Mothering Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you explain GD to your kids? In particular, how do you explain why not all families practice GD and for God sakes, why not?
DS and I were reading what seemed to be a rather benign story at bedtime last night that took so many awful, horrid, punitive turns that by the end, DS was all questions and I was all fumbles. It was shocking to say the least. In 20 pages or less, I had to explain punishment, spanking, lying... the list goes on.

Part of the reason I'm so lost is that I'm realizing I live in a rather sheltered community. Many more people here practice things like GD/EBF/AP, than do not. I'm in a lovely cocoon and I admit, I like it and never want to leave for the hard, cruel world!
We just haven't happened any instances where I've had to "explain" things and this book just threw me way off guard. I don't have any confidence in my explanations to DS. I think I was hoping that we'd be able to save such discussions for when he could understand them better? I don't think he even understand what a lie is, or what it is to lie. I don't think its even ever occured to him.
I hate that this book made it a sort of "given" of all children. I was so offended by how this book went to lengths to justify the behavior of the adults. I kept thinking about a part in Alfie Kohn's book about giving ourselves a hard time as parents can be a good thing. Don't shluff off feelings that something you're doing isn't ok. Don't justify your actions by continuing them to a point where you're numb to the fact that they didn't feel right to begin with. This book WREAKED of this way of thinking but yet, it's copyright date was 1964, but still! EEK! But I digress...

So what has popped up in your life on the "other side of discipline" that has prompted the need for such explanations? How have you fostered helpful discussions with your kids about how WE do things vs. the way others may do things?

TIA, I need HELP!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Only have a second, but....
the neighbor children who live behind us (the mother is expecting her 8th child soon) told my dds that "parents who don't spank their children don't fully love their children" AND "children who disobey their parents will burn in hell fire."
Sooooooooo, some serious talks about absolute opposite parenting came from these comments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,486 Posts
Yeah, just wait until you start reading Roald Dahl. In fact, it is an almost certain aspect of children's literature that the protagonist will in some way be shed of his parents (orphaned/lost/abandoned) and need to complete his journey alone or with a peer group. There aren't a whole lot of stories about a nuclear family sticking through adversity (Swiss Family Robinson and Little House come to mind; both very wholesome).

We have lots of living examples in our (family, acquaintance) lives of a 180degree different parenting style; and kids at preschool who talk about spankings; and not to mention what is prevalent in children's books and movies; and my own unwillingness to visit with my parents due to their decidedly non-GD childrearing practices.

We usually say that some people parent this way, but we don't believe in that in our family - in our family we have rules that not everybody else will have, such as not hitting or yelling or saying things in rude voices. We ask her - Why do you think parents do that? Is it just because they're mean people, or because it was done to them? How do children learn to hit and lie? We're vegetarians, nonsmokers, organic eaters as well, so we explain it along those lines - our family is different in a lot of ways, and these are the rules for our family, although you are free to choose differently when you're older. I try really hard not to be judgemental about the yelling/verbal cruelty that we see go on, but my daughter has perfected cutting a look at me that says, "will you just LOOK at that" and has specifically asked not to go to playdates at schoolfriends' houses where spankings happen. My DD is five - we started talking about rules for our family vs. other families when she was around four.

DD loves James and the Giant Peach and all of these horrid movies with horrid parents/stepparents/evil aunts; so I think there's something about exorcising that anger that probably ALL children have with their parents (no matter how AP) from time to time; and a certain sense of relief that those aren't YOUR parents at least. How many adults read sad/suspenseful books with protagonists with messed-up lives - Tom Perotta's Little Children for example -and why? It's interesting! It's a bit boring if in the book, everyone is happy and never has evil aunts who make you do all the housework.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,009 Posts
My DD is too young for us to have to explain anything just yet, but we did decide that we aren't going to tell her something like, "Well, some families do that and that's okay for their family, but we do this." I am never going to tell her that it's okay to mistreat children by spanking or yelling. I'm going to tell her that those things are wrong and I feel very sad for children whose parents do those things to them. Doing any less would be to accept those things and I refuse to let my daughter believe that hitting is okay as long as it's done by someone else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,486 Posts
I think the tricky thing is though, is that my daughter (and many children) will know by themselves that hitting, yelling, etc is wrong in those families without me saying explicitly, "look at how mean X is to her kids, yelling at them like that." I probably communicate some sadness through my voice though, when I point out not all families are like ours and ask the questions about why...It's a huge lesson - to me - in the power of modelling.

In our family, pointing out the weaknesses of others would be fighting words -we have too many people who don't parent as we do in our life, and if I said things explicitly (poor kids) then they would come back to visit me at Thanksgiving, where all things said by parents come back to haunt through the innocent mouths of children. And not that I haven't tried plying those parents with lots of GD books and been rebuffed.

I've been really proud of my daughter, who comes home from preschool and says, "Did you know Jamie's mommy spanks her? I told her that's against the rules at my house, no hitting allowed. I told her I thought that was sad and my mommy is nicest." Ha! Apparently Jamie went back home and told her mom, because the mom (nice, middle-class, very proper) seemed extremely nervous around me after that, and made a show of how nice she was to her daughter. But the children reveal...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your replies. Lots to think about and work through. I think mainly, I'm just balancing being honest and up front, but also trying to make it rather a simple, skin and bones explanation because that's what DS can handle and hopefully understand right now. He's so in the fantasy/imaginary mode right now and its difficult to tell when we're having a REAL conversation or one where he's only partially tuned in, or putting his own spin on it. Does that make any sense?

Quote:

Originally Posted by loraeileen
DD loves James and the Giant Peach and all of these horrid movies with horrid parents/stepparents/evil aunts; so I think there's something about exorcising that anger that probably ALL children have with their parents (no matter how AP) from time to time; and a certain sense of relief that those aren't YOUR parents at least. How many adults read sad/suspenseful books with protagonists with messed-up lives - Tom Perotta's Little Children for example -and why? It's interesting! It's a bit boring if in the book, everyone is happy and never has evil aunts who make you do all the housework.
Totally. This is something I've always kept in mind. I myself ADORED these kinds of stories and well, as an adult, I still love a good "done me wrong" tear jerker, I admit. I think right now its his age that's making it dicey for me. You know that saying about knowing just enough to get you in trouble? Well, in many respects, DS tends to tune in just enough to get a few tidbits of information and then he's outty. When he only gets half the story, he tends to focus not on the big picture but the one horrible thing that happened. KWIM? It's an age/developmental thing for sure. So I have to make the big picture VERY concise or the message gets lost. Just trying the best way to do that and satisfy his obvious concern/curiosity over the matter.

Incidentally, Today, we were getting ready to go to the beach and DH and DS were in the backyard watering some plants. DS walked up to DH and prodded him with his fishing pole--ouch! DH was a little miffed and said something like, "DS, I don't want to be poked again. It really hurt." and then DS said, "Does this mean we're not going to the beach now?" VERY off topic for our family. Have NEVER instituted any such punishment... the taking away of activities, etc., but he's clearly wondering about this whole punishment thing and trying to wrap his mind around it.

Well, its late. I NEVER go on line this late, but I wanted to check back in here and see what people had to say. I'm planning to bring it up with DS tomorrow and hopefully be able to help him understand it a little better.


THanks again!

Em
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top