Is holding a child against their wishes GD? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 35 Old 11-19-2006, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is holding a child against their wishes GD? We were leaving DS at my BIL’s so we could go to a work function for DH and right before we left one of my nieces (not a child of this house- they also were looking after SIL’s kids that same night) was yelling at my DS to go away and throwing things at him. DS is not yet two so it was scary and confusing for him. Once he was happily distracted and playing I sat down with my niece (who normally is a gentle and lovely child- she’s 4) and told her it hurt DS when she yelled at him and threw things at him. She was crying and freaking out (there are lots of issues going on in her family right now and her parents had already left for the night) so I picked her up and held her and rocked her and told her it was OK to be sad and mad, but that she couldn’t throw things at her cousins. The whole time she was screaming for me to let her go and still trying to throw stuff at other kids. I eventually took her out of the room and she settled down quickly. I have a really good relationship with this niece and she often comes to me for comfort and cuddles at family functions (her family is more of a yelling, spanking kind of family) Afterwards, DH asked me if that went against GD holding her against her will like that and it stumped me. Anyone have some insight?

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#2 of 35 Old 11-19-2006, 11:52 PM
 
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I think this is one of those things that could go either way depending on someone's definition of GD. My opinion is that it doens't *matter* if it goes against GD or not because one shouldn't base what they do based on weather or not it is within the "rules" of a certain way of parenting. One shouldn't say they are "mainstream" and therefore go against their gut to pick up their child when it cries simply because they want to be able to say they practice mainstream parenting. Or one shouldn't say they are "AP" and therefore drive themselves to the brink of blowing up by putting their child before themselves 200% of the time just so they can say that they practice AP parenting. On that same token, if your gut tells you not to spank, then don't (I don't) but don't worry so much about weather or not something falls under "GD" just to be able to say that you practice GD to the word of the law.

For what it's worth, it sounds like you handled it just fine. She sounds like she was out of control.

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#3 of 35 Old 11-19-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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I agree w/ Slabobbin. Sometimes, I think kids don't know what they want and the gentle touch, someone holding them can really help the situation. When someone shows they care, this can really help to center a child that needs, but doesn't understand they need to be centered.

And throwing things at the other people, after requested not to do so, is not safe for others and I think that the needs of the group have to be taken in account as well as that of the child in question.

I think that you did the most appropriate thing in this situation.

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#4 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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Sometimes when you KNOW you are safe (e.g. someone is there, holding you, and you know they are not going to allow anything terrible to happen) it frees you to feel what you really feel, to finally be able to let it out.

So how do you know when holding someone is cathartic vs. being a violation? I think you have to go with what your gut tells you, and also you have to know the child very well. There are some other clues, such as if you let the child go they immediately return to the behavior that got them into being held, they probably do want/need to be held. If they immediately run off and hide from you, and don't return to the previous behavior, it was probably (but not always) a violation. It they are fighting you while in your arms (kicking, swatting, biting) but you feel them "tempering" the force (that is, they start out not too hard as if testing how far they can go) they probably want to be held. If they are crazily physically fighting you with everything they have, they probably feel violated.

I worked in a foster home with a child who regularly became aggressive towards other children. When he was aggressive, he would be restrained. It became obvious that he would only become aggressive when certain staff were present. After several months of working with him, he finally confided that the only time I would firmly "hold" him was when he was aggressive, so he was aggressive. He liked being able to fully feel his feelings while knowing the adult would not allow his feelings to be expressed in dangerous behavior.
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#5 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 02:10 AM
 
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I have had to hold DS (4) when he is out of control, to keep him from hurting himself or others. I don't think this is out of line with GD philosophies.
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#6 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 11:17 AM
 
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I call that the 'boundary hug' and I think it definitely has a place in gentle discipline. When a child is acting out of control like that, they are also feeling out of control inside and their internal boundaries/self-control are not working. By putting your arms around them and talking to them like that you are providing external boundaries to protect them and keep them safe.

While I have a child hugged like that I would whisper in their ear something like this "You are having some very big feelings right now, but I am bigger than those feelings and I will keep you safe while you process them." or something like that so they know that they are safe, allowed to process their feelings, but not allowed to hurt others while they do so.

Using the hug to help remove a child from the situation to somewhere else can also work well too.
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#7 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Natsuki View Post
I call that the 'boundary hug' and I think it definitely has a place in gentle discipline. When a child is acting out of control like that, they are also feeling out of control inside and their internal boundaries/self-control are not working. By putting your arms around them and talking to them like that you are providing external boundaries to protect them and keep them safe.

While I have a child hugged like that I would whisper in their ear something like this "You are having some very big feelings right now, but I am bigger than those feelings and I will keep you safe while you process them." or something like that so they know that they are safe, allowed to process their feelings, but not allowed to hurt others while they do so.

Using the hug to help remove a child from the situation to somewhere else can also work well too.
That is a great way to 'see' this. I will totally copy you on this one ! I have a toddler that sometimes needs the 'boundary hug'.

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#8 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 04:49 PM
 
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Holding a child against their will is not part of my personal ideal of gentle discipline. Op in the instance you described there are several things I might have done. I might have helped the child or children having items thrown at them see they could move their bodies to protect themselves at that moment, while explaining that I intended to help her calm down and figure out what she was needing at that moment, before approaching the little girl. Or I might have placed my body between the children as a barrier, dependant on what was being thrown. As I approached her I might have reassured her that I wanted to help her. I might have pointed out that the one of the other children may get hurt or feel frightened by the flying objects or loud screams if she was still throwing and screaming. Then quickly moved on to helping her by either asking questions so that she could express what she needed to express in that moment in a way that felt safer to the other children or by helping to identify what need or reason was underlying in her throwing and shouting and helping to address that want or need. If I had went to hold the child for comfort and the child had told me to let go I would have let go. I might have then asked if I could lead them to another room where we could find a solution and help them feel soothed and calm enough to talk and help. Being down on their level and possibly placing a soft touch on their shoulder, arm, or hand if they didn't show me that it was unwelcome. The contact I would hope would help to ground them and have them be aware that I am there and willing to help, and also to lead them somewhere quiet and alone with me if possible. It is not always easy to remain calm in the face of intense emotions and actions that feel unsafe to us or others. If I am upset, irritated, angry, etc. it is helpful to me to do my best to breathe and calm myself if at all possible before approaching to help calm another and problem solve, even if just for a few seconds to ground myself and reassure myself that there IS an imminent resolution to the conflict.

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#9 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 05:12 PM
 
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Holding a child against their will for any reason is still holding them against their will, irregardless if it is seen as 'for their own good' or to protect themselves or others from non-life threatening harm. There is likely another way to protect all involved in any situation where they may feel unsafe without forced holding. Imo from context found within my feelings, relationships, and observations regarding children I believe that forced holding will likely lead to feelings that will damage and seperate the sense of attachment children and adults desire to hold with each other. Please consider reading this article.

http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt...g_therapy.html

I've been introduced to the name of an author, Alice ******, whose writings may be of interest. I haven't (yet, but intend to now!) read any of her work. Alice ****** has done much writing about the dangers of force as a tool of parenting, and examines the long term psychological damage of these cultural practices in her book "Banished Knowledge".

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#10 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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Just chiming in and saying that I am with MRK on this, even though I don't have anything constructive to add
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#11 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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Its a fairly popular discipline strategy -- I've heard developmental specialists recommend it as a way to handle temper tantrums. The rational is that it teaches the child to be a "container" for their feelings, and they will learn self-restraint by generalizing the concrete experience to a more abstract method for coping (utulizing self-control.)

I feel funny about it. I have "held" my older son as a toddler during fits, but only in sitautions where he was bent on destructiong or violence, and I couldn't see another way to keep everyone safe. The whole time, I would whisper "I can let go as soon as you are ready to stop hurting," along with whispering soothing/empthy things. So yes -- OP, I've done what you described!

And what BC says here about children who have emotional disturbances -- definately see it as a legit. strategy in those circumstances too. The physical "boundries" help to calm some children, and they need to know that someone big will keep them safe no matter how out of control they feel.

But -- as a general strategy for approaching all temper tantrums, I feel uncomfortable and could see it as a potential violation.
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#12 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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I think when the matter is the child's or another's safety, it's the better course. There have been a couple of times as an adult I have had to be held for my personal safety- I would have injured myself. Nothing anyone said would have stopped my from hurting myself.
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#13 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 08:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie
I worked in a foster home with a child who regularly became aggressive towards other children. When he was aggressive, he would be restrained. It became obvious that he would only become aggressive when certain staff were present. After several months of working with him, he finally confided that the only time I would firmly "hold" him was when he was aggressive, so he was aggressive. He liked being able to fully feel his feelings while knowing the adult would not allow his feelings to be expressed in dangerous behavior.
Can I ask what transpired after the boy's 'confession'? Do you think that it is possible that instead of liking to be able to fully feel his feelings while knowing the adult would not allow his feelings to be expressed in a dangerous way he may just not have known an alternative, acceptable, and safe way to express those feelings fully? He also may not have known or trusted that had he expressed his want to be held or need to be held or need to express his strong emotions it would have been 'okay', 'allowed', 'supported', etc. Might he have been guided in expressing his feelings or working towards finding a solution peacefully to whatever conflict was at hand at the moment? Also might he not have simply had a need for one on one attention? Do you think it is possible that the forcible holding could have been skipped and the business of finding out the need behind the situation (which it seems you believe you have gleamed) and addressing it could have been a solution?

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#14 of 35 Old 11-20-2006, 09:25 PM
 
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My dd isn't quite four, but I think it would be EXTREMELY scary for her to be held against her will by someone else, even an aunt, especially when she was telling them to let her go. If it was me or my dh, I don't think it would be so bad, but we probably wouldn't really have to do that, aside from maybe quickly removing her to another room or something. I wouldn't do that to any of my nieces and nephews, no matter how close I am to them, unless I was protecting them from being hit by a train or something. It gives me the ickies.

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#15 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 12:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen View Post
Holding a child against their will is not part of my personal ideal of gentle discipline. Op in the instance you described there are several things I might have done. I might have helped the child or children having items thrown at them see they could move their bodies to protect themselves at that moment, while explaining that I intended to help her calm down and figure out what she was needing at that moment, before approaching the little girl. Or I might have placed my body between the children as a barrier, dependant on what was being thrown. As I approached her I might have reassured her that I wanted to help her. I might have pointed out that the one of the other children may get hurt or feel frightened by the flying objects or loud screams if she was still throwing and screaming. Then quickly moved on to helping her by either asking questions so that she could express what she needed to express in that moment in a way that felt safer to the other children or by helping to identify what need or reason was underlying in her throwing and shouting and helping to address that want or need. If I had went to hold the child for comfort and the child had told me to let go I would have let go. I might have then asked if I could lead them to another room where we could find a solution and help them feel soothed and calm enough to talk and help. Being down on their level and possibly placing a soft touch on their shoulder, arm, or hand if they didn't show me that it was unwelcome. The contact I would hope would help to ground them and have them be aware that I am there and willing to help, and also to lead them somewhere quiet and alone with me if possible. It is not always easy to remain calm in the face of intense emotions and actions that feel unsafe to us or others. If I am upset, irritated, angry, etc. it is helpful to me to do my best to breathe and calm myself if at all possible before approaching to help calm another and problem solve, even if just for a few seconds to ground myself and reassure myself that there IS an imminent resolution to the conflict.
So what if the child doesn't want to go to another room, even after you've explained that she's hurting the other kids? What if the child would rather keep throwing things at people in that moment? What if there is a baby that is too small to move her body to protect herself? How are the other kids supposed to feel when the adult spends several minutes trying to "reason with" and "calm down" the kid while she continues to throw things at them and hurt them? And isn't an adult a person, too? Why should the adult be the human missile target? :

So, would you NEVER EVER FOR ANY REASON EVER physically restrain/move a child? Not even to protect yourself or others? Not even for the 30 seconds it would take to move them to another room? What if your child needs a certain medical procedure?

OP, I think you handled it great. Those other kids... and you!... have a right to avoid physical harm. I personally don't see a problem with "imposing my will" on a child from time to time in select situations.

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#16 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 12:54 AM
 
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I have a five year old autistic son who often times goes into meltdown mode. We have made his room a safe haven, a place he can go to meltdown. Because during meltdown mode he will bite himself, and bang his head on whatever hard object is near by. We do hold him against his will. We do it in a gentle as possible manner and sometimes with tears in our eyes. But, we can't and won't allow our child to hurt himself or our other son. He has bruised his head, bloodied his head, and knocked himself out before we decided we needed to restrain him during these times. Oh, his room. We made his room into a safe haven. A place he can have his melt down, and not hurt himself, but we can't always make it to his room without giving him a "boundary hug" so for us, it is needed and i don't think it is UNgd.

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#17 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by newmom22 View Post
Once he was happily distracted and playing I sat down with my niece (who normally is a gentle and lovely child- she’s 4) and told her it hurt DS when she yelled at him and threw things at him. She was crying and freaking out (there are lots of issues going on in her family right now and her parents had already left for the night) so I picked her up and held her and rocked her and told her it was OK to be sad and mad, but that she couldn’t throw things at her cousins. The whole time she was screaming for me to let her go and still trying to throw stuff at other kids. I eventually took her out of the room and she settled down quickly.
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So, would you NEVER EVER FOR ANY REASON EVER physically restrain/move a child? Not even to protect yourself or others? Not even for the 30 seconds it would take to move them to another room? What if your child needs a certain medical procedure?

OP, I think you handled it great. Those other kids... and you!... have a right to avoid physical harm. I personally don't see a problem with "imposing my will" on a child from time to time in select situations.
She could have taken her out immediately. And, it seemed like she had STOPPED throwing things until she tried to rock her. I don't know, maybe I'm misreading, it's always hard to explain these scenarios.

If a child is hurting other children and needs to be physically removed, fine. Do it quickly and then let them go. I object to trying to rock/comfort/cuddle a child that does not want to be held. That would, honestly, feel kind of violating to me, and I think my children, at least, would feel the same.

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#18 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 01:55 AM
 
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I have seen that article referenced before and IMO there is a big difference between what they are describing (holding a child for an extended period to help them process emotions) and restraining a child who wants to do harm to himself or others.
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#19 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 02:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen View Post
Holding a child against their will for any reason is still holding them against their will, irregardless if it is seen as 'for their own good' or to protect themselves or others from non-life threatening harm. There is likely another way to protect all involved in any situation where they may feel unsafe without forced holding. Imo from context found within my feelings, relationships, and observations regarding children I believe that forced holding will likely lead to feelings that will damage and seperate the sense of attachment children and adults desire to hold with each other.
I used to do this with my nephew sometimes. It's a long, complicated story, but it didn't involve him stopping him from hurting anybody.

I'm the only adult who ever held him against his will, or used holding him and restraining him as a way to deal with his behavioural issues. I'm also the only adult he is strongly attached to, and the only adult who receives any spontaneous signs of affection from him.

I'm not sure how I feel about holding kids on a day-to-day basis. I've done it with dd a couple of times when she was in real danger of hurting herself or ds2, but it hasn't happened often. With my nephew, it was the only strategy I could find to deal with his behavioural/emotional problems. I don't feel that it damaged our attachment in any way.

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#20 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by honeybee
So what if the child doesn't want to go to another room, even after you've explained that she's hurting the other kids? What if the child would rather keep throwing things at people in that moment? What if there is a baby that is too small to move her body to protect herself? How are the other kids supposed to feel when the adult spends several minutes trying to "reason with" and "calm down" the kid while she continues to throw things at them and hurt them? And isn't an adult a person, too? Why should the adult be the human missile target?

So, would you NEVER EVER FOR ANY REASON EVER physically restrain/move a child? Not even to protect yourself or others? Not even for the 30 seconds it would take to move them to another room? What if your child needs a certain medical procedure?

OP, I think you handled it great. Those other kids... and you!... have a right to avoid physical harm. I personally don't see a problem with "imposing my will" on a child from time to time in select situations.
I did not say I would NEVER EVER FOR ANY REASON EVER physically restrain/move a child. It wasn't clear in my mind from the OP's description of the event if the child was throwing small stuffed animals, hard wooden blocks, or a myriad of objects. It did sound like she helped her ds move his body away from possibly getting hit by a flying object and redirected him to an activity or whatnot, so that he was elsewhere and otherwise engaged while she approached her neice. Then there was mention of other children about and continued throwing. I wasn't clear as to whether the throwing had stopped and resumed, or if theother children had remained present while objects were flying and the OP's son moved out of range. I did mention in my pp that one of the things I might have done would have been to help all of the children to see that they could move their bodies out of range so they felt safe and protected, that would include moving any infants immediately out of range I think. I would also like to say that there were other adults present who could have been enlisted to help in the situation too, just a thought for any future situations that are similar. If there are others who may help, possibly call to them to do so. I can sit here and think from what I imagine was happening what I might have done and speculate what I might do in similiar situations I encounter in the future. I can not say for sure what I would have done or will do at all.

The OP did ask for opinions on whether or not forcibly holding a child was considered GD. Each of our defintions of GD is bound to be unique, I answered for me, no it wouldn't fit into my ideal of GD. I believe that for any what if that does not involve an immediate life threatening situation time can be taken to find an alternative solution that would not involve forcible holding, especially after the child has asked to be let go of. I have picked my children up and moved them before, I have led my children away from situations before, there have been a couple of times when I moved my son that he indicated that he did not want to be moved and I apologized for picking him up when he didn't want to be picked up. Picking up a child is not my usual responsive action in situations that have been similar in that another child may feel frightened or possibly get hurt, but it has been several times. Between my two children and my neice and nephew who I see often I can't think of one situation were there was conflict that didn't get resolved in a short manner without forcibly holding anyone.

My nephew who is almost 3 is a very physical little guy. He is often in constant motion, jumping, flopping, kicking, etc. Sometimes the other children will want to sit and chill and watch a show on the couch together for a bit. My nephew will sometimes kick at whoever is closest to him repeatedly. I honestly am not sure as to the underlying reasons for this. I believe it varies and do my best to acsertain it in that moment when it happens. My responsive action is to place my body between him and the other child on the couch. Sure I do not want be kicked as well, but my choice is to put my body in the way and usually get a kick or two before nephew stops and I talk to him about what is going on at that moment.

I can see myself approaching a child who is throwing items, even if I might get hit. I wasn't clear if the child was throwing as the OP approached her. I do think another option for a child who may not immediately stop would be to quickly move the items within reach away while trying to engage their attention on myself and assure them that I want to help them and we will figure out a solution to whatever they want or need. Once the child hears this they calm, in my experience. Now with my dd there have been several times when she was shouting intensely in the course of a conflict and not hearing me and I have physically touched her to gain her attention, or picked her up, or led her away. I can't recall her objecting to that at any time though, so it differs from a child who does. Each time there has been an underlying reason (hunger) for the seemingly out of control like behavior I was experiencing her doing.

I can understand why the OP did what she did in the moment and I applaud that she is thinking about it and it seems wondering if that is the route she would take again in a like situation. I have definitely done things that haven't been in line with my ideals of how I would like to handle things, and am sure, fallible as I am, I will again, and again, and again . I stand by saying that forcibly holding a child is not in line with my ideal of how I would handle any non-life threatening situation involving another person. I also stand by saying there is likely an alternative way to respond to any such situation.

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#21 of 35 Old 11-21-2006, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for chiming in. I appreciate your responses. I can totally see everyone’s view on this and agree with all of you to a certain extent. I am happy with the outcome of this particular scenario since no one was hurt and my niece was almost immediately calm once she has some space away from all the other cousins. Obviously, I was asking a general sort of question, so I’m going to get general answers, but the specifics that have been speculated upon are these: She was throwing hard objects (dollhouse furniture, barbie type dolls- objects that would hurt) I sat with her on a couch for a moment before it became clear that she needed to rage, not be comforted and I was not going to let her do that with my baby in her path. It should be said, however, that she wanted to be on my lap at first but was irate that she could still see my DS, which set her off again. There were 6 other kids in the playroom so she was the easiest to remove. BIL’s wife was holding SIL’s baby (4 months) and BIL had gone to drop off their teenager at a party. My SIL and her husband (parents of upset niece had already left- are you with me still ?... : ) DH was putting the dogs outside, so we really didn’t have any extra adults around.

My purpose in posting was that I really didn’t have a clear answer for DH when he asked me about it. He has come so far in his journey away from the way he was raised (Italian parents- lots of yelling, hitting and fear) so we’ve been doing a lot of talking about how important GD is. I’m glad, frankly, that it even registered for him that holding her could have been perceived as restraint. It’s a huge breakthrough for him. Anyway, I think in every scenario there are different answers. In the heat of the moment it’s hard to always do the right thing, but I feel alright about how this worked out.

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#22 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 12:19 AM
 
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I wanted to voice that I am honestly uncomfortable with the term 'boundary hug'. I think that giving an action like forcibly holding a child against their will a 'cutesy' name such as this may lead to some caregivers not fully realizing the seriousness of the action and possibly they may overlook or downplay any affects, emotions, or behaviors that might stem from the experience of the child being held against their will. Please take careful consideration of these possibilities before deciding to adopt such a term. Forceful holding is not akin to embrace. If one is fine with the action of forcibly holding a child against their will then they are fine with holding a child in such a manner.

I hope no one is offended by this comparison, but these are my concerns with calling forcible holding a ‘boundary hug’ that have refused to leave my head today. So many people who hit their children would be appalled if asked if they would ever hit their children. I have heard this numerous times myself. They think no I would never hit my child. But yet they do ‘spank’ or ‘swat’ or ‘tap’. I am concerned that if the term ‘boundary hug’ begins to be spread around, many people may not realize the extent of the violation that forcible holding is mostly because it has been advocated to them as a ‘boundary hug’, oh its a hug, of course that’s okay, what a loving, gentle way to control my child. A fish is a fish, a hit is a hit, a forcible hold is a forcible hold, if one is okay with the action as a choice for themselves and the children they care for, please consider not calling the forcible hold a hug. I seriously doubt the child will experience it as a hug, which is what I have always called an embrace of affection.

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#23 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 12:32 AM
 
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I used to do this with my nephew sometimes. It's a long, complicated story, but it didn't involve him stopping him from hurting anybody.

I'm the only adult who ever held him against his will, or used holding him and restraining him as a way to deal with his behavioural issues. I'm also the only adult he is strongly attached to, and the only adult who receives any spontaneous signs of affection from him.

I'm not sure how I feel about holding kids on a day-to-day basis. I've done it with dd a couple of times when she was in real danger of hurting herself or ds2, but it hasn't happened often. With my nephew, it was the only strategy I could find to deal with his behavioural/emotional problems. I don't feel that it damaged our attachment in any way.
I'm glad that you don't feel that your attachment was damaged in any way. I know the circumstances are completely different but I have pinned my son to brush his teeth. I do not think this damaged our attachment. However I do think it led to feelings and problems that would not have otherwise existed. There is bound to be another option for me when force isn't considered an option.

In intense situations I like to ask myself, am I escalating this conflict or de-escalating this conflict? Forcibly holding a child who is already exhibiting signs of loss of self control is bound to escalate in the immediate if not in the long term I would think. Approaching a child with calm in a soothing manner offering help is much more likely to de-escalate in my experience. The child needs help regaining self control, not physically forced control from another.

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#24 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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I agree that "boundary hug" is not a good name. I just call it "restraining".

I do not think it is comparable to spanking. For one thing, it's not punishment or discipline - it's for the child's immediate protection. I consider it more like grabbing a kid who is about to run into the street. Even if that kid wants to be let go, I am not going to.

When DS loses control, he really loses it. He needs to be restrained for his own safety and the safety of those around him.
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#25 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 02:25 AM
 
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If a child is hurting other children and needs to be physically removed, fine. Do it quickly and then let them go. I object to trying to rock/comfort/cuddle a child that does not want to be held. That would, honestly, feel kind of violating to me, and I think my children, at least, would feel the same.
Couldn't have expressed my feelings on it any more clearly than that

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#26 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 04:00 AM
 
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Deva33mommy,

:

Sometimes I wish I knew how to be abrupt and to the point, .

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#27 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 04:17 AM
 
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In intense situations I like to ask myself, am I escalating this conflict or de-escalating this conflict? Forcibly holding a child who is already exhibiting signs of loss of self control is bound to escalate in the immediate if not in the long term I would think. Approaching a child with calm in a soothing manner offering help is much more likely to de-escalate in my experience. The child needs help regaining self control, not physically forced control from another.
Holding him - physically restraining him - was the only way I ever found of de-escalating things with my nephew. He had (and still has) serious emotional issues and behavioural problems, and there was no "normal" way to deal with him. Believe me...I shared a house with him for over four years, and I tried everything. Distraction, redirection, consequences (of the "you have to help ds1 pick up the toys you both threw around, or you're not going to be able to come up here to play type), etc. - nothing worked. The only way to get him calmed down enough to actually comprehend anything I said was to hold him until he stopped fighting me. Did I like it? No - but it worked, and nothing else did. Approaching him in a soothing manner offering help did absolutely nothing (except get me hit a couple of times).

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#28 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 10:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen View Post
In intense situations I like to ask myself, am I escalating this conflict or de-escalating this conflict? Forcibly holding a child who is already exhibiting signs of loss of self control is bound to escalate in the immediate if not in the long term I would think. Approaching a child with calm in a soothing manner offering help is much more likely to de-escalate in my experience. The child needs help regaining self control, not physically forced control from another.
Actually, for my own almost 3-yo (who is very intense), if I try to calmly talk to him when he's really flipping out and discuss alternatives and try to help, it makes things SO, SO much worse. I have learned which flip-outs are ones where I calmly say to him, "I understand you're mad, let me know when you want to talk" and stay nearby, and which flip-outs are major ones where the only thing that will help him calm down is me hugging him while he works out the emotions, simply so he doesn't hurt himself or destroy anything.

As with many things in parenting, I've found what I initially believed to be my viewpoint has not proven to be effective for my own child (children - DD is so young still). My son is very intense in everything. He feels everything BIG. All children can be intense at times, especially during toddlerhood, and there's the expectation of tantrums and freak outs; some children go beyond this and are intense all the time, in their happiness, their sadness, and their anger. Unless you have an intense child, it's difficult to understand. I have a pretty intense child. When you've had 3 different people say to you at separate times, "I've never seen someone get so enthusiastic about food!", you know you have an intense kid.

I would not recommend parents go around restraining their children every time they have a negative emotion or temper tantrum and force them to stay in their arms until they calm down - that's totally over the top - I wouldn't even *necessarily* suggest holding a child that was clearly stating that they wanted to be released or trying to get out of being held (unless you were preventing said child from inflicting dangerous physical harm to another person), BUT...with a really intense child, sometimes the safety of their parents arms when they are having big emotions is the only thing that will calm them down. I remember a couple times DS asked to be let go, so I did right away and apologized to him - I misjudged the situation. But every other time, he just kind of thrashes for a couple minutes while calming down, eventually snuggling *into* me, like a safe haven. As to the suggestion of just quickly removing him and not holding him, when he's in a big flip-out, he'll just run right back to wherever it was and start again (believe me, I've tried) - he has GREAT singleness of purpose.

So many scenarios could lead up to a technique like this, and while I feel it *could* become very icky if used as a daily discipline technique, I also KNOW from my own child that sometimes calmly talking, suggestions, and even putting your body in between them and another person or object isn't enough, with an intense child.

For the record, I've done this probably 5 times in the past year.

To me, there is a world of difference between:
-a child throwing a "normal" temper tantrum and a parent holding them saying, "I will not let go of you until you stop screaming" while they plead to be released and are trying to get out
and
- a parent holding a completely out of control child (i.e., not just a normal tantrum) and saying, "I know you're mad and a little scared, I'll help you calm down until you feel better".
If you've never experienced an intense child throwing a whopper of a freak out, this may not make sense...but if you have, it probably does.

As to the OP, I wasn't there so I cannot judge the situation - there may have been a better alternative, there may not. I just wanted to give my own experience and opinions on the topic in general.


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#29 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 09:20 PM
 
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She could have taken her out immediately. And, it seemed like she had STOPPED throwing things until she tried to rock her. I don't know, maybe I'm misreading, it's always hard to explain these scenarios.

If a child is hurting other children and needs to be physically removed, fine. Do it quickly and then let them go. I object to trying to rock/comfort/cuddle a child that does not want to be held. That would, honestly, feel kind of violating to me, and I think my children, at least, would feel the same.
Okay, I can see what you mean, now. I think whether I would continue to hold the child would depend on the individual circumstances and my own intuitive sense of whether the action was helping or being considered intrusive.

I just don't see how you can go through parenting a toddler/preschooler without physically restraining/holding/moving your child in some form, sometimes when they don't want to be moved. I have had to physically hold/move my son to do something that needs to be done, like change a diaper. I also often have to physically start him moving towards doing something, or he will just sit there all day listening to me say "Ds, please get your shoes on." But if I say this while taking his hand and leading him towards his shoes, he will generally be cooperative. And, lately, I have had to hold my baby's arms down in order to give him a nebulizer treatment, which he needs. I hate doing it, and I feel so sad for him, but I don't feel "guilty" about it, kwim?

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#30 of 35 Old 11-22-2006, 09:37 PM
 
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MissRubyandKen,

Thanks for the clarification. Now it makes more sense. In your original post, I'm imagining an out-of-control child flinging things about while an adult stands there getting hit saying "Now, don't do that," while other kids are getting beaned with toys. Now I realize we were envisioning the scenario differently.

I read this board to learn other perspectives and get ideas for more gentle approaches. I'll keep some of your ideas in mind if a similar situation ever comes up, now that I understand better what you're saying.

I don't know that I agree with the premise that we should never hold a child against their will, however. It's not something I would do on a regular basis, but I think there are some kids/circumstances that warrant restraint. I know a teacher who uses a basket hold for out-of-control children until they can be removed from her classroom. This is an inner city school, and she has to deal with some crazy, violent stuff. She makes it a point to love all of her students, no matter what, though. She is a very effective teacher, and she ends up having the best relationships with those kids she needs to use the basket hold on.

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