Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Post Where I Talk About Gentle Parenting....Again. :)

So, as it happens about once every 3-4 years, I found myself in a "debate" again over gentle parenting. I say this happens every 3-4 years because I've learned NOT to engage in things like that on FB. But, I let myself open my mouth this time and as usual there were the "So if your 2 y/o hits you're supposed to go give him a cookie??" responses. *eyeroll* No, that's not what gentle parenting is about.

Nonetheless, here's my response to those people. (Figured I'd just copy/paste and save my fingers some energy!)

Oh, and "HALT" mentioned below means "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired." It's an acromyn for figuring out why your child is doing what he's doing. It's simply ONE tool (of many, many, many tools) for gentle parenting.

Hi there Liz! So, a lot of what's been said since I mentioned HALT has been negative and assuming certain things. Let me clarify. HALT simply means getting to the CORE of the problem instead of just addressing the action.
Of course you address the actiton (hitting), but get to the bottom line that made him hit in the first place. If he hit "just because," I'd find that hard to believe (and I have 5 children). Generally, children hit for a reason (not counting infants who hit because they've discovered that they have arms and can flail them...).
As for "You hit, so now let's go have fun" and the other comments related - no, that's not how it works. People who feel bad *act bad* and make poor choices. The idea of a Comfort Corner/Positive Time Out has nothing to do with "rewarding" children (though it's commonly misconstrued as exactly that). Rather, it's about redirecting feelings and emotions children are experiencing. If a child is grumpy and acting poorly, let's say, we'd bring him or direct him to a comfort corner where he'd find toys, books, headphones, whatever makes him feel good again. Once the child has calmed down, we'd talk about what made him feel that way, etc.
Of course in the case of a 2-year-old, there is not really "talking it out" but redirection and HALT are the biggest factors that go into dealing with 2 y/o's in the first place. And, 2 is different from 3, which is still different from 4. I recommend reading Alfie Kohn's books titled "Your X Year Old" (example "Your Three Year Old," "Your Four Year Old," etc.)
And, for the "sinful nature" comment - We are all born with a sinful nature, yes. However, gently parenting children means assigning positive intent as well. In other words, we don't assume the worst in our children. Sure, you're thinking, "So my child hit his sister because he loves her, right, is that what you're trying to tell me?" No, that's not what I'm saying... but if he hit her, chances are he's upset and having big feelings inside that he doesn't understand. First, think HALT and address the bottom line.
Next, assign positive intent and assume that he doesn't REALLY want to hurt his sister but would instead just like the toy she has. I'd explain that he can have the toy when she's done but hitting is not the way to go about telling her. He needs to use his words to ask (I'm thinking of a 2 y/o here) and then they will share. We do NOT turn around and smack him back for hitting her!! We address the bottom line issues (plural...) at hand.

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