I Don't Understand GD... - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not a mother yet, but am planning to be after I get married next summer. My fiance and I have discussed many aspects of child-rearing/parenting, one of them being discipline. I think that one should not beat their children, or always resort to threatening/actually spanking a kid. But I see times where a child needs to lovingly be set straight. I was spanked occasionally as a child and I don't believe it hurt me physically or emotionally. What is wrong with an occasional spanking?
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:12 PM
 
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I'm not a GD expert...heck I hardly ever post over here but I'll describe it how my DH does. Spanking involves ADULT anger. Children don't understand the depth of that. All they see is you're mad and hitting/nurting them. They don't see the "steps" you went through in your head to get to that point. Plus it's humiliating, IMO.

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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I'm going to assume that you are posting because you are genuinely interested in the answer to "What is wrong with an occasional spanking?"

What is wrong, is that
1. it doesn't teach what you want to teach.
2. It totally doesn't consider the reasons for a child's actions. It assumes the worst of intentions.
3. it doesn't create a "working with" attitude. It creates a "parent vs. child" attitude.
4. for one to spank, they have to believe on some level, that kids will choose to misbehave if they are not forced to behave. Iow, kids want to be bad, unless someone makes them be good. That's not the way kids work.
5. it is behaviorism. Behaviorism works on pigeons. It's not the way people work. It completely undermines the innate sociality of people, and the desire of children to behave in a socially acceptable way (they just need some gentle guidance sometimes).
6. It's relied on as a "quick fix". I'd imagine if you are spanking to stop a certain behavior, you are not working on the important aspects of it- the WHY, and "what to do instead"
7. Oh, and it's hitting a child. It's not cool (legal/ok/acceptable) to hit an adult, its even less cool to hit a child.

Some thoughts off the top of my head.
I hope that I am right in assuming that you really are interested, and not just looking to promote the idea that spanking is ok. That's not ok here.

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:19 PM
 
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First, welcome to MDC and the Gentle Discipline forum, I hope you can take the time to read, as there is a wealth of information on these pages


I would like to also point you in the directions of our forum guidelines, particularly this:
Quote:
Please appreciate that this forum is not a place to uphold or advocate physical punishment of children. Personal preferences for and encouragement of use of physical punishment are inappropriately posted here. Posts of that nature will be edited by the member upon request or will be removed.

Please feel free to discuss your problems and needs with the intent to learn more about Gentle Discipline.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=113264

Now to answer your question "What is wrong with an occasional spanking?"

For me it's rather simple. Spanking is hitting. I would never hit an adult to 'teach' them. I certainly wouldn't hit a child. There are so many ways to teach and guide our children that do not include the fear, pain, and shame that hitting inflicts.

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asoulunbound
But I see times where a child needs to lovingly be set straight.
Lovingly set straight involves helping a child to do the right thing. Taking away temptation, giving information, finding a mutually agreeable solution, finding an acceptable alternative to whatever negative behavior you are dealing with, knowing that kids impulses are legitimate- and they just need to learn the socially acceptable ways to express those impulses.
I've yet to deal with a situation where ds didn't respond well to my guidance to help him to do the socially acceptable thing. He's almost 2. We don't use any type of punishment. The only times he hasn't responded well, was when I dealt with a situation harshly. But it doesn't take much for me to fix that either.

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:21 PM
 
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I don't mean for this to sound flippant, but if your husband or say, an elderly family member needed to be "lovingly set straight," would you think to accomplish this by striking them?

Sometimes it takes a little bit of a mental shift to recognize that what is commonly called spanking, is really hitting. No one deserves to be hit, even if they're young or small.

Another thing to ponder is, what exactly will a child learn if they are disciplined with spanking? To fear being hit? To do what mom/dad says or else?
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:29 PM
 
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There is a lot wrong with occasionally hitting another person.

Numerous studies, tons of research, and -- in my opinion, common sense -- show that the harm of hitting kids far outweighs any "benefits." The only "benefit" I see is that the parent vents her/his anger and the child may instantly and temporarily comply (out of fear). But the longterm damage of the hitting is permanent.

Much research shows that hitting kids raises the risk that the kids will become more aggressive, less social and chronically defiant.

Hitting is also associated with increased delinquency, lower self-esteem and more difficulty in learning right from wrong (after all, hitting teaches nothing other than that it hurts to be hit and that someone bigger than you can hurt you). Hitting, in my opinion, also leads to an increased risk of child abuse. This might not apply to YOU personally but I see spankings turning into serious abuse all the time in my job (I am a prosecutor)

Also, hitting condones violence. That is a message I would never want to send in my home. I want my children to learn peaceful methods of conflict resolution. So we are violence-free. It IS possible to raise happy, healthy, law-abiding children without hitting. So why would one hit if there are so many risks of harm and no benefits?
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
6. It's relied on as a "quick fix". I'd imagine if you are spanking to stop a certain behavior, you are not working on the important aspects of it- the WHY, and "what to do instead"
: exactly! I often see it used that way, as a quick fix. The problem is, it doesn't really fix anything.

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Old 06-13-2006, 05:58 PM
 
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Another reminder that advocating or defending physical punishment is NOT allowed here.
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Please appreciate that this forum is not a place to uphold or advocate physical punishment of children. Personal preferences for and encouragement of use of physical punishment are inappropriately posted here. Posts of that nature will be edited by the member upon request or will be removed.

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Old 06-13-2006, 06:19 PM
 
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I'm cutting and pasting what I have posted before in this forum. Hope that is okay:

Spanking

1) How far should parents be willing to go in order to ensure good behavior? If spanking is not adequate, most people agree that it is not okay to take more severe physical measures crossing over into brutality. Why is okay to cross from verbal techniques into seemingly mild violence like slapping or spanking? How does a parent decide how much or how little violence is worth the goal of good behavior? When spanking is not enough, what does a spanking parent try next? Why not start with that?

2) When parents choose to spank, they often cut themselves off from the opportunity to develop more creative and deeper reaching discipline methods. But by choosing not to spank, we are forced to do some serious reading, thinking and searching. We must find new ways of relating not just to our children, but also to everyone. If your upbringing was not gentle, then the opportunity to take this journey can be difficult. Difficult -- but potentially very rewarding. By not spanking, you are opening yourself up to a new sort of growth.

3) Spanking a child teaches them to behave out of fear, and puts distance between parent and child. They are afraid to earn a spanking. Therefore, most children will try to hide their mistakes and poor behavior. A child who is not afraid of of punishment is more likely to tell his parents when he finds himself in trouble, and ask for help.

4) A child who is spanked learns to believe that hitting is sometimes an acceptable way to solve a problem. His parents have modeled that belief, and no matter what they *tell* the kid about hitting, they have *shown* him that its okay and that it works.

5) A child who is spanked learns to be controlled by external forces. How will he learn to control himself? How will he learn to care about being good for the sake of goodness, and not to avoid punishment?

6) Spanking hurts and degrades a child. Not matter how it is framed, this is always the child's immediate experience. In order to accept spanking, a parent must believe on some level that a child somehow needs or benefits from occasional pain and degradation.
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:52 PM
 
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I was a very verbal child from an early age, and as a result of that (I believe), I have clearer memories from my early years than most people do. That means that I remember a number of occasions when I was spanked at age 2 or 3. In every case, I didn't believe that I was in the wrong, and I still don't. In one case, I was playing with a plastic bag, and my dad spanked me to instill a lesson of "safety." Problem is, they'd already explained to me about not putting bags over my head, and I understood that, and I WASN'T putting it over my head - so all the spanking accomplished was to make me resent them for not trusting me. On another occasion, my brother and I were stuck in an inner tube together and I panicked and bit him. They spanked me and sent me to my room, with no sympathy for the fact that I really hadn't meant to hurt my brother, I just freaked out. Again, it accomplished nothing except to make me resent them.

Some people here say that spanking is inherently abusive. I'm not sure I agree with that, but the key thing to me is that it doesn't *have* to be abusive to be a bad idea. I don't think that it accomplishes what it's meant to accomplish. All it does is encourage an adversarial relationship between parent and child, and teach the child that the parent doesn't trust or respect him.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:01 PM
 
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If I were you, I would do some research. Honestly, I felt the same way before ds was born. After doing lots of reading, I am very against hitting children.

I was also spanked as a child. I don't feel I was damaged by it, but it certainly didn't teach me anything. I remember being spanked, but I don't remember why. However, I remember, in detail, having things explained to me. It worked much better. Spanking, as well as the other types of discipline that were used in my childhood, definitely hurt my relationship with my mother. I was very rebellious.

"Natural Family Living" by Peggy O'mara has some stuff about discipline. There is also "The Discipline Book" by Dr. Sears, which I don't completely agree with although it has info about why not to spank. My favorite is "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn. I thought it sounded too permissive before I read it, but it's very eye opening. I also checked one out at the library called "The Case Against Spanking." I can't remember the author, but it has lots of info which was backed up with research.

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend spanking.

It's great that you're looking into this.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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I was spanked exactly three times as a child. ONCE I deserved it. (I ditched school and caused a huge search for me)

Twice I did not, and I remember each spanking I ever got. One for being brought home by the police. I WAS TWO YEARS OLD. Now, eactly who's fault is it that I was lost????? I still owe my MOm a spanking for that one. Once I fell asleep in a tent, and didn't go home. A simple "Don't do that again" would have worked fine. SO, do you want your child to remember a spanking from 40 years ago?

The spankings didn't bother me so much. But, looking back, it was the screaming lectures and the threats that I hated. The did nothing but make me realize how unfair my parents were. I did not learn a thing other than how not to get caught by my psychotic Mother.

So, in essence, I am saying that the screaming, the threats and the spankings did not teach me a thing. The only reinforced my attitude.

When my daughter was born, people told me to
"Let her cry"
"Leave her with a babysitter at least once a week"
"Slap her hand"
"Smack her mouth"<--This I actually did several times.
"Don't hold her too much"
The advice went on and on....

But, while I thought I would be one of those hard A$$ parents, I found that when she was born, I wasn't. I could not spank her. I could not let her cry. I carried her all the time.

And I have an excellent child (lazy, but otherwise a great kid)

I feel like spanking is just wrong. I can't say exactly why, it just feels SO wrong to me. I also don't scream. Because I learned from my Mom that it just breeds resentment.

I don't agree with everything involved with gentle discipline. But, If this board had been available to me 13 years ago, I might have been even more gentle. I just parented her the way I felt right.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:03 PM
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An occasional spanking is typically only delivered when a behavior is so frustrating to an adult that they feel they have to do something and the only thing they know to do is hit the child. Hitting is not discipline. Discipline teaches a child. If you believe that it is discipline you should be able to list some very concrete reasons why it is that do not include the child stopping the behavior so you won't hurt them. That does teach, but I don't think teaching the child that if they annoy you you will hurt their body should really be considered teaching. Spanking may make a child stop doing the behavior while they are around you, though I remember it just made me hurt and I lashed out more in anger. If the child gets used to it they won't care anymore if they do get hit and that leaves you in a very hard position.

Also, most people don't have the heart to hit small children as a consistent form of discipline and consistency in discipline is very important for small children. Many daycares manage very large classes of children without even using time-out (this is true for the one I work at), and I feel that parents should strive to be better than their child care worker when it comes to knowing and teaching their child not worse, as is the case of many of the kids who play out spanking games when they are at daycare and school.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial
I was spanked exactly three times as a child. ONCE I deserved it. (I ditched school and caused a huge search for me)
Your parents were not acting out of self defense. No way you deserved to be hit, mama.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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Your parents were not acting out of self defense. No way you deserved to be hit, mama.
Yes, but, apparently the entire town of Arlington heights wanted to spank me. It was probably the lesser of all the evils.
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial
Yes, but, apparently the entire town of Arlington heights wanted to spank me. It was probably the lesser of all the evils.
Ok, I'm completely anti-spanking, but that made me chuckle a little bit
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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undesirable behavior = the expression of an unmet need .

Knowing that, why on earth would you hit a person for needing something?
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Spanking gives the parent the satisfaction of knowing they did something about the inappropriate behavior. It doesn't help the child behave appropriately. People are so used to thinking that spanking is a way to correct behavior, that they can't see that the behavior hasn't been corrected.

When I was a kid, I got spanked for being "mouthy." But I'm still mouthy, so being spanked didn't stop me. When my son is mouthy, my parents ask me why I let him get away with it, but explaining to him that I don't like his tone and helping him use a nicer tone isn't "letting him get away with it." It still works to correct the problem.

My point is that spanking doesn't work. I see my nieces and nephews get spanked all of the time, and then repeat the behavior they got spanked for. It just doesn't work.

And hitting anyone, especially a child, is wrong.
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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Why would you want to inflict pain on someone you love? Dont we want to keep them free of physical (and emotional) pain? Dont we hold them when they get a boo-boo? So why cause pain?

This really hits home with me. I was spanked. The swats on the butts didn't hurt that much physically, but it left emotional scars. I learned to behave out of fear. "Do this, OR ELSE"

It was the getting hit with a belt by my dad on my bare but while being told to bend over at 2 years old that did the worst damage. Yes, it left welts. I wasn't even guilty of the supposive crime (playing with mothers make up in the middle of the night). (my brother was the guilty one, but we both got it since I happened to wake up and be walking to the bathroom at the time.) My brother was 4 at the time) We were then sent to our rooms for several hours ALONE to cry out in pain. What hurts the most, is that I was told that he never wanted me to forget it. Well... I never did forget it. It is now 25 years later. I can still not forgive him. I never felt the same way about him since.

After hitting us with the belts, any time we misbehaved or refused to do homework or whatever he threatened us with the same punishment for many years after. He hit my brother with the belt again when he was in 4th grade (same manner, bending over on his bare butt) b/c he was crying and very frustrated b/c he was having difficulty with his math homework.

Well... Now my brother is 30 years old and an alcoholic. He has trouble keeping relationships. He still lives at home and is overly dependent. (unable to wake himself for work, pack his own lunch, do his laundry, clean his glasses himself, etc. He depends on mother for EVERYTHING) He was made to feel so useless and that he couldn't do anything right. Well... Now he CANT do anything. Dad really taught us how to do things, now didn't he?

What did it teach me? It tought me to be secretive. To never go to my parents when I was in trouble. To fix problems myself, even if I had to risk more trouble to fix the problem. (Doctoring up reportcards to make my grades better. Did I really need to be ashamed that I got a C in math? A little help would have made me better in math, but I feared getting the belt, so better to doctor up my report card. Yes, it worked btw)

I sorry this is so lengthy, but it really "hits" home for me. So hitting your kids can cause a lot of damage. They do remember. Everything you do at 2 years old continues to effect them for many years down the road.

Please think before you hit!!
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:19 PM
 
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Plus, spanking (and punishment in general) teaches a kid to be concerned about the effect of his actions on himself. Not about the *real* reasons to behave in a socially acceptable manner- the effects of his actions on others.
Spanking a kid for hitting the dog only teaches him that if he doesn't want to be spanked, he should not hit the dog (in front of parents).
I've had wonderful luck teaching ds to not hit the dogs because they don't like to be hit.

A poster here in the gd forum, Brigianna, said something like- Do you want to teach dc that there are consequences for doing xyz, or do you want to teach them to not do it?
I love that, and I think its a great phrase to point out the difference between punishing and teaching.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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Old 06-14-2006, 01:27 PM
 
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My question to you (the OP) is what is what do you think an occassional spanking accomplishes that GD does not.

Beating a child might cause them to never repeat a behavior again (out of fear of future torture) .

But if you are correct (and I disagree, but that's not the point here) that an occasional spanking does not hurt physically or emotionally than what DO you see it accomplishing that GD does not?

Children who are spanked DO repeat "bad" behaviors.

I GD in a "tough" rules oriented way. Although it is not the goal of everyone here, my dd's are very very well behaved. Spanking is simply and utterly not necessary to accomplish this.

So again I ask what do you think it accomplishes that GD does not?
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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Not sure if the OP is even around anymore, but I'll bite!

Well, IMO you should flip the question around and ask yourself, 'What is RIGHT about an occaisonal spanking?'. Is there truly some message or lesson you could impart on a child by hitting them that could not be acheived in another way? Bring a little bit of forethought and creativity to your ideal of parenting. Every situation you encounter as a parent can assuredly be dealt with without hitting. It just isn't neccessary. Challenge yourself to think of theoretical situations where you might consider spanking and get creative. Think up several different non-violent ways to react to the same situation.

Maybe you are one of those people who think hitting is ok in safety situations? A baby or toddler should NOT be made responsible for their own safety. If you hit a child so they will not touch a hot stove or walk into the road you are effectively making them responsible for their own safety. You are the one who is responsible to keep them safe by baby/toddler proofing, keeping the child close, picking the child up and moving their body away from life threatening circumstances, and staying away from potentially dangerous situations in as much as you can. Trust the child will mature into his surroundings given explanations and information. When the child is mature enough he WILL be quite able to keep himself safe with your remembered guidings and common sense. Until such time the parent is responsible for the child's safety.

I have learnt alot here. STICK AROUND, YOU WILL TOO

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Old 06-14-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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I think this is a very good overview of why spanking hurts you and your child.


http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/T062100.asp.

Jenny Eric and The Boy (05.04.05)
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Old 06-14-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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I did not read all the responces but wanted to say, I thought the same thing before my dd was born. And now I could never dream of laying a hand on her at all. Not even if she did the worst thing imaginable. Most likely you will change your mind. I was spanked occasionally as a child and I do not see where it did any good at all. If I was going to do something wrong I never thought "I better not or else I'll get a spanking" IMO it just doesn't work.

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:10 PM
 
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So, in addition to what Gentle Discipline is not -- it must exclude hitting!-- let's talk about what it is.

It's called Gentle Discipline because there is a component of discipline and guidance. It's not "permissive" which is I think a euphemism for neglectful.

For example, if you want your child to behave nicely in public, there is an aspect of providing information about ettiquette. People don't automatically know how to say please and thank you, how to respond to hello and goodbye.

They learn from modelling. Parents say hello, how are you, may I please have some noodles, thank you. The young person learns to do those things. (A good reason not to use corporal punishment, by the way! If you hit them to make them behave better, they might try the same thing on someone else!)

They also learn from explicit instruction and reminders. For example, "Now would be a good time to say thanks, while Aunt Zelda is still here."

Most importantly, parents create the conditions for their children's good behavior. You have to know about their stage of development to know what they can handle--attention span, for instance. You make sure they have had enough sleep and enough nutritious food. You check to see if the environment is generally positive. All of those things set up conditions for good behavior.

(They work on adults, too! This is why at meetings, businesses provide snacks and beverages.)

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just so y'all know, I'm trying to be difficult. :
I really don't understand GD at all. : I have read Natural Family Living a while ago and am going to read the Dr. Sears webpage when I get time to really go through it.
What do you do instead of spanking? Like, time-outs? Verbal correction? Taking away privileges? Are there things that you have felt were not "solved" (Can't think of a better word- corrected? Fixed?) by GD?
Have you ever gone back an apologised to a child who you spanked after deciding to try GD?
I just want to figure out all this stuff BEFORE I have kids. I'm not going to risk scarring them by spanking them if there is another effective way.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by asoulunbound
Just so y'all know, I'm trying to be difficult. :
I really don't understand GD at all. : I have read Natural Family Living a while ago and am going to read the Dr. Sears webpage when I get time to really go through it.
What do you do instead of spanking? Like, time-outs? Verbal correction? Taking away privileges? Are there things that you have felt were not "solved" (Can't think of a better word- corrected? Fixed?) by GD?
Have you ever gone back an apologised to a child who you spanked after deciding to try GD?
I just want to figure out all this stuff BEFORE I have kids. I'm not going to risk scarring them by spanking them if there is another effective way.
Its great you are educating yourself before having children. You really seem to have it together by thinking of the future and your effects on your future children.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:56 PM
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I found using Attachment Parenting as Dr. Sear's describes it from birth really built a strong base for going onto gentle discipline because it is all about getting to know your child and their triggers and giving your child a strong sense of being loved and belonging to a family unit where parents will do what is best for you and meet your needs and deal with you in a loving way. Because we are so attached I have found that dd is usually very open to not doing something because it disrupts our harmony (sounds dorky but that is the best way I can put it). She is also very caring and willing to help and I am able to prevent triggers and address them with words in a way that she understands and accepts.
What I do with dd mostly involves getting off my butt and going over to help her listen by guiding her body or picking her up and following through with a request, For instance, if she won't come to me to get her shoes on I go and help her to come and get them on. I have done this since she was little and it has taught her that when I talk she should focus on what I am asking her to do. I don't get angry or upset,but I also don't repeat myself.

Lastly, Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flowers has a great section that I would reccommend on parental anger and triggers as well as a lot of good parenting ideas .
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asoulunbound
Just so y'all know, I'm trying to be difficult. :
I really don't understand GD at all. : I have read Natural Family Living a while ago and am going to read the Dr. Sears webpage when I get time to really go through it.
What do you do instead of spanking? Like, time-outs? Verbal correction? Taking away privileges? Are there things that you have felt were not "solved" (Can't think of a better word- corrected? Fixed?) by GD?
Have you ever gone back an apologised to a child who you spanked after deciding to try GD?
I just want to figure out all this stuff BEFORE I have kids. I'm not going to risk scarring them by spanking them if there is another effective way.
Are there any scenarios in particular that you are concerned about handling? I've been thinking about the concepts and practice of GD for so long now that it's hard to know where to start, you know? Something that I use as a sort of baseline is to remember that children are people just like you or I. Wild and crazy people at times, but people nonetheless. It seems like the mindset of traditional disciplinarians fails to recognize this.

It's great that you're thinking about this ahead of time. There will be many wise and experienced mamas weighing in, no doubt. Just keep your mind open and things will start to click, I bet.
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