Alfie Kohn blasts "Supernanny" - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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I honestly don't know what Kohn's views are on what I called "self-motivated competition." I just know there are fields (such as the one Kohn's in) where I think you have to be somewhat competitive, in the sense of finding ways to make your particular "product" stand out from all the others and get chosen.

I've heard some people object to Kohn's writing-style ... and yet I imagine that that is partly what draws many of us to read him. A parenting-writer who says, "This just happens to be what works for my family -- but there are many other ways that are probably just as good" doesn't tend to sell.

And frankly, I'm more interested in parenting-writers who really believe in what they're saying.
What bothers me though, is that of the limited exposure I've had to Alfie Kohn's work, there is very little research backing up his opinions. Sure, he may 'really believe' what he is saying, but, where is the 'proof', yk? What does he offer as practical solutions to everyday problems?

Also, his theories on pedagogy seem to lack any emperical evidence (my thinking when I asked you about internal motivation).

Again, I admit that I haven't read extensively, so I may certainly have missed something. But, I truly believe that there isn't only one way to 'parent', so I get easily annoyed by any parenting-writer who claims to have the 'truth'.

But, I agree that Kohn's comments are unlikely to have any negative influence on Supernanny's career.
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#62 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 11:19 PM
 
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i dont know..i guess "research" based on ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST TECHNIQUES (vis a vis Pavlov and Skinner) is not the type of research i want to base child rearing on (and thats where "time outs" originated).
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#63 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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Absolutely. I'm not a big scheduler but I know many families who schedule things throughout the day and it works best for them. Again, it's all about what works for a particular family.
Yes, I totally agree. I can't imagine arguing otherwise.
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#64 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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I think Jo Frost probably gets paid well, too.
Oh, I have no doubt that she does!
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#65 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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i dont know..i guess "research" based on ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST TECHNIQUES (vis a vis Pavlov and Skinner) is not the type of research i want to base child rearing on (and thats where "time outs" originated).
Meh...My husband and I use timeouts with our (almost) three year old. We don't have to use them often...usually for hitting and/or pushing his little sister.

We don't treat our son, or think of him as an ANIMAL...we are simply trying to teach him that he cannot be violent towards his sister, and that it will not be tolerated.

If that means a couple minutes away from his sister, alone...oh well, I don't think he'll require therapy because of it.
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#66 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 11:00 AM
 
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i dont know..i guess "research" based on ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST TECHNIQUES (vis a vis Pavlov and Skinner) is not the type of research i want to base child rearing on (and thats where "time outs" originated).
I agree. And in Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting, he cites tons of research.

If you (lolalola) mean there's not much empirical evidence regarding the results of unconditional parenting, that may be because it's still fairly new.

Also, I don't know quite how to express this -- but I'm not exactly focused on "getting results." I'm more focused on wanting my girls to feel unconditionally loved and accepted. I do believe this is the best way to foster my children's comfort in their own skins, which I realize is a (long-term) result of sorts.

With hitting, I agree that parents can't just stand by and let one child hurt another. I've sometimes had to take one of my children out of a situation, and talk with her and hold her on my lap until she was ready to play without hurting others.

It's true that I don't want my children to hurt others -- but the result I'm actually aiming for is a child who's happy enough, empathetic enough, and skilled enough that she eventually feels no need, or inclination, to resort to violence.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#67 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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I actually agree with you on this, except that I think the Supernanny style of parenting is way better as a standard than the "get me my belt" style of parenting. So it's sure not perfect, but IMO a step in the right direction.
Maybe it's because "get me my belt" is not the standard around here that I don't see it as a vast improvement. Maybe if it were called "Jo Frost: Abuse prevention"

I really like Barbara Coloroso's writings on behavioural techniques, as a middle ground between Alfie Kohn and Jo Frost.

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#68 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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Hmmm...well, as far as I can tell, most people on Mothering don't believe in the parent being in control of the home. I believe Supernanny teaches good techniques to help the parents get control over their home and their children's behaviour. Obviously, the CL crowd and the no-punishment, no unnatural consequences crowd are not going to like Supernanny.
I don't want to get too far off topic but if I dare speak for "Mothering" (ha ha I don't actually), I think most people perceive that as parents we BY DEFAULT already have control over the home - I have control over: the home we choose to live in (a house with a yard, right now), the furniture, the decor, the number of breakable objects, the safety of it, the food within it, the vast majority of toys and books within it, the fact that we don't have cable television, etc.

Over my child's behaviour I have many means of control if necessary, but most of the time I choose to influence rather than command. I can afford that choice because I have so many options available.

I guess to bring it back to this discussion that is kind of where I disagree with the Supernanny methods. I find that some of the implementations of the naughty spot I have seen, where there is a 2-3 hr battle over staying on it, are not a thoughtful parent being in control. I see it as the technique in control.

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#69 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 12:08 PM
 
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Meh...My husband and I use timeouts with our (almost) three year old. We don't have to use them often...usually for hitting and/or pushing his little sister.

We don't treat our son, or think of him as an ANIMAL...we are simply trying to teach him that he cannot be violent towards his sister, and that it will not be tolerated.

If that means a couple minutes away from his sister, alone...oh well, I don't think he'll require therapy because of it.
my post was in regard to the roots of time outs. its began as a device for Animal Behaviorists, as a way to train laboratory animals. It was picked up by later psychologists to be used on intellectually and behaviorally impaired children in institutions ("Timeout Duration and the Suppression of Deviant Behavior in Children"). It was soon being used indiscriminately and became the most common discipline procedure for preadolescent children. (from Unconditional Parenting and footnoted but im too lazy to copy the footnotes and this is NOT an exact quote...but a close paraphrase).

i just think everyone should realize the history of the discipline technique.
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#70 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 12:16 PM
 
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Also, I don't know quite how to express this -- but I'm not exactly focused on "getting results." I'm more focused on wanting my girls to feel unconditionally loved and accepted. I do believe this is the best way to foster my children's comfort in their own skins, which I realize is a (long-term) result of sorts.

With hitting, I agree that parents can't just stand by and let one child hurt another. I've sometimes had to take one of my children out of a situation, and talk with her and hold her on my lap until she was ready to play without hurting others.

It's true that I don't want my children to hurt others -- but the result I'm actually aiming for is a child who's happy enough, empathetic enough, and skilled enough that she eventually feels no need, or inclination, to resort to violence.
Well, sure. But, I imagine that to be the goal of most parents.

So then, what is Kohn's practical advice for preventing/stopping aggression among siblings who are less than 2 years apart (and 3 and under)?
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#71 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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Hey, lola---your pm box is full...
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#72 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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Well, sure. But, I imagine that to be the goal of most parents.
Probably so.

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So then, what is Kohn's practical advice for preventing/stopping aggression among siblings who are less than 2 years apart (and 3 and under)?
I don't know ... I think his 2 children are at least 3 or 4 years apart -- I don't know about that either, since my 2 are almost 5 years apart. But I'll bet someone here might have an idea ...

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#73 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 08:43 PM
 
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Hey, lola---your pm box is full...
Emptied...sorry
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#74 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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I guess I'm a little confused. So... kids are supposed to be too immature to understand that it's time out from bad behavior, not time out from parental love, but they're also supposed to so complex and capable of nuance and reasoning, that they will respond to.... what exactly? Reasoned argumentation? Polite requests? in the midst of emotionally charged situations?

Also, my cat does not respond to my demands to sit in the naughty spot. What should I do?
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#75 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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Supernanny has had tragic effects here. Spanking is illegal and rare in Norway, time-outs have long been considered very old-fashioned and not commonly used... now suddenly "everybody" uses time-outs. A HUGE step in the wrong direction!

The cold, alienating way that she treats children gives me shivers.

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Personally - and I have talked to my children about this - I would rather a parent ranted, raved and had a yell; than a parent withdrew from their child. Moving your child to the 'naughty' step is *not* a gentle process .
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#76 of 529 Old 08-26-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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Supernanny has had tragic effects here. Spanking is illegal and rare in Norway, time-outs have long been considered very old-fashioned and not commonly used... now suddenly "everybody" uses time-outs. A HUGE step in the wrong direction!

The cold, alienating way that she treats children gives me shivers.
What was the generally used form of 'discipline' before Supernanny? I find it curious that 'everybody' would suddenly start using a technique that was previously frowned upon.

See, I don't find her cold or alienating at all. Quite the opposite actually.
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#77 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 04:36 AM
 
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What was the generally used form of 'discipline' before Supernanny? I find it curious that 'everybody' would suddenly start using a technique that was previously frowned upon.

See, I don't find her cold or alienating at all. Quite the opposite actually.
Well, yes, I find her extremely cold and "technical". The way she lays down "rules" and enforces them through superiour physical force only, not seeing any need for explaining, other than saying "it's unacceptable behaviour". Encouraging parents to go against their insticts and ignore their crying child.

You seem to assume that everybody needs some kind of "punishment technique" to use against their children, well you simply don't, in my experience. Children are humans and you can communicate with them in a respectful manner. It is not respectful towards a child to threaten with, or enforce, isolation. It is using the child's nature, which tells her/him that she/he needs to be in a loving group, against her/him.

Time-out is a technique that focuses solely on behaviour nd not on what goes on inside the child. In fact it depends on the parent's ignoring of exacty that.

You ask what forms of discipline people used to use? Well, for example my parents never used time-outs (and never spanked us either, obviously). They used to occasionally use rewards to get us to tidy our rooms etc., but usually they just used communication. Friends of mine occasionally got grounded (we never did) for not doing their chores, that means were told they had to come straight home from school and couldn't bring any friends home for one afternoon. My father grew up in a family who didn't use punishments and was against them, but do you know what? We generally did what our parents needed us to do.

I remember thinking that "the naughty corner" was a thing they had a hundred years ago, in old books, together with spanking rods. Now it's back.

It's of course not only Supernanny's fault, I think there's a trend towrds "quick fixes" in society in general. Many people don't spend very much time with their children, and the time they have, they want to be efficient "quality time". Therefore unwanted behaviour has to be eliminated as efficiently as possible.
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#78 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 04:44 AM
 
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I totally agree. Super Nanny is not for all families. But she is WAY better then the abuse that is occuriring in many of the homes.
I agree. Other than the naughty corner, she's actually pretty GD, and she's really big on making sure that parents stay involved with their kids. IMO, Alfie Kohn sounds good in theory, but in practice, most of his teachings are crap. Kids need to be taught boundaries. Sometimes that means that the parents have to be in control.
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#79 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 08:37 AM
 
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I guess I'm a little confused. So... kids are supposed to be too immature to understand that it's time out from bad behavior, not time out from parental love, but they're also supposed to so complex and capable of nuance and reasoning, that they will respond to.... what exactly? Reasoned argumentation? Polite requests? in the midst of emotionally charged situations?
The important thing to remember is that everything kids do, they do for a reason. A small child who hits for no apparent reason (i.e. the other child hasn't done anything to her, may be trying to express feelings she doesn't have words for yet.

This has happened a lot with my younger dd, but it's a great deal better now that she's 3. What she understood was that I wasn't going to allow her to hurt others. In her case, it seemed a lot of her aggressive behavior was a means of creating a reaction,and I think she was seeking more intense physical contact.

I was surprised at first, because I've always held and cuddled my kids, never set them down 'til they wanted to get down as babies ... yet what my younger dd craves is a whole lot of rough-housing.

I think what's helping her is her increasing verbal skill, combined with the knowledge that I am responsive and willing to do rough-and-tumble play with her.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#80 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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I agree. Other than the naughty corner, she's actually pretty GD, and she's really big on making sure that parents stay involved with their kids. IMO, Alfie Kohn sounds good in theory, but in practice, most of his teachings are crap. Kids need to be taught boundaries. Sometimes that means that the parents have to be in control.
parents must be involved w/ their children in order to have any sense of a "family". i guess i dont see that as a "benefit" SN brings but its basically the foundation that all families need (yes, maybe the ones she has on TV dont have it and she needs to set it first but its a requirement regardless of method).

have you read Alfie Kohn's books? have you tried his techniques? I have not found his teachings to be "crap" as you state. I have found that when I communicate w/ my children, I get responses. Even w/ my 2 yo who is not very verbal, if I attempt to figure out why he is doing something, and address that situation, things turn out so much nicer than trying to discipline him using any form of punitive punishment. often times natural consequences have nothing to do w/ anything that *I* do or don't do...its just a natural consequence that teaches him a lesson.

i see this need for "control" all the time in parenting. yes, sometimes we need to leave the park NOW in case of an appointment and the kids dont want to but usually, if i have a battle, its my fault for not scheduling ahead of time. I try to eliminate the times when i have to "take control" over my children. I just do not see any benefit in it. none whatsoever.
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#81 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 10:25 AM
 
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I have read Kohn's books. He doesn't seem to really have any "techniques." He has a lot of philosophy, much of which I agree with. But very short on practical advice.

The families on Supernanny are in crisis (which of course makes for "good" television). They have been either setting no boundaries or reacting with harsh and inappropriate discipline. Basically, they have no freaking clue.

It would be great if they had the werewithal to completely rethink their relationships with their kids, but that's hard to do in a crisis, kwim? I think that's where Supernanny excels: in giving completely-at-sea families some structure, some reminders to HAVE FUN (she emphasizes this a lot), to give kids "time in" and not just "time out." Maybe some of those families can chill on the time-outs once they get their lives back under control.

I see Supernanny's style as just a baseline for people who have none.
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#82 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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have you read Alfie Kohn's books? have you tried his techniques? I have not found his teachings to be "crap" as you state.
I haven't found Kohn's writings to be "crap," either. I agree with waiflywaif that he doesn't give much practical advice: He seems more focused on getting parents to rethink the ways they think about and relate to their children. Once we think differently, we act differently.

I agree that a huge crisis is not the time when most people are willing to quiet down and think about changing their philosophies. Ideally, it would've been nice if I'd got on-board with Gentle Discipline, and also read Kohn's books, before having children. But at least I made the change fairly early in my parenting career ...

Too bad I didn't hear all this back when I was working in the childcare field ... the director of the center I last worked in (in the late 90's) was talking about some new philosophy, and how timeouts were no longer the thing -- but it seemed too way-out to me at the time.

I guess it was really the beauty of attachment-parenting my own children, that opened me up to allowing my paradigms to be shaken and totally transformed.

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#83 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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IMO, Alfie Kohn sounds good in theory, but in practice, most of his teachings are crap. Kids need to be taught boundaries. Sometimes that means that the parents have to be in control.
This is a huge misconception about unconditional parenting, that parents are never in control. The fundamental idea is to allow children to have as much control over their own lives as possible. Don't we already decide 95% of what they do? It's really only the 5% that we're arguing about. I just chose those numbers kind of randomly, but I'm trying to make a point. The average kid gets very little say-so about anything. With UP, you just need to ask yourself, how important is this, and can I give a little here?

The other basic tenet is to teach your child the why of discipline, not just "do it because I told you to." One practical reason for that (if you don't buy into the morality of treating your child with as much respect as an adult) is that if a kid is taught to obey without question, odds are they will continue to do that after leaving your home. Or rebel completely.

LolaLola, I have a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old. I teach "gentle touch, hitting hurts" vs. "stop hitting your brother or you will get a time out." Sometimes I separate them (not time out), a lot of times I stay within arms reach. Distraction and diversion are the biggest tools. But maybe your question was rhetorical and you aren't really looking for an answer?

We practice UP as much as we can around here, and I get comments regularly that my kids are extremely verbal and thoughtful.

Btw, Kohn cites research on virtually every page of UP. Complete citation from scientific literature. He's not just making this stuff up.
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#84 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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You seem to assume that everybody needs some kind of "punishment technique" to use against their children, well you simply don't, in my experience. Children are humans and you can communicate with them in a respectful manner. It is not respectful towards a child to threaten with, or enforce, isolation. It is using the child's nature, which tells her/him that she/he needs to be in a loving group, against her/him.

Time-out is a technique that focuses solely on behaviour nd not on what goes on inside the child. In fact it depends on the parent's ignoring of exacty that.
Huh? First of all, if you re-read my post, I said nothing about a 'punishment technique'; I specifically used the word 'discipline' which, as we are all aware, means 'to teach'.

I also wrote that I am trying to teach my son that physical aggression toward his little sister is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. I asked how Kohn would address this situation and didn't get an answer.

I am fully aware that 'children are humans'. I also communicate respectfully with all three of my children, but thanks for the assumption that I don't.

I know exactly what's going on with my son when he pushes/hits/slaps his little sister. I am not ignoring anything by addressing his behaviour. And, he is learning that if he wants to part of a 'loving group', he needs to behave as part of a loving group and NOT hurt other members of that group.
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#85 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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i think there have been answers. we have issues with hitting also. we redirect, we speak to the child about being gentle and not hurting each other. we dont isolate and w/draw as a consequence. time outs just lead to resentment IMO and it is definitely a w/drawal of love and comfort.

its difficult when a child is in that hitting stage but i have found Playful Parenting a good read also.
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#86 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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What does Alfie Kohn believe and who the heck is he and why haven't I ever heard of him? (I don't read parenting books so maybe that's why I don't know). Anyone up for giving the cliff's notes on him? I'm too tired to google, lol.
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#87 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:41 PM
 
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This seems to more a discussion about two different discipline styles rather than a television program, so I moving it to Gentle Discipline. Be nice, please!

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#88 of 529 Old 08-27-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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What does Alfie Kohn believe and who the heck is he and why haven't I ever heard of him?
http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.html
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#89 of 529 Old 08-28-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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I know exactly what's going on with my son when he pushes/hits/slaps his little sister. I am not ignoring anything by addressing his behaviour. And, he is learning that if he wants to part of a 'loving group', he needs to behave as part of a loving group and NOT hurt other members of that group.
I think how we go about teaching this will look different in every family. You know your children and if separating them or giving one some time alone is fine.

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Originally Posted by PassionateWriter View Post
i think there have been answers. we have issues with hitting also. we redirect, we speak to the child about being gentle and not hurting each other. we dont isolate and w/draw as a consequence. time outs just lead to resentment IMO and it is definitely a w/drawal of love and comfort.

its difficult when a child is in that hitting stage but i have found Playful Parenting a good read also.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying but I've also resorted to time-outs now and again. Sometimes I'm just too tired to be playful, yk? I can't always be "on" or at my best - and I don't think that's good modeling for my kids anyway. But sometimes I resort to having one child removed from the situation. I never feel great about those times but I don't think I'm traumatizing anyone either. I always talk about it with my kids afterward and it doesn't happen that often.

I also really disagree that it's always a love/comfort withdrawal. Plenty of times my child does not want comforting when he's upset or mad. I don't either. We're just too complicated too be deduced down to these kinds of actions and outcomes. That's what bugs me about Kohn is that he generalizes too much. Different kids, adults and families operate differently. I think it's great if we can afford the time to read up on as much as we can and incorporate what works with our particular kids and circumstances.

What I've found from my experienes with my boys is that it mostly has to do with really knowing them...really paying attention to them. That's what is the foundation of discipline - not following so-and-so's techniques or theories.
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Originally Posted by swampangel View Post
I also really disagree that it's always a love/comfort withdrawal. Plenty of times my child does not want comforting when he's upset or mad. I don't either. We're just too complicated too be deduced down to these kinds of actions and outcomes. That's what bugs me about Kohn is that he generalizes too much. Different kids, adults and families operate differently. I think it's great if we can afford the time to read up on as much as we can and incorporate what works with our particular kids and circumstances.

What I've found from my experienes with my boys is that it mostly has to do with really knowing my boys...really paying attention to them. That's what is the foundation of discipline - not following so-and-so's techniques or theories.
I bolded a few sentences that really resonate with me.

I have a real problem with this concept of 'love withdrawl' as it relates to time outs. I don't get the philosophy behind it.
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