Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Under the title
“Bizarre, Sadistic Parenting Advice”
I posted
To Raise Up A Child
to a well-known web site.

The commentary was surprising. “What’s wrong with that? What alternative methods do you suggest.”

So - I posted
Ask Dr Sears

With the following explanation.

About Discipline

I personally use structure, routine, parental bonding, attentiveness, awareness of my child's intellectual capability (based upon documented physiological research), information, honesty and praise.

Say what you mean. Always.

If you say - "I'm going to cut Wilson bear into forty pieces if you don't stop." You have to do it.

Waiting for teddy bear shredding time is too late. The smallest transgression is enough. It only takes once -

"we're going if you don't share."

S/he doesn't share. Go.

It takes maybe 3 times.

It is easier to pick up a switch than pay attention to good behaviour. "You're welcome. I really like the way you say thank you when I give you something."

On the flip side, I acknowledge bad behaviour in unpleasant ways. If your child is bonded to you, then no longer sharing the bond is catastrophic. Bad behaviour belongs "in the hallway" where I don't have to be around it.

"Feel what you feel - let me know when we can talk." If the child can't stay in the hallway. Seclude yourself. (You need an absolutely child-friendly home for this.) But, the goal is no attention for tantrums.

There will be one hour long tantrum. It will desiccate your heart. You will feel it shrivel up and flake into dust. You will feel guilty. You will live through the screaming, tears and snot. Hopefully - because of one hour, you will not have to feel this feeling frequently. You may have one tantrum once every six months for years.....if you never, ever, ever give in.

After 3 years of structure, routine, parental bonding, attentiveness, awareness of his intellectual capability, information, honesty and praise; he has has a fair amount of emotional control. My not-yet-3-year-old will feel a crying fit coming on and say, "I need to go to the hallway." He goes. he weeps. He gets his “mind organised." He returns to much praise. And discussion about the transgression - in his language. We acknowledge feelings. We reward and support words about the experience. We end the diatribe of emotional torrent early. We find something new to talk about.


Expect children to want to be good. And if goodness is rewarded, then the choice becomes easy.

Recent conversation with my son on a bus.

“Your muddy feet are on this seat. When we get off, someone will come on. They’ll sit in your wet, muddy place and have a dirty bum the rest of the day. Do you like having a dirty bum?”

“No.” slipping his feet off the seat.

‘I like the way you always make the right decision.”

Children - for whom people notice their victories - want to receive that positive affirmation of righteousness.

Where the switch happy thumpers win is with parents who are so self-absorbed and busy meeting their own needs that they don't have time to pay attention. They don't have time to celebrate, witness goodness and honour the moment righteousness wins over selfishness.

The positive url above focuses on "knowing your child." That takes time, energy, discipline and commitment. It is never ending. Children grow and change and so should parents. Ultimately - what we are building is a relationship. Both sides must grow. It is unfair to expect growth (which only reflect parental needs).

But it takes time, patience and willingness to be human.


boodafli said...

yup. i totally agree. what well known website? it wasn't, babycenter.com by any chance?

Christina Springer said...

No, actually it was


Leo said...

So your alternative to their violence is psychological cruelty?

Say what you mean. Always.

If you say - "I'm going to cut Wilson bear into forty pieces if you don't stop." You have to do it."

This is not honesty, this is being NASTY and teaches nothing to a child but being nasty.