Changing my discipline techniques... where do I learn about GD/CP? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 03-16-2014, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 3.5 yrs old and DS is 15 months.
With my first, I went to a Child Guidance class that has a different way of training a child... and I feel I need to change this or try something different.

 

I do not even know what Gentle Discipline means... nor Conscious Parenting. Are they similar? Am I correct that there is no spanking involved?

I have several reasons for this change... and I am looking for a good book about it. I'm a conservative Christian so, I don't want books that start talking about 'alternative energy' (yoga, etc). Or at least not too much of it. Can someone recommend something? I've googled and not sure what to pick...

I am planning on calling a couple conservative Christian mothers (with adult kids now) who never spanked their kids...

UPDATE: Hmmmm, I read a Post and a few people said something about there not being any rules...

If this is the case, I"m not sure GD will work for us (I'm not about to write a sermon explaining/convincing/supporting my belief, but) God's rules are rules that we live by - the 10 commandments. I'm not sure if this affects GD...


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#2 of 23 Old 03-17-2014, 05:00 PM
 
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Ok, fair warning, I am not religious so take that into consideration if feedback from religiously-like-minded parents is what you're after.  But, I will say that I think gentle parenting is not exclusive to any spiritual (or lack thereof) belief system. I will also say that permissive parenting is NOT GD. I would go so far as to say that parenting with low expectations of children is as contrary to GD as anything else. 

 

Now there are people for whom the only forms of discipline they know are punitive. For those people, a lack of punishment can indicate a lack of discipline. That is because they don't have enough tools in their box. Or, more like it, they don't realize that all the other wonderful things they do to teach their children are, in fact, forms of discipline. And that it is likely that those things are what are really having a positive impact on their family. 

 

I would say that, yes, GD does mean not punishing as a form of violence (spanking, hitting, isolation).  I have used some forms of punishment (aka "logical consequences"), which I think are compatible with GD if used with kindness. I would say, however, that I resort to these things out of personal/parenting inadequacies - I think the best disciplinarians don't need to resort to these things at all. I also raise my voice sometimes. I don't think of this as a form of discipline...it's just something that happens sometimes and I think my kids know that I'm letting off steam. 

 

I share this to let you know that GD is not this robot like uber-always peaceful thing. It can be very much an authentic way to be and can fit with a lot of different personality types. 

 

We have rules and high expectations. I would say that we don't generally have a "parent's way is always the right way" sort of situation but I think even that can work within the context of GD. More than anything, I'd say that GD is a focus on age-appropriate expectations and lots of listening - and respect. Other than that, I think it can look a lot of ways. 

 

I don't have any Christian book suggestions but a good place to start for a newbie would be "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be". It's a great book and very respectful of the journey we're all on. My other favorite is "Parent Effectiveness Training". Another great book, especially for parents of older children. Neither of these books contradict Christianity in anyway that I can imagine/recall. 

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#3 of 23 Old 03-17-2014, 05:52 PM
 
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I appreciate your understanding of how your view of God impacts your parenting.  I, too, am a Christian, and have noticed that as my understanding of God changed, so did many things I valued.

 

So, bear with me here.  If it is true that the "law is schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ", and salvation is the "law of liberty", what, exactly, is the lesson I want my children to learn? 

 

I used to think that if I sinned, in any way, I would be lost, even after I had been saved.  I do still believe it is possible to not be saved after one has been, but I think it is a lot harder than I used to.  I don't think my salvation is dependent upon my perfect behavior anymore.  That doesn't mean I can do what I want (Romans), but that the driving force behind my actions is love, not fear.  I see the goodness of my God and want to be close, rather than felt the heat from hell and the only other way to run is towards God.  Solomon said that "fear is the beginning of knowledge,"  but God said that, "Perfect love casts out fear."  And, also, that "the fearful shall not inherit the kingdom."  Lots to think about. 

 

As that translates to how I treat my children, I am very, very focused on attitude, and very little focused on action.  I want their hearts to be towards me and towards God.  I want them to feel the richness of a healthy relationship, and to understand forgiveness.  The other day, dd threw a shirt at ds (they were folding laundry), and accidentally knocked a ceramic snowman off the mantle.  It shattered.  She knew how much I liked it, and she was desperate to pay for it.  It was a great opportunity to show her forgiveness.  I counseled her to remember my refusal to accept her money was like God's refusal to accept her works.  It's not about works.  Is it?

 

Even if it were about works, the question of when is someone saved is an issue.  Do you believe in the sinner's prayer?  Baptism?  Some other marker?  Before that, do the good works of sinner somehow count for lesser damnation?  If not, why does it matter if the sinner sins?  Why does it matter if the child doesn't live by the rules?  Is salvation by works?  Or by faith?  James said "I will show you my faith BY my works."  Works are faith made evident.  Works aren't salvation earned.

 

I do shelter my children somewhat.  A friend once said that teaching your children to habitually serve God, as well as habitually avoid sin, will be very helpful to them when they make the choice to serve on their own.  She said it was like someone who lost their arm would often feel the pain as though it were there, and long for it.  (An analogy of cutting yourself off from the world).  But, if you had never had the arm, you wouldn't feel the pain of its loss.  I think she has something there.

 

So, as far as rules go.  Love your neighbor as your self.  Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, and mind.  The rule is LOVE.  That often translates to RESPECT.

 

I want my children to see the gospel in me.  I want them to see Christ in me.  Yes, sometimes I make them do things, but it's not about the things.  It's about the heart and the attitude and love toward each other.  If I am having a problem with one of my children, odds are I've set them up poorly.  I've failed to train them, and to love them with the love of Christ.

 

Sounds nicely philosophical, I know, but you are asking for the practical.  When my children are behaving in ways I do not like, I follow this basic method to solve the problem:

 

1.) Have I properly cared for their physical needs?  Are they hungry, thirsty, tired, need a supplement of some kind, or other support?

2.) Have I properly cared for their emotional needs?  Are they lonely, scared, overwhelmed, confused?  Am I expecting too much? 

 

For #1 and #2, Have I tempted them beyond what they are able?  Have I provided a way of escape?  Have I shown them the way of escape, and helped them to understand the limitations and needs of their flesh?  It doesn't change accountability for our actions, but blaming them for failing isn't helpful.  We have to teach them how to not fail, or how to shore themselves back up again when they do.  For example, ds gets rough with his sisters, and sometimes grumpy.  Dh also gets edgy if he hasn't worked out enough.  So, we taught ds to burn steam by working out.  The other day, he asked if he could do some pushups.  He is learning to control himself, WITHOUT having to be punished and shamed for the limitations of his little boy self. 

 

3.) Have I taught them, in easy, incremental lessons, HOW to behave?  Have I been clear and fair and trustworthy?

 

Again...am I tempting them?  Provoking them to wrath?  Are they unprepared?  Our Father doesn't leave us to flounder, and then punish us.  We shouldn't do that to our children. 

 

If I have fully done my part for my children, THEN it is time to take it to them.  THEN it is an attitude problem on their part that needs to be addressed. 

 

It's pretty rare it gets to that point around here.

 

eta: sorry that was so long...

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#4 of 23 Old 03-17-2014, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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IdentityCrisisMama, thanks for the book recommendations and your valuable input.

 

FisherFamily, again: Love your response. I totally see how the law is liberating. The law may be a list of DO NOTs for some but to do the opposite of that... to do good... there is no limit. It's infinite... free to do as much good...

Habitually serve God and habitually avoid sin... love the analogy w/ the arm.

 

All the spiritual points you made, I agree w/ too. So, thank you for the lengthy reply and your three points on how you solve problems... I'm going to be thinking about this for some time. I'd love to try this out and see how it goes.

 

Child guidance has been one of the hardest things I've done. It has magnified my character flaws. And I see that my technique has to change... for my kids... and myself.

 

Thank you...


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#5 of 23 Old 03-18-2014, 05:17 AM
 
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Child guidance has been one of the hardest things I've done. It has magnified my character flaws. And I see that my technique has to change... for my kids... and myself.

 

 

Please keep in mind, mama, that you have two kids at ages that are often especially difficult to navigate behavior wise. 3.5 is a hard age - no matter how good a parent is with discipline/teaching/compassion.  

 

I'm making an assumption because you said you are especially conservative, that perhaps you are dedicated to consistency and perhaps this is backfiring a bit. I have some friends like this. My observation about super strict "consistency" parenting is that what this really models to children is stubbornness. That once you set your mind on something, your mind must never change. This is an especially confusing message to sent to a three year old because they are naturally rather gifted in this department. :D


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#6 of 23 Old 03-18-2014, 09:07 AM
 
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We are strong Christians and I run into a certain attitude a lot when talking to other Christian parents. They often seem obsessed with order and obedience and controlling their children. I am a strong Christian and want to instill that in my child but this is not how God parents us. God parents us in love and because of that love we follow and obey his rules. He gave us free will and is not obsessed with being controlling (I'm not saying you are controlling at all this has just been my experience with many parents I've come across). I think children need limits and expectations but I also think they need a whole lot of love, patience, kindness, goodness, self control (on both our and their parts), faithfulness (to do teach them with love every day even when they try us!), I don't often see much peace and joy in these homes.. A lot of my friends that were raised this way ended up leaving the faith out of hurt and not wanting any part of a relationship with a God they believe is very harsh and lacks a loving understanding side (which of course he has but they have missed out on learning about that).. This is kind of a ramble but it's something that I find so frustrating and I believe that a lot of damage is done to children and their relationships with God and their parents in the name of "training up a child". There are ways to bring up children to love God and follow rules without breaking their spirits. I liked the book "Grace based parenting" for a Christian perspective and I also loved "Peaceful Parent Happy Kids". Good luck and please know that my rantiness was not at you at all just at parents that I have come across!
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#7 of 23 Old 03-18-2014, 09:13 AM
 
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Also both of the books I mentioned are very straightforward and not "alternative energy" for lack of a better word smile.gif the grace based parenting one is more a philosophy while the peaceful parent happy kids has more techniques.. I also liked "the happiest toddler on the block" for a quick easy read with some helpful techniques but I don't think it is necessarily gentle discipline I took what I liked from it and left the rest. Another great resource is the aha parenting website www.ahaprwnting.com. You can look up specific issues that you are dealing with on that website
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#8 of 23 Old 03-18-2014, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...Another great resource is the aha parenting website www.ahaprwnting.com. You can look up specific issues that you are dealing with on that website

 

I couldn't get the website to work. Can you double check the URL?

Thank you for your reply and book recommendations...


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#9 of 23 Old 03-19-2014, 05:33 AM
 
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Germin8, one other option for you is to use this forum to trouble-shoot individual problems. One of the books I recommended does a great job explaining why as parents we should avoid looking at behavior challenges lumped together as one big problem to fix. That's hard on us and it's especially hard on kids.

 

If you can look at one issue that's bothering you and really break it down it can be enormously helpful in terms of long-term skill building. 

 

In doing this what you will often find is that A. the problem could have been prevented, rather than solved. B. given all the factors, the expectations of the child may well not have been reasonable. and C. the solutions are really quite simple and gentle for the future. 


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#10 of 23 Old 03-19-2014, 06:42 AM
 
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Sorry on my phone smile.gif www.ahaparenting.com
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#11 of 23 Old 03-26-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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Read "Christlike Parenting" by Latham.

 

"Dr. Latham's suggestions are simple, scriptural, and amazingly effective. Parents have used his unique combination of Christian principles and behavioral science to handle everything from backtalk and profanity to children who threaten violence and the results have been described as miraculous."

 

This book is more about how best to get your kid to follow whatever rules you have decide to set.

 

The book does not advocate spanking since behavioral science shows it's far from the best approach, and Latham's not one of those Christians who thinks God has commanded him to beat his kids.

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#12 of 23 Old 03-31-2014, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks tadamsmar, I ordered the book! and, it's on my reading queue. smile.gif so far, it interests me most so I may jump right into it when I get it.

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#13 of 23 Old 04-16-2014, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Brief Update: I have really enjoyed the book "Grace Based Parenting" although, I still disagree with some things he said. I have also been reading Peaceful Parent Happy Kid and Christlike Parenting... both offer good techniques and ideas. I have learned from all these books... they are good... my favorite being Graced Based Parenting... but, I felt there was more needed.

 

Recently, a good friend recommended Shepherding a Child's Heart. She talked to me about all the above the books cover but was able to identify that missing piece for me. The child's heart. The part I didn't agree on w/ GBP was the example that tattoos are not forbidden in the bible. Biblically, I disagree. (btw, the author, his wife, and kids do not have tattoos...). But, even if I agreed, I felt that we had to ask ourselves what were the motives for the child/teen to want a tattoo... or, say, bleach/color their hair. And were those motives Christ-like? My friend gave examples of how we need to focus on the child's hearts when they are asked to do something (obey)... they need to do it b/c they want to not b/c they were told to. And she recommended Shepherding a Child's Heart. I'll be adding it to my shopping list... and thought to spread the word here.

 

"Shepherding a Child's Heart"


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#14 of 23 Old 04-16-2014, 10:14 PM
 
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a Great website is  "Gentle Christian Mothers"  http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/

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#15 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 06:23 AM
 
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The author  of "Sheparding a Child's Heart" has no training in psychology.  He's a big believer in spanking.

 

Latham, the author of "Christlike Parenting" reject spanking as to most other psychologists.  The "rod" in the Bible can be interpreted as the rod of guidance, the shepherd's rod.  Most people associate the word "discipline' with punishment, but it means guidance or training.   And the New Covenant can be viewed as rejecting certain practices found in the Old Testament.

 

I have noticed that all Christian parenting gurus that push spanking also put lot of stock in "obedience".  But what they actually mean is the appearance of obedience when the child is face to face with the parent.  Most kids will not sass you to your face if you beat them enough when they do it.  But this is superficial obedience.  And some kids will defy spanking (my wife said she was one of them), since most parents will only go so far with spanking, a good many kids will just stubbornly take it up to the point where the parent is inhibited from going farther.

 

However, the most common countermeasures that kids end up employing against spanking are sneakiness and avoidance.  Spanking teaches the kid to avoid his own parents and hide stuff from them and lie when they can get away from it.  In response, the parent becomes like a CIA agent in hostile territory, it's hard for the parent to find out what is really going on, and this intelligence gathering challenge gets much worse as the kid gets older.

 

The "Christlike Parenting" approach is to use the methods from behavioral science to make your values magnetic, to make your values attractive to the kid, to draw your kid towards your values.   After all Christ said "follow me" he did not say "I'll beat the crap out of you if you don't stay close".   When you use positive discipline to teach values, the kid will want to bring their accomplishments to your attention.  You get the opposite of the sneakiness and avoidance that spanking teaches.

 

In summary, spanking fosters sneakiness and avoidance of the parent,  psychologist have found that is it not necessary, and you don't have to spank to be a Christian.

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#16 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 06:43 AM
 
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I don't think tattoos or dyeing hair has anything important to do with core values.  They may use them to express stuff you don't want them to express, but trying to directly prevent that will likely backfire on you.   Focus on drawing them in the direction you want them to go.

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#17 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 06:58 AM
 
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In summary, spanking fosters sneakiness and avoidance of the parent,  psychologist have found that is it not necessary, and you don't have to spank to be a Christian.

I have seen this exact scenario played out many, many times.  The worst behaved children I have encountered are those whose parents either a) spank or b) practice no discipline at all.  Natural consequences tend to be non-violent and make sense.

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#18 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah yes, my friend did mention the spanking part... and I forgot to mention that.. but I was going to just take the part regarding the heart. Ah well... perhaps I will get the $2 kindle version to get what I want out of the book and ignore the rest... sorta what I'm doing with the other book I'm reading.

 

Yes, the book gave examples on how they drew them away from tattoos... but not hair dyeing.  This is where my friend mentioned to get to the heart of why they would want to.

 

Oh, I love that interpretation of sparing the rod. Gives a whole new meaning to "spare the rod" and "thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me"

 

Interesting point about sneakiness and avoidance. I hadn't thought of that, but can totally see it.

UPdate regarding term "rod": That doesn't explain Proverbs 23:13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death." But, this is the only page that sheds light on the difference between the two that does NOT promote spanking... all others to mention it as a tool to "cause harm", so to speak: http://bentalk123.blogspot.com/2009/01/learning-from-real-shepherd-dr-w.html
I need to get my interlinear bible for this kind of study... :)


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#19 of 23 Old 04-18-2014, 04:21 AM
 
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The heart (attitude) is a big part of.everything, and why the same rule or consequense.applied "consistently" is often ineffective.

Say, two kids are fighting over a toy. My response isn't predictable, but, rather whatever address the level of selfishness each child is displaying. Was one child wronged, yet lashed out angerily? I do not a knowledge the wrong done to them. I don't because I am training the heart to be unselfish, and the character strong.

The early years are the time when we are establishing communication in our relationship with our children. It's really important to set the right tone, because that will impact our influence their entire lives.
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#20 of 23 Old 04-18-2014, 05:43 AM
 
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Ah yes, my friend did mention the spanking part... and I forgot to mention that.. but I was going to just take the part regarding the heart. Ah well... perhaps I will get the $2 kindle version to get what I want out of the book and ignore the rest... sorta what I'm doing with the other book I'm reading.

 

Yes, the book gave examples on how they drew them away from tattoos... but not hair dyeing.  This is where my friend mentioned to get to the heart of why they would want to.

 

Oh, I love that interpretation of sparing the rod. Gives a whole new meaning to "spare the rod" and "thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me"

 

Interesting point about sneakiness and avoidance. I hadn't thought of that, but can totally see it.

UPdate regarding term "rod": That doesn't explain Proverbs 23:13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death." But, this is the only page that sheds light on the difference between the two that does NOT promote spanking... all others to mention it as a tool to "cause harm", so to speak: http://bentalk123.blogspot.com/2009/01/learning-from-real-shepherd-dr-w.html
I need to get my interlinear bible for this kind of study... :)

http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/community/showthread.php?t=115222  Check this thread out.

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What would I do without all of you? Thank you. This is an eternal life and death situation and for your input, I am truly and forever grateful.

 

I have a lot of undoing to do for my 3.5 year old... it will take lots of work now that this new light has come into my life. I am starting a new with my 16 month old and hopefully our next child/ren.


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#22 of 23 Old 04-19-2014, 06:50 AM
 
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You hear a lot about faith vs reason, like there is some kind of tug of war.  Good things happen when faith and reason pull in the same direction in parenting.

 

Christlike Parenting is an example of this.  Also this site:

 

http://www.ldsparentcoach.org/Parental_Attention.html

 

The site was created by Tom Dozier.  Dozier was inspired by the author of Christlike Parenting

 

Boys Town, a Catholic charity, was an early adopter of parenting methods developed in scientific research.  They transformed from orphanages  to group homes led by couples trained in cutting-edge scientific methods, and they continue to fund research in this area. Boy Town Press is a good source for parenting books and videos:

 

https://www.boystownpress.org/

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#23 of 23 Old 04-19-2014, 05:29 PM
 
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If you can make other methods effective, you will not feel the need to spank. One problem that some have with giving up spanking is the idea that it's the most effective punishment.  This is not really true, but it's worth mentioning the methods that make less severe punishments more effective.   Punishments like taking away a toy or privilege for the rest of the day.  

 

1. Use a sanction that starts immediately after the unwanted behavior.

 

2..  Never threaten, just impose the sanction when warranted

 

3.  Calmly impose the sanction.

 

4.  Ignore protests, no debating.  Don't let the kid divert you from following through.  Just do it.

 

5.  Don't sympathize later.  Don't say they deserved it, but act like they deserved it.  [edit: show love for the kid, but don't show any love for the sanctioned behavior]

 

6. Talk very little if at all.  "No biting" at most, if you really need to explain.  [edit: If you feel a need for talk, try it later, not as an immediate response to the unwanted behavior]

 

7.  A corollary of #1.  Keep the restriction short.  Since immediacy is important longer sanctions are ineffective and just breed resentment.  Also, if the sanction is more than a day, then you can't use it again for more than a day.

 

It pretty much comes down to letting actions do the talking.  Of course, you have to be confident of what you are doing or this will not feel comfortable, so think about it in advance.

 

Since you do little or no explaining when you impose the sanction, you should explain the consequences in advance, so the kid knows whats coming if they bite.

 

Don't use punishment for behavior that is harmless in the short run.  You can give the opposite positive attention to encourage it, and ignore the unwanted behavior - you get more of what you pay attention to.

 

Don't use punishment try to encourage a behavior, like compliance with chores. You can start by rewarding small steps in the right direction with positive attention.  You can use pretend games to get behaviors going and give them positive attention.  You can use token rewards charts to get behaviors going and keep them going with positive attention.

 

You can limit punishment to aggression.

 

All this applies to time out, but time out is not really a punishment, it's like ignoring in that it's time out from reinforcement.  If a kid defies time out (as some will) you can get them to do pretend time outs and praise and reward them for a well-executed time out.  And you can reward real well-executed time outs.  Time out works even if you reward it.  Time out should last 1 minute per year of age.

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