Last night, with Nels, watching “The Adventures of TinTin”. We typically don’t get five minutes in before I’m sleepy. He loves the show; I find it quite clever and sweet.

***

So it’s been a minute since I wrote about parenting issues here; I do get asked for advice fairly often. Yesterday I received an email yesterday so I thought I’d post it, and my response:

Hi my name is m*** and I was reading through comments on the “spanking facts” video on YouTube and would love to know what methods work for you. I have a 16 month old who hits everyone bites growls very angrily at myself and others when he doesn’t get his way. I have spanked yet as he isn’t even 1 1/2 and that’s awful but I need some kind of structure with this before he’s kicked out of anotherrrr daycare :/ love&light  <3 m*** 

m***,

I have a few resources for you, that other parents recommended to me. First, a little about my history.

I have always known it wasn’t right to hit children. When my kids were toddlers (as yours is) I tried not to hit them, but I did anyway. “Positive discipline” books and sites didn’t help me much. That said, here are some resources that other parents have recommended (so I can’t speak to them personally); I will then give you some of my own writings and recommendations.

Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers, a book recommended by Carla Bergman (@joyfulcarla on Twitter).

Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems, as recommended by MaLora (@MaLora_Ann on Twitter)

http://shop.kidsareworthit.com/, a site featuring the works of Barbara Coloroso, as recommended by Carla Bergman (@joyfulcarla on Twitter). I have not looked into this author but probably will take the time to do so since Carla sent this along.

Now here are some works I have found helpful.

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling The Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh

For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty In Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, by Alice Miller (this book is very dry and also very intense, but quite wonderful).

And here are some things I’ve written personally about non-punitive parenting. They have helped others; perhaps they will help you:

http://kelly.hogaboom.org/tag/non-punitive-parenting/

I more have a few thoughts. If you know you don’t want to hit your kid, but you are afraid that his hitting and growling will get him thrown out of a daycare, those two things may eventually come into collision. Your situation will feel strained, and that doesn’t help us be gentle with ourselves, so that we can be gentle with our children.

It might be worth the time to talk with your daycare supervisors in a calm moment and ask that they help your child in a gentle way, to not hurt others. Tell them you are sure your child’s behaviors will wane if he is in a kind fashion removed from hurting others when he hits, and treated with patience. If they seem unwilling or non-receptive to this, you may want to find a daycare that is 100% gentle and well-staffed enough they can handle a child who growls and hits. A little one who growls and hits is not a monster or “spoiled” or anything – he just needs some help! Even if a better daycare costs more or it is a bother, it is worth it because you are learning not to sacrifice your child’s wellbeing to other people’s harmful concepts of discipline. It is your child’s childhood and that is so important.

I did my best not to hit my kids but I kept hitting and yelling. Eventually I discovered that I was very sick with a disease I did not know I had. When I took responsibility for myself and my illness, things got better. I am a gentle mama today and although I can’t change the past, it is at times painful for me to think about. If anything I write or say helps others to be gentle with themselves and their children, I will consider it a partial amends for my early parenting years.

Kelly