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awesome parenting tools

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I feel like I've learned so much from the moms I've hung out with, watching how they parent.  My friend Emily is a wonderful parent of four kids ,and I've learned a lot how to deal with kid issues with patience from her. 

 

I used one of the argument-ending tools with my dd earlier:  "I've heard you and I've answered you."  I'm in awe of how well that ends a discussion that is over, except for the whining and arguing part, eliminating many button-pushing opportunities.

 

I know this is something that will not work for everyone.  I am interested, though, in hearing other things like this that work for all you great mamas.  The more tools to pick from, the better the odds of finding one that works.

 

carey

post #2 of 17

Carey, we've used something similar to that with Avalon.  Often I will say, "I've heard you, answered you, end of story."  It's funny to hear her trying to end arguments with Austin in a similar fashion... "Austin, give me back my pencil, end of story!"  lol.gif

 

A tool that works well for transitions is "would you like two more minutes or three more minutes?"  Obviously you can choose any two time amounts, but giving the choice helps them to feel more in control and more likely to move on when told that the time amount is up.  I've also used a timer (on a phone) or singing a song and when the song is up, it's time to move on or give another child a turn or whatever needed to end.

post #3 of 17

This one is for younger kids. My DD is very difficult to distract, you truly have to come up with something better than the original thing she wanted/wanted to do, and she doesn't forget about the original thing, just chooses the other. But she loves to chase or be chased and tickled and pretend to be animals/dragons etc. So if I really want her to go somewhere quickly, or not focus on something I don't want her to, we have to rough-house the whole way. I carry her upside-down, I pretend she pushes me over, we fall on the floor together. But it's always towards where I want to go. Or I tell her that I bet she can't catch me, and I run away. This is all harder to do now that I am wearing the baby all the time, but I've modified it with some success. 

 

Also, she has huge meltdowns, and will often get stuck in meltdown mode (once she had a four-hour tantrum, oy) but one way that works to help bring her back to herself is to tell her stories. She requests made-up stories now but it started with me telling her all the details of an exciting outing or favourite day that had happened recently. These stories also work to help her release for sleep as well, but they have to be told in the dark.  And lately she's been asking for a new one every night! I think I've invented 75 different stories over the last 3 months. Oh, and the made up stories usually star DD.

 

I also love using a calming candle for meltdowns, and to help them take big calming breaths. DD doesn't let me use them anymore, but for awhile we had a couple of birthday candles set aside just for calming bodies down, and some playdough. I'd make a playdough "cake" and stick the candles in, light them and sing happy birthday to various inanimate objects around the room, and she'd get to blow out the candles. We'd do this as many times as we needed to until she was calm, then we'd sit and have a chat about her big feelings.  

 

For a while I was getting her to breathe by pretending my fingers were candles, and she had to blow them out. I have to think of a new way to get her to take the big, deep, calming breaths, because no matter how much we talk about how breathing deep is the best way to calm our bodies down, she refuses to do it when she's in the moment. 

 

 

post #4 of 17

I find locking them in their bedroom cage match style and opening a bottle of wine to be my most effective parenting tool.

 

 

No, really... if anyone has any tips to stop a 9 yo and 7 yo from fighting, I'd love them. Or, to deal with a raging adolescent 9 yo. 7 is still very young... I find the playful parenting type stuff works great. I do a lot of redirecting and distracting by being silly. Also, sometimes she still needs to snuggle in mommy's lap for a big hug so we can talk about how she feels.

post #5 of 17
My 9 year old doesn't seem to be hormonal yet. He occasionally gets frustrated with his sister but will usually listen when I gently ask him to use a kind voice when talking to her.

My 6 year old, on the other hand...
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

My 9 year old doesn't seem to be hormonal yet. He occasionally gets frustrated with his sister but will usually listen when I gently ask him to use a kind voice when talking to her.
My 6 year old, on the other hand...


I think it's partly a girl thing. But that's just my anecdata. My two go back and forth from being best friends to fighting like crazy. I think it's a sister thing exacerbated by the fact that they have to share a room. I initially thought room sharing would be good for them, and it was, but now they both seem to want some occasional privacy. 

 

 

Anyway, I love all your ideas, Kirsten. I used to struggle so much with getting dd1 to take calming breaths. I know what worked for a while when she was little was doing the lion breath from yoga. She also decided that there were good fairies in the air that you would breathe in to make you calm. So, we would "breathe out the bad fairies" (lion breath) and then "breathe in the good fairies" (deep, calming breath). Bonus was that lion breath made her giggle. 

 

post #7 of 17

I am not sure that I have too many gems.  Let me think for a minute, though.

I had to say, it is so interesting to see sister rivalry from a parent's perspective.  My sister is 18 months younger than me, and we fought like crazy.  It was awful.  We were also best friends.  Such a love/hate relationship.  It must have driven my mom crazy!

 

 

post #8 of 17

I think some kids take to deep breathing better than others.  I was able to teach my DS this technique pretty early and he still uses it easily when prompted.  I have tried to teach Olivine and she just yells NO at me.  I think I might try the candle idea, she would probably like that.   She does not get distracted from what she wants easily.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkToMeNow 

 

 

Anyway, I love all your ideas, Kirsten. I used to struggle so much with getting dd1 to take calming breaths. I know what worked for a while when she was little was doing the lion breath from yoga. She also decided that there were good fairies in the air that you would breathe in to make you calm. So, we would "breathe out the bad fairies" (lion breath) and then "breathe in the good fairies" (deep, calming breath). Bonus was that lion breath made her giggle. 

 


I have a sister that's 2 years younger than me and we also fought like crazy and were not particularly friends (although we played together a lot).  While we now get along just fine, we are still very different people and are not super close.  I think in retrospect a lot of our fighting was related to needing more attention.  My mom was remarried, I have 4 siblings total, and my mother is terrible at following through.  My sister was allowed to get away with way more because my mom considered her to have emotional issues (major tantrums).  Being treated differently is difficult.  However, we were always much better behaved at my dads house because he was calm, positive and VERY consistent.  He did not put up with crap, period. 

 

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I think some kids take to deep breathing better than others.  I was able to teach my DS this technique pretty early and he still uses it easily when prompted.  I have tried to teach Olivine and she just yells NO at me.  I think I might try the candle idea, she would probably like that.   She does not get distracted from what she wants easily.
 


I have a sister that's 2 years younger than me and we also fought like crazy and were not particularly friends (although we played together a lot).  While we now get along just fine, we are still very different people and are not super close.  I think in retrospect a lot of our fighting was related to needing more attention.  My mom was remarried, I have 4 siblings total, and my mother is terrible at following through.  My sister was allowed to get away with way more because my mom considered her to have emotional issues (major tantrums).  Being treated differently is difficult.  However, we were always much better behaved at my dads house because he was calm, positive and VERY consistent.  He did not put up with crap, period. 

 



My 9yo is much better at her dad's. Well, so is my 7yo, but she doesn't like going there. They say it's because he is scary. When I asked if that is a good thing for a parent to be scary, 7yo said No!! but 9yo wasn't so sure. My 9yo needs a lot of structure and consistency. Well, all kids need consistency. I cannot parent with my ex's level of "scariness," nor do I want to... so that makes it a little tougher. But I definitely need to work on consistency. 

 

What I've been working on, and I think this can help anyone, are ideas from Positive Parenting Solutions. Now, I'm not sure this lady claims to be especially AP, but I like it. Her philosophy is no yelling, no hitting, no belittling, no arguing, and no punishment. Consequences are fairly logical (IMO). She says the only time you can use consequences is when there are logical ones, which is about 15% of the time. What I am focusing on is meeting their needs for feeling like they belong and are significant. So, everyone has detailed chores created in a way to show that we all contribute to the household. They are really taking ownership for the things they are responsible for, and I don't have to do any reminding. I'm also trying to remember that they have a need for some personal power, and try to honor that as much as possible. 

 

Also, I'm trying to spend a reasonable amount of one-on-one time with them each day doing something they want to do. This can be tough. It's easier with dd1 as our interests are similar. Also, she needs more one-on-one time than her sister. A lot of times I can accomplish this with her by cooking dinner together. Sometimes, it has to be something we all do together, but I try to give them as much control as possible. That's tough for me! On Sunday, I took dd1 with me to buy flowers and herbs. This was good for her because she needs more time with me. Then, dsd, dd1, dd2, and I did some planting. I tried my hardest to let them make all of the decisions. They all really enjoyed it. 

 

I think dsd gets left out a lot, but she is so quiet... it's hard to tell what she is thinking. She'll be 15 next month... I'm pretty sure she's not yearning for more quality parent time, but I could be wrong. When I was working and had more money, I used to take her out to dinner, just us, once a week when I didn't have dd1 and dd2. Now, dh is here full time, plus we have Jasper and less money. So that's harder. I'm always pushing dh to spend more time with her, but he is so wrapped up in the baby. She will naturally be getting a lot more parent time starting next month when we have to start teaching her to drive. Eek!!

 

Anyway, enough of my novel. Kids are tough. Trying to meet their emotional needs before issues come up is (IMO) a good philosophy. 

post #10 of 17


Very perceptive!  I think my sister dynamic was very similar.  She is very temperamental and has anger issues, so I think my mom just didn't parent her because it was too hard.  My mom is also very distant and emotionally closed off, so that plays into it as well.  She divorced my dad when I was 9 and remarried when I was 13, so in that time things were really tough and she was dating a lot, and we felt ignored.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I think some kids take to deep breathing better than others.  I was able to teach my DS this technique pretty early and he still uses it easily when prompted.  I have tried to teach Olivine and she just yells NO at me.  I think I might try the candle idea, she would probably like that.   She does not get distracted from what she wants easily.
 


I have a sister that's 2 years younger than me and we also fought like crazy and were not particularly friends (although we played together a lot).  While we now get along just fine, we are still very different people and are not super close.  I think in retrospect a lot of our fighting was related to needing more attention.  My mom was remarried, I have 4 siblings total, and my mother is terrible at following through.  My sister was allowed to get away with way more because my mom considered her to have emotional issues (major tantrums).  Being treated differently is difficult.  However, we were always much better behaved at my dads house because he was calm, positive and VERY consistent.  He did not put up with crap, period. 

 



 

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkToMeNow View Post
Kids are tough. Trying to meet their emotional needs before issues come up is (IMO) a good philosophy. 

Yes.  The book Connection Parenting talks a lot about "filling cups" and how you might think that a tantrum or melt down comes out of nowhere or over something ridiculously small, but in reality a series of events have been draining the child's cup until it was finally empty and thus the melt down.  So a way to prevent this is to try and continuously fill the child's cup with one on one time, positive interactions, etc. so that the negative events do not drain the cup completely.  The same goes for the parents- we need to fill our cups continuously in order to keep filling our children's cups.  Once our cup is empty we have nothing left to give our kids.  So it's a give and take of cup filling throughout the day.  Sometimes I'm sitting at the computer, nursing Avery and I know that my other two have dangerously low cups, I can feel it, and I know that any minute something will happen.  I can choose to keep nursing Avery at the computer or I could choose to redirect the kids to an activity or start singing a song or something that will help fill their cups a bit so that I can finish nursing.  Likewise, if I make it through my nursing/computer session without incident, I know that afterward, I'll need to do a cup-filling activity to restore what was lost while I was filling my cup on the computer.  Anyway, the image can be helpful to me as I work best when I can quantify things to some degree and understand why things happen.
 

 

post #12 of 17
Awesome, Jaimee! Here I go again with corny love languages... That books calls it a love tank. Kids have love languages, too. We have to figure those out and make sure their tank doesn't make it to empty. We also have to fill our partner's tanks and hope they fill ours. It can feel really daunting sometimes. Especially when we've been meeting our kids' needs all day and then our dp seems needy. It becomes one more thing on the list. It's all connected. But sometimes, you just want to hide in your room and let everyone fill their own darn tank!!

I think that's why babies are easier for some of us. Their needs are so tangible. Potty, eat, sleep, snuggle. The older we get, the more difficult those needs become.
post #13 of 17

Should we have Connection Parenting be our first book for the book thread?  It's a short one and full of jewels of wisdom... well, at least IMO.  smile.gif  It's a nice review of other literature, too, which I think makes it a natural first read.  What do we think?  And then maybe we could do one of the Love Language books next?

post #14 of 17

That's a good idea Jaimee. I haven't read Connection Parenting yet. Playful Parenting also talks about filling cups, and that's what I think about with DD too.

 

It also is a good image when thinking about Spirited kids - they are kids that have really, really big cups. And I have a really big cup to fill too (I'm a spirited adult!) and so this is where DD and I always have issues - she needs more than I can give, and I need more than she can let me take. But really, I could "fill her cup" as it were, all day, every moment of the day, and some days it still isn't enough. But I have realized that's what she needs to have a full cup - constant attention every moment of every day, and realizing that helps, because I know that I'm doing the best I can, and it's just not physically possible to do it all.

 

But it is hard when hanging out with parents who also practice gentle parenting but don't have spirited children. They are always giving me suggestions to pay her more attention etc, like I'm neglecting her and that's why she's melting down. But in reality I have to ignore much of the housework etc in order to give her more attention than most kids probably get from their parents in a day, and it's still not enough for her. And it's just so exhausting to try and explain that to someone who just couldn't understand, not having had a spirited kid.

 

Most of what I do in a day is trying to set her up for success, good food, sleep, routine, attention - but I have to spend a lot of time in crisis mode too, because as much as I do, it's never enough.  

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayPea View Post
Most of what I do in a day is trying to set her up for success, good food, sleep, routine, attention - but I have to spend a lot of time in crisis mode too, because as much as I do, it's never enough.  

((HUGS)) mama.  I know what you mean.  I had always wanted to start up a spirited child support group like they had in Raising Your Spirited Child, but it's too difficult.  Finding like-minded parents who also have spirited kids makes for a small group!
 

 

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

I remember the first time of realizing there was only one tantrum in a day.  Then it became weekly, then monthly, and now, pretty rare.  I'm so thankful for that.  I really struggled trying to find some kind of effective parenting.  I did a lot of finding things to be positive about, starting projects I knew my daughter would want to help out with, and so on.  Even now, I'll ask if she wants to help cook, and the answer is no, but if I just start cooking, then I often get some help.

 

Also, when my daughter was littler, I figured out that hunger had a lot to do with the tantrums.  I made sure we always had food with us, and encouraged her to nibble on something every couple of hours.  And we limited sugar a lot.  It helped.  It's like, once we got into a positive groove, it was pretty easy to stay there.  And once we got into a negative groove, it was pretty easy to stay there too.  I remember thinking that if I kept having the same kind of responses to her behavior, I couldn't really expect any other sort of response on her part. 

 

It has taken a long time, but we have finally gotten to the point where we have a really good relationship.  Not to say there aren't moments--like Easter, where I RUINED the day by insisting she eat protein--but for the most part we're pretty good friends.  She splits her time between here and her dad's, but when she's here, she's here 24/7, as we homeschool.  And wow, she is still really high spirited and incredibly social.  Like, she never needs to be by herself, ever.  That's super challenging.

 

carey

post #17 of 17

I just read this blog post and thought it was good, so if you're interested.... http://thehappyhippiehomemaker.blogspot.com/2012/04/trust-your-children.html

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