Originally Posted by Girlprof
You know, it actually sounds to me like you're doing fine. You made a reasonable request. She refused. You told her what the consequence would be and she still refused. You didn't give in on the treat, right? Sure, she's mad. She needs to be upset about it or the idea of a consequence won't work.
I read this whole thread and I agree with this most.
Your child is upset and says hurtful things. You have the right to ask her to leave if she can't be polite. My three-year-old, when a consequence is implemented, often says things like, "You don't have love in your heart. You're a mean mother. I don't want you to be my mother." Etc.
I just tell her to please leave, as I don't let people speak to me like that. If she doesn't leave, I lead her out of the room into her own room. I just don't take that from anyone.
I wonder if your going and crying gives your daughter the response she wants--"Now she's sorry she didn't give me what I wanted!" I understand that you are sensitive. My mom used to do that (go and hide) when I was upset. She expected me to interpret her feelings and change. I was incapable of empathising to that degree and felt sad that she could not express clearly what she wanted and stand up for herself when I was asking if something was definite. I wanted the following conversation:
"Now we're going to wash your hair."
"I don't want to."
"Well, you have to because of X, Y, and Z."
"I don't agree with or care about those reasons. I feel angry at you." <--said in a whiny or tantrumy manner, using the rudest, most over-the-top language I could because I was a child.
"Well, society does, and like it or not, you are part of society. So you have to. When you are old enough you can go live in the forest and eat twigs. For now you do what I say. If you do not, I will find a way to make it happen. Sorry but that's life." (My mom NEVER said that to me--I had to figure it out myself, and when I did, I can tell you how resentful I was...)
[Mother, not personally insulted, but standing firm, puts me in the bath kicking and screaming, gets it over with, and moves on.]
FTR, I think a seven-year-old who is not
capable of making a plan to trigger an emotional response in an adult is developmentally behind. Suggesting a child of this age can be manipulative is normal. People can be manipulative, and that includes children.
I am sure some people would say this is not gentle. But gentle does not mean that you never impose a firm limit when the child disagrees. I mean if you've tried compromise etc. etc. and this is simply an area where you cannot agree, the gentlest thing is to enforce the limit without anger
" I am assuming most people don't mean holding a kid down while they kick and scream but this is the image that comes into my head as my 4 yr old would not be having a bath except if we held him down. And that's not going to happen."
Yes, I mean physically holding her kicking and screaming. Bathing was not an issue for us, but carseats were, as was holding my hand as we crossed the street, and not running off. And at the age of two and three, yes, I have held my child kicking and screaming to cross a street or parking lot, and held her kicking and screaming into a carseat. Bathing is a matter of personal hygiene, a health matter, and I will hold a child kicking and screaming as long as it takes. I have done the hair thing kicking and screaming, too. I'm not going to force my child to get her head shaved simply because that is the natural consequence of not combing.
It is way more gentle to do that than passive-aggressively (as you point out) trying to communicate our frustration at our children's personalities.
My mother was very gentle. She did not like to express clearly and verbally what she wanted and she did not like to stand her ground. Her feeling was that I, the child, should sense how she felt and never argue, and that if I argued, it was a personal insult. I can't tell you how many times I cried at being misunderstood about that, and how bad I felt about myself because of that. I felt that my testing limits was bad, that my mom didn't understand me.
You sound like a great, sensitive mom but you have a tough cookie on your hands.
(Oh yeah, and if you haven't read _Adventures in Gentle Discipline_, I cannot recommend that book enough. It's gentle on both parent and child, it's realistic, it has tons of real-life examples, and most importantly, it avoids the worst of all self-help traps: the lie that life, or parenting, or a child, can somehow be "perfect" or conflict-free. I've read all the books you have and more and AGD is pretty much the only one that doesn't make me want to scream. LOL. It makes me feel like a good mom who CAN DO IT.)