You'll have to excuse me, folks: over the next couple of weeks, I'm pretty full of questions. I signed up for the Carnival of Natural Parenting and April's topic is parenting advice. We are supposed to write a 'Dear Abby'-type letter to our readers asking for advice on a certain parenting issue we are dealing with.
Well, I've already written my post, but I find myself finding more and more questions that need to be asked, advice that I could really use. So, I hope you don't mind me leaning on you a little bit here, but I could use your help.
The question at hand today is this: As an attachment parent, how do I deal with my 5 year old daughter's newfound bad attitude? Gracie has always been sassy but it's really coming out now that she's figured out how to push my buttons. She tells me no when I ask her to do things, she makes threats when I tell her no ("Fine then! If you won't read this book to me right now then I'll just throw all my books away and never read again."), she throws temper tantrums (in which a lot of times she actually throws things around in her room).
Part of my problem is that I didn't start using AP philosophies until Kairi was born. Not consciously at least. I'm sure it was there in doses, as I generally try to be as gentle and loving as possible to my kids, but Gracie had 4 years of no real defined, specific style parenting.
For a long time I spanked Gracie when she did something wrong. Now, I'm not saying that if you spank your kids that you're a bad parent by any means - I'm not going to call it child abuse - but I just found that it wasn't working for me. Sure, it was yielding most of the behavior I wanted, but I felt HORRIBLE about myself as a mom each time I did it. I also found myself spanking her for the smallest, most minute actions when I had originally set out to only spank as a last resort and only when she had done something really bad. I found that my child feared me. I don't want to be that parent.
So I quit spanking and started discussing why the things she was doing weren't acceptable behavior, occasionally throwing in some time out or removing certain play objects from her possession for a while, always trying to keep it behavior appropriate (ie- I'm not going to take away her doll if she hit her sister, but if she wouldn't share her doll with her sister I would take it then.)
For a while it was working great. Gracie understood what was wrong and what was right and she understood when she got into trouble exactly why it was she was in trouble and what she could do instead next time to avoid the trouble. But now she's just developing this... I don't know... attitude. I don't even know how to shrink it down into just one word really. She's not responding to discipline the same way she has. She gets more upset when she gets in trouble and it does less good.
So - what do you do when your kids get into trouble? What do you do when you find that your current disciplinary tactics aren't quite fitting the bill and need perhaps a small overhaul? What new techniques to you incorporate? How do you maintain consistency throughout?
Edit: Just noting that this is not my submission for the Carnival of Natural Parenting. That post will be coming up on Tuesday the 13th. Keep an eye out for it, won't you?
5 years ago