Originally Posted by simplify4balance
I completely agree with the UP ideas... but in practice, it seems that I just have ended up with kids who won't do anything I ask of them.
I think I should be able to ask DD (29 months) to "come over here, please" and she should comply.
I am not a control freak- I just think that she is old enough to respond reasonably to simple, reasonable requests, right?
She chooses not to comply to any request... and I feel left out of control and I hate it. I can't stand engaging in "If you don't come here... I will do X to you." so that type of parenting doesn't work... it just escalates into bigger and uglier consequences... Ultimately I have to threaten to spank, and occasionally follow through. Later... I always feel depressed and out of control.
Disclaimer: I only have a 14 m/o, so I still have a LONG way on my parenting journey.
I try to be very unconditional with my son and with my students (I teach 2yo-16yo music), though, and I've found that what works best is redefining "reasonable" and "simple" and "control."
When I feel out of control over something, it's because I think that what I need (and am not getting) is more important than what the other (son, student) wants. Oftentimes, I feel like I need it NOW, too. Which makes things worse.
Here's an example. DS is walking and loves walking to the car with me. He points out all the weeds in the sidewalk, picks up little pebbles, touches the flowers as he passes by - and meanwhile, I'm telling him to come on and FREAKING OUT because if he doesn't move it, I'm going to be late for my lessons. So I grab him (screaming, of course) and go to the car - my lessons are more important than his flower-picking, right?
So here's where I start to think - what's the real problem here? The REAL problem is that I'm not giving us enough time to get to the car - where both DS and I can get there happy and uncoerced (is that a word?
). If I started out just 5 minutes earlier, DS can go rock collecting and flower-touching and neither of us will be upset (or more importantly, to me, LATE).
It's really taken me looking at the reasons why I am getting upset over things, but I've gotten much more unconditional because of it. Now, if it's safety - that's a nonnegotiable. Car seats (which DS HATES) are nonnegotiable. Holding hands or being carried across the street is nonnegotiable. Most everything else can be worked around so that I don't feel "out of control" and he doesn't feel slighted or coerced.
So let's turn it around. DD comes to you and says "mommy, come here." Do you drop everything every time she says that? Most likely, you don't. You might finish what you're doing, say "just a second," or what have you. Why is it that she should be expected to come when you call, but you don't have to abide by the same rules? Not a perfect example, of course, but maybe with the example you gave of her not coming when you call her - maybe she is seeing you doing the same through modeling, or maybe she is using her judgement that finishing what she is doing is more important than coming to you right when you call her.
Also, remember that your child is a different person. It sounds silly, but do you feel like you have control over your DP? If that sounds strange, then maybe it should be strange for you to want control over your DD. If your DP can choose to come when you ask - then maybe your DD can as well. As long as it's done respectfully. Because respect (in my mind) is what this whole unconditional parenting thing is about.