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How To Explain Gentle Discipline To Family

1581 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Mittsy
I work about 15-20 hours a week outside of the home. My sister watches my 2 1/2 year old DD on the days I work. My DD is usually easy to use gentle discipline with. Usually we can just talk her through it, distract her, etc and whatever is going on passes.
But....this week my sister asked how we wanted to "discipline" when things like distraction weren't working. For example, DD was spitting on my 10 year old nephew. My sister calmly asked her to stop spitting, explained why not to spit, etc, but she kept doing it (and I think kind of thought it was funny). I appreciate my sister asking, as she knows we use GD. But I don't know exactly what to say to her. Any suggestions?
Also, I was thinking, if on some occasion a grandparent wants to spend some time with her and has her for a couple of do we explain our wishes when it comes to discipline? I know other family members do not discipline their children the way we want to with DD, so I want to make sure grandparents understand.

Any thoughts? Other than giving them books to read
...How do you explain how you want your child "disciplined" to caregivers??
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Tough one! In this particular example, you may suggest physically removing (in a gentle way of course) your dd to keep her from spitting again, while saying something like "Spitting is not nice. if you can't stop, you'll have to go sit -wherever- for a little bit". Heck, maybe she would like to spit at an acceptable target in the yard or so?
We've been lucky with grandparents - we basically told them we don't do time-outs, punishments, etc. and they're pretty easy going themselves, so it works out.
Yet somehow (school?) they pick up on things. Last week when I told my four year old I wasn't happy about something he did, he asked me "what is my punishment?". I was stunned, we never punish or even use the word
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I just tell them: we don't hit and we don't punish. When we take these "tools" away they have to find other methods that work. We just let other people negociate their own relationships with our dk. MIL resorted to bribery with ds; we don't do that at home, but I figured it won't damage ds irreversibly.
I guess I would first want to know what your sisters instincts were in that situation. IME, GD does not look all that different from how many of my family and friends would treat a child (especially on that isn't theirs!) in that situation. I mean, if it was a "non-GD" kid she wouldn't have hit the child or screamed at her, right?

Then, I would consider what is ok with you. What would you have done in that situation? If redirection is something you're ok with, maybe just scooping the child up and going into another room is also ok. "Spitting on people is not ok. <scoop> Come in the kitchen with me while I make lunch."
I would give really specific examples of what you want them to do. Just like with kids, it is easy to say what not to do but unless you tell them what they should do, they may still be at a loss and fall back on what they know.

So in the example of spitting, if she was spitting water or a drink just move it away from her, physically move her body (with warning and explanation) so that she cannot spit on anyone, create a spitting game outside or in the bathtub so that she can spit at something besides people, etc.

It is cool that your family is asking and seems willing to respect your choices!
I was reading through the posts and I normally do like to explain to my DS what he can do vs. always what he can't do. We never say no, don't or be careful... but it is challenging when he bites, scratches and hits. I always say "biting/scratching/hitting hurts. Let's be gentle". And then I also say "whenever I hurt someone, I like to say I'm sorry" and then I also do the sign language ASL for "sorry".

I wanted to thank COVegMom for the suggestion about what the LO can spit on...which dawned on me that I could start saying to my DS what he could hit instead of a person or animal. He loves to drum so I'm going to use that next time and say what I normally do say and then let him know what he can hit instead is the drum.

thank you COVegMom!

Hand them your favorite GD book, and go over any questions they have about it in a respectable manner. Most of my family still thinks I'm nuts anyway, but this is what I've found to be the least stressful method.
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