I'm a huge fan of respectful parenting /gentle parenting / whatever you want to call it.
I get frustrated by misconstrued criticism that the idea is to be soft or permissive. You still have to be the adult. The idea is simply how do you do that without physical or emotional violence. That's what spanking and shouting is. That's what most punishment is (note, this is different from natural consequences).
It's not easy to do, and no one is perfect at it. But I 100% believe this type of parenting works. I've never been more sure of anything in my life.
It's like how if you go to a reputable martial arts dojo, they will teach you that actually using the techniques in a real world situation is only to be done if violence is inevitable.
Once, a couple cops overheard a buddy and me talking about teaching and one was like, "my hat's off to you. I can cuff someone if they're out of line, but as a teacher, all you have are your wits."
1) He's right
2) The experience of teaching in a tough school was hugely influential on my views on parenting
I agree. Here are some additional thoughts (not that I'm a good parent, I'm just old):
- I think a lot of consideration should go into understanding the particular personality and possible disorders a child may have; and use techniques that are individually customized for each child.
- Punishment is for learning and training. It's to provide non-harmful consequences so the child can learn to avoid harmful consequences.
- The term "emotional violence" doesn't work for me. I think "emotional trauma" sounds better. (to me violence means physical violence)
Thank you for your thoughts.
@Pat thanks for responding!
I don't think most punishment is necessary. But I should be clearer about what I mean. To me, punishment is the intentional causing of bad feelings or pain as a deterrent for some behavior.
Granted, my oldest is only nearly 6, we've got 4 kids and we really don't do what I would consider punishment, by that definition.
Like, if a kid is abusing some object and doesn't respond to correction, I take it away. Not as a punishment, but as a consequence of the fact that they aren't using it correctly/safely/whatever.
Honestly, it probably doesn't feel hugely different from punishment to a kid in the moment. They usually get sad. This is a side effect, but it can't really be avoided. After the tantrum, I can explain things to help them understand the reasoning.
I think there's a big difference in the long run.
@Pat fair point on violence. I think of both things as violence. I think of trauma as a long term impact of violence. Not all violence causes trauma. Emotional violence is mostly distinct from physical violence in that it can't cause physical damage. But it can cause physical trauma through psychosomatic effects or second-order impacts on behavior.
But this is all just my preferences on semantics!
>"Like, if a kid is abusing some object and doesn't respond to correction, I take it away. Not as a punishment, but as a consequence of the fact that they aren't using it correctly/safely/whatever."
Yeah, this seems like a better approach than just punishment which to the child probably seems more arbitrary.
Your approach feels more like a natural consequence which I think probably provides a better world model for the child.
>"...fair point on violence. I think of both things as violence...."
I think it's semantics and probably more of a issue for me because the broadening of the definition of "violence" in other contexts bumps into my strong feelings and support of free speech.
>"But it can cause physical trauma..."
Yes severe psychological trauma during brain development can actually cause damage to the functioning of parts of the brain -- it's pretty bad stuff.
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