortable in expressing strong emotions which seems to be at odds with how children's behaviour is viewed in our North American culture. I think the term wild is also a term people use because spirited children seem incongruent with obedient. I would rather have a child who trusts herself and is willing to scream NO at the highest levels then one who will just go with the flow (and here's hoping it's a good flow!) because it's easier. I see the looks I get sometimes when one of my girls is screaming or making noise in public (which ALL CHILDREN DO at some point in time) and the glares when instead of yelling at them or punishing them I get down to their level and talk to them or comfort them or even hug them! But I have also been approached and have been told by many others "I wish my mother had treated me like you just did when I was upset." And that makes me think of why I parent the way I do - I just ask myself how would I like to be treated by my mother in this moment? Usually it's with love and understanding. 

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#13 of 33 Old 11-09-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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I don't think that's true.  What I do think is true though is that when my kids were younger I wanted to be the perfect AP mom and didn't set enough boundaries...not for my kids but myself.  I didn't insist on time and money for self care or finding child care for things that I probably should have so I was always totally worn out and dragging my kids on every single errand and social event.  By the time I got to the park with my kids I was too tired to supervise them properly and they were just out and about in a lot of environments that were probably too challenging for their age.  I can see how I probably gave GD a bad rap but that's not a problem with the parenting method, just poor execution :)  I think it's actually pretty common in the AP community that moms are just overextended.

 

Also GD is just the method...you can be GD and have low standards for your kids behavior or be GD and have high (but age appropriate) standards for your kids behavior.  If yelling at my kids and punishing them actually worked we would probably do it.  If you've started out raising kids to expect respect and to express themselves openly you just can't go back - they will just call you on it :)  If my kids are too wild then to me it means double down on GD and actually stop and listen to them and sort out what's going on.

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#14 of 33 Old 11-10-2013, 03:15 PM
 
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I think it varies. In my experience, a lot of people who claim GD simply don't discipline at all. It has been interesting to see our preschool class go to private, public, and charter schools after graduation. Parents choose really interesting and varied options and I think it speaks to a lot of how they view discipline (and finances, of course). I think that GD is an approach some parents adopt *because* they have a wild kid and it helps that particular kid. 

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#15 of 33 Old 11-10-2013, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it varies. In my experience, a lot of people who claim GD simply don't discipline at all. It has been interesting to see our preschool class go to private, public, and charter schools after graduation. Parents choose really interesting and varied options and I think it speaks to a lot of how they view discipline (and finances, of course). I think that GD is an approach some parents adopt *because* they have a wild kid and it helps that particular kid. 


This seems like a good point to me, that some parents might choose GD *because* they have a wild kid and other stuff hasn't worked, so the GD isn't breeding the wild kid but there is GD and there is a wild kid.

I also agree with those who say that there are probably people who don't really discipline at all and call it GD and whose kids are wild because they've never been told what boundaries there are. If kids aren't taught about boundaries, it isn't necessarily a personality trait, but just a lack of education on how to behave.
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#16 of 33 Old 11-14-2013, 08:36 PM
 
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My kids can be total nutjobs, but when they want to be they are very calm, thoughtful, and introspective. And I think with age and maturity they will continue on that path. Honestly sometimes when I see kids out in public who are SO well behaved I think... well, what am I doing wrong? It could be personality, or it could be that they're scared to act differently. Either way, I'm glad I do GD. I was raised that way, along with my sister, and we are both pretty great human beings, if I can pat us on the back for a minute :). 

 

Also my kids are extremely well-behaved in school, at other peoples houses when I'm not around, etc. I'm always aghast at parent-teacher conferences for DS2 when the teachers say he's a complete angel. But that just means my kids feel like it's safe to let their yayas out at home. And that's pretty cool. 


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#17 of 33 Old 11-15-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Some kids are just fairly compliant (mine) and also have naturally inhibited personalities (mine) so they don't feel comfortable letting out their crazy unless at home. Yes, it does make me a very lucky Mom in this regard.

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#18 of 33 Old 11-15-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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   I was a wild kid who got spanked plenty.  I've always thought that what that part of the 'discipline' I recieved as a child taught me was how to be a really good liar and not get caught.  I also had loving parents who were doing what they believed to be best, and I knew that.  I spent a lot of time with loving grandparents who never laid a hand on me, although I knew that they had used spanking on their own children.

This.  Except my sister was the "wild" one - but I would say I was raised with a heavier hand than her....never quite understood it but in the short 2 1/2 yrs between us my parents became much less concerned about parenting child number 2 and allowed her far more leeway in her actions than I ever had.  To this day she gets more space and issue are dropped to avoid confrontation.  I'm 30, she's 27 and I'm STILL the one who is asked to let things go and not upset her.  Ugh.

 

I took it very personally and have been very thoughtful on how I raise my daughter because of my experiences.  I was very quite, always afraid to do wrong, and even if it was unintentional, as a side effect of the spanking I absolutely did learn to lie to try and avoid punishment.

 

My 2yo DD is incredibly outgoing, perceptive, strong willed, spirited, comedic....everything I was not (well perceptive, yes, but not the rest!) and I love her dearly because she makes me a better person by forcing me out of my comfort zone, and making me be present as a parent.  I don't try, nor do I ever want to control her every move.  I want her to remain a free thinker and to go after things and to learn how to fall with grace and get back up and try again.

 

Spanking her would lead to horrific tantrums and deceit (DH did once and believe me the behavior didn't end and she severely distrusted him for a while afterwards) and it's not something I want to do.  I was raised by spankers and yellers...I hated it.  When I was in college studying animal behavior and made the decision to become a dog trainer, that's when I was introduced to the world of positive methods, and what an eye opener that was!  Once I saw the results with my first dog - confident, fearless, rock solid, loving, willing to do anything I asked - I swore there had to be a better way to raise my future kids.  And thus here I am in the world of GD and I couldn't be happier.  My DD is appropriate when she needs to be, easy to talk to, and from the outside probably appears pretty calm in public (she saves the wild stuff for us at home it seems).  But she's absolutely the ring leader among her group of neighborhood pals and is usually up to no good at home because she loves nothing more than testing and exploring the things around her, and I wouldn't want it any other way!

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#19 of 33 Old 11-15-2013, 02:39 PM
 
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I grew up with corporeal punishment, so I have no idea what GD looks like. What do you guys consider GD and more importantly book references please!

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#20 of 33 Old 11-16-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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GD involves a lot of talking things out with them instead of yelling, lecturing, spanking, and punishments. Often drawing out possible solutions from the child so it's a joint choice. Playful diffusing of problems sometimes. Sometimes natural consequences, including just letting things happen, such as feeling cold if they insist on no coat and discovering for themselves they need it, or breaking a toy and losing it when they use it wrong. In our family we have to lean toward imposed consequences related to the problem behavior and cooling down in supervised time-outs for the most part, not entirely GD, but you do whatever works the way your child is.

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#21 of 33 Old 11-18-2013, 06:43 AM
 
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I've been a mom for 12 years and have raised dogs. GD goes a long ways to producing a self - constrained indiviual. Punishment is a poor method at best. My kids are well behaved because I model good behavior and allow them to be kids. My dogs are very obedient and very intelligent; my kids are 10 x smarter than the dogs and I often need my wits about me to think quick. Raising dogs without hitting but rather thoughtful training set me up for successfully raising my kids with kindness, motivation, minor penalties, and house rules. THe house rules are not written-- but they are consistent and morph as my children age. My 2 boys are really different. What motivates one does not motivate the other. THe rules might apply differently to each. Dicipline means " to teach". I don't hit my dogs and I don't spank my kids. I worked hard to create a relationship of trust-- hitting and hurting is not trust. I know my children well and know when they are lying to me . . . and then the best part is they will fess up because they trust me. I don't punish for that lying, but it is an opportunity to remind them of the possible consequences. A teaching moment. I will need them to trust me when they hit the teenage years. ( Dreading) Every interaction builds a childs behavior-- teaching happens all the time. So I take time and make for my children. How a child turns out reflects the million stepping stones of childhood.

I often hear from teachers how nicely my kids behave in school--and I just smile and pat myself on the back. THey are well behaved because I helped teach them.
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#22 of 33 Old 11-18-2013, 07:02 AM
 
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GD involves a lot of talking things out with them instead of yelling, lecturing, spanking, and punishments. Often drawing out possible solutions from the child so it's a joint choice. Playful diffusing of problems sometimes. Sometimes natural consequences, including just letting things happen, such as feeling cold if they insist on no coat and discovering for themselves they need it, or breaking a toy and losing it when they use it wrong. In our family we have to lean toward imposed consequences related to the problem behavior and cooling down in supervised time-outs for the most part, not entirely GD, but you do whatever works the way your child is.




 



I like your approach. Cooling down in supervised time outs can be necessary when children don't have the internal functioning yet to rethink the situaiton. In general Ihave found this to be best used in rare situations. It had a negative effect in my older son, so I abandoned this method; and second son didn't need it. Consequences both positive and negative are gentle methods in my book. Again I look to each child to guide me in what is perceived as gentle guidence and what is too harsh. NOt a one size fits all solution or conceqence.
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#23 of 33 Old 11-18-2013, 09:31 AM
 
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So we had a birthday party for my 2yo yesterday and the real "wild children" were over - 4 of them ages 3-12, all raised by an incredibly heavy handed mother who not only uses spanking (and I mean borderline beating) but also shaming, belittling and public humiliation.  And while I call them wild , they aren't so horrible I can't keep them in line (yah, mom is generally working when they come over with dad who pays zero attention until someone cries then just steps in to yell, very frustrating for me), they do refer to DH and I as their aunt and uncle and we are godparents for the youngest.  But they often resort to very rough behaviors amongst themselves and take pleasure in ratting out one another and watching "someone else" be punished.  And I noticed it in a big way yesterday.  The oldest boy (12) decided to pull his dad over and tell him that the brother (6) said 'shit'.  It wasn't at anyone just something he mumbled in talking to himself, and the tattling did not happen immediately afterwards, but just as they were getting ready to leave so no idea what triggered it.  The father walked over, and was right in his face trying to whisper, but it was loud, forceful, and he had him by the arm shaking him demanding to know the exact conversation that went on.  It killed me to see this because this particular kid is the quietest of their bunch, and by far the moist sensitive, and yet the parents openly talk about how they really don't like him as much as the others....f*d up, right?  And it absolutely brought me to thinking about this thread and when they left I was talking with my friend about it, who has no kids, but works with animals as well and she noticed right away the lack of respect these kids had for one another.  My daughter might have her wild moments (what 2yo doesn't?) but she's so out of her element when she sees these kids physically abusing one another and I can see the wheels turning in her little head, because under her sometimes tough, rough and tumble exterior, she is such a gentle soul and I think she has a hard time understanding why they aren't nice to one another.  Thus the reason we limit interactions with these kids in spite of the long term friendship between DH and their father.  So yah, heavy handed approach is far more damaging than GD will ever be IMO.

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#24 of 33 Old 11-18-2013, 10:17 AM
 
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THis is so sad. All the family members pay a price. My kids can tell me a secret and I keep it. THey do try to pry it out of me. lol BUt no, I promised I would not tell. ANd I think they actually trust me MORE. I can't imagine tell one child I loved him/her more than another-- they are all special. DO I find one easier than another . . yes, but love him less, NO.

As a god parent do you ever feel your words would be listened to?
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#25 of 33 Old 11-18-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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I've been following along on this discussion, and today at lunch I was reminded of it. I was annoyed with my 3 year old for squirming all around at the table, and she said "Mom, it's O-KAY. The year before last year I was just a little BABY. I'm still getting used to it!"

She's so right. I think kids are just kind of wild. GD doesn't breed that. It just doesn't fight so hard against what's normal.
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#26 of 33 Old 11-19-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by A Mother Hen View Post

As a god parent do you ever feel your words would be listened to?

Unfortunately no.  She's very much "I have 4 kids, I'll tell everyone else how to parent".  My good friend (the no kids one) made the comment once that just because she hasn't killed them yet doesn't make her parent of the year and I have to laugh at that because it's so true. Sad of course how she treats them but laughable that her perception is so skewed.

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#27 of 33 Old 11-19-2013, 11:24 PM
 
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  However, I do think that there are people that think they are doing GD when in fact they are doing very little discipline at all;

What I was going to say.


--Breastfeeding----2nd grade Teaching----Cosleeping----Cloth Diapering -- --Bookworm Mom
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#28 of 33 Old 11-20-2013, 12:09 PM
 
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What does wild mean? Does it mean an active 2 year old or does it mean a teen that is having problems with the police, pregnant, uses drugs, and has dropped out of school? Almost all children have multiple influences in their lives. Just because they get gentle discipline at home they get lots of other messages from other sources in their lives. 

 

There is a theory in psychology that you can do everything right as a parent and there is still a chance your child will turn out "bad". You can do everything wrong and your child turn out "good". The children that turn out bad for no known reason may have some unknown problem and genetic reason. The child that turns out good may have some kind of survival DNA advantage. I don't think they know how many of us are these kinds of people, maybe 10-20 percent. You can have a wild child and no matter how wonderful of parenting you give that child you won't be able to change them. The best you can do is help them do the best with what they are.

 

What gentile discipline is about is how you parent, not about how your children behave.  

 

I like how you put this. Some kids are more active than others, less compliant. Kids come in different shapes and sizes and personalities.

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#29 of 33 Old 11-20-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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Hello. New to mothering forum. I am interested in any books you all would recommend for gentle disciplining techniques. My LO is a week shy of 9 months. And of course does nothing wrong YET lol! TIA
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#30 of 33 Old 11-21-2013, 08:58 AM
 
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Unfortunately no.  She's very much "I have 4 kids, I'll tell everyone else how to parent".  My good friend (the no kids one) made the comment once that just because she hasn't killed them yet doesn't make her parent of the year and I have to laugh at that because it's so true. Sad of course how she treats them but laughable that her perception is so skewed.

I'm not surprised at your answer. Kinda fits in the whole senerio. 

 

Perhaps you can impose some of your house rules on your guests. It is your home afterall. I realize I am likely to be much older than you and I have seen a lot of life and as such have become a little more outpoken with my friends. IT does come with a price of course, butI am happier for it. 

 

Perhaps come up with "house rules" and make a nice gift of it for Christmas to your friend.  OFten people dont realize the impact of their words and actions-- so sad, these children are being destroyed by the parents. I wish there was a way to help this family. 

 

Looks like lots of small steps. YOu can also talk to the kids about what the rules are in YOUR house. With smiles and positive talk. THe kids will get it even if you have to remind them every time they walk thru your door. 

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