Parenting: no one-size fit all: alternatives

If you do not like “time out,” for whatever reason, you are right. You have other approaches you can choose, so you will be comfortable in your role as a parent. If “time out” feels OK for you, fits your personal temperament and your cultural context–that might be a good thing for you.

Parents who do not like “time out” explore the possibility of “time in”: They stop their child from whatever he/she was doing, tell them what’s wrong, and stay with him/her for the time of cooling down. For them, it is importent to stay connected with the child as the information (of what went wrong and what is expected) is being worked on.

Many discipline issues in very young children can be avoided by changing the environment: Often there are  too many toys around, or inappropriate expectations for the child to “clean up” (does he/she really know what that means? Remember, in his/her eyes, toys on the floor ARE in the right place…) Parents may express expectations that the child will sit patiently and wait; this needs to be tempered to the child’s developmental age. Considering just these few things can help a lot with elliminating unnecessary “meltdowns.”

Every choice that we make in child rearing has long-term consequences, but we cannot foresee them all. We can do our best, knowing it might not be seen the same way in 20 or 30 years; we can be forgiving to ourselves and others; and go through life with hope and faith.

Parenting: one-size-fit-all II

After years of seeing different fads, I came to the conclusion that there is no one right way to raise a child, and discipline is just one aspect of it. In the US, like in some other places, we are trying to move away from spanking and other physical punishments, which are common in traditional society around the world (and in the US). So what are the alternatives?

I would like to share with you my observations and my personal experience. I found that the parent needs to choose something that fits the child, but also something that fits the parent. I would never do anything that would make me uncomfortable, even if all the children’s books say I should.

It is not just about my comfort zone, because it is about the child, and not me. I might wish it would be easy, or that it would not hurt, or that it will all be lovie-dovie, but it isn’t. I need to choose what will teach my child, and will represent me–my thoughts, feelings, and values.

I have to choose a path I will be happy to defend 20 years from now, something that might not feel loving to my child right now, but when he/she will be a grown-up, he/she will say “thank you” for making this choice, for insisting, for setting the limit, for protecting me from myself, for showing me what it means to be strong.

There is a limit as to how other parents’ experience can help. If you do not know the person, his or her experience might not resonate with you. Whatever they suggest probably worked for them, but if it does not click with you–that does not make them wrong. It is just advice that does not fit you. Just keep looking, exploring; the right inspiration will manifest quickly enough.

Temper Tantrum Advice

Temper tantrums are “teachable moments”

It is hard to imagine, in the midst of the chaos created by temper tantrums, that there is something good about them, but temper tantrums are importent steps in your child’s development. They represent the opportunity for the child to experience his or her strong feelings, although not positive ones, and if we do not jump to pacify them, s/he can experience his or her power to control those feelings and his  or her body. So, give your child the time s/he needs to have this experience!