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  • 1 Post By alittlelost
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  #1  
February 12th, 2013, 08:53 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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There was a way to help more moms toward gentle parenting. I think a lot never give it a chance. Debating obviously isn't the way to lead them there, because debate puts people in "disagree mode" a lot of time... I know a lot of parents feel like it's "their choice" and I know I wouldn't want someone else telling me how to parent my child. BUT it turns into a gray area for me because there parenting choices, and then there are doing things that, IMO, are a violation of another human being's human rights. And I don't think you should have to be 18 for your human rights to kick in. I have always felt that one person's rights end where another person's rights begin, and I've always taken that to include children, though I understand not everyone feels the same. Still, when there's SO much evidence to support gentle parenting and SO much evidence showing the potential harm of certain other methods, I find it hard to understand where the choice comes from and why people would make that choice. I do try, though. And I do know they mean well, most people anyway.

Then I look at other countries who have passed laws against certain treatment of children that is considered a "right" in 49 our of 50 of the American states. I look at the benefits their society has reaped since banning certain behaviors from adults (incl. parents) toward children. and what's great is the court systems there aren't threatening parents or being horrible them if they break this law. They are offing support. The support is mandatory, but it's basically free parenting classes and support toward making healthy decisions. I will say that having a child with special needs, I've worked with SO many behavioral therapists and NONE of them recommend harsh parenting styles and ALL believe it does WAY more harm than good. These are the people who work with the WORST behaved children (or children with behaviors stemming from special needs that can be HARD to fix) and yet they get results and without EVER resorting to harsh tactics. And often a part of getting those results is STOPPING any harsh tactics, too. How is it those methods can work for some many kids, even the toughest of them!, and yet some people insist those harsh methods are the only thing that works? Of course, many don't even try other things. Because it's easier to hurt their child and legal (in most places) to do so.

I give up on understanding, because I know I never will. I want to help, but I know you can't give advice to someone who doesn't want it. But I get these deep unease in my core over it because even though a PARENT might not want to learn new techniques, I'm positive these children wish their parents would. And why are these defenseless small children not worthy of THEIR feelings and THEIR rights being considered in all of this? It comes to the point where you either have to respect the parents rights or respect the children's rights--and who needs it more? but at the same time, there's really nothing you can do. You can't help someone who doesn't want your help, and in this case, you can't even really help someone who does want your help if that someone is a child and not an adult.

I do hope with time I can get better at encouraging parents to look into gentle methods but without offending them. I know I can lead by example. I know I can share my experiences. But I hope to learn MORE things I can do, and things that are non-confrontational and will be welcomed by the parents.
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  #2  
February 13th, 2013, 06:12 AM
TheOnlyPink's Avatar .... In a house of blue!
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I used to feel like you. Sometimes I still do, I judge what other parents do and I think up solutions or how I would handle that situation.

But as I have grown as a parent and met more parents and talked to them about their individual circumstances, I realise that its not always cut and dry. Every parent (well, apart from the ones who are obviously neglectful, but then the only help they should accept is from professionals) loves their child just as much as I do. I do not love my children more than anyone here on JM, more than my neighbours etc. We all love them just as much. And we all want the very best for them. We all make choices based on whats best for our children and our family. Even under the umbrella of AP, what works for me wont work for other AP moms. The same goes for other aspects of parenting.

Even tho some times I hear of things that just make me , I just have to bite my tongue. And more than likely, they are thinking the same thing about me.

I dont mean for that to sound disrespectful to you, because I most definitely feel the way you do when I hear other parents talking about things I disagree with, but its just something I have realised in my parenting journey!
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  #3  
February 13th, 2013, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by alittlelost View Post
I know I can lead by example. I know I can share my experiences.
I think leading by example is BIG. I know when I'm sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office and cringing at some of the things I hear other parents doing/saying, it is also an opportunity for them to see me being kind and gentle. When they see my kids being quiet and well-behaved without me spanking or threatening them, maybe it will give them pause...at least I hope it does.

Did you read the "do you have support?" thread? It was sad how many of us feel like we have no support as parents. I think that when we feel tired, overwhelmed, and alone as parents, it is easy to revert to the way our own parents responded to us...for a lot of us that was more traditional parenting. A lot of us never get a break, don't have any time with DH, and just feel like we have too much on our shoulders at times. This isn't an excuse to be harsh towards children, but I think it is an important factor in why a lot of parents are the way they are. Ideally we would have more support as parents and be more supportive of other parents as a society instead of merely surviving from one day to the next.
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  #4  
February 13th, 2013, 08:23 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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KMH, that's the thing. I always want to offer these moms support because I know that a lot of them, that's probably all they need. But unless a parent says something, you can't know if it's a situation of "I don't know what else to do!" or a situation of "I don't give a crap that there are better, gentler ways. I'm doing it this way because it's my kid and I can do what I want as a parent and I chose this." (I used to think the latter didn't exist, which is why I used to be so quick to offer support, but experience has shown me that the latter does exist, and so I'm always careful because I don't want to offend.)

The Only Pink: I'm not judging them, I'm just afraid to offer support or ideas because I might offend them. I know their methods aren't healthy because science has shown us this, BUT I know that they love their kids as much as I do and are doing what they think is best. I'm sorry if my post came across as me thinking I love my kids more. I don't think that way at all. If I had that kind of attitude, I would probably care LESS what they do. I'd be too busy judging them to want to help them (because their KIDS deserve that help). I know they are getting the LOVE they deserve but not every kid is getting the TREATMENT they deserve. Some parents are very open to ideas, and only do what they do because they don't know what else to do. But other parents will bite your head of if you say, "Oh, man, my daughter gets like that sometimes. What really works for us is (insert gentler approach here)." So I've stopped saying things like that because from some people I either get a "well that's not how we parent" or "don't be fooled by my child. she's just a brat." and other such things. I feel like I've offended them, so I've stopped speaking up. But what's sad is when I did used to speak up, I'd have women emailing me weeks later saying THANK YOU and that they were able to stop spanking and their relationship with their child has improved so much and the new techniques were helpful. I mean, that was GREAT because the mama and baby were happier.

I believe in the every child is different argument. I have three kids who are VERY different. But I never need to physically hurt them. So I don't believe the argument that "some kids need it". The parents who really don't want to find another way. The parents who are okay with it 90% of the time usually end up hitting *all* their kids. When a family of 10 can get by without hitting any of their kids, it just goes to show me it IS a parent's choice. Then you have whole countries where it's banned, and to be honest, they have kids that behave MUCH better than most American children. Does that mean children in other countries just don't "need it" but others do? i think the real issue isn't that some kids are different and needs it. I think it's that some people are committed to finding the healthiest approach and some people think it's okay to spank. I do think eventually it will be illegal in the US too (recently it was banned in Deleware).

So, I am not sure I felt the way you felt. What I feel is that some parents don't care and some parents just don't know a better way. I'd love to find a way to reach the parents who wish for a better way, but without risking offending people who think it's none of my business. Personally, if I get stuck, I'm always open for a way to fix my kids behavior without hurting them. And I guess when I was younger and more naive I thought, "well duh, no parent WANTS to hurt their kid! EVERY parent would use another way if they knew those ways". but as I've gotten older I've realized that's not the case. I don't judge those parents (ie: I know they love their kids as much as I love mine) but that doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt that pain is part of their child's life. Because I was that child. I wasn't abused, by any means, and I know my mom loved me, and we have a great relationship today. But the pain sticks out in my mind, not the lessons learned, and I wish someone had "saved" me as a child. but unfortunately I think my mom was one of those who would never be convinced there were better ways because she would get offended.

I might get offended sometimes as a parent, but I always step back and look if there's something else I can do. to me, it's totally work getting offended if it means a happier life for my kids. But just because *I* feel that way doesn't mean other people do. I hate confrontation but love helping others. So, that's why I get stuck. I want to help, but I don't anymore because I'm scared of offending.
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  #5  
February 13th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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I live now in a super liberal community where the only parenting differences are more about helicoptering vs free range, permissiveness vs setting limits. I *never* see spanking and almost never see yelling or anger at children. So I don't worry about other kids or their parenting too much, I guess I don't see enough disturbing stuff. We mainly roll our eyes a bit at the helicopter parents on the playground who are aghast at what we allow M to do on her own how we don't catch her at the bottom of the slide etc.

You really can't do anything to change people in the context of crappy parents who seem to treat their kids poorly in public. You can just show that there is another way, maybe sometimes plant a seed. But they have to want to change or decide to change on their own. Maybe work on a larger scales towards changing laws about spanking etc.
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  #6  
February 13th, 2013, 10:11 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alittlelost View Post
But other parents will bite your head of if you say, "Oh, man, my daughter gets like that sometimes. What really works for us is (insert gentler approach here)."
I don't think there is anything wrong with saying something like this to any parent who is talking about a behavior problem they've been having with their child. To me it seems completely innocent... they were complaining about a problem so you try to help with an idea for a solution. If they become offended, that is their problem. And if they become offended, they were probably looking for someone to have a "Oh, boo hoo, all children are terrible brats" conversation, which I wouldn't be interested in anyway.

I don't generally get myself involved in other's parenting, mostly because I definitely don't feel like I have that much advice on gentle discipline. I also don't think anyone will listen and I just don't feel like expending the energy (how's that for lazy ). But if you have had experiences where you made a difference and you think it's worth trying, then I think the approach you mentioned above is great!
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  #7  
February 13th, 2013, 12:00 PM
TheOnlyPink's Avatar .... In a house of blue!
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Originally Posted by shen7 View Post
I live now in a super liberal community where the only parenting differences are more about helicoptering vs free range, permissiveness vs setting limits. I *never* see spanking and almost never see yelling or anger at children. So I don't worry about other kids or their parenting too much, I guess I don't see enough disturbing stuff. We mainly roll our eyes a bit at the helicopter parents on the playground who are aghast at what we allow M to do on her own how we don't catch her at the bottom of the slide etc.
I also live in a country like this. Spanking is illegal and NOONE does it. Its just unheard of. So when i was speaking in my post, spanking never entered my mind!
Looking at it now, with spanking being a factor, I can see how my post is offensive. i'm sorry. I was thinking along the lines of yelling etc. Which is completely different to what you were speaking about.

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  #8  
February 13th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Honestly...because in that moment, they are not able to hear what comes across as "superior parenting advice." I equate it with someone trying to reason with a toddler in the throes of a tantrum. You know you just can't. They need just time and comfort to be able to get out of it and come around to talking with you. Same concept. If parent is already resorted to spanking, yanking, yelling, belittling, etc...they are pretty far down the "intolerance track" and you could probably say "Hey, we are expecting snow tomorrow" and you will get your head handed to you in a hand basket. Much less if you try to give them a tip on how else to handle it. I don't see that as the right time...the event already happened and getting involved is just adding fuel to the fire.

I don't see any issue addressing someone you are close to in a moment of peace. Bringing back up something that happened and how you found success handling it. If they get defensive, you might have to accept they really don't want another solution. But I think more people are open to such things at a less volatile time. It would at least make them think about their actions next time.

The ones who want to learn and change will keep striving to do better. And they will learn as they travel along their parenting road. It's full of pitfalls and choices one makes that they regret or second guess later. Its part of growing as a parent. And the ones who are not interested in doing better will keep at what they are doing. And whatever "help" you have to offer certainly won't be met with a positive response.

It's tough to find that line between wanting to help and overstepping ones bounds. I had a friend make a comment to me one day in the library that absolutely took me to an immediate defensive, so I do understand how that feels. It's a bad feeling, especially since my behavior with Liam was less than what I desire it to be on a daily basis. But at that moment, it was the solution that came to me (I picked him up, plopped him in a soft loveseat, and sternly told him to "not move" until I was done picking up the crayons he threw all over after being told that wasn't how we played with crayons (several times) and him refusing to pick them up). I had Kieran with me and needed two seconds to put the disarray back in order before leaving (the consequence for not playing nicely withe crayons after several other interventions). But she basically said I shouldn't speak that way to my child and she would never handle her child the way I did (picking him up and removing him to a new place). And honestly, even though I agree it wasn't the absolute best way of handling it...I certainly didn't need to hear it from someone who wasn't in my shoes at that very moment. Its super-easy to offer advice from the outside. Heck, I would have offered myself different advice on how to work through the situation. But sometimes it's just how it goes. And having someone in the wings "judging" my every move is not desirable. We all have our moments.

But I can see when it comes to more damaging behaviors (hitting, belittling, threatening, etc) it can be hard to watch someone do it to their child.
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  #9  
February 13th, 2013, 03:18 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I can definitely see how saying it after the hitting has happened would be offensive. Generally I try to offer support before it gets to that (though admittedly because I know which of my friends would respond that way). Initially I had thought, if I commiserate with them, they might not feel so embarrassed with their child's behavior and less likely to "act out" against their child. Of course, there's also a huge difference IMO between someone who actively chooses to hurt their children and someone who's having a bad day and handles a situation in a way they wouldn't have. In the case of your friend, well, I wonder how she KNOWS she would never react that way. I mean, I've totally reacted to my kids in ways I shouldn't have. AND I apologize to my kids. I tell them how I was feeling and that I handled it wrong and that adults make mistakes sometimes too, but ANYONE who makes a mistake can learn from it and do better next time. I think it's actually good for kids to see this <3

the Only Pink, your post wasn't offensive. And in our country, people do see spanking as much of a parenting choice as whether or not to give their child a sandwich or soup for lunch, so it's a REALLY touchy subject. It's hard because some of us know the harmful effects are more akin to give your newborn soda rather than your give your toddler soda or milk with lunch, but you can't say it's harmful, even if it is, so outside of debates on whether or not it's harmful, I keep my mouth shut. But I do wish I felt like I could support in a positive way to these mamas. Like others have said though, you can't give support to someone who's not open to it. It's just HARD for me to realize that some parents aren't open to solutions for disciplining their child that involve no hitting them. My mom was this way, for religious reasons in her case, and I know I'll never understand it. It doesn't mean I think they love their children less or that they are horrible parents or anything like that. It's just hard for me to understand why they wouldn't want another solution. I don't like making people feel like they have to be defensive, though, which is why I don't offer support as much anymore. But my goal is really to let parents know, "Hey, you aren't alone, ALL kids do this. Here's some ideas that have worked for us." I mean, I LOVE hearing ideas that have worked from other moms, especially when they are being compassionate. Like I have one friend who doesn't let her kids drink from water fountains, and she has told me why, and now I don't want my kids drinking from them either. I don't feel like I'm bad or like she thought I was bad! I just learned something new that can help my kids, so I'm happy! But at the same time, people have different personalities and ways of seeing things. I want to respect that, but sometimes there is this disconnect for me between wanting to respect someone and watching them hurt a child. Like, it's their "right" to do it, so you aren't allowed to say it's bad, but in some places, it's actually NOT your right to do so because of how harmful it's been proven. So if you live in those places, you just don't do that, but if you live in other places, you will do it. I'm not sure how I feel that some children get basic human rights and some don't because in some places a parent's "rights" override a child's basic HUMAN rights. I mean, I'm not talking about the right to vaccinate or not, co sleep or not, breastfeed or not, etc. I'm talking about a person's right not to be have pain intentionally physically inflected upon them. I struggle to even grasp how it's legal, but it is. I KNOW all parents love their children as much as I love mine, but that's also why I struggle to understand why they wouldn't want a solution. As I see if, if you can get your child to stop kicking the chair in front of you WITHOUT hitting them, wouldn't that be ideal, even if you did believe in spanking? But like I said, some people here don't care if there's another way. I do try to speak up (in a commiserating way) before it gets to that point, so it won't be offensive, but the response is usually a rude, "no, what they really need is an *** whoopin" (which seems to be a popular way to phrase it where I live...)
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