So I got an awesome response about the non-violent, non-scary videos post, and someone pointed me to some yahoo groups that discuss nonviolent communication. (Never mind that the first group listed is a polyamory group. I need extra time to see if I qualify for that one.)
But I noticed that, once again, I’m totally out of the running for attachment parenting and natural parenting and wild parenting, and all those awesome hippie natural respectful styles that I thought were totally up my alley. Why? ‘Cuz we occasionally teach using timeouts and punishment. I know, I know. Might as well use a playpen, as long as we’re totally failing our kid.
Yup. Our kid hits, he gets either a timein or a timeout. Timein is where we remove him from the situation and talk with him about how hitting is not okay, how it hurts, and how words are better. Timeouts are where I can’t do a timein without losing my cool, so I send him to another room, corner, side of the house by himself. Yup, he cries. He is very sad and should have attention and human contact. But at that moment, the only contact avaialable to him is the very un-AP palm of my hand, so he gets to weather the consequences of anti-social behavior alone. Not how I want to parent, but it beats beating him.
I’m also out of the realm of AP, GP, and something new to me called Aware Parenting, because there’s that eggregiously selfish post you saw a couple of weeks ago where we decided to bribe him each night for a night’s sleep (only time we’ve ever bribed him). A fistful of stickers are yours if you sleep through the night. Each time you call me, you have to pay me a sticker. Yup. Totally inhumane. I’m telling my high spirited high needs highly sensitive kid that he has to pay for my love at night. But you know what? It’s been working about 80% of the time. My kid, who never slept through the night before 28 months, and still does it only rarely, is now sleeping through the night at least half the time. For stickers. I’ll unsubscribe from the Aware and Gentle and Attachement and Wild parenting forums for that.
I wish we didn’t, at times, lose our temper and punish and bribe. Because these people sound like my kind of people, on 98% of their theories:
“Aware Parenting is attachment-style parenting …which support the following: natural childbirth and early bonding, plenty of physical contact (including night-time closeness), prolonged breast-feeding, prompt responsiveness to crying, sensitive attunement, and non-punitive discipline — no punishments of any kind (including “time-out” and artificial “consequences”), no rewards or bribes, searching for underlying needs and feelings, non-violent communication, peaceful conflict-resolution (family meetings, mediation, etc.). Acceptance of emotional release, awareness of babies’ and children’s vulnerability to stress and trauma, recognition of repressed emotional pain as a contributing factor in many behavioral and emotional problems, recognition of the healing effects of laughter, crying, and raging, respectful, empathic listening and acceptance of children’s emotions.”
Their kids totally lucked out! I’m totally with those parents in theory. Damn, that would be nice, eh? But my kid is stuck with a cranky, sleep-deprived former-academic, former-professor, former-business-owner, former-exectutive, former-creative , AP-poser who only does most of that stuff, is just way too grouchy that she’s gotten her wish for a wonderful, sweet, loving kid instead of the twenty-two other life-long rewarding opportunities she wished for that year.
Damn, man. It’s hard to be a feminist and an attachment parenting type. It’s hard to be an anything and the kind of parent I want to be. But, as our friend JS said, “This respectful parenting stuff ain’t for pussies!”
Gee, how offensively correct you are, sir.
You know, sometimes I feel like an idiot because mostly I just come over here to your blog and say Right On! And Totally! And I’m Nodding Right Now. But you articulate things just perfectly, and as a fellow parent-lost-in-the-funhouse-of-parenting, I’m grateful for your ability to Speak The Truth.
So. Right On! Totally! I’m Nodding Right Now! :)
You know, at the risk of this being a love-fest for all bloggers who are at the end of their rope, I totally get my therapy here, and having compatriots in the game of borderline insanity from trying too hard makes every overwraught word I write worth it. Believe me, you may feel silly for commenting that you agree, but it makes me feel like I’m no longer awash in feelings I can’t control. Just knowing other people exist is nice. Just knowing other people sometimes share my views is wonderful. But seeing that there are people who actually take time out of their day to regularly read what I write has been a gift I cannot underestimate. I’ll blog why in a few days.
Thank you for being here. It makes me feel more grounded to hear from you because I’m not just listening to the voices in my head tell me I’m funny yet totally worthless.
You’re doing the best you can, and I think you’re doing wonderfully. Who needs to describe to a theory of parenting? Theories only work part of the time for most kids any ways. As long as you’re working hard at being a wonderful parent, you’re doing great. You have a great kid. Besides everyone needs to know there are consequences for being bad and rewards for being good.
I thought of another video that you might like (another one I’m using for my thesis): Pingu. It is a clay animation penguin. It is pretty cute. Some of the stories are a little random, but nothing violent (unless you count sibling rivalry).
Tell those voices to kiss off. Because you are funny AND completely worthy! We need you!