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How do you 'expect' kids to do something, or 'not give them a choice'? - Page 2

post #21 of 116

My kids are only 1 and 3 and a half.

 

what works so far is trying to figure out why my Ds1 refuses to do something that I expect from him.

a lot of time,s it is because we don't have good connection at the moment.

either because he is tired, hungry, overexcited etc.... or because I have inappropriate expectation.

 

For example, if he is in the middle of having fun with his toys, and I want him to get dressed and leave the house with me rapidly because I am late, it's not appropriate for me to expect that he will do it happily.I know that he will be upset. If I take a second to see through his eyes, I can understand that what I am expecting from him is very upsetting. He has to stop the fun he is having right now. He has to start doing non fun things and he has to do them rapidly.

 

So here what works with him in this kind of situations (but might not work for another kid):

I tell him: '' We are leaving the house now, come with me please to put your shoes and coat on''

he will usually say: ''I don't want to leave, I don't want to put shoes on''

then I would come close to him, at his level and calmly say: ''I know you don't want, you are unhappy to stop your play'' and hug him.

the fact that I acknowledge his feelings helps a lot to stop a tantrum from starting.

But i don't justify or apologize in any way, just acknowledge his feelings. I don't say: ''we you ahve to stop playing because this and that'' or ''mommy is late, so you have to do this and that''

he is too young for that and it only opens a door for arguing.

By avoiding explanations, the focus of the interaction is not on the event, but on the child,s feelings and on our relationship (the fact that i know how he feels)

it avoids power struggles, because the discussion is not about power.

 

I try to avoid bribing (and I never needed to punish in any way yet....but they are still young, I might need to do it later).

But what I use often, is something similar to bribing, in a more positive way.

I remind or inform my DS1 about another activity we will be doing later.

 

.....ds2 is crying....will be back

post #22 of 116

I've read through this thread and OMGoodness, if some of these responses are gentle discipline, then I'd hate to hear what is not gentle discipline.

 

A parent can be their child's partner in life & figuring out how to make family life work taking everyone's needs & wants into consideration or the parent can be the dictator.  I feel bad for the children of the parents here who have decided to be the dictator.  Dh has a thing he says: he's parenting our children so they actually WANT to take care of us when we're older.  IMO, working to be your child's partner will go towards accomplishing that & being your child's dictator will not.

 

 

Quote:
I say it, they do it, or there are consequences. Those might be logical, or they might be punitive. But they are consequences, not choices that can be freely chosen between. The only reason it works is because they know that I will follow through. If they think I won't, then they don't bother. It completely sucks about 4 days out of a year when it's being challenged, but one of those days and then they know you mean business the rest of the year until they decide to challenge it again a few months later.

 

In the morning, I say "Do you have all your gear?" and make DD check and gather (she's nearly 9). For my son, who is 5, I have him help me check and gather stuff for his classes. Sure, they've "defied" me about it now and then, but I don't tolerate that either. Instant time out until it's done. And if that means no breakfast, or lunch, or playground time, or bedtime story, so be it. I allot extra time to have a snack before classes. Always near the class itself, so we will be on time. If they dally getting ready, then no snack time remains. (Sometimes transit throws off snack and the kids haven't dallied. Then we do the snack after class instead.)

 

We also have rules for proper behavior when unhappy. Stomping=time out and loss of a toy for a day. Door slamming=1 week loss of a toy for every time the door slams. Lost property? Allowance will have to pay for a new one. I've done the "waiting for a bus" and it does work, but I don't know if it would work without fairly strict rules otherwise. 

 

I don't think it's ever meant missing a meal, but they've missed sleepovers, parties, and playdates. I lift the five year old when needed. I would lift the eight year old if it was needed. On one recent defiant day, my daughter had to sit in a cafe and watch while her brother and I had a cupcake and she got none. She had to call a friend and explain that she had lost the right to a planned sleepover. She had to explain to her father that she couldn't have a bedtime story and why, and she went to bed quite early. She was miserable. She doesn't want to do that again. (She actually needed more sleep, so the early to bed was less of a punishment and more of a "you need to do this," but it wasn't her choice to go to bed early. I sent her there.)

 

It's not super gentle as it involves time outs and loss of privileges, but we do a ridiculous number of activities, and they are starting to understand the trade off there. Since one of the things that would happen in the real world is that if you're a snot to someone, they don't want to do things for you, I think it's reasonable that if they act like brats, I won't want to do things for them, and hence they won't get cupcakes and cool trips and special gifts. I explained this morning that if they wanted to do all the activities they wished for valentines tomorrow, today would be extremely busy and could NOT involve me dragging whining children around. Whine, and an activity for today is gone. They had a moment here or there, but considering that we accomplished 3 crafts, housecleaning, homeschooling, 6 errands, 2 extracurricular classes, and baths, they were impressively good. They were so well behaved that they were given 4 toys/tchotches for free in two different places, just because they were "so sweet."  

 

So, it's do what I say or else.  What punishment do parents who espouse this sort of thing for their children get when they make a mistake?  A child is communicating w/ his/her parent when s/he "misbehaves."  The parent can choose to see it as communication & help the child through it so they can mature & avoid making the same mistake again or the parent can punish, teaching the child that those w/ more power are the rulers.  This is called adultism & some feel it leads to all the other -isms out there.  Here's more children "misbehaving:" http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_gordon2.html

 

Quote:

It's a power struggle. Don't even try being funny, bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own. Refuse to do it. Be bored of it. It will be easier to break with your husband available though. Tell her you're leaving at x o'clock and having breakfast in x minutes. "Get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." Give her the clothes you've chosen. Then go on with your own routine. Don't remind her. Don't nag her. Don't listen to any argument about different clothes. "Shrug. I'm not going to argue with you about what clothes." When she isn't ready, and she won't be on the first day, LEAVE. Tell her calmly that it's time for you to leave, and you're sad you didn't get to have breakfast with her or take her to school. She will probably throw a fit. Just leave. Immediately. Calmly. Let your husband deal with it. The next morning, say the same darn thing. Refuse to discuss it. Refuse to argue about it. Tell her you will be leaving at x and having breakfast at x. "I'd love for you to get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." 

 

I am yikes2.gif that the word "break" is being used in the gentle discpline forum of mothering as well as the rest.  These are not horses that we are trying to tame.  These are not animals we are trying to train.  People who treat children as less than end up creating people who feel less than. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
I like this approach and it is the way I would prefer to parent generally.  But I have a lot of trouble implementing.  I do follow through on any warnings but it is inevitably incredibly tiring and disruptive to do so.   And it isn't four days out of the year, it's more like one day in three or so.  (Also in order to do so I often have to argue with my husband who does not understand why consistency is important and is generally a bad combination of 90% indulgent pushover/10% random escalation.)

 

Eg timeouts: I use them after a count of three for irritating/inappropriate behavior, and without a count for any violence (hitting etc).  I'd say DD1 gets a timeout about once every three days.  The thing is that in order to make the timeout happen I have to drag her kicking and screaming to her room, and either sit there holding her on my lap while she struggles for the entire period of the timeout, or dump her in there and shut the door fast, then stand there holding the door until the timeout is over.  It is incredibly disruptive.  This has been going on for about a year now.  It's not getting better.  What can I do to 'set an expectation' that she comply with a timeout on her own?  I have the same question about some of your other consequences.  Eg if I told DD1 to explain to her dad why she wasn't getting a story, she would just throw a tantrum (or rather escalate the tantrum she was already throwing about being denied the story). 

 

I would say that it sounds like you are having trouble because some part of you knows there's another way to do this, you just haven't figured out what that way (more likely more than one way) is.  Here's more on timeouts.  THey are a punishment just like going to jail is a punishment.  If punishment worked, then there would be no repeat offenses.  http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/peter_haiman.html  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I'm enjoying this conversation and will jump in. You are up against your need to get out the door for work.  This is a handicap, and one that cannot be changed.  You have no time for time outs, or much of anything else because of your time constraints.  As far as your specific difficulties, my kids dress in their street clothes for bed.  A bit rumpled?  Sure.  But it eliminates exactly half of all potential power struggles.

 

As far as your general question, I agree with katelove:

 

I have always wondered this myself, and either it is as above, or it is a system of threats and punishments.  I am not entirely innocent of this as well.  We homeschool.  We have few obligations.  So, I get to say "we'll skip gymnastics then".  When I'm in the car and fighting starts, I pull over and sit until the fighting stops.  I have that luxury.  And I have been known, when the kids were portable, to carry them screaming from the house because I was going to explode with another day at home and I knew they were going to have FUN but, being that little, they couldn't get past the the fact that they were getting in the CAR.

 

As far as expectations go, they get continual reminders of my expectations.  These are ones like "don't call people stupid, no matter how angry you are", "trying to punch your sister but missing is still aggressive and against the rules."  This takes forever, but I have confidence that they will not, at 16 and 18, be almost-punching and calling each other "stupid head".  I expect them to not "throw their grumps around" when feeling angry.  Does that stop them?  Not yet.  Other times I simply state it as fact, and it works.  Go figure.  I have no idea why it works sometimes and not others.

 

In general, though, I still feel the above quote is quite true.  I asked a similar question in the recent thread on picky eating and didn't get many responses.  The one I did confirmed one suspicion-- she used rewards to get the kids to eat.  

 

This is especially true when the events of the day are--by design or necessity-- more focused on the needs of the parents than the child.  It is not her choice to leave when you need her to leave.  Both of you work.  This is not her choice.  This isn't necessarily your choice either--but it is most definitely not hers.  Whenever we are faced with a similar dynamic, there we will meet the most resistance.  So, to "expect" something without rewards or punishments, you need to talk with her.  At bedtime, you need to tell her what she needs to expect in the morning.  Let her know that you understand it upsets her not to be given a choice in the matter, but you can do whatever to make it easier to get out the door.  Ask her why she fights you so much--you might be surprised and she might tell you.  Or she might say "Did you know the Tooth Fairy rides a butterfly?"  And you say "I need you to listen.  You can wear tomorrow's clothes tonight ----wouldn't that be silly????  And I thought about eating breakfast at night, too, but that doesn't work very well. When we get in the car, would you like an second breakfast and have a granola bar?  What can we pack tonight for you to do in the car on the way?"  Etc.  Then, get her in the car, no matter what.  No shoes (pack'em) no breakfast (pack it, offer it in the car, beg the teacher to offer it at school) no coat (pack'em and let the teacher handle this) if need be.

 

Also, ask dh to let you get this, start to finish.  Maybe he can help you get her out the door with you, but don't let him swoop in to save you.  If nothing else, you need to gain the confidence that you can do this.  Because--and I'm sure of this--sometimes it really just is that presence that subconsciously soothes the whole situation.  If I had a clue as to when this was going to work and when it wasn't, I think I'd be rich.

 

yeahthat.gif to everything I bolded & most of the rest.  In this response, the parent is the one changing because all we can really control is ourselves.  Trying to control our children only results in children who turn into adults who don't know how to control themselves.  Unfortunately, I know this from experiences.  Expecting your children to change only leads to frustration.  Children (the vast majority) are not capable of being the ones to do the changing because they are not mature enough yet to put the needs/wants/whatever of others ahead of themselves.  They are selfish because that's how thye're supposed to be.  They will not become unselfish by "breaking" them.  It will be the opposite.

 

Quote:

Then just take her in whatever state of undress she's in, with her clothes in a bag. It should be embarrassing for her. If you stick to it 100%, it will decrease. If you stick to it 90%, she will keep doing it, worse and worse, and longer and longer, because she's being given intermittent rewards to do so, which are generally the most reinforcing. I don't follow Dr. Phil, but this article talks about the intermittent reinforcement and power struggle aspect: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/163

 

I wonder how the child will feel about themselves when the parent thinks that something "should be embarrassing" for them.  How does this promote connection with the child?  Dr. Phil wants no parts of gentle parenting.  And why would he?  Then there won't be people coming to him for many years because they're screwed up because their parents only worked them over & instead of worked w/ them.  I loved Dr. Phil pre-parenthood.  Now, I take very little to heart of what he says.  I wonder if his children will want to become his parent when they are old & need care taking?  Will Dr. Phil be there w/ all the parents who are caregiver-less because they are following his hard line approach to everything.  Doubtful.

 

Quote:

I'd say the reason it's going on for a year is because it's so exhausting and you or your husband give in that 10% of the time. So she knows if she pushes hard enough, she'll win. I've held doors shut, but I don't hold it the whole time for time outs. In the room, door closed. I used the bathroom as a secondary time out spot until this year because the kid bedroom had no door. Won't go? Leave time out? Bathroom. More boring and less comfy. Made their screaming echo badly and hurt their own ears too. Conveniently, when they were 4-ish they couldn't unlock the door themselves, so that was easy to lock and then shut the door. 

 

The other thing is to just avoid power struggles as much as possible. Refuse to argue about what she wears. If it's horribly inappropriate, let her be cold/hot/get wet feet within reason. If it's really really inappropriate wear, pack a decent outfit or proper shoes for her to change into at school.

 

It's also age. It was worse at 4 for both my kids. They're 5.5 and nearly 9 now, so they know the routines of punishments and time out expectations. Some of it you just have to ride out. I told my son for a while that he couldn't eat dinner with us, because he always found something to throw a fit about--he didn't like the way the napkin was positioned, whatever. He had a number of dinners alone for a while. 

 

I don't mean to sound like it's all fine now, because we still have plenty of hard times and arguments. But I'd say the really really bad days are months apart now. 

 

I'd say the reason it's gone on for a year is because the child is *still* attempting to communicate w/ her parent & she is still not being heard.  Children sure are persistent, arent' they?  They keep giving us chances to hear them & to respond out of love instead out of our place of power.  How will the child who's parent refuses to communicate w/ them learn to communicate?  How will the child who's parent refuses to communicate w/ them learn to compromise?  How will they learn to find alternatives?  How will they learn to work w/ others if the ones they rely on the most refuse to work w/ them?  What are they really learning?  I'd say how to use their power over others.  Is that really what we want for our children?  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If we are keeping responses within the philosophy of Gentle Discipline, I would say this doesn't sound all that Gentle to me.

yeahthat.gif greensad.gif

 

My children are not perfect by my own standards nor anyone elses.  But they are children & they know that I will work w/ them to figure out life, to figure out how to work together, to figure out how to live when we have to meet others needs besides their own (example, to play) and mine (ex, to get out of the house by a certain time).  They won't be in my shoes when they are an adult trying to figure out how to live life & work w/ others & compromise & not get defensive when someone wants to discuss something.  They will have lots of practice w/ us while they're young.  

 

A few books that would likely have additional ideas for the OP: Kids, Parents & Power StrugglesHow to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids WIll TalkParent Effectiveness TrainingPlayful Parenting.  

 

Best wishes,

Sus

 

ETA - another book title

post #23 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
Let her know that you understand it upsets her not to be given a choice in the matter, but you can do whatever to make it easier to get out the door.  Ask her why she fights you so much--you might be surprised and she might tell you.  Or she might say "Did you know the Tooth Fairy rides a butterfly?"  And you say "I need you to listen.  You can wear tomorrow's clothes tonight ----wouldn't that be silly????  And I thought about eating breakfast at night, too, but that doesn't work very well. When we get in the car, would you like an second breakfast and have a granola bar?  What can we pack tonight for you to do in the car on the way?"  Etc.  Then, get her in the car, no matter what.  No shoes (pack'em) no breakfast (pack it, offer it in the car, beg the teacher to offer it at school) no coat (pack'em and let the teacher handle this) if need be.

 

This is good advice but I don't see how to implement it for something that is an intermittent rather than a recurrent problem.  90% of the time she does get ready for school within a reasonable amount of time.  But then we may have a different power struggle over something else, at another time.  And at the time of the power struggle she is often not in a mood to respond to empathy, humor, or inquiry.

 

I should mention that breakfast in the car, going to school in PJs (no big deal actually hers are just soft pants and a tee so it was never super obvious they were her jammies), no coat/no shoes/packing appropriate clothes to go are all things we have done in the past at various times, as necessary. 

 

I'm not really asking how to get her to school.  It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.

 

By the way the reason she got upset (I think) was because the plan that day was for DH to take her to school and we tried to switch things at the last minute to ensure he would get to his meeting on time.  He went in the shower and I was left to take DD1 to school.  She actually told me she wanted Daddy to get her ready when I first told her to get dressed; I explained that he was in the shower and I was going to take her to school.  It went downhill from there.  In hindsight I should have just let DH know that he needed to speed up his shower and take her (which is what ended up happening anyway).  Of course at the time it wasn't obvious that the issue was going to blow up into WWIII.  There have been other times when she was perfectly unruffled or even pleased by a change in which parent would be taking her to school that day.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LitMom View Post

 

Then just take her in whatever state of undress she's in, with her clothes in a bag. It should be embarrassing for her. If you stick to it 100%, it will decrease. If you stick to it 90%, she will keep doing it, worse and worse, and longer and longer, because she's being given intermittent rewards to do so, which are generally the most reinforcing. I don't follow Dr. Phil, but this article talks about the intermittent reinforcement and power struggle aspect: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/163

 

As I mentioned I am consistent.  (I am well aware of the reinforcing effects of intermittent reward schedules.)  DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.  My impulse is to say, well, this has to happen, and make it happen.  DH would never strap a screaming child in the carseat, if he had to he would take an hour and talk it out and be late for work.  He has miles more patience than I do in general and sometimes his tactics work quite well, and I have picked up on some of them to good effect (several of the initial approaches I mentioned in my first post were picked up from DH and have worked at other times).  On the other hand he really does have a small % of the time when he spins completely out of control and starts yelling at her, and has also at times swatted her (not hard), which he initially maintained was OK and necessary.  (He was hit as a child, I was not.)  I never raise my voice - when DD and I get in a struggle it is more as I outlined above, I'm calm myself but if I need to make something happen physically I do it.  I have had long conversations with DH around the loss-of-control and he is getting better at that, has not been physical with her in a long time, and certainly has stopped trying to maintain that it is OK to hit her. 

 

So I think we do learn from each other.  But he is not going to be consistent with followup in the way that I am, and getting him to stop trying to undermine me when I am being consistent (admittedly with all the shrieking I can see how it is hard to take) is a work in progress.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If we are keeping responses within the philosophy of Gentle Discipline, I would say this doesn't sound all that Gentle to me.

 

Yes, thank you for this, because this is one of my concerns here.  I really do not want to be having to inject so much negative physicality into my relationship with my child.  E.g. I feel timeout as a strategy in general is sufficiently gentle for my purposes, but the specifics of implementing it with DD1 are edging out of my comfort zone.  Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  

post #24 of 116
I think presenting something as an expectation can work, so it is worth trying, but yeah it doesn't always work except maybe with very compliant children. So for getting dressed "Time to get dressed!" and handing clothes to your child or helping them to get dressed (depending on age/ability) will work for most kids most of the time, so I think it is worth trying first as it starts the situation off positively, but I agree it doesn't work all the time except maybe with the most naturally compliant children.

Also, it is worth noting that my DD sometimes listens better to DH or I or her teachers at daycare and it has nothing to do with how consistent each of us is in our discipline. It used to drive me batty because I am more consistent than DH, but she would often listen to him immediately anyway and not always with me. Now that isn't always the case, sometimes I think it comes down to she was having an argument/power struggle with one of us, but when that one takes a break and the other parent intervenes, it sort of resets it in her head so she is suddenly willing to comply or at least willing to consider it again.

I don't think there is one thing to do in these situations, I think you need a wide range of tools, try them and if it comes down to it, sometimes you just have to pick them up and go. I try to be very sympathetic (I know it's hard to stop playing, but we have to go now... etc.) and gentle while I'm doing this and try to arrange my time so that I have some built in time to deal with situations, but it doesn't always work out.

Not sure how helpful that is, but it helped me to think about it anyway smile.gif
post #25 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

This is good advice but I don't see how to implement it for something that is an intermittent rather than a recurrent problem.  90% of the time she does get ready for school within a reasonable amount of time.  But then we may have a different power struggle over something else, at another time.  And at the time of the power struggle she is often not in a mood to respond to empathy, humor, or inquiry.

 

I should mention that breakfast in the car, going to school in PJs (no big deal actually hers are just soft pants and a tee so it was never super obvious they were her jammies), no coat/no shoes/packing appropriate clothes to go are all things we have done in the past at various times, as necessary. 

 

I'm not really asking how to get her to school.  It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.

 

By the way the reason she got upset (I think) was because the plan that day was for DH to take her to school and we tried to switch things at the last minute to ensure he would get to his meeting on time.  He went in the shower and I was left to take DD1 to school.  She actually told me she wanted Daddy to get her ready when I first told her to get dressed; I explained that he was in the shower and I was going to take her to school.  It went downhill from there.  In hindsight I should have just let DH know that he needed to speed up his shower and take her (which is what ended up happening anyway).  Of course at the time it wasn't obvious that the issue was going to blow up into WWIII.  There have been other times when she was perfectly unruffled or even pleased by a change in which parent would be taking her to school that day.

 

 

As I mentioned I am consistent.  (I am well aware of the reinforcing effects of intermittent reward schedules.)  DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.  My impulse is to say, well, this has to happen, and make it happen.  DH would never strap a screaming child in the carseat, if he had to he would take an hour and talk it out and be late for work.  He has miles more patience than I do in general and sometimes his tactics work quite well, and I have picked up on some of them to good effect (several of the initial approaches I mentioned in my first post were picked up from DH and have worked at other times).  On the other hand he really does have a small % of the time when he spins completely out of control and starts yelling at her, and has also at times swatted her (not hard), which he initially maintained was OK and necessary.  (He was hit as a child, I was not.)  I never raise my voice - when DD and I get in a struggle it is more as I outlined above, I'm calm myself but if I need to make something happen physically I do it.  I have had long conversations with DH around the loss-of-control and he is getting better at that, has not been physical with her in a long time, and certainly has stopped trying to maintain that it is OK to hit her. 

 

So I think we do learn from each other.  But he is not going to be consistent with followup in the way that I am, and getting him to stop trying to undermine me when I am being consistent (admittedly with all the shrieking I can see how it is hard to take) is a work in progress.

 

 

Yes, thank you for this, because this is one of my concerns here.  I really do not want to be having to inject so much negative physicality into my relationship with my child.  E.g. I feel timeout as a strategy in general is sufficiently gentle for my purposes, but the specifics of implementing it with DD1 are edging out of my comfort zone.  Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  

I've been curious about all this myself, having one kid who is going to do the opposite of what I say, and the other who is beginning to work that way.  I have friends who insist their kids do what they say, but when I'm around them, I don't see that at all.  Maybe some of them are more compliant, but they react in other ways (for example by crying over very silly things that my kid would just shrug off - and I'm not saying that they shouldn't - just saying kids are harder in some ways and easier in other ways).  With my 2 year old, he sometimes has episodes of just not being able to be in the car any longer, and I will stop and walk around with him until he's calmed down and we can continue, but other times we really have to get somewhere and so I strap him in screaming and fighting and go.  It seems when he's figured out that it's really going to happen, he stops fighting physically, but cries a lot...and I try to distract him other ways in the car when I'm driving.  I can't really reason with him - I can say something, but he doesn't really get it, so sometimes, it just has to happen.  I do have friends that are very optimistic about their kids' behavior, and I'm more realistic, I think.  So sometimes I think when people say "I don't give them a choice" - well, maybe their perception of what's happening is different than what you would observer if you were there.  I don't think there's any magic way at all.  

post #26 of 116

I'm trying to work out how to be gentler with my 3.5 yo around a lot of these same issues.  Things were really turbulent for us with the brand new baby, DS1 was unsure where he stood in our newly changed family, and I had a less patience as I adjusted to having two children and healed from pregnancy and birth.  Time-outs involved me strapping him into his high chair while he struggled, which is definitely not as gentle as I would like to be :(  I'm in the middle of the Parent Effectiveness Training book linked above, and it does have some useful ideas. 

 

Acknowledging his feelings and disappointments mid or pre-tantrum works really well to calm him down.  "You really wanted to play on the computer more, didn't you?  It's sad that it's time for bed, isn't it?" etc.  When he hears that I understand what he's trying to communicate, the screaming stops and he says, yeah, and comes in for a hug usually.  Saying, "I know" or "I hear you" doesn't seem to work at all, it has to be more specific. 

 

I'm just starting to read the chapters in the book that deal with how to get your kids to listen to what you need, but the general idea seems to be that you describe the unacceptable behavior (without judging it) how you feel about it, and the tangible effect it has e.g. "When you refuse to get dressed I feel frustrated because it makes me and your dad late for work"  And then you stop and let them have the opportunity to right the situation.  Maybe she'll decide to just get dressed, maybe she'll ask you to just pack clothes in the car for later.  It's not likely to create a power struggle because you haven't ordered her to do anything or shamed her for bad behavior, she feels you trust her to find a solution and respect your needs.  A lot of the examples given in the book are with older children but it has seemed to help with my 3 yo thus far and I feel like it is helping him learn how his actions affect others a lot better than when I just yell at him to stop doing x or he'll have to go sit in his chair.

 

HTH

post #27 of 116
Quote:
Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic. This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing. Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not. 

 

 

I think you are setting up the expectations, it is just a long process, even if you have to wrestle your child into the car. Like I said before I've had to forcibly bend my child to get into the car seat when they were little., but for as long as they have been old enough to put on their own seat belts, I have never once seen them refuse to do it. It is an expectation and it is all  they have ever known car=seat belt. It is nice that your husband can be late for work and wait out a car seat tantrum. That never worked for me. 2 of my kids would probably never calm down enough to get in nicely until the next day when they forgot to be mad, nevermind the fact that I just cannot be late for work, or not pick up another child from school or lessons and have them panicking!. There would have to be some major excuse to show up for work late in my line of work and calling in late because I couldn't get my child into the car would not cut it!

post #28 of 116
I've read through some of these responses, and I remembered something I struggled with when my son was young.

Our bookstore had double doors, and my son always wanted to use the right hand door, so he had a door for going in and the other one for going out. Now some of the managers kept both doors unlocked, while a few locked the "out" door. So, when we were leaving, we would discover the problem. He went through a couple of years where that resulted in a major meltdown. I held him and waited, but it was embarrassing when strangers wanted to pay him a quarter to stop crying, or told me my parenting was wrong and he would insist on everything being his way all of his life.

One day, with no change, bribe or threat from me, he decided it no longer mattered which door he went out. Ironically, I asked him about that a couple months ago. He's 17, now, and I asked if he remembered *why* it was so important to him. What he said spoke volumes.

When he was young and had so much to learn and so much that was out of his control, it was *vital* that he could depend on certain things being a certain way. When he was older, and more responsible for himself, and therefore more in control, things like the door no longer mattered, because he could control other things himself!!

Maybe, since this seems to be a control issue, you can talk about it during the weekend, and find out *why* she has a problem on those days. Maybe it's as simple as this -- she depends on her dad taking her to school because she needs to know that she can count on that. Maybe you need to work out a different solution on those days. If he has to go in early, he still gets her ready, just earlier. Then you sit with her on the couch while she dozes until it's time to leave. Just an idea.
post #29 of 116

In our family, I have a philosophy that helps us avoid power struggles (if I can remember to stick to it). 

 

Never ask the child to do something that you know she won't do.  Never ask the child more than one time - make sure that you have her complete attention when you ask. 

 

Then, if you can do this, every task you request is something that gets done.  Once the child gets out of the habit of resisting, then she doesn't engage in power struggles.  She just realizes that she will do as she is expected.  It helps to start with small expectations and then to work up to greater responsibility.  Start by asking her to do something that she likes to do, like feeding the dog or spraying the table.  Ask the child to do the task every day.  Gradually, more and more responsibilities can be added to the list of things she can do.   

 

Now if you already are having power struggles, it helps to think ahead to avoid them.  For example, the OP might want to dress the child in a suit that she could sleep in, so she doesn't have to put on a special outfit for school.  If you can foresee a power struggle around eating breakfast at the table, don't even go there.  Just hand her a bagel in the car.    

post #30 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

...He's 17, now, and I asked if he remembered *why* it was so important to him. What he said spoke volumes.

When he was young and had so much to learn and so much that was out of his control, it was *vital* that he could depend on certain things being a certain way. When he was older, and more responsible for himself, and therefore more in control, things like the door no longer mattered, because he could control other things himself!!

 

This is a wonderful posts. The need for routine and predictability is extremely high in preschoolers.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

By the way the reason she got upset (I think) was because the plan that day was for DH to take her to school and we tried to switch things at the last minute to ensure he would get to his meeting on time.  He went in the shower and I was left to take DD1 to school.  She actually told me she wanted Daddy to get her ready when I first told her to get dressed; I explained that he was in the shower and I was going to take her to school.  It went downhill from there.  In hindsight I should have just let DH know that he needed to speed up his shower and take her (which is what ended up happening anyway).  Of course at the time it wasn't obvious that the issue was going to blow up into WWIII.  There have been other times when she was perfectly unruffled or even pleased by a change in which parent would be taking her to school that day.

 

..... Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  

 

 

I think this post explains a lot more about what happened than your first post did. Your family had a plan she was fine with, and then you changed it at the last minute. Then she freaked out. That was completely age appropriate behavior on her part.

 

Back to your original question, part of how you get kids to do things by expecting them to is by expecting the exact same things from them over and over.  

 

It isn't reasonable to expect  a small child to just go with the flow. Some 3 year old are like that, but most aren't. I think a HUGE chunk of successful GD is setting kids up to be well behaved, and routines really helped both my kids. At that age, we had a picture chart for our morning and evening routines.

 

I am very cut and dry when it comes to teaching my children how to behave (partly because I think that making things sound like a choice when they are not is lying), and I do believe that doing an undesirable task first and a desired task after is a useful tool for pretty much ALL humans, but the core of GD is figuring out a way to live in harmony with our sweet little children, and that is a heck of a lot easier if they know what to expect from us and from their day.

 

 

<<It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.>>

 

My experience both as a parent and as someone who now works with special needs children, is that there isn't some simple thing you can do that works in every situation. It's about trouble shooting and brain storming and trying to figure out what the triggers are and what works best in different situations. There isn't a short cut.  Its about reviewing how things went and what you did and how that worked out, and thinking about how you would like to respond the next time something similar happens. It's about being mindful in our parenting, and fully present with our kids. It's about realizing that raising a child is process, not a formula.

 

<<<<<DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.>>>

 

My DH and I are very different people and don't do everything the same with our kids. It was really never a problem. There are certain areas that are my domains (including mornings!) and other things that are his. He is not super consistent, so I've handled the parts of life that needed more consistency. His real strength as a dad over the years has been helping our kids find their inner strength, which is pretty awesome, and something that I really not very good at.

post #31 of 116

I'm gonna chip in a bit from a behavior perspective. 

 

Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post
 

I definitely don't have the innate alpha dominance thing.

 

I can tell you it's not about alpha or dominance - if anything it's about confidence and remaining cool under pressure.  Those are strong words, because really, most people don't want to dominate their kids - they want to coexist peacefully.  If you saw me you would NOT think of me as a dominant personality - I've been known to cry at the drop of a hat (although I've tried to work hard on that), I'm intimidated by yelling, and if we're talking physical stature I'm only 5'2" 115lbs - not exactly intimidating.  But I work as a dog trainer, I'm good at what I do and people are often surprised at how quickly I "gain control" over the situaton at hand.  Patience, confience, and a good sense of humor have served me well so far.  In my house, everyone listens to what I ask (within reason),kiddo and animals included, not because I'm domineering, but bc I'm reasonable and fair.  I follow through but I don't nag. 

 

Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

As I mentioned I am consistent.  (I am well aware of the reinforcing effects of intermittent reward schedules.)  DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

So I think we do learn from each other.  But he is not going to be consistent with followup in the way that I am, and getting him to stop trying to undermine me when I am being consistent (admittedly with all the shrieking I can see how it is hard to take) is a work in progress.

I'm right there with you on DH being the one who's inconsistent.  We were both hit as kids - I do not feel it's appropriate, but he still does (haven't had 'that' convo yet as we have other issues we're dealing with) and so we deal with DD in different ways (no hitting but he does raise his voice).  I will say he tends to mimic me after a while seeing as how our LO responds to my methods more favorably .  Learning from one another is great especially if you overlap in your shortcomings to complete the greater picture.  As far as undermining, I think its safe to say you will each have different relationships with your daughter based on how you interact with her.  In our home, I'm the calm reasonable one who is playful but consistent, firm but fair.  DH is somewhat detached, and when he pays attention its to give things rather than time (I absolutely loathe the way he was raised as my IL's continue to give quantity over quality time and it just reinforces DH to no end) and at 15mos old DD is catching on.  She does what I ask, and fusses less for me than she does for DH bc she knows resistance is futile with mommy ;-)

 

There is no magic answer, because expectations are something you build over time.  Much like you can't 'expect' a 4mo to put away their toys, you can't expect an older child to never have a meltdown when asked to do something.  Life revolves around testing - it's what we're pre-programmed to do.  You test until you get a response, that response determines the course you take - kind of like those mystery books that let you choose the ending!  Kids test. In your case it's not so frequent which is great - it means you really are on your way to achieving your 'expectations.' You should be proud!  Your persistance and consistency will take you the rest of the way and really the impact of yor DH being inconsistent won't be that bad.  On those rough days, take a deep breath, remain calm, ignore your kiddo's tantrums, and when she sees how calm you are and that her tantrums get her nowhere it will start to sinnk in that 1) tantrums don't work and 2) "wow, mom is really calm and nothing gets to her - I want to be like that".  You're setting a good example!

 

Originally Posted by pek64 View Post
When he was young and had so much to learn and so much that was out of his control, it was *vital* that he could depend on certain things being a certain way. When he was older, and more responsible for himself, and therefore more in control, things like the door no longer mattered, because he could control other things himself!!

I can already see this with my 15mo.  She has certain expectations for how the day should proceed and while she can be adaptable to change, sometimes she just wants her reliable routine.  Her main affliction is helping to feed the cats.  She's developed an entire behavior sequence around the ritual.  I say it's time to feed the kitties, she runs to their "spot" and sits (bc I tell her to get down low to drop the food so this is a recent addition to the routine).  She asks for each cat's serving by name - cupid and chuck - then puts the food away.  If I was to mention feeding the cats as an out loud reminder to myself and didn't actually start the routine, my DD gets upset and starts to yell out "kitties! EAT! kitties!".  So I'm careful with what I say around her so as not to put ideas into her head unless I'm ready to implement them!

post #32 of 116

My kids are 26, 18, 18 and 14, and I definitely always had the expectation that my kids would comply with my (reasonable) requirements.  It's been interesting reading this thread.  I've often wondered why I was able to move things along.  At times it felt that it worked because it had to.  That sounds ridiculous, but for instance, when you're wrangling young twins you sometimes don't have the ability to be as patient as you might be with a singleton--and that actually works in your favor IMO. 

 

I believe I've generally been very kind and patient, but I also have always clearly expressed the reality that they had to follow my rules in the majority of instances.  I was open to discussion, but not at the moment of dissension for the most part.  I'm couching my comments here because I was never completely rigid.

 

When you have family with multiple kids, I think you focus more on logistics, and IME the kids follow along.  I can say I didn't employ gentle discipline at all times to the degree often advocated in this forum, but I never raised a hand to any of my children and I'm not a yeller.  I was extremely consistent and did have consequences for misbehavior that I employed without wavering.

 

When it comes right down to it, there probably is some innate ability some people have to command attention.  I know my husband was never as skilled at managing the kids when they were little, and that might have a lot to do with how incredibly sweet and sensitive he is.  I was never afraid of having one of my kids be upset or angry with me, and I felt very responsible for creating a harmonious home without chaos.

 

Which is all a long way of saying that it's definitely a fascinating topic!

post #33 of 116
Dr. Gary Landreth teaches "choices" as a form of discipline. He is a little more... stern or something... than I would be, but his overall theory is useful. I don't know how well I can communicate his technique since I've modified it but his basic premise is that when you need your child to do something, you give 2 age-appropriate choices that are equally acceptable. Basically you are restating rules/options/consequences in the form of a choice. The word "choice" is especially important. Example:

If you need your child to get dressed, you could say, "Every morning we need to get dressed for preschool. From now on, when you choose to stay in your pj's after I've asked you to get dressed, you choose to have me dress you." Then you give her a reasonable amount of time to get dressed (5mins maybe?) and if she isn't dressed you come back & say, "I see you chose to stay in your pj's, so you chose to have me dress you." And then get her dressed (despite any kicking & screaming) and get her out the door. Supposedly you only have to implement the "consequence" part of the choice a couple of times before they get it. Also, because you've stated it as a choice, it gives them the power.

His biggest example is Oreo cookies. So if your child comes out of the kitchen with a whole package of Oreos, you'd say, "You may chose to have one cookie, or you may choose to have two. Which do you choose?" Both choices are equally acceptable but make it clear that those are the 2 options. You do have to be firm & consistent about following through on the choices.
post #34 of 116

In conversations like this I feel like my family should be on display.  I am consistent, I follow through, I get things done if they need to be done, I explain, I expect, I discuss, I am firm and gentle (to a point, as I am human) and yet...at 9 and 6-1/2, my children still try to loophole their way out of things a good 50% of the time, and it is emotionally exhausting.  Hope springs eternal with these two, and if there's some smidgen vagueness in an expectation that I didn't specifically lay out to either of them, they'll use that smidgen. Their persistence is just....draining.  I stand firm, but holy hell it makes me weary.  Their intensity and energy are astounding.

post #35 of 116

I agree with the post that said that people with multiple children have to focus more on logistics. In my family there are too many people to care for to stop everything to have a discussion or to stand in one spot and pretend to be bored. There also isn't time to hold a child so they stay in a time out spot (bedrooms are play areas too because of lack of space so being sent to their room is not a time out). I also can't simply allow one of the kids to cry and carry on, it either wakes up or upsets the younger ones. It would be great if these things could always consistently happen but it's not possible when so much time must be spent on basics like cooking, laundry, etc.

 

Similarly, not everyone has time or ability to make everyday a comfortable routine for each child so that child will be set up for an easy time following the rules and behaving well. For example, one of my kids might thrive on a routine that includes waking up early, taking long afternoon naps, and being allowed lots of quiet time for creative play. Another might not do well with that and instead thrives on a routine where they stay up very late, have outings every afternoon, and are never expected to play quietly. What happens then? Probably a compromise. That's ok but it doesn't set each child up to be able to behave the way they are expected to.

 

A question on the cookies example - 

What happens when you see your child with a package of cookies and say 'you can choose to have one or you can choose to have two' then your child 'chooses' to have five? It's easy to say a child has two choices but in reality they actually have many, many choices. They can sit in the kitchen and eat as many as they can before anyone notices. They can try to sneak the package to their room to save them for themselves for later. They can get annoyed over only being allowed to have one or two and throw them on the floor then refuse to clean the mess up. They can stand there and scream, making life stressful and uncomfortable for everyone else. It seems to me that the question in the original post is not so much 'what do you say to your child' but 'how do you get your child to actually do what you say and/or what happens if and when they don't'. 

 

One more question -

If you tell your child they have 'made a choice' to not get dressed and you will then do it for them what happens when you are not physically able to do it? I know I wouldn't be able to hold down and dress a four year old without risking injury. I'd rather take a child out in their pajamas to avoid being kicked in the face and ending up at the hospital with no one to watch the kids but that doesn't really solve the problem of a child not getting dressed (some kids just aren't embarrassed when going out in pajamas or they might think it's fun to do so).

 

Yet another question - 

What happens when a safety issue comes up? A child who keep taking unbuckling their car seat is putting themselves in danger. It isn't always possible (or safe) to pull the car over repeatedly or to sit on the side of the road. A child in a bad mood might not want to listen to how important it is to keep their seat buckled and how happy it will make their parents. 


Edited by elus0814 - 2/15/13 at 11:00am
post #36 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

I agree with the post that said that people with multiple children have to focus more on logistics. In my family there are too many people to care for to stop everything to have a discussion or to stand in one spot and pretend to be bored. There also isn't time to hold a child so they stay in a time out spot (bedrooms are play areas too because of lack of space so being sent to their room is not a time out). I also can't simply allow one of the kids to cry and carry on, it either wakes up or upsets the younger ones. It would be great if these things could always consistently happen but it's not possible when so much time must be spent on basics like cooking, laundry, etc.

 

Similarly, not everyone has time or ability to make everyday a comfortable routine for each child so that child will be set up for an easy time following the rules and behaving well. For example, one of my kids might thrive on a routine that includes waking up early, taking long afternoon naps, and being allowed lots of quiet time for creative play. Another might not do well with that and instead thrives on a routine where they stay up very late, have outings every afternoon, and are never expected to play quietly. What happens then? Probably a compromise. That's ok but it doesn't set each child up to be able to behave the way they are expected to.

 

A question on the cookies example - 

What happens when you see your child with a package of cookies and say 'you can choose to have one or you can choose to have two' then your child 'chooses' to have five? It's easy to say a child has two choices but in reality they actually have many, many choices. They can sit in the kitchen and eat as many as they can before anyone notices. They can try to sneak the package to their room to save them for themselves for later. They can get annoyed over only being allowed to have one or two and throw them on the floor then refuse to clean the mess up. They can stand there and scream, making life stressful and uncomfortable for everyone else. It seems to me that the question in the original post is not so much 'what do you say to your child' but 'how do you get your child to actually do what you say and/or what happens if and when they don't'. 

 

One more question -

If you tell your child they have 'made a choice' to not get dressed and you will then do it for them what happens when you are not physically able to do it? I know I wouldn't be able to hold down and dress a four year old without risking injury. I'd rather take a child out in their pajamas to avoid being kicked in the face and ending up at the hospital with no one to watch the kids but that doesn't really solve the problem of a child not getting dressed (some kids just aren't embarrassed when going out in pajamas or they might think it's fun to do so).

 

Yet another question - 

What happens when a safety issue comes up? A child who keep taking unbuckling their car seat is putting themselves in danger. It isn't always possible (or safe) to pull the car over repeatedly or to sit on the side of the road. A child in a bad mood might not want to listen to how important it is to keep their seat buckled and how happy it will make their parents. 

You've pretty much summarized everything in our house.  :)  I notice the choices I give my kids sometimes result in "none of the above".  And honestly, for a kid that's over 4 or 5, that's a very good thing to understand.  Because they do grow up to be adults and they do need to understand that sometimes the best choice (for them, not for others necessarily) is none of the above.  I remember participating in a psychology experiment in college where I was presented with 4 options, and really none of them was right.  I knew that I was "supposed" to pick one, so I did.  Turned out the experiment was to see if the subject would just pick one he/she knew was wrong or insist that the right answer wasn't one of the 4.  I want to raise a kid that understands that there are always other choices (and their consequences) even if it's often very inconvenient for me.  Although I do sometimes act the way I don't like, as in threatening to throw away a toy if it's not played with appropriately or picked up...and I hate threatening, but it does work, as I've had to carry through and my older son well understands that.  My younger one though is too young to truly understand.  He's figured out how to stick his arms through the top of his seatbelt, so he's only fastened at the bottom...not really safe.  Yes, when we're driving somewhere we really have to be, I can't just tell him he has no choice and pull over and wait.  

post #37 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

In conversations like this I feel like my family should be on display.  I am consistent, I follow through, I get things done if they need to be done, I explain, I expect, I discuss, I am firm and gentle (to a point, as I am human) and yet...at 9 and 6-1/2, my children still try to loophole their way out of things a good 50% of the time, and it is emotionally exhausting.  Hope springs eternal with these two, and if there's some smidgen vagueness in an expectation that I didn't specifically lay out to either of them, they'll use that smidgen. Their persistence is just....draining.  I stand firm, but holy hell it makes me weary.  Their intensity and energy are astounding.


Oh, loopholes! My 2.5yo is always looking for them as well.

There were a couple of cane toads squashed on our street a while ago. LO was fascinated by them

LO: Can I touch them?
Me: No Honey, they're very dirty. Just look at them.
LO: [pause, cogs turning] Caaaan I... jump over them?
post #38 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Seriously.  lurk.gif

 

I've seen the "waiting for the bus" tactic mentioned.  Apparently if you just stand there and wait, as if you were waiting for a bus, that comes across as "expecting" or "knowing" something will happen and then the kid magically does it.  I haven't had that work yet but I'm interested in hearing what everyone has to say, or learning if I'm misunderstanding this whole bus technique. 

  

Quote:
Originally Posted by dovey View Post

In our family, I have a philosophy that helps us avoid power struggles (if I can remember to stick to it). 

 

Never ask the child to do something that you know she won't do.  Never ask the child more than one time - make sure that you have her complete attention when you ask. 

 

 

 

 

When I was first parenting a toddler, I applied my years of dog training (stay with me, here) to the experience.

 

*Never ask them to do something you know they won't do, always use gentle touch, positive reinforcement and no treats or rewards.*  

 

This works for kids too.  As in, only require things of them that you know that they're capable and willing to do.  That way you're always celebrating success!  People always thought that my dog was the most well-behaved dog at the dog park, because she always came when called.  The secret was that I only *called* for her when she was already enroute and there were no distractions between her and I (ie. squirrels, etc).  With children, again, I try to ask only when I know there will be compliance.  This is good for small children, so they get used to complying willingly and then it can be phased out with older kids, who have more nuanced reactions and opinions.  

 

Now at the playground, people think I have the most well-behaved children because they don't fight me when it's time to leave and on the rare occasion that I ask them to do something, they do it.   But again, the secret is that I've set up the expectation of cooperation over the years (with my older one) and am doing it again with my younger one.  How does this work, when it comes down to nuts and bolts?

ie.  We're leaving in ten minutes, so finish up what you're doing and say goodbye to your friends.

     We're leaving in five minutes.

      We're leaving in two minutes.

      It's time to go.

      Older child comes willingly (now).  The younger one is lifted out of the sandbox/play area/wherever and secured into the carrier.

      Off we go.  Every time.  No exceptions.  So there is an expectation that we're going, period.  There's never been a time that we didn't go, so it's like the waiting for the bus idea, or as predictable as bedtime, say.

This works for leaving the house too.  "Jackets and boots on, we're leaving in ten minutes." Or with age-appropriate chores.  "Clean up your blocks and then choose two books for bedtime." And so on.

 

This also works for throwing sand, hitting, etc.  I see the hurtful action, and say, "Gentle touch,  Hands are not for hitting."  or "Sand stays on the ground, no throwing sand." They get a second chance to make the right choice, and if they do it again a third time, we leave.  So no punishment or time out, but no more enjoying the company of their friends or hanging out in the playground.  When they're still young, I remove them, and by the time they're old enough (time will tell if this pans out with her brother) they come, knowing that there is no other option.

 

Also helpful in our family:

 

Never use "Okay" ...

 

I never say "Okay," as in "Time to get ready to go, okay?" or "Time to put on your pajamas, okay?"  It invites negotiation where there is none.   John Holt's writing taught me that one, and it's been immensely helpful.  My older child knows that there is room for discussion if I use "okay" and no room for discussion when I don't. 

Barbara Colorosso is big on that too.  "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  Protest ensues, parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  More gnashing of teeth, flinging self to the ground, pounding fists.  Parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  And so on.  Key being, don't engage in the drama, and don't invite negotiation by saying, "We'll go to the park after you've cleaned your room, okay?" 

 

Give yourself double the time you think you'll need.

Transitions with children are often difficult.  They're busy doing their 'work'  (play) and we want them to stop because of something on our agenda.  

I find my patience is thinnest when time is of the essence, so I try never to let it be.  We have very few obligations, but we do have a class that starts across the city at 0900 on Monday mornings.  I let them sleep in clothes that are comfy and presentable, so that I don't have to get them dressed.  I make breakfast ahead of time, and we leave the house at 0820, on the dot.   We get up at 0700.  That's a LOT of time.  

 

Pick your hills

I don't like the phrase "Choose your battles," but I get it.  Like choosing the proverbial "hill to die on," and so on.

I don't care what my kids wear.  I don't care if they have a jacket on in the cold.  I don't care if they get dirty.  I don't care if they don't want to learn to climb the jungle gym.  I don't care if they want to ride their bike or walk.  I don't care if they want to fill their backpack with blocks and carry it around for the day.  I don't care if they want their sandwich cut in strips or squares.

I do care about a few choice things;  they are not permitted to do anything harmful to themselves or others, or anything that is simply unkind. 

 

That's a lot of blathering on to essential say that I think consistency is the key here.  That's how expectations become intrinsic and unfaltering.  If children know what to expect, it's easier to let it happen without protest.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #39 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

  

 

 

When I was first parenting a toddler, I applied my years of dog training (stay with me, here) to the experience.

 

*Never ask them to do something you know they won't do, always use gentle touch, positive reinforcement and no treats or rewards.*  

 

This works for kids too.  As in, only require things of them that you know that they're capable and willing to do.  That way you're always celebrating success!  People always thought that my dog was the most well-behaved dog at the dog park, because she always came when called.  The secret was that I only *called* for her when she was already enroute and there were no distractions between her and I (ie. squirrels, etc).  With children, again, I try to ask only when I know there will be compliance.  This is good for small children, so they get used to complying willingly and then it can be phased out with older kids, who have more nuanced reactions and opinions.  

 

Now at the playground, people think I have the most well-behaved children because they don't fight me when it's time to leave and on the rare occasion that I ask them to do something, they do it.   But again, the secret is that I've set up the expectation of cooperation over the years (with my older one) and am doing it again with my younger one.  How does this work, when it comes down to nuts and bolts?

ie.  We're leaving in ten minutes, so finish up what you're doing and say goodbye to your friends.

     We're leaving in five minutes.

      We're leaving in two minutes.

      It's time to go.

      Older child comes willingly (now).  The younger one is lifted out of the sandbox/play area/wherever and secured into the carrier.

      Off we go.  Every time.  No exceptions.  So there is an expectation that we're going, period.  There's never been a time that we didn't go, so it's like the waiting for the bus idea, or as predictable as bedtime, say.

This works for leaving the house too.  "Jackets and boots on, we're leaving in ten minutes." Or with age-appropriate chores.  "Clean up your blocks and then choose two books for bedtime." And so on.

 

This also works for throwing sand, hitting, etc.  I see the hurtful action, and say, "Gentle touch,  Hands are not for hitting."  or "Sand stays on the ground, no throwing sand." They get a second chance to make the right choice, and if they do it again a third time, we leave.  So no punishment or time out, but no more enjoying the company of their friends or hanging out in the playground.  When they're still young, I remove them, and by the time they're old enough (time will tell if this pans out with her brother) they come, knowing that there is no other option.

 

Also helpful in our family:

 

Never use "Okay" ...

 

I never say "Okay," as in "Time to get ready to go, okay?" or "Time to put on your pajamas, okay?"  It invites negotiation where there is none.   John Holt's writing taught me that one, and it's been immensely helpful.  My older child knows that there is room for discussion if I use "okay" and no room for discussion when I don't. 

Barbara Colorosso is big on that too.  "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  Protest ensues, parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  More gnashing of teeth, flinging self to the ground, pounding fists.  Parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  And so on.  Key being, don't engage in the drama, and don't invite negotiation by saying, "We'll go to the park after you've cleaned your room, okay?" 

 

Give yourself double the time you think you'll need.

Transitions with children are often difficult.  They're busy doing their 'work'  (play) and we want them to stop because of something on our agenda.  

I find my patience is thinnest when time is of the essence, so I try never to let it be.  We have very few obligations, but we do have a class that starts across the city at 0900 on Monday mornings.  I let them sleep in clothes that are comfy and presentable, so that I don't have to get them dressed.  I make breakfast ahead of time, and we leave the house at 0820, on the dot.   We get up at 0700.  That's a LOT of time.  

 

Pick your hills

I don't like the phrase "Choose your battles," but I get it.  Like choosing the proverbial "hill to die on," and so on.

I don't care what my kids wear.  I don't care if they have a jacket on in the cold.  I don't care if they get dirty.  I don't care if they don't want to learn to climb the jungle gym.  I don't care if they want to ride their bike or walk.  I don't care if they want to fill their backpack with blocks and carry it around for the day.  I don't care if they want their sandwich cut in strips or squares.

I do care about a few choice things;  they are not permitted to do anything harmful to themselves or others, or anything that is simply unkind. 

 

That's a lot of blathering on to essential say that I think consistency is the key here.  That's how expectations become intrinsic and unfaltering.  If children know what to expect, it's easier to let it happen without protest.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



thank you! I like this post.

I think I have been applying a lot of what you said intuitively, without realizing.

It all makes sense. like the okay part...I use it often with adults, but never with DS, it would be strange and too much ''pressure'' on him I think.

If we ask them: clean your room and then we will go to the park, okay?

then it's too much responsibility on them also. They feel like first:

1) they have to choose if they want to clean the room, if they want to go to the park, if going to the park is worth cleaning the room for.

2) they feel some stress from the confusion: does mom want to go to the park or no? or she wants me stop doing what I an doing? or I am supposed to clean the room?

 

It is much less stressful for them if mom  just says: ''clean the room and then we will go to the park''

she is just informing them what's going to happen (because it implies that it will happen).

 

 

and for the pseudo choices I wanted to give my DS so he feels he has some control over things is useless.

it only helps by distracting from the real issue (which is not bad). but he doesn't get the choice thing.

I realized that when I listen to the ''choices'' he likes to offer me. He would pick  4 or 5 exactly identical things (ex: cookies, postal stamps...)and ask me which one I want!

there is basically no choice! they are all the same.

so that what it means to him: just ''choosing'' between identical things!

post #40 of 116
Quote:

Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

 

Similarly, not everyone has time or ability to make everyday a comfortable routine for each child so that child will be set up for an easy time following the rules and behaving well.

 

 

The point of the routine isn't doing what one child wants, but doing things the same way over and over so that ALL the children know what to expect. The keys are having reasonable expectations for the kids and allowing them to know what to expect from us. It is NOT to try to tailor life to the whims of one child. For example with the mom getting kid ready vs dad getting kid ready, the parents need to decide and stick with it. The child can deal with either, but needs to know what to expect.

 

Saying that she is sometimes fine with a last minute change is a bit like saying that sometimes I can speed and not get a ticket. If I speed and get a ticket, and I want to know how to avoid that in the future, the answer is to Not Speed (even though I've sped lots of times without any consequences).

 

Routines save time because they cause everything to flow more smoothly. If mornings are a huge issue, making a simple picture chart for the child, following it 7 days a week, and having the last thing being something fun (like 5 minutes of reading together) would start paying off in less than a week and the parent would find they have MORE time.

 

A question on the cookies example - 

What happens when you see your child with a package of cookies and say 'you can choose to have one or you can choose to have two' then your child 'chooses' to have five? It's easy to say a child has two choices but in reality they actually have many, many choices. They can sit in the kitchen and eat as many as they can before anyone notices. They can try to sneak the package to their room to save them for themselves for later. They can get annoyed over only being allowed to have one or two and throw them on the floor then refuse to clean the mess up. They can stand there and scream, making life stressful and uncomfortable for everyone else. It seems to me that the question in the original post is not so much 'what do you say to your child' but 'how do you get your child to actually do what you say and/or what happens if and when they don't'. 

 

 

After one chance to return the bag of cookies, I would quickly grab it away and put it where they couldn't reach it. If that wasn't possible, I would completely ignore the child -- not even look directly at them. The situation would resolve itself eventually, and then I would rework where sugar junk food is kept in my house.

 

Any parent who is repeatedly dealing with this scenario really needs to change their own behavior. Feeding their child better food might help their behavior, and if they are going to have crap in the house, they need to keep it out of reach. Many, many children behave horribly when they eat much sugar, and few children get a bag of apples out of the fridge and threaten to eat the whole thing. 

 

One more question -

If you tell your child they have 'made a choice' to not get dressed and you will then do it for them what happens when you are not physically able to do it? I know I wouldn't be able to hold down and dress a four year old without risking injury. I'd rather take a child out in their pajamas to avoid being kicked in the face and ending up at the hospital with no one to watch the kids but that doesn't really solve the problem of a child not getting dressed (some kids just aren't embarrassed when going out in pajamas or they might think it's fun to do so).

 

Have them sleep in clothes that double as outwear, like sweat pants and t shirts. I would say that this is behavior that will eventually resolve itself, but I know a couple of high school girls who wear PJ bottoms to school, so may be not!

 

I wouldn't physically wrestle a child into clothing -- that's too physical for me. For me, that would be crossing the line into "non gentle discipline."  We can all draw that line a little differently.

 

 

Yet another question - 

What happens when a safety issue comes up? A child who keep taking unbuckling their car seat is putting themselves in danger. It isn't always possible (or safe) to pull the car over repeatedly or to sit on the side of the road. A child in a bad mood might not want to listen to how important it is to keep their seat buckled and how happy it will make their parents. 

 

I'm not sure how to deal with the seat belt issue. That's one that never came up for us. My kids really were never risking anything more than minor cuts and bruises, and I figure those are learning experiences. I do draw the line at anything that could cause serious injury. If it could land them at the ER or worse, then I wouldn't allow it. But I don't know specifically how to deal with the seat belt issue.

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