No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury. Childcare book that I saw recommended on Metafilter, mostly consisting of articles that she's written. Lansbury is a follower of Magda Gerber's RIE philososphy of childcare. Basically you should respect the child, acknowledge and validate their feelings, constantly communicate with then. You should also never punish them, though as usual with these philosophies you do set "consequences" which would appear to the naive and untutored eye rather like punishments.
Lansbury reckons that when children misbehave they are testing us, essentially calling out for discipline and structure. It's important to set out clear boundaries. When they cross those boundaries, for instance hitting, you physically restrain them and explain to them that while you understand their feeling you can't allow them to do that. Consequences should follow from the problem itself, so if they misbehave in a playground you explain to them that you won't let them risk hurting themselves and so you have to take them home.
Lansbury doesn't believe in timeouts or distraction, believing them to be disrespectful and counterproductive. Some tips include talking to them in the first person: saying "I won't let you do that" is better than "you're not allowed to do that" or "we don't do that". It's better to set a physical limit early before you get angry: Lansbury says it's very important to stay calm and authoritative.
One analogy that I found a bit irritating is that you should talk to your child "like a CEO". By that she means being calm, authoritative and reassuring; not loading your speech with bullshit, jargon and hypocrisy then doing the opposite of what you promised.
I actually thought the book was fairly useful though I'm not going to abandon distraction and timeouts completely. The useful stuff isn't the basics which are pretty common if you've read a bit, but seeing how she applies these principles in a variety of situations: there are a lot of letters and replies in the book. It's also reassuring for me to see how other people have problems as well.
The difficult bit is the execution. I try to stay calm and reassuring but I do find the pressure and the workload overwhelming sometimes. My typical weekday starts at 5AM when I wake up and try to get exercises, shower shave and sometimes a few chores done before the toddler wakes up around 6AM. From 6AM to 8AM I look after him, change him twice, feed him his bottle, make breakfast, wash up, prepare new bottles, brush his teeth, get him dressed, take him to nursery. I work pretty hard and usually just take a 20 minute lunchbreak. My wife collects him from nursery at 5PM, I get home at 6PM and do all the childcare, always wash up, and sometimes cook: he goes to bed at 8:30PM. Weekends are harder. At times when I'm dashing backwards and forwards carrying rubbish while he cries strapped in to his chair, or I'm painstakingly bringing in dishes from the kitchen to the dining table one at a time because I have to hold him with my other hand, after I've been working 10,12,16 hours, I feel utterly overwhelmed, and I find it really hard to stay calm when yet another thing goes wrong.
Overall, a fairly useful book even if you don't buy into the philosophy completely. However a lot of useful articles are available on her website for free. Examples. Don't leave a testing toddler hanging. When children prefer one parent. My preschooler is hitting me. The real reason toddlers push limits. 4 toddler testing behaviors and how to cope. Guiding toddlers with connection:
Attitudes and word choices that skirt connectionLinks
Here are a couple of common examples: The misuse of "we"
In an article about strong willed children, an expert advises: "Avoid power struggles by using routines and rules. That way, you aren’t the bad guy bossing them around, it’s just that, "The rule is we use the potty after every meal and snack." This must mean that the parent uses the potty after every meal and snack as well, right? If not, "we" is false and inauthentic. I’m totally on board with not engaging in power struggles, but referring to ourselves as "we" is not really engaging at all. Furthermore, "the rule is… " makes no sense as a strategy to avoid coming off as a "bad guy bossing our child around." How is citing the rulebook not being bossy? It just means we aren’t taking responsibility for enforcement ("It’s not me — it’s the rule"). Children sense our reluctance to get close and personal, and it leaves them cold. Kids, particularly those with a stronger will, need parents who are unafraid to be direct and honest with them, and who take responsibility for the boundaries they set. Sugarcoating and falseness
When we use a patronizing tone, terms of endearment like "Sweetie, Honey, or Sugar," false praise, or other disingenuous techniques to butter our kids up, they feel manipulated rather than truly seen, heard, and connected with us. For example, our kids see right through: "Oh, Sweetie, show me again how good you can be at being gentle with the doggy. He gets so sad when you hit him."
Socioeconomics. Legal setback for Uber. Why Are the Four Richest Men in Mexico Getting Crushed? Workers in a World of Continuous Partial Employment.
Politics. "In setting up non-nationals as parasites, as a burden... European governments and their loyal media are generating a dangerous political fantasy." Remain/leave or yes/no may not matter. "What's going wrong in the public discourse on British Muslims?" 1, 2:
In each of the last fourteen years, essentially the same speech has been delivered by one or another UK government minister. From Tony Blair, David Blunkett, Hazel Blears, and Ruth Kelly to David Cameron and Theresa May, the message has been identical: Britain is said to be in crisis because a minority of Muslims have cut themselves off from the rest of society, advocated their own distinct value system and thereby created the conditions for extremism and violent disorder.
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