Have you given up on time-outs, behavior charts, and reward schemes to control your children’s behavior? Did you find all of them to be coercive, gimmicky, and incongruous with your kid’s development? Or did you just think, “Wow, this is a time-consuming pain in the ass”?
In Discipline Without Damage: How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up, Dr. Vanessa Lapointe gives you permission to replace all of those parenting techniques with something a little more touchy-feely. And since nobody has time to feel all the feels about their kid’s behavior, it’s been distilled to its essence, bottled, and delivered to you so you can discreetly enjoy it anywhere. (Just remember to cover it with a paper bag.)
1. Children Have Needs
Lapointe, spends much of the book trying to convince the reader that children are not little adults who are fully in control of their own actions and emotions. The scientific term for that is, “No shit.”
These children, she posits, have needs. She wants you to focus less on your kid’s behavior and more on your own. Do you meet their emotional needs? Do you use imagination, patience, and compassion to create connection and trust with them, and be the special big people (that’s what she calls parents or guardians: “SBPs”) they need? She also wants you to know this is all based on science — a claim she supports with a liberal smattering of footnotes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THIS
Basically, you should use your emotional connection to your kids to figure out what’s causing problematic behaviors and work with them to solve those problem. If you’re having trouble breaking free of traditional attitudes toward disciple, she suggests …
Rather than focusing on order, focus on “making room for childhood to unfold.”
“Find ways to let yourself relax” even amidst the chaos of childhood.
“Ignore the standards of the world” and focus on what your children need. That would be, in no particular order: You, your compassion, your presence, your understanding, to feel them, and to protect them.
Kids Tripping On Playground
Flickr / Nikki Loveu
2. It’s Just a Phase (Seriously)
Trying to be the law and order parent (which is different from Chris Meloni, who is a Law & Order parent) often means fighting against the natural stages of your kid’s psychological and emotional development. When that happens, there’s a lot of law, but usually no order. Accept where your kids are on the emotional growth chart. You have demands and their brains might not yet have the capacity to meet them. You monster.
2-to-3-year-olds: Impulse control is impossible, and meltdowns, screaming, and tantrums are normal. They have little individuation and see themselves in terms of being “created by their big people.” They have newfound independence (i.e., they say “no” a lot).
3-to-4-year-olds: The ability to regulate their frustration and upset increases, but they still need a lot of help doing so from their SBPs. They’re into testing limits and exploring; more into their own preferences and wants. They can be aggressive, but increased verbal ability should mitigate this.
5-to-7-year-olds: Getting more independent; they see themselves as not just a creation of their parents. Getting better at regulating themselves, but will still occasionally melt down. They can hold 2 or more seemingly contradictory thoughts in mind at the same time. It helps with problem solving (“I want that ball, but I will have to jack up little Tommy to get it — and I don’t want to get in trouble”).
8-to-10-year-olds: They have their own sense of style, passions, interests, and terrible taste in music. They overstep boundaries and need “supervision or guidance around that.” They’re able to regulate but still prone to occasional outbursts or meltdowns.
11-to-12-year-olds: They have strong opinions and want to take stands and push boundaries. They love to “discuss” things — like their opinions about the rules. Their urge to individuate through ill-considered self-expression may seem like purposeful rebelliousness. Like a navel ring.
13-to-17-year-olds: Like 11-12 year olds, but moodier, more door-slammy. Despite their adult appearances and claims of adulthood, they are still kids and still need their SBPs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THIS
Adjust your expectations to your kids’ developmental stage. It’s not you using the wrong words or techniques — it’s just that you “shall serve no fries before their time.”
Toddler Harness Walking
Flickr / Malingering
3. How Damage-Free Discipline Works On The Ground
If your knee-jerk reactions and frustration isn’t working, you could do worse than to try this approach. You can also get more advice in this vein from Dr. Laura Markham, who preaches a similar “do no harm,” gospel of dealing with kids who are just acting their age.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THIS
Respond With Connection: When a child is acting out, instead of focusing on the behavior, focus on the child’s feelings. Key phrases to use: “You look like you are having a hard time,” “I will help you. Come with me and we will figure this out.”
Stay Low: The more upset the kid is, the calmer you need to be — but simultaneously exude confidence and concern.
Drop A Flag: Instead of dressing down a kid while they’re acting out or just wound up, in a calm and nurturing tone, give a brief (5-word max) reminder of what he needs to know at the moment. Save the conversation for a calmer time. Examples of verbal flags: “Gentle hands.” “Kind words.” “That must stop.” Or one that isn’t in the book, “Put down the knife”
Maintain Firmness With Kindness: Use a “no/I know” approach. For example: “No, you can’t give the cat a haircut/I know you’re disappointed.”
Give No Explanation: At least not to a kid in the throes of a meltdown. Maintain the boundary and save the chit-chat about why until they’re settled.
Debrief Once The Dust Settles: Once the kid has accepted the boundary you have established or enforced, calm has prevailed, and you are in a state of alignment (even if it’s a week later), remind them of the incident and its positive resolution. Give them reassurances that you will continue to be there to keep them safe, and subtly draw attention to your connectedness. Resist the urge to chant “S-B-P Rules!”
Discipline Without Damage By Vanessa Lapointe
The Traditional African Man and Romance
Romance in marriage is like the gentle breeze that fans the embers of a camplight fire bringing tiny sparks of flames here and there. The west has provided it’s version of romance and this wave has swept across other parts of the world and of course in Africa.
We see a handful of Millenials and the Gen Z’ers play out romance sequences that could have been straight out of a Mills and Boons story BUT… If we are totally honest with ourselves, these do not represent the whole rather they are a very small cross-section making us ask the question “How do the rest express themselves”. We grew up in Africa seeing our parents play out a script on romance that was lack-lustre and bland. This was picked up by many and it has become their default mode when the camera’s aren’t flicking, friends aren’t watching or it’s not for social media.
Below is an excerpt i stumbled upon and had to include it into my post because it perfectly explained the default state of romance in Africa.
Many marriages are just for sleeping and waking up, raising kids and ageing together till death comes. This is not right. Marriage must be enjoyable and romantic.
1.Many couples hardly kiss and they only hug each other when they receive good news.
2. The husband only puts food in his wife’s mouth only when she is terminally ill and cant feed herself.
3. If you see a man opening car door for his wife means the door is faulty.
4. The only thing that makes an african man touch his wife’s neck is when she complains of fever. He wont touch it again till the next fever.
5.The only time he can carry his wife on his arms is when she is in labour.
6. If you see them seated outside at night, dont think they are romantic. They are only waiting for the smell of insecticide to vanish.
7.Many wives buy gifts for their husbands only when they are hospitalized.
8.The only time they race together is when there is danger and everyone is running.
9.The only time they go for evening stroll is when they want to go and lay a complain to the parents of the person that beat their child or got their daughter pregnant.
10. The only time they bath together is when both are late for work.
11. The only time a wife looks closely to her husband’s eyes is when he complains of dirt in his eyes.
Unfortunately, Africans feel that any romantic man is being controlled by his wife. They will begin to spread bad rumours. Let us just change today for the better. Let us learn to love one another and enjoy the few days we have on earth together.
On a closing note, i believe things would play out better for couples if men could become a bit more humane, women, drop a bit of the ultra-feminism and let’s enjoy ourselves as couples (ie married couples).
Father of 8 sentenced to 10 strokes of cane and 18 years in prison for raping his 10-year-old daughter
A trader was sentenced to 18 years’ jail and 10 strokes last Friday in Malaysia, for raping his 10-year-old daughter last September.
Sessions Court judge Ahmad Bazli Bahruddin imposed the sentence after the 50-year-old pleaded guilty.
The judge ordered the sentence to begin from Oct 13, the date he was arrested.
The father of eight was alleged to have raped his daughter, then aged 10 years and four months, at an unnumbered house in Beris Kubur Besar, Bachok, between 9.30pm and 11.15 pm on Sept 22.
According to the facts, the accused had gone to his ex-wife’s house to fetch the victim to stay at his home before the incident happened but the victim refused to follow him.
However, after she was coaxed by her mother, she agreed to follow her father. About 11.30pm, when the victim was sent home by her sister, her mother noticed she was behaving differently and questioned her.
The victim then told her mother that she had been raped and that this was not the first time.
On Oct 12, the father went to the victim’s house again and wanted to take her to his house, but the mother refused to allow him to take the girl.
The mother then lodged a police report.
Deputy public prosecutor Siti Hajar Alias prosecuted while the accused was unrepresented.
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