Goats and Soda: NPR


Illustration of discipline strategies.

Illustration of discipline strategies.

Is it possible to raise children without shouting, scolding – or even talking to children with a tone of anger?

Last month we wrote about the super-mothers in the Arctic, who easily managed this heavy task. They use a powerful suite of tools, which includes stories, playful dramas and many questions.

But Inuit parents are not alone in offering creative alternatives to reproach and waiting times. Readers of Goats and Soda sent more than 300 tricks to get children to listen without raising the tone of their voices, sometimes even without saying a word.

This story is part of a series of NPR's scientific bureau entitled On the other side of anger. There is no doubt that we are angry. It's in our policies, our schools and our homes. Anger can be a destructive emotion, but also a positive force.

Join NPR in our exploration of anger and what we can learn from this powerful emotion. Read and listen to the stories of the series here.

Here are the highlights, which have been edited for clarity and length.

Step 1: Switch to grandmother mode

Inuit mothers told us that the first step in parenting without fear is to control your own anger. As I have found, it is not always easy. But Veda Glover has a helpful Jedi tip: "I consciously place my spirit in a grandmother role," says Glover, a Navajo bilingual teacher in Kirtland, New Mexico.

"When I started teaching, I could feel my blood pressure rise when students did not want to listen to and follow instructions," she says. "Then I asked myself a question to ask myself in these situations:" What would my grandmother do? "

THis strategy "helps keep me calm, and so helps my students understand that there is no need to scream or get excited," says Glover.

Step 2: Learn how to give "the look"

Instead of shouting or saying "No," try to look stern, says teacher Vita Osborn.

"My parents transmitted information pages in a few brief glances," she said. "A serious look from my father or mother was enough to make him understand that I disliked them in some way."

In traditional Inuit culture, some parents wrinkled their noses to pass the "no" to a small child. But you can do "the look" with wide eyes, shady eyes or even a wink, as did the mother of teacher Kristi McEwen.

"My mother is Yupik from southwestern Alaska," McEwen said in response to our appeal. "When she wanted me to stop a behavior, all she had to do was blink slowly but firmly and that was a stern look" No. ""

(McEwen says his mother also had an interesting way to stop bickering between cousins., We were in fits of laughter before we knew it. ")

FWIW: I find that a severe look or a nose wrinkle is very effective at the grocery store when my 3 year old daughter picks treats in the crate alley. I think she has not figured out yet how to try to negotiate with the eyes and the nose.

Step 3: Put the children to work

When a child behaves badly or is wrong, many readers have suggested getting angrythere to be productive.

"Imagine the child spilling a vase that belonged to your grandmother," said Terry Meredith. "Rather than getting angry, I say, 'Can you get the broom so we can sweep the pieces?'"

Then Meredith and her child work together to fix the mistake. "I ask" Do you think we can pick up the vase? " " she says. "Then the child is involved in cleaning and repair."

This approach teaches kids the real consequences of their behavior, says company owner, Tracy Herman, who also puts her kids to work instead of shouting.

"As I got older, if they spilled or broke something, I threw away the appropriate tool and said," Clean it up, " she says. "Stop control and expect natural consequences, because that's how we learn to make choices in life."

June Shockley raised three sons with a similar strategy and said she had a "healthy and happy home."

"I have never founded a child in my life," she says. "I would give another activity."

For example, if his son was angry about what was meant for him for dinner, Shockley would involve the child in preparing meals by making him shopping and helping them prepare the meal.

"So, our sons walked a mile in my shoes," says Shockley.

The method also tamed the anger of the brothers and sisters.

"If a son strikes his brother, I would say," We need more kindness in the world. Let's go to the animal shelter, clean the cages and give the puppies hugs and kisses, "says Shockley.

Step 4: Bust Out Woofie

For Kathryn Burnham, for young children, sometimes just a little fancy to get them to behave.

"For example, if we are late and my 3 year old daughter needs to put on her shoes, I learned that screaming or putting on shoes myself aggravates the situation," Kathryn Burnham said. But when "Woofie" arrives, the shoes go like a glove.

"I'm doing my hand in a dog by bringing [two of] Said Burnham. She calls this dog "Woofie".

"Then I'll say something like:" Can Woofie try to put on his shoes? "And I will make ridiculous, panting cries and barking dogs while Woofie will help her put on her shoes.

"The more animated Woofie is, the more she laughs and relaxes," says Burnham. "With the game, the tension situation has been transformed into a fun bonding moment."

For Penny Kronz's son, a stuffed animal often does the trick.

"When he does not want to participate in an activity, I simply tell him that it's time for his favorite stuffed animal to go to bed or eat," says Kronz. "Then I continue the activity with the stuffed animal, and he will usually come join us quickly."

At the end of the day, mom and dad must sometimes let go and let the pajamas take care of parenthood, says Karoly.

"When my son does not want to put on his pajamas, I'll start making my pajamas talk with me," she says. "They're going to say something like:" Elliot wants to carry us? "And I'll answer:" I do not think he's doing it, let me ask him. "

And if Elliot says "no?"

"I will talk to the pajamas and continue to have a conversation with them," says Karoly. "He will eventually get caught up and accept the pajamas, they will be so excited and give him a big hug."

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