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Questions a/b the tools for positive discipline

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Piol View Post

    If a child on top of a tree howls "See me mom!", you may say "I see you!". That is often what children are asking from us: "See me". If I then answer with "Oh what a skillful boy you are!" I indirectly say to him - "you ask of me to see you, but I see your skills instead. You are not important without skills"
    Wow, that was a great way of putting it....

    Thanks for all the replies mamas -- it certainly is a lot to take in. It's interesting, I've been breastfeeding and co-sleeping this whole time, so I've been considering myself an "AP mama", but I haven't really taken the time to in-depthly look at the AP philosophy on disciplining. I just didn't realize it went that much further than being anti-spanking(which of course, I am)....I have heard other mamas talk about how they don't use punishment at all, and as much as I wanted to jump on board and say "Yeah, me too!" I wasn't totally convinced, b/c that's not how I was raised, and certainly not what I'm used to seeing in the world around me(not that that's right, by any means!). I have always thought that while spanking is harsh and unneccessary, there was still a need for some form of punishment or "taking away", in order to get the point across. So thanks for opening my eyes a little....I appreciate it.

    I'm just wondering....are any of your husbands/partners not completely on board with the philosophy? How do you handle it?
    DH has a lonnnnng way to go....just the other day we kinda got into an argument b/c he said "I thought you said you were going to stop breastfeeding at age two" (which I kinda remember saying, just to pacify him, since at one point he was intent on me stopping at one) It makes me so mad when he tries to interfere with our nursing relationship. Our real issue has been discipline though....

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mama*Pisces View Post
      I'm just wondering....are any of your husbands/partners not completely on board with the philosophy? How do you handle it?
      DH has a lonnnnng way to go....just the other day we kinda got into an argument b/c he said "I thought you said you were going to stop breastfeeding at age two" (which I kinda remember saying, just to pacify him, since at one point he was intent on me stopping at one) It makes me so mad when he tries to interfere with our nursing relationship. Our real issue has been discipline though....
      my dh is great. he generally agrees w/ my decisions but even when
      he doesn't, he is able to respect them. since i am the SAHM, doing the majority of the parenting, most of the decisions default to me. but when we do disagree, i think the most important thing for me is to try to listen to his arguments and try to UNDERSTAND them. most people are willing to listen to your viewpoints if you will first listen and consider theirs. also, sometimes the best leverage in your defense is time. when our spouses witness the connection with our children, that speaks more loudly than your own words.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Mama*Pisces View Post
        It's interesting, I've been breastfeeding and co-sleeping this whole time, so I've been considering myself an "AP mama", but I haven't really taken the time to in-depthly look at the AP philosophy on disciplining.
        also wanted to add that this is precisely the mission of API, to help parents grow in their perspectives of what it truly means to parent compassionately. you now understand that bfing and cosleeping are only means to nurture relationship, they are the beginning, but not the goal. your post inspires me as a leader to continue to do what i do. thanks!

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        • #19
          Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
          also wanted to add that this is precisely the mission of API, to help parents grow in their perspectives of what it truly means to parent compassionately. you now understand that bfing and cosleeping are only means to nurture relationship, they are the beginning, but not the goal. your post inspires me as a leader to continue to do what i do. thanks!

          Your welcome, always happy to be of inspiration!

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          • #20
            Originally posted by blessedmama View Post
            I think I finally understand, after reading this thread & the link provided, why things like "good job" should not be used. But what do you do when someone else says it to your child? My mom always says good boy, good girl or good job to my LOs. One day about two weeks ago, Maria who is 2, came up to me to show me something she did & I said something to her but not good girl & she kept saying "guh gir" over & over & pointing to herself until I realized she was saying "good girl". When I realized this, I said to her like a question to figure out what she was saying "You're a good girl?" & she smiled & nodded her head yes & was so happy I said it. Kind of made me sad. Should I print out & give article to my mom in a non-pointing finger way saying "look what I learned" sort of waay?
            I think it depends on how often your daughter sees your mother. My husband's mother sees our kids about once every 2-4 weeks. She does sometimes tell them "good job," but I haven't found it to cause problems in my relationship with my daughter, who doesn't hear "good job" from me or my husband.

            She did go through a period when she would tell herself she'd done a good job, or her toys told each other they'd done a good job, but it passed.

            I think kids are totally capable of grasping that their relationship with their grandparents is different from their relationship with their parents.

            Incidentally, I don't entirely agree with Alfie Kohn about the issue of praise. My parents didn't believe in praise, and while I recognize that this had the long-term benefits he outlines in his book, it wasn't a positive experience for me at the time. I really wanted my parents to demonstrate that they flat-out liked, approved of, etc. some of my skills and accomplishments.

            My best story about this is that I didn't know until I was in my 30's that my mother had thought I was any good at art when I was in school. She came to visit me and brought with her as a gift a watercolor painting I had done when I was about 12, matted and framed. We actually talked about it, and she said she assumed I knew she was proud of my pottery and such because she kept it in her glass-doored china cabinet. I honestly always thought she did that just because that's what mothers are supposed to do with the gifts their kids make for them. The most irritating part about it for me was that I really liked art and spent a lot of time on it, but wound up feeling discouraged because no one except me ever seemed to like what I produced.

            I guess what I'm saying here is that while I agree with him in general terms, I want my kid to know that I am genuinely impressed when she does something really cool. This goes beyond comments like, "I see you drew some people down at the bottom of the paper, are they anyone in particular?" In addition to talking about her artwork, writing, etc. with her in those terms, I find that a natural way for me to express my appreciation of her work is to show it to someone else when she is present, generally my husband, and tell that person how impressed I was by some aspect of it.
            Last edited by skueppers; 04-19-2008, 04:34 PM.

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            • #21
              Thanks for sharing that, Skueppers. I can totally see why you don't totally agree with Kohn. The best thing to we can all do is to follow our own hearts ~~ I'm not sure that I could ever stop praising completely, as it feels almost engrained into my psyche. I think what is important is to try to strike a balance between not praising at all and laying it on thick, so that our children know that while we are proud of their achievements, we also value them as people and would love them every bit as much if they didn't achieve those things.

              I love this forum.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by skueppers View Post
                Incidentally, I don't entirely agree with Alfie Kohn about the issue of praise. My parents didn't believe in praise, and while I recognize that this had the long-term benefits he outlines in his book, it wasn't a positive experience for me at the time. I really wanted my parents to demonstrate that they flat-out liked, approved of, etc. some of my skills and accomplishments.
                I see from time to time AP-parents who have taken in the careful-with-praise issue, but who didnt really get the reasons behind it. And then you get this devestating situation where the child does not feel the love and enthusiasm and proud-ness from the parents. To be careful with using praise on skills, does not involve to not show a huge appriciation for the child. To have sort of a neutral attitude towards a child that shows an art project is simply cruel... There is a lot of ways so support the child like saying "I can see that you really enjoy drawing" - with a happy tone of voice - og "Thank you for giving this drawing to me!", og "The colors of this painting really makes me happy!" in a very positive and supporting way.

                The whole point of this is to try to ensure that the child feels loved and appriciated and admired - as a complete human beeing, not "only" as a set of skills.

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                • #23
                  Sonja, I think what you're talking about missing as a child isn't necessarily praise, but heartfelt expressions of appreciation or admiration, which, to me, are quite different. "That's a good painting" is a statement of judgement, delivered externally, framed as an absolute truth. "I really like this painting, thank you for making it for me" is an "I" statement, a (hopefully honest) expression of admiration and appreciation, without putting "objective" judgement on it. I think it's important to offer our kids insight into how we are feeling and how we perceive the world (and them), especially when they are trying to please us and we are, indeed, joyfully admiring and appreciative of what they do. Which can be done without what I would identify as praise.

                  Does that make sense?

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                  • #24
                    After I read Kohn's UP I definitely cut back on the amount of praise I give, but I find when I do it it's because I'm genuinely excited for my child and sharing in that joy. I think that is much different than the type of manipulative praise I see parents use a lot. For instance, a close relative who alternates between "DO YOU WANT A SPANKING?!" and this syrupy-sweet super-fake "Good JOB, buddy!" when her child does something she likes.

                    It makes me feel a lot better about the few "good jobs" that slip out of me, because the intent behind them is so radically different.

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                    • #25
                      Hello all,

                      I have a question, not sure if I am going to word it right though.

                      My daughter is 12.5 months, I think I have been doing things "wrongly". When she finally does something that has left her troubled, I usually say "yea!!!! you did it" then I clap my hands. It's just so hard not to get wrapped up in the moment. She smiles, her eyes so bright and sparkly, I just can't help it. Another thing I have done is when she is playing nicely with other children (which as took so long, she only wanted to play with me) I also say "You play so nice together" and she turns and smiles at me.

                      This is new to me, I was "taught" in high school when doing Child Development and Peer Helping, that it's better to reconize behavour and a job well done. I have been doing it for years.

                      She is my first and only child, I don't want her to endure anything I ever had. Is there something else I should be doing? Again, I don't do it all the time, so it does not sound fake to me.

                      I have read the link given, I will re-read it again, maybe I missed something or mis-interrpered it.

                      Thank you!

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                      • #26
                        Tonia,
                        The previous posts and comments have been about giving too much praise or using "care" when offering praise. Not that you can't say something to your child after they got along well with their friends like, "We had a great day playing with our friends today, wasn't it fun?"

                        Offering the wrong kind of praise or too much can be counter-productive. So its best to try to stay away from comments like "your a good boy for playing nice with your friends". The first sentence would be encouraging and positive, while the 'good boy' comment is sending more of a message that in order for you to think they are good or accepted, that is what they need to do. For example, children will learn to WANT to be nice and loving instead of being praised into being nice and loving. If they only do it for the praise then they won't really understand why (not maybe even want to do it-its for the attention) and could soon stop doing it for other reasons. Its all in how you word it. It sends the message that they are only good if they do it right and how you want them to do it. It also leaves no room for mistakes.

                        But don't be to hard on yourself. We as parents at times, all need to take a look at our words and actions and make adjustments as needed. And its great to have a positive place like this forum, so that we can all help each other and learn from each other.

                        Peace,

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                        • #27
                          Thank you Sunshine for the correction. I was just concerned that I was starting a habit, and not a really good one. I mean "too much" had to start somewhere right?

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                          • #28
                            i think another point would be to emphasize your daughter's feelings in her accomplishments. so when she does something that's taken her a while to master, you could say, wow, you seem very proud of yourself! does that make you happy? and said w/enthusiasm. when playing w/others, you can say, you look like you're really enjoying yourself w/your friend. your friend seems happy, too. then,when she's older and can verbalize, you ask her how she's feeling, but you can't do too much of that right now.
                            this is just a way to put the emphasis on her and to show her that you are interested in how she FEELS, not just her actions.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Tonia View Post
                              I think I have been doing things "wrongly".
                              i just want to say that you should take it easy on yourself. i don't think that anyone here would say you are "wrong" for praising your child. it IS wrong to hit your kid. encouraging your child, rejoicing with them, which is what you describe is not wrong. you are a good mom. your sensitivity to this issue proves it.

                              API does not want to set up some sort of standard or ideal that we all must reach in order to be considered "right" or "good". parenting is a journey and it is the goal of API to encourage and support you in where you want to go.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Mama*Pisces View Post
                                I'm just wondering....are any of your husbands/partners not completely on board with the philosophy? How do you handle it?
                                DH has a lonnnnng way to go....just the other day we kinda got into an argument b/c he said "I thought you said you were going to stop breastfeeding at age two" (which I kinda remember saying, just to pacify him, since at one point he was intent on me stopping at one) It makes me so mad when he tries to interfere with our nursing relationship. Our real issue has been discipline though....
                                This is a great discussion!

                                For the most part, my husband and I agree. When we don't, I really try to understand his underlying fear. For example, he really wants our daughter to say 'please' and 'thank you'. He was okay with the modeling approach when she was younger, but now he's starting to ask her to say it. So he and I sat down together and talked about it. I asked him what he thought would happen if she didn't start saying please and thank you. He was concerned that she was old enough now that it needed to be a habit, and that people would think she was rude. Being perceived as rude wouldn't serve her well in life (he has a family member that we can point to as an example, who never expresses gratitude and it discourages others from helping her.) Once I understood his concerns, and especially how he was associating the issue with his family member, and he understood mine, then we could come to an agreement. We decided to periodically explain to our daughter how polite words make other people feel appreciated, and why that might be important, and I agreed to be more vigilant about asking her if she appreciated what someone had done (or was about to do). We still don't force the words, but others will hear us have the dialog and know she is feeling appreciation. It was a solution we could both live with - and we agreed to approach it in similar (although not identical) ways. And I do think that sometimes a little bit of compromise on the smaller issues is necessary for family harmony.

                                Also, wanted to say that there is an excellent, excellent chapter in "Hold on to Your Kids" about time-out. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to further understand the AP approach, or as a gateway for a discussion among family members.

                                Loving this discussion!

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