She Says… Continuing the Discussion

You guys are amazing. Thank each and every one of you for your incredibly thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post about using lovey as a discipline tool. I still haven’t figured out threaded comments in the WordPress template I use (that, along with about a zillion other things, is on my “when I have a free 15 minutes” list), and replying to all of you in one big comment wasn’t going to be complicated and disorganize. Not to mention that so many people wrote their comments anonymously, so you wouldn’t know who I was talking to. So I decided to write out my response/thanks here, in a separate post.

On others disciplining your children…
A lot of your comments said something like “I understand where you’re coming from, but what the teacher did was totally ok. It’s just hard to see your kid disciplined by someone else”. You are so, so right. It is clear to me, after thinking it over for a few days and reading your very helpful comments that seeing this situation through the Mom lens tacked on a lot of emotion and baggage when really, what happened was totally ok. I still plan to have a quick chat with the teacher and ask a few more questions about what happened (since I only got a quick version of the story at pickup). If I really don’t want her to use withholding lovey as a technique unless it’s absolutely necessary, or would like her to try other techniques first when possible, I will say something then.

One of the many anonymous commenters reminded me, “It takes a village”! That really hit home for me. Even though it’s not the approach I would have taken in that moment, I appreciate that it’s really important for Owen to follow other people’s directions and behave well for them. Just as Benjamin and I do things differently at home, it’s crucial for Owen (and I!) to be flexible with others’ discipline techniques as well. We’re working on it 🙂

I trust his school and his teachers, and have always, always respected their approach. Even though this situation caught me by surprise, I can see the philosophy behind it and I know that it was done with love.

On time outs…
I said yesterday that neither school nor I have instituted time outs so far. That doesn’t mean we never will! In fact, I can see we are getting there. It’s just that, until now, we haven’t really needed to, as we have employed different techniques. I’m certainly not against them; in fact I think they are very effective when used properly! Just as Owen is testing his boundaries and pushing my limits, I am testing out which techniques work for me and my family. It’s all a learning experience and I’m constantly refining my approach for my specific child in this specific stage of his life.

To those who were offended by my words “abuse of power”…
Perhaps those weren’t the best words (since “abuse” and “teacher” shouldn’t be used in the same sentence!). I didn’t mean to say that it WAS an abuse of power; I was asking readers if THEY thought it was. In fact, I hope it was pretty clear from my language that I was more questioning if withholding lovey was an appropriate tool for leverage, considering Owen’s emotional ties to it, and the fact that, as a 2 year old, Owen still needs some help soothing himself when he is overtired or upset.

This morning at drop-off I reminded Owen, in front of his teacher, that when his teacher says it’s time to change his diaper, that it’s time to change his diaper, and he needs to listen. I didn’t add anything about the consequence or discuss screeching, but showed my support for “the teacher is in charge when you’re at school” and left it at that. I’m happy to put this one behind us and move on, hopefully without any more screeching.

Now to fit in a full day of work and get my entire house sparkling clean before family arrives for Thanksgiving! Ready… set… GO.


9 responses to “She Says… Continuing the Discussion

  1. I saw this book review about helping children learn to self-regulate when they’re stressed on NPR this morning, and I thought it tied in really well with your discussion: It looks like a really interesting read for anyone who interacts with children!

  2. @Ellen, Ooooh, thank you! That sounds really interesting.

  3. Great comment on “it takes a village”. My daughter behaves one way for me and totally different for her day care provider. She is 2 1/2 and is realizing that certain behaviours are okay for one person and not the other. She knows that there are different expectations depending on who she is with. They are a lot smarter than we realize 🙂

  4. That is such an important point to take home! One day when my son comes home from (big) school when he’s a teenager and wants to complain about how “unfair” a teacher is or has been for whatever reason, I want him to suck it up and just do what is asked of him (within reason – I’m not talking something that is inherently bad). I want him to accept that not everyone has the same method and it may be different from what he is used to, but as a rule, I want him to respect his teachers (and care givers) first and foremost. Whether or not I agree with him will be another thing all together. I guess this is farther in the future when there’s school work to deal with, but still along the same lesson lines budding right now when you think about it – everyone will have a different approach and I guess this is the positive aspect of it!

  5. A year or so back when my son Charlie was three he pushed another boy over. Before I could intervene the other boys mother stood in and said to Charlie, “Don’t you ever be mean to my little boy again”.

    I was of two minds. Should the boys have worked it out on there own? And I felt instant anger and resentment towards the other mother who diciplined my child. And yet if that other child had pushed over Charlie, would not I have reacted the same?

    Its all about perspective. Looking back I can see that Charlie really needed to be told what he had done was wrong. He needed to know that I was not the only person who felt pushing was wrong.

  6. I know this is off-topic but I thought with the recent Celiac diet you’d appreciate these recipes:
    I’ve tried a few [through Pinterest, of course] and they’re marvelous.

  7. Great take-aways, Kate. I’m especially glad you called out the “it takes a village” aspect. I think I missed that in the comments and I love it. It’s something we talk about a lot at our house, where we have more parents than a lot of folks do.

    Just as an aside, I totally did not think you were against timeouts from our previous post. In fact, I thought you did a good job of indicating you thought it might be something you’d use yourself when you felt like it was a tool you wanted/needed. Just, you know, so you know how you sound. 🙂

  8. I went back and read most of the comments and found the discussion to be really interesting. I love when parents can discuss these things in calm, rational, thoughtful ways. Lots of great insight.

  9. I’m personally against taking away the lovey and would discuss using another option with the teacher. I’ve read several books on disiciple that say not to employ this method for the child’s emotional health. I don’t think what she did in the moment was bad or “wrong” but as a general rule I wouldn’t want that punishment used on my child. If that’s how you feel it’s definitely reasonable to ask for a different method.

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