Print Story Mmm yeah, I'm gonna have to ask you to stop throwing mashed potato
By TheophileEscargot (Sat Sep 05, 2015 at 02:25:12 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame". Links.

What I'm Reading
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 connection
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.

Random. Can I co-nurture? Doonesbury strip on parenting from 1986. 9 Ways to Open a Bottle Without an Opener.

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.

Articles. 15 Thoughts on the Stigma of Sex Work. NASA's Worm and Meatball logos, via. Recent and Upcoming Debuts in Fantasy and Science women.

Video. Woman rides bicyle. Sesame street 30 dots collection.

Pics. Armoured bunny. Vintage condom designs. Indian Stepwells.

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Mmm yeah, I'm gonna have to ask you to stop throwing mashed potato | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
Below the age of three by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Sep 05, 2015 at 03:21:27 AM EST
They really don't understand the consequences of their actions so it's' a bit pointless "punishing"them. I think you just have to suck it up and physically prevent themselves harming themselves and others.

You have it tough. I've been in the fortunate position that i got a bit of slack due to being the sole income generating parent and it was still hard work below the ages of the 2 as they need constant supervision and care. But it does get better after that age and my four year old is fun to be with and doesn't require that much work.

Consequences by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Sep 05, 2015 at 03:33:21 AM EST
He used to have a habit of hitting the television, but after giving him a 2 minute timeout in his cot every time, he eventually got the message and stopped. So I think they can understand consequences.

But it took absolutely forever and practically drove me insane (or insaner) with the effort and the screaming. I leave that for stuff that's actually dangerous.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Bloody consequences by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Sep 07, 2015 at 03:52:27 AM EST
It's so shit, because you're pissed off, the kid's pissed off, neither of you are sure if you're pissed off for anywhere near the same reason, and there's no definite way to really know for years to come.

(or - again - maybe that's just my shit parenting. questions questions!)

[ Parent ]
having the energy by iGrrrl (4.00 / 5) #3 Sat Sep 05, 2015 at 01:01:26 PM EST
These books suppose that the parent has no other stress, nothing else using their energy. That's insane. Mental energy is really energy, and being perfect parent after work is not realistic. It's like telling someone to climb five flights of stairs, repeatedly, after running 5K.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

Child rearing by Herring (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Sep 05, 2015 at 06:40:43 PM EST
This is going to seem very unhelpful, but the boy was always very nice from the year dot. I remember him at about 18 months coming into the kitchen and saying "bikkit" (biscuit) and holding out his hand. He took the biscuit and went off then came straight back and said "nuvver bikkit" (another biscuit). Turns out he'd given the first one to SD.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Hitting/kicking is tricky enough. by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #5 Mon Sep 07, 2015 at 03:43:31 AM EST
It doesn't help that kids are all different enough that you constantly end up questioning advice in your head.

My eldest - a bit over two - is particularly stubborn and independent. Perfectly happy saying hello to one kid, then skipping off in the opposite direction to go and do her own thing, and woe betide anyone that tries to stop her. Is that actually her personality, though, or a result of my parenting failures? I don't have a bloody clue.

The one I really have trouble with is minor hitting or kicking. For example, a while ago she was on a bouncy castle, merrily bouncing away, and some 3-4 year-olds started to play with her. All was good for a few minutes, and then she smacked a couple of them (not full-blown, thank god).

The charitable explanation I take is that she was feeling crowded by the older kids when she was previously happy bouncing around on her own. I can't expect her to articulate "thanks, I'm feeling a bit crowded right now, and would rather bounce on my own for a few minutes" - and yet, what's the alternative? Unless it's proper shitty behaviour, I tend to turn a blind eye to incidents like this.

Does that make me a shitty parent? No doubt some people would say yes, some no, and some think something inbetween.

Not easy, any of this, and that's with a clear mind - let alone the times you're up since 4 or 5 and trying to make rational decisions.

In those cases by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 08:21:04 AM EST
I would try to point out that the other kid didn't know why she was hitting, so it was a poor communication choice. At 2 would she understand that? No, but I do think it's good to put in early that hitting is not done. (No, I'm not perfect in this...)

When we were in Sweden when she was 4, her cousins understood English, but the friends did not. K, in classic American fashion, tried to get them to listen to her by shouting at them. By that point she had just enough logic to understand when I told her that louder doesn't change languages.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
That's a good habit to get into by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #9 Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 08:56:49 AM EST
Noted, thanks :)

Languages are funny. I took S for a Daddy-daughter trip to the UK a few months back, and kept explaining that her aunt, uncle, and cousins wouldn't understand Polish - don't take it personally - you're just going to have to try to use English words. (well, "talk like Daddy does" seems to work for her)

Four days later, and the younger cousin is speaking Polish.

Nothing quite like your toddler putting you firmly in your place.

[ Parent ]
Mmm yeah, I'm gonna have to ask you to stop throwing mashed potato | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)