can gentle discipline ever work in a larger family?(6 Posts)
On a rare occasion I had just 2 of my brood of 4 with me to pop to shop this afternoon. Dd was in buggy and Ds (4) tantrummed all the way to the high street: screaming, and complaining about something I couldn't change. Talking made it worse so I just ignored and walked on. He has just discovered swear words and made use of the f word a lot on the high st, obv wanting a reaction. I ignored, and ignored others horrified looks
When we got to the shop I pulled him to one side, knelt down to his level and told him gently but firmly that I didn't like the words he'd used and using them would never get him what he wants, then went on with shopping. And he stopped, no more language, no more tantrum, some light whining until we left and then a pleasant scoot home.
Trouble is, I know if the other 2 Ds had been there too it would not have gone that way. It doesn't matter that I ignore bad behaviour because they react to each other which makes it really hard to find a gentle, non-consequence laden way of dealing with such bad behaviour.
Am I missing something? I hope I am. Talk to me about discipline in your families please.
My 4 dc are between 1 and 8, the 3 eldest being boys.
In schools (in classes of 30) we make a point of positively praising the ones with the behaviour we like. ("well done, Jonny, you're sitting beautifully on the carpet" = most of the class scrambling to sit beautifully on the carpet). There is a 'thing' which is "the behaviour we give attention to is the behaviour we get", so the more you comment on the "bad" behaviour, the likelihood is the more you'll get of it. So comment (positively) on the 'good' behaviour. Notice, appreciate, thank and reward.
Recommend rewards they can earn and feel proud of over "punishments" (we all like to feel "success").
Have "consequences" which are (a) appropriate and (b) timely and time-limited and carry through with them.
Never threaten anything you won't carry out. If they get a "consequence" then follow through with it. Make it a consequence more than a punishment, and make sure they understand how they can get things right next time.
Be clear and open and honest about what you want and comment on it (positively if possible). I.e. We're going to walk to the supermarket, I don't expect any of you to behave in ways which will reflect badly on me. I want to you to polite and respectful to each other, to me and to other people who are around.
If you get the behaviour you want, comment on it, thank them, if appropriate, then reward them (maybe they are the one to pick the game/tv programme BECAUSE OF THEIR PREVIOUS BEHAVIOUR CHOICE).
Be very clear about what you want to happen.
Use "I-statements". EG: When you do x, I feel y because....
Give choices, but make them very obvious. "you can keep screaming, in which case you won't have pudding tonight, or you can stop and tell me calmly about what is upsetting you and then we can deal with it together" or "you can keep swearing in front of your brother, or you can use appropriate language. If you keep swearing, I'll assume you are getting it from your use of the internet, so that will stop"
Thanks! All good stuff, which I kind of know in theory but find hard to remember/use in practice iykwim. I just can't seem to strike the right balance between praising good and ignoring bad, and using consistent consequences for bad.
Must try harder. I need the 3 day nanny!
of course the theory is easier than RL, but these things come more naturally with practice. Good luck, and don't be too hard on yourself.
I complimented a great childminder how good she was with her charges. She gave me a puzzled look and said "Of course they aren't too difficult, they aren't actually my own kids!"
I'm really pleased that just a few direct firm words sorted out your son, OP. That never would have worked with mine.
I've read around this subject a lot as a person in education, and have found out about the Nurtured Heart approach.
It's not really gentle, but it is very very positive. It uses the principles of a video game (which so many little boys and girls love as we all know) i.e. firm rules, 'resets' instead of punishments as consequence, and praise that doesn't just improve behaviour but prepares our children for the future and increases their self esteem.
Check it out if you can, I found it a total revelation when I read it.
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