"Training a child is like training a dog" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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That was my mom's view. There's some truth to it, sure. But there's a lot more going on, discipline-wise, between a parent and child than there is between a human trainer and dog. Remember, dogs are domesticated. They have been bred from their natural form--wild dogs and wolves, as I understand it--to what we know today, everything ranging from great danes to bulldogs to chihuawas (sp). Alongside those physical changes, humans have bread for behavioral traits--and a big one is obedience. Humans do have an instinct to obey, but so do wolves--it's much more mixed with other instincts which have done well through natural selection.

That's the background explanation for something that should be obvious to anyone--human children are not dogs, and if you approach them that way, you will lose something in your relationship.

I think when someone takes that approach, they are basically saying "This is as much as I am capable of understanding and dealing with." People often bring handicaps to their parenting, and that's hers.
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#32 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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The problem IMO with this line of thinking...dogs stay at one level of understanding/inelligence/communicability (is that a word?). You train and teach a dog knowing that it will continue to be the same dog, stuck in the same place in regards to age/intelligence (whatever you want to call it). You guide a CHILD to think for themselves, to develop and grow and become a human being with their own opinions and veiws who take care of themselves. They are continually learning, growing and changing, and getting more mature toward the end of (for most of them!) functioning on their own, living on their own, making their own decisions. It's just not the same.
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#33 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Sure, if you want to end up with a child who lies on the floor and begs for treats.
: to this and also to the peeing on the lawn comment!

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#34 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 10:53 PM
 
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No, I can't think of a single time in my whole life that it actually felt a little bit good to make someone else feel bad. I've certainly made other people feel bad. It feels awful.

Why would that feel good?
really? yeah, it feels bad after you hurt them because the guilt sets in...(or the punishment, if you're punished for the deed).

but in the moment, when you're kicking your brother in the balls because he stole your doll and gave her a haircut without asking, you feel GOOD!

at least i did

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#35 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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Believe it or not, there's actually a BOOK that compares the two:
The Dog Trainer's Guide to Parenting: Rewarding Good Behavior, Practicing Patience and Other Positive Techniques That Work . And yes, I've read this book. I checked it out from our library because I was oddly fascinated by the title.

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Nonono...she would never hit a dog and she treats them with upmost respect! My concern is that she would over-praise them and expect that her child would be submissive to her wants and desires. See above note re: competetiveness and overacheiver...

She used to be a high school teacher and is used to being around teenagers, but obviously she's never dealt with young kids and never 24-7. Sending them to the Principle and talking to a teen's parents is far removed from actually dealing with your own son, yk?
Well, you know, I think she's in the process of finding that out. She's got an 8 week old!

If she's a high school teacher, you could certainly engage her in an intellectual discussion of praise, and share some of Alfie Kohn's ideas. I have to say that I do praise my kids and I don't lose a wink of sleep over it. I'm not heading down the path of complete non-coercion either. So, while I respect Kohn's ideas, there are other points of view out there. I do want to raise thinking kids. I do negotiate with my kids. I don't insist on complete obedience. But you know, there are times when for the good of the family, I need my kids to do something that is non-negotiable.

As an aside, there was a really interesting discussion on this board about a year ago about praise, and I was struck by people who said that their parents never praised them and how much it bothered them.

Somewhere there's a happy medium.

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#36 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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But dogs don't clean their rooms or learn to cook and do laundry. So there.

It'd be a whole lot cooler if they did.

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#37 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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Oh, I can see it. All analogies are flawed, but this one has some points. Be consistent. Don't be "afraid" of your child (or your child's tantrum). If your methods garner fear they will backfire.

She probably is just exasperated by all the conflicting experts out there, and doesn't *want* to get into a debate on their various philosophies. You know, the whole "I don't need a book to teach me how to raise my child" thing. I am sure she means to be cute.
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#38 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Sure, if you want to end up with a child who lies on the floor and begs for treats.

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#39 of 59 Old 09-12-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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really? yeah, it feels bad after you hurt them because the guilt sets in...(or the punishment, if you're punished for the deed).

but in the moment, when you're kicking your brother in the balls because he stole your doll and gave her a haircut without asking, you feel GOOD!

at least i did
Actually, no. It's empathy because the other person feels bad. Nothing to do with punishment.

And I have 5 brothers and sisters. And a load of cousins. Clearly it's not universal for everyone to feel good when they make someone else feel bad.

Especially hurting someone that badly. I can't imagine feeling anything except awful for the person in pain. Nothing to do with guilt.

I believe you that you do. It's just a bit beyond my ability to comprehend.
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#40 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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Dog is a Dog!!!!!!!!!! or all the animals are animals! They have only animal intelligence. Nothing more! Animals don't have human intellectual or rational senses. Dog can't comprehend beyond his dog world. For example, dog can't imagine anything in the abstract. The animal can't imagine that the world is round or use the computer.
Only human can figure out about the nature and discover things. Man is the highest work of creation, the nearest to God of all creatures.

I can understand why she is comparing the dog to a child in regard of material or physical needs but....
Children are very smart; they can understand discipline from age of 9 months old and learn things for their parents. Obviously, she doesn't have any respect for children.

We suppose to teach spirituality, virtues and good manners to our children. I can't see how a dog could learn all those!!!!!
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#41 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Blucactus View Post
The problem IMO with this line of thinking...dogs stay at one level of understanding/inelligence/communicability (is that a word?). You train and teach a dog knowing that it will continue to be the same dog, stuck in the same place in regards to age/intelligence (whatever you want to call it). You guide a CHILD to think for themselves, to develop and grow and become a human being with their own opinions and veiws who take care of themselves. They are continually learning, growing and changing, and getting more mature toward the end of (for most of them!) functioning on their own, living on their own, making their own decisions. It's just not the same.
This is what I was thinking as I read the thread title! The whole point of UP (well, not the WHOLE point, b/c treating kids as humans just b/c they ARE humans, and not as just adults in training, is worthwhile, too) is that you are working toward a longterm goal of helping them develop into people who will one day be in charge of themselves! Utterly different from dogs!!!
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#42 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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Huh. I have to disagree. Can you really never think of a single time in your whole life, espcially when you were a child, that it actually felt a little bit good to make someone else feel bad? Maybe I should be seeking mental health assistance, but I think that your outlook ignores a part of our humanity that may be ugly but is there nonetheless. This is always my issue with the "unmet needs = misbehavior" paradigm. I think that sometimes the unmet need can just be to experiment with "bad" behavior, and that the most well-rested, comfortable, satiated child in the world is still going to occasionally have to stray to the dark side. It's part of growing up and learning how to define oneself -- both by our good deeds, and our bad.

Anyway, sorry for the totally OT philosophical rant!
It would be nice if people never enjoyed hurting other; but honestly I think the person who doesn't is rare. Who hasn't been bullied, physically assaulted, or verbally abused by multiple people in their lifetime? Who hasn't had someone end their romantic relationship in a delivebately hurtful way? No one I know.

As for me: I had an abusive relationship with my mom, and I acted out a lot of her behaviors on my friends and younger sisters. I liked to feel powerful (since I felt powerless around her) and I think it's safe to say I enjoyed causing another person pain.

Yes, I could have used therapy, but I don't have a personality disorder. I can't stand to see people hurt (much less by me), physically or emotionally. I well up when anyone cries. I terribly regret what I did as a child, but I didn't realize what was going on or how wrong it was until I was 12 or 13, and even then it took several years for me too really stop and become a kinder, gentler person.
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#43 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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I know someone who works in a jail, and she mentioned a little story once. Two guys were brought in for fighting, and the guards weren't really thinking and put them in cells right next to each other. They couldn't see each other, but when they realized they could hear one another, they continued fighting verbally and caused a big ruckus in the jail. They had to be separated further apart.

It made me laugh, because I've worked in many dog kennels, and dogs will engage in the exact same behavior. It's called 'cage fighting', it's when dogs try to fight each other through a cage, and can end up hurting themselves trying to bite and scratch through a barrier. Certain dogs that don't get along have to be housed at opposite sides of a kennel.

Anyway, I guess I have no point. It's just funny.

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#44 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Here is what I think about this, (I haven't read all the posts .... yet) here in France (I don't have experience of US mamas only UK and French) there has been a notable decrease in artists/scientists/ people of note for some considerable years because they are training the kids in schools and at home; the amount of times I have heard a mother or nanny scream at a young child to 'obey' them is uncountable, because children are not encouraged to explore their artisitic/scientific side or even just to express themselves as they wish to, we have been producing 'yes men' - children are not allowed to question 'why?' in schools they just have to learn 'of pat' as it were - this has been noted in several top scientific magazines and was on the news the other week there. So yes you can 'train' your child like a dog in a scholastic and disciplinary way (I hate that word) if you want but if you would like your child to continue on their inquisitive/curious child-like self so that they can develop into self-sufficient, independent, non-conformable adults who can think for themselves then ignore it - continue with what you're doing and at the end of the day you will see the differences and so will she.

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#45 of 59 Old 09-13-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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I think the simplest response to that argument would be something like "A pet puppy is raised to be a depedent, helpless adult who will never be responsible for meeting it's own needs or the needs of others. A child is raised to be an independent adult who can think, analyze, and reason on their own, and make sound decisions. They must learn to be responsible for both themselves and others. With such different long term goals, naturally I wouldn't raise them with the same methods."

I don't see how you could rationally argue with that?

All of the arguments about raising kids like puppies seem focused on fairly short term goals. There is just no comparison whatsoever between the long term goal of "obedient house pet" and "independent adulthood".

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#46 of 59 Old 09-14-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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Actually, no. It's empathy because the other person feels bad. Nothing to do with punishment.

And I have 5 brothers and sisters. And a load of cousins. Clearly it's not universal for everyone to feel good when they make someone else feel bad.

Especially hurting someone that badly. I can't imagine feeling anything except awful for the person in pain. Nothing to do with guilt.

I believe you that you do. It's just a bit beyond my ability to comprehend.
So I assume you never lash out at anyone? Because isn't the whole point of lashing out that quick release of your adrenaline and anger, which momentarily, at least, feels pretty satisfying?

Maybe we're disagreeing on our definition of "good". What I'm saying is that I believe in (and have felt) some primal satisfaction in revenge, in hurting someone who has angered you, in wielding power over someone. I think this is a natural, basic element of humanity. I don't know that it's necessarily a "good" feeling, but it can be satisfying in some way. Like the pp said, like when you kick your brother in the balls for stealing your doll. Anyone speak German - there's probably a word for it!

Anyway, maybe it's not universal. But I don't think so. I think people can reach greater awareness and maturity and enlightenment or whatever and be able to mostly quell these urges. But...I just don't think they ever go away completely.

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#47 of 59 Old 09-14-2008, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for all the responses! I'm glad I opened up such a debate!

Some of you have succinctly(sp?) put into words what my gut feeling was much better than I could've ever put into words.

FWIW, I don't want to get into a major debate with my friend because frankly her self-confidence in her own parenting, and quite possibly her educational degrees, intimidate me. I mean, I question my parenting every single day, multiple times a day. My friend seems so convinced of what she's doing, and will do, is right, that it makes me feel incompetant *because* I always question myself. This in itself is good, from the UP point of view because it means I'm always evaluating the situation.

Another point of view my friend raised is that in her observations with working with younger co-workers is that our society has somehow raised a generation of people who are so self-confident that they expect the world to be handed to them on a platter. They expect ideal working conditions, good pay and the right to complain and have things done for them.

An example she gave was that in a room full of trainees, no one spoke up when asked a question relating to work. Only when there was a "Prize" offered were hands going up. Also, when new people were coming in for interviews, THEIR PARENTS(!!!) would call up to see how their adult child did on the interview!

My friend's theory was that this generation was raised with too much hand holding and pampering, and taught to expect nothing but the best with minimal output from them.

Her arguement against UP was that by never critisizing (sorry, its late, my spelling is awful...) a child and never showing them who's boss (aka: alpha dog), the child doesn't grow up to respect anyone with authority or is career-wise "above" them.

(Sorry, I could put this in better words but I'm processing this in my head as I go...)

Thoughts?

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#48 of 59 Old 09-14-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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I don't think it's a bad thing for people to want ideal working conditions and good pay. There are small countries where this is the case for most of the working people (I think Iceland and Norway come to mind).

I think she is sort of mixing up apples and oranges though. While it is good to cope gracefully with unpleasant circumstances, I don't think you can teach a child that skill with "training". That is, to me, a classic "learn by example" skill...the type of ability a child learns by watching their parents display grace under pressure.

I think what your friend has noticed with her classroom of trainees has far more to do with kids being desensitized from the cradle to any real enthusiasm or zest for their own education/learning.

On the flip side of that, I will say that it is certainly possible to raise a child in what I would call a "culture of accomplishment"--a home in which, say, music is the end-all-be-all of the family experience, and a child is exposed from the cradle to musical training and musical expression, so that there is a virtual certainty the child will be far more accomplished in that area than their peers at any given age.

But for this to work it takes a huge dose of parental talent and involvement. Even a modest ability in a young child can be fanned into a notable talent if a family is dedicated body and soul to the task of developing those talents in their children. This always raises questions of whether a child is doing what they really love, or what the parent really loves, but that is beside the point. Even with all the work this kind of parent-led learning requires, it seems to remain much easier for a parent to instill an *ability*, than it is to instill a certain *attitude* about that ability. The child might very well become an accomplished violinist--who quietly resents the whole nasty business.

I think that is generally less likely to happen when children are encouraged with ingredients like time, opportunity, and a positive parental *example*, not with rigorous training and overly ambitious parents.

What were talking about again?

Oh right, whether we should be "alpha dogs" who our kids learn to obey without complaint.

I just don't see the logical connection between the issues your friend is raising. Having a good attitude about the challenges in life and possessing a real passion and motivation for your education are just not skills you force on a toddler with dog training methods! That really is spoken like someone who hasn't done a lot of child rearing--I think your friend is in for a big surprise if she thinks raising a competent and happy adult is as simple as raising a puppy (which isn't simple either, but you get my point!).

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#49 of 59 Old 09-14-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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My main thing is that I'm not training my kids to be any one thing. Yeh, I have a good idea about their personality, but at their age, I have no clue what they were put on the earth to do and I don't want to hinder that at all. I want to give them the tools to grow and be independent, not to be whatever *I* want them to be. I want them to learn how to think for themselves.
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#50 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 12:35 PM
 
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So I assume you never lash out at anyone? Because isn't the whole point of lashing out that quick release of your adrenaline and anger, which momentarily, at least, feels pretty satisfying?

.
There is a point to lashing out? And it feels good after?

This is a perspective I'm genuinely unfamiliar with.
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#51 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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There is a point to lashing out? And it feels good after?

This is a perspective I'm genuinely unfamiliar with.
I guess perhaps I'm not being very clear.

It's not exactly that there is a point, but that there is an emotional reason. There is, for most people, some instant gratification and a release of frustration, even if it is immediately followed by guilt.

Like I asked, have you never lashed out at anyone? If not, I can see how this would be genuinely unfamiliar. But if you have, didn't you take the time to wonder why? To try to explore the reasons behind it?

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#52 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Sure, I've lashed out. It feels like crap. Not because of guilt, but because of empathy.It feels bad to hurt another person because it hurts them. Seems so straightforward to me.

I think people lash out for the same reason sometimes the tires go off the road when driving. Trying to do too many things at once is usually my reason. Another person's reason might be different.

But I correct the driving and the interpersonal behavior in the same way. I get back on the road. Not because I feel guilty about letting my tires drift.
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#53 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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Sure, I've lashed out. It feels like crap. Not because of guilt, but because of empathy.It feels bad to hurt another person because it hurts them. Seems so straightforward to me.

I think people lash out for the same reason sometimes the tires go off the road when driving. Trying to do too many things at once is usually my reason. Another person's reason might be different.
OK, then, what about doing too many things at once causes you to lash out? Why is it that you lash out, instead of just not doing something, or crying, or some other response?

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#54 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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I'm not sure I understand your point. You're saying that my misbehavior is because it feels good to misbehave?

The times I have lashed out have been a failure of self-discipline, generally as a result of unmet needs.

Nothing in that situation feels good.
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#55 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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I'm not sure I understand your point. You're saying that my misbehavior is because it feels good to misbehave?

The times I have lashed out have been a failure of self-discipline, generally as a result of unmet needs.

Nothing in that situation feels good.
Why would a failure of self-discipline lead to lashing out? Why would it require self-discipline to prevent that?

Generally, we use self-discipline in situations which may offer some immediate gratification, but that we know in the long run will lead to heartache. For example, I may want to eat an entire pan of brownies. From long experience, however, I know that I will feel quite awful if I do that. So I don't. Also, I may want to scream at my kids to gain their compliance when I'm feeling particularly frustrated. For many reasons, I (mostly) stop myself from doing that.

My point is that it doesn't require self-discipline to prevent oneself from engaging in behaviors that don't have some aspect of "feeling good" (or gratification, or whatever you want to call it) to it. I have never once had to use self-discipline to keep myself from eating eggplant (which I hate) or putting my hand on the hot stove. Perhaps if I were masochistic, I would gain some pleasure from those actions and would therefore do it, but I'm not.

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#56 of 59 Old 09-15-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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I don't agree with you that everything someone does has "secondary gain." I yell ow when I'm hurt, not because it causes me pleasure or some kind of release.

I think the horse is dead. We don't agree. My experience is different. I can't imagine feeling good from hurting someone. You can't imagine someone doing something without it feeling good on some level.

Oh well.
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#57 of 59 Old 09-17-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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yes people really think like this. i was talking with a friend (also an education nut as he spent 10 years getting his bachelors)...anyway, he said the exact same thing - that training a dog and a child is basically the same thing and you can apply the same technique of training a dog to training a child. he ended up with a single mom of three and the kids went from no discipline to his military style tactics. they've moved away so i don't know how they're doing.
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#58 of 59 Old 09-17-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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There can be some similarities. I train (or condition) animals at work to perform behaviors that make it easier to treat them and care for them. I train based on the principles of operant conditioning. It is a very positive way to train and the principles can be applied to both animals and humans. If you ever have any free reading time, pick up Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor. It is a great book and teaches you how to shape behaviors in dogs, coworkers, roomates, etc.

That being said, there are some big differences in raising children and training a dog. I don't think I even need to say that around here. Peace~

S~ Peace loving, natural living, FuNkY vegan mama to Keiran bouncy.gif 23/Dec/06:
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" ~~ MLK
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#59 of 59 Old 09-19-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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I read a book recently that said essentally that. I didn't like it... BUT I do personally believe that kids are born not knowing what is and isn't appropriate and it's our job to gently teach them about their surroundings and that boundries exsist.

We are starting to teach our 8mos old DD "NO" we try to keep the areas she's in available for her to explore so there are no "no no" places to be... But we reinforce a few limits (she has a no sign [our finger touching gentley on the back of her our our hand] that we do when she is doing some thing we want her to avoid). I feel it's important for her to explore and learn but that the world isn't hers to rule there are dangers and limitations for all human beings and we're hoping to gently teach her where they are in the next few years.

I hate when people compare children and dogs...I like dogs but children are far more precious!

Hannah ... wife to Ryan ...Mommie to my girlies. RJ Dec '07 ~ AJ Aug '09~ PJ Jan '12

peace loving Friend ~ selective vax ~ sleep sharing~ gentle parenting~ doing what works for us and learning as we go!

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