Stu Mark, editor extraordinare over at GNMParents put up a brave and phenomenal post today.
No Hitting, No Yelling
Awesome piece, brave. And in my comments to Stu I admired him for his bravery and told the tale of the Mom's over at ModernMom basically telling me I would burn in hell in response to the post I had written back in Feb. I promised to put it here for all to see:
From Feb 10, 2007:
First, I think in this country many people have a misconception of "discipline". Unfortunately, it mostly revolves around parents imposing their will upon their child without regard for the child's present psychological state and without respect for the child. There are so many more productive forms of "guidance" (and we are here to guide them to a happy adulthood) that hitting in any form never needs to be used.
Spanking is relevant only to short term success of the behavior of a child, and we now have decades of research that shows that it's not even really successful. If it were an effective form of guidance, a parent would only need spank once. We know that spanking does not teach a child inherent compassion for humanity and respect for their peers. Spanking only teaches a child that 1.) Mom and Dad tell them they are not allowed to hit under any circumstances and yet Mom and Dad can hit...double standard and 2. how to effectively scheme better next time so as to not get caught. And we all did that as children, I'm sure. Think about how you felt when you were spanked. Deep inside did it not crush your heart to think that your loving mom or dad would resort to hitting you?
What are your long term goals for your child? Happiness, well-adjusted productivity, compassion for all living things? Ask yourself if your short term methods of discipline are contributing to your long term goals for your child.
The fact is that there are alternatives and they are abundant. Of course, alternative methods usually require a bit more work on the part of the parent, they are not the easy solution, but when we became parents we all essentially took a vow of doing everything for our child's best interest and not our own.
Two great, and I do mean GREAT resources that can give you real information on the psychology behind the effects of physical discipline and how to use alternates are: Unconditional Parenting, Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn, and Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim and Charles Fay. These two books alone will change many preconceived notions about how to raise happy responsible children without resorting to hitting of any sort.
Resources are abundant today, years ago our forbearer's didn't have the information and research that we enjoy in 2007. We have evolved as a species in the days since the "spare the rod" advice was written. Medically, psychologically, ethically...we are a more enlightened group of beings than poor Abraham's people were. We can evolve when it comes to guiding our children to adulthood as well. I personally, can't ever imagine Jesus spanking a child, not even in the lightest most non-abusive "on the butt" manner. Jesus knew that the heart is hurt much more when a person is physically violated, and he would never want a child's heart to be crushed.
Consider alternatives. Hundreds of years from now they will look back on our methods of guidance and find them simply barbaric, backward and not at all useful. Perhaps a bit like we find the practices of mental institutions from our past centuries.
In third-trimester-insane-mom-mode two years ago I, for the first time in our 16 years of marriage, began to prepare for impending disaster of any and all sorts. Now mind you, I'd never done this before, even though we'd spent a good amount of years living in California (ready to slide off into the ocean and all) and lived to tell about the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. So, needless to say, I was regarded with skepticism about my mental well being. In short, the comment I got was "WHAT's WRONG WITH YOU?", accompanied by much hand gesturing and slow loud talking just in case I'd gone deaf and brain dead at the same time.
So, this is your mommy reminder. Check your disaster preparedness plan. If you don't have one yet but have been meaning to start one, don't go all gung-ho and try to do it in one fell swoop. Just a little at a time will do the trick and before you know it you'll be ready for everything from a power outage to a full scale post-apocolyptic, Mad Max, nuclear holocaust.
In my never ending quest for knowledge, wisdom and know-how for all this child raising stuff, I somehow stumbled upon the good people over at Love and Logic. I'd had their book, Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood for quite a while, obtained during one of those frantic I must purchase every book ever written on parenting moments, you know, the moments where your credit card nearly blows up?
I read the book nearly a year and a half ago, thinking "this is great stuff", but since we were not yet into the toddler years, much of it wasn't really applicable in an everyday sense.
Fast forward a year, and I'm frantically searching for the book on my shelves and reading, re-reading, highlighting and attempting to commit whole sections to memory.
The Love and Logic philosophy created by Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.D and Foster W. Cline, M.D. so far has proven to be a really practical solution for happily productive interaction here at Valhalla Mommykind. While I personally don't agree with every idea purported by the Love and Logic fellas (I have my own wacky ideas about the negative effects of timeout and using a child's room as a place for disciplinary guidance) their techniques seem to work quite beautifully.
In their own words from their extensive site, here's Love and Logic in a nutshell:
What Is Love and Logic?
Children learn the best lessons when they're given a task and allowed to make their own choices (and fail) when the cost of failure is still small. Children's failures must be coupled with love and empathy from their parents and teachers.
This practical and straightforward philosophy is backed with 20 years of experience. Parents can apply it immediately to a wide range of situations instead of struggling with difficult counseling procedures.
Why Does It Work?
- Uses humor, hope, and empathy to build up the adult/child relationship
- Emphasizes respect and dignity for both children and adults
- Provides real limits in a loving way
- Teaches consequences and healthy decision-making
What Parents and Educators Have to Say
"After studying this parenting program, 'Becoming a Love and Logic Parent,' I rave about the fact that it has helped me and other parents I know develop usable, practical skills, as opposed to just learning another theory about what I should be doing."
- Peter Burnett, parent, Portland, Ore.
"My teachers and I could see the advantages to the school of putting parents' back in control.' My job as a school administrator is much less stressful now thanks to Love and Logic."
- Judy Griswold, principal, Aurora, Colo.
Cruise on over and check them out. The website itself has a lot to offer in the way of articles, podcasts and video clips. We think they are trailblazers when it comes to sorting out the practical from the big brained theory (which I find fascinating as well, btw, I'm sure you'll be hearing from me on those topics soon) and giving parents concrete ways to cope with the frustration of not knowing how to best guide their children to happy productive lives.
Last week the Center for Science in the Public Interest weighed in on the final statement from Ofcom (Office of Communications, the UK's television and radio broadcasting watchdog) regarding the ban on junk food ads during programming aimed at children 16 and under. CSPI praises the ban and suggests that we here in the US need similar restrictions on ads during children's programming.
I can't say that I would object to fewer, or even NO advertising which promotes unhealthy eating habits here on our own soil. It's hard enough to always have the healthiest choices available on hand even without the additional pressure of junk food ads everywhere we turn. As busy as mom's are, just the idea of getting anything on the table to eat can at times seem overwhelming, forget it it if involves anything much more complicated than a drive through order.
I think we can all agree that clearly, something needs to be done about the health of children in our country. I say kudos to the UK for taking those first hard steps. Maybe, we as moms need to speak up, write letters to the food manufacturers, the FCC , the FTC and anyone else that might have a part in helping or hurting the health of America's children. I'm not suggesting that speaking up and demanding firmer restrictions here absolves us of teaching our children at home what choices are good and bad. FAR from it. I realize that the media cannot be blamed for all of our woes. We have to do our best at home too.
Speaking of doing our best regarding health at home, PunditMom addresses this issue today over on PunditMom Reviews with her review of Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children Check it out! I think you'll enjoy it.
Someone needs to study the psychology behind it all, honestly.
Before Thanksgiving last year I decided to take the plunge and be suckered into purchasing the
Sharper Image Fresher Longer Miracle Food Storage
set. Actually, in fact, I "accidentally" ordered two sets, one of which I had planned to return...who needs all that storage, right?
My $69.99 x2 has ended up being a worthy investment. Whatever they put in this stuff does inhibit bacteria growth (in my own unofficial lab tests) even in light of all the recent controversy regarding silver nanoparticles. You can Google up a dozen test runs to read on Fresher Longer vs. Rubbermaid, glass jars and various other container types and find a wide range of results. BUT...what most of the comparison info out there does not take into account is...well...being a Mom.
Yes, glass jars may be superior in the time to fuzz factor, but we can't really be putting lots of them in the fridge when we have a two-year-old who has just learned about the amazing and utterly fascinating world of the cold recesses of the fridge interior, now can we? And Rubbermaid may be "just as good" (although not in my own personal experience) but what these testers didn't seem to consider was the slight to severe OCD that becoming a mom induces. What Fresher Longer has going for it is that super cool and highly satisfying snap on lid feature that feels like no other, AND the way they look so incredibly organized, stacked so perfectly (and they can't be stacked imperfectly) in your refrigerator. They actually made me WANT to cook, just so I can store and stack these amazing little boxes.
When you're having a day where the kids are pulling things out as fast as you are putting them away, you can escape to your own mini-nirvana by simply opening your refrigerator and looking inside for a moment of calm, peaceful, zenlike organization and say to yourself, "oh yes, I AM the rockin'est Mom on the planet".
It's tough for moms to get quality, nutritional fuel on the run. But this cereal does the trick. Nature's Path Flax Plus Rasin Bran. Not only does it taste great (especially with a few raspberries tossed on top) but it provides 11 grams of fiber in one serving! 11 grams!! That's nearly half of the recommended daily amount for us moms. Where else can you get such power nutrition packed into one serving? Tough to beat. Fiber is more and more on the forefront of cancer and disease prevention it seems. Flax is a miracle food too. Packed with Omega 3s it's great for a skin glowing and hair softening powerboost (yes, I am a Dr. Perricone devotee).
Try it...you'll LIKE it...