Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

I wondered what your thoughts were on this:

Posted by on Dec. 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM
  • 11 Replies

I happened upon this very interesting Author.. Hartley Steiner.
She has 3 boys and deals with TONS of acronyms... from SPD to ASD, adoption, Bipolar.. WHEW.. she has a handful and since writing is cathartic and helps her process whats going on for them (and her) she has a fantastic blog. check it out when you have a chance. http://hartleysboys.blogspot.com/

But, I digress...

In reading one of her posts it really made me think and I wanted to discuss it with a bunch of well informed caring moms who want the best for their kids... so, tell me your thoughts on this:

Im going to BUMP this post on Thursday.. since I know the next 48 hours are crazy, but I didnt want to forget (which is happening a lot since turning 40..LOL) 

IS THE ART OF PARENTING LOST?

I have regular conversations with people who are seeking my advice on parenting, something I have grown accustomed to over the last 14 years (hard to believe I was teaching parenting before I had children of my own, but alas, I was…). That doesn't surprise me anymore, but what does continue to surprise me is that the definition of parenting (not to mention the execution of it) seriously seems to be lost.


The misconception I see the most is that parenting is just a mixture of supervision and discipline – perhaps sprinkled with a healthy dose of ‘eat your vegetables’ and ‘take your medicine’. But that’s not parenting.

Parenting is not supervision alone. Parenting is not discipline alone. Parenting is not simply giving rules and enforcing them. Parenting is what happens in between rules and discipline.

Let me explain.

Most people parent the way their parents parented them (for better or worse) which is usually a Behavioral based model of parenting. It works, loosely, like this:

If you like your child’s behavior – reward it.
If you don’t like your child’s behavior – punish it.
Up the ante on both rewards and punishments until you have achieved the behavior you want.

Does this sound familiar? Here’s an example in case you are unsure if you fit into this group:

Nick isn’t doing his homework after school. He would rather play with his friends, or be on the computer, or just listen to his iPod. So, his homework isn’t getting done, and he is behind in school.

You walk in his room, “Nick, you need to do your homework. Put your iPod away.”
You leave.
You return in 30 minutes, “Nick, I said it is time to do your homework. Put away your iPod and get your books out NOW.”
You leave.
You return in 30 minutes, “NICK! I told you to do your homework NOW!”

Parents that fit into the Behavioral based parenting model usually start down one of two paths now:

“Nick, if you don’t do your homework right now, I’m taking your iPod.” You can substitute the iPod consequence with anything – you won’t get dessert, you won’t get to play with Luke, you will have to go to bed early, you will have to stay in your room until it is done, you won’t get to go to the football game on Friday, etc.

OR

“Nick, if you do your homework before dinner, I will give you 5 bucks.” You can substitute the 5 dollar reward with anything too – you can watch your favorite show tonight, I’ll take you out to dinner, you don’t have to clean your room, you can play extra video games, etc.

Both the punishment and reward offers are an attempt to alter the child’s behavior – in this case make him do his homework. Even if you accomplish motivating your child with a threat or a bribe, the reality is that this isn’t an effective way to CHANGE anyone’s behavior, and definitively not long term.

Let’s assume you agree that there is no need to punish or bribe your child if it isn’t changing the root cause of the behavior, yes? Because that solution doesn’t teach your child the skills necessary to be self-motivated, organized, and independent – all things needed to complete homework without daily intervention – which is the goal. Well, unless you want to spend evenings checking on your son every 30 minutes and coming up with new creative ways to punish him. What? You don’t want to do that? I didn’t think so.

The above scenario, one that plays out in households all across the nation and is probably happening as we speak, is the most common misconception in parenting that I come across – moms and dads using the Behavioral style of parenting in a misguided attempt to force their children into compliance without a single moment of teaching.

And let’s note that constantly punishing your child for expectations of yours that he/she doesn’t meet, while not doing a single thing to teach your child how to, simply ruins their self-esteem – making them feel dumb, or stupid, or like they are constantly letting you down – enter bad behavior such as meltdowns, defiance, and worse (especially if we are talking about kids in the teenage years. *sigh*).

Ok, remember when I said parenting isn’t supervising and disciplining, parenting actually occurs in between those two things? If you are just telling your child what to do, then following up with consequences, you aren’t parenting.

Now you can use the Behavioral model of parenting, especially if you have a typically developing child, and it can work. Sometimes. But if you have a child like mine, who has some skill deficits, or is wired differently, or has a gifted IQ (*cough* argumentative), then this style of parenting is much like banging your head against a brick wall every day and then complaining of a headache every night.

Now you’re asking, What is Parenting? Good, glad we are on the same page!

Parenting is the process by which we teach our children the skills necessary to succeed – not just academically or socially, but everything they will need to become independent, productive adults (that move out, live on their own, and forge their own way). So let’s talk about THAT.

I follow the Collaborative Problem Solving approach to parenting, something that many people rely on for solving problems, but I have truly adapted this approach to the way I talk to, work with, support, and parent, all three of my children.

The basis of this approach, that I’m sure you’ve read from me before, is Dr. Greene’s saying, “Children do well when they CAN, not when they WANT to.”

So let’s start there, and go back to the above scenario with Nick and his homework, so I can illustrate where the parenting comes into play.

Setting the expectation with Nick that his homework is to be done, daily, is the first step. The next step starts with asking him about how we can make that happen, because getting his homework done is required, but how, when, and where, are all things I am less concerned about – but I assure you Nick is. Listening to Nick’s ideas, thoughts, and concerns about homework, is a way for me to support our communication (Because if you don’t listen to the little things your kids have to say, they won’t ever tell you about the big things, guaranteed).

I hear from Nick, through empathetic listening and reflection that he needs some down time when he gets home to regroup before starting on his homework. I also hear him say he is hungry when he gets home (needs snack immediately), has a hard time concentrating downstairs with his brothers jibber-jabbering and the TV on, but also doesn’t like being alone upstairs in his room where it is too quiet and he feels punished, and lastly that he really wants to play football with his friends in the culdesac when he gets off the bus (more important during football season and when the sun is out).

We can work with all of those things.

I begin by setting a routine, one that Nick and I can both agree too, that allows for exceptions like playing football, by approved request, and looks something like this:

*Get off the bus
*Hang up backpack, take off shoes, wash hands
*Eat snack
*30-45 mins of down time (no TV)
*Homework begins at 4:30 and is to be done by dinner at 6:00
*Any time after homework is done is free time for Nick

By doing this I am teaching him to be organized, that homework is a priority (our motto: do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do), but that his needs and feelings are important too. I want to work within what works for him, not attempt to simply push my will onto him the moment he walks in the door – that just creates a power struggle (and you don’t need more power over your child than what is necessary to keep him/her safe; they must learn to make their own choices).

Now a routine and a plan aren’t going to magically make Nick want to do his homework. But, it does give us a schedule to follow, which is part of being self-motivated and independent. We manage the challenges with distraction by allowing him to work in his room, with music if he wants, and allow for a large window of time to accomplish his homework – meaning he can get up, move around, grab another snack, or simply have room to breathe. Often times the pressure of doing homework with no end in sight is overwhelming in and of itself.

The point here is that I have to work with my child, acknowledge his needs, understand his challenges, and finding solutions that set him up for success and teach him the skills he needs to perform without me present (*cough* giving him bribes and threats). That’s parenting.

I think we have forgotten our children don’t come pre-programmed, already having mastered the skills they need to succeed. That's our job. We are here to teach them, guide them, and yes make rules and enforce them, but not without giving them the tools to do so.

I hope parenting isn’t a lost art, but in case it is, remember this:

Raising kids is hard work.
Sitting back and supervising their mistakes then dolling out punishments is easy.
So, if that’s what you’re doing, maybe it’s a sign you’re missing something

by on Dec. 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Jenibob
by Bronze Member on Dec. 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I agree with what she's saying.  The hard part is getting our kids (or anyone for that matter) to be motivated to want to do these things (especilly undesirable things like her homework example) on their own.  Setting schedules and other plans in place is a start but she's 100% right that it doesn't stop there.

I'm mixed on the bribery/reward/punishment issue.  Our kids are young so I believe we need to utilize any and all ways to help get our kids started.  If it's a bribe or a consequence I'm ok with using it for now.  I don't want to have to rely on it forever.  

My son is 11 and I don't have to rely on rewards/consequences solely, there are areas he's able to do things without that system (which is our goal).  But it is still a part of our tool box currently.  

I guess if I see a time when he only responds to rewards/consequences then I've run amuck and will have to go back to the drawing board.  

Interesting read, thanks for posting!

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Dec. 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

They are in my "tool box too", not so much for Sam, but for myself. On my last diet.. (Ive since gained back 10) I made myself a deal that after losing I was going to buy myself a pair of incredibly expensive jeans.. (that LOTS of moms around me wear, but typically more then the 35 I spend on levis or loft.. LOL) So I too require a "bribe" to do the HARD things... I mean, I look at anythign that is hard as "work" -- you dont work for free... you work for money (reward). LOL.. You dont "work" cause its the "right" thing to do, because you're organized...
So YES, I agree with you... sometimes with the reward, sometimes without... the daily routine of laundry, dishes, cleaning up after ones self, doing a "job" the right way.. those are the things I HOPE to "teach".. but the rest... well, gosh, do my parents have to go back to the drawing board since Im motivated by reward as well?? LOL

thanks.. Im so glad we could chat about it. :)

Quoting Jenibob:

I agree with what she's saying.  The hard part is getting our kids (or anyone for that matter) to be motivated to want to do these things (especilly undesirable things like her homework example) on their own.  Setting schedules and other plans in place is a start but she's 100% right that it doesn't stop there.

I'm mixed on the bribery/reward/punishment issue.  Our kids are young so I believe we need to utilize any and all ways to help get our kids started.  If it's a bribe or a consequence I'm ok with using it for now.  I don't want to have to rely on it forever.  

My son is 11 and I don't have to rely on rewards/consequences solely, there are areas he's able to do things without that system (which is our goal).  But it is still a part of our tool box currently.  

I guess if I see a time when he only responds to rewards/consequences then I've run amuck and will have to go back to the drawing board.  

Interesting read, thanks for posting!

 

Charizma77
by Carissa on Dec. 24, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I'm going to come back and read this when I have more time. I find articles like this very interesting and makes me think. I am open to change.

darbyakeep45
by Darby on Dec. 24, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I will come back and read it...thanks for sharing!

samomama
by Sally on Dec. 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree with her, you and Jenibob. Self-motivation is what is needed. Now, how do I help/encaurage self-motivation in my kid, that is where I need to parent. Kids want to be given credit, they opinions and feelings to be considered. So I must leave room for choice. "You know you have homework to do. But I also know that you need to rest.Is there something else you want to do today? Do you want me to help you make the schedule so you have time for everything? .... ".  Regarding the rewards, I am not againstit. In my opinion they shouldn't be stressed directly though. Rather then being a bribe "If you do that, I will give you this", I would reward after he's finished a task and tell him how proud I am of him being a responsible person. With the punishment also. But the kid may respond better (I would) to "After you finish your hw you may go outside play football"  instead of to "If you don't do your hw you don't get to go outside play football".

I don't know really. But this article made me think. Thanks for posting it. I bookmarked the Collaborative Problem Solving Website too, I am interested to look at it.

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Dec. 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM
1 mom liked this

The collab prob solving is AWESOME! 

Yes, yes and yes... To all youve said. :) i love your statement... This is what needs to get done, what else os on your list so we can make sure we have a schedule.. Love it! :) i do something similar, but way more convoluted, so this will simplify! :) ... But i typically try to get what Sam wants to do.. And then fit it the things I need to have him do, but, it does become much more "complex" somehow.. Lol.. And yes, sometimes just getting what you want to do is the reward (cause there is time) so it becomes a "natural" reward, not an imposed one... Which is typically how I handle sam.. With natural concequences / not imposed, and natural rewards... :) 

i love this group... :) just make me think, solve problems, brainstorm.. And youre sooo helpful! 

Hoping your having a great xmas morning! 

Hope everyone in the group is! 

Quoting samomama:

I agree with her, you and Jenibob. Self-motivation is what is needed. Now, how do I help/encaurage self-motivation in my kid, that is where I need to parent. Kids want to be given credit, they opinions and feelings to be considered. So I must leave room for choice. "You know you have homework to do. But I also know that you need to rest.Is there something else you want to do today? Do you want me to help you make the schedule so you have time for everything? .... ".  Regarding the rewards, I am not againstit. In my opinion they shouldn't be stressed directly though. Rather then being a bribe "If you do that, I will give you this", I would reward after he's finished a task and tell him how proud I am of him being a responsible person. With the punishment also. But the kid may respond better (I would) to "After you finish your hw you may go outside play football"  instead of to "If you don't do your hw you don't get to go outside play football".

I don't know really. But this article made me think. Thanks for posting it. I bookmarked the Collaborative Problem Solving Website too, I am interested to look at it.


samomama
by Sally on Dec. 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

We are having a great Christmas day!

Thank you for the good words and for always sharing your wisdom. I too love and appreciate this group :)

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Quoting SamMom912:

The collab prob solving is AWESOME! 

Yes, yes and yes... To all youve said. :) i love your statement... This is what needs to get done, what else os on your list so we can make sure we have a schedule.. Love it! :) i do something similar, but way more convoluted, so this will simplify! :) ... But i typically try to get what Sam wants to do.. And then fit it the things I need to have him do, but, it does become much more "complex" somehow.. Lol.. And yes, sometimes just getting what you want to do is the reward (cause there is time) so it becomes a "natural" reward, not an imposed one... Which is typically how I handle sam.. With natural concequences / not imposed, and natural rewards... :) 

i love this group... :) just make me think, solve problems, brainstorm.. And youre sooo helpful! 

Hoping your having a great xmas morning! 

Hope everyone in the group is! 

Quoting samomama:

I agree with her, you and Jenibob. Self-motivation is what is needed. Now, how do I help/encaurage self-motivation in my kid, that is where I need to parent. Kids want to be given credit, they opinions and feelings to be considered. So I must leave room for choice. "You know you have homework to do. But I also know that you need to rest.Is there something else you want to do today? Do you want me to help you make the schedule so you have time for everything? .... ".  Regarding the rewards, I am not againstit. In my opinion they shouldn't be stressed directly though. Rather then being a bribe "If you do that, I will give you this", I would reward after he's finished a task and tell him how proud I am of him being a responsible person. With the punishment also. But the kid may respond better (I would) to "After you finish your hw you may go outside play football"  instead of to "If you don't do your hw you don't get to go outside play football".

I don't know really. But this article made me think. Thanks for posting it. I bookmarked the Collaborative Problem Solving Website too, I am interested to look at it.



tictacmama
by Arlea on Dec. 25, 2013 at 10:54 PM

 I agree with what she is saying as well. Though there are also times were " do as I say or face the consequences" also comes into play. For example, my oldest twin ( 8 min. Counts right) always wants to talk about him when I am in the middle of a teaching moment with one of his brothers. There are times when I say " be quiet or go to your room. Those are your only choices".

Now sometimes I come back and explain why he had to be quiet but other times I tell him I am his mother and I will not always explain myself to him. I tell him its part of being a parent and one day he'll have to make decisions like that too.

I don't know if she would agree but I think kids also need to know when to zip it and follow orders.

BDSMI
by on Dec. 25, 2013 at 10:59 PM

I read this right after you posted it but just getting back to post my response-- first I agree completely with the post---I believe as a parent I bribe my children to get them to respond to what I need them to do--instead I should turn my thinking around and post a schedule so they will respond and do what is needed and the schedule fits them.  My biggest problem is really finding a schedule that fits BOTH of my boys. As a single parent of two children one whom is NT I feel like I am on a loop with no end in sight.  So how do I make a schedule that fits for both children without me going insane.  I'm not saying that bribing is the answer because it is not--but I also feel that sometimes it is survival of the fittest.  I have created TWO monsters that manipulate the situation to get exactly what they want.  this is food for thought--- thank you for sharing-

HippoCat
by Hadley on Dec. 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

I agree with the scheduling for organization and basically with what she has written. Xander is too young for homework (only 4), but all I could think of when I was reading this was... Why not sit down with our kids to help get them started, see what their homework is, if they need help? It doesn't necessarily have to be about rewards and punishment, but maybe going through the experience with them. Why is it hard to get started? It might be an opportunity for engagement that we struggle so hard to get with our kiddos. 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN