Firstly please go and check out hubby’s new blog. He is really getting into daddy blogging, I think its cool!
Ive been sent to parenting classes, its because I’m rubbish at disciplining a child that simply passes out whenever I discipline him. Ive taken a sort of ignore most types of naughty behaviour approach and use the naughty step. To be honest, its all such a drama that a lot of the time I can’t be bothered. It doesn’t come easy to me, as I’m someone eternally questing the easy life. Anyhow, frightened that I might end up on some kind of list I thought I had better go along.
I have to admit, I thought the classes would be full of the sorts of parents that you see coming towards you in the supermarket with their gaggle of track suited thugs making you do a sharp turn of the trolley, dashing towards the sanitary towels or whatever seems the closest and most unlikely aisle for them to go down. However, it seems that these ones, the ones arguably who would need it most, didn’t appear. Half the expected numbers turned up and those present are all very well spoken, posh middle class ‘wanting the best of their children’ types. Many of them sat there saying how well behaved their child actually was. I felt a bit left out. But, I’m sure they are all lovely people.
Modern parenting approaches basically seem to come down to this: engage with your child in psychological warfare, double guess them, make them feel guilty and you will retain some sort of control. Silence is a powerful weapon in dealing with a child. Praise them as much as possible, but not in an insincere way, don’t criticise them, if you do sandwich the criticism with praise. Heaven forbid, you might be driven totally and absolutely insane by little ones who are quite capable of engaging in their own form of psychology and know exactly the right buttons to press to turn you into a quivering wreck. I often put the ham in the cupboard, the front door keys in the fridge and find myself singing the tune to ‘Balamory’ whilst sitting on the loo. I’m not yet clinically insane, but I’m getting there.
I dunno, I’m beginning to think that a short sharp shock, a slap on the hand or even a smack although I haven’t resorted to this yet, or the naughty step, might well be better than engaging in some of this pop psychology. Its over and done with then. Everyone can move on from it and the child understands. I wonder if there is a danger that they really don’t understand what is going on if you try to distract them from their misdeed, reason with them over it or ignore them completely.
If I praise the crap drawings and the building without front doors all the time, what happens when they go to school and they don’t get the praise for it? Surely its better to be a bit balanced about things. Show them when you do something particularly rubbish and laugh about it and talk about how you can do it better and apply the same principle to them.
If naughtiness occurs, and its about attention seeking, instead of just going silent and walking away, how about trying to deal with it first, depending on the situation. Before you do the silence thing? Silence is such a horrible thing, I wouldn’t want anyone to do it to me. It can drag on for what seems like ages and its something that is very memorable. It can make a child feel dreadful and guilty. My worry is really that you don’t see any physical scars with these techniques, but what about the psychological ones? If you start using some of these techniques, surely you are retaining a sort of power over your child that can last into adulthood. I’m not sure if that is a good thing, I’d like my children to feel free of me and to be able to do stuff without any guilt.
So in summary, I don’t think I’m that far forward in my parenting style from going to the classes, but Ive only been to two sessions so I cant really comment too much yet. The naughty step approach seems to work quite well for us at the moment, as well as mummy keeping calm and choosing her fights. This hasn’t been suggested yet, but I’m sure it will be (at least I hope!) You are, after all, only little once and mummy is mummy forever!