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    38 Alternatives to Punishment




    Starting on my parenting journey years ago, I found this list* of alternatives to punitive discipline, printed it out, and hung it where I could see it every day. It's not perfect, but it's a good place to start. If you want to stop spanking, if you want to parent more peacefully, if you want to feel more connected with your kids, you CAN. Let go of the need to punish, let go of that feeling of having to "teach a lesson" when your child does something you're not fond of. A little empathy, trust in the natural human learning process, and a lot of love goes a long way. I hope this helps you move along your own peaceful parenting path.


    ALTERNATIVES TO PUNISHMENT

    Use positive reinforcement.

    Create a positive environment.

    Say yes as much as possible.

    Save no for the important things.

    Use natural consequences.

    Use logical consequences.

    Use restitution.

    Leave it up to your child.

    Compromise.

    State your expectations, and get out of the way.

    Give specific instructions.

    Give a reason.

    Offer help.

    Give a choice.

    Redirect your child.

    Remove your child.

    Make positive statements.

    Give in occasionally.

    Give your child time to agree.

    Simply insist.

    Make rules.

    Ignore some behavior.

    Avoid nagging and threats.

    Distract your child.

    Use humor.

    Make it a game.

    Be willing to admit your mistakes.

    Stop and think before you act.

    Don't make a big fuss over little things.

    Stick to routines.

    Don't hurry your children too much.

    Get to the root of the problem.

    Correct one behavior at a time.

    Give yourselves time.

    Use the golden rule.

    Model appropriate behavior.

    Think of your child as an equal.

    Always keep your love for your child in mind.

     

    *from the book, Natural Family Living by Peggy O'Mara

    Posted: Dec 18 2013, 09:56 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    How to Stop a Tantrum





    When a child is having a tantrum, is it really our job as a parent to physically stop that tantrum or punish a child for having one? I say no. Our job is to acknowledge the tantruming child’s upset, to give them words for feelings they may not have experienced before (or just don’t know how to express), to help guide their anger or frustration or extra energy in a productive way, and to keep them and those around them safe in the process.  But those emotions - expressed as a temper tantrum - they BELONG to your child, not to you. You aren’t responsible for your child’s feelings, and It isn’t your job to stop them emoting. You are responsible for keeping them safe, but curtailing or punishing expression of emotion isn’t healthy in the short or long term!


    A tantrum is an expulsion of energy and emotion from a child who doesn’t yet have a full understanding of the range of human emotions, nor the knowledge or control to express them in a reasonable manner. Sometimes a tantrum comes from a child wanting to say something, but not having the right words. Sometimes they are overstimulated. Sometimes, they’re just plain tired. Kids are NEW to all of these things - excitement, fear, large groups of people, boredom, jealousy, anger, frustration, feeling super tired but not being in their bed… and the list goes on. Children are new to the WORLD! They are still learning - everything.  

    Of course, tantrums aren’t fun. And they usually aren’t convenient. But they are normal, and can be awesome learning experiences!  Here are some ideas to help you help your child navigate a tantrum:


    1) Practice patience. Both for yourself, and for your child. Seeing you calm in the midst of her storm is an awesome lesson to be teaching. Remember no tantrum lasts forever; this storm will pass - so it’s really okay to allow your child room and to express themselves. As long as they aren’t in danger of being hurt, or hurting someone else, there’s no harm in kicking the floor for a bit. If it’s upsetting to you, give yourself some space. If you’re worried about your child getting hurt, gently move them to a safer spot, or if they’re bigger, suggest they move themselves (this is something that’s great to be talked about ahead of time - when things are calm - choosing a “calming spot” or a place that’s okay to kick around in).


    2) Acknowledge their feelings. Let them know you understand through your words & actions (and in doing so, you’re giving them words to describe how they feel) by describing what you see:

    I see you are upset because I didn’t let you have a cookie.

    I can tell you’re really frustrated because the game didn’t end up the way you wanted.

    I know you’re not feeling great right now because your friend can’t come play.

    I hear you are really angry because I changed my mind about our plans.


    3) Empathize. When you’re not feeling good, it helps to know you’re not alone. Let your child know you’ve been there:

    I know how it feels to be mad; I get mad sometimes too.

    It isn’t fun when we have to stop playing; I don’t like to be interrupted either.

    It stinks to feel left out.


    4) Accept them. Let them know it’s okay, emotions are normal, and that no matter what happens, you love them:

    It’s okay to feel bad sometimes, and it won’t last forever.

    It’s alright that you’re upset, that’s normal to feel that way when something happens that you don’t like.

    It’s okay to get angry at me, I love you even when you’re angry.


    5) Wait. You DON’T have to teach anything in the middle of a tantrum. You can wait it out. Once the storm has passed… THEN you can talk about what happened. Or, you can leave it. Sometimes a kid just needs a release, and moving on can be in everyone’s best interest. A hug, a high five, or a pat on the back, then continuing with your day may be just what’s needed. Another time, apart from the emotional event might be a better point to discuss what to do next time.


    If and when you do choose to talk about the tantrum, here are some ideas:


    1) Remember the good stuff. Don’t hang on to the bad feelings or even the why’s of what happened, instead, bring up what they did right.  If your child used words you’ve been working on, praise them for that, if they took themselves to their quiet area without being reminded, let them know you appreciated that:

    I heard you say that you were really frustrated. Thank you so much for using those words, I really understood what you were feeling!

    I noticed that when you were so angry, you went up to your room. I bet you felt proud to recognize your feelings and choose to move yourself to your calming spot.

    I saw you kicked your pillow instead of your sister. That was really good self control, thank you for not hurting anyone.


    2) Suggest alternatives. If your child tends to be destructive during a tantrum - throwing or breaking things or kicking, think about some things that they could physically do that would be OKAY with you, like (suggesting SOFT stuff ahead of time may help direct their behaviors towards those things):

    Hitting a pillow or punching a punching bag

    Lying on the bed or couch & kicking

    Tossing/kicking stuffed animals into a laundry basket


    3) Talk about prevention. It’s amazing to see a child recognize they are getting angry or upset, and refocus their energy BEFORE they have a tantrum. It is possible! Giving your kids some ideas for getting their feelings out without hurting themselves, others, or damaging things around them. Let them know those feelings are real, but they will pass, particularly if they are able to focus them onto something else. Some ideas:

    Building a fort with pillows and blankets

    Rolling, pounding, sculpting clay or playdoh

    Drawing - can be about how they feel or not - just the action of drawing can help

    Weaving potholders or rainbow loom rubber band bracelets

    Stacking blocks or building legos

    Acting out how they feel or what happened to make them feel angry/sad with dolls/Barbies

    Meditating or reading


    When we are tired as adults, we take ourselves to a place we can rest. We we are frustrated or angry, we say so. When we’re overstimulated, we say goodnight, and leave the party. ;) We’ve had years and years of practice at recognizing how we feel, and learning how to curb it, act on it productively, or express it without hurting others or ourselves - emotionally or physically (and sometimes, we even fail). Your kids are new at all of this. Give them the tools to succeed and... give them time to figure it out. Work with them to find solutions, and things will get easier.

     

    Peace.

    Posted: Nov 25 2013, 23:45 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Are You Afraid to Change?




    What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.

    ~Anthony Robbins


    The only thing holding you back is you.


    That statement can be difficult to believe. We’d like to think it’s all sorts of circumstances outside of ourselves - things we’ve chosen, perhaps, but more often things we have felt we have no control over - that have pushed us down the path where we are. Not, instead, that we’ve chosen the path we’re on, or that we’re still on this path because we are choosing not to leave it.  Excuses are comforting. Complaining about our lot in life, over why we can’t do this or that, or what has been done to us, gives us a false feeling of comfort - especially when we share those complaints with others around us. People nod, agree, commiserate, and empathize… and we go on feeling consoled in our state of not doing.

    We don’t move towards what we want because we think we can’t change. And that belief in “can’t” because of x,y,z locks us into not doing what we actually want to do. Not doing leads to more not doing - Newton’s law even backs up our own laziness - and as time passes, we hold on to the excuses more tightly; they become us. And we don’t change. We don’t take risks, we don’t try something new, we don’t pay attention to our dreams, because… we are afraid to fail, afraid of others’ opinions, afraid of change, afraid to lose, afraid, maybe, that we won’t even LIKE what we want to do.  More than thinking we can’t change…


    We are AFRAID to change.

    What are you afraid of? If you try and fail you have lost nothing. If you try and succeed… think of how amazing that will feel. And if you succeed, if you’ve shown yourself that you can instead of can’t, you’ll be more likely to continue moving towards what you want, to start believing in your dreams, to embrace change. I encourage you to try - even if it’s a small thing you’ve been wanting to do, but have been afraid of - to take a step towards it. Tell yourself you can. Because you can. And you will.

    Posted: Nov 22 2013, 14:29 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Inspirational
    Expert Parenting Advice




    I’m an expert in parenting - in a way. Not  in the official documented degree-in-a-frame-on-the-all kind of way; but rather in the nine-years-two-kids-countless-bedtime-bathtime-tantrum-growth spurt-milestone-and-birthday party-kind of way.  So in that way, here is my “expert” parenting advice.


    1) Have patience. For your kids, yourself, and the process of parenting and growth.  The tantrums or sleepless nights or biting or talking back you’re dealing with right now will go away - with time. Have patience; trust the process of time and change.  Your kids - and you - are never stagnant and every day is different.  You’re always changing, learning, growing, getting better at life. Sometimes some things just take a little longer than others.  Have patience. Whether it is patience in the moment (this, too, shall pass), or patience in the long run (okay, “this too, shall pass” also applies here), not fighting the process of time and change, just letting things flow, makes parenting - and living your life - so much easier.  


    2) Choose love. In every parenting decision, choosing love is always the path to take. When you act from a place of love - for yourself, when you decide to step away from the chaos and take that much-needed coffee break, or for your kids - when you hug them in the midst of a breakdown and say, “I understand,” (even if you don’t, quite) instead of sending them to their room, you’ve made the right choice from love.  Kids feel love, speak love, deserve love - and you do too, even if you didn’t get enough of it (especially if you didn’t get enough of it) in your own childhood. Choose love, it’s never the wrong choice.


    3) Be kind. This goes along with number two. Kindness in word and tone and deed - to yourself and your children - makes a big difference in how you and your kids feel. We parents have a tendency to beat ourselves up about decisions we’ve made. Stop doing that. Be kind to yourself, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Be kind to your kids; they learn from - and become - what they see and hear.


    Madame Vigée-Lebrun et Sa Fille by 
    Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, oil on canvas, 1789.

     

    Have patience. Choose love. Be kind.


    It works for everything, really.

     

    Peace.

     

    Posted: Nov 21 2013, 13:26 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    Not Today




    If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
    Not again. not today. not today…

     

    September 11th. So much changed in these twelve years, and yet… here we are standing - again - on the brink of more war. This knot in my stomach - stubbornly unforgetful when the calendar turns to 9-11 - I can't help but think back.

     

    I want this day to pass peacefully; I want that my children will never experience a day like that day.

     

    Love & peace, for those taken on that day, and those left behind.

     

    video: REM - Final Straw

    …love will be my strongest weapon.
    I do believe that I am not alone.
    For this fear will not destroy me.

    ~REM

     

     

    Posted: Sep 10 2013, 23:58 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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