Originally Posted by Minxie
I think you may misunderstand. I don't give my son false choices; I give my son choices with which I can live. The choice is for HIM; the disengagement is that I don't care which choice he makes. He is welcome to offer a third alternative so long as that works for all parties concerned. If he will not choose or offer an alternative to the choices within a reasonable amount of time, I choose for him. Period.
Your continued description of choices as "false choices" is kind of starting to irk me so I hope that clarifies it. If not, please explain why you feel offering him a choice is a "false choice".
There aren't any "false choices" and I don't care whether he stops talking or not. His continuing to talk is not going to dissuade me from the path we're taking. I listen to him, I empathize with him but ultimately I am his mother and he is my child.
Sorry if the term "false choice" is offensive.
I think when a child wants one thing, and then is offered a choice between two or three different other things, when the reality is that aside from the needs of the parent and the necessity of narrowing things down, many more choices would be available to him, then he is being given a false choice.
I understand why this method is used with young toddlers asserting their independence. They want to feel in control; the choice gives the illusion of control while letting the parent maintain control. It's the illusory nature of the control that leads me to call it a "false" choice. "Blue or red otter pop?" is just easier to deal with than "Orange juice? Milk? Sliced apples? Carrot sticks? Otter pops? Butter and bread? Yoghurt?" And of course a small child would be overwhelmed by those choices anyway.
With older toddlers and pre-schoolers, however, the illusion of control is lost because they know what they want. You might as well just say "no" and give them whatever is easiest. Because you've already eliminated like, 90% of the choices, why not the last one as well? They're not getting what they really want, anyway.
You see what I'm saying? I'm not saying there's no choice. I'm saying, it's not the choice that is relevant to the child's desire to control the situation.
I mean, imagine if you put in for a three-bedroom bungalow and someone came up to you and asked whether you'd like to live on the third floor in a one-bedroom apartment, or on the tenth floor in a two-bedroom apartment (no elevators). You'd be like, WTH? And they said, "Look, it's a great choice, you can choose EITHER the one or two bedroom! Which do you prefer?"
You're going to say, "Well, you may have missed it, but I ordered a three-bedroom."
"One bedroom or two bedroom. Your choice."
"I don't know what's wrong with you, but I ordered--"
"I said one bedroom or two bedroom."
"Are you kidding me?"
"If you don't want an apartment, you don't have to have one. This is your last chance. If you don't choose, I'll choose for you."
"I choose the bungalow!!!"
"Okay, I'll choose for you. The one-bedroom."
Would you not be driven to distraction?
Now, suppose a kid asks for a sandwich but that's not an option. Offering an apple OR an orange, in my opinion, is going to fool a small child but not an older one because it's going to be that same ridiculous "false choice". Oh, sure, there's not a choice because you're in control.
But in that case just set out the apples and be done with it. None of this passive-aggressive apples-or-oranges-aren't-you-lucky-you-get-to-choose nonsense. That's not fooling anybody past the age of three.
You do have a dance. She talks. You respond. Repeat.
I believe she knows that if she talks, you feel obligated to say something in return. So it's pretty easy for her to keep you going.
Actually, this was not going on until I found out that I can't put her in her room, and I decided this was the time to really, really try gentle discipline. I am not sure if you've read the whole thread but my problem is that I have decided to give up on two or three things that I decided were not gentle:
Bribes / punishments (removal of bribes / privileges)
So in fact, I was able to get away from the arguing before because I didn't reply. However, I did not think this was very gentle. So I was asking for ALTERNATIVES.
Also. Is she very bright? Is she an extrovert? Does she have a very long attention span, perhaps? (We have often joked that we wish DD had a shorter attention span.) Perhaps she needs more stimulation and more time with others.
She is of average intelligence, I suppose, certainly within the realm of normal, with her own talents and weaknesses. I don't know if she has a long attention span. Not freakishly so. She is an extrovert which is why we spend a minimum of two hours with other kids each day for her, in addition to three hours at pre-school.
I wish I could provide more stimulation at home, of course. I should try to work in more thoughtful, challenging critical thinking games and learning events into our day. It is hard, though, especially as I have the baby who is also learning now. I can't set up science experiments or anything.
And if it isn't a life or death thing, stick her in her room. I know how harda$$ this sounds, but if you have to lock her in there, lock her in.
Haha, you missed where I said this is what I'm trying to avoid.
You see, I know I can walk away from her. I know I can stick her in her room and lock the door. I know I can bribe and threaten. That's easy.
I guess I figured, when the poop hit the fan so to speak, GD advocates would have something really novel to deal with this. Some way to placate these kids that don't stop talking, pushing.
OF COURSE I don't have to answer. I don't want to answer. I'm tired of answering. I'm tired of arguing.
But I don't want her to feel like I don't care, either.
Perhaps it's how you define "work". At our house the point is not that he wants to. We don't need him to want to. Yes, we have walked a kid back to bed over and over again for over two hours, night after night. After a while (yes, perhaps a year) it stuck. And he never needed to want to.
I can make her do stuff she doesn't want to do, though two hours of bedtime is beyond my capacity, physically--I'm the only one who bathes them, makes all the meals, does all the shopping, and this is even when my husband is home because he works on the side as well. But yeah, I guess I AM looking for a way to make her want to.
I *am* looking for the root of the problem, why my kid isn't working like every kid does, in every book, on every website, when they say, just do x, y, and z.
And it works, your child WILL COMPLY with what you SAY.
NOWHERE do they say, "Now, if your kid doesn't do this, stick them in their room and lock the door."
Or to ignore them.
Or to walk away and (presumably) kick them off / pry them off your leg and run away. (Did I mention that she gloms onto my leg when I do that? And the baby has to do it too... LOL...).
Or lock yourself in the kitchen.
So... that is where my frustration is coming from.
None of this is mentioned in the gazillions of parenting books, ESPECIALLY not gentle parenting books. It's like I did something wrong at age two and I'm paying for it now and I want to know what it was, and how to fix it before it gets worse. They don't mention that you have to get down to their level, and on the contrary, you are supposed to take the high road.
I just don't see how putting someone in the bedroom or ignoring is the high road. I can see why it's done, naturally, but I don't see it as the adult thing to do.
side note- with your example of too small shoes- I would never had indulged her... I would have picked her up and forced her in the car
Yeah. It was totally hypothetical, but I do that (force her). I was thinking two things about this. First, that with two kids, I can't do that for much longer and second, that there are mamas who don't have to do that with their kids.
They don't have that because they know the words to use, the way to be, to avoid this conflict. But I don't because I never stayed around anyone like my DD long enough to hone those skills! I don't because somewhere along the line I messed up and now I have to get her back in line so that I can say in a calm, gentle, loving voice, "Honey, you look tired. How about a nice warm bath with sissy and then a bedtime story? You can get some rest." And then we do the bedtime routine and it's done.
Or "Please leave the room if you're going to speak to me that way." And she LEAVES.
Or whatever. YK? I just don't believe that my kid can be the one child with whom gentle discipline doesn't work. I just can't believe it. It really hurts me to think that. She was so sweet at two and yes we've had a tough time in the past year but we've also worked really hard to make her life consistent as possible given the circumstances.
Laundry, we get FREE classes in 1-2-3 Magic here and it's the laughingstock of the entire post. Nobody attends them. So sad that the only gentle discipline they offer is something that teaches kids not to listen...
Sorry, yes I am venting to a large extent but I really, really want to set something up that I can follow. I'm looking at the Setting Limits book but it does have punishment and that's something I'm familiar with already. My problems start when we remove consequences and just try to somehow get through to her as a human being.
So I don't think I'll get that book at the moment, but I'll keep it in mind, thank you.
Everyone here says GD works even with strong-willed children. My child is far within the realm of normal, so why isn't it working? I can't punish for hitting, I can't accept it, I can't ignore her, so what can I do?
Does anyone else see what I am talking about?
Does it EVER talk about ignoring in GD books?
Ever? Anywhere? Time-outs without the parent?
Because what I'm hearing are two answers:
Accept the hitting, this too shall pass. Oh, you can talk about it, but don't expect it to change.
Go ahead and do what you were doing, give her a time-out even if you have to physically restrain her by locking the door (now of course in case someone only reads just this post, I will repeat that this is three minutes and that I'm in earshot).
But not much else you can do.