Reasoning with a Very Young Child (1) - It's Really Possible!

Part (1) of the series: Reasoning with a Very Young Child

Reasoning with a child aged three and under? Is that really possible? Surely, they’re not developmentally capable of responding to reason? Aren’t punishments such as smacking or time-out, and rewards such as star charts, the only way we can only get young children to learn, and to change their behaviour?

My lived experience (and that of hundreds of parents I’ve met through parenting classes) is that yes, you can reason with children - from a very young age. And yes, it is possible for them to change their behaviour, without parents resorting to rewards or punishment.

You just need to give them the chance.

The Trouble with Time-Out

Discipline - the perennial parenting problem. Discipline (the verb) can mean either ‘to teach’, or ‘to control’ (Gordon, T. 1989). In our quest to parent effectively, to do the best by our children, ourselves and our family, we think carefully about the best way to discipline our child.

If we use discipline to control, then we rely on reward and punishment to change our children’s behaviour. 

This article questions the use of one of the most commonly used punishments - time-out. The majority of the parenting books we read, parenting websites, parenting courses, or parents we know, suggest time-out as a benign punishment.  Most schools and childcare centres rely on time-out to discipline children. 

During the years my daughter attended childcare we had several discussions around her fear of punitive time-out. Her distress, and my experience as a parent educator, drove me to investigate the effects of time-out.

Three Ways our Assumptions Affect Relationships with Children

Larissa Dann.                      

Here is a challenging idea: the way we think about children, and the assumptions we make about their intentions, will shape our response to them.  Ultimately, our presumptions influence our relationships. 

Secrets to Sorting Sibling Squabbles

Is sibling conflict and rivalry one of the constant stressors of your life as a parent? Do you tear your hair out with frustration as you hear your children yell at each other, yet again?  Are you overwhelmed by the thought of holidays, and the seemingly inevitable squabbling siblings?  Or perhaps you simply wish to enhance the relationship your children already have, to enable them to love and support each other throughout their lives?

Read on to see how you can assist your children to resolve their own conflicts, and help them develop a sibling relationship of respect and empathy, using effective communication skills. The article includes an example to help illustrate the steps being put into practice.

How to Take Your Child Seriously and Enrich your Relationship Forever!

Blog post by Larissa Dann 7th October 2014 (updated 24 May, 2016)             Image: Shutterstock

Three words: take them seriously - could provide your parenting (and relationship) foundation for life.  Being taken seriously is a fundamental human need – adult and child.  Hugh Mackay, respected Australian social researcher and author, states in his book The Good Life: “the desire to be taken seriously . . . is the most pervasive of all our social desires”.  He says, “We each want our unique role . . . to be recognised.  We each want our voice to be heard" (my emphasis). Children want, and need, to be heard too - as much as adults.  How often do we hear the voice of our child? And how would they feel if we took them seriously?

Three reasons to avoid saying "I'm proud of you".

Larissa Dann     

"I’m proud of you!"  How often do we utter this common parenting phrase, in moments of pleasure at our child’s latest achievement? With the best of intentions, we want to let our children know of our pride in them.

However – what messages might our children actually hear? What do they perceive - when a parent (or teacher) says "I’m proud of you"?

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