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Never mind - Page 2

post #21 of 285
I'm a Waldorf mom, and I find working with the child's basic temperament VERY helpful -- for instance, it sounds as if you have a child who would be typed as "choleric" -- strong-willed, intense, likes a challenge.

So, challenge her! "I'll bet you can't be all tucked in and asleep by (insert desired bedtime here)." And watch her "argue" with that (she'll be saying, "oh, yeah? watch me!") Make the argument with *something* instead of with you -- she does need to argue, to challenge, that's just her way -- your role is get out of the way and give her challenges to meet that help her direct her energies in appropriate ways and help you get your goals met as well.

Here's an excerpt about cholerics, from a Waldorf teacher/home educator named Donna Simmons:

"Cholerics want to be first -- they are strong-willed and self-directed. It can often feel like their energy is too big to fit into one body. Usually they have a tremendous will and the task for parents lies in giving the child worthy challenges. For cholerics can become self-centered and selfish, only wanting to pursue their own interests and desires and, if not helped toward balance, can bully and intimidate those who stand in their way. A parent needs to conquer her own "stuff" to deal effectively with a choleric, especially where anger can flare up. Meeting fire with fire is rarely helpful though it is good, on occasion, to let a choleric see how upset and angry his actions can make people. Generally, though, staying calm, centered and somewhat detached (I don't think she means detached as in not emotionally attached to your child in general, but rather not engaged in the struggle of the moment) are the best ways to deal with a choleric child.

A choleric needs challenges and if not provided with them will create them herself. Create clear and consistent rules and expectations and do not let your child's (intellectual, artistic, musical, athletic) brilliance cower you into standing back. Think "isometric exercises": this child requires powerful resistance to push against in order to strengthen her own inner forces and, critically, to help them develop kind-spirited and compassionate qualities which take into account the needs of the other. Do not let your choleric become a bully.

One needs to appeal to the better nature of cholerics, to the great leader that waits to be born:
(these are for older children but you get the idea)
"I wonder if you can really count up to 1000 -- I don't think that's possible!"
"I need your help because the baby is ill -- you need to make lunch today."
"Well, you may knit three rows -- I bet you can't manage 5."

These are all appropriate gauntlets to throw down to cholerics."

I've also found it helpful with my choleric ds to create challenges that we meet together -- again, getting out of the way as the object and his need to challenge. For example, "We need to get to swimming lessons by 3 -- I don't think we'll make it! We still have to get your swimsuit on, feed the cat, get a drink and get you strapped into your carseat in TEN MINUTES! Can we do it?" Then we are "arguing" with time, instead of with each other. Also, the look of pure satisfaction when he has "beat the clock" (and happily strapped in, on his way to his lesson *on time*) tells me this really meets a need for him. Plus, I'm not the one getting challenged, argued with, etc. Everybody wins. Whew!

Hope this helps!
post #22 of 285
Have you tried doing things that your dd probably would like to do, rather than just involving her in what you are doing? I used to take flour in a tub and a big blanket into the front yard to let dd play in and we would play for a long time, we would have a trip to the coffee shop for a treat after I picked her up from school early, we went on long trips to the zoo, truly listening to her talk or tell a story in the car, and I read a lot to her. We spent hours reading together. Sometimes if she didn't want to read I would say that was fine because I was reading to myself then pick up a kid book and start reading, she would always come over and snuggle up to listen and see the pictures. If you can find the energy to connect with her doing something she loves everyday I think you will start to see her start to seek that kind of attention and your desire to avoid her may go down.
post #23 of 285
Oh, absolutely. I am not avoiding power struggles because that is not possible with DD. She loves power struggles. It is her raison d'etre. She goes to pre-school five days a week, plus time at the park with friends (during which I do not monitor her except for safety) five days a week... you'd think that would help, but it's more or less the same (though she loves it).>>>>>

Actually it might not help at all. Perhaps there's too much interaction with peers at this point. Hold On to Your Kids explains more in depth, you may want to check it out
post #24 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post
But, on those few things.....I never argued. Never. I also never let him successfully oppose me. There was never any discussion or argument, because I would not discuss it. I told him once what was happening, and then I carried it out, regardless of what he did.
What, exactly, does this look like? I don't think it sounds harsh/ old-fashioned/ whatever...but I just have NO idea what it looks like. Do you mean you use physical force (eg to get in to the car seat, to leave the house...)? I understand that possibility with a smaller, younger child, but physical is not possible with my 50-lb, strong & strong-willed 4.5 year old.

If not physical, then what?
post #25 of 285
Thread Starter 
"I would not discuss it. I told him once what was happening, and then I carried it out, regardless of what he did."

So... did you belt him to the bed, or stay there and hold him down, or what? Did you use your knees to hold his arms down on the tile bathroom floor, getting kicked in the back while you brushed his teeth? Did you force-feed him with a tube, or just by tying his limbs? When you wanted him to get his shoes on to go pick up your husband, did you have to hold him by one foot (that's 30 lbs with one hand) and put the shoe on with the other because otherwise he'd run away?

Like that, "carried it out"?

I'm serious. Because you see... We already did that for a year. Carrying certain things out when my child doesn't want to do them would literally require this. And I'm effing TIRED of physically forcing her EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's been a darn year. A year. Of forcing most of the time. I mean, we're talking holding her down around 10 times a day, just because I refuse to argue. I started when she was two because I, too, thought it had to sink in. Right? Right? Eventually, they will stop fighting... right?

(Okay, not ten times a day. Teeth brushing = 2, naptime = 1, bedtime = 1, my chore for carseat = 2 (in and out of), for a total of six times, about five days a week. And of course not all of those were "holding down"--some were carrying out, etc.)

But she didn't. So I tried more emotional manipulation. Rewards. Punishments. Anything.

If not after a year of consistent bedtimes, mealtimes, pre-school times, free time in the afternoon, shopping rules, then when?

Maybe this is coming up now because she's grown a little bit, and she's now simply too big for me to force anymore. I can't force her to stay in bed, as she shares a room with her baby sister. So the whole screaming while being forcibly held down is (a) not how I want her to learn to sleep, (b) cruel if it is not to any purpose at all, i.e. does not have the required result and (c) totally impractical because baby will wake up and then I'll have two screaming kids.

I appreciate the no-nonsense approach, I really, really do. It was my approach for health and safety issues for a freaking YEAR. But I just can't any more. It's not working (she has not learned to comply), I can't do it physically, and it makes me feel guilty because sometimes it causes her to drop to the floor or get scratched (you know, not like a deep scratch, just a white mark) by the carseat straps, or whatever.

Quote:
Perhaps there's too much interaction with peers at this point. Hold On to Your Kids explains more in depth, you may want to check it ou
There is absolutely no way I'm keeping her home from school. She has been begging to go to school for over a year (so, since before she turned 2.5), she has never wanted to stay home from school, not a single day, and she begs on a daily basis to go play with her friends. She loves it. I'm going to be honest that I have read chapters of HOtYK and I don't really agree with the underlying philosophy of it, though obviously some parts are useful.

Plus when we were home all the time, for two months before I could enroll her in stuff after our move, it didn't help one bit.

Quote:
Have you tried doing things that your dd probably would like to do, rather than just involving her in what you are doing?
Yeah. She loves being the center of attention and doing her favorite things. GEnerally she's quite well behaved those times.

Sadly, I am married and have an infant as well. That prevents me from doing it her way 24/7 or even 1/7, really, because baby's always there.

Oh, and sometimes I just indulge her and argue with her. It really is her favorite thing, LOL. She will try to get her baby sister to do it. "Hey, take this toy. Then I'll say, 'No, it's mine'..."

Wondermomma, you are absolutely right and have her personality pegged to a "T". It does help somewhat... except I wonder if I can be that mom for her, and still have any soul left over.

I do use those tactics. I get sick of doing them (quite literally) three or four times an hour, for everything. EVERYTHING must be timed or gamed or manipulated (reverse psychology). Peeing. Buckling up. Unbuckling. Getting into bed. I admit that there are times when I (melancholic-phlegmatic / XNTP... sigh) just can't do it. How many peas can you eat? How many bites can you turn that sandwich into? Can you be quiet this whole song? I just don't think that way, so it takes 1000% of my mental energy to come up with a challenge every time. The more I do it, the more she wants it.

And then we have poop on the floor (baby, not her, thank God) and I'm ready to lose it.

And that's not sustainable for me as a human. I don't mind her arguing in theory, but I can't be that person for her. I feel like I'm being bullied. My husband has the exact same personality, so between the two of them sometimes I just want to scream.

I will try to think of a way I can be that person, to be that mom. As I said I've looked for counselors who will help me become more playful, more competitive, more cheerful. 24/7. Do you think cognitive behavior therapy could help?
post #26 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
So... did you belt him to the bed, or stay there and hold him down, or what? Did you use your knees to hold his arms down on the tile bathroom floor, getting kicked in the back while you brushed his teeth? Did you force-feed him with a tube, or just by tying his limbs? When you wanted him to get his shoes on to go pick up your husband, did you have to hold him by one foot (that's 30 lbs with one hand) and put the shoe on with the other because otherwise he'd run away?
I really have very few situations in which I insist on control. Here is how I have dealt with most of them:

Bedtime: I have never held either of my children into bed. Either one of us lays down with him, or if he won't settle down, we leave him in the room alone and walk him back in repeatedly as many times as it takes. The times we have wanted them in bed before we went to bed (so we could watch a grownup show) we have often taken 2 hrs to watch a 1 hour recorded show because we repeatedly pause it to walk a kid back into his room during that 2 hours. It's irritating but we know they will grow out of this. (and, in fact, now it seems they have.)

Brushing teeth: Our pedi dentist gave me a technique to use where I am standing or sitting behind the child with one arm across their arms and the other brushing from above and behind, making use of the fact that a yelling mouth is an open mouth. Sometimes I open my mouth and fake-funny scream too while saying "aaaaaaahhhh !" like I want him to do and the mad kid starts laughing while getting his teeth brushed. It's not ideal to brush teeth this way but it's better than nothing and if nothing else I can get some xylitol brushed around in there.

Carseat: Yes I physically pick them up and strap them in. I still occasionally do with with our 4.5 yo. It's been rough on my knees. I don't feel bad about it because by then the child has had *many* warnings that we are leaving in x minutes. 4.5 yo has decided it's just part of life and on the rare occasions that I still need to do this with him, after I strap him in he hugs me.

Shoes: I just bring them with us. The compromise of being barefoot in the car is enough to defuse the tension. Once I forgot them though, and had to take a barefoot kid into a Target for shoes. If a kid is refusing shoes when it's time to get out of the van, he gets carried upside down over my shoulder until he changes his mind. (I have done this with a 4 yo while pushing a younger one in the stroller with the other hand. ) The fact that he doesn't get a good verbal fight or emotional reaction out of it, and we are still going wherever we were going anyway so he hasn't succeeded in changing our course, and that he feels silly being carried like that, are enough to convince him to put on his shoes and walk, and since he's usually laughing by that time, he's not mad about it anymore.

Running away: I only recently stopped using a stroller with a 5 pt harness for trips into the library because 4.5 yo would run away and become impossible to catch in the rows of library shelves. So he had to ride in the stroller at the library until he stopped this behavior. I got some looks for that. I was prepared to come back at anyone who criticized me with "by all means I will take him out if you will catch him". Nobody ever gave me a chance to use that line though.

Eating: They don't have to eat. Really I can't make them. However I can and do remove the privilege of cookies before bed. If they don't eat something healthy for dinner, whether it's what we made or some other easy, healthy option that is quick to prepare, they don't get to fill up on treats. They either consume something healthy or go hungry. I do give options on the healthy foods though.

I thought of another: Parking lots. 4.5 yo must either hold my hand, or be riding in something, or be carried. This isn't that hard now that 7 yo has learned to "stick like glue". It was much harder when DS2 was a baby and it was DS1 who had to hold, ride, or be carried. I pretty much took the stroller everywhere we went, and only left it in the car if I could substitute a shopping cart. I also didn't babywear much with DS2 because it made it too hard for me to carry DS1 at the same time or lift him into a cart.
post #27 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
What, exactly, does this look like? I don't think it sounds harsh/ old-fashioned/ whatever...but I just have NO idea what it looks like. Do you mean you use physical force (eg to get in to the car seat, to leave the house...)? I understand that possibility with a smaller, younger child, but physical is not possible with my 50-lb, strong & strong-willed 4.5 year old.

If not physical, then what?
If necessary I physically move the child from point A to point B and I do it with zero emotional reaction because that is what they are looking for. I carry our 4.5 yo sideways, like a log. With our older son the refusing behavior had already stopped by this age. (It had also started at a younger age). I think our 4.5 yo is almost done with it.

I came back to add: in all of this my objective has never been to shame or punish them. It is to make their efforts at resistance in these areas unproductive and predictably boring. Unproductive - their resistance doesn't result in any change of course - we are still doing what we are doing. It also doesn't get them the fun of an argument, power struggle or emotional reaction. Predictably boring - pretty much the same thing happens every time they try it and resistance never gives them any kind of payoff. In some of these situations if they end up feeling silly, that's a side benefit. It often leads to humor which is very helpful in breaking the cycle of resistance.

Also I want to point out that none of this was necessarily effortless or easy on my part. Many times it was pretty challenging. But I had the hope that I was moving them in the direction of giving up the behavior (because it didn't accomplish anything) and becoming more cooperative.
post #28 of 285
Wow - I read halfway through and then realized that you were getting great and lengthy replies and I stopped reading. Please excuse if this was already said:

To satisfy her request "Argue with me!" you might find some (midday!) physical activity that you can do together so she can test her strength with you - wrestling? pushing hands? tug of war?

That quote just rang out at me as a real need to push-pull-bend thing.
post #29 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
My husband has the exact same personality, so between the two of them sometimes I just want to scream.
Have you asked your dh what worked with him as a child? Is he home enough to help out?

I wonder if "Love and Logic" would work with her? It's a very no-nonsense approach, which focuses on logical consequences. You don't brush your teeth? Fine. But that means you don't get sugar because sugar + mouth bacteria will rot your teeth faster. You don't go to bed? Fine. You still have to get up tomorrow morning no matter what. It's a bit more logic and 'hard' than I like, but my kids aren't as oppositional as your dd sounds.

I think figuring out what you'll do and not do is a good thing. I'd sit your dd down at a calm moment and explain. I'm tired of arguing, so this is how I'm going to treat it.... (that's where counseling could help).
post #30 of 285
When I insist on things there is often a "bribe" associated with them. Usually it is something really fun that she likes to do and that I can do with her, but absolutely will not if what I am telling her to do isn't done first. I also disengage until it is done if it looks like an argument or debate may start, I will even lock myself in the bathroom with a book (though you may need to take the baby and hopefully you can lock yourself in your room) to avoid the whining and deal making my dd does in order to try to get the fun thing without doing the not so fun thing. If you have already tried bribery/ when/then phrases and they don't work then I don't have any advice. I realize bribery isn't the greatest thing, but I like a peaceful happy life and bribery definitely helps. Usually the things are reading books, watching tv, or if the thing I want her to do is very likely to be strongly resisted it is dessert.

Since your dd watches tv already you could tie the health things she needs to do to that. I knew a lady who gave her tv addicted son an hour of viewing in the morning and an hour at night and took time away based on his behavior without arguing. She had a jar with twelve marbles in it, each time she took a marble from the jar he lost five minutes of tv time. She said he got cut off in the middle of the tv time twice because of losing marbles and after that she just needed to warn him and he stopped. That may also help if the tv time is something your dd wants really badly and you have a plan for where to send her if she pushes past the limits of your sanity.
post #31 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post
Also I want to point out that none of this was necessarily effortless or easy on my part. Many times it was pretty challenging. But I had the hope that I was moving them in the direction of giving up the behavior (because it didn't accomplish anything) and becoming more cooperative.
This all sounds good, and I applaud you. Really - I am not being snarky.
In some of the situations you describe, it would be impossible (impossible!) for me to remain emotionally neutral as I would be getting bitten to the point of blood blisters, hit, kicked, and more. My son just cannot be worked this way...now, most days, we are mostly successful at getting along and working things out, but it is such a fine, fine line and I have to be so skilled and delicate...it is, as the OP has said, exhausting.
post #32 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I realize bribery isn't the greatest thing, but I like a peaceful happy life and bribery definitely helps.
I try darn hard to limit it, but I sure have dropped my anti-bribery ideals!!
post #33 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post
If necessary I physically move the child from point A to point B and I do it with zero emotional reaction because that is what they are looking for. I carry our 4.5 yo sideways, like a log. With our older son the refusing behavior had already stopped by this age. (It had also started at a younger age). I think our 4.5 yo is almost done with it.

I came back to add: in all of this my objective has never been to shame or punish them. It is to make their efforts at resistance in these areas unproductive and predictably boring. Unproductive - their resistance doesn't result in any change of course - we are still doing what we are doing. It also doesn't get them the fun of an argument, power struggle or emotional reaction. Predictably boring - pretty much the same thing happens every time they try it and resistance never gives them any kind of payoff. In some of these situations if they end up feeling silly, that's a side benefit. It often leads to humor which is very helpful in breaking the cycle of resistance.

Also I want to point out that none of this was necessarily effortless or easy on my part. Many times it was pretty challenging. But I had the hope that I was moving them in the direction of giving up the behavior (because it didn't accomplish anything) and becoming more cooperative.
Okay, but LaundryCrisis, you said you did it for several weeks then your child realized you were serious. Or something to that effect. My issue is, I can see a few weeks or months. But a year, simply because the child feels like arguing the point? Not because of any (rational or irrational) aversion to the activity in question?

Surely, if she were going to learn that it's just going to happen, she would have learned by now?

Quote:
Have you asked your dh what worked with him as a child? Is he home enough to help out?
When he was a child, his dad and brothers would open up a can of whup'ass on him. His sisters got smacked across the face HARD. MIL said she didn't like to but it only happened a couple of times for each child as they learned fast, because the pain made them realize how serious it was.

So, yeah. Inflicting pain=not an option.

As for being home, no, he's military.

Onegirl, my issue is that since she already gets lots of fruits and vegetables, and since I need to bring her sister to the park etc. and can't leave her alone while we do that, I have precious few bribes at my disposal. I mean how many video game on pbskids.org or pieces of candy do I want her to have? She was ending up expecting bribes all the time and it was a bribery arms race. So I stopped that awhile ago.

I'm not opposed to bribes but they weren't working with us as along-term solution.

I want to teach my child, not coerce her. I'm willing to coerce, I am, but what about parenting?
post #34 of 285
No helpful advice, but just wanted to say I hope you can get some time to yourself every day or at least every week. And maybe a counselor who is used to working with preschoolers can help you and DD come up with some ways to deal with the situation? It sounds like things have not been good for a long time. Hoping for better soon!
post #35 of 285
Thread Starter 
TB, thanks.

Your post made me think. It sounds like it's been awhile, but I feel it's really started in the past month or so. And that made me think further.

You know what has changed in the past month?

My 15-month-old has started tantruming and refusing. And she's way harder than DD1 (3.5 yo DD) was at that age. AHA.

So, although obviously a baby is not as hard to discipline, I am still using my toddler "tricks" on her: "I am counting to three. Do X or I'll do it for you." (Believe it or not, the baby actually appears to understand this as she runs away at two or starts doing it at that moment... I am talking about very simple things like letting go of something ("let go"), coming inside the house ("come in"), coming off a toy at the park so we can go ("let's go home"), that sort of thing) I have had to be a lot more hands on with her, plus I swear she grew two inches in the past two weeks. (Her=DD2.)

So in retrospect what has happened is I think I have subconsciously been graduating DD1 through a few of these stages because physically I cannot restrain them both while shopping (they are both shopping nightmares and I get no respite unless DH is deployed, if he's away at training I get no free daycare), eating, whatever.

In addition, as I said DD2 has started to NEED more park time. She likes to climb, swing, and slide. It's summer. So that as a bribe/reward/loss-is-punishment whatever you want to call it, is gone. It used to be a big reward.

I do feel irritated that I still need to physically redirect DD1. I really do. Like, "make me!" And I do still feel that's a failure of that discipline method on her. I feel physically sick whenever I read things like "they know they can't..." or "I just make them..." because that is not how it works with us. She will never "know" she "can't" because her mind automatically says "YES I CAN" and even if she's never done it, that makes it all the more appealing a challenge.

She has cousins who are spanked. Some of them submitted, but she has at least two that will say in their native language, "bring it on! bring it on!" WHILE being spanked or smacked. Um. I mean I am not suggesting it's an option--on the contrary, that just illustrates what kind of temperament we are dealing with and how totally counterproductive physical discipline is (whether it be punitive or redirective...). Anything for a fight.

Quote:
I came back to add: in all of this my objective has never been to shame or punish them. It is to make their efforts at resistance in these areas unproductive and predictably boring. Unproductive - their resistance doesn't result in any change of course - we are still doing what we are doing. It also doesn't get them the fun of an argument, power struggle or emotional reaction. Predictably boring - pretty much the same thing happens every time they try it and resistance never gives them any kind of payoff. In some of these situations if they end up feeling silly, that's a side benefit. It often leads to humor which is very helpful in breaking the cycle of resistance.
See... if you put them in time-out, is that not like, emotional for them? I have found any physical contact with my daughter to be a huge trigger. She LOVES going in and out of time out ("hah hah I'm not staying! you have to catch me!") to the point that it actually becomes a reward for her. Tag with mommy, even if dinner burns and little sister eats a piece of chalk. So I am sorry to say that sometimes I have to lock her in the bedroom for her three minutes of calm-down time. We let her know we're right there but with a baby and sometimes hot food on the stove (or water in the bath, you get the idea) I can't always be with her, and anyway, I find that that winds her up.

We have never done anything but straight removal... she still screams. It doesn't seem to diminish her interest in opposition. I think that's because as Wondermama said, it's just her temperament.

Quote:
Wow - I read halfway through and then realized that you were getting great and lengthy replies and I stopped reading. Please excuse if this was already said:

To satisfy her request "Argue with me!" you might find some (midday!) physical activity that you can do together so she can test her strength with you - wrestling? pushing hands? tug of war?

That quote just rang out at me as a real need to push-pull-bend thing.
Hm. Interesting idea. She doesn't like physical struggles much. She cries if the other kids tag her at tag, and I've seen them tagging... it is REALLY not hard. She only likes winning. She does like to tickle.

Quote:
I wonder if "Love and Logic" would work with her? It's a very no-nonsense approach, which focuses on logical consequences. You don't brush your teeth? Fine. But that means you don't get sugar because sugar + mouth bacteria will rot your teeth faster. You don't go to bed? Fine. You still have to get up tomorrow morning no matter what. It's a bit more logic and 'hard' than I like, but my kids aren't as oppositional as your dd sounds.
No, we have tried that. That I think will work with DD2, if she's like me as she seems to be. I like love and logic and think it would work well with an NT child. DD1, not so much because she still wants to argue. She will just say, "No, I CAN have sugar and not brush my teeth." Um. Hello. Here, you can either get further sucked in, or ignore her. Ignoring=tantrum. Sucked in=total waste of time.

Quote:
I think figuring out what you'll do and not do is a good thing. I'd sit your dd down at a calm moment and explain. I'm tired of arguing, so this is how I'm going to treat it.... (that's where counseling could help).
Yes. Perhaps I should take her with me to a family counselor.

I think that realizing that she hasn't gotten worse, but that she simply isn't beyond the physical thing has helped.

Oh, I tried to race her today.

Me: "Who can get down the stairs fastest?"
Her: "I don't want to race."
Me: "Okay." Walks down stairs slowly.
Her: "WAAAAAAIT!"
Me: "Please be polite."
Her: "Wait for me please..."

Whimpers down the stairs, offended that she didn't go first.

I mean WTH. It's like I can't be nice or fun. She wants to be offended.
post #36 of 285
Quote:
Okay, but LaundryCrisis, you said you did it for several weeks then your child realized you were serious. Or something to that effect. My issue is, I can see a few weeks or months. But a year, simply because the child feels like arguing the point? Not because of any (rational or irrational) aversion to the activity in question?

Surely, if she were going to learn that it's just going to happen, she would have learned by now?
From reading through the posts, I think a critical difference is the element of total neutrality and not engaging in order for this to be effective--from the examples you posted with your dd, you feel sucked in eventually by the arguments and emotionally drained by her in the process. If you feel this way then she knows it and the exchange isn't really what this person described.
post #37 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
from the examples you posted with your dd, you feel sucked in eventually by the arguments and emotionally drained by her in the process
Actually, I have been getting sucked in more and more as I've gotten away from the physical redirection process. Though, yes, some things require a much longer period of physical restraing (e.g. teeth-brushing, forcing her to either stay away from the table or eat like a human but not stay at the table and play with food wastefully, etc.) and yes, I do get sucked in and irritated.

Maybe I just find it hard to turn myself off and on. If I do "turn off" my emotions, I find it hard to reconnect afterwards, I think because I feel dehumanized. Like, I have had to be a soulless monster for ten minutes (holding you down screaming, brushing your teeth) and I find it really hard to let that go. I just remain cold and unfeeling towards her for much longer than necessary (because I can't just click turn back on and say okay I'm nice lovey cuddle mommy, nothing happened) and my mom pointed that out so now I try to tell her how I feel and what it's doing to me... but yes that does give her a reaction.

Oh, and then there's the whining. You can't physically force them to stop whining, can you? You can't physically force them to stop shouting or calling names, can you? You can ignore it but not stop it. Ignoring it for days on end has made it worse. Soooooo.... I am at a loss to deal with the "mouth" and I don't mean contradiction, I mean name-calling, etc. I can make her leave the room, sure. And I do that. But it's not making a difference.
post #38 of 285
I think it is okay to experiment to see what works, because every parent/child is different. It sounds like that is what you are trying to do, and books are a good way to find new ideas. Reading your posts you do sound very frustrated, a feeling I imagine will need to be addressed outside the issues of your dd--you said your husband is military, so are you alone 24 hours a day with a 3 year old and 15 month old? I can't tell you how much that skews perspective. You must need a break badly and I hope there is a way to facilitate that irl.

I wanted to ask--at school do the teachers have this much of a problem with getting her to cooperate? Because it is helpful to know whether she is developmentally incapable of complying with expectations, or whether she is choosing to unleash this attitude on you, yet able to reign it in for others. Conversely, if she behaves at school that might indicate that your burnout is a factor in her behavior--her teachers get to go home but you don't, so naturally they are not burned out with her.
post #39 of 285
Thread Starter 
Heartmama- Thanks so much.

I'm not alone. I have friends and I meet other friends at the park daily. I have nice neighbors. Baby doesn't care to be left at the babysitter but I do have one I can count on.

I have asked the teachers in a general way, as I always do, how she's doing, and they usually say she's great. She has always behaved for other people, but not for family. It's not only me: it's my mom, my husband, and anyone she feels comfortable with, like "aunties" or "uncles". Though, I should say, she certainly has good and bad days and frankly when I see her around other kids, she appears normal. She is fine interacting in a group. She is also fine when in a kid-targeted environment. I'm sorry to say that will not be my home until I'm divorced. It just won't be. No counseling, nothing will ever make it like that.

The problem is when it's just me, because I am only one person and I can't absorb all her energy, you know? She wants to play/fight/challenge 100% of the time.

That is fine when she's at the park with other kids her age; at pre-school with planned tasks; with me and I do not have to focus half my energy on something else (sister, food, etc.).

It's NOT fine during dinner, trying to get out of the house, talk to dad on the phone, etc. Because there is her sister whom I can't let fall down the stairs, and it makes every task into this absolutely abusrd battle.

I recognize that it's more of a mismatch than a problem of hers, per se. I really do think if she had a mom that could be playful all the time or laugh it off, she would do better. Or if she were the second or third child and could argue with brothers and sisters. It's this her-with-me that turns into her-against-me because I'm not able to plan other things for her to butt her head up against, that is the problem.

And I appreciate you ladies helping me work that out!

I think I am going to develop a plan like the following:

-Make it a game from the beginning (maybe a notecard with five or six "game" frameworks on it so I don't have to think every time?).
-Invite her to make it a game. Maybe she is just so used to arguing with me that she tries that, but if I keep asking her to do it, she will?
-If she doesn't comply or want to play, remember my 3-2-1-or-I-make-you and make sure I always have an "out" (like defensive driving, I need defensive parenting... make sure I always have a way to physically get to both of them even if this means... sigh... a 10% addition to our shopping budget as there are no stores in town with restrains that hold my kids. :P).
-Last case scenario, totally emotion-free time-out in her room (I called to get locks on the rooms... I know it sounds harsh, but believe me, if I have to stand there it will NOT help her calm down, plus I cannot maintain emotion-free with the baby and my husband on the phone etc.).

For "mouth", I need a plan. I'm sorry but ignoring doesn't work, and at the same time "mouth" happens when I really don't have a lot of options to isolate her. I don't want to feed the fire. Car, for example. RIght now I turn up the music really loud. I hate rewards charts because long-term incentives don't work and then once the incentive's gone (we have tried this) what are you left with?

That is what I do when I'm Good Me, but often I haven't slept, DH is bugging me (phone), or whatever. And then I go straight to, "Oh yes you will" and there we go. Or I slip up and ask her politely, as if she cares, LOL!

And no, no breaks, but even when he wasn't military, I didn't get breaks. I don't know any moms in real life that get breaks, to be honest. Unless you count working a break! Except one who has a maid, but she is like, wayyy out of my league, income wise.

Okay, this is my last post for 24 hours... really. I have my plan and I'll implement it. I will let you know if I come up with magic for someone verbally abusing me. Sigh.
post #40 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
From reading through the posts, I think a critical difference is the element of total neutrality and not engaging in order for this to be effective--
For the first few weeks I did the steps in the book I was totally neutral unless we were engaged in a positive exchange. Sometimes I had to go off by myself for a minute to get control of myself. The book stressed how important it was to give the child zero payoff of any kind of emotional reaction to negative behavior. Eventually it became a habit. Instead of getting mad I would automatically detach when he started. I would make no eye contact and only speak to say "nope" when he did something physical - no verbal exchanges at all. Otherwise I was drawn into the game. I would keep this up until the tone changed. Not being able to get any reaction or emotional contact from me seemed to bother him much more than getting a negative reaction ever did. He never cared about the negative reactions, and they never made a bit of difference to help the situation. They just got me all worked up and exhausted for nothing. In fact he seemed to feed off them for the next incident. The "stone wall" made a much bigger impression on him.

BTW I have also been physically hurt by my children. It stinks and for me it takes a lot of self control not to hurt back. I grew up with a much older brother who was physically very rough with me and I was on my own to defend myself, so I'm sort of wired to react physically when I'm physically attacked. To me the most important thing is that I'm not hurting back and I'm not giving the payoff of an emotional reaction. When this happens and we are at home, the child is carried to his room and stays in there alone until the physical attacks stop. When we are on our way somewhere, the child is (was - this is pretty much over here) put into the carseat (in the garage) with the garage door up and the side doors open and left to settle himself down for a few minutes while I wait in the laundry room (4 feet away but out of sight from that angle).

Neither of my kids have verbally attacked me. I would respond the same as I do to a physical attack.
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