Monday, June 27, 2011

The Etiquette of Attachment Parenting

Really, I'm not trying to become one of those old ladies who criticizes how everyone is raising their children.  This is one of those posts that you think, "Should I say it or should I not?"  I'm gonna say it.  Don't hate me.

My experience with Attachment Parenting (AP) has been this:  My hairdresser turned me on to Dr. William Sears's Baby Book in 1996.  After a couple of months of searching for a sling and finally finding a tie-dyed one, I started wearing my baby (back when no one did this) and sleeping with my baby.  I tried to establish trust and a healthy relationship simply by meeting my baby's needs, often before he even knew what he needed.  The idea behind Attachment Parenting is that you and your child are, simply, attached.  He respects you because you respect him.

My babies never cried themselves to sleep.  They nursed.  We got better with each baby mostly because we looked at our big kids and realized how fast the time went with the babies.  We held them and enjoyed our time of their being little.  We also had the advantage of seeing that, yes, they do eventually sleep -- even in their own beds -- and do other things that you can't imagine them doing when you are immersed in the craziness of toddlerhood.

We always did time-outs, which may be controversial in the world of Attachment Parenting.  In fact, I'll be real honest.  Our time out chair was an old car seat that no one could get out of.  (Eventually, Daymon figured out he could just stand up and walk around with it attached to him and at that point, we moved on to taking away privileges, etc!)  Time outs lasted however long their age was.  For example, 3 years old = 3 minutes of time out.  It was very effective.  Usually the threat of time out was all that was needed, especially as they got older.  I don't remember using timeouts after the age of 5.

Sometimes I totally yelled -- still do -- at my children.  They will be the first to tell you that.   Often, I was -- and still am -- the one taking the time out!  I am, by no means, the perfect parent.  I can name lots of people that parent better than I do.  I do like to think, however, that I have well-behaved children.  Again, not perfect, but pretty darn good.

I've seen a trend over the last several months, under the umbrella of Attachment Parenting, that I would venture to call  "permissive parenting," stolen from my friend Shannon's quote on someone's wall this weekend.  She summed it up beautifully and I hope she doesn't mind me swiping it off Facebook!

"AP parenting is building a foundation that does last a lifetime. We are teaching our children that we will provide for them in a fundamental and practical way, emotional and practically. This can be done with bottle feeding, but it is not as easily done (it takes a LOT more effort), and the nutritional benefits are lacking.

That being said, it's sad to see the "AP" movement turn into a permissive parenting perspective that undoes much of what attachment parenting practices should do, establishing boundaries in a safe and loving environment."

Yes! This is what I'm talking about!  I have seen parents who claim to practice AP let their children run wild, often in places where it is quite disruptive.  I will refrain from expanding on that statement.  

It is OK to discipline your child and teach them that there are appropriate places to run around and be loud.  There is a time and place for everything.  But it is OK -- and expected by old people like me! -- that parents will also teach their children how to sit still, be quiet, and listen or play quietly with a book, etc.  If parents don't teach them, they will be forced to learn it in school by someone other than their parent.  They will be labeled at that point.  (A lot of AP parents homeschool and think this is a moot point.  It's not.  At some point, people will see your child as disruptive, disrespectful, irreverent, and possibly obnoxious.)  Parents have a responsibility to teach their children how and when to be quiet!

I also see a lot of AP parents doing things for their children that I believe the children should be doing themselves, or at least learning to do.  Picking up after themselves, for example.  Occasionally I  have people at my house with small children who play with the toys Darcy still has out. (Those days are limited for us, now.  Soon they will be gone as she gets older.)  It's interesting to watch how parents respond to the toys and the mess their children have made.  Some parents will have their child pick them all up, while others will insist on their child helping to pick them up, usually explaining why it's important and respectful to do so (this is AP parenting!).  Others will pick up all the toys while their children watch.  Where is the lesson in that?  Every now and then I have parents (and their children) who don't pick up any of the mess their children make.  Don't get me started on that one.

I have to use another comment from a former student of mine that I read on Facebook this week.  Again, I hope she doesn't mind me lifting her comment:

"...People may think I'm strict or unreasonable in training my kids to sit at the table and eat, but the reward comes when I can have a lovely dinner date with just my boy and girl.  We talk, laugh, and eat, and it's usually quite nice.  When he uses the manners we've taught him in dealing with the servers it makes me quite proud.  He's such a sweet and grateful boy."

And that about sums it up.  I might add that her children are very small.  Yes, it is often more effort to correctly practice Attachment Parenting, but the payoff is tremendous.  

I've thought a lot lately, as Daymon is approaching his 15th birthday, about Attachment Parenting and its significance it's played in my life as well as my childrens' lives.  They do not remember being little -- breastfeeding, cosleeping, or constantly being carried in their sling.  Their memories are scattered from when they were little.  But, like Shannon said, AP parenting provides a foundation from which to build.  A foundation of trust, of boundaries, respect, and growth.  We want our children to grow into responsible, independent, trusting, and capable adults.  

I look at each of my children, and while they all have different strengths and weaknesses, they have a good foundation.  They are civilized and respectful and caring.  The foundation is there, even if the memories (of things that were so important and significant to me) are not.  When they are driving me crazy, I just reach back into my file and pull out a sweet memory of when they were little.  I expect to do that a lot during these teenage years!


The Globetrotter Parent said...

I think your message, to be complete, needs to address those who believe that punishment (including time out), in and of itself, is not good and definitely not AP. That doesn't mean that parents should not discipline, but some parents feel that they need to find ways other than punishment to achieve this, like explaining, modeling, allowing children to learn natural consequences.

I also think that a lot of what parents "discipline" their children for are not things that their child is developmentally ready to accomplish on his or her own. Picking up things in one's room is a big task done alone, for example, and often too overwhelming for a 5-year old. I would love for my 6-year old to be able to sit at the table for a whole meal and cut with a knife and fork but she doesn't. I encourage her each time but if I push too hard, it ends in frustration on her part. I'm assuming she's just not developmentally ready.

I think we also need to ask what we are raising our child to be. Do we want to raise children who are later on obedient to authority, without question? You mention children who are unruly, noisy, etc. but what is it they that are wrong to be so? Some parents may argue that their aim is to raise children who are free spirits and who question rules, not children who obey societal norms.

Just throwing these thoughts out there.

Maegan said...

Globetrotter...At first I was in agreement...About discipline being appropriate for the developmental age - I always consider, "Does my child know that this is not okay, will she understand if I ask her to stop?" Something that comes to mind is the shrieking that young toddlers do when they are testing out their voices. Rather than timeouts or telling my child to stop, I would get very close to her face and whisper very quietly. She would quiet down to hear me...And we would turn shrieking into a "secret whisper" game.

I have 2 girls, one is 7.5, one is almost 4. My older child has always been more independent...So I feel like I have had to help her less than showing her how to do something. My younger child can do many things on her own, but it took LOTS of time from observing the adults around her (as well as watching big sister) to figure out how to do things...And even now she struggles to do some things that came easily for big sis.

I think ANY child can do some of the things you mentioned. I had my older child picking up toys & carrying things back & forth to her toy box at 18 months...I could give her a toy and say, "Can you put it where it goes?" And she would run off to do it. It doesn't mean she cleaned her room alone...But that if I asked her to pick up...Or told her to pick when we were at someone else's home...She COULD pick up. She knew the steps to put things away. My younger child I had to walk back & forth from the toy box to the mess before she got it.

Yet, at not quite 4, she will be ready to leave her friend's house and will start picking up toys before we go (with a reminder).

Taking instructions is as important as children who can be free spirits and question rules. If there was ever an emergency or a very serious situation and it needed everyone to straighten up & listen to mommy and obey very quickly...I am sure my children could follow along without much complaint or panic. You don't walk into a library and be a "free spirit". There are rules there...about keeping your noise level down, about putting things away after you use them, etc. BUT when you go to the park...You can make noise, you can run...You can throw leaves! You need to have that sense of balance to help them decide WHEN can my child be unruly & noisy...and when should my child sit quietly with patience and maturity?

Regina said...

I debated over leaving a comment! I usually don't when it is something I don't agree with, but I'm just going to put it out there. Respectfully. :)
Attachment parenting is not my thing. Maybe if -no, WHEN- I have success breastfeeding long term I will feel differently. Who knows.

But as someone who doesn't do it, I will say that my deterrents have been the co-sleeping and the whole "free spirit", non-discipline attitude that the first commenter mentioned.

Co-sleeping to me feels forced, unnatural, and uncomfortable. Again, that is just me. It is entirely possible that I am weird, but I have tried it! But I have always had great sleepers, never needed to let my kids cry it out, and I have a great bond with both of them.

As far as discipline goes, you are right to assume that people associate attachment parenting with kids running wild. As an outsider to AP, I do this and know several other people who do. If the two do not go together, than I apologize!!
I discipline my 3 year old. My 12 month old, not so much obviously. But I will. We are the adults and the parents for a reason. Babies/toddlers/kids soak in every little thing, and it is our responsibility to be examples, set expectations and provide consequences. There is not always a natural consequence to bad behavior, so we have to make one (time-out, etc).

I agree that societal norms aren't law and don't need to be followed. (In fact the norms these days are so terrible I hope my kids don't!) But as far as rules, it doesn't often matter what your kid thinks, they HAVE to follow it! Whether it be in school, church, or in someone else's home. Rules are rules, laws are laws.

I once heard a parent say, after her child repeatedly yelled "no!" to her when she asked her to do something that she didn't want to discipline her because she was afraid she would "crush her spirit." That, to me, does not sound like mutual respect or trust, it sounds like the kid running the show.

As far as slings go, I used one a lot. I used it for shopping, the zoo, the grocery store, etc. But at home I wanted my baby to learn that there were times when she couldn't be held. I used to watch my friend do the dishes with one hand every night because she had to hold her baby (he was almost 1 at the time). That was fine with her, but it was not what I wanted. When other things need to be done, I want my baby to be able to and happy to play independently. (I realize she would have had both hands if she used a sling, but it is the principle for me.)

I will say that I am not the world's best mom either. I constantly pray for more patience and understanding! But, like you, I have a very well behaved 3 year old!! I am so proud of him every single day! We have the respect and trust that you mentioned, we just got there a different way.

I think everybody parents differently because everybody wants a different result to an extent, and that's okay. If AP works for you, and you get the result that you set out for, GREAT! If not, that's okay too.

I will also say that I do not subscribe to ANY parenting "method". Nor did I do a sleep "method". I have never read a parenting book of any kind. So far, we are all surviving. Maybe I'll pick one up for those teenage years you are talking about! :)

Great post Donna! I just wanted to give the view of someone who doesn't do AP, because I figured that most of your readers probably do.

Janie said...

I too do not attachment parent, but I, GASP, lean more toward babywise. Many can claim otherwise but most of the moms I talk to for any amount of time that AP - admit to being worn out, tired, they say their babies (and three year olds) 'nurse ALL night'

I handle my life and my other children better when my baby is on a schedule. Now that 'schedule' is extremely loose and I don't let my babies cry it out. and they get TONS of mom time, being held and I do child led weaning.

But they need to fit in the schedule of a family - not the family to their schedule.

I also do discipline and I am not bragging but my kids sunday school teacher said my five year old was the only one who listens in her class of 9 kids.

I think the danger is any following any one parenting 'system'. You can find online these days ANY support for your theory, whether it be too much discipline, no discipline, etc.

Common sense needs to come into play here.

I think a lot of moms are limiting their family size even when they want more children because they can't 'handle' more - maybe its because the are making the job overwhelming for themselves in the paradigm they have set up or bought into.

My litmus test when I read any advice is "would I have remotely considered doing this 100 years ago on the farm without the barrage of information I have now?

Would I have breastfed - yes
would I have taken my baby with me almost everywhere - probably
would I have slept with my baby? maybe, maybe not.
I can't sleep with my babies - I am uncomfortable. I don't sleep. My husband is grumpy and then snaps at our other children....they are in our room but not in our bed - except for maybe the first 6 weeks or so.
Its NOT for me, But I fully support moms who co-sleep.

Would I have been against punishment? NO - boundaries make happier kids. It needs to be age appropriate and developmentally right but they do need boundaries.

I see it all the time too in how kids react to each other. Granted this is a small microcosm, but the AP kids in my circle -the other kids have a hard time interacting with them - they want to get their way to the detriment of others.

One AP mom even said -- I have to watch him like a hawk because he is vicious to other kids. When he did slap the heck out of my kid - did she discipline him?? NO.

and I thought... well there you go mom - there's your problem.

Donna Ryan said...

Chelsea had a hard time posting her comment here and put it on Facebook instead, so I'm doing it for her here:

"Thank you! I tried to post on the blog but it didn't let me : (. I've never understood why raising your child to be a functioning member of society (gently) is such a bad thing. My daughter is well behaved in public (most of the time, she's only 21 months old, lol) and says "please", and "thank you". She is happy, independent, and well-adjusted. I always swore I would not be that mom in the restaurant with the screaming, messy, disruptive kid, and I'm planning on sticking to that. If she loses it, we leave, and she knows that. It's not a punishment, it's removing us from a stressful, no-win situation. I will never punish her for questioning authority, and in fat will encourage her to do it. In a proper, respectful, aware vein that will make it most possible for those in a position of authority to listen to her when she questions. Being in touch with "societal norms" does not make one a sheep.
And for the record, we are still breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping. We do not spank, we try to not yell, and we talk to her respectfully and explain why we do what we do. There is a fine line between punishment and consequence, and we try very hard to walk that line. Nobody's going to get it perfectly right, but I believe that we are doing it well so far, and it is in part thanks to the boundaries we have set-they make her secure."

Laura: The Sushi Snob said...

I'm not a parent yet, but I've been seeing this on AP forums and blogs lately, and I don't like it. Children need boundaries, and parents need to discipline. I think a lot of these parents don't realize that discipline doesn't have to mean destroying the child's spirit. There are methods that are meant to "break" a child, but there are others that are simply to teach the child that certain behaviors are not acceptable in polite company. I believe there is also such a thing as praising a child too much for doing things they should be doing anyway, but that's another story altogether :)

Nicole said...

Great post! AP is NOT permissive parenting, and shouldn't be! People take the "no punishment" thing to mean no discipline, and they're just not the same thing.

Mama Birth said...

Assuming that your 6 year old is not developmentally ready to use a utensils (something my 22 month old can do) is simply harming that child by not allowing them to grow. Growth is hard. We must all learn this. When we expect things from people (including children) INCLUDING expecting them to be respectful of others (and not slap them!) we are showing we respect them as people. When we assume that they are not capable of functioning, being respectful, listening, potty training, or WHATEVER- we are not respecting them or their abilities. We are in fact discounting their ability. We may find ourselves surprised when they grow that they are lacking in self esteem despite all the nice things we said about them. Not because we were mean or put them down, but because we didn't let them reach their potential.

Maegan said...

Regina...Not all babies can co-sleep! Mine couldn't...And I was okay with that. They slept better NEAR me, but not in the bed.

And I did use a wrap with baby #2. She simply had to be held. Otherwise the noise was detrimental to the health of everyone in the house. When she was an infant I didn't mind...As she approached a year I talked to the pediatrician about it. Literally ANY moment I was not making some kind of contact with her she was in tears (putting her down to sleep was a process...warming her bed with a heating pad...making sure she was REALLY asleep...then spending 20 minutes outside the crib with my hand on her back, slowly inching it off her). It started when she was 10 weeks old. She even stopped taking bottles from my husband & my mother. (I was breastfeeding, but pumped sometimes for a break or so I could leave her.)

The Ped. was sure "the crying would stop eventually". Let me tell you...No. It doesn't. Not with this one. Even now, she's almost 4...When she gets started it goes on & on. I can tell she tries to hold in the noise now...but her chest still heaves & her little crocodile sized tears are like a faucet.

A few times to try and "teach" her about letting mom do things while she occupied herself I would put her in the living room...Let her get comfortable on the floor with toys...Even turn on some distracting cartoons. And then go in to the kitchen to clean. And she would start crying. And she would stand there at the baby gate, arms outstretched while I cleaned the kitchen. From top to bottom. Taking time out to even clean the drawers, rearrange the silverware (I was convinced if I spent enough time in there, the crying WOULD eventually stop! The doctor had said it would...). I did everything I could think of. She cried...ACTIVELY CRIED for 3 freaking hours straight. Then I Just stood in the kitchen. I looked at her, I talked to her (mind you, I was talking to her the whole time, she could always see me). "You're gonna be fine, you have TOYS to play with and a snack...and look it's cartoons on TV! SO MUCH FUN!" She wasn't buying it. Finally I went over the gate, picked her up, and she instantly stopped crying. She was still hiccuping for a while...But she wasn't crying anymore. Her face was all blotchy & purple from crying. She refused to sleep (but not to nurse)...and remained awake, with her hands gripping any part of me she could manage for the next 6 hours. My husband came home from work...She refused to go to him...I could hold my arms straight out to the sides and she would still be hanging on. I didn't even have to hold her anymore - she clung to me on her own. The next 72 hours were Hell. She was convinced I was going to force her into separation again. A wrap (sling) was something we couldn't live without. She wouldn't even let my mother hold her until she was a year old. We lived 5 houses away from my mom...we saw her all the time. It's not as if grandma was a stranger! Some babies just NEED that contact...whether mom likes it or not. I dunno about you...but 3-4 hours of crying? No thanks. Especially if all it takes is for me to touch my kid!

Even now...I can't just leave her. There's this whole "process" to get out the door without tears. I don't do it b/c I'm "okay" with it...I do it b/c it's the only thing that works.

Sally T. said...

AMEN to the permissive parenting NOT being attachment parenting.

I'm not sure what method I do. I mix and match and put together what works for me. I did co-sleeping with my first but crib for my second - each method worked for the particular child involved. I breastfeed 90 percent of the time, but my baby gets an average of 2 ounces of formula a day, because I hate breast-pumps and want to be able to leave for a couple of hours if I need to. My two year old gets time outs, picks up her own toys, and practices good manners. She also throws tantrums that I sometimes must walk away from instead of challenging. The reward is when she puts her arms around me and says, "I love you so much, Mommy." And I know she's safe, happy, and secure.

Garden Pheenix said...

Excellent post. Articulately stated. <3

Janet said...

You are a talented writer, my friend. You often state so perfectly the many thoughts/feelings that I have spinning around in my brain but can't seem to communicate clearly--without significant effort at least. :) Someday I hope to get my brain back . . .

Thoughtful Birth said...

Up until now I thought that the only people who see AP as permissive are the ones who think you shouldn't let a newborn cluster-nurse at bedtime because "she needs to learn that she can't always get what she wants." :P

I don't think there's anything permissive about AP. It's about building a solid foundation of mutual trust and respect. Giving an infant "everything he wants" isn't permissive--it's teaching him that he can trust you to meet his needs and try to understand his communications. Then, based on that foundation and as your child matures, you start meeting his need for logical, consistent guidance, including rational consequences, as you start teaching him about respect for others, personal responsibility, and other virtues.

As another commenter mentioned, I think many parenting problems happen when we try to find some set of rules we can always follow, instead of recognizing that we really do have to be thinking and adjusting all the time as our children grow.

youngsjess said...

I hadn't really thought of AP as being "permissive parenting", but after reading Globetrotter's comment, I get it.

Discipline is a form of systematic instruction intended to teach, while punishment is inflicted suffering as a penalty for wrong-doing. Time-outs can be either, depending on how they are used. Yelling "go to your room" after a child disobeys is punishment. Removing a child from a situation that has become emotionally overwhelming in order to give them the opportunity to cope without "acting out" is a form of discipline. And it actually does a small child a great service to show them this.

Self-control does not come naturally, and children depend on us to demonstrate it not only with our own behavior, but by stepping in taking control for them when they have lost their own. The difference can sometimes be as simple as the expression on your face, the tone in your voice, and your semantics. But don't ever underestimate the sigificance of those small things with a child. They sometimes ARE the difference between punishing and teaching.

And helping a child to develop social skills uch as understanding when it is appropriate to be loud and boisterous, and when it is more considerate to be still and quiet, is NOT raising them to mindlessly obey authority. Social awareness is very important, and again, it's not something that comes naturally. We demonstrate these customs because it eases interactions with others. Just like the unspoken expectation that if I say "Hello" and extend my hand, that the friendly recipient will say "Hello" as well, and extend his, makes it much more comfortable for people to approach one's not meant to be oppressive, it's meant to serve as a guideline for communications and interactions between people who are not familiar with one another. Many societal expectations are just extensions of the same concept, and we do our children a disservice by not familiarizing them with this.

A child can behave in socially acceptable ways WITHOUT being a robot. And can learn to think freely and ask questions without being ignorant to social customs.

Natka-Kanadka said...

Great post! And YES, attachment parenting doesn't equal permissive parenting, or at least it shouldn't.
I am an AP Mom, but I also discipline and have certain expectations of my children (age appropriate). I believe the great thing about AP is that you get to know your children very well and understand why they behave a certain way. Definitely helps with disciplining them!
Also, since you respect your child, they respect you. You can always explain why you want them to behave a certain way in certain places and they accept it, because they trust you. Kids want to please their parents, especially when they are little. You just need to learn to "read" them and make "pleasing the parent" possible.
I get a lot of comments from people on how well behaved and polite my boys are (they are 5 and 2.5). And the thing is, my boys don't need to act out to get my attention - I attribute that to the bond we developed through AP while they were babies.
The more I research attachment theory and attachment parenting, the more I see it work in my family, the more I love it! :)

Follower Of Christ said...

Thank you so much for giving such a wonderful and NORMAL example of AP! I always feel like I don't fit in because I choose to discipline my children. Apparently, discipline is not Peaceful Parenting and thus not true AP. I have struggles like you and feel reassured to know that I am not alone. I have four children (4 and under) and am very proud of how well behaved they are : ) They frustrate me to no end some times but I'm proud of my children!

Beckula said...

I think this is great post but I do have a caveat. The problem with labeling some Parents as being permissive and assuming that their children act out because of a lack of discipline is that you don't really know what the deal is all the time. My kids are often the wild ones. I do my best but they both have invisible special needs, my oldest has moderate developmental delays and my middle is on the ASD. No amount of discipline/time outs are going to get them to understand why they can't do something that stims them, such as shrieking, or tearing up plants. I have to remove them from the situation and distract, distract, distract, which probably looks like me being permissive. Its exhausting and often I just opt out of events because something always goes wrong and I feel judged. Its a craptastic place to be and super lonely, and since my Kids don't have any physical special needs often I feel as if others think I just made it all up. Please remember this when you all set to dismiss some AP Parents as permissive that they might not have much of a choice.

zipline said...

I am way past the parenting time (grandparent of 6!). I work with children of all ages, birth to college, in several settings. Through the years, there has been many labels to parenting styles, but, I believe the basics have stayed the same.

Remember your goal: Our goal was well-adjusted, happy adults that give back more to society than they take....Long term. I am glad to say, we met that goal with all three.

Your child needs to learn independence. This is a must! The later this starts, the harder it can be.

It is really sad when I see 3-5 year old children that cannot be 15 feet away from mom (sometimes dad...90% its mom) for a swim class. And mom makes it worse, by making over the child and giving attention for unwanted behavior. I have to question, who is getting the most out of this relationship----mom or child?

I have seen this continue through High School and beyond. I know one family that now has a 20 something son and daughter still at home, not in school and not working, and yes mom and dad still do everything for them......

Keep the end in mind.

I have 330 years experience in youth and family ministry. The advice I give parents to think about: "The letting go process takes about 16 years, no matter when you begin. So, for your child, begin at the age of 2. Start teaching age appropriate independence and responsibility. That way you child is ready for college at 18." By the freshman year in HS, they should have control of about 50% of their schedule, by their senior year, they should have control of 90% of their schedule. The other 10% is what over laps with the rest of the family. I see parents still controlling 90% or better of their senior's life, then drop kick them to college, and wonder why they fail. Let them fail at home, and teach them to pick themselves up. In other words, DO NOT rescue them at every turn! Failure in Elem/Jr/Sr HS is a lot easier to over come than failure in college or the adult world.

As for co-sleeping: As a 25 year paramedic/FF who had to attempt to resuscitate many infants that were co-sleeping with a parent, and died when the parent rolled on to the infant....this is something I could never do or recommend. Think about the tragedy that could it worth the risk?

I enjoyed parenting, and enjoy grandparenting 10 times more.....

Em said...

My son is 2.5 now. Up until 18 mos. of age he was a delight. Well behaved in restaurants, able to play quietly, helped pick up toys, etc.
Then it was as if a switch flipped. He became combative, violent. Instead of wanting to please he wanted to displease. I had great success with "love and logic" style methods (time out, rational consequences) until he was about two. Now nothing works. He won't ever stay still unless he's sleeping. He won't read or play quietly in church. He is very independent and he is very stubborn. As an example in a store recently he began screaming. I took away his book as punishment. He continued screaming. I put my hand over his mouth- he continued screaming. I told him he would lose play doh privileges for the day unless he stopped- he continued screaming. So we left as quickly as could be managed with a cart full of groceries...with him screaming full tilt. It's embarassing for me and I get lots of dirty looks from people, but honestly, what else can I do? I can't duct tape his mouth.

What can you do when NOTHING works?

Jess said...

May I suggest a great book? I was in your same camp (time outs, punishments and rewards, etc.). Till I read "unconditional parenting" by alfie kohn. The baby book by dr. Sears was so great for my infants, and this book helpedme so much with my relationship with my older kids when nothing else was helping. P.s. my kids (6,3,1) are not wild- justask THEIR Sunday school teachers :)

Jess said...


Elizabeth said...

thanks for the book recommendation. Nothing seems to work with my 5yo, so as soon as I move and have a new address, I'm going to order it! She's not wild, we just have communication issues :)