Parenting without discipline?
A fellow mammy shared this video with me today, and I found it fascinating, so had to share it here. In the video Naomi Aldort, author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, shares her philosophy of parenting. She turns widely accepted ideas of disciplining children or controlling their behaviour on their heads, and proposes instead a discipline-free approach, teaching children to want to be good of their own free will, rather than forcing them to behave in a prescribed manner.
You can find the video here on YouTube: Well Behaved Children without Discipline with Naomi Aldort
I don’t buy into her entire message, because I think she places too much blame on the parent when a child acts out or misbehaves. But her advice certainly gave me some food for thought. I definitely fall into the trap of over-dramatising things when attempting to validate them for Little Man. “Oh no, your ice-cream melted. Are you very sad?” Maybe next time, I’ll just try leaving it at “Your ice-cream melted.” instead and see how he reacts. I’m guessing that it doesn’t matter what I say, because when you’re two and a half and your ice-cream melts, there are bound to be tears!
We started using the naughty step when Little Man was about 20 months old, and it has been quite effective for us. We don’t use it in a “time out” manner as such – what I mean is, we don’t set a specific amount of time for Little Man to sit on the step. If he is doing something bold, we warn him that if he repeats that action, he will have to go to the step. And if he does, we send him straight to the step. Out he goes to sit on the bottom of the stairs, and after a short time one or other of us follows him out to sit beside him and talk about what’s just happened. We talk about what he did, and why he did it. And many times, either Charlie or I will end up apologising for our own behaviour as well. So for example, if Little Man hit me, but he did it in response to me not responding to him while he was trying to get my attention, I’d apologise for ignoring him, and then he’d apologise for hitting me. And I think that’s the key to why this is a successful approach in our house. Anyone can be wrong and anyone can apologise, and there is no shame in that because we all make mistakes and mess up sometimes. And then we always have a cuddle and make sure everyone is friends again.
To me, that’s quite different to the naughty step or time out scenario that Naomi describes, where the time out is used as a punishment tool only, and not as a resolution tool. But perhaps that’s just me not being willing to change a technique that is currently working for us. 🙂
What do you think of Naomi’s advice?
PS – thanks Andrea for sharing the video.