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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello remarkable mamas.....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/kiss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="kiss"><br><br>
I am loving the thread on goals/purposes in taking on gentle discipline, so I can't resist posting another question. I have been reflecting on my own process in growing into gentle discipline, and have noticed that a big part of it for me has been un-learning the more prevalent forms of discipline. I think for a while there I was trying to do gentle discipline but sort of unwittingly holding onto certain mainstream ideas of what child behavior/ parental authority should look like.<br><br>
I am realizing that taking up gentle discipline requires a paradigm shift, similarly to taking on breastfeeding in a formula-focused culture; mainstream culture prepares us for expectations that undermine our choice. Like when it comes to breastfeeding, ideas that I had to un-learn for my first born were "babies should be sleeping through the night as early as possible" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh">, "comfort suckling is for pacifiers not for breasts" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"> . In order to be successful it helps to notice these insidious and un-helpful ideas and consciously get rid of them.<br><br>
Have you found a similar thing when it comes to discipline? Do you have examples of ideas/ expectations/ images of children or parenting that you have consciously had to weed out, as you go along, in order to make gentle discipline a reality in your home?<br><br>
Yours,<br>
Hilary :bf<br>
mama to Nora Jade (5) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Welcome.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="welcome">ag and Miles (2) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nut"><br><br>
PS) I'm writing a book on gentle discipline for La Leche League--please PM me to hear how you can participate! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/run.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="run"><br><br><br><br>
[edited because I can never seem to say anything clearly the first or second time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">: ]
 

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I've had to shift my thinking about tantrums. Dd is very spirited, and a big-time tantrumer, and the messages I got from family/friends/society were "she is manipulative" "ignore her" "she does it to get her way". The message about ME was that if I would just ignore (or punish) them properly, then they would stop <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">: Meanwhile, dd is incredibly intense and persistent, and would just be so incredibly enraged.....sometimes 4-5x per day....it just clearly was not working.<br><br>
When I adopted a GD approach, it was a leap of faith for me to start *attending* tantrums. Not "give in", of course, but support her and help her through them. Actively seek and meet the need behind the tantrum. Recognize that there IS a need behind the tantrum....not a manipulative child.<br><br>
So I had to dump the Parent vs. Child paradigm in favor of the Parent <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> Child paradigm.....and I am so glad I did!
 

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NJM -- I've been thinking about this since you first posted, and I want you to know that I'm not ignoring you -- just finding it hard to articulate my thoughts.<br><br>
The thing is, I have let go of a lot of expectations, but in doing so I've experienced a new level of freedom. For instance, it's a *relief* to give up feeling responsible to "make" my child stop tantruming. So many of the expectations we have about children's behavior *set us up for struggles.* And the struggles are not fun. By choosing GD, we make a decision to work on the same team with our children, instead of above or against our children. In the longrun, the only expectations I've let go of are those that were harming/stressing both me and my child.<br><br>
And you are right -- it *is* a paradigm shift, and I would venture to suggest that it extends far beyond the parent/child relationship. My choice to discipline gently has led me to re-examine *all* my relationships, and to choose more healthy ways of relating in every area of my life. In viewing my children with respect, I've learned to view *myself* with respect in the context of relationships where I have less power, and I've learned to think better of myself and carry myself with more esteem. To take the lesson even futher, I've had powerful realizations about my relationship with the Divine -- and my value as a spiritual child.<br><br>
All of this is tied to my ability to set aside expectations about how people in power "ought" to relate to those in their care or under their supervision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey mamaduck,<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bow2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bow2"><br><br>
I am so glad that you and sunnmama know what I'm talking about here! You say...<br><br>
QUOTE: So many of the expectations we have about children's behavior *set us up for struggles.* QUOTE<br><br>
Exactly! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jammin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jammin"><br><br>
I love sunnmama's example, the notion that temper tantrums are children's way of manipulating us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"> Once we are working with reality, we can find real solutions to the situations we find ourselves in with our children!<br><br>
I want to generate a list of these prevalent but erroneous beliefs, to bring them to the light of day. Can you think of any examples?<br><br>
Thanks!<br><br>
Hilary <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/caffix.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="coffee">
 

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I think that I've really had to only let go of OTHER PEOPLE'S expectations, like my in laws'. My expectations have always pretty much been that we'd parent the way that we do, though I never really could have pictured the challenges and the heartstrings of a real mama before I was one.<br><br>
I've given up expectations that other people will approve of the way that we parent, or even agree with it. I just know in my heart that we're doing what's best for our family.<br><br>
I cringe when I hear the word "manipulate" attached to anyone under...I don't know...16....? I was just talking about this yesterday with friends. When I hear someone say that I child is manipulating, that sends up huge red flags for me. If it's someone I care about, I try to explain that rather than it being manipulating, DD is telling me what she needs so that I can help her. She's smart and we've shown her that we listen to her.<br><br>
I've given up people understanding that a "good baby" isn't necessarily one who sits quietly in their bucket car seat thingy not needing any attention (they are used to not interacting), or goes to bed when you put them down (because their cries have been ignored so many times that they don't bother anymore), or does what they are told without question or protest (and doesn't really ever get their feelings validated if they bothered to try).<br><br>
I'm confident that my kid is a good kid, even if she needs to be read to sleep, and doesn't always want to do what we ask, and throws tantrums. To me, nothing could make me more proud than a spunky little one who gets upset, then hugs to feel better, who still snuggles into my breast for mama love even though she no longer nurses, who can articulate what made her upset at the park today, who rattles off the things she doesn't like, each followed by something that she does like, who tells me what task she needs to finish doing before she's ready for a new diaper. When she hears a baby cry, she asks if the baby needs to nurse, needs a hug, needs to be sung to. She knows that babies want to be carried in slings, and that toddlers want a book or toy or hug when they are sad, and she offers up those things to babies and toddlers she doesn't even know.<br><br>
And, I guess I've given up on the expectation that anything she wears ever matches. I'm lucky when I get to get to pick out her clothes for the day, and I never get to decide on shoes! She doesn't look like some of the cute, color-coordinated kids we see, but she's quite proud of dressing herself!<br><br>
That's it for my sleepy brain tonight!
 

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I've given up the mindset that good kids "obey" their parents. It's a relationship. I'm trying to teach my kids to be respectable independant adults, not subservient drones who don't question anything, or have an opinion or voice. I now try to respect them as equal humans, even though I have more authority and a responsibility to help them become the fullest person they are. Their sadness, happiness, and wants are just as valid, real and intense as mine, or any one else's.<br>
I've had to shift my thinking from "obey me, do what I say!" to "We need to cooperate and work together to accomplish what needs done"<br>
The other thing I've realized and try to implement is tone of voice while making a request. If I want my ds to go upstairs for bed I can say all mean-like "you walk or else I'm going to carry you up!" or I can simply ask if he'd prefer to walk or have me carry him. It's not a bad thing to carry him, I'd rather ask in a nice way and have him say he wants to be carried than scoop up a screaming kid, telling him he's made his choice... Why turn options into a threat when they don't have to be. If I'm going to carry him up the stairs, I'd rather he choose it happily, not as a default.
 

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The expectation that children should obey first and ask questions later.<br><br>
The expectation that children should eat and sleep according to what their parents dictate.<br><br>
The expecation that children should be reasonable in their feelings, and only express those feelings that seem reasonable to adults.<br><br>
The expectation that children's opinions are less important than adults' opinions.<br><br>
The expectation that respect only goes one way.<br><br>
The expectation that discipline is something that I must impose through structure and punishment, rather than something that grows in my child and needs gentle cultivation.<br><br>
They expectation that children ought to be grateful.
 

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Well, I think one of the things I had to let go of is thinking that GD automatically leads to perfectly content, obedient little children. Not "obedient" as in "do exactly what I say, no questions asked", but "obedient" as in I'd ask them to do something, gently explain the need for it and why it's done, and then expect them to follow along. It works sometimes, but my DD is very, very high spirited and is always doing the exact OPPOSITE of what I say because she hates going along with the group!<br>
I also thought that my AP/GD were failing because my daughter was/is so high spirited. I expected that a homebirthed, breastfed AP child would be the epitome of love and respectful behavior. She screamed nonstop for the first year of her life and has a tendency to be very whiny and demanding. However, I feel very comfortable now knowing that I am showing respect for the person she is and the person she is becoming rather than to deny her those very real facets to her personality. I'm trying to teach her alternative ways of coping with emotions rather than telling her to shut out any negative feelings, kwim?
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by candiland</i><br><b>I also thought that my AP/GD were failing because my daughter was/is so high spirited. I expected that a homebirthed, breastfed AP child would be the epitome of love and respectful behavior. She screamed nonstop for the first year of her life and has a tendency to be very whiny and demanding. However, I feel very comfortable now knowing that I am showing respect for the person she is and the person she is becoming rather than to deny her those very real facets to her personality. I'm trying to teach her alternative ways of coping with emotions rather than telling her to shut out any negative feelings, kwim?</b></td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/oops.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="oops">T<br>
I finished reading this, and I was like, "wow." This sounds like how I hope to be as DD grows. (she is only 9 mo old now) You sound like you have a lot of patience....<br>
Can I ask you how you have come to this wonderful perspective?<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Its not so much the expectations I have, but the ones society puts on us and myy child. In public she needs to be quiet, use a quiet voice, be polite even during rough times, etc...<br><br>
All of these things I have thrown out the window, yet others look at me as if I am insane for allowing Kailey to have emotions and *GASP* express them.<br><br>
I often got all uptight when visiting my MIL because he house is so child UNfriendly that I had to watch Kailey constantly so she wouldnt break or even touch something( another good reason for cutting off ties with her). So then I would get all flustered with Kailey, when really she was just being a two year old and exploring her world, which in all other situations I encourage, and in fact explore along with her.<br><br>
So, as far as letting go of expectations I personally had that was easy, its the people around me who get on my nerves <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I haven't posted much here because I often just come to feel the intense support of other mamas all embracing the same love and respect & genuine desire for our children to grow up to be free thinking, free feeling adults. I cannot express right now how comforting ALL of your words have been in the time that I most need to hear them.<br><br>
Embracing my sprited little guy as he is has been a practice that I have had to renew every day. I grew up physically & verbally abused & I refuse to let that be a part of ds's world. However, old habits can die hard & although I've not abused him, the tendency to slip back to that is hard to fight w/o this support from other mamas experiencing the same thing.<br><br>
My biggest expectations, like yours, have been society's perception of how a child "should be." My aunt saw ds excited by all the family around & he was running & happy. She told her daughter "there's something 'wrong' with that child. I think he's hyperactive!" Just infuriates me people think that way!<br><br>
Too, the thought that my child should listen to EVERYTHING I ask. He's not an automaton. Like you, I celebrate his desire to be his own person & not just go along.<br><br>
Finally, the letting go, the freedom of not feeling like you have to "control" your child is so liberating & I echo the sentiment.<br><br>
Tina
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I've given up the mindset that good kids "obey" their parents. It's a relationship. I'm trying to teach my kids to be respectable independant adults, not subservient drones who don't question anything, or have an opinion or voice. I now try to respect them as equal humans, even though I have more authority and a responsibility to help them become the fullest person they are. Their sadness, happiness, and wants are just as valid, real and intense as mine, or any one else's.</td>
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Exactly! I had to get rid of the mindset that I am not a pushover, or a lax parent, if I reconsider my position once I know how much it means to my son (not giving in to a tantrum, but listening to what his thoughts/feelings are that I wasn't aware of before), or if I listen to his input and give him choices.<br><br>
I have had to let go of the ego part of discipline (okay, I'm still working on this, haven't been able to let it go every time). When I say that something needs to be done and he ignores me, I try to remember to approach the situation with respect, not just a battle of the wills to show him that what I say goes.<br><br>
It's hard for me to articulate these ideas sometimes - it's so great to come here and see that someone has been able to put it into words for me!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I finished reading this, and I was like, "wow." This sounds like how I hope to be as DD grows. (she is only 9 mo old now) You sound like you have a lot of patience....</td>
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Funny thing is, I am really a very impatient person. I think that's why my DD chose me and I chose her, but that's for a totally different thread altogether<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Can I ask you how you have come to this wonderful perspective?</td>
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I finally really "got it" when I consciously tuned out what I felt other people were thinking and feeling about my daughter and I. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked up from my DD during the throes of an "issue" and have seen shocked faces staring back at me. I got really defensive for a while because I felt like certain people were looking at me like, "Oh my gosh, how can you let her get away with that?" and I really started questioning my heart and my intuition.<br><br>
Sometimes I even catch myself saying "I am your mom, so you listen to me!" Sometimes I yell or scream before I have the chance to regroup myself. But I try not to beat myself up and I try to let go of other people's expectations. When I truly listen to my intuition and my heart, I feel like I am *not* being way too lenient nor am I "letting her get away with things". She really is a brilliant little girl and I'm trying to make her comfortable with all sides of her self - both the dark sides and the lighter sides.<br><br>
I also tell myself that if she had a perfect mom, she would have a huge complex when she grew up and became a parent herself! Imagine trying to live up to being a perfect parent and a perfect human being! She'd be in therapy all the time<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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Not so much gd specific, but I have two books that made it easier to practice gd.<br><br>
One: "What's going on in there?" a book on pediatric neurology for the lay person; which explains what little brains are actually capable of.<br><br>
Two: "Your child's self esteem" a book on the psychological growth from 0 to 6; which explains psychodevelopment in practical terms.<br><br>
These two books made it very easy to see how mainstream expectations are very much swimming upstream. After that, gd seems to be the only logical path to follow.<br><br>
Jen
 

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*bump*<br><br>
(I went looking for it because I needed to read it again for myself, and I thought some others might enjoy it too.)
 

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This was an awesome read. I will be back to re-visit it. Would anyone mind giving me specific situations and how you handled them?<br><br>
I was abused growing up and have tried VERY hard to not turn into my mother. But there is MUCH room for improvement. Wanna help????? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 
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