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There is just no gentle way to do this... - Page 2

post #21 of 28

I like lots of the suggestions that have been posted so far.  I am bemused about you keeping your 4 year old inside almost all summer.  I have 3 kids aged 4, 9 and 12 and another cooking.  I expect them to spend most of their waking hours outside in summer and plan to join them for large chunks of that, either gardening or taking them to a river, beach or park.  If your 4 year old loves throwing stones into water you could stand beside a river for hours and he would be fully entertained!  I have very high energy kids and find they are much more grounded and settled when they have plenty of time in nature each day. 

 

Hope you find a balance that works for your family.

 

Anna

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 

We live in a HOT climate. You just don't go outside to play in the middle of the afternoon. The only time it's cool enough is early morning/late evening. So it's not like they were deprived of playtime out there all day. It's about an hour or so each day. Since I don't like the heat, and I have things to do (like clean the film of soap they leave on their bathroom counter, cook dinner, clean up the dishes, wash their dirty clothes....) I can't go outside with them to supervise. Once it's cooler and we have our garden going, I will have plenty to do out there and will be able to supervise.

 

The younger one has not had as much of a problem with getting into trouble out there, so the other day, when he came home with a gift of toddler-sized balls, I let him play out there alone while I cooked dinner. I didn't let my older one out with him b/c I knew exactly where the balls would end up (roof or pool, pick one). He had fun playing with them, for about 5 minutes. Then he came in to ask for help getting one of the three out of the bushes. I showed him how to get around the branches to reach it, looked around, and realized one ball was already missing. I asked him where it was, he said he didn't know. When I brought him in for dinner, one ball was on the "wrong" side of the pool fence and the other two were MIA. He asked me to get the ball for him. I said absolutely not. The other two have since resurfaced (I think DH cleaned off the roof this week). These boys just aren't learning. They are begging to go out, and I tell them they can when I have time to go with them. But I rarely have the time, there is so much inside that I need to do, and it gets dark earlier and earlier. I know they need that outside time, but there is just no way to give it to them if they have to be watched every minute.
 

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZmumof2 View Post

I like lots of the suggestions that have been posted so far.  I am bemused about you keeping your 4 year old inside almost all summer.  I have 3 kids aged 4, 9 and 12 and another cooking.  I expect them to spend most of their waking hours outside in summer and plan to join them for large chunks of that, either gardening or taking them to a river, beach or park.  If your 4 year old loves throwing stones into water you could stand beside a river for hours and he would be fully entertained!  I have very high energy kids and find they are much more grounded and settled when they have plenty of time in nature each day. 

 

Hope you find a balance that works for your family.

 

Anna

I'm not sure where she lives, but in my area, we are outside all day in the winter (November-April) and inside all summer.  It's too dangerous to play outside for more than short times in the summer.  

post #24 of 28

You said your family was getting ready for school when this happened. Was going to school postponed for an hour (plus shower time) to try and get the four year old to clean up? If so could it be that he was trying to avoid going to school or leaving the house?

 

I don't know if I would make a little kid get the rocks out by themselves in cold water. I would probably make them do something for the person who gets them out. Something like five minutes of work per rock. If 15 rocks are thrown then an hour and 15 minutes of work for the person who retrieves them. If you get them he could clean the bathroom for you, fold towels, etc.

 

I hear you on not playing outside in the summer. We've lived in a hot climate for the past few years and we rarely go outside in the summer.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

We live in a HOT climate. You just don't go outside to play in the middle of the afternoon. The only time it's cool enough is early morning/late evening. So it's not like they were deprived of playtime out there all day. It's about an hour or so each day. Since I don't like the heat, and I have things to do (like clean the film of soap they leave on their bathroom counter, cook dinner, clean up the dishes, wash their dirty clothes....) I can't go outside with them to supervise. Once it's cooler and we have our garden going, I will have plenty to do out there and will be able to supervise.

 

The younger one has not had as much of a problem with getting into trouble out there, so the other day, when he came home with a gift of toddler-sized balls, I let him play out there alone while I cooked dinner. I didn't let my older one out with him b/c I knew exactly where the balls would end up (roof or pool, pick one). He had fun playing with them, for about 5 minutes. Then he came in to ask for help getting one of the three out of the bushes. I showed him how to get around the branches to reach it, looked around, and realized one ball was already missing. I asked him where it was, he said he didn't know. When I brought him in for dinner, one ball was on the "wrong" side of the pool fence and the other two were MIA. He asked me to get the ball for him. I said absolutely not. The other two have since resurfaced (I think DH cleaned off the roof this week). These boys just aren't learning. They are begging to go out, and I tell them they can when I have time to go with them. But I rarely have the time, there is so much inside that I need to do, and it gets dark earlier and earlier. I know they need that outside time, but there is just no way to give it to them if they have to be watched every minute.

Are they getting enough time with you that doesn't involve them misbehaving to get that attention?  It seems like with all the chores, be they regular daily clean up, or a result of the messes the kids make, there's not as much quality time as they may like with you.  That would certainly spiral into a pattern of 'if I'm quiet, I'm ignored, if I misbehave, I get attention".  Honestly I will totally forego daily cleaning to spend time with my DD.  There are days I can't see the kitchen table or dishes are pilling in the sink, or most commonly laundry doesn't get put away.  Do I want my house to look like this? No.  But does it mean I get to spend a lot of quality time building a great relationship with my kiddo? Absolutely.  My mother played with us as kids alot.  As we got older and more independent, she was able to back away and leave us alone to play and trust we wouldn't destroy things. Have you asked them if they'd like you to play with them more?  I think their age is a bit young for too much unsupervised time, and the more they have of it, the more likely to make mistakes with no one there to guide them through it all.  Even if you were outside, but not involved in their games, you'd be able to redirect any wrong behaviors immediately rather than catching them at it much later in the game.  At that point, they've done the deed, probably had a lot of fun doing it thus making being 'bad' pretty self=rewarding and much harder to eliminate in the future.

post #26 of 28

That's a pretty good point - come to think of it, I didn't let my kids out unsupervised in the back yard together for more than a few minutes until the youngest was 4, so the oldest (more impulsive, more risk taker) was 6.  To that point I was either just inside the door where they were in my line of sight, or was in and out with them like, I was outside at least once every 5 min, or I just hung out with them.  

 

And....don't ask what my house looked like until just last year - we finally are not walking obstacle courses on the floor in every room, my kitchen sink and counters are mostly cleared every day, and I just stain-treated my carpets a few weeks ago to get them back looking better.  Had NEVER DONE IT because I knew they'd just keep making messes.  I was on my hands and knees for 10 hours  spread over a long weekend doing it, but it was better than doing it over and over when they were younger and getting mad over the course of a few years when they were super crazy.  

 

I'd also forgo cleaning soap on the counter to supervise them more.  Mine are 6 and 8 now, and despite not having a super tidy house for their first 6 years they have adapted to adding on more responsibilities and cleaning up regularly pretty well.   3 and 4 really is still very young. 

 

Also:  super easy meals.  Super easy everything.  Way lower expectations, like when you have a newborn.  I found with my kids they really didn't turn the corner to start getting "easier" until the youngest was 5.  And now every year gets less physically and emotionally exhausting.  

 

Hang in there, mama.  When something has to give for me (between crazy kids and housework), it's ALWAYS tidy house that goes first.  Laundry and dishes to eat (no or minimal cook meals come into play) are the absolute minimum that need to be done regularly; everything else can wait for a while.  

post #27 of 28

It really sounds like he's not mature enough to play outside unsupervised.

post #28 of 28

That extent of a job is too much for a 4yo.  Of course he was hysterical.  He was getting yelled at by mom and being stuck in cold water retrieving a tonne of rocks from the bottom of a pool.  4yo is pretty young for that.  At 4 they still need direction.  He probably got caught up with his brother and they were having fun.  A 4 and 3yo need to be supervised together.  I can do things around the house away from my 3 and just turned 5yo but I wouldn't leave them alone because they wouldn't make the best decisions together.  They are bound to mess up and I need to be there to guide them in the right direction.  I understand how frustrating a 4yo can be!  He still needed a consequence of course but the one you gave, I feel, was too much for him.  I think having a good connection with him surpasses this punishment and making him do what you want.  It is important that he respect and listen to you but not in this way.  I hope you have better days.

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