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Please tell me what I'm doing wrong?? Is it me? - Page 8

post #141 of 164
I think we've created a bit of a false scenario here. I don't think anyone here recommended not addressing a situation where a child refuses to bathe for weeks, any long period of time, ever, etc.

I think people were referring to a child not wanting to take a bath on a particular day at a particular time. These are hardly the same thing, no? I'm not sure how to address that problem, but it seems like a completely different thing than a kid feeling defiant one particular evening for X reason.

I guess I can sort of see the connection people are trying to make: but I can't see how telling a kid "okay, you don't want to take a bath right now" will necessarily result in a child with a for-life bath-hating habit.

Again, I have no experience with the OP's child's age range, but for instance, with the example of the baby/toddler diaper: my son - he's not doing it that much anymore, but a few months ago he hit the stage when it was impossible to get him still for a diaper change. Did I have the option to pin my child down and change his diaper by force? Well, I suppose that's technically an option...

I could also just wait a few minutes, give him my attention otherwise, talk to him, soothe him, etc. and then address again the need to change the diaper. Guess what? The diaper gets changed without a battle then.

I'm not saying this is equivalent to the situation that started this thread. But I don't think that the scenarios presented recently are equivalent either...
post #142 of 164
"I could also just wait a few minutes, give him my attention otherwise, talk to him, soothe him, etc. and then address again the need to change the diaper. Guess what? The diaper gets changed without a battle then."

I think that with toddlers, it is a lot easier to use distraction, whereas some older children hold grudges. My own child remembers things for days and keeps at it.

And people are bringing up cases in which parents didn't force bathing, and it did not solve the issue. It was not a case of distracting the child, soothing them, then coming back with an alternative. It was that the parent may have tried this, and tried everything, and finally decided that the only alternative left was to either force the child, or let them go without a bath.

So they let them go without.

"I can't see how telling a kid "okay, you don't want to take a bath right now" will necessarily result in a child with a for-life bath-hating habit."

No, it's rare that the rude awakening does not come in middle-school, when the child's peers inform her in no uncertain terms that she stinks.

If you think that hurts less and/or is somehow preferable to a parent gently explaining this to a child when they are younger and more malleable, I'd like to know why.

I, too, was the child of a parent that told me precious little of society's expectations of me.

I learned the expectations the hard way. My mother always told me that she was concerned that I didn't have good social skills. I think I was 27 when I told her that I wished SHE had taught me those skills, just by TELLING me and hammering it home.

Instead of "gently" letting me be awkward throughout school and figure it out reading psychology articles throughout high-school and college. How gentle! I'll never do that to my kids.
post #143 of 164
My suggestion was asking whether she wanted to take a bath before or after they went out, and that's somehow been turned into having a child who never bathes to the point where she gets teased in junior high. There are options between forcing a child kicking and screaming to take a bath, and having a child who never bathes. There is a false dichotomy being set up here.
post #144 of 164
Your idea of a choice is a great start. I personally start feeling passive-aggressive and really need creative ideas when my child responds to the choice with, "NEVER!!!!! Not now, not EVER!" (She's three, not seven, LOL!) "Green or red sweater?" "Purple." "But you don't have a purple one. These are y-" "PUUUUUURRRRRPPLE!"

Sometimes the whole imaginary choice thing just doesn't fool them.

So I was more responding to people who indicated that they would NEVER force a bath or bathing. I think that having that limit for yourself can lead with many children to the no-bathing scenario. It happens often enough!
post #145 of 164
Taking a bath before or after you go out is a more real choice than whether you wear a red or purple sweater. There's a higher level of control with taking a bath at a different time, when it works better for the child, than simply wearing a different color sweater but still wearing a sweater. My older dd didn't go for false choices either.

And I would never FORCE a bath. When she was not wanting a bath, I asked her why. We talked about it and it took a bit of digging but I foudn out tht se didn't like how I rinsed her hair, and she thought that baths were boring. So we got some bath crayons or something fun, and I worked on different ways to rinse her hair.

I was a child who never wanted to bathe, and it was because my mom made such a huge issue of it and would try to force it and it made me dig my heels in and refuse even more.
post #146 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
My suggestion was asking whether she wanted to take a bath before or after they went out, and that's somehow been turned into having a child who never bathes to the point where she gets teased in junior high. There are options between forcing a child kicking and screaming to take a bath, and having a child who never bathes. There is a false dichotomy being set up here.
Yes, this is what I was trying to say. Thank you for saying it much more succinctly than I did!

"No, it's rare that the rude awakening does not come in middle-school, when the child's peers inform her in no uncertain terms that she stinks." - Again, this is not what was being discussed in the OP scenario at all. I'm not quite sure how we even got to that - but this was something brought up much later. I am not advocating NOT addressing the child who never wants to bathe and who will, as a result, face peer issues.

We were discussing a child who refused one thing -- in this case, it happened to be a bath, but it could have been anything. The issue was one of "defiance," not of regularly not wanting to bathe. So the point is we were going off topic.

And to be honest, either way, if a child doesn't want to bathe regularly, there's a reason for that. I don't think telling him/her that he doesn't want to grow up to be the "stinky" kid in school and then forcing a bath is the solution to getting him/her to bathe! Why not try to figure out why bath time is such a sucky experience for that child in the first place?

And also: "So I was more responding to people who indicated that they would NEVER force a bath or bathing" -- I think that people who are saying the would "never force a bath" aren't also necessarily saying that they wouldn't address the issue. In other words, they are probably saying that they would try to find the problem/solution through gentle methods rather than by withhold things and/or physically forcing a child into the shower. It's not all or nothing.

But maybe we should start a "what to do with a child who doesn't want to bathe" thread instead, lol.
post #147 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
My suggestion was asking whether she wanted to take a bath before or after they went out, and that's somehow been turned into having a child who never bathes to the point where she gets teased in junior high. There are options between forcing a child kicking and screaming to take a bath, and having a child who never bathes. There is a false dichotomy being set up here.
There's not a false dichotomy being set up. There's just two concurrent conversation threads going on at the same time, I think. The original problem of the OP and the detour/tangent some of us have jumped into re: is it ever appropriate to force a child a bath, and at what cost do you let your child have ultimate control over their bodies, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehighernest View Post
"No, it's rare that the rude awakening does not come in middle-school, when the child's peers inform her in no uncertain terms that she stinks." - Again, this is not what was being discussed in the OP scenario at all. I'm not quite sure how we even got to that - but this was something brought up much later. I am not advocating NOT addressing the child who never wants to bathe and who will, as a result, face peer issues.
The conversation got to this point from both sides, when it was suggested a few pages ago that the OP was in the wrong for trying to force a bath on the child in any case. And then other people replied about the importance of teaching good grooming, and others countered with it's more important to preserve a child's autonomy and protect against hurt feelings, etc., etc. And it went on from there.

Quote:
We were discussing a child who refused one thing -- in this case, it happened to be a bath, but it could have been anything. The issue was one of "defiance," not of regularly not wanting to bathe. So the point is we were going off topic.
Yes, we're definitely getting off the original topic.
I'd be game for the "what to do with a child who doesn't want to bathe" thread, if anyone wants to start one...
post #148 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Taking a bath before or after you go out is a more real choice than whether you wear a red or purple sweater. There's a higher level of control with taking a bath at a different time, when it works better for the child, than simply wearing a different color sweater but still wearing a sweater. My older dd didn't go for false choices either.
Not for mine. For her, "now" or "later" is all included in "sometime" as opposed to "never".

Quote:
And I would never FORCE a bath. When she was not wanting a bath, I asked her why. We talked about it and it took a bit of digging but I foudn out tht se didn't like how I rinsed her hair, and she thought that baths were boring. So we got some bath crayons or something fun, and I worked on different ways to rinse her hair.
I agree that there are so, so many things that parents can do before resorting to ultimatums. But I also think that when it comes to health and safety, parents do need to have a way to have limits without feeling guilty about it and getting passive-aggressive.

Some kids are limit-testers. It's not a manipulation thing. They just... test limits. I was one of them. I don't know why I do it. I STILL do it sometimes! For me, a limit is not when someone feels bad. That's their problem.

A limit is when it becomes my problem, LOL!

So that is all I'm saying to the OP. Not, forget how to talk to your child, forget empathy, just force her.

I'm saying, as a parent you will feel better if you know your limits and you are able to enforce them.

I am saying this because she already seems committed to being gentle with her child, but gentle negotiation (in certain circumstances) is making her feel resentful and sad. It's not working.

If it were someone saying, "My toddler won't take a bath no matter how much I scream," I'd have different advice entirely!
post #149 of 164
Sorry I have not read all the posts, but for the OP, I just started reading Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline and Unconditional Parenting and some of the ideas in there really made me think of your situation. Especially in the first one about learning to be assertive and overcoming passive tendencies (chapter 4, I think) and also in UP, some of the problems that arise when we use rewards and punishment (especially taking away promised rewards) to punish unwanted behavior. Hope this helps.
post #150 of 164
Good points made here! It seems the conversation has turned in this thread (again?? ). I don't think anyone said anything about physically forcing a child to bathe! Some people tried to make that leap from some comments earlier about having consequences for not bathing which is NOT the same thing.

For a toddler of pre-schooler, I think enough bubbles and tub toys in a full bath would entice them to get in? At least with mine it did. I wouldn't even know HOW to physically force a child older than that! Head lock maybe? Full nelson?

So getting down to the nitty gritty. Isn't the real question whether a dirty kid is the parent's issue (mom needs to get over it) or the kid's (kid needs to take a bath). I don't understand why some people are opposed to consequences if the child is dirty. There are consequences if you go to the store barefoot (no shirt, no shoes, no service, right?) because as a society we've decided that it's gross. What's wrong with us teaching our kids that at home instead of unleashing them dirty and barefoot to learn in the harsh world?
post #151 of 164
To the OP, this is a VERY good book (and I also took the class...you could probably google it to see if there's one in your area but the book alone would be very helpful). I think it would be a good resource for you.

http://www.amazon.com/Redirecting-Ch.../dp/1884734308
post #152 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
I think I am, but who knows I guess. Sometimes there aren't any choices to be had...we need things to happen (ex: we need to go somewhere, we need to do something). So in those cases, there aren't choices. But I think overall she has plenty of leeway/free time. Maybe she doesn't feel that way.

The thing I really struggle with is how to respond to her mouthiness/disrespectful behaviour. I can honestly say my sibling and I would never have talked to my mom the way she talks to me. I don't mean she calls me names or anything. But she is very mouthy ("No, I don't have to!" "I don't care!" "I don't like you" etc). I am very reasonable. I am kind. I try to stay calm/matter of fact and have natural consequences. It is like she wants a power struggle over the dumbest things (like whether or not to brush her teeth before bed). I certainly don't control her every waking moment. In fact, I'm actually a really laid back parent. I can never understand why, when we are having a nice time, she wants to ruin it by arguing about something so trivial/routine.

So since what I'm currently doing isn't working well, I am wondering if I should try being more heavy handed and authortarian (SO not me ). I am gentle by nature. I don't like yelling or arguments. Get it so she knows I won't take any attitude/rude behavior and I won't listen to her rant and rave or talk back to me. My friend is like this, and her kids are very well behaved. They would never talk back. I'm jealous. But I want my DD to love/respect/trust me. Not fear me. Oh, parenting is soooooooooo hard.

I have only read the responses up until this post (the one I am quoting), so I am sorry if I am reapeting stuff:


Is it possible that you are TOO laidback? In my own life, I am a very laidback/freedomoriented parent. But my son doesn`t respond well to that. at all. He needs to KNOW what do to, what is allowed etc. He needs boundaries and he needs ME to be very clear about where MY boundaries are.

Have you read anything by the Danish writer Jesper Juul? (http://www.amazon.com/Your-Competent...6951175&sr=8-1) He is amazing, and the most popular GD-writer in Scandinavia. (I`m Norwegian.) He is of the mindset that children need lots of freedom, but they need parents that are parents and guides, not just friends. He says that kids don`t need boundaries around themselves mostly, but they need to see where other peoples boundaries are, and that absolutely includes the parents.

I am just like you. Very likely to be caught up in my kids feelings/emotions. And very likely to let him cross my boundaries, too ensure I am not too strict etc. But it`s not a good thing. And my son gest confused. He is a child, and he needs to feel that the world/the family/our relathinshp isn`t HIS responsibility, but mine.

I am NOT saying this is your "issue", but just offering support and advice. I hope I haven`t offended you.
post #153 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
My suggestion was asking whether she wanted to take a bath before or after they went out, and that's somehow been turned into having a child who never bathes to the point where she gets teased in junior high. There are options between forcing a child kicking and screaming to take a bath, and having a child who never bathes. There is a false dichotomy being set up here.
I agree, letting the child choose when is absolutely the best option. Except, in the OP`s case it wasn`t doable. She has stated many times that the child actually couldn`t bath after. She also stated ones that the water was going to get turned off, so the only chance was before shopping.
post #154 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by *LoveBugMama* View Post
I agree, letting the child choose when is absolutely the best option. Except, in the OP`s case it wasn`t doable. She has stated many times that the child actually couldn`t bath after. She also stated ones that the water was going to get turned off, so the only chance was before shopping.
I'm not willing to accept that there were no other possibilities. There are almost always other possibilities. Then a bath right away after the water gets turned back on, or a sponge bath right away and a full bath after the water gets turned back on. I think where a child's bodily autonomy is involved, it's important to keep working until you find a solution that is acceptable to them.
post #155 of 164
"I'm not willing to accept that there were no other possibilities. There are almost always other possibilities."

We're a military family. We could get kicked out of our home (military housing) if my husband messes up at work, and I am sometimes required to, say, get my children minimally dressed to drive him somewhere (if I need the car later and he has to carry 100 lbs of goods with him, work is 3 miles away). So for us, we FREQUENTLY come up with a situation where the child must forgo her own desires in order to help our family.

For those of us who face daily bouts of is-it-really-necessary-why-can't-they-just-comply-ugh-he'll-lose-his-job-what-will-we-do*, the suggestion that there's always a work-around is so frustrating.
post #156 of 164
I didn't say anything about forgoing desires. I said that this is in regard to issues of bodily autonomy only. I don't work as hard on finding consensual agreements on every other issue. But issues of bodily autonomy are a big deal to me. My kids own their bodies and get to ultimately decide what happens to them. If something is important to me, such as that they take a bath, I explain how I feel, which is never that I'd be embarrassed to be with them but has been that I don't want people to think I don't take proper care of them, and I work with them. Well the older one as the other one is a young toddler. But I work with her and we talk about it. "I dont' want to take a bath now." "The water is going to be turned off later, and I need you to take a bath before X because of Y (which might be that I don't want people to think I'm not taking care of her properly). How are we going to work this out?" And we do work it out. Usually, when I explain where I'm at, she would just take a bath or whatever needs to be done. Or she'd come up with an alternative. I don't always prefer the alternative to my way, but if it's workable I go with it.
post #157 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I'm not willing to accept that there were no other possibilities. There are almost always other possibilities. Then a bath right away after the water gets turned back on, or a sponge bath right away and a full bath after the water gets turned back on. I think where a child's bodily autonomy is involved, it's important to keep working until you find a solution that is acceptable to them.
But what happens if none of the options offered are acceptable to the child? What if it's become a struggle of the wills or over who has control and the child is just insisting that she doesn't want a bath at all? (I'm not just being random, btw...I've seen this kind of thing happen.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I didn't say anything about forgoing desires. I said that this is in regard to issues of bodily autonomy only. I don't work as hard on finding consensual agreements on every other issue. But issues of bodily autonomy are a big deal to me. My kids own their bodies and get to ultimately decide what happens to them. If something is important to me, such as that they take a bath, I explain how I feel, which is never that I'd be embarrassed to be with them but has been that I don't want people to think I don't take proper care of them, and I work with them. Well the older one as the other one is a young toddler. But I work with her and we talk about it. "I dont' want to take a bath now." "The water is going to be turned off later, and I need you to take a bath before X because of Y (which might be that I don't want people to think I'm not taking care of her properly). How are we going to work this out?" And we do work it out. Usually, when I explain where I'm at, she would just take a bath or whatever needs to be done. Or she'd come up with an alternative. I don't always prefer the alternative to my way, but if it's workable I go with it.
To continue my train of thought from the first quote...What if there is no workable alternative that you or she is able to come up with? What if they just say "no" and that's it-- no amount of negotiation or choices offered are acceptable to the child. Like I said, I've seen situations like this in my own family. One time, it was even over taking a bath- just like the OP.

In other words, I understand that you value your child's autonomy, but to what extent will you take that? Sometimes kids will just flat-out refuse and dig in their heels, you know?
post #158 of 164
I take it on a case-by-case basis, but I find it doesn't come up that often if I really put an effort into finding something that works for both of us, and if my dd trusts that I will do that. But, on the occasions where we aren't able to come to an agreement, sometimes I do force things, sometimes I let things slide until later, depending on how important it is. A one-time bath issue isn't that important, so I'd probably let that slide if it came to it, but I think we'd probably be able to find some kind of agreement.
post #159 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelmendi View Post
I actually think that telling a child they won't get a treat unless they bathe is less manipulative then tricking them into washing themselves by splashing in buckets.

My mother is very interested in non-violent communication and such, and honestly, it has always seemed very, very manipulative to me. If someone wants something from me, I want them to say it outright, and if they don't accept my 'no' I want them to say that outright too, not try to trick me into doing what they wanted me to do.
I'm chiming into this discussion quite late, but I did lurk my way thru the whole thread. It's so interesting to see such an array of different GD perspectives. I found myself really wanting to comment on the above quote, from a conflict resolution practitioner's perspective (and as mama of a 7 year old ).

The whole premise behind conflict resolution theory is to find a mutually acceptable resolution to a conflict. This is what many of the parents on this thread are talking about - even if they aren't using those terms. Brainstorming options to find out a resolution that works to get everybody's needs met does work most of the time, whether you are talking about a conflict in a workplace, an international dispute, or a 7 year old who does not want to take a bath. The key is to figure out what everyone really *wants* (their interests) behind what they are *saying* they want (their positions). Many mamas on this thread have advocated asking *why* the OP's DD objected to the bath. What need was she seeking to meet by objecting? Was she tired? Was she looking for fun and the bath did not meet that need? Did she just want some say in what she got to do? It's hard to talk about what options might have met her needs without knowing more about what they were - to find that out, you'd have to ask the DD!

My own 7 YO DD is a soccer-playin', tree-climbin', rough and tumble kiddo. She's not big on hygeine either (and in fact, recently yelled, in response to my request that she shower following a soccer game, "whoever invented cleanliness ought to be arrested!") and these kinds of issues crop up frequently for us. When it happens I try to find out what's going on for her. Often I find out her objection is that in her mind, stopping the business of life to get clean is just not FUN. And having fun is a legitimate need, especially for kids!

So we try to find ways to make things fun. Often I read to her while she showers. Sometimes we pretend she's in a spa and I talk in a funny accent and pretend I'm offering her all these services. Sometimes I'm OK with her doing a "rinsie tub" where she stands in the tub while it's running and runs a quick washcloth all over her body, then throws on a baseball hat to hide grubby hair. Is this manipulative? I guess it depends on how you define the word. I was often told that picking up my baby when she cried was a poor response to her trying to manipulate me. If by "manipulate" you mean we are trying to have some say in a situation to get what we want, then sure, it is. And I don't see why that's a bad thing, if everyone is happy.

[When my DH is looking for some lovin', I notice he tries to "maniuplate" me, too - he might offer to take the dog for his nightly walk (usually my job), might set up the coffee pot on automatic brew (usually my job), might sit close to me and rub my shoulders, or might try to chat with me instead of picking up the clicker and getting absorbed in "Extreme Catch."]

So, is chasing a toddler around with a wet cloth to inspire giggles in lieu of an actual tub manipulative? Maybe, but if my need to have my toddler clean is met, while she has fun in the bargain, so much the better.

OP, I would also reccommend a book that I *love* - I'm sorry I can't think of the co-authors' names right at this moment - it is "Respectful Parents/Respectful Kids." It definitely draws on the non violent communication the poster I quoted above was objecting to, but I think it's fabulous, and would add it to the mix of great titles already mentioned here.

Finally, I too, think you are doing a great job as a parent. You obviously care tremendously about your relationship with your DD, and you are recognizing the challenges in parenting her and are seeking to figure out how to handle them better. I think that's all we can ask of ourselves as parents!
post #160 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I didn't say anything about forgoing desires. I said that this is in regard to issues of bodily autonomy only. I don't work as hard on finding consensual agreements on every other issue. But issues of bodily autonomy are a big deal to me. My kids own their bodies and get to ultimately decide what happens to them. If something is important to me, such as that they take a bath, I explain how I feel, which is never that I'd be embarrassed to be with them but has been that I don't want people to think I don't take proper care of them, and I work with them. Well the older one as the other one is a young toddler. But I work with her and we talk about it. "I dont' want to take a bath now." "The water is going to be turned off later, and I need you to take a bath before X because of Y (which might be that I don't want people to think I'm not taking care of her properly). How are we going to work this out?" And we do work it out. Usually, when I explain where I'm at, she would just take a bath or whatever needs to be done. Or she'd come up with an alternative. I don't always prefer the alternative to my way, but if it's workable I go with it.
I love the distinction you make here. What you do is describe the emotion of embarrassment, not wanting people to think you don't take proper care of your children, and then act shocked when I simply say the word embarrassed to my kids? Would it help if I said that I would explain to my kids WHY it would be embarrassing for me? Because in fact I give the same reason you do only that feeling I would label "embarassment".

I have no problem working out different solutions to problems with my kids, but I feel like you are being a little judgemental based on your level of comfort. You say in your answer above that you don't work as hard to be consensual on other issues. Maybe one of those issues is something I would care less about. But I'm not telling you to change your priorities.

Personally, I think cleanliness and general neatness is important and something that is learned. Would I make it a huge fight all the time if my child refused to bathe...no, like you I would find a workable solution that would cause the least amount of resistance. But I also think that sometimes if the kid loses out on something because they just don't want to bathe, that's ok too. It's their choice how they want to deal with the situation, but I'm not a slave to their decision!

I wanted to ask, how do you handle a situation like toothbrushing? Some kids just don't want anything in their mouths. Would that be something you would force? Not physically, of course, but if you exhausted all strategies for finding a way the child would accept.
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