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How do you enforce things with a toddler/preschooler? Without being physical? - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Thread Starter 
We do get out a lot, in fact we are rarely home, and I try to get him outside time most days of the week (he doesn't like the cold so sometimes it just doesn't last no matter how much he's bundled!) He loves being out with friends etc. and is vastly more manageable when we're out & about. He's also better when he's home with just me (and I assume when he's home with just DH? not sure, it doesn't happen as often & DH never says much). So yeah, probably the inconsistency with me/DH... We try hard to make sure he's not playing us against each other & if DH says no, I say no too, things like that, we try to back each other up. I do the "tag - you're it!" thing with DH but not as often as I should; I assume sometimes that he knows he's in charge (or I am) but I definitely shouldn't be assuming that! I will work on that more.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


Thanks for the ideas. I guess I am pretty much doing what I should be, at least 99% of the time. I always feel like I'm failing somehow and there is some great big parenting secret that no one will tell me. I'm glad to know this is just what it's like to have a toddler... and that the physical nature of it is sometimes necessary. I hate to override him or physically force him into things, it's something I'm very cautious of, but I guess it's a necessary evil.

I really feel you on this one! Sometimes even when days are going great and I feel as though I handled whatever situation cropped up great, I end up second guessing myself on it. I keep waiting to for that moment where TA-DA! I find the secret, its been hiding in this random book all along! Here's the perfect answer for every situation that could ever happen and will never ever have any negative impact on your child! Ahhh, if only!! rolleyes.gif

post #23 of 34
Great discussion! As far as clothes go, I've often gone the route (suggested by a pp) of taking my 3-year-old as far as the front door, opening it so that she feels the cold wind and then offering to help her get dressed. It nearly always works for her. The few times that it hasn't I've either bundled her into the car naked (if we're driving somewhere) or else - last resort- forced her into her clothes. I really think it's fine to use physical force sometimes to ensure the child's safety provided of course that you aren't overly rough. Going to bed in daytime clothes works well here too! (But sometimes she just isn't in a mood for clothes and takes them all off...inevitably at the most inconvenient time, like when we're going out in 10 minutes....). I totally understand the problem with your child wanting to play with real stuff not just toys. They know very well what's real and they want to do real, serious stuff, like their parents. With DD we do let her have some real stuff, like screwdrivers, to play with but she has to put them away carefully when she's done. We've actually also let her hold and examine more dangerous tools like saws - with those things we stay very close by and keep a careful eye and explain why they're dangerous. She's been rather careful with them so far in fact, and says herself that they're dangerous and she shouldn't play with them - though of course we wouldn't leave her with them unsupervised. As far as social stuff like not spitting, etc, goes - I wonder if you've come across Aletha Solter's ideas? (She's a child psychologist). I've found her enormously helpful in understading what's happening with my DD at times when she's acting up and doing things she clearly knows she shouldn't do. Basically Aletha Solter's theory is that sometimes kids just really need to have a good old cry, in the company of someone they love and feel comfortable with who'll lend a sympathetic ear, and so they'll find a reason to cry by doing something they know isn't allowed and then being told "no" (or held if necessary to stop them doing someting physically harmful). Crying can really be therapeutic (provided the child feels understood and isn't isolated or made to feel ashamed of being upset - and btw I totally agree that isolating timeouts are a bad idea). This may sound far-fetched but I really see it with my daughter sometimes - she'll get all hyper and strange and start doing things she knows very well are wrong and then, when we say she can't do x or y , she'll have a big huge cry for a few minutes, complete with flailing around, screaming, etc - and after that she's completely calm and sunny and no longer interested in making mischief. So maybe that's part of what's going on with your son. Just a thought.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post



I'd get some things he can make a mess with to clean up after. He likes to spill? Ok, here's a cup and a sink of water, spill away! But when its a drink during dinner, that is not for spilling. Make clear guidelines about he and can't do with some of the things he likes. Do you have set times in the day that you clean up? Maybe everyday after lunch is pick up time and again after dinner. Then he knows that's pick up time and is more likely to do it. I really had to get down there and help DD and be involved with her cleaning up at that age. She's getting close to six now and I still have to direct her and be involved with her cleaning up to make it happen. 

 

Hopefully your DH is open to ideas since it seems to obviously not be working! 



http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/ 

 

To OP: This blog has some really fun ideas for 'invitations' for little ones to play and learn with things it sounds like your 3 yo DS would like! Check it out and see if there's anything you can put together for him to play with.

 

Good luck! hugs!

post #25 of 34

We had similar issues with getting dressed, and it seemed like DH "helping" made it worse all the time, even for me. One day I got close to losing it. I was so frustrated with the fighting and struggling and not listening that I angrily picked him up to carry him to his room to get dressed after he refused to comply. On the way there, I managed to calm down a bit (not that it was such a long walk down the hall, but it was enough time) but I kept going fast. I threw DS down on the bed, "wrestled" his PJs off and told him in a playful voice that if he wanted to fight, we'd fight. I did my Robert DeNiro "you don' wanna get dressed for ME? Huh? YOU! You don' wanna get dressed???" And then I wrestled his clothes onto his body while he fought me. It was exhausting. But it worked, he was dressed AND happy instead of miserable.

 

Unfortunately, that backfired b/c he had so much fun he wanted it done that way every day. I told him that we could do it that way, but that it makes Mommy tired so instead of x time at the park we'd only have y so Mommy could get home to rest. But if he wanted to get dressed himself, we could play longer b/c Mommy wouldn't be so tired from "doing it the hard way," as we've come to call EVERY struggle we have. (We did the same with teethbrushing for awhile -- I'd get him in a gentle but firm headlock and act like I was forcing it, but of course brushing as gently as I could.)

 

He brushes his teeth by himself now, but the getting dressed is something he still wants done for him (at 4 yo) even though he's perfectly capable of doing it all himself. I'm okay with it, as long as it's not a fight. Now he understands that since he's fully able to do it all himself, he has to cooperate or I leave the room. If I leave the room and he doesn't get dressed, we don't do fun things.

post #26 of 34

I just get a toddler dressed in a gentle but matter-of-fact way. "Oh, here's your shirt. Let's put it on." And I just put it on. I think there is going to be some physical stuff with a child that age.

 

I wonder if more sensory activities would help him? Being so active plus liking pouring things makes me think that. Maybe get some squishy, dirty play opportunities going for him and see if that makes him a bit more manageable,

 

I know it's hard this time of the year! It's so much easier when you can just let them run around outside till they're tired.

post #27 of 34

As for getting dressed, sometimes we say 'well, I guess we'll just have to go without you!' and veeeeery slowly get our jackets/shoes/bags on and sloooowly walk out the door, and usually by then DS has gathered his clothes/shoes etc to join us. Other things, I'm not so ure on. SOmetimes with toothbrushing and stuff he will do it if I do it

post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 
Keep the ideas coming, thanks!

I have been following that play at home mom blog for a while & I love it, & do try to incorporate lots of sensory stuff into our day. Unfortunately he only wants it on his terms and looks at me like I'm crazy if I put out finger paints or give him water to pour. Two seconds and he's done with it. *sigh*

The clothes thing has gone better the last day or two and so have some other things, so that's good.

So here are a couple of things that happened today, and I still don't know how we should have reacted!

We were out with friends at a restaurant & DS jumped into the Koi pond. Don't even ask me how this happened, we were all sitting at a table and DS takes a bite of rice and then jumps up and runs across the room and jumps in. dizzy.gif DH was right on his tail but 1 second too slow. So he took him outside, got him dry clothes & talked to him and all... they come back inside just to pay the bill and while DS is quietly exploring the restaurant with my friend & her toddler (I was finishing my food), he takes off again across the room & goes to turn on the hibachi grill! (Bill was paid by then & so of course we left.) What the heck though??? He is so incredibly fast and 6 adults weren't able to keep up with him! So I told him we can't go to a restaurant next time. Except that we almost never go out to eat anyway because we can't afford it... so it's really not a meaningful consequence, you know? So what's the consequence? Fortunately we usually only have these kind of problems at home, otherwise I'd never take him out...

OK so he's on a roll, the rest of the day has been horrible even after a good hour+ outside and all... but anyway, the other point where I really didn't know what to do was when he started biting the couch... DH took him for a 'time-in' kind of thing (which is apparently great fun to DS), he comes back and starts biting it again immediately. So another 'time-in' and then he comes back and climbs on the table and starts knocking down speakers. So then I took him to the bedroom and talked to him again. I guess that calmed him down a little bit but this all happened within just a couple of minutes so I feel like we were totally ineffective...
post #29 of 34

(nak)

I find myself in similar situations ..... but i find the more i focus on consequences and discipline, the more it becomes an entrenched power struggle.  I try to keep the mood/tone light or matter-of-fact.  Stock up on patience.  Try some Playful Parenting tactics.  I could say more, but naking is slowing me down.  /good luck!

post #30 of 34

Is there a chance that he has too much independence?  My DD is a little over 3 years old, and we still keep her in a high chair at restaurants just to keep her safer.  Especially with verbally advanced kids, it's hard to remember that they're still little and have trouble with impulse control.

post #31 of 34
Thread Starter 
I can't imagine him still being in a high chair, he was done with it before 18mos. He'd just unbuckle it & climb out. He's usually pretty good in restaurants so that was a one-off I guess. I don't think he has too much independence, most of the time I feel the opposite, that he's not as independent as other kids his age. shrug.gif

We did finally make a 'no [pretend construction] working on the house' rule -- and that's helped a lot, took out the ambiguity of OK vs. not OK pretend work. He is bummed that his favorite play activity is so limited now -- he can only use tools on his workbench or blocks, unless we've specifically asked him to help us with a project, but he is doing well with it & we came up with a perfect consequence if he 'forgets'... In fact, I feel like we've been doing a lot better with appropriate consequences, it's taken a lot more creativity and energy but it's working out OK so far, though I feel like we're still working on getting over the hump. Plus we're still dealing with major sleep issues, which makes it harder for us to fully enforce things, if he's melting down in sheer exhaustion it's kind of hard to get him to do much of anything but scream. greensad.gif He needs a 'sleep' button like the computer has lol. And he's still chewing his hands and ripping things with his teeth and putting everything in his mouth more than ever, even though his 2y molars finally came all the way in a few weeks ago... I can't figure this kid out.
post #32 of 34

I can't remember from your various posts, but are you in a position to get him some occupational therapy? His behavior screams "self-regulation" issues (chewing on things, sleep issues, the need for physical activity and hard physical work like wrestling) that might really improve with occupational therapy. For example, the koi pond sounds like he'd been sitting fairly decently through dinner. And then his body told him it needed sensory input. What better way than to get all wet? (I'm sure he didn't think this through, it was much more subconscious than that.)

 

From all you've posted, I think that until you get his sleep and sensory issues dealt with, discipline is going to be a huge struggle. (After that, it'll probably only be a struggle.) From what you've posted elsewhere, you're not parenting a typical child, and some of the typical things aren't going to work with him. Have you tried melatonin for sleep? You're right that once he reaches a stage of complete exhaustion, not much is going to work. If he's usually operating from a position of exhaustion, it's hard on all of you.

 

Given that you know he needs a lot of sensory input, I would make sure to "schedule" that before and after times where he's sitting still or getting low sensory input. I'd check out a copy of Sensational Kids and try some of the ideas she has there for kids who need more sensory input than average.

post #33 of 34
Thread Starter 
He did get OT for a while through EI but they weren't sure how to best help him so they discontinued services since he has no delays as far as milestones etc. He ended up with about 6mos of OT and although we did learn some things from it, she totally missed the mark with him & just didn't 'get' him. They knew something was off but they couldn't quite figure out what, and didn't know what else to do. We can't afford private OT while DH is unemployed, and because we had a less-than-stellar experience with the EI OT, we're not crazy about putting ourselves in debt for something that might not even help. greensad.gif I think I really needed to hear this reminder though, thank you!! Maybe the thing I really need to work on is a sensory schedule. I keep thinking if we can work out sleep then everything will be better but maybe I need to just give up on the sleep component and focus my energy elsewhere. I'll check out that book and see what else I can find.
post #34 of 34



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I can't imagine him still being in a high chair, he was done with it before 18mos. He'd just unbuckle it & climb out. He's usually pretty good in restaurants so that was a one-off I guess. I don't think he has too much independence, most of the time I feel the opposite, that he's not as independent as other kids his age. shrug.gif
We did finally make a 'no [pretend construction] working on the house' rule -- and that's helped a lot, took out the ambiguity of OK vs. not OK pretend work. He is bummed that his favorite play activity is so limited now -- he can only use tools on his workbench or blocks, unless we've specifically asked him to help us with a project, but he is doing well with it & we came up with a perfect consequence if he 'forgets'... In fact, I feel like we've been doing a lot better with appropriate consequences, it's taken a lot more creativity and energy but it's working out OK so far, though I feel like we're still working on getting over the hump. Plus we're still dealing with major sleep issues, which makes it harder for us to fully enforce things, if he's melting down in sheer exhaustion it's kind of hard to get him to do much of anything but scream. greensad.gif He needs a 'sleep' button like the computer has lol. And he's still chewing his hands and ripping things with his teeth and putting everything in his mouth more than ever, even though his 2y molars finally came all the way in a few weeks ago... I can't figure this kid out.

 

OP, have you ever tried giving him some Melatonin before bed?  We used it for a long while here, and I have a friend whose son has some major sensory issues (integrated sensory disorder==he seems to need WAY more input than most kids), and it works wonders for sleep.

 

As for everything else, it sounds like you are doing better.  You and Dh need to always be on the same page, esp. if you both are around all the time.  Be patient, consistent, and communicate.  There are plenty of things dh and I don't feel that we owe the kids a big long explanation about, but plenty of things that we have always discussed.  We have plenty of non negotiables in this house--you will brush teeth, you will wear a seatbelt, you will not tear up the house, you will use an indoor voice inside, you will sit at the table and act civilized for meals or we will never ever take you out in public to eat, etc.  One time one of our kids decided that it was a good idea to get up from the table at a restaurant and play hide and seek under the tables.  Not acceptable!  Said child (3 yo) had to apologize to the person who was occupying the table.  That made quite an impression on my child and it never happened again.  Obviously it was too hard for my child to apologize by himself, so I helped. 
 

 

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