Positive Discipline to Gentle Discipline - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 15 Old 10-30-2007, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all. I have posted about how I hate PD, and 123 magic and all of the other "Control devices."

For two months I have armed myself iwth GD techniques and in all honest my DS has been unhappy and out of control. My DP and I have talked about what to do with him and GD may not be the best option right now. Well..that is GD alone, we need more. When I say my DS is unhappy, he cries a lot, and is rarely content. I think its because I relaxed the boundaries and gave him "too much independence" My DP told me he might be unhappy because he has too many choices to make and that could be too much for a three year old.

My DS isn't very internally motivated. Rewards work for some things. We have done a mix of candy, extra time at the park, and money for his bank (normally pennies) 123 magic...with either negative or positive consequences works wonders for my DS. Usually the a negative would be : He want get off the bed, so I give him a choice He gets down alone or I get him down. Usually he gets down by number 2.
A positive would be, He isn't getting dressed quickly enough because we are running short on time. I tell him I am going to count to three and see how fast he can get his shoes.

We have been using non punitive time outs for when he gets a bit out of control. Say he's jumping around and bugging his dad an I. (Like most three year olds). Sometimes we need him to stop that behavior until a more appropriate time (like when we actually get to the park) We ask him to sit down for a few minutes. He does it most of them. We allow him to rough house with the rule if some says "Stop or Owe" twice the game has to stop for one minute. I think this approach is helping with knowing when he's gone too far.

I was wondering if anyone used PD and then moved on to GD after their kids got older.
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#2 of 15 Old 10-30-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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Well, I don't have a problem with 1,2,3 Magic like you do - I don't think it is outside the realm of GD. And my oldest isn't very old - turned 3 today. I did find that after I got things under control with 1,2,3 Magic, I was able to move away from "consequences", only going back to counting and consequences during particularly trying times.
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#3 of 15 Old 10-30-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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I think I will try this counting...thanks for the tip...are there other posts about what to do?
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#4 of 15 Old 10-30-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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I'm not sure I can answer because I'm not sure how you're defining your terms.

I'm definitely more on the "positive discipline" side of things. I do impose logical consequences (which some here find punitive). I'll do "time out" as a cooling off period -- it works great with our 3 year old, and NOT AT ALL with our 6 year old. Our 6 yo has sensory processing issues and is currently NOT able to calm himself down after he's completely lost it. So, he needs a lot firmer boundaries in order to keep from going over the edge. Once he's over that edge, he's gone. Really, then the only thing to do is to let him rage, and then re-connect later. I think because of ds' issues, I'm more aware of not overloading him.

What I don't do is what's sometimes called "Consentual Living". I do not seek a mutually agreeable solution for everyone all the time. It doesn't work for me, my style or my beliefs about children. So, yes, I coerce my kids at times.

But, while I feel I'm one of the less 'gentle' parents here, I do feel I'm doing gentle discipline. Mostly what I say is things like "If I have to spend my time cleaning up messes for the whole family, I will not have time to read you stories." "After you wash your hands, I'll be happy to play a game with you." And my kids have gone to bed without stories. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Sometimes we run out of time to play before dd gets her hands washed. I don't do 1,2,3 Magic because it seems they're too heavy on time outs for me. I do 'count' sometimes to give my kids a limit. "I'm going to count to 3, and if you aren't out of the tub by then, I'll come help you." that helps our very independent minded dd a lot.

However, I don't reward much (only for potty training, and then only in desperation), and we don't impose consequences that often either. Our kids are pretty aware of the boundaries. They're generally happy, compliant kids. We achieve that mostly by connecting with them (I'm a firm believer in 30 minutes of floortime a day.) They have lots of say in things, and we will listen to reasonable arguments. Ds wanted sparkling cider (which we call "kid wine") for dinner last night. We initially said "no" because we save that for special occasions. Dh and ds were both sick. Dh was having a beer and ds asked why. "Because it helps me feel a bit better a when I'm sick." To which ds replied "Kid wine helps me feel better when I'm sick." They got "kid wine" (and a big laugh).

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#5 of 15 Old 10-31-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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do find it hard to explain the differences between right and wrong with your kids? I always wonder if they will actually understand
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#6 of 15 Old 11-01-2007, 03:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rockchick22 View Post
do find it hard to explain the differences between right and wrong with your kids? I always wonder if they will actually understand
Not at all. Maybe it's because our son is the king of 'why' - but I've gotten very good at giving explanations that fit the situation/level of my children.

It's wrong to take something from a store without paying because the people who run the store had to buy those things from someone else. They sell it to earn money to pay the people who work for them, to pay for their own house and their own food. If we take it, they won't earn enough money to do those things.

It's wrong to break someone else's things because they worked hard to earn them, and they will not have them to use if we break them. It will also make them feel sad.

We don't speak rudely because it hurts people's feelings.

etc. etc.

The more I explain, the more my children understand why we are doing something, the better they are at doing what's 'right'.

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#7 of 15 Old 11-01-2007, 12:13 PM
 
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oh dear!....I never thought there was a difference between the too!...Though whenever I read things on PD - there were some things there I didnt agree with and thought I just avoided those! lol

What on earth is 1,2,3 magic? lol I have heard people 'count' to their child and I never 'got that'...some would be wise and then start counting themselves which always made me chuckle... but then what happens after 3? Most parents I know who count, give their child a smack if they havnt done what they wanted them to do after 3... So whats 'magic'?
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#8 of 15 Old 11-01-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#9 of 15 Old 11-01-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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I sort of think you're thinking too much about definitions and not enough about what works for your kid and makes you feel at ease.

I consider myself GD, and I'm very much on the same page with LynnS. (Actually, I think she is my GD twin!)

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#10 of 15 Old 11-01-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rockchick22 View Post
do find it hard to explain the differences between right and wrong with your kids? I always wonder if they will actually understand
I think my son understands that there is right and wrong, or good manners and bad manners. He doesn't have self-control to always do what he knows is right, and he doesn't always have a sense of degree. You know? Like, how wrong is this? The truth is that he doesn't have the power to do many things that are really wrong.

Some things are morally wrong, like hitting people, or taking things that don't belong to you. Some things are just bad manners. Some things are on the line, like saying words that hurt people's feelings.

I think it's not only young children who find these distinctions difficult!

My belief is to always answer all questions honestly and put out my own ethical beliefs, teaching words as we go along. The deep discussions happen when things are calm. Some behaviors require immediate intervention, and we do that when things are getting dangerous, but the ethical stuff about right and wrong happens all the time.

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#11 of 15 Old 11-02-2007, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it might be a definition thing for me rather than what works. I hadn't looked at it that way.

I do explain right and wrong to my DS. I have found explaining things much easier than I thought. Yet, there's somethings like hitting I cannot explain enough. We'ev had the talks and I can tell he simply cannot help himself. When he starts hitting we do a cool down time out. I personally like having me sit with me when he's gotten too out of control. It gives him a chance to cool off and then talk to me.

I am happy to find out that other parents see things similar to me. The more I hang around this board the more I learn and the more effective I can be.

Denise
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#12 of 15 Old 11-02-2007, 03:06 AM
 
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I totally agree with Lynn on this one any my style seems very much in line with hers...so Lynn, you're not alone in the "less gentle" camp!

What struck me here is that I think as parents we have to get over how parenting defines us and look at our parenting as being the best fit for our kiddos. Does that make any sense? I had an idea of the kind of mother I would be when I was pregnant. Then I cruised through the baby and toddler years by responding to my babe's needs and using redirection and distraction with my toddler. Suddenly, at about 3 1/2, my easy-going ds began to challenge the way I saw myself as a parent - calm, patient, gentle, etc. I think that's when I had to really take a good look at what my child needed from me...not the way I had envisioned myself as a mom.

What works for one child doesn't work for another. And then there's the combination of personalities between parents and children that plays into it all. I would encourage you to look less at definitions and look more to what makes your child feel more calm and contained when he's struggling.

It's such a wild ride, isn't it? But I think the most important things for me have been to pay close attention to my child and my family and not get too distracted with what books or theories have to say about it. If counting works and helps your son, do it! If he likes motivation charts and the like, use them in ways you feel comfortable.

I'm also a firm believer in taking what works and throwing out the rest. I haven't found anything that works for us 100%...we use an eclectic mix of tools and approaches.
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#13 of 15 Old 11-02-2007, 01:00 PM
 
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i agree that definitions can be over rated and that each approach is personal and up to a particular family / parents/ childs situation and needs. However with that disclaimer im going to try to make some broad sweeping definitions which will probably annoy people

Certainly for me reading about particular approaches and definitions has helped challenge my learnt approaches and be more conscious in what i apply and dont apply in my own parenting/ life.

So PD for me is about reinforcing and rewarding "positive" behaviour and depending on the style, either ignoring or punishing "negative" behaviour in children. My impression is that relatively benign forms of it seem to be on the rise via government agencies and mainstream education experts. (at least here in Australia where i live)

I see GD as an approach that tries to focus on connection rather than coercion. It relies more on internal motivation of a child (because no carrot or stick is applied), unconditional acceptance (and expression of that) and often seeing what many would call "negative" behaviour as either a cry for connection or a healthy expression of emotion.

In that sense a shift from PD to GD for me would involve a major paradigm shift on behalf of the parent and child. One moment a child would expect positive reinforcement and rewards for their action the next they would be left with ongoing unconditional love.

This could be disorientating in the short term for all involved id imagine.

In terms of having too many choices – i find that having rhythm and some level of predictability to the day helped our dd during times where she seemed to feel overwhelmed. It was not about a schedule (based on time) but more a routine (based on events) which gave a flow to her day/ week. She still had choices but there was a flow she could follow also.

Also just simply making suggestions and putting things positively, "lets go and bla bla" rather than "do you want to" often helped. Being on the consensual side of the spectrum im always open to a no, or a "why dont we bla bla instead"... but it avoided her being constantly put on the spot with decisions.

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#14 of 15 Old 11-02-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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In that sense a shift from PD to GD for me would involve a major paradigm shift on behalf of the parent and child. One moment a child would expect positive reinforcement and rewards for their action the next they would be left with ongoing unconditional love.
I think giving positive reinforcement isn't mutually exclusive of being left with unconditional love. I think this is what trips me up a bit...the unconditional love bit. I love my child no matter what his behavior. I may not like it and I express that but I don't think he ever questions whether or not I love him.
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#15 of 15 Old 11-02-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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I think giving positive reinforcement isn't mutually exclusive of being left with unconditional love. I think this is what trips me up a bit...the unconditional love bit. I love my child no matter what his behavior. I may not like it and I express that but I don't think he ever questions whether or not I love him.
sorry – i did not mean to imply that parents who use PD do not love their children!! However many children with PD will feel that to obtain a parents concrete manifestation of love (ie. smiles, hugs, attention) and approval they must behave certain ways...

So yes, if my feelings are hurt or needs are not being met in a situation i too would attempt to find constructive ways of communicating that and negotiating through it.

However the unconditional parenting approach (alfie kohn inspired) would suggest that there are no conditions to a parents concrete support or interaction with their children... which (in my opinion) is different to PD who would approach it strategically to effectively encourage certain sorts of behaviour through "positive" feedback.

its not to say that my 5 yr old dd always get bed time books... occasionally im just too physically tired (often when she chooses to come to bed really late). Its just that my reading a book is not dependent on her eating dinner, brushing teeth, kissing her younger brother goodnight etc... just on my ability to deliver it.

while im stirring the pot. Taking up an earlier point – I try to avoid using terms "right" and "wrong" and instead talk in terms of what it has meant for someone. Put simply i see my role to help dd connect actions to implications. Eg. "I think so and so appreciated it when you...", or "Perhaps Jo spoke rudely because she felt left out when you..." etc etc. I trust she can work out the right/ wrong stuff with that info combined with our constant aim to model our own values in our daily life.

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