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I absolutely REFUSE to attempt to control my kids.

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
That's it. That is my new secret. I don't know what's so new to me about it since i used to use it on my preschool kids *all the time.* (I guess something snapped in me when I started dealing with MY defiant children....I wasn't going to *have* kids who did this stuff because *I* was not going to raise kids who behaved this way or that way...yeah right.)

or maybe the title of this thread should be--"I'm refusing to make a career out of attempting to control my children's every move..." as there's obviously situations where I will take control--obvious safety issues and hurting others come to mind.

I came to this conclusion at some point this evening. I finally decided i was just plain sick of chasing kids through the neighborhood trying to MAKE THEM come in the house.

I went to where they were and announced "If you want to watch a show after your bath, before you go to bed, you need to come home NOW." And I walked away with baby DS on my hip.

DD followed me home...I commented "looks like you want to watch a show..."

DS ignored me, and I ignored him while the younger two took a bath, I prepared a snack, and they started to watch their show and eat said snack.

DS *finally* comes home about 15 mins, later I suppose it was. And I paused the DVR until he was in the bathroom, steered past the TV by me and informed that he had used his TV time playing outside while the other 2 had taken their bath....so now he would have to take a bath and have his snack in the kitchen, away from the TV.

It WORKED....it so WORKED...........even if it hasn't yet WORKED at keeping my kid from trying to get extra time outside and then attempting to argue his "right" to watch TV, it has WORKED in the sense that I am calm, cool, and I feel like I *AM* in control while I do this. (he, by the way, especially loves to watch a show before bed, even if it is a 10 min. short cartoon, so he was not happy to miss out on this. BUT we got through the whole scenario calm, cool, collected......it was a pretty amazing feeling

It's so freeing somehow...a conscious decision to realize that these children are people....of course duh ... people with their own right to make their own decisions, even when the path they have chosen is not the one *I* want in that moment.
AND when they choose to exercise their right not to make the choice i would like them to make in that moment.....that is NOT a reflection on my parenting. It is NOT MY "FAULT" that they don't do what I say immediatly when I say it.

It is NORMAL for them, as human beings, to exercise their free will. NORMAL. It is NORMAL for them to experiment and see what might happen fi they do this or that instead of what was asked. NORMAL. ALL NORMAL.

and it is calming somehow to resign myself to concentrating on another task and waiting for him to come in from outside, for example....and *then* enforce the consequence of not following directions.

I deal better this way....maybe someone else can benefit...
post #2 of 47
Ha, i have a very NORMAL DD1 here. And a very tidy livingroom because as promised, all the toys she didn't put in her toybox in the 40+ minutes she had to do so, are in time-out in the garage. The few favourites she DID manage to tidy up are still here to be loved on, and i don't have to have the nightly argument about tidying up any more, because i'm just going to continue offering her this choice.
post #3 of 47
Thank you peaceful mama, that is very empowering for all parties involved. A good thing for me to think about today. Thanks for sharing.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthehat View Post
...that is very empowering for all parties involved.
post #5 of 47
Read the Secret of Parenting. It's also very confirming.
post #6 of 47
Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this.

I like that.
post #7 of 47
I think that was an awesome solution! It's still controlling your kids though. Which I think is a GOOD thing.
post #8 of 47
Thread Starter 
I agree that it is ultimately having control of the situation, which is my intention as a parent.

But it's the difference between having control over the SITUATION and attempting to control THE PEOPLE and their behavior and choices.

You *can* ultimately have control over a situation--child eventually comes home. When child comes home, they are informed that because they chose to play outside for a longer time, they now do not have time to watch a long movie before bedtime. Their choice, that they have been given the freedom to make. (and, I'm finding, my kids, even the 3 year old, seem to "get" this. I have yet to have anyone balk when I use this.)

You *could*....but it's a major waste of energy, in my experience, try to chase the child down and force them (carrying, dragging, kicking, screaming) to come home. That's an attempt to control the person.

You might also 'give in' to protests when you've informed them of the choice they made and the results. *That* would be not taking control of the situation.
And it's not meant to be punitive. It's just a simple statement of the rules/facts. "Bedtime is this time because you need enough sleep for school. I told you when you needed to come inside if you wanted to have time for Toy Story. You chose to stay and play outside, that's fine, but now there's not time. Maybe tomorrow you can choose to come in when you have time to watch it."

My kids seem to totally 'get it' and *like* having the freedom to choose. *I* feel that ultimately I am in control of the situation because I have planned how I'll respond to their choice. (i.e. it is perfectly fine for them to choose a longer playtime--I accept it even as a *need*, if they *needed* downtime, they would choose to come in and have it. BUT it will mean that they have less time to do something else, like watch TV. And it's much less stressful on me to "enforce" in the setting of my own home versus outside.)
post #9 of 47
I had to laugh at your post. I often think that's why moms of many often have such great control over their kids. When we give up control, we actually gain it. You stop chasing the kids and they start following you.
post #10 of 47
post #11 of 47
I thought this was a great post
post #12 of 47
Peaceful_mama, I couldn't agree more with your concept!! In my experience, it is all about self-empowerment, self-control. In my parenting, I focus my attention on what I can support, agree with, participate in, contribute toward. My kids, well, they do what they will do. I am clear that I cannot possibly control them. But the funny thing that happens when I am clear in my self-control is that they just naturally flow with me. Maybe it is because I have effectively communicated that I am the user of my power and, as the brilliant young beings that they are, they realize that it is in their best interest to work with me therefore.




Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
I had to laugh at your post. I often think that's why moms of many often have such great control over their kids. When we give up control, we actually gain it. You stop chasing the kids and they start following you.

Yes, yes, yes!
post #13 of 47
Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
I have found that when I allow my children to self-regulate, they are more willing to do what I say when it's non-negotiable. Because I generally act as if I respect their abilities to make decisions for themselves, when we have times when I need them to do something right now, they do it without any or too much fussing.

Because I show that I generally respect their autonomies, when the rare situation presents itself where I feel I cannot, I explain that, they hear that I'd rather not control them in that moment but feel I have no other choice for whatever reason, and they respect where I'm coming from. In general.

Now, if a 6yo can do this, I don't imagine a teen should have a problem with it. When there is a conflict, I prefer to look at it as a human thing, not a parent-child thing. I don't expect that my children become more human as they age.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
These are my thoughts as well.
We have friends that with their oldest child they did the....child self regulates thing....and omg there were a couple years where we all dreaded getting together with them and their kids.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
I partially agree. I think that you're right that there still needs to be a level of respect for authority within the family dynamic, children still need to learn that the final decision lies with the parent, and sometimes what the parent says goes, no questions asked.

However, in the case of something like this, basically the child was given the opportunity to pick between two privileges...playing outside, or watching TV. The child had the freedom to pick between the two, with full understanding that there would be no negotiating/crying/whining if they regretted that decision later.

So I think it's a little different. If it had been a case of the child choosing to stay outside, then bedtime came and the parent still didn't enforce the child returning home, leaving the decision to come home up to the child, then I think that is wrong. But that didn't happen here.

I am all about giving my kids choices, and teaching them to live with the repercussions of those choices. But I also am VERY big on respect (both ways, I still respect my child) and my kids know that they only have a choice when I specifically give them one. I have been known to say "that was not me asking you to choose to do something, that was me TELLING you to do something, please do it now before mommy gets angry."
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxella View Post
Read the Secret of Parenting. It's also very confirming.
I was just about to post the same thing. I just finished reading this book and it's totally changed the way I deal with my DS. It's like a how-to manual for unconditional parenting.
post #18 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
And I think that they *will* understand that....when they come in the house and they are informed that because they did not come when I said "If you want to do XYZ, it is time to come in now so that you have time to do XYZ before bedtime."

And I tell them that because they did not come in at that time, they now do not get to do XYZ.

And I'm not waiting till I actually want them in the house to go out and say this...since the option they've been wanting is to watch Toy Story, it's a good couple hours before the actual time they are supposed to be asleep.

I know my kids, and I know that they *will* be ready to come inside before bedtime with that much headway. And I honestly don't care if they'd rather spend that time outdoors on a beautiful evening like the last few nights have been.

I know my kids. I know that even if they don't come immediately, they *will* be back in a reasonable amount of time. And I see no reason to put a show on for my neighbors of chasing the kids around the neighborhood demanding that they get inside immediately.
I have one child in particular who *wants* to play that game, and I've decided I'm just not going to play into it.

What I've found is that it's far easier for me to stay calm, focus, say what I mean and stick with it this way---when I'm giving them a choice I can live with (come inside now and you have time for a show you want to watch before bed, or stay outside and skip it.) and I'm saving the part where there might be a struggle for when they are already inside and they have no audience.

I've moved from option A) chase children around the neighborhood and attempt to catch, drag, kicking and screaming, putting on a show for an audience----controlling the person. to option B) Child chooses from two options I can live with--by giving a very early 'warning', I've taken control and created a situation where I can live with whatever they choose. They are still learning that I'm not going to give in and let them do the extra thing when they did not come inside. (they feel they've got some control and choice, yet ultimately *I* still have control because I've set the boundaries.)

oh and i also know they have common sense--if it was raining, extremely hot, getting dark, whatever, they are not going to choose to stay outside.
post #19 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2boyzmama View Post
However, in the case of something like this, basically the child was given the opportunity to pick between two privileges...playing outside, or watching TV. The child had the freedom to pick between the two, with full understanding that there would be no negotiating/crying/whining if they regretted that decision later.

So I think it's a little different. If it had been a case of the child choosing to stay outside, then bedtime came and the parent still didn't enforce the child returning home, leaving the decision to come home up to the child, then I think that is wrong. But that didn't happen here.
That's exactly what it is. What I was doing before was waiting until I really needed them inside RIGHT NOW....and then what would ensue was a major power struggle, especially with DD, age 3.5, who seems to *thrive* on me chasing her through the neighborhood attempting to catch her and bring her home. Great game for her. Tons of stress on me.

Now, I absolutely *refuse* to do that. I offer them the option of coming in now if they want to have time to watch a show after bathtime about 2 hours before I actually want them in bed asleep. It's completely up to them if they want to come in and get ready and have time to do that or not. BUT, when they've made the choice to stay outside, when they come in, they are informed that because they stayed out to play, they now have used up their time before bed to watch TV.
Somehow, they're understanding that this is *their* choice and they have not argued with me on it. And really, I see this as them meeting their own needs--they're pretty good about picking the "downtime" option when they need it.

Tonight it did actually happen that it got to be *serious* time to come in and I had to bring DD in. (with a 2 hour lead-in, this doesn't happen typically) And, miracle of miracles, there was NO SCENE. They know the rule about streetlights coming on means time to come in. (that's for weekends and summer, school nights are obviously earlier, they understand this too.) I pointed out the lights and the moon, she willingly came inside. No chasing, stress, whining, or crying.

I do have some hard and fast rules. For example, there's a little playground near here. I absolutely refuse to stay with them and let them continue to play if they are constantly arguing and refusing all options to resolve their problems. All I have to do is start to walk away with the baby on my hip, and the older 2 see I'm serious, and follow. I've also been known to move the car closer to the playground when we're out at a park....once they really did think I was driving off, which I explained but now they know that I am absolutely serious.

They do honestly seem to behave better since I started giving them this freedom to choose. Maybe it is that they have a much less stressed mommy who feels more in control because I've taken control of the situation rather than attempting and failing to control their choices. Can I stop the 3 year old from her amusing little keep-away game? No. Not unless I find a way to refuse to participate in it. This is it.
post #20 of 47
Thread Starter 
I think this deserves its own place...OF COURSE there are a few, absolutely NON-NEGOTIABLE moments. I absolutely still *would* pick up a child kicking and screaming and carry them back to the car, strap them in, and take them home if they were running away from me downtown, for example. That's an absolute no-choice safety issue.

And OF COURSE they're simply not allowed to stay somewhere if they are hurting, insulting, otherwise acting inappropriately toward others. I *have* held a child in my lap and informed them I absolutely will not allow them to hurt someone else.

We will continue to leave places where they are acting totally inappropriately--unsafe to themselves or others, or "disrespect" like yelling and running in a library. And yes, in those situations, I would carry them out under protest...because they *do* need to know that certain behaviors are absolutely not tolerated.

I guess the real intention and meaning of this post then would be that I refuse to attempt to control my children in typical, everyday situations when their choice is not going to harm anyone.
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