Gentle parenting / positive discipline

​Examples of Positive Discipline
These are just a handful of examples of what we do with our daughter.

 It cannot possibly cover all situations and will not work for all children.  You know your child best.  The biggest take away here is going to be “Know your child, and problem solve together”

If a child throws a toy, that toy is put up.  They do not get it back, especially if it was thrown at a person.  If someone is hurt, then we talk about how that person was hurt and suggest they say sorry/make them feel better.  (I do not believe in “making” a child apologize.  What good is “sorry” if it’s said with anger and by a child who simply doesn’t mean it?  Did anyone gain anything there?  But we do suggest that it might help, and model it ourselves.)  We don’t follow up with additional discipline unless the child then starts other undesirable behavior.

She is physically separated if necessary and we ask what is going on.  We discuss the problem that led to the hitting (at least most of the time she can verbalize what’s going on a lot but she’s still quite Young) and then help them work it out with words, and remind her to use their words in the future.  Repeated hitting usually results in them getting separated for awhile, being sent to play in different rooms,losing toys etc.  Typically do not like this because they(Whoever she is playing with) want to continue playing together, but if they cannot play together without hitting then they cannot play together.  Usually hitting occurs because of built-up frustration, so separating the kids and ending the situation defuses it.
I don’t answer to rudeness.  I ask her to try again, or sometimes pretend I didn’t hear them.  If they are talking to someone else, I will pull them aside and tell them what they said was rude and give them the words to try again — then ask them to go say the nicer thing and I suggest they apologize for having been rude.  If rudeness were to continue, directed at me, I would not do what they wanted and would tell them I would be ready to talk when they were ready to do so nicely.  If directed at others, I would separate them from the situation, leaving if necessary.
Running around being too wild
This usually happens while out.  At home, she would immediately be directed outside or taken to a park — “You can be loud and run outside, but not in the house.”  

She would have the choice of going outside or going to play alone in the room until she can play more quietly.

  If we are out, I might end the trip and take her home, or possibly take her back and leave her with my husband- if he wasn’t at work or busy-while I finished the errands.  Since she want to be out and not home, this is usually effective.  Typically this behavior means she haven’t had a chance to get out and run enough, and the best solution is to go home or to a playground and let them run in a more appropriate location.  It isn’t realistic to expect young kids (especially about 6 and under) with too much energy to just be quiet and still. 

Toddler Hurting People
Although I covered the guidelines for hitting/throwing above, those are mostly for slightly older kids.  The younger kids (from around a year to 2 and a half for Lily-rain),is a bit different.  They have no self-control or ability to think ahead.  They have strong emotions and they act on them without thinking.  This does not mean they just get away with it.  If a toddler hits me, she’d get put down or lose my attention.  Same if she would kick, pull hair, etc.  I’d tell her to “use nice hands.”  I back away and say “I will not help you if you kick me.”  I redirected her to new activities.  I could say “No, don’t hit the cat” 4264 times and the kid will keep doing it — or I can say “Come listen to music with me” and that’s the end of hitting the cat.  Redirection is big from 12 – 18/20 months.  After that they start to learn to talk, realize they are separate, and get more determined.

Older Toddlers Disobeying
Most of the time, the real disobedience and tantrums are not because of “behavior” issues, but because they are not feeling right.  They can be rather logical and “good” when they are feeling good, accepting redirection and “We’re not playing with that” with general ease.  It’s when they don’t feel so good that they have a short fuse and throw tantrums.  Punishment is not the answer.  We *all* have a short fuse when we don’t feel well.  So, we problem solve — hungry?  Tired?  Teeth hurting?  Typically if we can figure out what the issue is and fix it, the poor behavior stops.  

Wake up from a nap parkour haven’t eaten a two-and-a-half-hour hike in the rainforest mr. Grumpy but a snack or resting will calm her down.


Positive Instructions
It is important to us to try to prevent problems by issuing positive instructions.  Instead of “No worms in the house!” I say “Worms live outside, please take them there. We don’t want to take them away from their home that’s not nice.”  It’s a clear instruction and tells them what to do. Kids sometimes misbehave because they got what you don’t want them to do, but they don’t know what to do instead.  (Not unlike parents who are told not to spank but not given alternatives lol)  

Possibly also say “When you want to get through, say excuse me instead of pushing.” 

Make her try again immediately if they pushed someone out of the way. ***Practice good behavior.***
Obey or Else
There are a few rules that we simply don’t mess around with.  “Your car seat stays strapped until the car is off” is one “you have to hold my hand when we cross the street” is another  

Anything dealing with serious health/safety issues is a no-matter-what rule.  

 We practiced the proper behavior, and we explained why it was so important — for safety. Now she says safety first! as it’s something we would tell her since she was very young.
Cleaning Up
So many people say “How do you make them clean up?!”  Well, first — I model doing it myself.  I have chores I do every day.  I clean up after myself when finished.  I show her how I do it and she often just jump in and wants help, because it’s “normal.”  If you don’t model cleaning yourself, they will not do it.  Even so, cleaning isn’t fun and kids drag their feet about it.  Typically we clean up one activity before we move on to another, and we simply don’t move on until the cleaning is done.  
It also helps to train them to clean.  The kid who doesn’t like to clean will refuse if we say “Go clean up.”  But if we say, “Please pick up the books,” it goes much better.  I spend time sitting with her from very young and instructing on what to pick up and where to put it.  We also try to keep it positive (I won’t say I don’t still yell sometimes because I do!) and say “Can you clean up thw ____?” .  If I sound stern or frustrated, she will usually refuse/ignore.  
Don’t make cleaning a battle.  Teach them how to do it repeatedly until you are sure they really understand.

 Sometimes I set a timer and say “Okay, we have 15 minutes to get all this clean! Can we do it super fast?”  Or possibly, “Once we are done cleaning, we can go eat lunch/go to the park/watch tv.”  And you don’t do that activity until the cleaning is done.
Older kids (5 and up) can be reminded ahead of time “If you choose  to make that mess, you will have to clean it up,” and they can decide if it’s worth it to them or not.  If they choose to make the mess, hold them to cleaning it up.  If they dont or they whine and moan and take forever, then they do not get to do that particular activity again.   It’s simple — if you don’t take care of your things and respect property then you don’t get to have those things.


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