Originally Posted by swd12422
Yes, I stand corrected. I meant consensual living. Sorry! I was typing too fast and distracted by DS, and UP were the only letters I could think of at that moment.
Lynn, I just read How to Talk, and I do try that. If I tell him, "That sounded rude. Is there a nice way to say it?" his response is, "No, it's not. It's not rude." (and will sometimes add, "Know what? Go to your room!" It's really hard to not get angry or laugh (depending on how escalated the situation is), neither of which would be helpful.....) He's even hit me before (playfully, but hard and I don't want to encourage that) and I'll say, "Please don't hit me. That hurts." He'll respond, "No it doesn't." "It doesn't hurt ME." Do you just let these things go after you've said your piece and hope it sinks in eventually? I know it's part of being 3, and it'll pass, but I want it to pass without him hurting someone and with him learning nice behavior.
Yeah, "How to Talk..." works better for some kids than others, and it works better for slightly older kids (4-5+). He's 3. He doesn't have the ability to take another perspective yet. Really, for him, if it doesn't hurt him, he can't imagine it hurting you. Crazy, but true. So, I agree with the others. "Don't hit." "Ask nicely." might be more effective right now. From my experience, 2 year olds are testing the boundaries of their physical world, 3 year olds are testing the boundaries of how much of your behavior they can control, and 4 year olds are testing social boundaries. Once they get these boundaries figured out, they do calm down a bit for a few years.
I know that others disagree with me, but I don't think consentual living is possible with a 3 year old. They do not have the ability to realize that someone else might be thinking something different from them (remember, this is the age where they play hide-n-seek by hiding their eyes. "If I can't see you, you can't see me" is their line of thinking). I think it's a reasonable philosophy for children over 8, but I couldn't imagine doing it with a 3 year old. I'll also confess that it doesn't fit my personality. I'd much rather lay down the law and deal with the fall-out.
Since he's fairly argumentative, you might focus more on "I" statements... "I don't want to spend time with you when you talk to me like that." "I find that rude." Instead of asking him, "is there a nicer way to say that?" say "is that the same as 'mommy, can I have a glass of water please?" One great phrase that I learned from a preschool teacher skilled at teaching 3 year olds was "Oh, I guess we have different ideas about that." That sidesteps a lot of arguments, but doesn't force them to give up their version of reality, and doesn't force you to accept his reality. View it as arguing with someone who is not rational (3 year olds aren't).
Have you read "Kids, Parents & Power Struggles"? That's a good book too, and might come in handy with your son's tendency to argue. It is a characteristic that will stand him in good stead when he's older, but it's hard to deal with in a 3 year old. Or a 7 year old. I think I need to re-read that book for dd.