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#61 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
......No one will ever convince me that the natural state of parenting is for kids not to have firm consequences to their actions, nor will I believe that all children will respond best to a certain way of parenting. There is too much diversity in people's temperments for me to believe that......

I was raised GD. I'm 40 now. I couldn't stand/did not respect my mother when I was a kid....and I still don't respect her as a mother now. Living a life without consequences? Even as a kid I thougt it was stupid. And when she used to go to her bedroom-- I didn't understand that she was trying to punish me. I just thought she was weak.

All this making sandwiches for people who have disrespected you has got me confused. Granted, my DD is only 14 months old, so I'm not going through what many of you are going through yet. But from my dog training perspective, giving some one what they wanted without regard for the bad behavior they used to get it is REINFORCING the bad behavior. Put more simply-- if I knew that I could get a sandwich from you whether I asked in a nice way or in a mean way...then I wouldn't stop asking in a mean way, because I'd still get my sandwich.

I dunno. If these tactics work for you and your children, then that's wonderful. I fully support your choices. It's just that on a more basic level, I don't see how modeling good behavior while reinforcing/rewarding negative behavior is supposed to work with children.

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#62 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by faithnj
I was raised GD. I'm 40 now. I couldn't stand/did not respect my mother when I was a kid....and I still don't respect her as a mother now. Living a life without consequences? Even as a kid I thougt it was stupid. And when she used to go to her bedroom-- I didn't understand that she was trying to punish me. I just thought she was weak.
Hi Faithnj -

Your insight is really interesting to me - as I've not met many people actually raised GD. I wanted to reply to make the point that - all GD forms do not advocate "no consequences" -- there are some approaches that seem to head that direction - but there are others that definitely advocate logical consequences and positive time outs (again - things that people following more liberal approaches usually bristle about), etc. For me, much of this thread has been about implementing consequences when the need arises - and what type of consequences are appropriate AND effective - and how to do it in a GD way (e.g., my son won't willing go to "positive time out" - I'd have to drag him up the stairs kicking and screaming - I feel very UN-GD when that happens - and that has happened in the past). I still don't think I've found an answer though?

On the topic of being raised GD and its problems - my BIL and SIL - the most AP/NFL people I know (eg my nephews were home-birthed in the tee pee they were living in at the time) actually sort of renounced GD to me a couple years ago - when the DCs were about 5 and 6 yo. Their kids had very little respect for their parents - or others, and many related behavior issues. Since then - I've had kids and become a very big advocate of GD - but at the time, I really almost disliked my nephews. Looking back - I don't blame GD - I feel like the parents sort of mis-applied the concepts - with very bad results.

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#63 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TripMom
...... but at the time, I really almost disliked my nephews. Looking back - I don't blame GD - I feel like the parents sort of mis-applied the concepts - with very bad results.
Funny how even those of us who adore children...all children, really....find it hard to like children when they act like that. I can't imagine how raising children who behave in such a manner as to provoke dislike among even the nicest, most loving people, could be seen as doing something in the child's best interest....however.

Based on results, it really seems like there are a lot of parents who don't know how to properly apply the GD concepts, and I wonder why that might be? And if they are not able to properly apply the GD concepts, then what should they be doing next? What would be better for their children? Would their children be better off being raised in a more conventional manner if the parents were getting better results? Or is it just better to do GD no matter what results they are getting? Certainly, thus far I've seen clearly that some people think that they do GD parenting because they as adults feel more comfortable with it. How the child is responding to their parenting choice is not the priority in these cases.

Just wondering.

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I
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#64 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 06:52 PM
 
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Faith, I think that it's true that often parents find that their discipline is ineffective-that is, that it doesn't lead to the goals they had in mind. I think there are a lot of potential reasons for this: misunderstanding of the child's ability (leading to goals that are inappropriate given the child's abilities), misunderstanding of the reason for the child's behavior (every person has a reason for their behaviors-really simple reasons such as "I want to see what happens" or more "deep" reasons, and to effectively foster change one must address the reason-much like a doctor doesn't treat everyone who comes in with chest pains for a heart attack, but takes time to understand the reason for the chest pain before giving treatment), maybe the parent is unclear about their values or goals or desires or needs, maybe the parent is not communicating effectively, maybe the child has unrecognized sensitivities to foods or chemicals that affect behavior, maybe the child needs to feel more connection to the parent, and the list of possible reasons goes on......

Certainly there is no single method of practicing gentle discipline that is right for every child and every family. If there were, parenting wouldn't be so tough-we'd just go out, get the formula from someone, and apply it and be satisfied. For many people, choosing not to use punishments (or artificial consequences or whatever you want to call them) actually does lead to children learning to behave in respectful, compassionate ways. I would say, after reading so much here from parents who choose to refrain from using punishments, that these parents are making their children's response to GD the priority-though probably not in the sense of focusing exclusively on the "product" that is their children's behavior.

And discipline is at heart, I believe, all about communicating effectively with children-listening and giving information. Regardless of whether one chooses to impose consequences or not. Understanding this has been enormously helpful to me and my children. It does require letting go of my own agenda (but not my values) in order to be open to listening to my child and understanding their reasons, and finding an appropriate and effective response. Letting go of our agendas is something many of us are uncomfortable with, I know I find that discomfort almost daily. But it's a discomfort well worth facing, I've grown a lot from letting go.
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#65 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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I see how the discussion switched from "consequences" to "punishments" - and no need to debate the uses of those terms - just noted the switch . . . .

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#66 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 07:15 PM
 
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Well.....I'm not clear myself as to whether there's actually a difference. Wasn't trying to debate. Wasn't trying to switch the discussion. Was trying to make a point that had nothing to do with defining what's a punishment vs. what's a consequence. Literally everything we do and say has a consequence of some sort (so when is a consequence a punishment? ), and I'm not about to say that imposing a consequence is always wrong or always right-life and people are far too complex for that. That complexity was my point.

Point was, really, that there's more to people than stimulus and response. Choosing a consequence to impose (whether or not it's a punishment) or even deciding that there will be a natural consequence, alone, doesn't address the myriad things that can go on inside a human being that lead to the behavior they exhibit. And consequences without effective communication (which often includes listening to our children, in addition to making our values and expectations clear), in my own experience with my own family, can remain ineffective despite being conisistently applied.
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#67 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 07:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
Point was, really, that there's more to people than stimulus and response. Choosing a consequence to impose (whether or not it's a punishment) or even deciding that there will be a natural consequence, alone, doesn't address the myriad things that can go on inside a human being that lead to the behavior they exhibit. And consequences without effective communication (which often includes listening to our children, in addition to making our values and expectations clear), in my own experience with my own family, can remain ineffective despite being conisistently applied.
I absolutely agree. I think most GD approaches are consistent in that they urge the parent to try and identify the "cause" of the behavior - not merely address the behavior itself. Similarly though - I don't think merely examining the cause of the behavior and never applying a consequence (or punishment if you prefer) is the right way to go in every situation either. But there are definitely GD-styles advocated on these boards that object to any consequence whatsoever . . . .

For instance . . . I am still struggling with what to do when DS yells at us or otherwise is disrespectful to us. I can't get him to go to a positive time out without a lot of drama - and very non-GD removal of DS from room. Similarly, I can't leave the room as other children can not be easily moved and are too young to be left unattended to. I have identified the behaviour as attention seeking. I have tried "special time" and other techniques with the goal to help DS to understand that he is important to DH and I, even when we are not able to give him our full attention - like when we need to attend to the babies. Nothing is working. I think I need a consequence . . . but for the life of me I don't know what that is?

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#68 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 07:54 PM
 
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Hi I'm new--but I guess i think gentle discipline is so important. it helps us be more creative and less hierarchical in all of our interpersonal relationships. Both with our children, with our peers and with our elders.

My son is almost three and i think he respects both myself and his father. I think we try to be sensitive to his needs, but we also think that consequences are good and natural. For instance, if I don't pay the electric bill and buy books instead, the lights get turned off. If jack is aggressive with his little sister, then he has to leave until he can come back and be nicer to her.

I worry about parenting through fear. Parenting because we fear our children will not respect us, parenting because we fear how our children will turn out. Children are a work in progress. A work, I believe, that at some level is only partially controlled by us.

we want jack to know and understand that his actions have consequences so that he can learn to take responsibility for his own actions, and eventually his own life.

i think part of all dicipline is to help children make good decisions and to live as a responsible member of a larger community. Most children that I have observed that have been gently diciplined are confidant but are also thoughtful and reflexive. That's what I want for my kids.
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#69 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 07:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
Point was, really, that there's more to people than stimulus and response.
Yes!

I would like to offer an analogy if I may

Lets say I got stomach ache, taking a pill and thinking that my problem is solved. Then I have a stomach ache again and take the pill again. Then eventually pills stop working, so I switch to a different pill that somebody told me “works wonders”. Then the same thing will repeat again and again until I get to the real issue – WHY is my stomach hurting? Do I eat unhealthy? Do I have an ulcer?

I believe in a similar thing regarding raising kids – they don’t just “misbehave” for no reason. And a time out or imposed consequence or any other punishment will get rid of the SYMTOMPS, but not of the cause.

So, just like the stomach ache should raise a red flag “something is not right inside my body”, same red flag should be raised in case of a child misbehavior “something is not right INSIDE my child”. Hungry? Lonely? Not enough attention? Peer pressure? Too much TV? *I* am doing something / not doing something?

It’s way more difficult then just “taking a pill” iykwim. But on the long run we learn not to even get to the point of needing a “pill”. And to the point of not needing punishments.

PS. On a subject of comparing “training” kids to training dogs. I do not take offence to it, I love dogs. BUT. In case of dog training we “make” them do what is unnatural for the animal to do – sit in a cage, perform according to our commands, etc., In order for dogs to do natural things no concequences are needed - I never saw a mother dog put a puppy in a time out or leave it without a special outing or something. I saw mother dog TEACH it’s pups by gently prodding them if needed. Mostly however pups just mimic what their mother does.

In case of kids (I hope) we should concentrate on things that ARE natural for human beings to do – eat, sleep, play, be compassionate, love. And many things may require TEACHING on our part and this is what I think GD is all about. And guess what, mostly they just mimic what we do
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#70 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by irinam
Yes!

I believe in a similar thing regarding raising kids – they don’t just “misbehave” for no reason. And a time out or imposed consequence or any other punishment will get rid of the SYMTOMPS, but not of the cause.
You are so right. But what to do when all your actions focused on the "cause" are getting you nowhere? Also - as PP just pointed out - IRL - your actions do have consequences - so to completely shelter DCs from that does not help prepare them for IRL very well at all? Not the little ones need to learn so much so early about "IRL" - but as they grow this becomes more and more important.

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#71 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 08:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TripMom
You are so right. But what to do when all your actions focused on the "cause" are getting you nowhere?
Yes, it is tough. Again I will continue with my analogy – I may choose to continue using the “pills” until I (hopefully) find a real cause… BUT that would be at expence of my liver, my intestinal flora, etc., which very likely may have a long term effect. OR I can choose to “tough it out” until I find the cause and keep the rest of my body healthy (hope I am not getting too far off in my analogies, LOL)


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Originally Posted by TripMom
Also - as PP just pointed out - IRL - your actions do have consequences - so to completely shelter DCs from that does not help prepare them for IRL very well at all? Not the little ones need to learn so much so early about "IRL" - but as they grow this becomes more and more important.
As far as preparing for tough things in real life… Lets look at things other than job consequences. I have a DD and most likely she will experience pain of birth sometimes in this life. Does it mean I have to “toughen her up” by intentionally introducing pain in her life? You and I know it’s a rhetoric question, the answer is “of course not”.

Sooner or later in this life kids might stand a change of being exposed to more carcinogens (in form of household cleaners for example). Does it mean we should “prepare” them for that by not “sheltering” them from the chemicals? Again, of course not.

Kids see and experience TONS of natural consequences in their life. As a matter of fact I am amazed at how fast they have to learn that stepping in a puddle makes your feet wet, dropping the glass on the floor makes in break, and so on

So in short I don’t believe we need to “make up” stuff to prepare them for real life and there is only so much we CAN shelter them from
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#72 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 08:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by irinam
Yes, it is tough. Again I will continue with my analogy – I may choose to continue using the “pills” until I (hopefully) find a real cause… BUT that would be at expence of my liver, my intestinal flora, etc., which very likely may have a long term effect. OR I can choose to “tough it out” until I find the cause and keep the rest of my body healthy (hope I am not getting too far off in my analogies, LOL)



As far as preparing for tough things in real life… Lets look at things other than job consequences. I have a DD and most likely she will experience pain of birth sometimes in this life. Does it mean I have to “toughen her up” by intentionally introducing pain in her life? You and I know it’s a rhetoric question, the answer is “of course not”.

Sooner or later in this life kids might stand a change of being exposed to more carcinogens (in form of household cleaners for example). Does it mean we should “prepare” them for that by not “sheltering” them from the chemicals? Again, of course not.

Kids see and experience TONS of natural consequences in their life. As a matter of fact I am amazed at how fast they have to learn that stepping in a puddle makes your feet wet, dropping the glass on the floor makes in break, and so on

So in short I don’t believe we need to “make up” stuff to prepare them for real life and there is only so much we CAN shelter them from
I appreciate your analogies but they are missing my point - in my example I have identified the cause of DS behavior - Attention Seeking. I need look no further. So once you've identified the cause - and have applied GD techniques to try and address the cause - and no success - what then? I think a consequence may be appropraite here? Continue to try and address the "cause" for sure - but something additional to try and also dissuade the behavior -- in my situation I am at a loss for what the consequence should be though . . . .

As for your analogies re consequences IRL - they are a bit extreme. I was thinking more along the lines of . . . .if you yell at people - they don't like it, and don't want to be your friend. These type of things were more to my point . . . but I appreciate the cancer and childbirth pain, etc. and agree - no need to have the DC go through that now to prepare for later.

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#73 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 09:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
We are gentle with our child. We do not scream, yell, jump up and down, or berate her. We do not say rude things, call her names, or try to make her feel small. We do, however, mean what we say when we set a limit, and we follow that limit up with consequences when she intentionally steps over the line. I believe that a limit with no action behind it is a desire, not a limit.

No one will ever convince me that the natural state of parenting is for kids not to have firm consequences to their actions, nor will I believe that all children will respond best to a certain way of parenting. There is too much diversity in people's temperments for me to believe that.

...

ETA: Because I know how hyper-sensitive people can be about this issue, I wanted to clarify that in addition to not screaming at, yelling at, or berating our daughter, we also do not hit/smack/spank her.
I mainly lurk here but I was really glad to see your post. That pretty much exactly describes my parenting style. And why I lurk here but don't post much.

Anyway, I really have nothing to add but I am glad I'm not the only one who parents this way at MDC.
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#74 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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I have identified the cause of DS behavior - Attention Seeking. I need look no further. So once you've identified the cause - and have applied GD techniques to try and address the cause - and no success - what then? I think a consequence may be appropraite here? Continue to try and address the "cause" for sure - but something additional to try and also dissuade the behavior -- in my situation I am at a loss for what the consequence should be though . . . .
are you wanting to veer away from the standard mainstream consequence of temporarily taking away an item or priviledge (ie, tv, if you do'nt do tv, other fun activity) ?

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#75 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 09:46 PM
 
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are you wanting to veer away from the standard mainstream consequence of temporarily taking away an item or priviledge (ie, tv, if you do'nt do tv, other fun activity) ?
Yeah. I'm trying to impose a GD consequence - and to do that, it has to be "related" to the action? I am stumped? Maybe the only thing to do is say something like . . . OK DS, if you can't speak nicely to your family members, you don't get to do X, or have to go to bed early? I fully intend to continue trying to address the underlying cause - trying to get him to understand that we love him and he is cherished, even if we can't always focus 100% of our attention on him - but in the meantime, the behavior is persistent - and I feel like I need to start addressing it too - but want to pick my course of action carefully, and be consistent when I do.

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#76 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by irinam
......
PS. On a subject of comparing “training” kids to training dogs. I do not take offence to it, I love dogs. BUT. In case of dog training we “make” them do what is unnatural for the animal to do – sit in a cage, perform according to our commands, etc., In order for dogs to do natural things no concequences are needed - I never saw a mother dog put a puppy in a time out or leave it without a special outing or something. I saw mother dog TEACH it’s pups by gently prodding them if needed. Mostly however pups just mimic what their mother does.....

I don't know, Irina. Your point of view about dogs seems pretty "idealistic," to say the least. When's the last time you studied anything about dog behavior OR dog training??? When a puppy gets "out of line" in the dog world, a mother dog bats at it with her paw, pins it down, growls at it, and perhaps will nip at it to put it in it's place. If you really think there are no consequences for poor behavior in the dog world-- perhaps you need to spend an afternoon in a dog park, or something to open your eyes to their reality.

Now if you'd like to get back to discussing people.......the only reason I brought up dog training in reference to giving children sandwiches despite the fact that they were impolite in the asking is this: Most modern dog trainers try to reinforce positive behaviors while extinguishing undesirable behaviors from their companion animals. If you give a dog his food while he is jumping on you (certainly natural dog behavior) then you are reinforcing the jumping behavior.

I don't really see how having your child scream and yell at you, and then giving him what he wants, does not reinforce to the child that he can behave however he wants to, and yet STILL get whatever he wants from you. If you can tell me how this isn't reinforcment of disrespectful behavior, I'd love to hear it.

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#77 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 10:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by faithnj
I don't know, Irina. Your point of view about dogs seems pretty "idealistic," to say the least. When's the last time you studied anything about dog behavior OR dog training??? When a puppy gets "out of line" in the dog world, a mother dog bats at it with her paw, pins it down, growls at it, and perhaps will nip at it to put it in it's place. Now perhaps you have your peaceful, gentle dog world ideas because you have mistaken this behavior for play. But puppies "act out" in the dog world, just like human children "act out" in our world. And there are definitly consequences for poor behavior in the dog world-- from both the mother dog and from other dogs in dog societies. If you really think there are no consequences for poor behavior in the dog world-- perhaps you need to spend an afternoon in a dog park, or something.

Now if you'd like to get back to discussing people.......
I've spent plenty of afternoons in the dog park, thank you. Even though I did not "study" about the dogs, I did own several in my life, including two females (I am probaby not allowed to post a proper term for a female) who successfully had puppies.

And athough I have observed (and had to intervene) quite a few dog fights between two adult dogs of the same gender, I did not see pawing of the puppies. May be I was at GD dog park, I dunno
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#78 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 10:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TripMom
in my example I have identified the cause of DS behavior - Attention Seeking.
Um, so he wants your attention. Why do you think he needs consequence for that? I understand that at times 3.5 yo's can seem like they are demanding too much attention, but why is it a punishabe cause?
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#79 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 11:12 PM
 
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Trip Mom - You have identified the cause of your son's behavior but it wasn't "attention seeking". It was "I used to have mommy and daddy's attention and friendship all the time but now I have to sit by myself while they play with these new babies and I'm lonely and I don't understand why if everyone else in the family gets to play, I can't too!" That's very different. Now that you understand the underlying cause, you have thought of some good ideas of what to do to remedy the situation.

I do agree with FaithNJ that by giving a child what he/she wants right after some unacceptable behavior, you are reinforcing that he/she can do that unacceptable behavior and get what they wanted anyway. So the child is learning that the behavior can't really be all that unacceptable. I would never make a child a sandwich who screamed at me. I would model the appropriate way to ask if that was needed, or I would ignore the screaming if I had already modeled it, but that child would not get a sandwich until they did something appropriate first.

I also wanted to respond to Lillith's example about the garden hose. not going to the Little Gym is a very natural consequence of getting mommy all wet and thus not being able to get there on time since mommy had to change. But I think that a GD response to that situation would not be to yell. I mean, he's the one who is going to miss out on Little Gym. You just got wet. Sure, getting wet is no fun, but yelling doesn't do anything to help the situation. I would have simply said, albeit in an unfriendly voice, "Oh well, we'll have to go back inside and we can't go to little gym now since we won't get there on time." Got the baby out of the car, and had DS comes inside too and changed my clothes. Then I would have focused on dealing with the clothing so that he didn't just come back in to play as if everything was OK. "I can't play right now, I have to change and dry my clothing (stuff shoes with newspaper, etc.)", keeping it all natural.

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#80 of 110 Old 03-02-2006, 11:20 PM
 
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Well I'm not Tripmom, but I think it's fair to offer a consequence not for the need, but for the way he's seeking to meet that need. As in, I understand you want more attention, and I'd like to be with you too, but you may not jump on your siblings, and if you do so, you cannot play in this room right now. At least that is what seems obvious to me.

But I'm often muddling. I tend to doubt myself a lot as I struggle between gentle discipline and firm limits. Sometimes I think "I'm not firm enough! that's the problem!" and other times I think, "I'm expecting too much! Creating battles and he's reacting! That's the problem!" In reality I don't think there really is a major problem, other than I don't trust my instincts enough.
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#81 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 12:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama
Miz, I've read your posts for a couple years now, and I know that you are a great, thoughtful, compassionate mom. You are not mean. All of us can act mean at times (we are human), but your dd knows that you are not mean.
Now I understand why your name is sunnmama . . .you warmed my heart!

Thank you so much for your words. I agree that we need to share our feelings/who we are with our children. . .I guess it's sometimes hard because it' making ourselves vulnerable, to show that we are human and imperfect to our children.

Thank you again.

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#82 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 12:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TripMom
in my example I have identified the cause of DS behavior - Attention Seeking. I need look no further. So once you've identified the cause - and have applied GD techniques to try and address the cause - and no success - what then?
FWIW, and this is given in the spirit of caring and genuinely wanting to help, I have found that in my own experience when I believe I have identified the cause of/reason for my child's behavior and earnestly attempt to address that cause and yet the behavior is still a problem, one or more of the following is likely to be true:

1) I have not fully understood the cause. For example, my child may in fact be seeking attention, but that's not a full understanding. My child is seeking attention because she is grieving the loss of the one-on-one relationship she had before her brother was born; my child is seeking connection because she feels stressed out about something I don't notice because it wouldn't stress me out or I take it for granted; my child is seeking connection because she is frightened about something or nervous after having developed into having a new sort of awareness of the world. Often the cause I identify isn't really an adequate understanding. And without adequate understanding of what's going on, I can't address it effectively.

2) I have become stuck in a way of thinking that prevents me from seeing more possible ways of addressing the behavior that might help. For example, I get stuck wanting to control my child's behavior (often because I want relief from it, it's stressful), and so I become fixed on stopping it as quickly as possible (which limits my awareness of potential responses)-which is subtly different from being focused on understanding it and responding in the way most likely to be helpful. I don't really know how to explain this one better. Wanting to control my child's behavior, if I'm honest, is more about me and what I want than about my child and her needs. Which doesn't make me a bad parent-just human, but it just isn't going to be quite as helpful. Controlling another person is just not possible much of the time (and when it is possible, is it really what I want?) Questions I ask myself that help with this are: what do I want my child to do? Why do I want him to do it? Am I perceiving the situation correctly (do I have thoughts, feelings, assumptions, memories, etc. that prevent me from seeing the situation clearly/objectively)?

3) I get stuck in wanting to see immediate results. In my home, when a behavior has been going on awhile or when it's the result of a child feeling bad (and there's a lot of feeling bad involved when siblings are born), it takes time-even when I'm responding in the most helpful and effective way I can-for my child's behavior to change. Changing a habit takes time, healing emotional hurts takes time, learning to replace less effective behaviors (like hitting) with more effective ones takes time.

Often when I think about all these things, when I take the time to step back and look deeply at my child's behavior and deeply (and honestly) at my own thoughts and motivations, I find that already have inside the wisdom I need-the most helpful, appropriate, honest response is likely to become obvious. Not everything has some deep, mysterious cause-but often my own perceptions cloud the simplest of reasons for my child's behavior, making it more difficult for me to respond.

Anyway, TripMom I hope you find some solution that helps your family feel more peaceful. I can't imagine the difficulty of raising triplet babies plus an older child. I have my hands full with three singletons, two years apart each.
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#83 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 01:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
For example, my child may in fact be seeking attention, but that's not a full understanding.

I agree with Sledg that whenever I think my child's behavior is "attention-seeking" that is more a descriptor, not the cause of the behavior. Its really easy to assume that the child is "just" looking for attention and that is why she is acting out. Its more helpful to see it as the child attempting to reconnect, and there is a need driving that reconnection that is more than simply, "I'm bored; I want attention."

Also a person's behavior can be motivated by more than one thing. "Getting attention" may be partially what the child is after, but if I look further, there is usually more to it.

Sometimes my child is frightened by something I don't see at first or didn't think would frighten her (for example, yesterday, DD was constantly seeking my attention, demanding to be held - I was a little annoyed until I realized that she was moving closer every time the dog across the street barked. She was scared of the dog. She had never seemed bothered by it before but it was like she had just tuned into it).
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#84 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 02:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut
Well I'm not Tripmom, but I think it's fair to offer a consequence not for the need, but for the way he's seeking to meet that need. As in, I understand you want more attention, and I'd like to be with you too, but you may not jump on your siblings, and if you do so, you cannot play in this room right now. At least that is what seems obvious to me.
I kind of agree with you, Hazelnut, but I have to say that I don't know if this would help. I think a 3.5 yo would only hear that he can't be in the room where his mother (who used to be all his) and his three! little siblings are. I'm not saying you should allow him to jump on his siblings, but can you keep him from doing it in the first place? Just thinking you might be creating a negative cycle: He hurts baby, mom gets mad, attention is withdrawn, he gets madder at baby. It just must be SOO hard to be the only with triplets. It sounds like he's having such a hard time finding his new place in the family.

But I personally don't like to get into power struggles. I guess Dharmama's gone, but it sounded to me like her dd was mad at her, not that she needed more consequences. Why else would a child seek out her mother to inform her that she was flauting her rules if she isn't chafing under the yoke of her control? And, simply from a practical point of view, that can't work well for long. Something will have to give.

Mommy to kids

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#85 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut
Well I'm not Tripmom, but I think it's fair to offer a consequence not for the need, but for the way he's seeking to meet that need. As in, I understand you want more attention, and I'd like to be with you too, but you may not jump on your siblings, and if you do so, you cannot play in this room right now. At least that is what seems obvious to me.
I think that while on the face of it this makes sense, I think in this particular example the consequence (you can't play in this room right now) increases the need (b/c the child needs more contact with mom and is now removed from mom again) and is therefore not helpful. Might even make things worse.

In our home, my response to an inappropriate way of seeking to meet a need is simply to communicate to my kids 1) that I understand they have a need and 2) that what they just did is not an appropriate way to try to get that need met and offer specific examples of what would be appropriate and then to do my best to meet that need. When the need is gone, the behavior that seeks to meet that need is gone as well.

And I wanted to add that sometimes, yes, the need is just to have more connection with and attention from mom and nothing more-people just need connection. That's a valid need. And sometimes even when I think I've filled that need and given enough and my children's cups should be full, those cups really aren't quite full enough.
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#86 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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I've been trying to implement what I've read in some naturalchild.com articles--which is pretty much what you're saying too--in which the author suggests addressing the need and suggesting a better way to meet it, which was my intention in that response. The other poster said "what's wrong with needing more attention" and my first thought was nothing, but there is something that needs to be addressed if he's trying to get attention by hitting. Though I agree, removing him if he's obviously jealous or struggling with a baby is likely not good. But with my baby I had to literally pick up the baby and leave during an episode or pick him up (and Tripmom can't pick up all three babes) because he otherwise would.not.stop. It was like a spell and he needed help calming down. I don't personally believe that removing from a situation is always abandonment. It's true though, if I didn't have to do that in that moment, that or anything beyond some calm and firm words that showed I was upset, just fanned the flames. The only thing that alleviated his hitting the baby was more attention during other times.
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#87 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut
The only thing that alleviated his hitting the baby was more attention during other times.
This is what I've found with my own kids. Not lavishing on the attention at the moment of aggression, but at a more appropriate time. At the moment of aggresssion, sometimes it's been best to physically move away (I don't think leaving the room is abandonment either and safety must come first, but sometimes leaving actually does make things worse, as in the case of a jealous sibling-and very often just doesn't help), sometimes best to just not call much attention to it, sometimes best to distract, sometimes best to do some serious talking about it, sometimes best to [insert action here]. Every situation seems to be a little different in terms of what's needed by the child acting out, in terms of what the other kids are needing at the time, in terms of what's actually possible to do, and in terms of my own frame of mind.

No easy answers.
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#88 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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I do agree with FaithNJ that by giving a child what he/she wants right after some unacceptable behavior, you are reinforcing that he/she can do that unacceptable behavior and get what they wanted anyway. So the child is learning that the behavior can't really be all that unacceptable. I would never make a child a sandwich who screamed at me. I would model the appropriate way to ask if that was needed, or I would ignore the screaming if I had already modeled it, but that child would not get a sandwich until they did something appropriate first.
Ida know about this. I know I get very cranky when I'm hungry. Don't know if that was a factor in the original sandwich post, but I would never withhold food if my ds was behaving in a way I didn't like. I think I'd feed him, then when we were both calm, explain how his behavior made me feel.

I think it's definitely possible to teach a child that a behavior is undesired without punishing. Our children are smart and want to please us. This morning my 2 yr ds grabbed a book from his friend's hand. I called him over and told him in simple terms that his action made his friend feel sad, and that we could see it on her face. He went and gave the book back. Granted, it doesn't always happen this way, but it's a learning process. None of us are perfect, and we make mistakes. I could have instead grabbed it from him, or told him play time was over, but what would he have learned? Perhaps that I'm mean. Perhaps that I didn't like what he did. Perhaps that grabbing a toy had a negative effect on him. But it wouldn't have taught him that his behavior affected his friend, and to me that was the important lesson.

Just another pov from a relative newbie to gd.
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#89 of 110 Old 03-03-2006, 11:00 PM
 
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No easy answers.
I dunno, slege. The way you explain things makes it seem so easy . . .so common sense . . .I'm often left thinking (after your responses), "Yeah, why didn't I think of that?" Yet I don't!

I am SO up for a big ol' GD conference where I can go and study you mamas!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#90 of 110 Old 03-04-2006, 01:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by colleen95
I think I'd feed him, then when we were both calm, explain how his behavior made me feel.
ITA with what colleen said here. Kids, and all people I think, don't do things just to be bad. People do things because they're trying to get a need met. Sometimes they way people try to get their need met is hurtful to others. The solution, to me, isn't to withhold the sandwich (if I'm honest with myself, my urge to say 'no sandwich' is retaliation for being screamed at-it's not teaching). In my mind, the best way to help someone learn to be compassionate is to show them compassion. And when a child is upset and screaming, they aren't receptive to listening to much or learning much. They have to calm down first. They have to have their need met before they are free to listen and learn. And they learn from our example of extending compassion even when they are behaving in less than ideal ways. This is why I think a simple "I don't like to be screamed at, I expect you to ask me nicely" then a sandwich is the most helpful way to go. Once the child is calm, we can talk about how others feel when we talk to them in various ways.

Behaviorism is seriously lacking as an explanation of and method for modifying human behavior. People are just so much more than that. IMHO.

And Mizelenius... I have been through so many hells to learn these things, and I look back and think of how much easier it all could have been if I'd known then what I know now. And yet the challenges still keep rolling in to keep me humble. Ahh, life. Funny.
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