GD doesn't mean "no consequences" - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-24-2007, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, duh? Right?!? I feel like I've been falling over myself to be gentle and have totally lost sight of the fact that the second letter stands for "Discipline." Like many other mamas on the board right now, I have a 4.5 yo who is driving me nuts! I really bristled about a week ago when my MIL claimed the reason dd's behavior is so bad is because I never tell her "no." My reaction was so strong that I should have suspected there must be some truth behind her comment.

Is anyone else struggling with the discipline part? I'm trying to identify logical consequences as soon as a negative behavior occurs but it usually takes me a good ten minutes (if ever) to calm down, think clearly, and come up with a consequence that relates to the offense. I wish I could find that inner-calm and reflectiveness immediately.

Mama to three crazy, wonderful kiddos: dd1--12/2002, dd2--3/2005, and ds--3/2006

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Old 07-24-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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Yep. What I can say from experience, though, is that sometimes a child feels more secure when they are told exactly where the line is and what the consequences are (for everyone) as a result of going beyond that point.

DS1 got himself in trouble last week for fidgeting during the dress rehearsal of the school play, and ultimately trying to strangle the little boy sitting next to him (he says he was trying to blindfold him.) His teacher had a chat with me- his teacher was going white with embarrassment because one of her class had misbehaved. It's her first ever school play (she's newly qualified.) and the head had words with her. So, it came to me. My dad spent 30 years of his life organising school plays and school concerts and one of the things he valued was that these kids, who spent a lot of time hearing that they were useless and shouldn't be given these opportunities, could rise to the occasion and give their best. So I told Alex this. He handled the punishment school handed out, and listened to me when I explained exactly how bad this made me feel, and why, and because of dad. He really got it. I wish it hadn't taken the original incident, but I think he understands that he is not an island.

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Old 07-24-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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i have read many interpretations of GD here, but for me personally it means no hitting, yelling and screaming, and shaming my children. i do try to offer choices, choose my battles, explain things, etc.

but we do have consequences here, and my children do not have full reign over how things go. when it's bed time, bath time, teeth brushing time, meal time, etc....those aren't negotiable here. but that's what works best for my family, and honestly i need this structure because it keeps me from losing my cool and freaking out.

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Old 07-24-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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I agree that the definition of GD wouldn't be "no consequences" but I don't think you have to give "consequences" to discipline either. Discipline means teach - not punish, and not give "consequences", which are really a more gentle type of punishment. But IMO it certainly falls within the realm of GD to give logical consequences so long as they aren't shameful or humiliating, excessive to the behavior, or unrelated. Anyway, that's my opinion on it.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by towsonmama View Post
Well, duh? Right?!? I feel like I've been falling over myself to be gentle and have totally lost sight of the fact that the second letter stands for "Discipline." Like many other mamas on the board right now, I have a 4.5 yo who is driving me nuts! I really bristled about a week ago when my MIL claimed the reason dd's behavior is so bad is because I never tell her "no." My reaction was so strong that I should have suspected there must be some truth behind her comment.

Is anyone else struggling with the discipline part? I'm trying to identify logical consequences as soon as a negative behavior occurs but it usually takes me a good ten minutes (if ever) to calm down, think clearly, and come up with a consequence that relates to the offense. I wish I could find that inner-calm and reflectiveness immediately.
It's a good point. Being gentle is important but having discipline as part of that is very important too.

IME, DD keeps forgetting to go to the bathroom while she is playing and wets her pants. It gets rather annoying. We remind her and remind her and every once in a while she has an accident.

We were starting to feel like we were banging our heads against a wall. So we started having Hope clean up after she pees. From taking her wet pants, undies and socks off (and sometimes shoes) to putting them into the washing machine and mopping up the floor.

She needs guidance with the mop (it's heavy) and I put the washing machine on for her. I think this way it makes a bigger impression on her and she realizes the implications of peeing one's pants. And hopefully it encourages her to pay attention to her body's signals more. We'll see I guess.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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I think structure and routine are very important components of GD. As is managing the environment (though this component lessens as they get older.) And I think setting personal boundaries is an important part of GD (and that could be and has been whole threads in and of itself.)

Consequences though -- I dunno -- I have used them, in certain situations -- doesn't really stand out to me as the most effective aspect of discipline. I don't know if I lean less on consequences just because they are older now, or because I have become skillful at parenting -- or maybe just plain tired.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:21 PM
 
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Not telling "no" and not giving consequences are 2 different things. If you never tell "no", then you are probably not setting boundaries. I've found that setting boundaries is often enough - no need for consequences - "simply insist" on the boundaries. That said, I do sometimes impose consequences to make sure boundaries are respected - a consequence can be as simple as physically redirecting the child. If dd takes a toy from ds, I tell her to give it back and don't take toys away from your brother - then I make sure she does it. No need for a punishment. If she were to repeatedly act aggressively, then would determine it was time for time out or some quiet time to get herself together.

From families I've seen where they never say "no" - they do say "no", they just say it really weakly and make no attempt to ensure that they were heard or their direction was followed - they fail to "simply insist". Then they might get frustrated after things escalate and try to punish.

Anyway, boredom is the biggest trigger with my kids - things get rowdy when they are ready for some direction. That's when I step in and lead a directed activity - let's get ready and go play in the pool, go for a walk, etc. I have to keep a balance between freedom and direction - too much or too little of either and things get iffy.
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Old 07-24-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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I beleive that if you make your boundaries firm then there is no needed for punishments.
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Old 07-24-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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I don't impose consequences, but life has lots of unavoidable consequences, both positive and negative.

Sometime people use the word consequences in place of punishment or doing something unpleasant in order to teach a lesson. While I think someone can certainly be gentle and use punishment, I don't think it's in any way necessary to raising children.
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Old 07-24-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by towsonmama View Post
Is anyone else struggling with the discipline part? I'm trying to identify logical consequences as soon as a negative behavior occurs but it usually takes me a good ten minutes (if ever) to calm down, think clearly, and come up with a consequence that relates to the offense. I wish I could find that inner-calm and reflectiveness immediately.
I thought of a suggestion that may help you. Take some time each day, maybe while you are in the shower or something, and think up some behaviors and what the logical consequences would be. The example the poster gave about the daughter ignoring her body's signals and wetting herself and having her help clean up is a good one.

I think it is so important for kids (and some adults still need this as well) to learn that actions have consequences. And it these aren't always bad, or even good, sometimes they can be neutral too. But kids need to understand this so they can learn to make good choices for themselves and not become "It will never happen to me." or "Who cares? It is no big deal if I do X." kind of folks.

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Old 07-24-2007, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=elizawill;8716925]

but we do have consequences here, and my children do not have full reign over how things go. when it's bed time, bath time, teeth brushing time, meal time, etc....those aren't negotiable here. [\QUOTE]

how do you handle it when they decide to test the limits in those situations? (maybe refusing to stay in bed or throwing a fit over the bath?)

Mama to three crazy, wonderful kiddos: dd1--12/2002, dd2--3/2005, and ds--3/2006

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Old 07-24-2007, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not telling "no" and not giving consequences are 2 different things. If you never tell "no", then you are probably not setting boundaries. I've found that setting boundaries is often enough - no need for consequences - "simply insist" on the boundaries. That said, I do sometimes impose consequences to make sure boundaries are respected - a consequence can be as simple as physically redirecting the child. If dd takes a toy from ds, I tell her to give it back and don't take toys away from your brother - then I make sure she does it. No need for a punishment. If she were to repeatedly act aggressively, then would determine it was time for time out or some quiet time to get herself together.
Do you insist on the boundaries by your interventions when the boundaries are not being respected? Is time out/quiet time considered a consequence or part of redirection?

(Does that make sense? I'm trying to figure out what discipline without consequences would look like.)

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Old 07-24-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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When I first started frequenting this forum when dirt was young, I learned alot from folks who talked about the difference between "gentle discipline" and "no discipline." Discipline is defined as teaching. Mamaduck was eloquent about being an authority, as in, a learned guide...someone who has been up the mountain a time or two rather than a police officer.

This is a pretty new question that has started coming up about consequences rather than discipline...One can easily gently discipline without imposing consequences. I don't think that you could gently discipline without listening, talking and modeling. And looking for the underlying need or message the young one is expressing through actions. Looking for where they are reflecting our own needs in their sensitive ways. Expressing my concerns in a respectful way. Asking for respectful actions toward me.

But consequences? It's certainly possible to gently discipline without artificial consequences.
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When I first started frequenting this forum when dirt was young, I learned alot from folks who talked about the difference between "gentle discipline" and "no discipline." Discipline is defined as teaching. Mamaduck was eloquent about being an authority, as in, a learned guide...someone who has been up the mountain a time or two rather than a police officer.

This is a pretty new question that has started coming up about consequences rather than discipline...One can easily gently discipline without imposing consequences. I don't think that you could gently discipline without listening, talking and modeling. And looking for the underlying need or message the young one is expressing through actions. Looking for where they are reflecting our own needs in their sensitive ways. Expressing my concerns in a respectful way. Asking for respectful actions toward me.

But consequences? It's certainly possible to gently discipline without artificial consequences.
I love that analogy--experienced mountaineer vs. police officer!

Here's a specific example where I'm struggling: my older dd (4.5) hits her younger sis (2 yo) more frequently than I'd like to admit. I've tried empathizing with her regarding the emotions behind the hitting and have had some success. But sometimes she continues to do it, even after we've talked and I've tried to engage her in a different activity. Unfortunately she can be pretty brutal. I've started physically separating her for a cool down--she can choose to remain in sight of the rest of us or go to her room and she herself determines when she's ready to re-engage. Is that punishment and therefore no longer GD? If so, what should I do differently?

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Old 07-24-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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At our house it usually runs the other way with the younger one hitting the older one! I move myself between them. My first responsibility is to keep everyone safe. (Which is what I say out loud when I'm doing it, often right after I say loudly HEY! cause that's just what I do.) Then, what other way can we handle this?

Usually getting some angry response, to which I respond, okay, but what else can we do to handle this? Until things simmer down.

But there are some much better mountain guides here than me!! Hopefully they'll be chiming in!
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:58 PM
 
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i have read many interpretations of GD here, but for me personally it means no hitting, yelling and screaming, and shaming my children. i do try to offer choices, choose my battles, explain things, etc.

but we do have consequences here, and my children do not have full reign over how things go. when it's bed time, bath time, teeth brushing time, meal time, etc....those aren't negotiable here. but that's what works best for my family, and honestly i need this structure because it keeps me from losing my cool and freaking out.
How aren't they negotiable? How do you "make" your child do these things? I'm not being snarky... I'm being totally serious because I would LOVE my ds to DO these things without negotiating or screaming or fighting me!!!!
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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[QUOTE=towsonmama;8720458]
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Originally Posted by elizawill View Post

but we do have consequences here, and my children do not have full reign over how things go. when it's bed time, bath time, teeth brushing time, meal time, etc....those aren't negotiable here. [\QUOTE]

how do you handle it when they decide to test the limits in those situations? (maybe refusing to stay in bed or throwing a fit over the bath?)
honestly my children don't usually give me a hard time, but hypothetically speaking if my dd or ds was having a fit about going to sleep, i would lay down with them and rub their back to calm them down. we have a bedtime routine in place, and this is usually sufficient. if they were freaking out because it was bath time, i'd probably offer a bubble bath or extra toys, or i'd smell their feet and act like it made me pass out cuz they were so stinky....or something along those lines to break the tension. we also watch a 30 minute video after bath time with a snack, so worse case scenario, i'd tell them we needed to move along or we wouldn't have time for a video.

our current struggle is my son is giving me a very hard time lately about brushing his teeth. my husband has handled it very well by having him open his mouth and say "ahhh" and then we all sing jingle bells saying "ah ah ah...ah ah ah" & brush his back and upper teeth. then we sing jingle bells to "cheese cheese cheese" when we want to do his front teeth. it has worked out fine. i think the bottom line is, my children know i'm not punishing them or trying to control or manipulate them....i'm just caring for them, yk? i'm not bossy to them, i just let them know 15 minutes or so in advance that we will be changing our mode into mealtime, bath time, etc. it's no problem.

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Old 07-24-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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How aren't they negotiable? How do you "make" your child do these things? I'm not being snarky... I'm being totally serious because I would LOVE my ds to DO these things without negotiating or screaming or fighting me!!!!
i think i just answered this in a cross-post...but if it wasn't sufficient, i will try to elaborate for you, k? i don't take your question as being snarky

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Old 07-25-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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Do you insist on the boundaries by your interventions when the boundaries are not being respected? Is time out/quiet time considered a consequence or part of redirection?

(Does that make sense? I'm trying to figure out what discipline without consequences would look like.)
Well, I'm transitioning right now to a less punitive method. I have done time out in the past as a simple "punishment" - you did something you weren't supposed to, go to time out. But I have used time out in another way that I don't feel is a punishment. "OK, you are getting out of control; you need to take a break."

I'll try an example:
DD takes a toy from DS.
"DD give that back to DS; we don't take toys from each other; we share."
*usually that is enough
DD doesn't give toy back.
I walk over "DD give the toy back to DS now please."
*that would probably work but if not...
DD doesn't give the toy back and starts whining.
I put my hand out "DD give me the toy please."
*She gives it to me and I hand it back to DS. "Please remember that we do not take toys from each other."
* Or she throws the toy across the room and falls in the floor whining.
"OK, you are getting out of control; it's time for a break." I take her to the foyer of our house to disengage her from the situation and have her calm down. (And that has never taken long - she's not aggressive.) I don't revisit the toy incident by trying to talk about it. There will be more teachable opportunities in the future.

I'm not saying there is never a need for consequences - but I'm trying to do with less punishment. For example the other day, dd tore up one of ds's books - so I had her get in her piggy bank and get some money to put in ds's piggy bank to pay for the book. I don't think that is punishment, that is retribution.

DH and I were both raised with discipline that was very consequence driven. We had a long talk last night about it - "What would you have done if you got a girl pregnant in high school/got pregnant in high school?" Would you have felt you could talk with your parents or would the consequences (apart from the natural consequences which are already so high!) have deterred you from talking? DH felt that he would have been terrified to tell his parents. I felt my parents would have been ok, but the church we were in at the time was so strict and would stand pregnant girls up in front of the congregation to announce what had happened (to "deter gossip") and that was horrifying to me. We don't want to be so consequence oriented that our children see our primary role as doling out consequences and wouldn't come to us for help or advice.

I like the 1,2,3 Magic technique, and I think it is a good fall back, but I found I had to dole out a lot of consequences (punishments) because so many things were automatic "3s". I walk in a find that dd has gotten into my things and made a mess - automatic time out? I've found shaking my head and saying "oh, dd, you tore my stuff up, that's not nice, I'm sad." and calmly picking up works just as well with dd because she is an empathetic child. I have to think having her stand there observing the natural consequences is more effective than sending her off to time out which would have her focused on her own plight. I know some kids lack empathy though, so I would have to focus on how to foster empathy - in that case maybe having the child do some of the work? Or do some work to make up for being destructive? Not sure, still learning...

But anyway, I have found in just giving "simply insisting" a try and not immediately jumping to consequences, it does work far more often than I ever thought possible. DH and I both tend to jump right to the question - "what if she doesn't do what we say?" But that's really not the issue we thought it was going to be.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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To me "discipline" means "loving guidence." So, NO - I see no need for any parent imposed consquences.

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:10 PM
 
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To me "discipline" means "loving guidence." So, NO - I see no need for any parent imposed consquences.
I agree. Most of the time when I feel the need to impose a consequence for some behavior, its only because I'm feeling like I'm out of control myself (like, "hey why isn't DD LISTENING to me, I'm the MOM") - and that if I'd just "do something" (like impose a punishment), then I'm back on the right "Mommy in charge" track.

When really, if I'd just step back & figure out what triggered the "misbehavior" in the first place, and go from there, helping & guiding my daughter into a better choice, there wouldn't be a need for imposing a consequence.

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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Most of the time when I feel the need to impose a consequence for some behavior, its only because I'm feeling like I'm out of control myself (like, "hey why isn't DD LISTENING to me, I'm the MOM") - and that if I'd just "do something" (like impose a punishment), then I'm back on the right "Mommy in charge" track.
That is *very* true! I do feel that way - something has happened beyond my control, and I feel like I need to *do* something about it. It's almost fear-based, and I see that when dh says "but we can't just *let* her defy our boundaries - we have to *do* something." And the worst is when I feel my temper flaring, and I feel like I need to impose time out or something so I don't explode. I do think giving a time out is better than exploding, but I want to evolve into better teaching methods. The key for me is not trying to outlaw what I already do and not beating myself up when I do something suboptimal - just recognizing that was not optimal and moment by moment trying to try new strategies and think in new creative ways.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To me "discipline" means "loving guidence." So, NO - I see no need for any parent imposed consquences.
yea, i guess when i really look at the situation in our house, i struggle with the consequence thing when sibling issues arise. i mean, when older dd smothers/tackles/hits younger dd yet again after being told a million times "'no' means 'no and' that's her way of asking you to respect her personal space" i feel like she needs to be phsyically separated from her younger sis. i think i'm pretty empathetic about it; i try to let her pick an alternate activity or even have the younger one engage in something else. but sometimes i just tell her to go calm down and come back when she's ready to be around her sis in a respectful manner.

fwiw, i tried coming up with alternative outlets for her aggression such as punching a pillow. earlier today i saw her cock her fist back to punch her sister and i yelled "pillow!" so she went and got the pillow off the sofa and smacked her sis across the back with it.

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=2bluefish;8727151]That is *very* true! I do feel that way - something has happened beyond my control, and I feel like I need to *do* something about it. [\QUOTE]

i agree. for me, the sibling fights trigger that lack of control feeling. i want to defend the younger one and feel at a loss to do so without imposing negative consequences on the older one. i'm reading siblings without rivalry right now but i'm finding it difficult to get my 4.5 yo to identity her feelings.

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:51 PM
 
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I think for me consequences are simply about keeping the environment livable and safe. And sane.

So today dd (3 yo) was standing and jumping on my lap. I asked her not to, and explained that it was hurting my legs. She was a little bored and hornery and did it again. So I give a warning: "honey, if you jump on my legs again I'm going to put you on the floor." She's learned that I only give one warning and that I ALWAYS do what I said I would do. So now she has a choice: she can jump on my legs again and then she knows she will have to sit on the floor (which she doens't want), or she can stop jumping on my legs.

No harsh words, no mean tones, no hard feelings. Just choices.

If she did jump again I would just gently and matter-of-factly place her on the floor. I'd continue to interact with her as before - if we had been reading we'd continue, etc. But I wouldn't let her up on my lap again for some reasonable period of time and would instead have her sit on the floor next to me.

But she very rarely does need consequences carried out. I hardly ever use warnings - less than once per day, I'd guess - and I'm careful to choose something immediate, something moderate in nature, and to never let the consequence tie into my affection or attention to her.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:52 PM
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fwiw, i tried coming up with alternative outlets for her aggression such as punching a pillow. earlier today i saw her cock her fist back to punch her sister and i yelled "pillow!" so she went and got the pillow off the sofa and smacked her sis across the back with it.



Btw, I agree with your original point.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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Do you insist on the boundaries by your interventions when the boundaries are not being respected? Is time out/quiet time considered a consequence or part of redirection?

(Does that make sense? I'm trying to figure out what discipline without consequences would look like.)
1. Yes. 2. I don't really use a traditional time out, more of a "break" to short circuit whatever might be going on.

I've recently realized that for me, the setting and enforcing (calmly, gently) of the limit or boundary is what the discipline part of gentle discipline is all about - and it's as far as I need ot go. I feel no need to pile anything on top of that...which is why some people might feel like I'm not "doing" anything; I am, I'm just not doing anything *to* DS aside from making sure the limit is respected, and explaining the situation to him. Now, setting the limit or boundary may sometiems involve a conequence of sorts (like, if he cannot stop being destructive with a toy or stop manhandling his sister, the toy goes away until he can be more gentle, or he is separated from his sister briefly to cool off), but there is nothing imposed that is unrelated to the specific situation. When I think about it that way, it's really pretty simple. I set my limit or boundary, enforce it, explain it, and that's it.

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Here's a specific example where I'm struggling: my older dd (4.5) hits her younger sis (2 yo) more frequently than I'd like to admit. I've tried empathizing with her regarding the emotions behind the hitting and have had some success. But sometimes she continues to do it, even after we've talked and I've tried to engage her in a different activity. Unfortunately she can be pretty brutal. I've started physically separating her for a cool down--she can choose to remain in sight of the rest of us or go to her room and she herself determines when she's ready to re-engage. Is that punishment and therefore no longer GD? If so, what should I do differently?
I think that for physical aggression and her age, this is fine. It's open ended, it's a cool down, not a "you hit your sister and you're bad so you have to go sit in the corner" - it's, "take some time to cool down and come back when you're feeling better". It sounds like something I would do. I think adding anything on top of that (like taking away privileges or something) would start to build resentment and perhaps lead to more aggressiveness out of feeling 'picked on', you know?

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That is *very* true! I do feel that way - something has happened beyond my control, and I feel like I need to *do* something about it. It's almost fear-based, and I see that when dh says "but we can't just *let* her defy our boundaries - we have to *do* something." And the worst is when I feel my temper flaring, and I feel like I need to impose time out or something so I don't explode. I do think giving a time out is better than exploding, but I want to evolve into better teaching methods. The key for me is not trying to outlaw what I already do and not beating myself up when I do something suboptimal - just recognizing that was not optimal and moment by moment trying to try new strategies and think in new creative ways.
:

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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No harsh words, no mean tones, no hard feelings. Just choices.

<snip>
I'm careful to choose something immediate, something moderate in nature, and to never let the consequence tie into my affection or attention to her.
A BIG "yeah, that" to this - this is excellent.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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I've been thinking while reading throughout the posts, and I realize as ds gets older (he's three, he'll be 4 in September) I'm using imposed consequences less and less. If it's a natural consequence, I'll stick to it. Anything so he learns from it. However, what I find works well is sticking to something in my head, conveying that to him, and following through. Becky Bailey calls this the power of intention.

So for instance if he spilled something and doesn't grab the towel to clean it up and tries to get out of it, I use very few words and show him (kindly) where the towel is and sometimes I even say, "oh you forgot" and something along those lines. This is clearly not my best example, but you'll have to forgive my pregnant brain
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of disciplining without consequences. I'm so used to using them, I just can't imagine what I'd do without them. I always considered gentle discipline as not using violence, no shaming, no screaming, etc. I don't consider consequences necessarily as a punishment - in some cases they are - but more as educating my child.
I never really used them when she was a baby - that was all about distraction and re-direction - but as a toddler I gave her choices and gave her consequences for her words and actions. Because that's how life is - everything we do or say has consequences of some kind (good or bad) and we all have decisions to make. I kept them age appropriate and indeed, I'm finding that I need to use them less as she's getting older. And I never used time-outs with dd either. I used time-outs for ME. I praise, but I'm not heavy-handed with it because I simply don't want her to think I'm evaluating everything she does as good or bad. I save reward systems for last resort situations when behavior modification is absolutely necessary.
For me it's always been about knowing what's age appropriate behavior, not setting too high expectations on her and trying to figure out what's going on in her head so that I can understand and communicate with her better. I want her to think for herself, think what the consequences of her actions will be and make her own decisions.
And I find that my parenting is rubbing off on my DH who used to hit his cat for destroying things/scratching people. I was shocked! He doesn't do it anymore. We GD the cat now, too.

hide.gif Me 41, single mom to modifiedartist.gifdd 4/2001 and demon.gif ds 7/17/2010

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