January 18, 2010

On the same team

Although we have our fair share of tantrums and difficult days, overall I feel like Everly and I are on the same team. Lately I have really tried to keep this in mind at all times, and it is making things go even more smoothly.

When we are out at our various activities a lot of the time I see parents struggling to get their kids to cooperate. They use yelling, threats and time outs... and each week things don't improve. I often wonder if that would be me if I hadn't come across the Dr. Sears Baby Book, which opened my eyes to attachment parenting and from there to gentle discipline. I have read so many awesome books that have helped fill my parenting tool box, so I feel better able to cope with the difficult times.

Now that Everly is getting closer to the preschool age, discipline tends to come up more in conversations with other moms and I often have a hard time joining in. It seems most people use time outs and/ or punishments. I usually just smile and nod. I am not the type of person to launch into a mini-lecture on why punishments & rewards don't work, or what my approach is. If someone asks me directly I obviously tell the truth.

So what do I do when Everly does something that might warrant a time out in someone else's house? First of all if she is really mad and out of control I give her time and space to calm down. Adult or child, who is able to absorb information when they are feeling so upset? Once she has calmed down we will talk about the incident. For example if she hit me because she was mad that I wouldn't let her play with sharp scissors, I will first explain that I love her and that I don't want her to get hurt and sharp scissors could hurt her. Let her know I know it made her mad but she can't hit me and that it hurt. Then I will ask her what she could do to make me feel better... and she will almost always apologize and give me a hug. I don't know if this is the perfect GD way of doing things, but it has worked well for us, and at this point Everly will often apologize on her own once she has calmed down.

In terms of other "naughty" things like drawing on the carpet (UGH!). We just point it out and explain that she can't do that because it might not come off etc.. She actually does seem to listen and a lot of the time she won't repeat the "offense". Usually in these situations I am to blame for example I left a marker out when I knew she has been tempted to draw on "unapproved" surfaces.

I feel really positive about how we are dealing with Everly right now and feel like the bond her and I share is extremely strong.

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