help! gentle discipline not working! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-27-2003, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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DH and I are at wits ends.

my dd is now 3.5 years old...we have a 6 months old baby. I am tandem
nursing the two.

My dd is going through lots of changes...we were camping for 3 weeks
(have a camper which I thought would be great for a spirited child
since they are sleeping in same bed every night despite locations).
As I know dd had trouble in the past and always takes her a few nights
to get used to a location.

Anyway...the main issues is that she is not listening to us and is
being violent. She never been violent and we use lots of words and
talk her out of situations and so forth.

Main things that we have found worked in the past was to offer two
choices (she of course comes up with a third). And distraction. That
was the main thing we used. If she was overtired or hungry I knew I
couldnt offer her choices and would just distract her. We also use
the counting methods to help her transition from playtime to hometime
or ending nursing session so forth.

She has been saying 'no' to us a lot, hitting me, etc.

Two issues...
when nursing she bites me when I count down to 10. (should I stop
nursing altogether...I know the weaning transition is hard enough for
her as she hates it that she cant nurse all night which I am trying
desparately to cut down on...been big issues for long time). Second
issue is she not listening to us when we ask her not to be too rough
with the baby (she is tickling the baby but doing it too rough so I
demonstrate how to tickle more gently then she keeps doing it the
rough way so I will remove her since she is not cooperating then she
has melt down). She will then go back and hit baby. The other day
she bit her brother while they were playing together... I was soo
shocked as they play nicely together a lot and she loves to make him
laugh and so forth.

I thought perhaps I am being too harsh with the weaning process with
her, and also I giv eher lots of 'her' time. I will nurse the two
kids together at nap and bed time (her time when she can nurse and
occassional night nursings). Thought tandem nursing helped relief
jealousy. Then she told dh later that she was 'sad' as dh was gone a
lot and she wanted him to play ball with her. Which made sense as we
were on our holiday but he was off a lot scuba diving. So dh is
working on making sure he gives her special attention too each day.

Sorry I am rambling...dh and I are just at wits end and dont know what
to do. I ended up slapping her (gasp) which I never wanted to do when
she bit me while nursing. It was a reflex as it was so painful and I
didnt know what to do. (the baby been biting me too as he has now 2
teeth and she witness that so she is probably trying to mimic him??).
I explained to her that he doesnt know not to bite but she is a big
girl and when she was a baby she also didnt know, but that its not
nice to bite mommy or anyone.

Help me please. We are soooo worn out and its hard work trying to be
creative and think of things to do. We are burnt out. Being AP is
not suppoesd to be exhausting.

THanks for listening and hope you have some advice. We are going to
leaf through the 4 books we have... 'raising your spirited child',
'listening to the 8 cries of your spirited child', ' tears and
tantrum' and 'indigo child'. Will sit down together and decide what
to do from here as the other methods not working. Meanwhile thought I
would solicit advice from here too.

Thanks everyone.

Stephanie (canadian in germany)

(so hard to ask my mainstream friends since they would tell me to stop
nursing, to go ahead and hit her when she doesnt listen to me etc...)
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#2 of 5 Old 07-27-2003, 12:12 PM
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It sounds like things are generally tough all around right now. Don't feel like GD isn't working -- there are a lot of other factors in her life right now aside from your approach to discipline. Any approach to discipline is going to be negated by 1) stress 2) change in routine 3) a new sibling. These things are temporary roadblocks, but it doesn't mean you are failing.

Also -- 3.5 is a hard, hard, hard age for a lot of kids. It *will* pass. I promise. I think part of what happens at this age is a new level of awarenes.... children start to become accutely aware of feeling very intense things, but they don't really know what to do with those feelings yet. So it comes out in violence.

It sounds like your dd is having some strong feelings about the baby, but she doesn't know how to communicate those feelings or how to deal with them constructively. If I were in your shoes, I would work with her on finding words to *say* the hard things that she feels instead of lashing out. "Its not okay to hit, but you can say 'I feel jealous' or 'I feel frustrated.'" We even taught our ds to "shout" the hard things he was feeling at this age instead of hitting. "I feel angry!!!" eventually replaced kicking and throwing punches.

I would also probably work on trying to establish a predicatable routine for her. It sounds like everything you have been going through as a family might be taking its toll on her system. I guess it depends somewhat on her personality -- I have one child who relies a lot on predictable routines, and one child who could care less.

I also think that the consequence for violence should be immediate but temporary removal from the situation. If she hits/bites the baby -- she should be removed from him. If she bites you while nursing, then the nursing session needs to end until she is ready to stop biting. I often get a comittment from my 3 yo before I consent to nursing him. I ask him to repeat my words, and then I say, "I will not bit you or pinch you." He does better if he is reminded ahead of time, and aggrees not to.

Good luck -- it sounds like things are a bit crazy right now, but please know that it isn't your fault, and that it will pass.
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#3 of 5 Old 07-27-2003, 12:16 PM
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me again, sorry. I just re-read your post and had another thought about this:

Anyway...the main issues is that she is not listening to us and is

we use lots of words
Anyway, I know that I rely a lot on disscussion with my kids as well, but sometimes I think I might take it overboard and they start to tune me out. I've noticed a relationship between them "not listening" and me "using a lot of words." Sometimes, I find it more useful to use a brief and direct statement, and then use my body to follow through with my direction. For instance, "Be gentle with the baby," followed by me going over and guiding his hand.... Rather than a long lecture about why being rough with babies is bad, etc...
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#4 of 5 Old 07-28-2003, 09:07 PM
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She is 3.5 and you seem to use a lot of talk and l/l................maybe you could try talking to her about this.

NOT about a certain situation; which I sure you do "why did you hit your brouther? What else could you have done". I am sure you do that.

I mean -- in general. Have quiet time and say "hey you seem upset/stress/fustrated recently" (whatever your she'd "get" and your family uses. Ask her if something is bothering her; or if she is thinking hard about something and that is makeing he tired or grumpy. Maybe point out; you are playing too rough with bb even though I know you can be gental, and you are bieting momma. Not after an incident as in "this isn't what we do" but more as in "hey these are things I am seeing; is there an over all reason?".

Also ASK her what consenquences she thinks should occure for stuff. Like biteing or hitting. Maybe even ask "you know it hurts me when you bite. Maybe you don't want to nurse any more. At some point kids get tired of nurseing, it is ok if you want to stop my feelings won't be hurt".

Can't hurt to try and talk it out.


Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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#5 of 5 Old 08-01-2003, 04:30 PM
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My heart goes out to you. Been there. Ended up staying at various relatives houses in the midst of moving because found out we couldn't move in last minute. This was 6 months after dd#2 was born. My ds, (the oldest), is 3.5 too. Being a recovering spanker, (and having raised him mostly with natural concequences, limitted choices), I tell you that less gentle parenting doesn't work in these kind of situations either. If that is at all a comfort.
It took ds a full month after life was "normal" before he settled down.
Have you tried taking talking to her a degree deaper. Not only "This hurts baby", but "You are not happy when you hurt baby". I know this seems presumptuous to "tell" her what she feals, but I have found my kids need me to define their feelings for them. Or ask her how hitting baby makes her feal. Does it make her smile and give her warm fuzzies, or does it make her feal mean and naughty. Tell her the main reason you don't want her to hit is because it makes her unhappy, and make this be true. I know I don't want my babies hurt, but it would be worse to have one of them know that they had permanantly dammaged another one that they loved and have to deal with that the rest of their lives. Anyway, this has worked with my 3.5 yr old, but didn't think of it till after recovered from trip. Good luck
Sending you lots of love and patience.
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