GD, Natural Consequences/No punishments/"Sensible" consequences - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-19-2006, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bear with me here...this thread contains independent thoughts

I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about Gentle Discipline since I discovered this board a few months back, and I really like what I see.

I've discovered that good parenting goes far beyond my vow to never hit a child. (I mean, I knew that, but I didn't realize that just saying, "I don't hit" didn't mean I was disciplining effectively)

I truly like the idea of natural consequences and not punishing.

But sometimes, the natural consequence of an undesired behavior is just too extreme for me.

For example, my toddler likes to tear away from me in public and run as fast as his short little legs can carry him (run, baby, run! )

Now, an authoritarian might curb this in the bud with a little child-hitting.

And a no-punishment parent might simply try to redirect the child without any 'unnatural punishment'.

The problem I have with that is that the natural consequence of my toddler running away in public is not something I particularly want him to experience. I'd just as soon he not get run over by a car or kidnapped by a pedophile. Crazy me.

I also think that saying, "You ran away from mommy and now I'm going to put you in time-out" makes no sense. It's like saying, "You ran away and now I'm going to punish you by KEEPING you away, right?"

So what about 'sensible' consequences? Not punishments...they aren't meant to demean or humiliate, but since they ARE parent-imposed, they aren't natural consequences, either.

For example, DS runs away public, the 'sensible' consequence is that DS must now ride in the stroller. Even if he's protesting and screaming, I can't run the inherent risks of a toddler running loose without a mother. Right? right?

Someone tell me if I'm making sense here?
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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I understand you completey, 'cause I have the same concerns. I am learning more and more about GD as well. You are so right about it going beyond not hitting your child. I think in some situations (like your example) there has to be a happy medium. I am anxious to hear what others have to say.
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:58 PM
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I think you are on the right track, but prehaps you could brainstorm other ideas. I know some people are way opposed to child "leashes" but I have no problem with them if the child is completely happy and the mama feels safe. I mean it is not *ideal* certainly, but I think it would meet your need to keep your child safe and meet your child's need to roam a little ways ---I don't want to start a debate on child leashes (we already did that, remember folks? ) .... but my point is, he is protesting and screaming in the stroller (you said) so if something like a tether would make you both happier, it is worth a try no?
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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You make sense to me. I try my best to not make the "sensible consequence" punitive and to keep it cooperative ("let's think of ways together that you can walk instead of riding in the stroller -- how about we hold hands?"). But I'll admit I am not 100% effective. There are times that I have simply picked up a screaming child and removed him from a hazard or placed him in a stroller. I am interested in others' thoughts....
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:00 PM
 
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yup, I agree too that you're on the right track - I have a bolter. So, his choices are hold my hand, in the cart, or in the stroller. period. it's not a "punishment", it's keeping him safe, and me sane.

I do believe that sometimes parents, because we are able to see "the big picture", and have life experience children don't have, *sometimes* have to make judgement calls that our kids might not like. If we can find a solution that works for everyone, great. If not, we can find the path of least resistance, help our kids work through it, and then move on.

That's just my humble opinion, I know there are more and less consensual mamas here on the board.

But you're right - GD is SO much more than "I don't hit my kids".....

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:07 PM
 
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We did love our leash for a while there.

But I hear what you're saying. I often do things like that, and I think of it less as "consequences" than as "keeping her safe and me sane." I would give a warning the first time--"You can stay with me and hold hands, or you can ride in the stroller." If the child bolted another time, I would indeed put him in the stroller. We have a DD who now does well staying with us *generally*, but who can't be trusted 100% when not hand-held, so in parking lots, the rule is that she may choose to hold our hands or be carried. We remind her of this before we get out of the car, and ask her what she'd like to do. If she refuses to hold hands and flops down screaming (unfortunately, this HAS happened) we remind her of the rule and carry her, protesting or not.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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Old 06-19-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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I would look for a solution that keeps you from getting gray hair and keeps your kid from protesting and screaming.

How about a backpack? A leash/harness/sling tether? Have the kid pushing the stroller (hard to take off while pushing that)? Carrying on shoulders/piggyback?

Can you run with him some?

Offer him to hold hands/your shirt bottom/the stroller/your bag?

Have you discussed it with him? Shared your fears (not in a "There are scary people going to snatch you" way, but you know! )? Asked him to come up with some solutions?

I think the main thing to do is not look at it from a consequences/top down paradigm, but more from a problem solving/compromise/brainstorming/preventative slant.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, one of the major things we are working on right now is his speech loss. He began speaking at 12 months and by 14 months stopped entirely. At nearly 20 months now he does not say a word, nor does he sign. So dealing with the pre-verbal toddler adds another loop entirely. He's very intelligent, just not communicative, unfortunately

We do have a back pack carrier that *both* of us love, but as sister is generally in the sling, I am just not coordinated enough to be walking around with BOTH of them strapped to me like some sort of human pack donkey

I am not systemically opposed to leashes, and he does have a cute little monkey pack that he likes to play with, but he doesn't understand it. He'll turn round and round like a dog trying to figure out where his tail is attached. If I tug on the leash he tips over, so that's out for the time being.

I know the running is not 'being bad' intrinsically...and I try to honor the impulse whereever possible. Thank God, we have a fenced in back yard, so I let him get out his energy in that whenever he gets temperamental. But that just doensn't fly in the Whole Foods, kwim!?
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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Oh yeah, lots else going on.

If he can understand, I would still talk to him about it and let him know that you are looking for solutions with him.

Does he like the shopping cart?

What about giving him some sort of destracting thing (you know, like a Gameboy?! No, I don't know...I can't think of anything right now), but something he could be involved with or hold onto that would slow him down a bit.

Can you give him "assignments?" Like "walk like a different animal"? Or help picking things out at the store?

I will often say "Run to the yellow sign and then stop!" Then when I would catch up, I'd say "OK, now run to the doorway there." Maybe even count as a timer.

I dunno....still thinking!

But good for you for looking and stretching for solutions, you know!
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