If you were doing gentle parenting how would you deal with this situation?(10 Posts)
I read a very interesting thread on here about gentle patenting and how there are only natural consequences to any behaviour from the child. Many people saying this way of parenting has led to extremely well behaved children who never need discipline by taking things away, shouting, naughty step etc.
I found this interesting as I feel like I ve got it all wrong with my nearly 5 year old ds. He was an angel baby but from 2.5/3-4.8 a very hard toddler. He’s emotionally immature and finds it hard to deal with his emotions when he doesn’t get his own way, he can’t do something straight away, something doesn’t go his way. We ve had extreme behaviour such as hitting, spitting, throwing, biting, shouting. I tried the talking about his feelings, reading books about his feelings approach, why it’s not acceptable, he can reel off to me what to do when he feels angry, upset or someone hurts him but doesn’t do it when it comes to it. We ve tried the shouting, thinking step, taking toys away, go to your room approach. Neither works. He’s extremely strong willed. He doesn’t seem to care.
Anyway, at bedtime tonight dh discovers he has taken a black dry wipe marker pen and drawn on his brand new bed, his brand new bedding, freshly decorated wall and brand new cushion! He hid the pen under his pillow and lied saying it was dd. Dh then managed to get a confession from him.
So with gentle parenting all about natural consequences, how would you deal with this if you were following that approach?
My sympathies, I had a similar black marker pen scenario. A multitude of items ruined, it was awful. (Alcohol can help to remove it by the way, so alcohol swabs, nail varnish remover, alcohol gel all worth trying)
I have a similar sounding ds, very emotional, quick to anger, can think of strategies to deal with anger when calm but can't do it in the heat of the moment. I think a lot of what has worked is just time and consistency. Keep talking, keep reading. Be firm and consistent. Give lots of love and I went through years of telling ds I loved him all the time, even when he was angry, when I was angry, when he was shouting/sad/grumpy. That unconditional love was something he used to repeat back to me. Go over things when calm: what happened? how could you have done things differently? How did this make you feel, how did it make the other person feel? What do we do now, next time?
How to talk so kids listen is a great book. Good luck. You'll get there.
Ok, I am million miles from perfect parent - more muddle along try your best type - but there’s an obvious consequence here. Instead of nice bedding he has bedding thst’s been scribbled all over with marker pen.
Pan- annoyingly it was dd bedding as he wet the bed and it was all that was dry. So that’s even more annoying. He has pen on his dinosaur cushion but doesn’t seem to care. He has a bed and wall with marker pen on too.
He’s had to go straight up to his room after school, down for tea and straight back up to bed the last two night and then until Sunday. He doesn’t seem to care though. Dh doesn’t help as was having a laugh and chat with him at bedtime last night when I said minimal talk. Ds still refused to get undressed or clean his teeth for dh and I had to go up despite the fact this is meant to be a punishment.
Unfortunately it coincides with ds birthdsy so he’s still gone to see his grandparents today and still has his party tomorrow as I don’t feel I can cancel either of those things. I ve told him he’s straight to his room after party, which is 3-5pm and won’t open his presents when he gets home. He just doesn’t seem to care and the consequences seem minimal.
This sort of behaviour has been going on for over a year so I have talked to him, read to him about his feelings sooo many times. I ve talked about lying and the importance of telling the truth and looking after people and things around us sooo many times. He knows all the right things to say before and after the events. I ve tried to show him I recognise his feelings and have sympathy with them, talking to him 1-1 getting down to his level, allowing him to calm down before talking to him. I ve tried thinking step, sending to his room, using positive language telling him what I want him to do not always being negative and saying no, reward charts, taking away toys, buying toys for stickers on reward charts, being sensitive, being strict. It might work short term but he continues to lie and do things like this.
That’s why I was wondering if this natural parenting thing would work.
It's not easy, is it.
I think the being in his room stuff, minimal talk, waiting for presents etc is excessive though. It was wrong, it wasn't the behaviour we expect, we are upset and disappointed for reasons x y and z. What can he say (sorry) what can he do (help to clean). Then in my house that would be a fresh start. At that age dragging out 'punishments' for days will not work. It's too far away now, it's in the past. Give him ways to succeed, set him up for success. That will breed further success and positivity.
There used to be a fantastic poster called flamingobingo (or very similar) who wrote about this sort of parenting, might be worth a search. And the Let's Talk book. Get it out of the library and give it a go.
I struggle with the whole "natural consequences" thing. It sounds lovely but often there aren't natural consequences and you're left floundering.
Maybe a natural consequence is that if you can't trust him with pens then they need to be put away and he has to ask to use them and be closely supervised?
Or maybe the consequence is that he's not quite grown up enough to be left on his own so needs to stay in the same room as an adult?
The punishment you describe sounds very very harsh for a four year old child and is strongly based on rejection and I wonder if he's using his behaviour as a way of getting your attention??
I'd seriously consider time in rather than time out methods.
You need to be equally adamant and strong willed. You should not give in because he crys, bites etc. He knows that you will give in and that is why he does it. You need to be very strong. Being an adult it might be difficult to do because you care about the child and you love your chid as well. But it must be done that way. No other go.
Sometimes when it's hard to find a natural consequence it's because we are still angry/afraid that we're raising a future delinquent, and so we're looking for a punishment and nothing "natural" seems to measure up to the severity we want. I like the way this article explains it - www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Consequences_Punishment
There's a bit of a mindshift that I think is crucial for making gentle parenting work - you're not trying to get a child to behave for fear of the consequences, your aim is to build a connection that motivates them to want to please you, and then letting them know what pleases you by setting and reinforcing limits. It's perhaps easier to see the flip side - punishments (or angrily applied consequences that the child experiences as punishment) damage the connection between you, and so makes them less likely to want to do what pleases you. It can also motivating them to lie/be sneaky to avoid punishment. Particularly with a strong willed child, you can easily end up in a vicious circle where the more you punish the more disconnected they feel and the more they act out.
It's tough to break that vicious circle - one thing that's really helpful is not to take any action while you're feeling angry, because then you're not in the sort of headspace to guide/teach. This
www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child might be helpful - indeed her whole website is one of the best resources I've found on how to be gentle without being a pushover.
Good luck. It's one of the toughest things I've ever done, but the days when I manage to live up to even half of this are so much better that it's definitely worth it!
@UnaOfStormhold I totally agree with this part of your message - "you're not trying to get a child to behave for fear of the consequences, your aim is to build a connection that motivates them to want to please you, and then letting them know what pleases you by setting and reinforcing limits"
Implanting fear is never a solution. Here as a parent one should be very Assertive and not aggressive. Hope I make sense.
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