Gentle Discipline and Dr. Sears? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 13 Old 01-06-2005, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday I was frustrated with some things with my kids, so while they were napping I sat down with _The Discipline Book_ by Dr. Sears and read through some sections of it. I've had this book for years and have always loved it and felt like it was quite in line with my ideas on parenting.

I noticed that the type of discipline strategies that Dr. Sears advocates in his book look very different from the types of strategies I see discussed here. Basically, what I get from Dr. Sears is that the parents are in charge and that the children will do what the parents say when the parents say it. I know that GD is not about letting your kids do whatever they want, but I do get the sense from the discussions here that pulling rank on your kids is not acceptable, while Dr. Sears believes (and says) that kids have to do what the parents say because the parents are the parents.

Also, while he says that he doesn't advocate punishment, he does talk about using time-outs, taking away privileges, and grounding. Those are things my dh and I do or would do as the kids get older.

I wondered what others here think of Dr. Sears and whether they see any of the discrepancies I feel I am seeing. I am probably different from many here in that I tell my kids what to do and make them do it, but I still consider myself gentle because I don't yell at my kids or shame them or yank them around or anything like that. I just make them do what I tell them to do.

Namaste!
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#2 of 13 Old 01-06-2005, 03:59 PM
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I will just say that i lean more towards your perception of Dr. Sear's stance than a lot of what i see here. Which is not so popular, but that's ok; we all do things differently.
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#3 of 13 Old 01-06-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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I see what you mean for sure. I think this is a forum that has lot's of different GD styles from what I can tell.
I for one certainly don't think GD means NO discipline, where as I know other families that seem to.
I think it's cool to be able to see how so many different people respond to the ?'s asked here. That way I can take from all different styles ( and leave what I don't want behind)
Dr. Sears is only one of many GD authors. Different books have different ideas. Dr. Sears meets my needs sometimes, then sometimes I need to look elsewhere for what seems to fit my family.

Connie
Mother of dd 8, ds 6, and dd 4
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#4 of 13 Old 01-06-2005, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by cmb123
I think it's cool to be able to see how so many different people respond to the ?'s asked here.
I would think so too if I didn't see members telling other members that what they are doing is not GD or that they are doing GD "wrong."

Namaste!
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#5 of 13 Old 01-06-2005, 11:26 PM
 
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Regarding Dr. William Sears:

It is clear to me that he is much older (remember, his children are now professionals w/children of their own) and as such, predictably "stricter" (additionally, having 8 children tends to increase the need for organization & such). I consider him useful in that he reaches a fairly mainstream audience, promotes AP from a Christian perspective, etc... I do not attempt to emulate him, though (with only two children it is easier to be more democratic for example).

 

 

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#6 of 13 Old 01-07-2005, 12:22 AM
 
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I adored The Baby Book so much that it's now in four different pieces. OTOH, I just didn't feel comfortable about the approaches suggested in The Discipline Book-- different strokes I suppose. I credit Dr. (and Mrs.) Sears for setting me on the path to AP and that's no small matter. I admit, I was surprised that my reaction to his discipline methods were so mixed/negative. One of the chief reasons I started coming here to MDC was to get some different perspectives and references for different approaches and I was happy to see that variety here and be able to benefit from it.

Instinct is HUGE in the parenting biz, and we all must make choices in accordance with what is in our gut. And of course, right there, opinions vary widely and that's ok. When something doesn't click with me, I continue looking for something to support my gut. Luckily, there was plenty more material out there that spoke to me, as well as the many informed members here. For all of it, I'm truly grateful.

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#7 of 13 Old 01-09-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2
Regarding Dr. William Sears:

It is clear to me that he is much older (remember, his children are now professionals w/children of their own) and as such, predictably "stricter" (additionally, having 8 children tends to increase the need for organization & such). I consider him useful in that he reaches a fairly mainstream audience, promotes AP from a Christian perspective, etc... I do not attempt to emulate him, though (with only two children it is easier to be more democratic for example).

I couldn't have said it better!
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#8 of 13 Old 01-09-2005, 09:42 PM
 
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Yeah, it's been a while since I've read The Discipline Book, but I seem to remember what you describe. There is also an entire chapter devoted to spanking "correctly." (Though he clearly states that he does not advocate spanking, but if people are going to do it, they ought to do it "correctly.") I'm not down with that.

I always like Peggy O's quote in the sticky at the top of this forum:

Quote:
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.

'Natural Family Living' by Peggy O'Mara
To me, punishment (in whatever form) is more about curbing "their tendencies toward wrongdoing," than providing "loving guidance." So, that might be why you see a different tone in this forum--the above is a whole different philosophy than just non-violently coercing or expecting obedience--which would also fall under the AP umbrella of gentle or positive discipline, I guess.
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#9 of 13 Old 01-10-2005, 04:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by monkey's mom
Yeah, it's been a while since I've read The Discipline Book, but I seem to remember what you describe. There is also an entire chapter devoted to spanking "correctly."
I just looked in my copy of the book, and I couldn't find that chapter. There was a chapter called "Spanking - No? Yes? Sometimes?" Most of the chapter lists "Ten Reasons Not to Hit Your Child." There are about two pages in the chapter on a section called "Is There a Safe Way to Spank?" and that portion talks about parents who are going to spank anyway, no matter what anyone says. They say, "The best we can hope for is to help them spank in a way that will be less abusive."
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#10 of 13 Old 01-10-2005, 05:15 AM
 
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"Dr. Sears believes (and says) that kids have to do what the parents say because the parents are the parents."

That's a shame. Doing something bc "I told you so" is never okay.


"Also, while he says that he doesn't advocate punishment, he does talk about using time-outs, taking away privileges, and grounding."

These things are forms of punishment.


"I wondered what others here think of Dr. Sears and whether they see any of the discrepancies I feel I am seeing."

Yes, absolutely, which is why I do not like the book.
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#11 of 13 Old 01-10-2005, 05:53 AM
 
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this is great! One of the moms in my daycare co-op really likes this book, so I read it (she's who recomended "becoming the parent you want to be" to me, which I really liked.) I didn't like the Sears discipline book, tho I could never articulate why; now I can, thanks!

BUT if and when more mainstream members of my family have kids, i will totally give them this book...it's a really good first step away from authoritarian, punitive discipline approaches.
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#12 of 13 Old 01-10-2005, 10:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sadie_sabot
BUT if and when more mainstream members of my family have kids, i will totally give them this book...it's a really good first step away from authoritarian, punitive discipline approaches.
I agree. I grew up in a family that spanked and all my siblings spank their kids. Reading Dr. Sears was a first step for me towards a more gentle discipline approach. From there, I found places like Mothering and other books and authors who were even more gentle in their ideas.

I think what the Sears have realized is that maybe they are filling the gap, so to speak, for people like me - it's a big leap to go from a spanking/punishment philosophy to a no spanking/no punishment philosophy. Sometimes you just need a little push in the right direction. As a result, we've never spanked our daughter and are working on understanding more about the idea of no punishment, etc.

I'm very grateful the Sears are out there, personally.
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#13 of 13 Old 01-10-2005, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I guess I am a mainstream mom, then, because I love _The Discipline Book_! Like I said, I read it years ago, before I ever had kids, and it just seemed to "fit" me and my philosophy of raising children. It still does. I have read all about more "liberal" (for lack of a better term) styles of parenting, like TCS and NVC and stuff, and none of them feel right to me. I wholeheartedly believe that kids need to do what their parents tell them to do because the parents are responsible for the kids and have a longer view of life than kids do. That doesn't mean I'm not willing to talk to, explain to, and work with my kids. But in the end, I am the parent, and I expect that my children do what I ask/tell them to do.

Thanks for all the replies!

Namaste!
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