Author Topic: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted  (Read 457 times)

Steeze

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Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« on: October 15, 2020, 07:39:33 AM »
TL;DR

1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan
The Drama Of The Gift Child, by Alice Miller
Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen
Positive Discipline The First Three Years
Kids are worth it by Barbara Coloroso




My wife and I are discussing how we intend on disciplining our children. We have our first due in the spring, so we have plenty of time to learn. A good friend has a 2-year old and is starting to tell us about all the fun.

We spoke about how we were raised and it seems both of us were spanked with a belt / wooden spoon / wooden paddle if we didn't do what we were asked, lied, or embarrassed our parents. We were rarely yelled at, and never put in time out or grounded. I do not recall ever having my toys taken away as punishment.

While we seemed to turn out fine with that system, I am not sure that is going to fly in today's culture. Further I am sure there have been peer reviewed studies on the subject and books written about those studies.

So - does anyone have a book they can recommend that describes an effective system of positive/negative reinforcement, and appropriate expectations for different age groups?

I have a text book on childhood development that discusses the psychology & motivation of children at different ages, but doesn't go as far as prescribing an approach to discipline.

I asked some other friends about their childhood and got some random responses such as kneeling on rice while balancing books or writing, "I will not disrespect my parents and will do what I am told" 100x.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 06:39:39 PM by Steeze »

Laura33

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 09:02:23 AM »
First, I am glad you are open to reading and learning rather than just assuming that what worked for you will work for your kids.  The first thing to realize is that each kid has a different temperament and different driver, and sometimes that temperament meshes with yours, while other times it is completely different.  But it is your job as parent to figure out how to manage the kid you have, not some vision in your head about what a kid should be and how a kid should react.  Because the reality is that while how you were raised worked for you, it doesn't work so well for others.  (My husband was raised by a couple of yellers, and he tends to be very reactive/angry with our kids.  When we talked about it, he'd always say "it worked for me."  But the reality is it didn't work out so well for his sister, who had a bad relationship with her parents for years and still has some deep insecurities that make her a fundamentally annoying person in some ways).

The most important thing I figured out is that "negative reinforcement" is the least-effective way to manage kids -- in particular, the very reactive, angry, lashing-out kind of negative reinforcement.  Kids need to feel secure above all; they recognize that they are weak and vulnerable, and so they need to know that their big, strong parents will always be the rock they can hang on to.  So when someone as powerless as them can knock that rock off-balance just by doing something as simple as crying or yelling, that is very, very scary to a little kid.  Kids need boundaries and rules and consequences, of course.  But they need to be age-appropriate for one (getting mad at a toddler for having a meltdown is really stupid, because they are literally not mature enough to calm themselves down and use their words), and they need to be implemented very dispassionately and calmly.  I think of my Granny:  I cannot once ever remember her raising her voice at us, and yet you just knew you didn't cross Granny.  She just had that kind of calm authority to her.  There is much more power in calmness and managing your own emotions than there is in losing it and becoming a giant angry bear.  Added bonus is it's also 100x more effective.

For books, I'd suggest 1-2-3 Magic.  That is the book that really emphasized the need to stay calm and unmoved -- that in fact my getting angry was just amping up my DD into even worse behavior.  There is an image of a horse standing in a field, with a horsefly buzzing around, and the horse is just ignoring it and periodically swats the fly with its tail -- that has stuck with me for 15 years now.  The concept is that you establish a clear (age-appropriate!) expectation and consequence, you let kids know calmly when they are approaching that boundary, and when they continue to do so, you execute the consequence immediately and dispassionately -- every time, no talking, no anger.  It helped me, because turns out I was ignoring little stuff in the hope that I'd get the kid out the door or to bed or whatever, until some little thing pushed me over the edge.  By making me stop and note the small things, it helped me not get so wound up.  But then you also have to balance that with noticing the things your kid does right, and giving positive attention for the "right" behavior -- even just the baby steps.

The other book I'd keep in mind if you have a particularly difficult child is "Your Spirited Child."  I hesitate to recommend that as a general rule, because it can come across as a little too "lenient" if you're into law-and-order-type parenting.  But it absolutely saved my relationship with DD.  Some kids are born without filters; lights are too bright, noises are too loud, the line on the socks or tag on the shirt is a constant irritant.  If you end up with one of those kids, traditional parenting methods DO NOT WORK.  Trust me: I was raised with "ignore a tantrum," but if you ignored my DD, she'd end up with epic, hour-long tantrums where she'd get so out of control she'd freak herself out.  I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew in order to become the kind of parent that my DD needed.  (Of course, all the traditional methods worked just fine on my DS a few years later -- made me feel like a much better parent!)

One final note:  no matter how you end up managing your kids, always, always make them feel like they are good enough and smart enough and wonderful humans, even when they are at their most unlovable.  I spent a long time thinking that it was my job to "fix" my DD's flaws -- particularly all the things that she did that were the same mistakes I had made.  I wanted to save her from all that!  But I ultimately realized that there is a whole big wide world out there that will be happy to tear her down and pick apart her every decision.  What she really needed was someone who thought she was awesome just as she was.  So I learned to bite my tongue about the little stuff and just set some pretty clear rules, with as much personal freedom and choice for her as possible, and I trusted her to navigate the rest.  Had to bite my nails a few times, but it was wonderful to watch her blossom. 

Steeze

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 12:05:48 PM »
@Laura33  -  Thanks for the book suggestions. I read the summary for 1-2-3 Magic and will be requesting from the library. Seems like a pretty straight forward approach. I will check out the other title later as well.

Also - thank you for the valuable insight. I tend to think of this in an authoritative way. It is a good reminder that what I think is the ideal response is not necessarily the response that is going to yield the results I expect. The best response will be dependent on the child and will be learned through some trial and error.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 12:34:04 PM by Steeze »

cool7hand

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 01:04:19 PM »
You might consider reading about what happens when a parent fails to distinguish between what's best for your child and whether your neuroses are causing you to make your child act in a certain way because of those neuroses. Try The Drama Of The Gift Child, by Alice Miller.

Laura33

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 01:14:53 PM »
I tend to think of this in an authoritative way. It is a good reminder that what I think is the ideal response is not necessarily the response that is going to yield the results I expect. The best response will be dependent on the child and will be learned through some trial and error.

That is exactly the right attitude, FWIW; good for you for really evaluating yourself and thinking about these things.  A lot of people never make that shift.  The best thing you can do for your future kid is to be prepared for everything you think to be wrong, and just go with it.  ;-)  The good news is that 95% of all the stuff you fret about matters far less in the end than you think it does at the time.

Think of it as the difference between "authoritative" and "authoritarian."  You are always, always the last word.  But it helps if you are also wise enough to reserve that last word for the times when it really matters, and to give your kid the love and independence to explore and learn their own way in all the times in-between.

TrMama

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 01:21:54 PM »
Ditto to everything Laura said. Your individual child will dictate the type of parenting he or she needs. I'd suggest reading a bunch of different books with different views so you'll have a big pool of tricks to pull from. This advice applies especially to books about how to get your baby to sleep, which is the first behavioural challenge most parents face. Again, your child dictates the best approach, you don't get to pick ;-) This is the biggest lesson in parenting and it will whack you across the face anytime you start to think you're actually in control of anything. You are not in charge here. You can steer the boat a bit, but the kid is actually the one charge. It's fantastic though. I've learned so much from my kids and they've molded me into a much better person as a result.

I strongly dislike the term discipline and I almost never "discipline" my kids. If things have deteriorated that far then I've probably massively screwed up somewhere along the line by ignoring what they were trying to tell me ages ago or expecting too much from them. I mean, they still have consequences for whatever choices they make, but as much as possible DH and I try to set them up for success as much as possible. Kids almost universally want to please their parents and if you show them how to do it, most of them will do whatever then can to comply. The outside world does a good enough job of tearing them down, they don't need more of that at home.

Be aware that authoritarian parenting can be a disaster for a sensitive child. If DH and I tried to parent our oldest that way, she'd probably commit suicide. Other kids/people need a more direct approach, but I can't imagine any child has ever benefitted from being hit. I certainly didn't regardless of the fact I survived.

Another recommendation for "Your Spirited Child". I wish I'd read it when my oldest was a preschooler (which is the age it targets) rather than waiting till she was 9. Otherwise, I've got one of those non-typical kids for whom the normal parenting books are total garbage so I don't have any other recommendations.

lhamo

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 01:34:33 PM »
I loved "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk." My parenting has been very much along the lines of their Authoritative approach, and my kids (now 19 and 15) seem to have turned out pretty good - knock wood!

LiveLean

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 01:37:19 PM »
Don't worry about books. The only books you'll be reading -- and should be reading - in the coming years are an hour's worth of books to your kid every night. If you speak more than one language, even better.

You'll figure out discipline on youir own, taking a mix of both parents' upbringings. Don't let screens serve as babysitters or ways to avoid tantrums. Enjoy the pre-screen years. Make them last as long as possible. Strap on and get ready! Enjoy!

Steeze

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 02:17:33 PM »
Thank you all for the replies.

It was helpful reading about authoritarian vs. authoritative vs. permissive styles. Nice to have solid language to describe what you see and experience.

I think my wife and I grew up in authoritarian style homes, her especially. Around 10 years old my home became distinctly permissive, which was fun, irresponsible, and by 15, wildly dangerous. From 15-25 was a bit of a lost decade, and I am lucky to be here today. I do credit my strict authoritarian childhood to being able to turn my life around - I had a good foundation, just got lost.

Authoritative seems to be a better definition of our intentions. I will try to focus on systems which place an emphasis on that style.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2020, 01:19:41 PM »
I think it's good you are thinking about parenting and discipline styles, especially coming from the authoritarian and permissive backgrounds.  I know I wanted something a bit different than my upbringing for my kids, and for me reading gave me the language to put some of what I wanted into practice.

Before 2, there is very little "discipline" in the traditional sense - it is all redirection and an occasional strong "NO!".  I really enjoyed Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen (the classic) for an overview of the philosophy and Positive Discipline The First Three Years for how it applies to little littles.  I'm done with the latter one and can pop it in the mail if you are interested.  It gave us a solid base, and was basically all the discipline we needed for our son.

Our daughter, on the other hand, dealt us quite the hand where discipline is concerned.  She is very strong willed and defiant, and we have struggled with being the type of parents she needs.  For her, I would say "How to talk to Little Kids will listen" was more effective than Positive Discipline (although it's in line with the PD philosophy, just more specific).  In the end though, we took a behavior intervention class that is basically Positive Discipline meets behaviorism.  If you turn out to have a challenging kid, I have lots of advice, but won't detail it here as it likely won't apply. :)

StashingAway

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 02:01:15 PM »
"Kids are worth it" by Barbara Coloroso may be on the list as well. Heard her talk on a podcast and got the book and it is a very good read. Not too far off from what Laura33 was saying in that negative reinforcement doesn't set kids well up for life. Gives lots of scenarios throughout and ways to address them. She was a special needs teacher for many years so has been through the school of hard-knocks. In the end, it's more of a book on how to interact with other humans compassionately in disguise as a book about how to manage kids. Examples include how to introduce choice into their life and managing consequences for their actions.

I've got friends with only good things to say about "1-2-3-magic", so I may have to give that one a shot as well.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 02:05:01 PM »
"Kids are worth it" by Barbara Coloroso may be on the list as well. Heard her talk on a podcast and got the book and it is a very good read. Not too far off from what Laura33 was saying in that negative reinforcement doesn't set kids well up for life. Gives lots of scenarios throughout and ways to address them. She was a special needs teacher for many years so has been through the school of hard-knocks. In the end, it's more of a book on how to interact with other humans compassionately in disguise as a book about how to manage kids. Examples include how to introduce choice into their life and managing consequences for their actions.

I've got friends with only good things to say about "1-2-3-magic", so I may have to give that one a shot as well.

I like this one as well!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 02:33:51 PM »
PTF, just reserved all the titles mentioned so far at the library. Thanks everybody. I have a six year old and a three year old and sometimes I feel like a total disaster as a parent. I'm familiar with a lot of basic parenting strategies but I forget it a lot in the heat of the moment and can always use a reminder.

Steeze

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2020, 06:46:50 PM »
I think it's good you are thinking about parenting and discipline styles, especially coming from the authoritarian and permissive backgrounds.  I know I wanted something a bit different than my upbringing for my kids, and for me reading gave me the language to put some of what I wanted into practice.

Before 2, there is very little "discipline" in the traditional sense - it is all redirection and an occasional strong "NO!".  I really enjoyed Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen (the classic) for an overview of the philosophy and Positive Discipline The First Three Years for how it applies to little littles.  I'm done with the latter one and can pop it in the mail if you are interested.  It gave us a solid base, and was basically all the discipline we needed for our son.

Our daughter, on the other hand, dealt us quite the hand where discipline is concerned.  She is very strong willed and defiant, and we have struggled with being the type of parents she needs.  For her, I would say "How to talk to Little Kids will listen" was more effective than Positive Discipline (although it's in line with the PD philosophy, just more specific).  In the end though, we took a behavior intervention class that is basically Positive Discipline meets behaviorism.  If you turn out to have a challenging kid, I have lots of advice, but won't detail it here as it likely won't apply. :)

Thank you! - I just checked it out and I can order it at the library. It is already checked out, but I will put it on back order while I read 1-2-3 Magic. Interestingly they do not have the original - only the "the first 3 years" - Can I get the gist from the latter without first reading the original?

ToTheMoon

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2020, 08:15:28 PM »
From the library: Alyson Schafer - Breaking the Good Mom Myth (basics) & Honey I Wrecked the Kids (older kids or more spirited kids).

For your bookshelf at home: Alyson Schafer - Ain't Misbehavin': Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdowns, Bedtime Blues and other perfectly normal kid behaviours*.

*This one was awesome for when I was just was not sure what to do anymore. I would keep it in my bedroom, give myself a time-out while I looked up the behaviour I was dealing with. It is very straightforward - look up the behaviour that is occurring, it says "you are probably saying this, but try saying that instead." A total saviour at the moment, and it worked most of the time!

ETA - Her style is "democratic" parenting - lots of natural consequences (when appropriate) and giving your kids choice (again, where appropriate.) I strive for this, but in the heat of the moment I end up reverting to authoritative parenting (how I grew up) if I am not careful!

I should also mention that all my best parenting intentions went out the window when I was not caring well enough for myself. Looking back, most of my worst parenting times/moments occurred when I was over-tired, over-caffeinated, over-stimulated etc. If you can take good care of yourself as the parents, there will likely be fewer blow-ups etc as you will have the mental wherewithal to get out ahead of most issues BEFORE they become yelling times.

Care for yourselves as well as you intend to care for your children and you probably do not even need any books to read. You will actually be capable of not sweating the small stuff!
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 07:57:00 AM by ToTheMoon »

SimpleCycle

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Re: Discipline Methods - Book Recommendations Wanted
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2020, 11:51:49 AM »
I think it's good you are thinking about parenting and discipline styles, especially coming from the authoritarian and permissive backgrounds.  I know I wanted something a bit different than my upbringing for my kids, and for me reading gave me the language to put some of what I wanted into practice.

Before 2, there is very little "discipline" in the traditional sense - it is all redirection and an occasional strong "NO!".  I really enjoyed Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen (the classic) for an overview of the philosophy and Positive Discipline The First Three Years for how it applies to little littles.  I'm done with the latter one and can pop it in the mail if you are interested.  It gave us a solid base, and was basically all the discipline we needed for our son.

Our daughter, on the other hand, dealt us quite the hand where discipline is concerned.  She is very strong willed and defiant, and we have struggled with being the type of parents she needs.  For her, I would say "How to talk to Little Kids will listen" was more effective than Positive Discipline (although it's in line with the PD philosophy, just more specific).  In the end though, we took a behavior intervention class that is basically Positive Discipline meets behaviorism.  If you turn out to have a challenging kid, I have lots of advice, but won't detail it here as it likely won't apply. :)

Thank you! - I just checked it out and I can order it at the library. It is already checked out, but I will put it on back order while I read 1-2-3 Magic. Interestingly they do not have the original - only the "the first 3 years" - Can I get the gist from the latter without first reading the original?

Yep, definitely, it stands alone.