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why is it my kids never behave but other kids do?

post #1 of 146
Thread Starter 

I have 2 boys 5 and 2.  I dont believe in punishments, timeouts etc.  I aspire to living consensually with my children, altho its not always possible. I look for their needs first to explain their behaviour when it irks me.

 

here's the problem-when we go to children's services at the synagogue, it is my kids, who always disrupt. 2yo runs around, climbs the furniture. 5yo, makes silly noises that are disruptive (sometimes he will answer questions and participate in a more mature manner,...sometimes) When at some other gathering, my kids will run into a place  where they are not supposed to go.

Other kids their age-dont seem to do this. Occasionally, one child (always a boy, and gender  seems to explain some of this) will  exhibit a similar behavior. Great, my boys have a playmate.

 

But before long, a mom  or dad comes to the scene, and drags their kid away.  Thats the end.

 

If i drag my kid away, they just keep on doing what they were doing.

 

If there is a place they are not supposed to go to, my kids will go anyway. If they have a playmate, that playmate hesitates, looks at mom or dad, and then shakes their head' You cant go there' they say.

 My kids wouldnt consult me.

 

So i have two theories. The first is, my boys are exhibiting totally normal behavior. The other kids are strange-scared of parents, never see their parents so grateful to be with them, have strict nanny during the week.

 

But even at attachment parenting gatherings, the kids all seem so well behaved. By that i mean, many of the parents are stay at home moms. They dont use nannies much (some do)

 

My next theory- im a single mother, so i dont have the benefit of a deep voice and scary large physique-ie, the testosterone factor-that helps keep other children in line. I  know that many gentle disciplining mothers, have husbands that dont agree with this philosophy.

 

I live in as rich neighbourhood in manhattan, and children for the most part, are well dressed and well behaved. They are mostly in daycare or with a nanny during the week.

 

 

I dont know....its really hard....

 

 

 

post #2 of 146

What are you teaching them about behavior in public? Do you help to set them up for success by explaining what is expected? Do you follow through on consequences for disruptive behavior? Are they bothering other worshippers? Why do you let them go places they shouldn't-do you mean trespassing or rooms that are closed off to the general public?

 

I admit I am leery of consensual living as a philosophy. It seems great in theory but leaves a lot to be desired in practice. But we all travel our own path.

post #3 of 146

Because you don't get up and enforce boundaries and consequences.  Consensual living isn't really functional with small children.  They both need and want to know that someone, not them, is in charge.  The world is big and scary and firm boundaries are useful and reassuring.

post #4 of 146

I have wondered the same thing about my kids. My two boys 7 and 3 just seem insane in public and at other peoples houses---sometimes at home too. Not always but a good part of the time. I am trying to be a good mom in the attatchment/consensual living sort of realm, and yet I see other families living the same way with kids who listen to their parents and then I see kids who I know live in a more mainstream home/discipline style (spanking, daycare, shuttled to babysitters or gparents, publkic schooled, TV all day etc) and they are seem to be calm and good listeners too.

 

Sometimes I think there's some magic formula to get kids to behave and act the right way without crushing their spirit that I jsut haven't learned.

 

I'd like to know exactly what to do at times.

post #5 of 146

I agree with oaktreemama.  There have to be consequences of actions otherwise a child can't understand that there is cause and effect.  We are AP parents, me a SAHM, dh a rather large guy, but also an AP parent.  I'm not sure what to say other than even children have to learn that respect flows in two directions.

post #6 of 146
I'm not a consensual-living fan, either. Not that I think that the philosophy doesn't have something to offer-- it does. But I think all too often it degenerates into parents being too uncertain of their right to assert themselves as strong leaders. That's not to say I'm all into punishments or bribes, either. There's a whole big area in between; not being totally consensual doesn't mean that kids have to be scared of you. My children are not scared of me, or intimidated by me. Nor are they afraid of my husband. But I lead confidently, and with the assurance that I have the right to set expectations, and they respond.

I have very high expectations for public behavior. I talk to my kids ahead of time about exactly what they may or may not do-- in detail. If they cross those boundaries, I'll pull them aside, somewhere private, and talk to them about it-- remind them of the boundary. I bring them close to me, make strong eye contact, and make a clear statement about what's expected. If they cross it again, we leave the situation to take a time-out together-- the whole family together, if necessary (I have three small children.)

If we're at church, or in somebody's home, we'll go sit in a quiet corner or outside. If we're someplace where we can't find a quiet corner, we'll sit out in the car-- I'll buckle them into the car and we sit for five minutes and talk about what happened. I talk to them about how their behavior affected me and affected others. I'll ask them to talk to me about how they ought to have behaved. Then we'll go in and try again. If I've reached a point where this approach has crossed my patience too much, or I fail to get their attention even when we take our time-out together, then we go home for the day, and everybody spends some quiet time on their beds when we get home. If necessary, I will bodily carry them out of a situation.

Honestly, I don't have to do that very often. If you're consistent, and calm, and very firm about it, it only takes a few times for them to understand that you mean what you say. After that, a look can work wonders-- it communicates to the child that this sequence is going to start (reminder, timeout, trip home) if the behavior doesn't immediately change.

It helps that this is our approach to behavior at home, too. We talk in detail about expectations, and the reasons for them. I insist that they be able to describe for me what's expected-- for a very small child, it might be as simple as, "I sit, no run." Then I remind them once of the expectation, and then if they cross the boundary we've discussed, we take a discussion break in a neutral location. When that isn't working, we call a general halt in the day's activities, and everybody (me included) takes fifteen minutes on their beds. Then we regroup again, and discuss the expectations again, and then we try again.
post #7 of 146
Thread Starter 

 It goes without saying that i do pull them aside and explain they cannot do this or that.  But then they go back and do it. Consequences? Like what, timeout? withdrawl of privileges? spanking? I dont know....i always talk to them about the behaviour that bothers me,and explain why.

 

Of course i do not take them to adult services, my kids? No, we are talking about children's services, and 'child friendly' places.

 

One place that they were not allowed to go was a playground. for liability reasons. Of course 5yo listened, but it was hard to convince 2yo.

 

Terrapip, thanks for the commiseration.

post #8 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzylogic View Post

Because you don't get up and enforce boundaries and consequences.  Consensual living isn't really functional with small children.  They both need and want to know that someone, not them, is in charge.  The world is big and scary and firm boundaries are useful and reassuring.



A lot of that. We are a pretty consensual home, but with the understanding that young children haven't yet learned appropriate social behaviours. We still guide them and make sure they understand where we are going and what is expected and that if they can't behave properly we won't stay.



Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

 

My next theory- im a single mother, so i dont have the benefit of a deep voice and scary large physique-ie, the testosterone factor-that helps keep other children in line. I  know that many gentle disciplining mothers, have husbands that dont agree with this philosophy.

 

 


We have a same-sex parents household with two men, and I don't think anyone would describe either DH or me as "a deep voice and scary large physique-ie". We are both taller than average, but not scary large or all that deep in the voice. And we are both in on the parenting philosophy we follow.

post #9 of 146

A couple of weeks ago we were at the library and my son started screaming for joy at a book. I reminded him we have to use our indoor voice at the library and if he couldn't we would have to leave. He couldn't stop the screaming so we left. There was no drama (well a bit at the car when he realized we really were leaving) and I wasn't angry or punitive. Just matter of fact. If we can't control ourselves at the library or wherever, then we have to leave.

 

We have been back twice and he reminded me last time that Mamas have to use their inside voices too.

 

Having consequences and expectations for behavior-especially in public settings- is not punitive or shaming or crushing a child's spirit. In fact I think the opposite. Children want to be included in our lives and helping them learn how to act in situations makes that possible. I expect much different behavior at the playground than at the library and my son is learning how to navigate those different settings with aplomb.

post #10 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

 It goes without saying that i do pull them aside and explain they cannot do this or that.  But then they go back and do it. Consequences? Like what, timeout? withdrawl of privileges? spanking? I dont know....i always talk to them about the behaviour that bothers me,and explain why.

 

Of course i do not take them to adult services, my kids? No, we are talking about children's services, and 'child friendly' places.

 

One place that they were not allowed to go was a playground. for liability reasons. Of course 5yo listened, but it was hard to convince 2yo.

 

Terrapip, thanks for the commiseration.


Natural consequences. The natural consequence of not being able to behave properly on their own is to not be allowed to be on their own, they have to stay close to mom. As for the two year old, you also can't expect much in the way of self control. A 2 year old may understand "We can't go in the playground" for what it means, but when the 2 year old sees the playground they only think "PLAYGROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

post #11 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

 

Having consequences and expectations for behavior-especially in public settings- is not punitive or shaming or crushing a child's spirit. In fact I think the opposite. Children want to be included in our lives and helping them learn how to act in situations makes that possible. I expect much different behavior at the playground than at the library and my son is learning how to navigate those different settings with aplomb.



I think that sums it up. And really, if an adult were to start shrieking for joy in the library they would be told to leave and if they didn't the police would be called and they would be charged with trespassing.

post #12 of 146
Thread Starter 

I do appreciate the replies, but its sounds like the assumption is that i  just let my kids disrupt everyone. I am a polite person, so  i do not allow this, and i take them out. It is very very very very exhausting for me. I am trying to figure out why other parents just sit there, and so do their kids (most of them), while mine donT. Admittedly, my 5yo is usually ok, not always. He has matured a bit and maturity plays into this.  But he can still act goofy while his peers wouldnt dare.

As for keeping my 2yo near me, you havent seen my 2yo. He is not your average clingy toddler. He is fearless, and runs off. It wouldnt matter how many times i grabbed him and kept him by my side. He would go off again. As long as i think he's safe, i cut him some slack. When it came to the playground, he repeatedly snuck back out again.  He wouldnt take no for an answer. My 5yo was less interested, being 5, and found  a pillar he could run around (that he wasnt supposed to) He found another 5yo friend to do the same. I let him because i couldnt see the harm, and was busy with  2yo.

 

Other kids tho, just wouldnt do it. I watch in amazement as 2 year olds stick by their caregiver. Especially girls. Mine dont do that.

post #13 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

 

Other kids tho, just wouldnt do it. I watch in amazement as 2 year olds stick by their caregiver. Especially girls. Mine dont do that.



My son is 22mo, but he's not clingy either.  He's COMPLETELY fearless.  The consequence for not listening?  Going in the stroller.  If he doesn't stay close, he has to go in the stroller.  If its safe for him to be out of the stroller and running around (a fenced in playground where I can guard the exits, or keep near him by playing with him) then he gets to run around.  We talk about how he needs to be near me, and he's getting better at it - but only b/c there's a consequence.

 

And, I'm a single mom so there isn't any testosterone in my house either.  My son is not afraid of me, he just knows that there are expectations, and consequences when he doesn't follow them. 

 

I really didn't like the tone of your OP actually, it sounds as though you think children only listen b/c of fear, and b/c parents are "big and mean and scary" - thats just not true.  Yes, some toddlers stick close to their parents b/c they're not very social, or for whatever reason, but thats not necessarily b/c they're scared of what mom and dad will do to them if they don't stick close by.  FWIW, my ex DOES believe in GD, and doesn't spank or use corporal punishment (he's much better at playful parenting than I am - its incredible actually).  I've NEVER seen my ex use the "testosterone" tactic to scare our ds into doing anything - he's very good at getting down on his level and playfully re-directing or getting him to clean up, or whatever. 

 

Kid's are frustrating, and while consensual living sounds really great, it would never work for me.

post #14 of 146

One thing I want to mention is that your impression of your own kids vs. others' kids may be a bit off. I say this because I have a 21-month old who I feel like is 'all over the place', 'never listens', 'inappropriate' (i.e. not sharing, too loud, getting aggressive) etc. yet everyone is always commenting on how good he is. I'm like... uh did you NOT see me just chasing him? I think it comes down to me being very shy & inhibited so I'm hyper-conscious of the things he's doing & feel like it draws a lot of attention to us... but apparently no one really notices. Kids are kids & people understand that. It always seems like other kids (at church etc.) are so calm & well-behaved UNTIL I observe them more carefully. Am I making sense? I have no idea if this is the case in your situation or if your kids really are as wild as you think, but just wanted to point out the possibility!

 

It sounds too like your kids need a distraction, something to focus on. I know a lot of parents bring toys & books & snacks to keep their kids calm & quiet during religious services. I'm not a big fan of that, I feel that it detracts from our worship, but I do keep DS close or in arms & whisper to him about what's going on, try to engage him, quietly ask him what he wants to pray about, etc. Our church also usually has a kids' thing for 20 minutes or so, all the kids go downstairs and do more child-friendly readings, songs, sometimes a craft... DH goes down there with DS since he's really too young to follow directions etc. on his own. But that helps a ton, having a VERY kid-centered activity to break up an hour-long service. I've never been to a synagogue so I don't know what it's like though.

post #15 of 146


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



 

And, I'm a single mom so there isn't any testosterone in my house either.  My son is not afraid of me, he just knows that there are expectations, and consequences when he doesn't follow them. 

 

 

yeahthat.gif  I am also a solo mama and have been since ds was 2 months.  There is NO testosterone in my household and my ds is age-appropriately well-behaved, but I have also been very clear with him about the expectations and consequences of his actions in numerous environments.   I have also explained, age dependent, why we have such expectations and ask him how he would feel if someone did it to him or his belongings/environment.

 

post #16 of 146

I don't really have any idea what's going on.  But, I wanted to address the "Children are afraid of parents" theory.  I was a single mom to an active, bright daughter.  I don't believe in punishments, and believe in thinking of her actual needs first.   However, she would have never gone somewhere she didn't belong without hesitating and consulting me first.  She could have attended a children's service without being disruptive (unless it was mind numbingly boring).  

 

Obviously we had our occasional issues, but for the most part, even at a very young age, she could be in a social situation without being disruptive.  She was not afraid of me in any way.  SHe did respect me, and trusted my judgement, and did as I said because she trusted me.  But, she was never fearful of what I would do if she didn't obey me. 

 

I have a daycare in my home.  I have six kids all under the age of three years old.  I can take them all to the library, or story time, or a wee kids class, and never have a problem with any of  them.  They also are not afraid of me or their parents.  They trust us to guide them without any fear of penalty.  

post #17 of 146

It sounds like your kids do what many kids naturally do.  The difference is in parental response to those things. 

 

My kids are not naturally restrained either.  At home they bounce off the walls, and I usually let them, or just toss them out in the backyard to run off that energy.  But they will sit through a service (or stay with me in a store, or listen to the limitations I give at a park).  They will do this because immediate consequences will ensue otherwise and I am very consistent with it.  I had a runner for a while (he'd get out of the car and take off, usually in busy parking lots).  There was no explaining to him, and the truly natural consequence (getting hit by a car) wasn't something I was willing to let him experience.  So for a while he had no choice but to be the last one out of the car, and have me holding his hand all the way through the lot.  He didn't like that.  He had to put up with it until he demonstrated to me that he was not going to run away from me.

 

I am with my kids all the time.  They are not scared of me.  We love each other.  But they are children and I'm their mother, and I'm definitely not of the CL mindset.  The restrictions are primarily for their safety, and secondarily for them to practice functioning in a society where we can't always do what we feel like doing at the moment we feel like doing it.  I think if you want your children to behave differently, you will probably need to respond differently to their behavior.  But if you are not willing to lay down restrictions or institute consequences, then you will need to accept that this is going to be the norm for your kids, at least at their young ages.  If you believe that your parenting method is a good and healthy one, then it really doesn't matter what results everyone else is getting from different methods, does it?  Your parenting is for the benefit of your children, and if you believe that what you do is beneficial, and that their behavior is normal and healthy and acceptable, then comparing them to other children isn't going to help you or your children. 

post #18 of 146

Also decidedly not a consensual living fan here (at least, not for under 7 or 8ish--I'm starting to do it more naturally with DD who is turning 9 in two months, but just recently).

 

However, I think kids that age do want to run wild and free and will disrupt naturally, consensual living or not, because they don't have the experience or history of learning to read/interpret/respond to social cues.  Five year olds being silly during the children's time at a service are par for the course in every place of worship I've been to (it often gets a chuckle and delights the worshipers too).  HOWEVER--allowing the kids to violate rules on where they're supposed to be and disrupting the rest of the service (you did say they "always" interrupt, which I doubt that you meant literally, I'm just guessing that they tend to be disruptive at very inappropirate, noticeable times)--that is going to have social sanctions both for you and your kids (other parents are not going to allow their children to play with yours, especially since parents tend to blame other people when their child "acts up"--so even if their child had always thought about dancing upon the altar or whatever, they're going to assume that it's your "bad" kid that taught their precious angel to do that, ect.).

 

I think that you might also want to rethink how you form your consensus.  It doesn't sound to me like your boys are much interested in intellectual discussion blah blah blah as a means of learning about expectations and rules (maybe this is why they ignore what you say, esp. in exciting situations?).  This is absolutely not a deficit on your boys' part--I think MOST young children, male or female, don't really operate that way.  That's where a reminder of expectation and then *action* come in handy.  If your boys learn by doing and moving, then as annoying as it may be, you're going to have to meet them there.  It is absolutely not punitive, if your toddler refuses to not go where he's not supposed to, for you to collect your kids and go home and do something very uninteresting for awhile.  It's not punitive to get up and take them for a walk.  It's meeting their expressed needs to run around and not be in that place.  If your synagoge has no concurrent children's programs with the service that your children want to participate in, then they simply may not be ready to go there yet.  Maybe you can enlist the help of some trusted people in your faith community to tag team with you (take them outside, take them for a walk) so that you can worship every now and then (because that is important care for YOU!).  My most difficult child learns kinetically.  (She's my DD, BTW, both my boys are much more verbally processing)  I couldn't just tell her not to do something, or how it pissed me off--I had to physically guide her either away from what I didn't want her to do, as a reminder, ect.  And I had to accept that until she matured a bit, there were just some things that I couldn't do with her and not be stressed out, so I gave her some time and looked for a worship community that met her active needs better.

 

Have you talked to the leadership about this?  You know, maybe they truly DON'T care about little ones running around, or are willing to tolerate it in the 2 year old or whatever.  It doesn't sound like anyone has come up to talk to you about it yet directly (I know that doesn't mean anything necessarily) and I'm sure you are far from the only person who has ever had to deal with that problem.  Your rabbi (?) may be able to actually reassure you that your community loves you and your kids, maybe he or she would also be a good person to bounce some ideas off of, as far as how to handle behavior during the service.  Or if not that person, are the other people that you admire/trust?

post #19 of 146


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post


So i have two theories. The first is, my boys are exhibiting totally normal behavior. The other kids are strange-scared of parents, never see their parents so grateful to be with them, have strict nanny during the week....

 

My next theory- im a single mother, so i dont have the benefit of a deep voice and scary large physique-ie, the testosterone factor-that helps keep other children in line. I  know that many gentle disciplining mothers, have husbands that dont agree with this philosophy.


 



I think you need to look beyond your two theories. My daughter (and many of my friends' children) are quite polite in public, know their boundaries, "check in" with their parent to see if an activity is okay... I can promise you that my daughter is not scared of me in any way, is told every day in word and action how glad we are that she is our girl, and does not have a nanny, strict or otherwise. Nor do we rely on a "big testosterone" scare tactic to keep our child in line. (My husband would die laughing at the idea).

 

We do have boundaries and stick to them, and consequences when those boundaries are pushed or breached. We do not have punishments in our family so much as immediate and logical consequences. Sure, my daughter has tried throwing hissy-fits in a public restaurant. It didn't take long for her to grasp (even at the age of 2.5-3 years old) that poor behavior meant that we would pay up and leave immediately. Likewise, if she behaves inappropriately in a public place she might need to come sit on a lap and be supervised. We give her time to try to get her body and mind back under control. If I need to take her out to give her a chance to pull herself together than we try that. When things escalate beyond appropriate behavior, and if she can't get it under control, we leave.

 

I am simplifying, of course. There were months on end when we wanted to tear our hair out, I'm sure. But consistency is key, as are consequences handed out with an even temper. My daughter is by no means perfect, but we do get glowing comments from many people on her behavior, and have since she was a toddler. And she is a bight, happy girl who is confident of her place in the family, knows that she is cherished and loved, and never doubts our love, even if she is in trouble!

post #20 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
Consequences? Like what, timeout? withdrawl of privileges? spanking? I dont know....i always talk to them about the behaviour that bothers me,and explain why.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post

this sequence is going to start (reminder, timeout, trip home) if the behavior doesn't immediately change.
 


I believe she means this. For my younger child, who was a runner, it does work to put him in the stroller, strapped in, if he doesn't walk next to me holding my hand. And I have done the "bail on the trip" thing, which while it sucks, it doesn't generally have to be done more than a few times before they know you're serious about it. It's not consensual living though. I do like the idea of natural or logical consequences for things.


Edited by EviesMom - 11/17/10 at 9:33am
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