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help me learn...

649 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  gardenmommy
I am an AP parent. I breastfeed, cloth diaper, no circ, no vax, baby wear, co-sleep, try to eat as organic as possible, i am a sahm...but i spank. I was raised that way my mom was raised that way and so on. my dh was also spanked. help me on my journey to STOP. i don't understand gd at all. I am going to read through the posted info later tonight when I have some extra time. I have a 5yo, 2yo and 7mo, all boys. My oldest is in prek mon-thurs 9-12.

last night they managed to break a toy to get a peice to pop open a lock on a bedroom door. it was locked because I was painting and the baby woke up and I was nursing him. when i came back to the hallway they had poured a 3/4 full gallon of paint on my hallway floor (carpeted) and played in it, smearing paint all over the washer and dryer and walls and themselves. earlier yesterday ds2 smeared some rash cream all over the walls, colored on the tiles in the playroom, colored on the carpet in my rool, colored on the walls. I know they are bored most of the time. we have a really really bad snake problem and can't play outside for a bit. it is hard going to a public park because of the easy access to roads and my 2yo will and has dart out in the road. I wear the baby so it is not easy to run after him. dh works 12 hours a day from 9-9 every day except sunday, well mondays are usually his day off but he works it because we need the money. I need some advice and ideas.

please, this is very hard for me to come here about this. please no flames, i am already really hating myself for this.
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I can tell you're frustrated. Anyone in your shoes would be. First- decide that you WILL NOT hit again. Apologize to your children. Explain that you should not have hit them, that they do not EVER deserve to be hit. Find a way to get out and about- is there another park you can go to? Can someone help you keep an eye on them? What can you do in the house so they can let off steam? Can you get one of those little trampolines?

good luck!

there is a park RIGHT across the street from me that we can go to on weekends. it is a school and we can't go during school hours. but it is all enclosed and great. ds2 runs off a lot over there, but he is always safe. the trampoline is a good idea. i'll run it by dh and see if we can get one this weekend.
i can already see a difference in the dc and ME. i am more calm and happy and so are the kids.
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I am right there with you. I think I would not have had a good parenting moment either if I had walked in on that. I have gotten to the point where I don't spank, but I raise my voice and yell if I get frustrated. I am working on that now and using gd instead of threats and punishment. There is such a fine line between natural and logical consequences and punishment. I have found it really is a difference in your attitude when your are approaching it. I have been raising kids for 20 years and still have 20 years to go and I am still trying to get this right
What I have learned though is it is never too late to change and positive change will have positive affect no matter when you start. That keeps me going. Good luck to you and hang in there.
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I have no advice, but I looked at your website and I just wanted to tell you that you have beautiful children! I love the mei tai sleeping picture.

Originally Posted by fek&fuzz
I have no advice, but I looked at your website and I just wanted to tell you that you have beautiful children! I love the mei tai sleeping picture.
thank you!
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Originally Posted by scatterbrainedmom
i can already see a difference in the dc and ME. i am more calm and happy and so are the kids.

You Go Girl! Give those little sweeties a hug and kiss.
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Originally Posted by alegna
Ihat can you do in the house so they can let off steam? Can you get one of those little trampolines?
We got DS a trampoline with a handlebar for him to hang on to for his 2nd Bday, and he LOVES it. Not only does he jump on it, but he loves to put balls on top of it and then climb underneath and hit them off, and do a few other assorted non-jumping things with it. It wasn't exactly cheap (I think $65), but WELL worth it during the cold days here when we couldn't get outside....and he'll continue to use it until he outgrows it, I'm sure. If not that, maybe you could find a cheap used twin sized mattress for jumping?

As far as other ways to let off steam, try making an obstacle course for your 5yo, with a pice of rope or something squiggled, then maybe some pillows to climb over, and maybe end with a jump onto the couch or something. The 2yo can follow along and just run.

Also, DS has a pull toy and if I sit on the floor and pull it around me in a circle, he'll chase it (which is a pretty funny site, I'm sure, but who cares?)

I really think you're onto the main problem; if they're bored, they're gonna get "into" stuff more (idle hands and all, you know?)

Is the snake problem something that could be handled by your local gov? Sounds like an animal control problem to me if it's so bad you can't be outside to play...

DS is also WAY into water play, so if I set him up on a pile of towels (that were going into the wash anyway) with a bowl of water, some cups and spoons, he's set for a good half hour just pouring and stirring. I think most kids like water play.

I think it's great that you're reaching out like this...lurk aorund on some of the other threads, and keep asking questions; we're here to help!!
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we got a mini trampoline 2 days ago. i was going to get 2, but they only had one. at first it was a constant fight because they didn't want to take turns, but the novelty has worn off.
Momma, you are courageous to come here and admit that you are spanking and even more courageous to want to change.

Like you, and like many moms here, I was not raised in any sort of a "gentle" manner, and I very much want to raise my children in a different way. I've been reading and reading and meditating and reflecting and practicing, and these are the things that I've learned that I think may be helpful to you.

First, I'd like to recommend the book Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Davis and Keyser. It is a great, albeit lengthy, read on this topic. One of the most valuable things I got from it was help identifying my values and the things that I want to pass on to my kids, and how the decisions I make as a parent pass them on.

Gentle discipline seems to mean different things to different people. BUT from what I've distilled, there are two "offshoots" of this idea.

1. Utilizing a rewards/punishment system whose rewards are positive and whose punishment is "gentle." Gentle in this manner generally means no corporal punishment but rather the use of time outs and other parent-generated punishments that do not cause physical harm to the child. This system of discipline is similar to what you're doing now, but it requires that you draw new boundaries with your punishments, so that you are not hitting and perhaps not yelling.

2. Utilizing "unconditional" or no praise/no punishment parenting. You hear alot of terms for this, including democratic discipline. This line of thought is that you do no kind of "manipulation" to your children, utilizing no praise, no punishment, no threats, and no bribes of any kind and rather focus on the needs of your kids and yourself to guide you. This is a radical and very powerful shift in thinking and acting that accepts that, if your kids are "misbehaving" they are not doing anything to hurt or bother you but are rather trying to get their needs met. Its the job of the parent to decipher what the needs are, identify what your needs are, and find a solution that meets both. It's not permissive, limits and boundaries are still very important. It requires a great deal of work and thinking. Like I said, it's a radical shift in thinking that has taken me some time to get my mind wrapped around, but once you do it, a whole new world will open up to you.

For example, your kids broke into a room and spilled a ton of paint on the floor. What needs were they meeting in so doing? To expend energy, since outside play isn't easily accesible to them? To connect with you, in any way that they can? To connect with one another? To lead? To follow? To figure out what that goo is and what it does on the floor? All of the above? Using this approach, you don't punish for the behavior, you let your kids know that they broke a limit and that you don't appreciate it, and find a different way to meet those needs--a way that meets your needs, too.

If you are interested in this approach, Anthony Wolf's The Secret to Parenting is a very quick, digestible read on the subject that is full of real-life examples and directions for doing this well. He's got some (in my opinion weird) psychology behind his methods, but the methods themselves are excellent.

Look here: and here: for more on this subject.

Also, Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen is a great read on this subject--and I imagine with a house full of rambunctious kids, you'd get a ton out of it.

Gentle discipline, like all good parenting, is a path you walk every day. I fall down alot. And get up, dust myself off, and try again. And again, and again. Treat yourself gently and forgive, forgive, forgive.

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You know, I can really relate to you. It is very hard to change the way you do things, when it's all you know, when you feel you are charting the unknown.

Don't worry about what you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next year, when they are 15, etc. Focus on being the parent you want to be RIGHT NOW. Don't get discouraged by how much you've "done wrong" in the past, think about the opportunity you have RIGHT NOW to "do it right". Think about the new legacy you are giving your children to pass on to THEIR children.

Life happens in the small choices. Do I choose to let the spilled water be a lesson in washing the floor, or do I choose to be angry and yell at the child for making *another* mess?

Be easy on yourself, and choose each day to be the parent that you want your children to remember when they are parenting their children.

It is a hard road to walk, but I am finding that it is VERY MUCH WORTH IT!
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