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Very confused about discipline

Max is a good little boy, rarely gets up to mischeif, he's a bag of energy but uses it positivel, he plays nicely and doesn't do much to warrant a sturn no. Anyway, he's been getting more and more rough with our dog-he ignores me when I say no and has started trying to ride he, grab her face, pull her tail etc. it is naughty behaviour but he just sees her as a toy-we explain she has feelings and he's hurting her but he's obviously too young to understand.

She's a very placid dog but I'm worried he's going to push her too far and she'll snap or he'll do it to another, less placid dog and will end up getting really injured. So last week, my parents were at our house, I was in work, mac started playing rough with the dog and wouldn't stop so my hubbie said no, put him in the kitchen and pulled the door to, left him for a minute then went back a gave him a cuddle, explained what he'd done wrong and then max stroked the dog nicely and gave her a kiss.

I've had my mum on the phone today. She's got 40 years teaching experience behind her and was always a wonderful mum so I really do value her advice. She said max is way too young for the naughty corner and that she doesn't agree with it at any age , it's a mild form of bullying ie. If you don't do what I tell you I'll be mean to you and punish you. She said if we start right now we won't have true naughty behaviour when he's older ie hurting the dog on purpose because he'll have learnt to be respectful of others.

She said all my hubbie did when he moved him into the kitchen was scare him, there was no lesson learned as he's too young to understand. We should just be repeatedly removing the source of 'bad' behaviour ie, we should have put the dog outside or using distraction.

I got very defensive about what oh had done but by the end of the phone call I started thinking she's right, we are doing things wrong. I've now been thinking about teeth, max clamps shut so I hold him on my knee and he screams and gets very distressed but i hold him down and clean his teeth. I feel truelly awful about it now-I'd never do that to anyone else so why do I think it's ok to physically restrain my little boy just so I can clean his teeth. So tonight, I let him suck his toothbrush , got one tiny swipe of his bottom teeth and that was that. I want him to be respectful of others, well how can I teach him that if I'm not being respectful to him?!

Anyway, enough ramble. What do you all think? How do you deal with your lo 's when they're doing something they shouldn't? I know I'm a good mummy and I'm trying my best, think ive got a lot to learn along the way !x

[Modified by: p.bob on 10 August 2010 18:47:07 ]


  • Ps, sorry for the typos !xx
  • I don't often post on these but just wanted to say that I think your hubby handled it perfectly. I have two dogs and a background in education for children with behaviour issues and I would say it is very important that the dog is not punished when the child is hurting it which it would probably feel was happening if it was put outside when the hair pulling/etc occurred! Children need to learn that there are boundaries and behaviours that are acceptable and if they don't keep to them then they can't join in etc so removing from the room for a very very short amount of time is fine. Sorry rambling and not very clear but my little
    Diva is still not asleep so keep having to stop to sort her out though one of my dogs could do this without me she is such a good mummy x x x

  • Thanks Steph-I just think that ok, max may not understand at the moment that a dogs not a toy but if he gets put in a different room won't he eventually figure out that hang on-If riding the dog gets me taken away from her I'd better stop doing it!

    My mum says we were never really naughty, that at this age everything they do is innocent eg, mummy gives me piggy backs so the dog can give me a piggy back. She said that because she'd earned our respect from a very young age, when we were a bit older all it took was 'the look' and we'd stop whatever we shouldn't be doing.

    She's right, my brother and I were really good kids, never went through a rebellious stage and I do respect my parents but maybe that's just down to our personalities. My mil agrees with starting the naughty spot early , she says were doing the right thing but all her kids including my husband went through rebellious phases when they were older-drink, debt, teenage pregnancy! They've all come good now. It seems stupid to think that discipling them from an early age caused this again, maybe it's personalities and Max is a lot like his daddy-combine that with a very soft approach and goodness knows how he'd end up or maybe my mums right.

    She says the too many people are watching super nanny and her techniques may work in extreme cases , which the families on the programme are, but that something like the naughty spot should no way be used on a 16 month old.

    See why I'm confussed!! Don't worry about being opinionated, I genuinely do want peoples opinions on this as I really don't know if my mums right or not!xx
  • Thanks for the reply Rena, I agree with you! xx
  • hi pbob. personally, i'm not convinced by ur mum's arguement, i think depending on the 'offence' distracting or removing the otehr thing (ie the dog) can jsut teach them that they can do what they like and they won't get in trouble, but in this case the dog would be punished instead, iyswim? which could then lead the dog to becoming resentful of max... we do 'time out'...basically the same principle as supernanny's naughty corner, but i'm not keen on 'naughty' and its a technique that every nursery and afterschool/holiday club i've worked in has employed. but like i say, it depends what he's done. he's taken to ignoring 'no' in the alst week or so, i knwo he understands it as he used to react to just the word 'no' stop what he was doing ,a nd more often than not have little cry, but now he is trying to test that boundary and see what happens if he ignores 'no'. if he's biting/slapping me, i tell him to stop, if he continues i then move him slightly away (or put him down if he's sat on my lap/carrying him), if he does it again, then he goes in a particular corner in the living room for 1 minute...he can still see me at all times (not sure i could put him in anotehr room/shut the door etc, and i can, understand ur mum thinking thats perhaps a little ott...but my reasoning for that being is if/when i have to leave a room fo any otehr reason, i don't want him to think that thats me punishing him and he's done something worng then...or associate that room with being solitary punishment- but i could well be reading FAR too much into it for my own good lol), as i've not taken him out of the room, but i don't pay him any attention while he's there (most 'naughty' behaviour is in order to gain attention/reaction of some sort), its usually enough time for him to finish his mini tantrum, and when i go back to him i tell him why i put him there and then we have a little cuddle.

    if he's just having a tantrum, over anything, wants to play with something he shouldn't for example, then i remove what is causing the tantrum. so if i've got soemhting that he wants but shoudln't have (idk like a glass) and he's having a tantrum then i take the glass away, usually annoys him even more for like half a minute, but he forgets about it soon enough.

    my opinion really is thta the 'punishment' should fit the 'crime' so one form of discipline isn't going to be vaild for all wilful behaviour, iyswim?

    i think u and ur OH should do whatever u feel works best for that given situation...maybe compromise between the two and if its a minor 'wrongdoing' then just remove the source, but if its somehting more serious/testing, like biting etc then maybe up the 'punishment' slightly to sitting him on a particular chair or corner or something

    hope u manage to find a solution that works for u, and hope ur all well otherwise xxx 22+4
  • Hi p.bob.

    Looks like everyone's got different opinions on this! Riley can be naughty sometimes i.e. pulling the dog too hard, going near things he shouldn't etc. With the dog I don't think he does it on purpose he just gets excited and then pulls her! He used to be really rough with her but poor dog just took it! We used to tell him no and now he's not rough with her like he used to be he can 'stroke' her without hurting her, that's if she stays still long enough for him!
    If he does anything naughty we just tell him no and sometimes distract him with something else. I've thought about using something like a naughty mat when he's older but I don't think he would really understand yet.
    Hope you find something that works for you. x
  • Thanks for all your replies girls, it's really interesting to see how we all deal with these situations-I don't think there's a right or wrong way, just finding what's suits us as parents and learning what works best for our lo's.

    I think there is a time and a place for the 'naughty' spot but that maybe we've jumped the gun with it. I've taken a big step back and realised that I've this isn't how I want to discipline max at the moment, I still think we should remove him from the dog and not the other way around but that he's too young for the timeout.

    I hope my mums comments didn't offend any of you-you're all fab mummys! Xx
  • we have got a little arm chair in the kitchen if Leah is being totally out of control i sit her on it leave the door open and walk back into the front room and in 30 secs she has calmed down and comes back to play not a naughty step yet as she likes the chair bit it gives her a few secs to calm down she often goes to play on it anyway so its not seen as a naughty thing but it does help us Lexie is 3 in oct and she does have a naughty step she sits on and she does come in and say sorry

    [Modified by: 2girlywhirlys on August 11, 2010 02:59 AM]

  • Ooh, interesting post, p.bob. I've had to think about it for a few days before replying.

    At the moment, Peter is definitely too young for time out or a naughty corner. He wouldn't have the ability to comprehend the relation between the punishment and the crime and he doesn't quite have the language for an explanation to be helpful. So we are sticking with a firm 'no' and distraction for things like taking dad's CDs out of the rack.

    That being said, I have found situations where physical removal is necessary for his own safety, even if it comes across as a punishment. We were at the beach two days ago and he was playing in a pool of sea water. After about 10 minutes he was starting to go blue but was having huge amounts of fun. He wouldn't have responded to being reasoned with so I said 'Okay, it is getting cold now, lets go back' picked him up and took him back to his towel and got him warm. Yes, it probably felt arbitrary and like a punishment to him, but the other option would have endangered his health which is equally, if not more, unacceptable. The potential that he might be injured by a dog if he doesn't do what he has told would seem to me to be a similar situation and I think your husband did precisely the right thing in the circumstances.

    However, it was your point about teeth brushing that really made me think. You say you never physically restrain anyone else to get them to do what you want, so why should you with your son. At one level I agree but at another I worry that if we attempt to reason with our children when they are too young we run the risk of not being able to discipline them at all. It is all very well to want to treat them as adults, to explain everything and use reason but they *aren't* adults. They are children and still have to learn judgement and discretion and it is our job, as the adults in the relationship to teach them that. I think we need some form of authority - some ability to impose negative consequences as well as rewards - in order to do so. How we wield that authority, and the tools and strategies we use, is, in the end, going to be up to who we are and who are children are, but I do think that it can be too easy to abdicate authority by expecting too much of our children too early.

    Not that I think that is what you have done, p.bob! It sounds as if your teeth brushing strategy has worked for you and Max. I just know that I am worried about my ability to impose appropriate limits on Peter and I'm over-thinking things, as usually! :lol:
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