Mothering Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I hope to get some of the answers that I am looking for from you wonderful mamas here.

DS is 9 mo old and I am terribly torn on my/our approach to discipline. Please, please keep an open mind as I give you our background --

DH is a wonderful, loving, affectionate, hard working and accomplished man. His parents obviously did something right! Long before we had DS we talked about dicipline, he was raised w/ the (albeit narrow minded) philosophy that a spanking bein a switch or a belt was the way to get results. This said, he can only remember getting the "belt" 3 or 4 times. He attributes this to knowing what laid in wait for him. His dad was the one that administered the belt. I must tell you his dad was a loving wonderful man that always put his boys first. MIL used a switch from the nearest tree as her persuasive method.

Me - My biological father phisically and mentally abused me. At 6 I remember having belt welts down my back and my legs. One time I spilled some milk and broke the glass (I believe this was the inciting incident) and was made to walk round and round our dining room table for an extened period of time. When I got tired (this was sometime before I turned 7, they got a divorce when I was 7) and woul stop or whine, he made me drink tobasco sauce by the spoonful and continue walking.

The woman I will loosely call mom for this explanation was more emotionally than phisically abusive - guilt and manipulation were her weapons of choice. She wanted to break me from bitting so at 4 or 5 she bit me so hard it almost broke the skin, I had deep teeth prints and she laughed and said "that'll teach you". She showed my bruised, teeth indented arm around for days to anyone that would look and laugh at how effectively she was breaking me from biting. She married again and allowed this man to use a belt on me for dicipline purposes. When I was 27 she was still trying to slap me in the face when she didn't like something I said. This is where I stepped up and put a stop to it all. Hugs and kisses were rewards that came with a BIG price tag.

This said I worry about disciplining our son. Needless to say, I have out-lawed the belt. I want to get my husband off of the idea that a spanking is the answer, No, he is not spanking our DS, but I want to get us on the right track and ahead of the game.

I already feel like I/we are saying NO too much. We each usually try and give an explanation as to why we are saying no and use distraction. DS knows what it means and grins but hangs on even tighter.

At the same time I have the fear of becoming either too passive or too strict. I want to be the understanding patient mommy that DS knows he can come to even when he knows he has really messed up. I realize that the self-confidence and patience issues are for another forum, but I was hoping to get help with the "trust" issues here. i.e. I trust GD to be right for DS and he trusts me , not fears me.

Is it too late at 9 mos to effectvely implement GD? Is it too late for me to point DH in the GD direction? I have to do this ever so subtly or I might send up a wall


Do any of the books in the "Book Thread" address GD at this age? From lurking here the discussions seem to be focused on toddlers.

I know some think DH is, quite simply, wrong in how he feels. But, we have to look at it in this respect - he saw this behavior reiterated by his aunts, uncles, etc - it's what he knows.

For those of you that have taken the time to read this
. And for those of you that have comforting advice for us


Oh yeah - there was lots of yelling, we both work at that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,959 Posts
First I just want to welcome you to the GD forum. With all you've dealt with in your past (your stories made my heart ache for you!!
) I can imagine how difficult this topic of discipline is going to be.

The first thing I'd like to tell you is that you won't need to use any sort of "discipline" for some time. Babies do what babies do because that is what they are programmed to do as part of how they learn about their world. Your job at this time is to keep them safe, hover around them to prevent things from getting broken, etc. A child this age is incapable of learning any sort of discipline, other than a "fight or flight" response. Yes, if you hurt even a tiny baby enough times in conjunction with an action, that child will stop that action. But hey, so will a sea slug (yes, these experiments have been done). So you are not *teaching* your child anything, you are merely invoking a self-preseravation reaction, and this will have huge repercussions on your baby as she/he grows.

The next thing I want to tell you is that to do GD you must understand the basic philosophy. Just as you cannot be a Christian without first understanding who the Christ figure is and what he represents, so you cannot expect to find GD solutions to specific problems (like if your baby is yanking your glasses off your face, or if your 2 year old insists on dumping crayons on the floor) without having a good understanding of the grounding philosophies of GD.

The book I love the most for people who are really new to the GD concept is "Kids are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso. This book really explains why hitting, spanking etc is not a good method of discipline, what the consequences are, etc.

I also liked "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles". What this book highlighted for me is the philosophy that I try to keep in mind each day: avoid power struggles. Avoid situations where you rob your child of power, or where you use your power as a bigger human to basically "get your way".

I think the hardest part of GD is giving up the idea that you can really expect willing compliance from children until they are at least 3 years old or even older. Most people equate discipline with obedience, and consider any child who doesn't jump at your command to be "undisciplined". Instead, GD allows for age-appropriate behaviours.

If you get the chance, pick up some child phsychology books and read all about the fascinating studies done on babies and children over the last few decades (yes, DECADES....this information has been out there for years, but so few people are aware of it). These studies clearly show that it is unreasonable to expect your child to "obey" at age 2, just as it would be unreasonable to expect them to walk at age 6 months. There is not a child development expert out there worth his salt who thinks that spanking is an appropriate way to discipline. At worst, it is considered abuse. But even at best, it is a very ineffective method.

It's a long journey, but one of the benefits is that you will likely do a lot of healing yourself as you make this journey. For more information on how it will help you, I recommend the book "Giving the Love that Heals: a guide for parents" by Harville Hendrix. He talks about how the "triggers" that your child does to set you off are usually related to your own experiences as a child.

Best of luck, and also just keep reading everything here! You will get a good idea of it just from reading all the threads here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,796 Posts
Oh goodness, 9 mos is much too young to even worry about discipline. I totally understand where you are coming from and I could have written your post!

I highly recommend learning what the age appropriate behaviors are. One site I visit often is zerotothree.org http://www.zerotothree.org/brainwonders/parents.html they have an awesome index of development and what you can do and expect at what age.

I have a 2-1/4 spirited DD. I pretty much don't say no. If I do say no I also say why I am saying no. I also totally believe in choosing my battles, so to speak. I don't make a bog deal out of every little thing and this has helped us so much. She feels that she has freedom to be who she is and explore but she also knows that when mommy says no she means it.

REad all you can not only about discipline, but about childhood development. It helps to understand where your baby is developmentally.



You sound like a terrific mama!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,922 Posts
HI and welcome!

You've gotten some great responses (god bless you, Piglet!). I recommend reading Dr. Sears' The Discipline Book. He does talk about disciplining from day 1 of a baby's life--but, ONLY because he totally reframes the word to be about building a TEACHING and TRUSTING relationship and not about implementing PUNISHMENT.

This is the mental shift that can be the hardest for people approaching gentle discipline.

And read the threads here and in the Gentle Discipline Archives--there is so much good information and there are many of us struggling to overcome abusive/punishment-oriented/authoritarian pasts.

I felt scared at first, too. It was a real leap of faith. But, my son is 2.5 yrs. and I started learning about GD a year ago--I can't tell you how much more comfortable I am with it now. In fact, there is a real freedom to my life when I am fully practicing GD--I am free to teach and guide him, I don't have to engage in power struggles, I don't have to worry about "winning" or getting him to obey. I think GD sets the kid and parents up for success.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,153 Posts
For a baby up to about 18 mos, child proofing can avoid much dangerous or unacceptable behavior. Next, learn about child appropriate behavior, as others have suggested.

Distraction (games, a bath, going out of the house) or just lifting them away from the dangerous behavior (say, electric cords, knocking over plants), can take care of the rest.

Sometimes "bad" behavior can be corrected by a meal or a nap.

Once your child is past one year, I highly rec
How To Talk So Kids Will Listen... I used this book a lot. It has cartoons to show busy sleep deprived parents what they should not, and should do, by contrast. It also has simple lists that you can copy, for how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk (and feel loved, and have safe boundaries). I put the main list of dos and don'ts up on my fridge to remind me of effective respectful parenting language, until I had commited them to memory.

When my oldest had a couple younger siblings, I could hear her using the effective language with her brother and sister! Just from hearing me talking that way! Their communication skills are also relevent to effectively communicating with your dh and any other people in your life as well.

I do not have the book in front of me, but some of the skills are:

Describe the situation (to let the child[ren] see what is going on and help find a solution)

Praise the child's positive behavior (do not just criticize "bad or wrong" behavior)

Use few words (don't lecture)

Empathize with the child's feelings in any situation

When words fail, write a note (even non-literate kids like a note)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,503 Posts
Welcome! Do your homework, read up - you are right on time to start learning how to parent effectively without punative discipline as your child grows - CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now is the perfect time to start learning about how to do it , you'll definitely become more and more prepared as your precious little boy grows! Congratulations again for being so wise as to start now!

We also do not say "no" at our house. We say, "wait" or "stop" or just "eheheh". It's enough to interupt her long enough for us to get to her and help out & right now that's all she needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,311 Posts
Agreeing with the 9mo-is-too-young-for-discipline idea, and also using different words or phrases beyond "no."

A biggie for us is "dangerous," said along with very scared eyes, IYKWIM. And the old standby, "That's not for you."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,136 Posts
It's wonderful that you're addresing this issue before it's really become one


Your dh needs to understand that intimidation and fear are bad ways of relating w/anyone. It "worked" for him, you say?? I bet he's got some issues of his own that are well-hidden. Nobody gets bullied like that for 18+ years w/o some emotional damage. And you too--it's such a shame, but you were both abused.

Spanking IS abuse. It's been illegal in some European countries for over 10 years, yet over 90% of Americans use it at least sometimes.

I'd say the best way you can help your son is to help yourself--start sorting out your own issues and pain and trauma. It'll help ground you in using more humane methods of relating to your dear son.

Go to www.naturalchild.org and just READ. Their articles might take a month or more to get thru, but they are worth more than gold! Also try www.nospank.net they have some great articles as well--really make ya think.

Please heal yourself and try to get your dh to recognise that he needs to heal too before he can really undertake so difficult a task of fixing somethign he thinks "ain't broke"! Good luck and take care
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,136 Posts
oh yeah, about "no"... I read that the best thing to do is to always say "no thank you", even if you're beign bopped in the nose. Plan for the future!

"no thank you" will then be your obstinate toddler's word of choice a year later when he's really had enough and starts to pitch a fit! "no thank you" (or really it sounds like one word when a two yr old says it--"nofankyoo"!) is a LOT easier on exasperated parental ears, and so you're much more likely to respond gently and thoughtfully.

And, choose your battles wisely. Do you REALLY have to say no thank you, or is it just out of convenience, or worry, or getting mesy, etc. Do more hovering, and less no-saying!!
1
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top