Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On discipline...

As I mentioned in my last post, we have reached the point where Seamonkey is old enough to require some kind of discipline. Right now, he throws these little mini tantrums when he doesn't get his way. As soon as I piss him off, he starts this screechy cry, grabs my hand and bites it, clearly in an agressive way. He only does this to me and my mom...not to BT or my dad. I'm sure that alot of it has to do with the crankiness from teething, but I still need to address it.

I have been experimenting on how to deal with this, but obviously it would be best if I was consistent in my approach. I've tried just pulling my hand away and ignoring the tantrum, letting him cry. I've tried "changing the subject" and distracting him with a toy or something. I've tried yelling "NO BITING!". I've even tried a light smack on the mouth (do not lecture me I'm exploring methods). To be honest, all of these have had mixed results. Sometimes he cries harder, sometimes he stops.

I googled around a bit and realized how many vastly different parenting approaches there are out there. I've come to the conclusion that every kid is different and responds to different techniques. My son, the little bugger that he is, does not respond at all to yelling. He has no fear of me. If I yell "NO THROWING FOOD" when he's chucking his lunch over the sides of his highchair, he pauses, looks me dead in the face, and while still holding my stare, picks up more food, holds it over the side and opens his hand. If that kid wasn't cute he'd be on the moon by now. It's all I can do not to crack up from the audacity this kid has. I just shake my head because I know that God is giving me just what I deserve.

Anyway, he does seem to react most to praise. As I've said before, he believes everything requires applause. So I try to focus on praising him when he does something right. But Lord, I feel like I'm turning into June Cleaver, and that this kid will think every time he farts it's cause for celebration. You know it's bad when I'm in a meeting and when something good happens I clap my hands and say "Yay!". OY.

I think I need to read some parenting books, if for nothing else than to find out what will and won't work for my particular child. I came across this Interesting website which helps you figure out which style might be best for you. My scores indicated the Sears method might be the best for me, but I'm not sure...might be a little too lenient for my personality type - I'll have to read it for myself to see. If you figure out your score, let me know how you came out. I was raised pretty strictly, and I'm a no nonsense kind of gal, so I don't believe in spoiling a child or coddling them too much. But I don't want to be a cold unfeeling bitch either. I think that kind of comes out in my writing, so if you are like me, maybe you can recommend your methods or books that have helped you.

This is such an interesting time for me - I can really see how one's actions can have a profound effect on a child's development.


Rachael said...

Oh my, that quiz is way too mathematical for me right now...I guess I'll never know which book was/is the one for me...sigh. But your willingness to see the quiz through to end demonstrates your level of concern for getting it right! ;>

A been there/done that recommendation for you: "Rules for Parents" by Nan Silver. It's been awhile since I read it, but I remember being really impacted by it. It might be more geared towards toddlers, but that is on your horizon.


P.S. Don't you love karma?

Type (little) a said...

Jesus, you really made me work for that one! Good thing I'm an accountant.

I got a 16 which is New Parent Power.

I've never heard of it, so I am instantly convinced there's a calculation error.


OHN said...

Wow, if I wanted to think I would help someone with their homework instead of reading blogs :)

My all three of my boys, ages from 9 months to 18 months were HELL for me. For some reason that is when they decided to test my ability to refrain from running and screaming out of the house and not returning.

When they were teething a frozen washcloth and LOTS of oragel did the trick. When they were older and bit (I am not sure I should confess this or not-- CPS will come knocking at my door---what the hell, they are all too old to be taken away now) after telling them NO and that it was a BAD thing to do...when they would smirk and do it again, I would bite them back. Not a long torturous bite just a quick nip on the finger. Honestly I only had to do it once and after that they never bit me again. They had to learn that biting was completely unacceptable or otherwise how would I ever get them out of the house and married someday?!

I do love that Seamonkey has spirit though. He is soooo completely adorable.

Rob, Dana, & Billy said...

Oh Shit. I've heard horrible things about Dr. Spock and that's my type!

Anonymous said...

Could that have been a little easier? I *think* I scored 27...I think that makes me Nurse Ratched. I'm not sure.

ANYWAY, look, you do what feels comfortable to YOU. When my youngest was about 5 months-old & still not sleeping through the night & I was a walking zombie every day, I read a "parenting" book by an "expert" who said "no one is entitled to a full night's sleep." And I said "bullshit." That's ridiculous! Just because someone writes it, even if that someone has a degree, doesn't make them the expert to YOUR child.

You'll find something that works, don't worry. Yes, sometimes you have to try a lot of different methods (I scored high & I'm surprised because I rarely spank). But I do what feels comfortable for me, what I feel is the best solution at the time.

Ani said...

I scored 11.5 - Dr Spock, which I don't even own.
Tantrums, eating and sleeping rank high on my list of stuff that need to be done right from the get go- potty training and the paci don't make me loose sleep just yet.

Someone gave me Parenting with Love and Logic as a gift. Its a common sense kind of book, geared towards older children, but worth adding to your parenting book collection.

Beagle said...

As you know, I am still in that naive la-la land of preparenthood where I can afford to have "theories" but no actual experience.

I know you'll find your answers, because you care enough to even be asking the questions.

The only thought I had as to a book, is the nanny 911/super nanny tv gals. I love those shows and while the families are usually disasterous to the point of being "funny" the nannies seem to have good approaches.

(Plus they might be more fun to read than Dr. Spock.)

Good Luck! (Now I'm going to try that quiz)

ruth said...

We're going to have to start thinking about all this stuff soon, so thanks for the link. I'm off to take the test and I'll let you know how I go. I'm worried that as a school teacher I'll be too hard.

ruth said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that the maths in the quizz defeats me - there's a reason I'm a historian!

MMrussianadoption said...

But Lord, I feel like I'm turning into June Cleaver, and that this kid will think every time he farts it's cause for celebration---
This line killed me. lmao.

Do what you said. Try different things and see what works for him.

Jenni said...

I scored the New Parent Power Book. Never heard of it, but will check it out. As you can probably tell from my recent posts, we're going through a bit of a rough patch with our kids and are trying new discipline methods. The two books that we've had the most success with are: "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline" and "Parenting with Love and Logic." I like that both these books focus on helping the children to solve their own problems. It definitely lessens my frustration level!

Best of luck with SeaMonkey. He's got spunk, and he's cute as hell, so I think he'll go far in life. ;)

Wendy said...

OK, now my brain hurts, but I come out a standard Dr. Spock type. My first child was easy. Redirection worked well, she wanted to please me and she was such a happy, easy-going thing. I thought I was the best Mommy in the world. Then came child #2. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING worked on her. None of the stuff my first responded to, nothing in any of the books, nothing I tried. My Mommy bubble burst big time. Then #3 came along, and it finally was easy again. Things just felt natural. So my recommendation is to continue to experiment. You are doing great! (And all mothers occasionally want to boot their offspring to the mooon!)

mama k said...

Ok, didn't take the quiz, but I am a Sears fan. He promotes gentle discipline, but that does not mean "leanient" like most people seem to think. It is just a different approach than the typical "bad" behavior = punishment.
But with all the experts, I think you take what you can use and leave the rest. All children are different and all parents are as well. For me, my goal is to nurture an independent, considerate, well-mannered individual. As my mom used to say, "I'm raising you to be an adult not a child." I want my son to follow my guidance because we have a relationship of mutual respect. Maybe that's too ideal, but at least I can aim for that, right?

I think respecting your children and their stage of development is a good place to start.
I always thought that child development should be required for new parents when I took it in college. Very interesting stuff.
I'm right there with you as this is just starting to become an issue and we are venturing into unchartered territory!

My good friend highly recommends Your Child's Self Esteem by Briggs as a general parenting philosophy/discipline book. (She swears it's not all psychobabble, but she is a counselor.) So that is on my to-read list.