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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dh and I were talking last night about some problems he's been having at work. It would be very easy for him to make things easier for himself by manipulating a situation between 2 co-workers who intimidate each other. I asked why he always came to the rescue when to not, or even to feed into it a little, would be better for him and he said he couldn't do that because it would be controlling people, and to him controlling people, setting them up like a chess game or coercing them or giving ultimatums or creating an environment of fear..... all of that type of behavior of having power over or taking power from another human being, to him is Evil. It is the fundamental problem of all bad situations. I have a hard time with the whole concept of evil or callin anything evil for that matter.
Which leads me to this post here. I've i been thinking about what he said a lot and in spite of what I might wish, it rings true. And if it rings true in daily interactions between adults it's true with interactions with children as well. Explaining reasons, establishing expectations, modelling ideals, clarifying the choices and what the resuts of them would mean are one thing, and are what I try to do most of the time. But bribing, ultimatums, threats, emotional violence like withholding affection/pouting, verbal violence like yelling and screaming, or phsical violence like slamming doors, throwing things or grabbing, all cross the line.
Even though I don't spank or cio, and try to practice ap, I know that I have tried to control my children with all of the above methods at one time or another and most of the time without ever realizing that that was what I was trying to do.
I'm having trouble right now establishing for myself what is mine to control and what isn't. I know cognitively that my body and my own behavior are really all I have a right to, and I believe that children are good and want to do what is right, and will live up to (or down to) the standards and expectations you have for them.
How do I get out of the "do it or else" syndrome? I feel like all I'msaying lately is "if you don't xyz, we won't abc" It feels manipulative and like a bad precedent.
If you've gotten all the way to the end of this I appreciate it. I know that none of this is a revelation to all you gd moms, but hearing my hudsband talk about controlling people in terms of evil sort of crystalized all of this to me in a new way. I feel like need more tools/better skills now. I just needed the opportunity to write allthis out and clarify it for myself. I'm glad this forum is here. I'd appreciate any insights or resources people have.
 

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To me, the most important thing is that for an ultimatum to work, the two things must be related. "If you don't organize your swimming gear and get it in the trunk of the car, I won't take you to the pool" is okay to say because it tells someone else that they have to be a full participant in the process of getting what they want. "If you don't organize your swimming gear and get it in the car, we won't have dessert tonight" is a mean power-play. I think of it this way: if the child is shirking his responsibility and knows it, then an ultimatum that is related to that responsibility is okay.

Threats are a little different because they don't necessarily have to be related to the thing that is happening, but they require that you keep your moral backbone. You have to be willing to carry through with a threat. "If you keep taunting the baby, you will be asked to leave the room" means that you are willing to stand up for what is right. "If you keep taunting the baby, I will not take you to the candy store" means that you are willing to punish someone else. Perhaps there is an occasion when you think that punishment is appropriate. Most GD people think punishment doesn't work, but I am not truly convinced that it is totally ineffective if used judiciously. I am not talking about physical or emotional violence, though. I am definitely thinking more along the lines of the loss of small privileges.

As for avoiding those two situations entirely, I am with you. It is hard, particularly for those of us who were raised that way and who find ourselves trying to get things done in an adult time-frame while dealing with a kid mentality. I have found "Positive Discipline" by Jane Nelson to be a useful book for older children (ignore her advice about babies and toddlers, though) especially the information about enlisting cooperation. Barbara Colorosso's "Kids are Worth It" is good, too, but again it is a book that works better for parents of older kids. "The Emotional Life of the Toddler" gives you insight into the way small children act.

I think that as parents we have no choice but to control our children at times. It is the way we do it that determines how we feel about it in the end.
 

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Sassitap, sounds like good stuff to think about. You got me thinking! One thing to consider is "natural consequences" where your reaction is directly related to your child's action. And warning them, fairly, but not, threateningly, is just making it easier for them to see what will happen depending on what choice they make. It's also different when we want to teach our kids how to behave in the world, than if we want to change other adults.
 

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Quote:
I feel like all I'm saying lately is "if you don't xyz, we won't abc"
Try a simple rewording. Instead say, "As soon as you xyz, then we can abc." And stick to it.
It gives them the choice, power, and responsibility, thus removing any manipulation on your part. But you don't lose anything either.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Whit
Try a simple rewording. Instead say, "As soon as you xyz, then we can abc."
:
!:::::
How smart is that! I'm taking that tip
 

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I don't know if this fits here, but I just wanted to share another tool my mom told me about.

I was getting frustrated with ds wandering off and kept calling him to come back, he ignored me, and I had to go get him. Mom quietly leaned over to me and said you just have to make him think it is his idea...and proceded to make a goofy noise that got his attention and he came back on his own.

It seems obvious in retrospect, but was lost to me at the time because I was so frustrated. I like to use this technique a lot because it eliminates a power play and allows him to "decide" that what you are doing is more interesting than whatever. Of course, it doesn't always work, but that's ok too.
 

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I think that many of the behaviours that parents engage in (employ maybe?) are manipulative. Especially in regards to "punishment". We would never offer ultimatums or imposed consequences to another adult and yet we do to our children.

When I started thinking about this a year or so ago, I was fascinated (temporarily) with the TCS/NCP theory, and while it does have its good points it never really jived with me. I just couldn't accept that all coercision is wrong. I did end up finding a comfortable place with non-punitive parenting and it works well for us. My children experience natural (not imposed by me consequences) but we don't do "punishments". I really, really like Grace Based Discipline by Crystal Lutton. It's from a Christian perspective, but covers the issue well.

I actually wrote an article on this a while back and never finished it, perpetual slacker that I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Whit-- What a great idea!
It seems so obvious, but its perfect.
I've been struggling with natural consequences. Sometimes they are obvious: keep putting toy bucket over baby sister's head, which makes her cry even if you do think it looks like a pretty hat on her, then the bucket needs to be put away until it can be played with gently..., but other times I'm at a loss.

Interrupting conversation for instance, or not putting toys away. When I was little if we didn't put toys away they got tossed. if we interrupted without saying excuse me or for something that wasn't an emergency we got spanked or sent away. It worked, but isn't what I want to do with my little ones. I was afraid to go to adults at all because sometimes it would seem really important to me,but instead of being listened to I'd be banished. But on the other hand when I'm on the phone doing something important, interruptions go into high gear just because I'm on the phone. What's the natural consequence?
Diddy bug-- I'm definately going to look into that book. I grew up Methodist and go to church every Sunday and spend a lot of time questioning and wishing I believed more. Most of the christian parenting stuff I've seen is appalling so I'm excited to hear about this.
Jennifer-- it sounds like you have a wise mom. I try to remember to do that to, but with a twist. "Look at that sign up there! Do you think you could hop like a bunny that whole way? or let's play follow the leader..."
Thanks for the insights, advice and great ideas. It is wonderful to be able to come here and learn from such great moms!
 

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Hey Diddybug - I do GBD, too!
Are you on the PCAP or PosParenting-Discipline at yahoo?

For those who are interested in non-punitive (no punishments, no time-outs, no shaming etc.) discipline that is non-permissive check out these groups - you do have to be a member, but you can always un-sub if it's not for you. Go on "daily-digest" when given the choice...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Positi...ng-Discipline/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveChristianAP/

Good insights, sassitap! Thanks for sharing.
 
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