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Old 07-17-2006, 09:20 PM   #1
Rose Garden
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 79,607
ArmsOfLove has disabled reputation
Default I need to say a few things about the idea of defiance

Because this seems to be a sticking point for some moms here, especially new moms learning more about GBD. I said in another thread that defiance means they want something at least as much as you do. That's it in a nutshell. But there's more

I want to explain why I believe the idea of "defiance" or "willfull defiance" is so big a deal in the parenting world and why it's not even an issue in my home.

Here's the thing--inherently we know that punishments aren't fair or kind. We know that they shouldn't be given for accidents. And parents often feel badly about giving them. So the punitive community has distilled things down to punishments being needed for defiance, especially willfull defiance (the worst kind of defiance ). And defiance is basically expressed as "not an accident", "the child knew what they were doing", "I'd already told them and they understood", or "They know." But this is a LOT to assume of a toddler! Developmentally they lack all logic--they are not thinking about things the way you are, they have poor impulse control, little self control, and are driven less by will and more by whim.

Ironically, some of the most punitive parents I know are the best at making excuses for their children--they really don't want to spank or punish so they can warp reality so that everything is an accident. This means they don't have to spank for this thing. One of the most punitive parents I've known would apologize for her child's elbow accidentally slamming into my child's head while her child ran past him at park speeds and veered acrsoss to room to slam into him while my child sat on the floor playing with legos But if it's defiance/willfull defiance then you aren't allowed to make excuses for those things. They *need* a punishment.

As far as I'm concerned, I could honestly care less if something is defiance or willfull defiance or ignorance or an accident or sleepwalking I respond the same way. I don't have to play the game of discerning intent, I assign a positive one because it makes my life more pleasant. And if I see over time that there is some kind of maturity or character issue then I address it during character training. We might read verses and talk about issues and read Aesop's fables or fairy tales with morals, etc. IOW, I *disciple* them in that area. But as far as the action in question goes, if my child spills their bowl of cereal then whether it's done out of anger that I won't give them a cookie, because they were done, or because it slipped, I say, "Uh Oh! Food does not belong on the floor. Here, take this towel and help mommy clean it up." They made a mess, they are going to help clean it up. If they are too upset then I will stop and comfort them and then we will clean it up.

So GBD can be both harder and easier than punishing. Harder, because you need to be creative and tuned in and learn how to work with your child. Easier because you don't have to try and be a mind or heart reader.
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