Is this too harsh of a punishment? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-25-2007, 12:44 PM
 
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The only thing that worked was for us to stop getting into situations where she would tantrum when it was time to leave. For me that also meant I didn't get to socialize and hang out with my friends sometimes. Once she realized her friends were getting together for lunch at So-n-So's house, but we weren't going because she would throw a tantrum when we left, the tantrums were diminished.

She still needs help transitioning. I give her warning before it's time to go. Sometimes she starts up one of her tantrums when it's time to go home, and I have to figure out a way to connect with her and calm her down. But she understands the ultimate consequence is that we avoid situations where she'll melt down upon leaving. She's grown out of it a little bit, but I also think missing out on some fun things helped her understand.
I haven't read all the responses, but yeah that. I have a 5 year old who is mostly past this stage and can handle these transitions better now. But he used to do the exact same thing. And that was how I handled it.

I don't think its too harsh. I do think that knowing everyone else got to go was probably a little mean. In those instances, I don't tell him what everyone else was headed off to do, but if he does ask, I'll tell him.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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For those new to the forum: The Gentle Discipline Forum Guidelines are posted at the top as a "sticky".


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Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.

Hitting is never the best way to teach a child. Even in the case of real danger - as when a child runs out into the road - you can grab him, sit him down, look him in the eyes, and tell him why he must never do that again. The panic in your voice will communicate your message much more effectively than any spanking. You can be dramatic without being abusive.

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Old 09-25-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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...you should not be asking yourself if taking the pizza party away is too harsh a punsihment for throwing a tantrum. Tantrums be damned! Make sure that kid knows good and well NEVER to run in the parking lot.

I don't really think tantrums are a big deal for a little one, no matter how furious and violent they are. Hell, my husband has tantrums on a daily basis, and he is 32 years old. At least for my three-year-old, it almost always means she is tired. I just sigh and take her home. Many a grocery cart has been left by me (half full, I might add) in the middle of the store, while I haul out my screaming monkey-child over my shoulder.

However, I do think that running away from a parent in a parking lot is really really serious. I haven't read all of these posts, but I haven't seen much mentioned about that. GD is great and all for the everyday infractions of a person's life, but the natural consequence of running in a parking lot is getting hit by a car and dying. You can't really communicate that with gentle expanation to a child. There is this kid that goes to our park that is always taking off across the parking lot with his hippy mother in tow gently calling her son's name--"let's not run in the parking lot, Caleb, you could be hurt by a car, darling." Let me tell you that I have an iron grip on my kid's hand where large hunks of moving steel are concerned. And I have no qualms about putting the fear of God in her if she decides to take off half-cocked all on her own.

If that makes me a bad mother, then so be it. At least my kid lives to throw tantrums and embarass me another day.
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:18 PM
 
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I have not really waded through all the replies, but IME, threatening any punishment during a tantrum NEVER works. Generally, my child is just too irrational at that point and any mention of any consequence for her actions just sets her off even more. I find the best way to get through the tantrum is to just get through it. Ride it out. Help her feel reassured. Let her know I love her even when she is so very, very upset.

However. I do not disagree that making the parental, adult decision to stay away from playgroup for a week or two. I have done this. But it is not something I really communicate to my child as a punishment. I might just skip the playgroup and do something else, less stimulating with my child during that time, because I know she is having a hard time with some aspect of the playgroup. So rather than leaving the "choice" up to her, in a moment of distress, I make the choice for her, but do not hand it down as a punishment.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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...you should not be asking yourself if taking the pizza party away is too harsh a punsihment for throwing a tantrum. Tantrums be damned! Make sure that kid knows good and well NEVER to run in the parking lot.

I don't really think tantrums are a big deal for a little one, no matter how furious and violent they are. Hell, my husband has tantrums on a daily basis, and he is 32 years old. At least for my three-year-old, it almost always means she is tired. I just sigh and take her home. Many a grocery cart has been left by me (half full, I might add) in the middle of the store, while I haul out my screaming monkey-child over my shoulder.

However, I do think that running away from a parent in a parking lot is really really serious. I haven't read all of these posts, but I haven't seen much mentioned about that. GD is great and all for the everyday infractions of a person's life, but the natural consequence of running in a parking lot is getting hit by a car and dying. You can't really communicate that with gentle expanation to a child. There is this kid that goes to our park that is always taking off across the parking lot with his hippy mother in tow gently calling her son's name--"let's not run in the parking lot, Caleb, you could be hurt by a car, darling." Let me tell you that I have an iron grip on my kid's hand where large hunks of moving steel are concerned. And I have no qualms about putting the fear of God in her if she decides to take off half-cocked all on her own.

If that makes me a bad mother, then so be it. At least my kid lives to throw tantrums and embarass me another day.

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Old 09-25-2007, 02:26 PM
 
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However. I do not disagree that making the parental, adult decision to stay away from playgroup for a week or two. I have done this. But it is not something I really communicate to my child as a punishment. I might just skip the playgroup and do something else, less stimulating with my child during that time, because I know she is having a hard time with some aspect of the playgroup. So rather than leaving the "choice" up to her, in a moment of distress, I make the choice for her, but do not hand it down as a punishment.
ITA with this. And I will also add that if DD asked if we could go to playgroup, I would explain why we weren't going. IF she asked.

There is a pizza place in our town with an attached playground which connects to a half-wall. On the other side of the half wall are tables where people are eating. DD has had repeated problems with wanting to climb this wall, which is not only not safe but disruptive to other patrons. I sort of understand her issue--it's confusing, because the wall seems like part of the playground. I haven't punished her for having trouble with not climbing this wall, even though it has been quite aggravating on several occasions in the past. Instead, on my own, I made the decision to skip eating at this place for a while until I think DD is more developmentally able to handle this issue. She has asked about going back, and I've explained why we aren't going back for a while.

When we do go back, too, I'll explain expectations ahead of time and ask her for a promise not to climb the wall. This is something that works very well with DD--lay out the problem ahead of time, state my concerns, and see if DD can agree to try not to engage on the problem behavior or has an idea on how to avoid it. In the OP's case, the next time she asked to go to the park (the pizza party seems unrelated), I would remind her of what happened last time, tell her I was concerned it would happen again, and ask what we could do to make sure it didn't. I'm sure this would not work for all kids. It works well for mine, though--the key is to get her agreement and cooperation ahead of time before we go to "that place."

On another topic, I'm interested and a bit bewildered by the parents on this thread saying that they will not "allow" a child to scream at them. I can picture (and I engage in) not allowing a child to hit me, but how do I not allow a child to scream at me? It also seemed like people were implying that screaming is met with consequences--really? I have on rare occasions sent DD to her room to scream (only if I felt like she was really screaming to annoy), but I've never felt this was especially GD.

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Old 09-25-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momeg View Post

However, I do think that running away from a parent in a parking lot is really really serious. I haven't read all of these posts, but I haven't seen much mentioned about that. GD is great and all for the everyday infractions of a person's life, but the natural consequence of running in a parking lot is getting hit by a car and dying. You can't really communicate that with gentle expanation to a child. There is this kid that goes to our park that is always taking off across the parking lot with his hippy mother in tow gently calling her son's name--"let's not run in the parking lot, Caleb, you could be hurt by a car, darling." Let me tell you that I have an iron grip on my kid's hand where large hunks of moving steel are concerned. And I have no qualms about putting the fear of God in her if she decides to take off half-cocked all on her own.

If that makes me a bad mother, then so be it. At least my kid lives to throw tantrums and embarass me another day.

SUre you can. You explain a million and one times exactly what can happen if they get hit by a car. You talk about how big the car is and how heavy it is etc.
You take your child up to parked cars, trucks and minivans of all sizes and show them how the vehicle is so much larger than them that the drivers cannot even see if a child runs in front of them. Have them touch the vehicles, talk about how solid they are and how badly it would hurt if one hit you-even a little bump.
Explain that it is important that they stay close to an adult because adults are much easier for drivers to see etc.

And keep explaining it NICELY. It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
The more I try to force things on him, the more tantrums, arguments and power struggles I encounter.

No need to "Put the Fear Of God" Into Them
That is definitely NOT GD




.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:06 PM
 
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SUre you can. You explain a million and one times exactly what can happen if they get hit by a car. You talk about how big the car is and how heavy it is etc.
You take your child up to parked cars, trucks and minivans of all sizes and show them how the vehicle is so much larger than them that the drivers cannot even see if a child runs in front of them. Have them touch the vehicles, talk about how solid they are and how badly it would hurt if one hit you-even a little bump.
Explain that it is important that they stay close to an adult because adults are much easier for drivers to see etc.

And keep explaining it NICELY. It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
The more I try to force things on him, the more tantrums, arguments and power struggles I encounter.

No need to "Put the Fear Of God" Into Them
That is definitely NOT GD




.
This is such a fabulous example of gentle discipline. Thank you for sharing it.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
SUre you can. You explain a million and one times exactly what can happen if they get hit by a car. You talk about how big the car is and how heavy it is etc.
You take your child up to parked cars, trucks and minivans of all sizes and show them how the vehicle is so much larger than them that the drivers cannot even see if a child runs in front of them. Have them touch the vehicles, talk about how solid they are and how badly it would hurt if one hit you-even a little bump.
Explain that it is important that they stay close to an adult because adults are much easier for drivers to see etc.

And keep explaining it NICELY. It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
The more I try to force things on him, the more tantrums, arguments and power struggles I encounter.

No need to "Put the Fear Of God" Into Them
That is definitely NOT GD




.
that's a much better explanation than I would give. Thanks!!
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
.

I love your post and your example, and I think it is all wonderful except for the "It works...trust me." It is the ideal, and it will work for a great many dc. But there will be some dc who will not understand--or not care. And, while I don't advocate the "fear of god" approach, those parents may have to enforce some "parking lot rules" to keep their kids alive.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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...When we do go back, too, I'll explain expectations ahead of time and ask her for a promise not to climb the wall..
This helps, doesn't it?

I think the idea of simply not going to where the temptations are for now is completely reasonable also.

Using this example, here's what works really great for my dd. First, give her an explanation ("See those people eating over there? It bothers them when kids are climbing on the wall. Plus it's not our wall, and we don't want to damage it. Thank you, sweetie.")

Follow that with a warning ("Oh honey, you know what? We aren't supposed to get up on that wall, remember? If you get up on it again we're going to have to...." go eat inside....take our food and go home....not play at the play area anymore today...etc...) Immediate redirection helps ("Hey, let's go check out the pinball machine!")

Then, if she climbs again, do what I said I'd do. Apologetically and with empathy ("Uh oh. We're going to have to leave now because of the climbing. I'm sorry, honey. I want to stay too but remember what we talked about? We just can't climb on someone else's wall. It's their rule.")

Lots of reassurances and comfort and willingness to do other things that are fun ("I'm so bummed we couldn't stay at the pizza place! Hey, do you want to stop at the park on the way home? We can eat our pizza there!") so that she knows she's not bad, nobody's mad, this isn't punishment. It's simply the way it is: if people can't stay off the wall then they can't stay at the pizza place. There are lots of other cool things to do and next time - you know what? She'll make the decision of her own accord to stay off the wall so that she can stay longer. She understands the rules and she knows the choice is all hers.

The biggest challenge and the key to this approach working is the necessity to only say what you mean, and to follow through with what you've said 100% of the time. If you cave and give more chances after you've clearly set out the rules, the whole thing falls apart.

You really have to ask yourself before you speak up whether you're prepared to follow through with what you're telling her. If not, then choose a simpler consequence or else just deal with things another way this time.
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Old 09-25-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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I love your post and your example, and I think it is all wonderful except for the "It works...trust me." It is the ideal, and it will work for a great many dc. But there will be some dc who will not understand--or not care. And, while I don't advocate the "fear of god" approach, those parents may have to enforce some "parking lot rules" to keep their kids alive.
:

That's what I was thinking reading these posts....my DD is verbally delayed and has some impulsivity. There are only 2 times I have EVER gotten really out of control angry/scared. One was her dumpster diving in some medical waste (long story). The other was when she was around 2-2.5. I was major pregnant and she just TOOK OFF across a parking lot (ran OFF the playground and across the parking lot before I could catch her). I was yelling STOP at the top of my lungs and she laughed and kept running. So I hopped up and down yelling stop and she finally stopped long enough (to look at my strange behavior) for me to lunge and catch her. Then I got down in her face and really kind of was LOUD with her (you know, the ole "when I say stop, I mean STOP!" kind of stupid logic). I know I scared her to death. But she now understands that when I say STOP I mean it.

I don't say this because I am proud. I say this because, in this instance, I think I did "put the fear of god" in her...and there was NO WAY she could have understood calm explanations of why it's dangerous. Even at almost 4, that kind of language is beyond her (although she understands the basic phrase "it's not safe"). Because she is low verbal, we just now have a rule - whenever there are cars, she must stop and hold someone's hand to continue. It took several weeks before she understood that there were NO EXCEPTIONS to the hand-holding rule (you know, the wet noodle thing was a favorite of hers). But I was adamant and consistent about the handholding thing (I would simply wait until she was ready to move - and I agreed to walk over and examine things with her - while holding hands) and now it's second nature for her.

I still have to watch her like a hawk if we are on a playground without a gate. She still likes to run off without looking back - especially if she's in familiar territory. But it makes me less crazy to know that when I say "STOP" she will stop.

I don't know if that helps or just confuses things but I wanted to give a real-world example of where the calm explanation approach doesn't really work for some kids....

peace,
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Old 09-25-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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I love your post and your example, and I think it is all wonderful except for the "It works...trust me." It is the ideal, and it will work for a great many dc. But there will be some dc who will not understand--or not care. And, while I don't advocate the "fear of god" approach, those parents may have to enforce some "parking lot rules" to keep their kids alive.
But it DOES work. I never said it works for EVERYONE. I just said it works.

Just because a person says that something works doesn't mean they are implying that it would work every other person in the universe. I think that is true about everything...not just parenting.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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OP, I'm coming in late on this post but I think you did the RIGHT thing by not allowing her to go to the Pizza party.

And I would have done the same as you...followed through on a consequence.

Because my DS tends to behave exactly as you described.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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I was yelling STOP at the top of my lungs and she laughed and kept running. So I hopped up and down yelling stop and she finally stopped long enough (to look at my strange behavior) for me to lunge and catch her. Then I got down in her face and really kind of was LOUD with her (you know, the ole "when I say stop, I mean STOP!" kind of stupid logic). I know I scared her to death. But she now understands that when I say STOP I mean it.

I don't say this because I am proud. I say this because, in this instance, I think I did "put the fear of god" in her...and there was NO WAY she could have understood calm explanations of why it's dangerous.

<snip> But I was adamant and consistent about the handholding thing (I would simply wait until she was ready to move - and I agreed to walk over and examine things with her - while holding hands) and now it's second nature for her.
I think it's not really the same kind of thing - you were demonstrating your GENUINE fear. I don't think that we should shield kids from that. It's the only thing that actually stopped my very headstrong dd too when she was in the 'dash away into the street' phase. What you didn't do is follow your fear with punishment.

Instead, you taught your daughter a very, very useful rule. Through modeling, repetition and consistency. The fact that she is low verbal and doesn't understand well makes the GD approach here all the more powerful. If a child whose understanding is limited can learn the 'hold hands when cars are around rule' than any child can. My kids both learned it at about 18 months. They both stop at the curb. They both know to hang on to the car in the parking lot. (I tell them to touch the 'square', i.e. the cover to the gas tank.)

But as I said in an earlier response. I don't think that the OPs consequence was out of line. Going to events when your child is overtired is asking for a meltdown, IMO. I would have just phrased it differently.

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:51 PM
 
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Then, if she climbs again, do what I said I'd do. Apologetically and with empathy ("Uh oh. We're going to have to leave now because of the climbing. I'm sorry, honey. I want to stay too but remember what we talked about? We just can't climb on someone else's wall. It's their rule.")
I agree in theory, but in practice, when this has been a problem, I was there with someone else who was driving us home, or there with a group and/or we hadn't gotten the pizza yet or paid. Sometimes you get trapped by circumstance.

Also, DD is 100% guaranteed to have a positively impressive freak-out when removed in a case like this. (Oh, believe me, I have done it. Many times. But some days I don't have the energy.)

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

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
SUre you can. You explain a million and one times exactly what can happen if they get hit by a car. You talk about how big the car is and how heavy it is etc.
You take your child up to parked cars, trucks and minivans of all sizes and show them how the vehicle is so much larger than them that the drivers cannot even see if a child runs in front of them. Have them touch the vehicles, talk about how solid they are and how badly it would hurt if one hit you-even a little bump.
Explain that it is important that they stay close to an adult because adults are much easier for drivers to see etc.

And keep explaining it NICELY. It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
The more I try to force things on him, the more tantrums, arguments and power struggles I encounter.

No need to "Put the Fear Of God" Into Them
That is definitely NOT GD




.
I use the "Look at Mr Squirrel" approach. I know that offends some of the folks here, but IMO it's the closest you can come to natural consequences without letting your kids get hit by a car.
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Old 09-25-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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Or you can run over a watermelon....
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Or you can run over a watermelon....
I'm not sure if you're serious or not, but either way this idea made me
I would probably try it though if I had a dc who continually tried to run in the parking lot or street.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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Somebody here suggested it and I thought it was brilliant!!
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:29 AM
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OP, I'm coming in late on this post but I think you did the RIGHT thing by not allowing her to go to the Pizza party.

And I would have done the same as you...followed through on a consequence.

Because my DS tends to behave exactly as you described.
Neither of my girls or my DSS has ever behaved in that manner (for instance, I've never been hit : by any of them -- DD#1 bit my finger once when she was about a year old and my response (a loud, shocked, OUCH!) shocked her so much that she never did it again) and I, too, believe that what you did was a logical, natural consequence.

I'm glad your daughter understands.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
I think it's not really the same kind of thing - you were demonstrating your GENUINE fear. I don't think that we should shield kids from that. It's the only thing that actually stopped my very headstrong dd too when she was in the 'dash away into the street' phase. What you didn't do is follow your fear with punishment.

Instead, you taught your daughter a very, very useful rule. Through modeling, repetition and consistency.
Thanks Lynn that actually makes me feel a little better...I've always regretted loosing it so bad with her that time - but I've always felt guilty relief that she now understands Stop. And it never really occurred to me at the time to punish her - mostly because she would never understand it. She would just see it as mommy scaring her or cutting off love and not understand it as a "consequence". I guess there are some blessings for having a child that is low verbal - the whole punishment thing is basically out of the question! Your reframing helps me think of it differently...

peace,
robyn
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
SUre you can. You explain a million and one times exactly what can happen if they get hit by a car. You talk about how big the car is and how heavy it is etc.
You take your child up to parked cars, trucks and minivans of all sizes and show them how the vehicle is so much larger than them that the drivers cannot even see if a child runs in front of them. Have them touch the vehicles, talk about how solid they are and how badly it would hurt if one hit you-even a little bump.
Explain that it is important that they stay close to an adult because adults are much easier for drivers to see etc.

And keep explaining it NICELY. It works...trust me. I take my son out on public transportation all over a large city, and he doesn't even have to hold my hand most of the time. Because he has been empowered and he understands what he needs to do to be safe and why. And I don;t have an "easy" kid...he is VERY stubborn and strong willed (like his mama ) which is why GD is the ONLY thing that works in our home.
The more I try to force things on him, the more tantrums, arguments and power struggles I encounter.

No need to "Put the Fear Of God" Into Them
That is definitely NOT GD




.
Thats exactly what works for us too in fact it works so well that ds shouts at the birds to get off the road before they get knocked over. If he ever ran off in a parking lot I would shout 'STOP' usually the tone of my voice (worried but firm) is enough to make him stop in his tracks and then I can bring him back and explain to him why he shouldnt do that. No punishment neccesary.
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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