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Unconditional Parenting support thread - Page 7

post #121 of 367
Hi Lovely Apple Juice -
I'm there with you on the thing with hurting me being comedy for my 18 month old son--

I hope someone wise will contribute here, because we're a little stuck. I can't say "ow" because that's the punchline to the joke, so now I feel so manipulative: I make my face look pained and sad and I say "that really hurt mama's body -- can you make me feel better with a gentle kiss?" which he does, happily, but it's still all a game. maybe that's appropriate for this age?

In general, I'm trying hard to focus on the consequences of actions for others, and I sound so forced at the playground, but I figure I'm practicing for later, and like with any new language, my fluency will improve. "When you touch your friends so gently, they feel more comfortable playing near you, it looks like that's fun."

I need this thread - thank you all.
post #122 of 367
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCBMAX View Post
Hi Lovely Apple Juice -
I'm there with you on the thing with hurting me being comedy for my 18 month old son--

I hope someone wise will contribute here, because we're a little stuck. I can't say "ow" because that's the punchline to the joke, so now I feel so manipulative: I make my face look pained and sad and I say "that really hurt mama's body -- can you make me feel better with a gentle kiss?" which he does, happily, but it's still all a game. maybe that's appropriate for this age?

In general, I'm trying hard to focus on the consequences of actions for others, and I sound so forced at the playground, but I figure I'm practicing for later, and like with any new language, my fluency will improve. "When you touch your friends so gently, they feel more comfortable playing near you, it looks like that's fun."

I need this thread - thank you all.
Yes, that sounds like it's definitely fun for him if you go through all that every time! For a 5 year old hitting me, I would talk to him about it at a calm time, when it wasn't happening, about alternate things he could do instead, and come up with some kind of reminder that we could use when it happens. But for an 18-month old, I would prevent when I could, and redirect when I can't. I would not say anything unless it was something very brief, like, :No, please don't hit me" or "please be gnetle" but I would be very brief, matter-of -fact, not much emotion, and quickly move on to something else.

For the kicking while diaper changing, that's a little harder, because you are having to make him lay down and do something. If he doesn't do it with your DH, I would think he has just gotten into the idea of it being a game with you too. Can you change him standing up when it's just pee? Can you give him something to do with his hands that is new and novel and you only bring out for diaper changes? I think largely ignoring it and trying to get the diaper changed as fast as you can is likely the best strategy.

For the dog, I would prevent the child from hurting the dog as often as I could, and if it does happen, I would just say a brief, matter-of-fact sentence, something short like "please be gentle to the dog". I personally would not leave the child unsupervised with the dog at all, and put the dog in a crate when you can't be right there, at least for now.
post #123 of 367
I agree with what's been said about the 18mo old kicking and pinching the dog. First, I do think it's quite age appropriate. Baby is learning that s/he can control some of his/her environment by causing reactions from others.

My now 2yo went through a phase when he did that a lot while I was changing him. He thought it was fun. He laughed and giggled the entire time. He doesn't do it so much anymore. As much as possible I would just stop with the changing. Obviously, I'd get the dirty diaper off and clean him up but I wouldn't continue to fight over getting another diaper on and/or getting clothes back on. I have a bunch of nudists in my home. However, if my kids don't want to wear clothes, that is their choice. They are their bodies.

I think it's good to say that it hurts and/or you don' like being hurt but not react loudly. In other words, saying, "Ow!" might get more of the same because it's such a big response. I do say, "That hurt and I don't like being hurt," to all my children (18, 5 and 2 years old) whenever they do anything that hurts me even if they aren't meaning to hurt me.

I'm torn on the idea of asking Baby if s/he can make Mommy feel better. I don't like it because it's not Baby's responsibility to make Mommy happy. On the other hand, it might be teaching Baby compassion. I don't know.

With the dog, I would not leave baby with dog unsupervised. Whenever Baby does do something hurtful to the dog, I would immediately remove Baby from the situation while saying shortly and simply that hurting the dog, just like people, is not OK. I'm not sure how that language jives with UP but I don't know any other way to say it. It's been a while since I read the book. I understand the reasoning behind putting the dog in a crate to protect the dog but I'm not sure that would teach Baby what s/he needs to learn about that situation.
post #124 of 367
My 14mo son is doing the same thing. I very matter-of-factly say "no" and push his hand away and distract him to a special "changing" toy, with that "OMG, THIS IS THE COOLEST TOY EVER!!!!!" tone of voice. It's working so far, but I'm not sure how long it will stay that way. Make whatever you're doing so much more fun than your reaction from him hitting you, and do it before he has the chance to hit.

As for our dog, when Toby hits her (or his favorite is to dive bomb her when she's sleeping in the living room ), I remove him from the situation with a "no. we're nice to dogs" and I spend a little extra loving on the pup. Sometimes we both sit together and give her pets and scratches afterwards. Not sure how UP it is, but our dog is very special to us and has feelings too - I wouldn't put her in the crate (remove her from her pack) because the baby was acting inappropriate towards her. I think it would convey the wrong message to the dog, honestly. If he's acting super-crazy and has done something inappropriate more than once to her in a short period, I may put her in the kitchen behind the gate with an extra-special toy until he calms down. But our crate is for sleeping or for safety when we're not there, so I'd rather keep crating a positive experience for her. I don't like secluding her away from us when I can keep her safe in other ways.
post #125 of 367
I've just been reading 'Raising our children, raising ourselves' and it's really helping me to understand the UP principles more fully, and find ways to apply them. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet. In the past week since I've been reading it, I feel as if I've turned a page in my relationship with DS where I'm truly connecting with him and treating him fully as another human being, not just 'my child' etc...and that is transforming the way we do everything. I'm also making more time to play with him and be one-on-one with him, which in turn is reducing his frustration in other areas.
post #126 of 367
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post
I've just been reading 'Raising our children, raising ourselves'
I read this book before I read UP. I liked it better because it put things in more practical terms. I wish I had read UP first because then I probably would've gotten more out of it.
post #127 of 367
I'm reading Raising our Children right now as well. I actually like UP better (think it is such a well-written book) but I am finding that RoC is a very nice companion book as it expands on the UP principles in more practical/example ways.
post #128 of 367
Do you all get this daily email? The Daily Groove

I get and love it. I read it every morning when I first get up and it really helps me to make sure I'm focused on being the parent I want to be and affirms that what I am doing is the right thing. Sometimes I even print them out and post them around my house. I signed my dh up for it, too, and sometimes pass them along to other family and friends if I think the message is especially important.
post #129 of 367
I get the Daily Groove too, it's great. I must admit it often didn't make much sense to me - like, 'yeah right' would pass through my head on reading it sometimes - but since reading 'Raising our children' it makes a lot more sense now, and I get a lot out of it. I also prefer the way UP is written, but the practical examples in 'Raising our children' are very valuable.

Having a fairly good week, but as am currently splitting from my partner (it's been 2 weeks since the final decision, but we still have to live together for a time), my stress and anxiety is coming out a bit in my parenting. It's so hard to just focus and be patient when there's all this background stuff. But I'm glad I have the concepts and tools to come back to.

A specific question: any recommendations for what to do about slightly dangerous eating behaviour, like my son (22 mo) waving a fork around dangerously close to his eye or to others? I know taking the fork away would be punitive (he doesn't accept a substitution of a spoon or whatever, it just leads to a tantrum and then no eating takes place), but sometimes I do do that as a safety measure. I'm not sure what he's trying to communicate with this action, it seems like he has a look of anger on his face sometimes as he's doing it. In general, I need help re-directing dangerous behaviour like throwing hard toys when he's angry. I want to validate and allow his emotions, but don't want to make it seem like it's ok to do that, you know?
post #130 of 367
devaya, your relationship ending must be so hard.

specifically for the fork issue they do make forks with rounded tips for little ones. could you try that? i know it doesn't address the anger stuff, but might be one piece of the answer.

marinewife, thanks for the daily groove suggestion. i signed up for it!
post #131 of 367

Help with my 7 yo boy

Hello! I have only briefly skimmed this thread, just found it! I wish I had seen it a long time ago. So, having read the list of 13 ideals, this is pretty much how I try to parent. I have some book ideas, but in the immediate, I'd like some suggestions. I tried searching the thread and it didn't pull up anything that seemed to match my search - which doesn't mean it's not there. Ok, on to my point - my son is going through such a tough time, and from a few things I've read, it sounds as if this is a typical stage of development. He's mad at the world, nothing if fair, this is the worst day ever, no one likes me, everyone is so mean to me (yesterday his sister tried to give him a picture she drew him and it quickly dissolved into this exact statement)

Have you had success in making this time easier? I've tried helping him see the choices he has in play and other situations this smiley is so fitting for him right now. I'm feeling at a loss, everything that used to work to help him navigate life is just suddenly ineffective. We have a date night planned this week to go bowling, I think that will be good.

Right now it really feels like he is running the house and everyone is walking on eggshells, we've always had a pretty communicative, balanced, consensual? environment and it just flew out the window. Right now I think 2 was sooooo much easier!
post #132 of 367
I agree that UP is probably a better book for getting the theory better. UP should probably be read before "Raising Our Children..." I read that one before UP so when I started UP a lot of it was redundant and I felt like I already had practical applications of the ideas from "Raising Our Children..." so I just skimmed UP. Anyway, my point was that, if you are going to read both books, I suggest reading UP first and then "Raising Our Children..." Naomi Aldort has another book, too, I think. I can't remember the title but it might be a good follow up to UP and "Raising Our Children..." (I need to figure out an abbreviation for that book.)

harrietsmama ~ A lot of what your boy is experiencing could be related to hormones. The hormones start changing long before we see any outside evidence of puberty and that can certainly affect one's mood. Have you tried just listening to and accepting what your ds is saying without offering any help or suggestions? For me, most times when I'm fussing or complaining to my dh he tries to fix it for me because he's a guy and that's what they do but all I really want is someone to listen to me, give me a hug and say they understand.

You don't need to validate anyone's feelings because that gives the impression that feelings need validation and they don't. We all feel what we feel. There's no right or wrong to it. It just is what it is. Kids know this and it doesn't occur to them that something is wrong until we adults interfere.

If you don't know what to say, just repeate back what he has said. Things may escalate at first but that is a good thing. That means your ds is getting all of his feelings out without any interference. The sooner he does that, the sooner he can move on.

Example:

Boy: Everyone hates me!

Mom: You feel like everyone hates you!

Boy: Yeah! No one is ever nice to me! No one ever wants to play with me! (crying very loudly. I'm not sure if a 7yo boy does this but I know my 5yo does.)

Mom: You feel that no one is nice to you or wants to play you.

Boy: Yeah! It's not fair!

Ok, that's all I could come up with for now. That doesn't really end the conversation and it would probably go on but maybe it gives you some ideas of how to respond. It may sound kind of silly because it seems obvious to us adults but it's not obvious to kids, I guess. That's what I do when I don't know how to respond. I don't react. I just repeat back in a very neutral tone whatever the child has said.

Has anyone read, "How to Stop Backtalk"? I don't think that's the full title and I can't remember the authors off the top of my head. I just started it and I'm not sure how it works with UP. I'm thinking that maybe it doesn't mesh. It has some examples of practical or logical consequences for rude/disrespectful behavior but it seems sort of punishing to me. I think I'm a bit on the permissive side so I may be misunderstanding both books. For example, if a child complains in a rude or nasty tone about dinner, the book suggests telling the child to leave the table and remove herself from wherever the family is while they are eating. Don't allow any ifs, ands or buts and ignore the child's pleas that she is hungry later. I can totally understand that sometimes it is necessary to remove a child from a situation if she is being very disruptive so that things can't get done but I don't like the idea of ignoring the child when she says she's hungry.
post #133 of 367
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
Has anyone read, "How to Stop Backtalk"? I don't think that's the full title and I can't remember the authors off the top of my head. I just started it and I'm not sure how it works with UP. I'm thinking that maybe it doesn't mesh. It has some examples of practical or logical consequences for rude/disrespectful behavior but it seems sort of punishing to me. I think I'm a bit on the permissive side so I may be misunderstanding both books. For example, if a child complains in a rude or nasty tone about dinner, the book suggests telling the child to leave the table and remove herself from wherever the family is while they are eating. Don't allow any ifs, ands or buts and ignore the child's pleas that she is hungry later. I can totally understand that sometimes it is necessary to remove a child from a situation if she is being very disruptive so that things can't get done but I don't like the idea of ignoring the child when she says she's hungry.
The bolded part sounds to me like love withdrawal. I think I would try questioning the child about why they are upset and if there is a change that can be made to that meal to make it acceptable (maybe it needs salt? remove the bell peppers? add some barbecue sauce?) if all else fails, maybe there is something else they can think of that they would rather have for dinner, or maybe you can let them know ahead of time what you are fixing so you can make changes before the dinner is finalized.

as for the tone of voice the child used I would let them know how it came across to me and that I don't like to be spoken to in such a way or that in this family we use nicer words with each other.
post #134 of 367
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
harrietsmama ~ A lot of what your boy is experiencing could be related to hormones. The hormones start changing long before we see any outside evidence of puberty and that can certainly affect one's mood.
This makes sense

Quote:
Have you tried just listening to and accepting what your ds is saying without offering any help or suggestions?
Hmmm, not as distincly as you have it laid out, I will give this approach a try

Quote:
For me, most times when I'm fussing or complaining to my dh he tries to fix it for me because he's a guy and that's what they do but all I really want is someone to listen to me, give me a hug and say they understand.
This would drive my son out of his mind - my dp helped me understand that and it helped us get over the last hurdle. I was trying to just let him be, but it seemed cruel to not check on him and give him a pat or something, but since I have quit doing that when he has a meltdown, it does last much less time.
Quote:
I can totally understand that sometimes it is necessary to remove a child from a situation if she is being very disruptive so that things can't get done but I don't like the idea of ignoring the child when she says she's hungry.
ITA food is a necessity. I invite my kids to meals, but they have access to food at any time. Withholding food would make things so much worse!!!

Thanks for your input, also will continue following the thread... A friend suggested a book specifically about 7 yo that is very much in this realm of thinking that I am going to read first I think. I'm a little overwhelmed with stuff I want to read at the moment This is it - Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key Anyone seen it?
post #135 of 367
Quote:
as for the tone of voice the child used I would let them know how it came across to me and that I don't like to be spoken to in such a way or that in this family we use nicer words with each other.
This is what I am having the most trouble with. My kids are both speaking in such attacking tones to each other, and ds to me. Dd whines a lot - we approach that one with humor though. xh is just *not* on the same page with me anymore and I know they are getting a lot of negative modeling from him so I have to overcompensate for that here, or so it seems. I keep telling them to talk to each other the way they want to be talked to but it clearly isn't working and I'm not sure how else to help them. It was so much easier when they were younger. They have definitely entered a new stage. I try to keep my voice calm and use a non-judgemental stance with them and really everyone.
post #136 of 367
I agree that it's never ok to withhold food. In my house my kids have access to all the food, too, so them not being happy with what is served is not usually a problem. The book I mentioned is more about addressing the tone used or the use of hurtful words. There's a huge difference between saying, "I don't like meatloaf. Can I get something else to eat?", and saying, "This stuff is nasty! How can you expect me to eat this crap! Make me something else right now!" I would not put up with my kids talking to me that way and would probably tell them they needed to leave the table but I would not withhold food or I was not going to buy them whatever they demanded or whatever else the situation may be. You wouldn't let your child continue with play if he were abusing another child, would you? It's important to tell the child your feelings as the reason that they have to leave. For example, "It hurts my feelings when you say things like that to me. I don't like it." There's no judgment in those statements. You're not saying the child was bad or even that the words were bad, just how you feel. There has to be a balance between letting your child express himself and not allowing yourself to be mistreated. KWIM?

There are certainly times when it's better to let a child work things out themselves rather than trying to comfort them. I learned through experience with my now 18yo that sometimes it's better to just let him be when he's feeling bad. He'll come to me if/when he's ready to talk as long as he knows I'm always there for him. It's difficult to do and took me a long time to learn.
post #137 of 367
Me again. Here's the title of that book I mentioned. "Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids," by Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder. The ideas and theories in this book seem ok but the example maybe aren't that great. That may be because they are coming from a mainstream perspective, assuming that all parents consider themselves in charge. I think that maybe it's a "take what you need and leave the rest" sort of thing.

Here's another example that might be more pertinent. A child is spending the night at a friend's. She's spent the entire time listening to her friend talk in nasty way to her parents. At one point the friend tells the child to call her parents and tell them to bring their VCR over because her's is broken. The child calls her parents and demands that they bring the VCR. They say they were going to use it later. She says that too bad because she and her friend want it so they have to bring it to her now. The parents tell the girl to get her stuff packed because they are coming to get her and they do. That seems like a reasonable and logical consequence. They do not punish the child anymore once they are home.

Back to the dinner example. I've been thinking about this more. One thing I do when my 5yo sounds rude to me is to repeat back is his demand as a pleasant, more respectful request. For example, my child says, "Get me a cookie!" I say, "May I please have a cookie?" When I do this, my child will actually repeat back to me what I just said and he's much more pleasant about it. It's also very important to model the behavior you want. If you make demands of your child (Go clean your room right now!), that's what the child learns. If you ask your child in a respectful manner (Let's clean your room.), the child learns that is the way to talk to others.

Here's something I had to deal with tonight. I'm caring for 4 children that are not mine because they were removed from their home by DSS. Their mother is in jail. Their father was given supervised visitation privileges at my home. The oldest girl, who is 9yo, grabbed a bag that she had apparently packed and ran out of the house to his car as he was leaving. He had to bring her back in and sit with her a bit more. As he was leaving again she came to me to give me a hug and kiss goodbye. As she did that, he slipped out of the house. I had to shut and bolt the door behind him to keep her in. I wish we could let her go home with her dad but we can't do that right now so I had to do this. She started screaming and crying and grabbing at the door so I had to hold her. I tried to just hug her but she pulled away from me and threw herself on the floor. She was screaming and kicking very violently. After moving the other children away so they wouldn't get hurt, I just stood there and let her do it. She stopped pretty quickly and ran upstairs yelling that she was going to call her dad. I let her. After a while she calmed down and came to me crying that she missed her dad. At that point she let me hold her and hug her and comfort her. She was fine the rest of the night. If I had tried to make her stop either verbally or physically, it would've just made the situation worse. As long as she wasn't hurting herself or anyone else, it seemed best to let her do that.
post #138 of 367
Hey, mamas.

I borrowed Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting DVD and watched it last night, and boy, was I on a roller coaster of emotions! I was pleased that some much of his "list" (and thanks to whomever reposted it at the beginning of this thread!!) was intuitive to me, delighted that I had always done several of the items, and then devastated and desperate to think of where I had fallen down.

This stuff is so DEEP and HARD sometimes! I almost cried when he started talking about how pointing out what a child is doing well (i.e. sharing) makes them do it LESS! All I could think of was how I had made ds a less intrinsically generous person each time I told him that I noticed how much the other child appreciated his sharing, what a kindness that was, etc.

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! There are so many old patterns to break, and so many pitfalls to avoid.

I'm renewed, but also trying to forgive myself for the past, for doing less than I could have but the best I could do at the time.

In that spirit, I'd like to share an article I just read from the NVC QuickContent newsletter in July. It's all about using NVC in your self-talk as a parent:

Thanks for sharing, mamas, and please enjoy!

*****

Getting Past the Parenting "Shoulds", continued

Many parents judge themselves when they find their behavior falling short of their hopes: "I'm a terrible parent"; "If you saw how I behave with my children at home, you wouldn't feel so compassionate toward me..."; "I just can't do this NVC thing!" These are just a few of many statements I have heard from parents over the years.

The tendency so many parents have of judging themselves led me to focus more and more, on supporting parents to work on self-acceptance through self-connection. Without self-acceptance, any attempt at growth and transformation can easily become a path to self-judgments! NVC, with all its focus on transforming judgments, can itself become another yardstick against which to measure ourselves as falling short.

So how do we develop self-compassion, self-acceptance and even self-love? NVC has so much to offer us here! Beginning with the basic practice of self-empathy - checking inwardly with our own feelings and needs.

Self-empathy is a new habit for most people, a very different way to approach ourselves than the self-judgments and self-demands we are used to. Self-empathy can be as simple as getting curious about our feelings and needs, gently inquiring about our inner experience. What am I feeling? What am I needing?

Self-empathy can be taken to a deeper place by using judgments and self-judgments as welcome clues to the deeper life within you, as threads you can hold on to as you navigate your way into yourself.

Another avenue for deepening can be found in opening ourselves to the clues our bodies hold - sensations, movement, sounds - letting ourselves fully experience and make contact with our physical and emotional experience. Then there are various processes for engaging with and deepening our relationship to our needs, so we can move from the state of reactive grasping to get our needs met NOW, to a capacity to live in peace even when our needs are not met.

By reaching in repeatedly to connect with our human experience, we begin to develop compassion and acceptance for ourselves. We deepen our ability to welcome and embrace all of who we are, including on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Through fuller and deeper self-connection, healing of core patterns of thought and behavior can take place.

Many parents would ask now: "When am I supposed to do this?! I don't have time for my own healing!" With much sadness, I recognize the reality that so many parents face in our world today: torn between so many tasks and projects and needs to attend to, sometimes not even able to provide basic sustainability for our families, our own needs - healing included - can fall by the wayside.

Yet I hold hope that many of the processes NVC invites us to do not have to take more time than what we have. We can engage in them while driving, brushing our teeth, making food, cleaning, or doing any task that does not involve serious engagement of our minds. While it may be ideal to set aside quiet time for self-connection, self-connection can happen with almost every breath we take.

How about trying this: set your watch or cell phone to beep once an hour. When it beeps, take a deep breath and ask yourself: "What's alive in me right now? What is it like to be this human being that I am, right now? How am I feeling at this moment? What needs are moving me?" Take 1-2 minutes to let a response arise within you. Give yourself more time if you can, but even just one minute can make a difference.

Any or all of these questions can open a window into your heart. By nurturing a habit of checking in with yourself, you may be amazed to find that your relationship with yourself can, over time, become your haven, a home you are happy to return to each time. From this foundation of self-connection we can grow our capacity to meet our children with the calm and compassion we long to offer them.

Inbal Kashtan, author of Parenting From Your Heart, recently returned to sharing NVC after facing cancer. You can find out more about her work at www.baynvc.org, and her CD for parents, Connected Pare ting: Nonviolent Communication in Family Life, by clicking here.
post #139 of 367
Here's the Daily Groove by Scott Noelle email for today. I find this one very pertinent and I like it a lot. It's makes me think about finding that balance. I don't have to be a perfect parent. I can have my bad moments as long as I don't blame anyone for them and I don't take them out on anyone, including myself.

:: Be Real ::

Presumably, you want to be a respectful, creative,
loving parent -- and you'd rather not *ever* be
coercive with your child. Wonderful!

But what about those times when you're just in a bad
mood and don't feel like being a super-parent? Must
you sacrifice your authenticity, fake a smile, and go
through the motions?

You can try, but it won't work. Even if self-sacrifice
"works" superficially, it leads to resentment or rage
that eventually hurts everyone.

Here's a twofold alternative: First, give yourself
permission to be *real*. Stop trying to hide how you
really feel. (Kids always know intuitively how their
parents feel, anyway.)

Second -- and most important -- make a solemn
commitment to take responsibility for your feelings.
In other words, you won't blame your child for how you
feel. You won't blame yourself, either, because true
responsibility has nothing to do with blame.

Breakthroughs happen when you honor your "negative"
emotions without making anyone wrong. And when you
truly take responsibility for your feelings, being
coercive doesn't feel "real" at all.

Daily Groove: be-real
post #140 of 367
MarineWife, I sent that to my DH. He's been talking to me about having a hard time not blaming others for the way he feels.
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