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Gentle Dicipline for strong willed children - Page 3

post #41 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
I don't know if it's "gentle" to threaten, but it's actually not a threat, I really will take away their crayons (again) next time.
IMO it's not a threat, it's a promise ! It's a logical consequence that they have been informed of in advance.
post #42 of 116
My kids actually are not allowed to have markers or crayons unless they're in the same room with me, because we did have problems with the younger one writing on inappropriate surfaces. But I don't put the burden on her, I put it on me to keep them out of their reach. They may "know" to not write on the walls, but impulse control is really sketchy until well into the third year...and yeah, your 4-1/2 yo should know better and have a little better impulse control, but sometimes it's hard when the younger one is doing things, or suggesting things to resist that temptation - I mean, he's only 4-1/2...and sometimes BIG reactions from mom, even if they aren't positive reactions, are exciting to see that you (the kid) have the power to make happen...So IMO the onus is on the parent to prevent things that really, really bother them from having the opportunity to happen. In my case, that means markers and crayons are off limits unless you're in the room with mom. They found a sharpie, and well, it happens. Mine found a fine point sharpie somewhere (I have no idea where) and decorated my coffee table and living room windowsills. I wasn't happy to say the least, but....I mean, things happen. BUT - I keep the other markers and crayons out of reach without supervision, so it doesn't keep happening repeatedly.

This is about getting a different mindset, not figuring out what you can do to the kid to stop them from behaving a certain way. Not that logical consequences don't sometimes have their place IMO, but making it an "us vs them" dynamic tends to escalate things and create disconnect. It's about realizing what's developmentally appropriate and not punishing kids for things that they are going to grow out of anyway - not that the things shouldn't be addressed or resolved, because they absolutely should - they should be guided towards more appropriate behaviors every time, just minus the punishments to muck things up. Focus the lesson *on* the lesson, not on adding something to it to 'teach' them. You can be firm and serious and temporarily remove a child from a situation or temporarily remove an object without being shaming or punitive. Yes, they might be mad. That's OK. You can empathize with them, and validate their upset. But you can still make sure that they are being guided to the more appropriate behaviors.

I also understand about the naps and meltdowns, but I can almost guarantee you (from personal experience, unfortunately) that the stress you're gaining from trying to make them sleep, the stress they're feeding off of that they sense from you, is probably working against you. I would fully enforce a quiet rest time, separated from each other but trying to MAKE a kid actually sleep who has no interest in sleeping is an exercise in extreme frustration (which I know of first hand...I have had mighty battles with a kid fighting sleep, that just led me to an ugly place I didn't being, and them feeding off my anger by fighting even more).

I don't know how to explain it....I'm *not* an unlimitedly patient, ultra zen, consensual mom. But situations like you're describing, I would either remove my kid (even if it was really inconvenient - like the grocery store, or separating them from each other if they're hitting each other) or remove the objects (crayons, toys being thrown or things being used to hurt others, for a few minutes and then giving it back to them to try again - and not saying, "this toy is in time out for the rest of the night because you hit your brother with it" but "woah, weneed to take a break from that until you can use it more gently...then a few minutes later, "let's try again to use this safely"), and do it every time until they understood. Not angry, not shaming, just calm, firm, and very consistent. It can be exhausting in the beginning (I've done it while pregnant, too, so I sympathize) and you have to be right on them. But staying away from the "You did X bad thing so I'm doing Y to you" and instead approaching it as "You're showing me you can't handle X right now, so let's go Y for a few minutes" works out really well AND keeps your connection.

It's really difficult to put into words sometimes. I hope some of the above makes sense.
post #43 of 116
Thread Starter 
The crayons actually are put away unless I am in the room with them. However, if I say, have to pee while they are coloring? You'd be surprised how much wall they can cover in that one minute. In this particular case this morning, there were two broken off crayon pieces that no one saw...I'm guessing they were under the kitchen table...and the kids found them while I was checking my email on the other side of the same room (I THOUGHT they were eating their breakfast). I turned around and there the dining room wall was, covered from end to end in crayon. It happened in less than five minutes. In fact, all the times they colored on the walls they found a discarded crayon or maker under a bed or in a drawer somewhere. Maybe I should have been more diligent about looking under things to make sure there were no writing utensils in the area, but I have also been vomiting nonstop for several months, with a nasty cold off and on during that time too (2 regular colds, one that lasted over a month and turned into bronchitis).

The napping, I've tried it both ways. I spent over a month not bothering with it becuase I was too sick to deal with it, and one of my children started having seizures partly from what I believe to be sleep deprivation. She really needs 14 hours a day and she was only getting 10-11. I noticed the seizures stopped when we started enforcing the naps again. And life is like 10000x more miserable when they don't nap. This is a non negotiable for me, and I will not be changing my mind on it. I think this is one of those things where it's ok to set a limit. And really? If they are not "feeding off my stress" at naptime, then they're going to be doing it the entire rest of the day and night until they go to sleep because every scream, fit, meltdown, tantrum, and fight will get me more and more and more stressed out until I am yelling far more than I want to admit. *I* start to melt down too when it's nonstop tantrums endlessly. I know some parents can handle it, I can't.

I like the wording in your last paragraph. I will try that and see if it helps.
post #44 of 116
I just wanted to throw out a book recommendation that I recently read and found very helpful- along the lines of the spirited child materials but the author addresses the element of POWER, of the dynamics of power. And I love his analogy of taming rather than breaking spirits...

Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children Without Breaking Their Spirits by Michael Popkin.

It's super cheap at Amazon right now, btw!
post #45 of 116
Oh, and I see that our youngest kids are the same age. Mine is absolutely obsessed with coloring on walls and herself. She got hold of a Sharpie that *I* left out, and colored on her belly, legs and feet. It was on their for weeks. She knows the rules, but really seems unable to stop herself, so we just watch closely and clean up often. (My 5.5 yo is always drawing, so we often have markers/crayons out during the day...)

You're not alone! I think parenting in general, much less parenting spirited kids, is a lot more challenging than we expect, isn't it? I agree with some earlier thoughts about acceptance. And also keep in mind the immaturity... our kids are oh so immature, they just are. I've seen a huge difference over the past year with my oldest between 4.5 and 5.5, just to encourage you.
post #46 of 116
Thread Starter 
So many books, my head is spinning!! It seems like everyone has a book recommendation and I barely have time to read my scriptures. I honestly don't even know where to start on the book front and everyone has a different suggestion. I guess go with the ones I hear suggested the most?

Oh, I forgot about the coloring on themselves (and their clothes and their toys and my stuff and anything else they get ahold of that they feel needs decoration ).
post #47 of 116
I would say you could wait on my suggestion because it is probably geared more for older kids, but do put it on your when you get to it list! It's always good to have a new book to read down the road with a slightly different emphasis.
post #48 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

As for other stuff, my general mode is:
1) Make the request once, maybe twice.
2) Go to them and help make it happen, while repeating the request. Tell them what they could do instead next time.
3) If they wig out, validate their upset and empathize, and explain about the situation again briefly.
4) Drop it, and move forward with the day/activity/whatever.
5) Later on in the day, talk about the situation and how it could have been better handled.

I guess basically what I'm trying to do is replace the undesireable behaviors with more desireable ones....not have them behaving to avoid being caught or punished for doing something.

Hope this helps.

I need help, too. DD, almost 4, is very strong willed. Things had seemed better, and now they are worse. My problem is with Step 2--it keeps turning physical. If we need to leave, and I pick her up, she hits me or hurts me and I don't hit her back, but then I start to lose my temper. I can't remove her from the situation without it going bad. Seriously, today I decided I will just go hide n the bathroom next time til I can get it back together, but I DON'T WANT TO HIDE IN MY BATHROOM FROM MY CHILD. I WANT HER TO LISTEN TO ME BEFORE THE 4TH TIME I ASK HER TO DO SOMETHING.

If I am trying to put her shoes on, or help her do that, she kicks me. I don't seem able to get things done without getting into some conflict that leaves me embarrassed and wanting to go in another room and just cry, lately. I don't like yelling like a crazy lady. I don't like feeling out of control. But I do want her to just listen to me when I make reasonable requests. I have never hit her, but I do pick her up and plonk her in her room, or today on my porch while I packed up the car so we could go get my necessary errands done. (And they are necessary-we are leaving for a trip tomorrow, and I had already put off going until 1pm.)

Anyway, OP, you are not alone.

Edited to add--this post reeks of PMS, right? I'm not usually this dramatic.
post #49 of 116
Thread Starter 
I didn't see that post from the four of us until just now so I just wanted to ask, in response to the following:

3) If they wig out, validate their upset and empathize, and explain about the situation again briefly.
4) Drop it, and move forward with the day/activity/whatever.
5) Later on in the day, talk about the situation and how it could have been better handled.

Do you really think a 3 and 4 year old understand concepts that complex? Do they really get it when you say "I understand you're upset"? Do they really get it when you, later on, talk about how they can better handle the situation?

I honestly am doubtful.
post #50 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
But staying away from the "You did X bad thing so I'm doing Y to you" and instead approaching it as "You're showing me you can't handle X right now, so let's go Y for a few minutes" works out really well AND keeps your connection.

It's really difficult to put into words sometimes. I hope some of the above makes sense.
This is interesting to me. Because I have been getting into that "bad girl!" trap and I don't like it. I think for me, it's the "let's go xyz" part that is so hard. If I could keep DD in perpetual motion, redirecting her to things she enjoyed, all would be well. But throw in a few real world stresses, do it now, phone calls, stores closing, and it all goes to pot.
post #51 of 116
Thread Starter 
Redirection has NEVER worked on my kids, never not once. Once they get an idea into their heads, that's it. Like I said, stubborn and strong willed
post #52 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
If I am trying to put her shoes on, or help her do that, she kicks me.
While this hurts, and is NOT okay, I just go to my Zen place and get the job done. Then later, talk to them about it. I have wrestled shoes onto a kicking kid and been whacked carrying an upset child out of a store....and haven't been happy about it, but also haven't taken it *personally* - I think that's the key, to not take it personally. I know it's hard, but it becomes easier with time - tantrums aren't an affront to you personally - they're a toddler/preschooler expressing extreme displeasure in a VERY LOUD, VERY EMOTIONAL, SOMETIMES PHYSICALLY SPAZZY way (at least IMO). And I have no problem with my kids expressing their displeasure in a developmentally appropriate way - as I guide them to better ways by addressing it when they are calmer and more open to hearing me. I always want them to feel free to disagree with me and be heard - it might not change the situation, but they have the right to be upset about things if they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
I didn't see that post from the four of us until just now so I just wanted to ask, in response to the following:

3) If they wig out, validate their upset and empathize, and explain about the situation again briefly.
4) Drop it, and move forward with the day/activity/whatever.
5) Later on in the day, talk about the situation and how it could have been better handled.

Do you really think a 3 and 4 year old understand concepts that complex? Do they really get it when you say "I understand you're upset"? Do they really get it when you, later on, talk about how they can better handle the situation?

I honestly am doubtful.
It could be different for me because I've just always done it (well, from about 2 and up), but yes, my kids seem to get it. Now, the "later on in the day" can be as soon as everyone has been calm for a few minutes, or it can really be later in the day at bedtime...and it's not confrontational or blaming...it's more like, "wow, that wasn't a great way to handle that. Next time, if you can X to let me know something is wrong, I'll be happy to Y to help you." or something like that. The empathizing and validating in the moment is calm, and brief, not drawn out. If it's something you decide to try, I'd suggest having the "later" conversation closer to the incident at first so they make more of a connection...but I do think that they learn pretty quickly to understand what's going on - IMO *because* there's no punishments going on mucking up their brains about hating being in the corner or resenting little brother for getting them in trouble or whatever, they are more open to hearing about other ways to solve the situations.

Now, I'll be CRYSTAL clear that I lose my ish sometimes, and this is the *ideal* I strive for, the calm, measured response. I will never put forth that I do this successfully every time. But keeping it in mind as my ideal, my default, helps me hit the mark more often than not.
post #53 of 116
Thread Starter 
Well I'm certainly willing to give it a shot! Sometimes it feels like my kids "get it" but othertimes I swear they just smile and nod as it goes in one ear and out the other
post #54 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
While this hurts, and is NOT okay, I just go to my Zen place and get the job done. Then later, talk to them about it. I have wrestled shoes onto a kicking kid and been whacked carrying an upset child out of a store....and haven't been happy about it, but also haven't taken it *personally* - I think that's the key, to not take it personally. I know it's hard, but it becomes easier with time - tantrums aren't an affront to you personally - they're a toddler/preschooler expressing extreme displeasure in a VERY LOUD, VERY EMOTIONAL, SOMETIMES PHYSICALLY SPAZZY way (at least IMO). And I have no problem with my kids expressing their displeasure in a developmentally appropriate way - as I guide them to better ways by addressing it when they are calmer and more open to hearing me. I always want them to feel free to disagree with me and be heard - it might not change the situation, but they have the right to be upset about things if they want.

I think I am going to have to lock myself in the bathroom--seriously, it is almost like she is stronger than I am OR it's that, I am cognizant of the fact that I'm not going to hurt her, but she is still really trying to hurt me. Today, if I had walked around the house for a few minutes and then went back and tried to get her up and out, it probably would have been better, and she might have cooperated at that point.

I am on my second glass of wine (at 6pm EST) and feeling much better about everything.
post #55 of 116
my kids get it. age 2 and 3 1/2 and they are both highly sensitive, and spirited... my son is explosive, and has a language delay, sensory problems ... ASD/SPD. they both get the4ofus approach, of course we kind of use her approach from a different overal mindset, but its very similar.
post #56 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
Now I have started letting them color again (they have TONS of drawing paper and coloring books to choose from) and guess what? They immediately colored on the walls.
aww, mama, you sound so, so frustrated

have you seen those special sets of crayons/markers and paper that the marker only works on that kind of special paper it comes with? i can't recall the name, but it's made by Crayola.
also, my ds used to just love when i'd put him outside with a bowl of water and a paintbrush, and let him "go to town" on the side of the house. seriously. with water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by llp34 View Post
I would take away ALL of the writing/marking instruments and keep them in a box that locks with a key. They could earn the use of them back by helping to clean the walls, and not until ALL of the walls are cleaned
yes, that. and then they'd only get to use the special paper and special markers. i would end up purging my whole house of writing implements! :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
So many books, my head is spinning!! It seems like everyone has a book recommendation and I barely have time to read my scriptures.

Oh, I forgot about the coloring on themselves (and their clothes and their toys and my stuff and anything else they get ahold of that they feel needs decoration ).
Talula-- you sound so frustrated and so at the end of your rope that i think honestly that God will forgive you for reading a parenting book instead, for a little while

as for coloring on themselves...well, it's better than walls. and your stuff. for real, check out that special paper. it's really cool
post #57 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
This is interesting to me. Because I have been getting into that "bad girl!" trap and I don't like it. I think for me, it's the "let's go xyz" part that is so hard. If I could keep DD in perpetual motion, redirecting her to things she enjoyed, all would be well. But throw in a few real world stresses, do it now, phone calls, stores closing, and it all goes to pot.
Sometimes the XYZ isn't spoken, sometimes it's just "you can't handle X now" and we completely change the scene...like, if they keep trying to get into a cabinet, we leav ehte room for a while to short circuit the cycle...it's the *feel* of it that's different, the presentation of it to the child.
post #58 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
Well I'm certainly willing to give it a shot! Sometimes it feels like my kids "get it" but othertimes I swear they just smile and nod as it goes in one ear and out the other
Yeah, that happens here too, but it is being absorbed on some level if you do it enough...because I'll be doing it and thinking they're totally not paying attention to me and I need to forget this crap and then WHAM, one of them comes out with something that is almost word for word what I said to them, and it's AWESOME.
post #59 of 116
Thread Starter 
The color wonder markers dried up really fast ime, and their "art" fades from the paper after a few days. But it's not a bad idea, we could go back to that. Why did I totally forget about that?

I am so frustrated and overwhelmed! I think this is just a hard time in general, and I really want to be the best parent I can for them, but it's just difficult right now.

I am thinking of buying "The Explosive Child" heard lots of good things about that one and I think my therapist recommended it, "The Secret of Parenting" "Becoming The Parent You Want To Be" and possibly "Biblical Parenting" maybe even Dr. Sears' Discipline Book. But honestly, I probably should just stick to one or two otherwise my head will spin and I'll just get confused.

I usually laugh when my kids color on themselves. Occasionally it annoys me, but usually I find it funny. I also found it hilarious when my kids used the cat scratching post as a stool so they could open the freezer. I found both of them sitting on the floor, spoons in hand, digging into a half gallon of ice cream. I about died! I'm not without humor about some things.
post #60 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
The color wonder markers dried up really fast ime, and their "art" fades from the paper after a few days. But it's not a bad idea, we could go back to that. Why did I totally forget about that?
because you're overwhelmed?

this may be just me, but...who cares if their art fades? send it to the recycle bin. i'm sure they are just "in the moment" and don't care. just save the very best ones, now and then. or you will be overwhelmed with clutter, too :

and heck, investing in a bunch of those markers, even if they dry quickly, so? it's better than investing in paint, or walls, or your sanity...

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