The Science of Parenting

Gauge by Their Age | S.8 Ep.5

March 03, 2022 Season 8 Episode 5
The Science of Parenting
Gauge by Their Age | S.8 Ep.5
Show Notes Transcript

What we use with our toddler won’t always work with our teenager (or will it?). This episode the hosts look at how to adapt and adjust our discipline strategies to meet our kids where they are at developmentally.

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Lori Korthals:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. I'm Lori Korthals, parent of three in two different life stages. Two are launched and one is still in high school. And I'm a parenting educator.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. And I'm a parenting educator. Today we'll talk about the realities of raising a family, and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. Hey, everybody, welcome back.

Lori Korthals:

Hi, here we are. And again, we're talking about the great guidance and discipline debate.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, we still are. Last week we were looking at that positive parent child relationship and how we use that word climate, the overall climate affected our discipline, guidance and things. And so our suggested strategy was to have some positive interaction with our kids. And it is time to report back.

Lori Korthals:

Reporting back on the non-homework homework, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. On the non-homework homework, yes. What did you do that was positive?

Lori Korthals:

You know, my children are older. And so for me, it's all about making that concerted, purposeful effort to touch base with them, to do some things intentionally with them. And so that's what I really wanted to do, especially with my middle daughter, I wanted to make some time to really just her and I go do something together or even just to have a conversation, because she's working. And so that was what I did is I made a couple different, very purposeful and intentional efforts to reach out, have a conversation, and go do things with her. And that was my out of podcast activity.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, so mine, right. I was talking about how sometimes I talk negatively about my kids being loud. And I wanted to do something positive, where it's like, being intense and being loud isn't bad, inherently. And we had a glowstick dance party. I bet your adults, your emerging adults, would love that.

Lori Korthals:

They would love that, a glow stick dance party.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, but it was just glow sticks. I mean, hey, parents, glow sticks and balloons are basically always somewhere in my house for desperate times for entertainment with our young kids. Yeah, so we just turn the music up loud. And that is one nice thing about it being a little darker earlier in the winter. Might be the only nice thing in my opinion. But so yeah, we had a glow stick little dance party.

Lori Korthals:

Oh, fun. All right. So this week, we're gonna keep moving on. Right. And so remember that our research citations this season are coming from a book called The Handbook of Parenting. Yes, there is a handbook for parenting, right? So we have volume five, and it's called the Practice of Parenting, and it's edited by Mark Bornstein. And specifically, we're looking at the chapter on child discipline by Dr. Jennifer Lansford. And I think if I recall correctly, that Mackenzie even has some specific paraphrase quote that she wants to share right now. Right up front.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, I couldn't wait. Usually we at least get through some of this intro stuff. And it's like, no, no. Right here right now. Right here right now. I love the way that Lansford described this goal of parenting discipline. You know, we're in Episode Five. We've been talking about this for a few weeks. And in the first episode, we define discipline. It's like, okay, pause, let's look at the purpose. So the ultimate goal of parenting discipline is to teach kids how to behave in desired ways, even in the absence of rewards and punishment. Right. And so then she goes on to say we want them to behave because of an internalized set of values and standards, rather than just the presence of an authority figure. And, you know, I kind of paraphrase a little piece of that. But we're working towards our kids internalizing these values. Not just, you listen, because I'm here, and I said so. But to make you behave this way when I'm not around because you believe it too. Exactly. In my world, it's important we don't hit. I hope you don't hit when I'm not around. Yes.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah. It's like, I want you to be this super cool human being, even if I'm not there, you know, giving you the stink eye, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes, totally. I just thought that was a good place, okay, we're gonna be looking at how we break this down a little. Gotta remember, we're looking towards internalized values, that it's the way they behave because they think it's important.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. So today, though, we're going to specifically take a look at discipline by our kids' age, right? So we're going to keep their skills and their abilities in mind as we really think about what types of discipline strategies we can use. So as we think about this, well, why don't you share the first research tidbit with us?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So this is not a definition. Oh, and kind of, in some ways, maybe sorta, a little bit. So there's this term called developmentalist perspective, the developmentalist perspective. And so I guess I am kind of going to define it. Basically, you hear us talk this way all the time. It's our approach. It's our perspective to parenting in many ways. But the way that Thompson and Bonner define it was the developmentalist perspective argues that what constitutes our kids' best interest, so what's in our kids' best interest, is going to vary based on their age, right? That what a toddler needs is not always what a preteen needs. And so as parents, we need to take into account the real differences in their abilities and their needs, in terms of how we will distribute privileges, rewards and responsibilities. Now, that is not like, it's not a brand new idea, right? That we will consider our kids' abilities and needs in the way that we discipline, in the way that we parent them. And so that's the developmentalist perspective. It's like, hey, let's consider what they're capable of, let's consider cognitively how much self control they have. Right? Because that is very different charts for a toddler and for 18.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly, exactly. So okay, well, you have a preschooler and a toddler, and have you changed your approach as your children have gotten older?

Mackenzie Johnson:

You know, I would say, okay, hitting is just like on my mind right now. Okay, fess up, in part because as we've been recording this season, and putting these pieces together, that's what I've been reflecting on. Yeah, so all of this conversation around discipline, hitting is what we're really working on. Yes. But so I even think about the difference between how I would address hitting when my child was nine to 12 months, right? So a baby that's hitting, you know, what I would typically do for discipline would be distracting or trying to change the situation or intervening in a different way. Versus now that my child is an older toddler, and might even be a preschooler next year. Now it's a little more of reasoning and understanding. And it's just different than just modeling nice touches, right? It's different than that now that he's a toddler. Yes. So what about you? What's a time when you had similar situations, but the different ages called for different kinds of discipline guidance techniques? Yeah.

Lori Korthals:

So I think that probably I really, especially last week, was thinking about homework, right? So with my high schooler, I do not hover over her homework. Maybe as an elementary school aged child and as a preteen middle school, I definitely helped in a way for them to think about their homework, the importance of it, made a time for them to do their homework, as they grew, maybe encouraged them to finish their homework. And now as a high schooler, well, you know, homework is super important if she has plans to do things after high school. And so my role there is different because I let those natural consequences happen if she doesn't get her homework done. And so I think that based developmentally on that age from early school to middle school to high school, my role as the homework hoverer, has changed the guidance. Yes, in that way, you know, so that I think that is a key for me. Just because it's on my mind, like, it's been on my mind. It's present.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Well, and I think that's a good example of when kids are younger, they haven't established homework routines. They haven't had the practice, and so their ability and their knowledge, they needed a little more guidance. And then as they get older, they don't need and so your technique can shift a little.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, it's your responsibility, not mine, hope you get done. Yeah. I thought you mentioned there was a test yesterday. I'm wondering when that work got done for the test. Yeah. Yeah. And again, just that idea of natural consequences is super important, I think.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. And so as we look at, you know, this developmentalist perspective of how we can tailor our parenting to our kids' needs, again, related to discipline and guidance. Let's take a look at what changes as kids develop. So we actually have a two part research tidbit here. So you give the first half.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so I'll give the first half. And this really has to do with the idea that as children grow and develop, as their brain grows and develops along with them, they begin to understand that their parent actually might have some knowledge. Right, some knowledge about their guidance and discipline practices, right? So my parent actually has some knowledge and skills about why they don't want me to do this particular thing or why they want me to behave a specific way. And it's not just about my parents' power. So the child as they grow, they start to recognize that the parent does have a reason behind trying to guide and redirect the misbehavior.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, and it shifts that, you know, I think of how they look at parents to when they're younger, it's the person who I get in trouble from. Right, right. Versus as our kids get older, school age, preteens, teenagers, it's more about rather than I just get in trouble, it's more about there's a reason for this and the way I value my parent is because they have knowledge and skills. Yes, I think that's different.

Lori Korthals:

It is, yes. And they do start to recognize that even if they tell you that you don't have knowledge or skills behind the reasons.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. The research does tell us that is the case, right? But it's not just when they're younger, it is a little bit more about understanding the rewards and punishments. And that's what parents do. But as they get older, they do understand, my parents have knowledge and skills and that's why I trust them. Yeah. And so I think that's an interesting shift. So part one is how our kids change, and how that affects our discipline as they develop. Part two is how parents change. Right? So we've talked about the parenting stages in one of our seasons that I really enjoyed. And now I can not remember the number, Mackenzie DeJong will help us out. But on the flip side, as kids develop, we are changing our approach to discipline, too, because we start to appeal as kids get older, to things like humor and guilt and responsibility. And that's because we tend to believe that older kids have more self control, and so that their misbehaviors are deliberate. That's how Collins and their colleagues put it in back in 2002 in their study was that we tend to believe that their misbehaviors are deliberate. So that means we start to treat them a little bit more like an adult, in my opinion, right? If I wanted something, if I want my coworker to do a specific task or something, I'm probably not just going to assert my power. One, because if they're my peer, I don't have any power to assert. But the way that we interact with adults, right, we ask them to do things, we appeal to their responsibility or the cooperation, or we're funny, right? And humor. And I think as our kids get older, because we understand their behavior is more intentional, we treat them differently. And so it goes from you don't know better when they're little to, you know better now, that was a deliberate choice. And so I think it's understanding that, our kids are changing how they view us and we are changing how we view our kids. And then both of those things affect our discipline.

Lori Korthals:

They do. They do. And I think that it's important to recognize, as we look at their development, that we don't make that assumption too quickly. Right, that we don't expect that from them before they actually can handle that developmentally. So let's talk about that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Let's talk for just a second. Let's talk about that brain development. And then yes, I know you love cognitive and brain development. And so like this little breakdown of we know that kids don't necessarily have great self impulse control, right, that impulse to hit, right? Or not to hit hopefully, yeah, that is all I can talk about lately. But we know that our kids don't have great impulse control until at least age four. And even then, not great. That's like when it's starting develop.

Lori Korthals:

Just barely, right. And then if they are under stress, if they're sick, if we are stressed, if we are sick, those self control monitors drop dramatically. And so where maybe we had some self control, now it's the beginning of school, and we're super overwhelmed and stressed and as a child, I have suddenly limited self control again. So that self control is a growth process and developmentally, just exactly what we're talking about today. And so, thinking about that expectation as children grow.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Definitely. Well, and the impulse control of our young kids, and let's say by age five, they're okay at it. Pretty good at it because it started to develop, but still not there all the time. But then even our teens who, okay, their impulse control is more developed. But their ability to process and anticipate consequences of a choice, still not awesome.

Lori Korthals:

And their hormones suddenly mix everything up.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so I do, I think that's an important context, as I was like, wait, that brain development is an important part of what we assume about those things, affects how we respond to our kids' misbehaviors. It does. And so that's such a great caution of, wait, hold on, it's so easy to assume they're way more skilled at this than they are.

Lori Korthals:

Lower the bar.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Yes, lower the bar. So let's dig in to these different ages.

Lori Korthals:

We're going to look at some specific research in terms of the reality of disciplining around different ages. So what we're gonna do is, we decided to share our two favorite strategies for each age, right? So we're gonna start with infants and toddlers, and I'm going to start with my two favorite strategies when it comes to guidance and discipline for infants and toddlers. And I love a good redirect and distract. I love a good redirect and distract, especially because when it comes to brain development, they just don't know. They don't know. Like, they can look at you with that look in their eye, that little gleam that says, I'm gonna go do this right here, and I'm gonna pull this cat's ear and I'm looking at you. But you know what redirect and distract. So remove the cat, distract them from the danger, give them something more interesting to look at. Sometimes, if you actually got down on the floor and looked at what our infants and toddlers had to look at. I mean, there are some super cool things on the floor, right? I mean, really, or it's a plain white wall down there. So really thinking about, okay, their brain development at this age is, you know, no self control, and I am the responsible adult. So I will take the time to redirect and distract and provide a safe environment. Frankly, it's all on me. It's all on me at that age. That's why it is exhausting. That's why this is exhausting. Yes. How about you?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, so my favorite living with a toddler in my house myself. But yeah, one is just modeling. Right? So like, oh, we don't pull the cat's ear, we use nice touches. Right, or even like modeling interactions for a toddler of, oh, I want a turn. You know, so modeling those types of strategies. So modeling is a big one that I think we show them a lot. And one reason I think it's important, I mean we can model at any age, but especially for infants and toddlers, is because they might not always have that receptive language. They might not always know what we're saying. And so we can show them and modeling is one. And then my other one, which again, not wildly profound is just praise. It's like, oh, we did it, right. Oh, I loved your nice touches. Or, oh, you know, like the things with the cat or just the simple things that our kids are doing and the excitement. We do this naturally in some things, right? Like, oh, you're walking, yay. But thinking intentionally about how we can use that strategy of praise to do the behaviors that we want them to do. Exactly, exactly. That's my infant toddler. So then that brings us to preschoolers. I could not pick two. I have three but you can go first because you follow the rules.

Lori Korthals:

And what a switch. Right? Usually, you're a rule follower. So I know that as a preschool teacher, one of my big strategies was to simply ignore and I know that some people might go, oh. But you know, at this age developmentally, they're practicing a lot. They're practicing new and exciting words and looking for shock value. They might be practicing interactions. They might be practicing grammar and how to phrase things. And they might be practicing how to tell stories, whether the stories are factual or not factual, right. And so much of what I did with the preschool guidance and discipline had to do with just ignoring, ignoring the shock value, ignoring it. And just allowing that practice to happen as long as it wasn't harmful to others, right. Yeah. And then my second strategy, I think you probably are going to say, oh, of course, is humor. I love creating humor opportunities with preschoolers. I love using humor to defuse highly emotional situations. I love using humor as a way to come back to a regulated emotional control. I love using humor as a way to, you know, soften the wow, like, oh, you're really very sorry for that. And I know that you feel very bad. You're shaming yourself, I'm not going to shame you. I'm going to bring humor into this. So that you know that we're back together. Like we restart, we got to reset, redo. And that's how I use humor.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, I love that. Okay, so mine, many of which you've heard me talk about before. So this probably won't surprise anybody. One is the opportunity for visual schedules, visual routines, social stories, whatever kind of technique. I think it's so important for preschoolers as they learn the routines and the consistency of life. And then visual, right, they're not readers yet most of the time. And so the picture, it teaches them kind of what to expect as well as what we expect. And I think it's really important as we think about them learning their roles. That's a huge part of preschool is gender roles, racial roles, what's important for a teacher, what's important for a student, what's important for Mom, what's important for Dad, kids, etc. And so I think those are a great tool to help communicate our expectations. Another one that y'all have heard me say before is, what's your plan? Yes. This is sometimes when we might be in disagreement of I don't want to do that right now. Or I don't want to. Okay, what's your plan? The expectation is clearly, we need to pick up or we have to go to bed before blank or right. So the expectation is not changing. What's your plan for meeting if you're not going with what I'm suggesting? So that's another big one that kind of helps diffuse and anticipates what might turn into a lot of times what I might even call a disobedience situation. It's like, well, the disobedience is you're not doing it this way. And this kind of diffuses that it's not about disobedience. It's about cooperation. Sure. I love the What's your plan? But then this one, again, like I said, I couldn't do two. I came with a third one. I think the opportunity for preschoolers is the calm communication after a meltdown. Like after maybe both of us got wound up, I think as toddlers, they maybe didn't have the attention span and the language, or preschoolers a lot of times do. And so it's that kind of first age where we have that opportunity to process afterwards. Okay, this is what happened, what could be different next time or, what I should have been? And so I think that process calm processing, again, not in the middle of a meltdown when things are heated, but afterwards, and teaching what may be desired or how we could have behaved differently. I just love that. I love the opportunity. And preschoolers.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, we needed all three. Yeah, okay. But, you know, those really drive forward the next age, that school age, and so you just really led me right into, so I'm going to go right ahead and move into my favorite school age strategies. And that honestly, has to do with giving them more decisions. So when it comes to guiding them, I want to guide them to have more practice at decision making. I want them to be able to practice and I want them to be able to fail at decision making when I'm right there to support them. I want them to have practice at making the wrong decision. You know, I want them to choose the wrong thing on the menu and decide, wow, I really didn't like that. But you know what, that's okay. Because now I can share with you, now I can share with you or we can do something else. And yes, along with those decisions come the opportunity for them to decide their own consequences. So that's my second favorite strategy is having input from them on, well, what are the consequences when I misbehave? What are the consequences? And what do they look like? And myself as a school ager, I actually got to decide on them. So when I misbehave, this is what I decided on. What the heck was I thinking, right? You know, and so it's both of those things go together, the decisions, making more decisions, practicing making more decisions. And then when there's misbehavior, I as the school ager, I got input into what my consequences were.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love that. So you kind of led me to mine. So one of the things we think about with school agers, one, they're starting to spend more time not directly with us, right? They're in school, they're in practice, you know, they're at their friend's house. And so they spend more time away from us and away from the authority figure. Yes. But the other important thing that's happening for school agers is this idea of like, moral development, right? Like what I think is right and wrong, and whether or not that moral development affects how I behave, not with my parents. Yeah, so those two are tied together. But because of that moral development that you were hinting at of deciding their own consequences, you know, my daughter is in kindergarten. So, she's a young school ager, right off the cusp of preschooler, but I already find myself saying things like, what do you think about blank? And so you know, it might be things related to our family values. Oh, I see in this book that so and so did this and this, or I noticed that it seemed like they treated this person differently, but those things that relate to our family values. And instead of saying that was not okay, or the explanation of our values that I maybe would have done a lot when she was a little younger, I now find myself asking more about, what do you think about the fact that they left so and so out? And even as she tells me stories about how things went at school and instead of me jumping in, like, that was not okay. What do you think about? How do you think so and so felt? So that opportunity for more input and their own values and understanding. So those conversations around, what do you think about this situation, is a big one for me. And then the other one, this is the thing I've been very into lately, is helping my kids find specific language and I think it's important for school agers. And so because they're in these different contexts, right, so like, okay, I know the rules at home. I know some of them, maybe I have like a classroom contract or class rules. What about at practice? What about here and here? And so helping my kids navigate conflict or whatever it might be. And so helping them like, okay, I didn't like when so and so did this. And I maybe, I'm not gonna say hit, yelled, something else, I walked away or whatever. But helping them find phrases like, I disagree, or I don't like that, or I don't want to play that way. But I think that's another thing that I think about being proactive. Yes. And maybe instead of saying, it was not okay that you did this. And instead, it's like, okay, next time, what could we say? And then giving that language together. A specific language for situations, because they're going to different contexts and new ways that they weren't when they were younger. Absolutely. Yeah. So what do you think about that, and finding specific languages, or language.

Lori Korthals:

I love it. And especially as they're growing, they're gaining access to more language and learning how to use it appropriately. Right. Which brings us right into the preteens and teens. All about language, right? I'm all about respect. Yeah, especially using respectful language, respectful language with adults. And so I would say, if I had two strategies, again, they go right hand in hand, that mutually respectful behavior, tone , voice and language. I would want to make sure that I was modeling that for my teen and preteen, I will speak to you respectfully, and I, in turn, expect you to speak to me respectfully, and modeling that. Showing them that I also am going to follow those values, follow those rules. And then the second strategy is one that we use a lot with different sorts of curriculums that we have, not only just in parenting, but in our Powerful Tools for Caregivers program. We use this strategy, and it's called I Messages. And so I think that especially with teens and preteens, it's super important to use those I Messages and it might go like this. So let's say that my teenager was with her friends and they're standing in the kitchen and all of a sudden she uses kind of a snarky voice with me and is a tad disrespectful. I believe as a parent, it is my right to address that snarky tone in front of her friends. So I think I Messages are super important in this situation. This is a great strategy to use. I might say something like, wow, when I hear you use that snarky tone, I'm disappointed because I know that you can speak to me more respectfully and I really want to speak respectfully to you. Now sometimes as a parent, we feel at odds with ourselves and we think we can address our teens' behavior in front of their friends. Well, I might disagree with that and say, actually, that's a perfect opportunity for you to model. What is the behavior that you want, just like we do with toddlers and preschoolers and school agers, the same thing with teens and preteens. Modeling the tone that you want. Modeling the language that you want. Modeling how you want them to speak to you, how you want them to speak to their friends, how you want them to speak to other adults at school, etc. And so those are my favorite strategies, just that, you know, mutually respectful behaviors, tones as well as those I Messages.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And that can be as simple as, I expect you to speak respectfully to me, to be honest with me. And that would be language that you would be comfortable with them using with somebody else. Right? Absolutely. I expect when I offer to give you a ride that you show up on time. Yes. Right. That can be something they could say to a friend. Yeah, I love that. And then I Messages, yeah, that can be simple. I expect, I need, I saw. I love that. Okay. So mine. One is, we know one thing we see about teens is the importance of their relationship with peers increases. Now that does not mean that they view their parents as less important. It just means they're spending more and more time with their friends. Yes. So we know that time together with a parent can be fleeting in the teen years. And so I think finding those intentional positive moments is really important and you know, my children are not teens and preteens yet, but having lived with an emerging adult, I feel like I get to speak a little bit of truth here. But that opportunity of like, even if it's just sitting down and talking about something funny that happened, right? This does not need to be like wild crazy all night board games. I mean, that's great. But it can be as simple as watching a show you both like or listening to a song you both like in the car, but finding opportunities to be intentional with your teens because that time is coming and going a lot with the stuff that they're often involved in. And then my other one is just shared problem solving and negotiation with our teens. We know that as they get closer and closer to being adults themselves, they're going to be making those decisions without our help. And so that practice of problem solving together and honestly, I would even say negotiating. Absolutely. I think about curfew and every family handles this a little different but okay, I was thinking tonight, I want you to be home by blank. There's an I statement. I want you to be home by 11. Okay, well, mom, the

movie won't be done until 11:

15. I couldn't get home in time. Yes. Okay. So what's your plan? What are you thinking, right, and just those conversations about how we can problem solve and come to things together. Because our teens do have ideas and reasons and input. Let them practice that with us. And it shows them hopefully, what a respectful relationship can look like, in a romantic relationship and a friendship, in a relationship with a professor or whoever. It teaches them about respect and relationships, which it does, right? Here I am talking about respect, stealing Lori's favorite term. Oh, yes. But so we really just wanted to break down, we've had whole seasons looking at ages and stages and breaking them down. But looking specifically at discipline, what are the important factors that influence discipline? And, you know, how our kids change as they grow. How we change, what perspective we take, and then the specific strategies and why. I mean, just the two of us, these are just personal preferences. This was our reality, and what our kind of informed approach says, but we just wanted to share some strategies that help us break that down a little. So this does bring us to our strategies for the week now. We just broke them down by age. So we did. But really, we still think of your out of class activity. Yes. You're not homework homework. Yes. The strategy for this week is really just to think about your child in the age they're at or maybe a behavior you feel like you're addressing a lot like hitting, hitting hitting. A behavior you feel like you're addressing a lot, and what's that go-to response? What's the default? And maybe how can you tailor it a little more specifically to your child's age and abilities? Yeah. So again, using that developmentalist perspective of how can we tailor more to a child's age? Yes, so alright, let's do some examples, Lori. You got one?

Lori Korthals:

Okay. So mine is all about intentionality, right? So my kids are older and it's easy for us to all just go about our own business, you know, all doing our own thing. Waving to each other from the car door as we, you know, drive by. So just intentional, intentional, intentional, finding those intentional moments and making them purposeful. How about you?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Love that? So, again hitting, hitting. But yeah, this is what I've really been looking at as we've been doing this podcast season. I'm like, wait, this is the thing we could do more to address. And so I've been starting to understand a little bit more about why my toddler is hitting. Sometimes he's hitting to maybe get someone's attention. Maybe sometimes he's hitting honestly to be playful. He might hit when we're singing a silly song together and so I think the thing that I've been doing is kind of tailoring to his age a little more, to understand the different needs he's trying to get met with hitting. Yeah. And then that actually, sometimes it's not right, we're trying to teach the desired behavior instead of just addressing the undesired. So oh, we don't hit, we use nice touches. But the actual desired behavior is different depending on the reason for it, right? Absolutely need to be playful. Oh, I love playing with you. We don't hit, instead, maybe we tickle or do silly faces, right? And so that is the desired behavior for being playful versus you want that back. Yes. Instead of oh, we don't hit, right. It's also, we use nice touches when we play. And you can tell your sister, I want a turn. Right. And so for my toddler being an older toddler now, I feel like the way I'm starting to tailor a little more is, what is the reason we hit? And then that there's different desired behaviors based on that reason. Absolutely. And he's old enough now that we can get into that a little more, we can ask questions like, did you want to turn? Are you hurt? Are you mad? And we can get an answer. Yeah. So that's how we've been tailoring a little bit on the hitting and fingers crossed that in the future, I'll report back.

Lori Korthals:

I'm gonna check in with you. Good. All right. So I think that brings us into our Stop. Breathe. Talk. space in our episode, and this week, we are going to have our writer, Barb Dunn Swanson, join us. Welcome, Barb. We're so happy you're with us today. Hey, welcome, everybody. Thanks for having me back with you. You've both been doing such a great job detailing the intricacies between what we can do and how we can relate to kids depending on their age, such important work and such an important topic. The one thing that I keep going back to is connection. Remember, several seasons ago, we looked at those six or seven C's, Mackenzie. What was it?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, seven C's - confidence, competence, connection, character, contribution, coping, control.

Lori Korthals:

Way to go! We know that all of those C's could be connected right back to guiding and discipline of children in such a meaningful way. Let's talk just simply about connection first off. And especially when you think of those young ones, the toddlers, the preschoolers. They still are so yearning for connection with us. You know, as they get older, we might see them, like you mentioned in this season at today's session, you said they're getting more independent and so they're spending more time with their peers. But those young ones, they still want to connect with us. So what does that mean for how we guide them? It means that we might have more opportunity for snuggles when something has happened. Yeah, you might have to snuggle and talk through what the situation looked like, what behavior was undesired, and then talk through what you want to see happen. And you've already said it, you then talk through it beautifully. But giving them that room to connect. And then the piece we didn't talk about so specifically but that we've talked about in other podcast sessions is repair. Hmm. That is the word I was looking for. Oh, what is that word? I couldn't find it. Oh, thank you, Barb. Yes. Well, yeah, all of us. All of us have to repair from time to time. Knowing when to say you know what, we need to talk through the situation. This behavior was just unacceptable. But I know you can make a better decision and I want to work with you to get to that decision. So in other words, you're not expecting a child to do it alone. You're not even expecting your teenager to do it alone. No, as the parent, we're willing to talk you through it. And it goes back to what both of you been talking about, the reasoning ability. As those kids get older, they can reason through some things. And we don't expect them to be perfect. No, no, but we do expect them to be willing to communicate with us, keeping that line of communication open, and then finding the strategy or the consequence that number one is meaningful that changes that undesired behavior. But that causes us to reflect and yet have self esteem on the opposite side. Like to come through it without feeling really bad about ourselves, but really feeling like I've learned something, and I can do something differently next time. Repair. I love it. Thank you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It was such an important part in the connection with our littles. And it looks different with our older kids, but it's there to. Absolutely.

Lori Korthals:

Keep going. You've had so much, so many strategies that we can use and so many ideas that we might not have thought about before. But if we just stop and listen to one another, we can have a strategy going forward. So thank you for working through some of these more difficult topics. Yes. Thank you. And thank you, Barb.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

You're welcome.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Those are throughout all the ages, for sure.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. Oh, excellent.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, we've been digging into how discipline looks different at the different ages of our kids. And I think the other thing that we haven't mentioned yet that I feel like we can't get through this episode without saying is that it's not always this black and white line between toddlerhood and preschool. Right? Yeah. Or between school age and preteen. Yeah. And you know, so we have this opportunity to mesh between our strategies, but that we can lean back into some of the things earlier in the seasons. We can lean into cooperative strategies. We can lean into inductive reasoning. And that's a lot of what we talked there. We looked at specific things, but they lean back into that, because it's not just oh, you're a preteen now, I need to do this. So the message is like, make sure that we acknowledge that it's not always a straight line, or not always a black and white line, but we get to lean back into those general things across the different ages, but also keep that developmentalist perspective.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, yes. Okay, so what's next? Well, what you all have been waiting for, deciding on discipline strategies for different situations. Alright, that's next week. Okay. So, next week, hang in there. We are going to talk about how do we decide on which strategy for which situation.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And that's going to wrap up our whole season. So we know you've been waiting for it. We weren't ready to tell you about it till we said everything else we've said. Next week it's coming.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. So thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast. If you enjoy our content, please do take a moment, give us a five star rating on your podcast app. This helps more people find our podcasts and it helps the people above us show that this is worth our time and energy.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So yes, thank you. Please do give us a rating and come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality, all around The Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Lori Korthals and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext