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Did you/do you coach your DH in GD?

721 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  DevaMajka
And if so, how do you do so in a respectful way? Did you intervene in the moment or wait until later and talk about situations?

My DH is trying really hard to be GD with our 26 mo but it just doesn't come naturally for him (he still has much de-programming to do from his own childhood

Sometimes when he is struggling with DD and things are escalating I want to jump in with a suggestion but I don't know if that's the right thing to do.

Like tonight...

They were going up to bed and she freaked out on the stairs because she wanted to do "two steps" (holding hands and jumping up the stairs). I could see that he was tired and frustrated and was about to pick her up and carry her kicking and screaming up the stairs. So I jumped in and said...Lily do you want a do-over? She said yes. They went back down. Two steps up the stairs and off to bed without a fuss.

Seemed like a win-win...but now I'm wondering if it undermines him for me to do this.
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I've been wondering how to approach DH on this issue.
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I read my DH interesting passages from UP, or interesting thoughts from this web site, and Montessori from the Start. And he's reading Screamfree Parenting for himself on the commuter bus. Then we discuss what we think of what all of these folks have to say.

I know Screamfree and the Montessori book may not be "GD" enough to some of you. But regardless of the specifics-- these are examples of how I get myself and my DH on the same page, as it concerns parenting.

I read things from here to my dh and he also reads this site and we discuss aspects of our parenting a lot.... One thing that seems to open up a lot of discussion is when we witness really out there parents who act in ways we would never act --- not so much to judge them, but we talk about things like "wow, I felt that was really punitive when that Dad threatened not to take his son to the ball game if he didn't eat all his dinner" (or whatever) and talk about how we would handle things etc...

I imagine it would be more difficult for someone with whom gd didn't come naturally. My husband is very gentle by nature and would probably have been a gd dad even if I weren't in the picture...

Good luck...

Oh, to answer your other question about stepping in: I would step in if my husband were treating our daughter in a way which I felt disrespected her... I would make all attempts to be respectful of him while I stepped in, but if I felt she needed to be advocated for in some way (like in your example that your hubby may have taken your daughter kicking and screaming up the stairs) I would certainly step in.
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I'm working on living consensually, os undermining parental authority doesn't really concern me...but dh is more gd without cl, so I'm careful to let dh and dd work through their process unless it's okay with them that I offer suggestions. If I see them struggling, I'll ask if I can help. If they agree (And they do 90% of the time) I faciliatate a problem-solving session.

I also flat out tell him if I see a pattern that makes me uncomfortable...if it seems like dd is not being respected.

Dh grew up with corporal punishment/abuse but is on board with gd (After my sharing quotes from books, websites, the UP DVD, and my thoughts and reflections).

I try to reflect on my parenting...the good and the that he can hear me in my process. Sometimes that helps him in his process and he'll sometimes relate to a particular struggle I'm having with dd. I tell him my goals...right now I'm working on not saying "be careful" and being more consensual with dd, both things that I'd love for him also to do, but that's up to him to decide.
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I made a point to discuss GD (didn't call it that though) and a variety of other important issues with him before we got married. Of course he had known my kids (they are not his natural children), who were then 5 and almost 3, since their birth & he and I had been friends for a long time.

Dh grew up in a home that was very far from GD. His father was boss over everyone, his mom was next in line as the boss of the kids, and the kids were not guided at all gently. There was a lot of "do as I say dont do as I do" and "children should be seen, not heard" etc. Spanking, along with whacking in the head and slapping in the face, throwing a childs things out, etc were seen as totally normal. This was just unacceptable and would not be happening with my kids.

The no spanking thing came pretty easy to Dh, but the voice raising and barking orders thing was less so. He has really worked hard to not repeat what he knew as a kid. We do not always see eye to eye regarding discipline, but we work it out. I have no problem intervening if I think things are going wacky. I do my best not to be rude or disrespectful to him, but I have stepped in.
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My DH is very gentle but the UP stuff is a little hard for him; he likes to praise DD. He also likes to do things for her if she is even having the slightest difficulty, whereas I think it best to let her figure things out herself unless she is actually asking for my help, which she is quite capable of doing. This last thing isn't really discipline-related but it drives me crazy.

I coach him a lot in the sense that when he says "Good girl!" I say, "please don't evaluate!" and give him a LOOK. But it doesn't work very well...he just gives ME a LOOK...

Maybe I need another coaching strategy.
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Originally Posted by Nora'sMama

Maybe I need another coaching strategy.

Maybe you should start saying "Goood boy" in a really cutesy sweet voice to him LOL.
That's not very helpful...sorry.
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No, UnschoolnMa, I love it!
I'll let you know how it works.
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i just left a window open on our desktop with the gentloe discipline board he's out of control and trying to figure out how to coach me to be more gd!
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Interesting!! Thanks for all the insightful comments.

As we were going to sleep last night I asked DH about the situation on the stairs and in general how he feels when I step in to help. He said he can feel the spirit behind the words and if it is loving and helpful he doesn't mind at all when I step in. But he said there have a been a few times where he has felt the spirit behind the words has been condesending and kind of mocking and more about pointing out his fault than helping the situation and that has really bothered him.

As for the stairs...he said that was totally cool that I jumped in and he appreciated it.
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Lurking.... we have this issue in our house. I refuse to undermine DH's parental abilities but we really need to be consistant for the sake of DS, KWIM?

Unfortunatley DH gets pissed when I try and encourage him and kind of distances himself.
Results have always sold me.

Don't have to hear the baby cry (no CIO)
Don't have to change very many poopey diapers (EC)
Don't have to listen to whining (Mutual non-coercion, communication)
Get to have fun with the kids (Playful parenting)
Get to teach the kids to communicate so that you don't have to guess what they want (Baby signs)
Get to ignore the "problems" that don't really mater(pick your battles)
less "colic" and gas, better immunities and brain development (Breast feeding)
less getting up in the middle of the night (co-sleeping)

Where do I sign up? I mean seriously this is the easy way of parenting in my eyes.

As aja said, she did point me to this board but more realistically my interest in GD has come from seeing it in action. This board has been a great resource in learning the specifics and pre-thinking scenarios (which is key).

Dr Sears mentions that attachment parenting is an investment in the emotional well-being of the child in the future.

I feel like GD and many of the involved concepts are investments in a "low maintenence child" (low maintenence here refering to willing independence, not isolation or ignoring) . Problem solving skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, social skills. These are all concepts that directly and imediatly effect how easy my life is when my child grasps them. You (eventually) don't have to remind a child of a natural consequence because it is natural. You don't have to remember to stick to some contrived rule set because your rules are reasonable and logical. You don't have to participate in power struggles when your goal is to empower your child rather than overpowering them.

Of course I do what I do because I love my child and I believe GD is best for him, but it is not just a happy accident that it is also what is best for me.

I believe that many men will respond much better to a "Here is my goal and here is how to reach it" approach than to a "don't yell when you're mad approach"

Humans have a natural tendency to ask "what's in it for me" and with Gentle Discipline (and NFL) I believe that question is easily answered for all parties involved.

I am not saying it is easier right away, but I do believe it to be less total effort. And that the easy part starts pretty quick.

I am all about putting forth a lot of effort up front so that I can be lazy later. Kind of like an opposite procrastinator... (not necessarily in a good way) I am the type that would look for the remote for 30 minutes rather than changing the channel on the set.
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I kind of agree with your post shaggydaddy, and I hope you were being tongue in cheek in some of it

I personally wouldn't present it to my husband the way you suggested. Even in the most GD, consensual, loving, happy home --- you're going to have a child who cries, you're going to have a child who whines, you're going to have a child who you have to clean up after, you're going to have a child, you're going to be waking up in the middle of the night (even if you cosleep), you're child will get sick and may have colic (even if you breastfeed)....

I am not trying to *pick* on you at all because I enjoy many of your posts and you seem like a really loving, involved papa -- I would just caution suggesting to people to *sell* their spouse on GD and NFL because it is going to be an easier road with less work. In some ways maybe, but in many ways not...

Some people, no matter how GD, loving, AP, NFL they are have very, very high spirited children and babies, so I would also caution to mamas against selling the dream to their partners that GD and AP etc magically make a calm, happy, "low maintenance" child as you said.

Seriously, please take this post in good spirit, it is not my intent to pick your post apart... I just fear if someone took that advice and then wound up with a high spirited, colicky baby, needy toddler, or high needs, whiny preschooler (which happens a lot)... that the partner who was *sold* on AP and GD with promises (or suggestions) of an easier deal, would abandon it if it didn't work out the way they wanted.
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Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy
I am not saying it is easier right away, but I do believe it to be less total effort. And that the easy part starts pretty quick.

i wish it were that easy for me.
its not.

I do coach my dh in gd, but as I have such a hard time, I feel bad giving him a hard time about it.

I just mention it later. I tell him what I am trying to stop myself from doing which is essentially what he needs to stop himself from doing as well. Then i tell him about my successes and point out when GD is working.

ETA: I also share with him AHA moments I have when I read.. things from my parenting books that I really like, and I have posted a list of helpful things on the fridge that I read when Im feeling out of control or super frusterated with the kids.
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Originally Posted by angela&avery
ETA: I also share with him AHA moments I have when I read.. things from my parenting books that I really like, and I have posted a list of helpful things on the fridge that I read when Im feeling out of control or super frusterated with the kids.
Would you be willing to share your fridge list?
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Sure. its really long though!!

point out a way to be helful
express strong disapproval without attacking character
state your expectations
show your child how to make amends
take action (get off your butt)
allow your child to experience the consequences of behavior
sympathise with your child, be compassionate, but stick to your decision
give an early warning
give specific instructions; tell what to clean up not just "clean up"
ask your child if you can help
ignore some annoying behavior, don't reinforce by giving negative behavior too much attention
do nothing
tackle one problem behavior at a time
use your sense of humor
give yourself time to grow and change
be affectionate
make sure your children are getting enough sleep
use the golden rule "do unto others as others would do unto you"
convey respect
overlook differences that dont really matter
dont do for your children what they can do for themselves
schedule family time
use "I" statements
dont reward inappropriate behavior
use encouragement and honest praise rather than blanket praise
stop and think before you act
dont make a big fuss over spills and accidents
acknowledge positive behavior
sometimes just listen and be sympathetic, you can be sympathetic to both sides
be willing to change your mind
say "yes" as much as you can (yes, later)
get support and information as a parent so you can remember you have choices
continue to think of your child as an emotional equal and figure it out
just say "no" to spanking
think "what would you do for an adult friend?"
listen without trying to "fix it"
say why its wrong not just that its wrong

I think most of these came from "talk so your children will listen....."

And then I have ONE MINUTE WISDOM that I got from someone here at mothering or a thread maybe.....

will this matter in 5 years?? 5 days? 5 minutes?
I can choose my reaction
be the peace you want to see
what do I (he/she) need?
I possess tremendous power to make a childs life miserable or joyous
I can humiliate or humor/ hurt or heal
it is when a person is a his least lovable that he most needs to be loved
the days are long, but the years are short
chdlkren make everyone else
it is easier to build a child, than to repair an adult
"mom, im just a kid"
can I see this a different way?
look past the behavior, what is your child feeling?
your child has years and years to become an adult
there is never a good reason to be unkind
this too shall pass
breathe..... breathe......breathe

these are from Barbara Coloroso "kids are worth it"

"children dont need many no's, any minilectures, unnecessary questions, empty threats, ultimatums, put downs, warnings or dictates. What they do need is support, explanations, encouragement, opportunities to be responsible, and invitations to think for themselves"

"self trust is one of the first steps towards becoming a responsible recourceful, resilient human being"

" if you invite your children when they are young, to express themselves by way of small rebellions, choices, and decisions, as they grow through the third age of rebellion, they will have the backbone on which to flesh out their own identity"

"you hit, you sit" until you are ready... not for a spefic amount of time.

: .... i really dont want to be picked apart, thanks.
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That's a great list, Angela!

If I see something that DH seems to be having trouble handling, I usually try to approach it as a problem that *we* are having and something that *we* can brainstorm about together. Like in the OP's example, I might say after the situation is resolved, something like "DH, I've noticed I've been having trouble motivating DD to go up the stairs to bed, too... What do you think we could do about it??"[listen to possible ideas, sometimes better ideas than mine!] Then I might add "One thing I read (or "something that happened to work one time") was to try out this "do over" idea-- it worked pretty well, don't you think?" I try to keep it light and acknowledge that I'm getting ideas from here or books or wherever so he doesn't always feel like I'm the one who knows how to do everything!

I have a tendency to control the situation and worry about undermining DH also. I'm trying instead to keep a dialog open. DH has really good ideas sometimes, but he's less confident than I am about implementing them. He also read "How to talk so kids will listen" and I think that was a great book for him-- very readable, cartoons and everything!
I'm trying to focus on us being parenting equals and making it more about teamwork than about "this is the way I do things".
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I read DH some posts from Shaggy Daddy, I think hearing another man say it's "OK" to be GD made him feel safer
I had been telling him little bits of info all along but when I read him one of shaggy daddy's posts you could literaly see the "interest switch" flick on
I guess he needed to hear it from another guy instead of just"us moms"
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I also had a discussion with DH of the high points of UP after I read it. (I was going to 'make' him read it, but he was taking too long so I asked if we could just sit down and I could tell him about it
.) I try not to get involved in telling him what to do in the moment, but I do ask if I can help or take over if DH is clearly running low on patience. I also talk about how I also am not always calm and GD with the children when I get frustrated so he knows it's not always easy.

ShaggyDaddy, I agree with your post. For me, it's like the argument for breastfeeding - I know breastfeeding reduces ear infections, but if my kid got an ear infection I wouldn't say "Hey, I was promised no ear infections! Breastfeeding doesn't work!" Similarly, when my child is difficult, I just think how much MORE difficult he would be if I were constantly punishing him and trying to control him.
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