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Multiple requests over and over again

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I was hoping to get some guidance here from you gentle parents. My daughter is 4 and I am finally growing very tired and annoyed of the multiple whining requests. For example, this morning, she asked for me to fix her bun (she hates wiggling hair). I am nursing her one year old brother and I nicely tell her to please wait and when I am done, I will help her. In the meantime, I am asked over and over again with tears and whining. It is driving me bonkers. Today, I  actually made her wait a little longer just because I was so annoyed. I was saying things like, "I asked you to wait and be patient and you kept on asking...now I am very fursterated...I am trying to teach you to be a little more patient....mommy had her hands full and wanted you to understand that...and now you will need to wait a little longer" I am pretty sure these are stupid and unproductive things to say. I also know that this is normal behavior...I am just wanting tips on what I can say or do. Is there something else I can do or say to help this situation? It is multiple things every day. If she asks me to read her a book and I say, sure let me go to the bahtroom and change your brothers diaper and then we can read. In the meantime, she asks me to read the book while I am using the toilet or follows me around the house asking, "when can we read the book, when, when, when?"

I assure you I am very patient and gentle, BUT today I felt extremely annoyed. If she asks for something to eat, she stands at my feet and asks multiple times while I am preparing her food. She also asks for 5 additonal new things during that time. I told her to please get in her seat and I will bring it to her. 

I have been saying things like "please don't ask me again, I am getting frusterated and I need a few minutes...I think I may need to take a break upstairs (bonus room that is gated off). I don't like that I am doing and saying these things, but I also don't know what else to do. 

I know that more patience is needed on my part, but I also wonder if she is old enough to not have everything delivered to her upon immediate request. 

Thanks for reading and any tips you can offer. This is new uncharted territory for me. 

post #2 of 25

Argh!! You are taking me back to my older DC when she was 4. 3.5-5 years is my least favorite age so far!!  In part because 4 is still so young and immature but we get these glimpses of maturity and then we start expecting a bit more than they can manage, IMO.  Let me  think if I have any suggestions...  

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Is it normal for there to me requests all the time. Like every 3 seconds. If we sit down to eat...it is read a book or tell a story. 

If I sit on the floor for a moment, It is the same...read me a book or make baby talk.

Today, a dish broke and her lunch splatter across the floor. During the 5 minutes it took me to clean up the broken glass and splattered food, she asked me to make her a new lunch every 5 seconds. I attempted to calmly ask her to please wait (she wasn't hungry, b/c she had eaten most of it). If she was younger, I would understand and be a little more patient. 

Her brother was napping for a long nap (2 hours) and during this time, I really tried to have focused play with her. It seems it is never enough, the moment he woke up from his nap, she had another request, that I couldn't accomadate as brother needed me to get him and nurse him. I'm sure that I was way too attentive and accomadating over the years. I struggle with, wanting to play with her b/c she is only young once and wanting her to play independently because I need her to so that I can take care of house hold tasks. 

I think i have what they call a spritied child. I just can't seem to get anything done in an entire day. At times, I feel like I am practically ignoring her brother just to meet her needs all day long. She is 100 times harder than he is as a baby/toddler. Hate to compare, but it is true.

post #4 of 25
Is she trying to get you to change your answer?


My children were not allowed to ask more than three times. Their father and I are neither deaf nor stupid. If you ignore repeated requests after a certain point .. she will stop trying you on this.

BTW, I had a sibling who KNEW that after thirty or so tries my mom would give in... it only teaches your child to keep trying this technique.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Is she trying to get you to change your answer?


My children were not allowed to ask more than three times. Their father and I are neither deaf nor stupid. If you ignore repeated requests after a certain point .. she will stop trying you on this.

BTW, I had a sibling who KNEW that after thirty or so tries my mom would give in... it only teaches your child to keep trying this technique.

Not usually, more things that are reasonable and I plan to do, but just need her to be patient and wait a grand total of 5 minutes. She is pretty good when I say something isn't going to happen. It is the YES stuff that is hard. Sure, I can read you that book, but please wait until I have made breakfast or whatever. 

post #6 of 25

Philomom, it sounds to me like she is "just" being impatient not trying to change her mom's mind. For my DC 4 was a bit too young for rules about how many times she could ask BUT not too young for me to show her that in other ways. OP, I know you are often caring for your younger child when this is happening, which hinders you walking out of the room...or?  

 

Have you tried some sort of "active listening" where you repeat what she has asked? And if/when she repeats herself maybe ask her if she is trying to tell you that she is having trouble waiting?  

 

I admit that I sort of forget 4. My two year old responds well to "Yes, we are going" with little more information. I can repeat this a few times if she is having trouble getting the concept of waiting. 

 

Other thoughts...

 

Consequences. What is the natural consequence of not being able to wait?  I may consider taking a few weeks to impose these. Maybe put it on a bit...  

If she wants to read a book before you have had a chance to use the bathroom, read really quickly because you have to pee. And then go to the bathroom and close the door to pee. Or, if she is asking for her food "now" maybe give it to her unfinished. ;-)  Ha!  That sounds mean but it seems like she's really having trouble understanding why she needs to wait and I'm thinking this may help her understand. Of course, this could all be done in the spirit of helping her 'get it' and not in the spirit of punishment or hostility. 

 

She does sound pretty spirited, btw!  

 

Other thoughts along the lines of above...

 

If food is part of the issue, I suggest taking time before you play to prepare her food. Tell her you can not play before making lunch because yesterday she had such a hard time waiting for you to make lunch. 

 

Or, moving away from consequences, your DC may well be old enough for some responsibilities around the house. She is old enough to make her own sandwich or get a drink and is old enough to help with the baby, to help clean and etc. Maybe you can channel some of that impatient energy to helpful activities, yk?  

 

I would consider creating a low shelf in the fridge/pantry for her lunch food items and just telling her to make her own lunch. And maybe yours too!!  

 

Or, maybe you can give her a job while she waits. If she is waiting for you do do legos with her while you feed her brother, give her a short job to do...so she's not waiting for you -- you are waiting for her!  

 

Or, phrase it like this, "We certainly can play Legos. There are three things that need to be done before we do that. I need to feed the baby, the lunch dishes need to be cleared from the table, and the hula hoop and toys need to be brought in from outside.  If you can help with some of those things we can get to playing sooner."  

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mylove View Post

Is it normal for there to me requests all the time. Like every 3 seconds. If we sit down to eat...it is read a book or tell a story. 
If I sit on the floor for a moment, It is the same...read me a book or make baby talk.
Today, a dish broke and her lunch splatter across the floor. During the 5 minutes it took me to clean up the broken glass and splattered food, she asked me to make her a new lunch every 5 seconds. I attempted to calmly ask her to please wait (she wasn't hungry, b/c she had eaten most of it). If she was younger, I would understand and be a little more patient. 
Her brother was napping for a long nap (2 hours) and during this time, I really tried to have focused play with her. It seems it is never enough, the moment he woke up from his nap, she had another request, that I couldn't accomadate as brother needed me to get him and nurse him. I'm sure that I was way too attentive and accomadating over the years. I struggle with, wanting to play with her b/c she is only young once and wanting her to play independently because I need her to so that I can take care of house hold tasks. 
I think i have what they call a spritied child. I just can't seem to get anything done in an entire day. At times, I feel like I am practically ignoring her brother just to meet her needs all day long. She is 100 times harder than he is as a baby/toddler. Hate to compare, but it is true.

This does sound really hard greensad.gif. Do you constantly acknowledge her when she keeps repeating her whining requests? I would stop doing that, if that's the case. When she asks the first time, acknowledge her, when she asks the second time tell her firmly that you already said yes and she needs to wait then ignore any further requests. There is no need to keep acknowledging her, it only encourages her to keep bugging you.

Also, the constant new requests don't always need to be accomodated. I would get in the habit of telling her no, not right now, which will force her to calm down. She will be upset at first but if you're consistent with it, she will have to learn that mommy doesn't always want to play. Its good for her to play independently at times and its also good for your sanity. Kids are only young once but that doesn't mean you need to overextend yourself. She is used to being the one who always gets attention, she's old enough to learn that this isn't practical.

I personally would wait until she has been calm and playing on her own for a bit before engaging with her in a new activity. This way you're not rewarding the whiny, incessant behavior.
post #8 of 25

When the Dumplings were around that age, I remember saying, "Whining can change a yes to a no, but it will never change a no to a yes". I guess it took a while for them to catch on, but they really did stop whining. Probably a few demonstrations of when the yes turned to no.
 

post #9 of 25

OP, my 5 and 3 year old do this to me multiple times a day. Yep, it's annoying.

 

Mamarhu, I am going to try your approach today.

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrimordialMind View Post


This does sound really hard greensad.gif. Do you constantly acknowledge her when she keeps repeating her whining requests? I would stop doing that, if that's the case. When she asks the first time, acknowledge her, when she asks the second time tell her firmly that you already said yes and she needs to wait then ignore any further requests. There is no need to keep acknowledging her, it only encourages her to keep bugging you.

Also, the constant new requests don't always need to be accomodated. I would get in the habit of telling her no, not right now, which will force her to calm down. She will be upset at first but if you're consistent with it, she will have to learn that mommy doesn't always want to play. Its good for her to play independently at times and its also good for your sanity. Kids are only young once but that doesn't mean you need to overextend yourself. She is used to being the one who always gets attention, she's old enough to learn that this isn't practical.

I personally would wait until she has been calm and playing on her own for a bit before engaging with her in a new activity. This way you're not rewarding the whiny, incessant behavior.

I try really hard not to acknowledge the multiple requests. I have had the thought of putting on ear phones with some music. At a loss of what to do, I don't actually think the ear phones would be a great idea, but it may save my sanity. 

THis morning, we all woke up in the big bed and she said, "can we go into the living room now?" I was on my way, but just opening the blinds, turning off the fan and sound soother, folding a few blankets, which all takes 3 minutes. During this time she kept repeating herself over and over again. Then we come out to the living room and she asked for her vitamin 5 times in 2 minutes. I did something that might or might not be a good idea. I said, "i have asked that you stop asking over and over again and you keep asking....now we have to wait on the vitamin for 5 minutes and during this time, I don't want you to ask again, or we will wait even longer to get it." This felt a little harsh, though I didn't shout it or wasn't too angry (just annoyed). Does this sound reasonable to you guys? Or is this a punishment?

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

When the Dumplings were around that age, I remember saying, "Whining can change a yes to a no, but it will never change a no to a yes". I guess it took a while for them to catch on, but they really did stop whining. Probably a few demonstrations of when the yes turned to no.
 

I like this! Might write it down anp post it as a reminder to myself. 

 

I often find myself saying in my head, "dig deep, dig deep for patience."

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mylove View Post

I try really hard not to acknowledge the multiple requests. I have had the thought of putting on ear phones with some music. At a loss of what to do, I don't actually think the ear phones would be a great idea, but it may save my sanity. 
THis morning, we all woke up in the big bed and she said, "can we go into the living room now?" I was on my way, but just opening the blinds, turning off the fan and sound soother, folding a few blankets, which all takes 3 minutes. During this time she kept repeating herself over and over again. Then we come out to the living room and she asked for her vitamin 5 times in 2 minutes. I did something that might or might not be a good idea. I said, "i have asked that you stop asking over and over again and you keep asking....now we have to wait on the vitamin for 5 minutes and during this time, I don't want you to ask again, or we will wait even longer to get it." This felt a little harsh, though I didn't shout it or wasn't too angry (just annoyed). Does this sound reasonable to you guys? Or is this a punishment?

I don't see "gentle discipline" as meaning "no punishment". Maybe i'm wrong but i see it as disciplining in a way that simply doesnt include harsh punishment, like spanking, hitting, verbally lashing out or being cruel. Sometimes kids need some type of discipline/punishment to help them learn and understand boundaries.

In the case of your DD, having her be quiet for 5 minutes before she can have her vitamin is perfectly reasonable considering how many times you've asked her to stop being repetitive. Your word has value and needs to be respected since you are clearly a loving mother who is simply trying to establish good habits and clear boundaries. How else is she going to learn if you don't enforce anything? If you don't enforce then she will continue to walk all over your words, which is not beneficial for either of you.
post #13 of 25

I see gentle discipline as non-punitive. We lean heavily on consequences and keep them as natural as possible. My 3.5 has the same issues with repeated questions. My husband thought it was funny to play "are we there yet" in the car and she won't stop. So I tell her I don't like that game and that it is obvious that we aren't there. If she keeps doing it I stop talking until she says something else. It usually works but there are some days that it takes longer than others.

 

In our house if I were to punish with more time just because she asked too many times it wouldn't make much sense to our daughter and she would begin to see us as ridiculous and we would lose credibility. Credibility and sincerity are very important to us. If I can get her to trust me that I'm doing the best I can and empathize with me she usually chills out. In general this age is a very self centered phase and with the additional 5 minute punishment it becomes more about what mommy will do to me if I don't stop rather than getting at the larger issue of teaching empathy for mommy and a realization that the child is not the center of the universe.

 

We began having the multiple question problem and it is mainly a phase that requires more energy to manage but in the long run it has helped me to say one of the following:

 

"Please stop repeating yourself. It is just slowing me down. If I have to keep listening to you repeat yourself it distracts me and I can't do it as fast."

"I am irritated that you keep asking me that. Will you please stop."

"I don't like it when you keep asking me that. I've already told you what I need to do first."

 

Then I ignore until I truly can do it. I don't delay because she's watching and I want her to trust me that I'm being honest with her. My main impression I want to leave with her is that I heard her and that I have feelings too. I also find that if I'm not sticking to my end of the deal with small commitments on what we'll do or what is next then my DD gets super anxious and starts in with the questions.

post #14 of 25
lovepickles--I understand where you're coming from and i agree its important to teach your kids that they are heard and you have feelings, too. However, sometimes kids need extra help with learning this and a polite response like the ones you suggested don't always work. Having her wait five minutes before getting her vitamin teaches her patience. The girl has a pattern of constantly asking for something over and over, even after the mom asks her to wait. She needs to learn the basics of reality, which includes having to wait for something we want. We cant always get what we want when we want it, that is often the case, actually, and sometimes we don't get it at all. Therefore, teaching her these principles will enable her to have a better awareness of reality. If done in a gentle yet firm way she will not be scared of her mother, she will simply be guided towards the goal. Teaching real empathy can only happen if the child is ready for it, and it sounds like this girl is too immature for that right now. The best the mom can hope for is to establish clear boundaries and patience.
post #15 of 25

PrimordialMind we are not in agreement on a few points including your most recent suggestion that a child of this (or any age for that matter) is too immature to learn empathy. My comments were offered as an alternative and and example for what works in OUR house. I'm irritated at the time I spent sharing the information to be followed with a discussion of "reality" and that my suggestions "don't always work". What is it about my comment that leads to your response. I'm truly baffled that you felt the need to respond directly to me in this manner.

post #16 of 25
Most 4-year-olds are still learning about their own emotions and how to regulate them. They are not ready to empathize to any real degree since they don't fully understand emotions and how their actions emotionally affect people. They are also typically self-centered, only focused on their own needs and desires. This is why i said that your suggestions, while sincere, more than likely won't work with this child at this point in time. I don't know why you feel offended, maybe i'm lacking empathy myself atm, but this is a public forum where people share and counter ideas. I read your comment and i have a different perspective so i thought i'd share it. Where is the harm in that?
post #17 of 25

I am offering information based specifically on what works for OUR family and I'm being met with generalities and assumptions the my techniques  "more than likely won't work with this child at this point in time." My offense is in the insinuation of statements like this that your opinion, PrimordialMind, is of greater value than mine. There is no need to discount the likelihood of a successful outcome with anyone's opinion. It is my understanding that our ideas can exist together in this thread and not debated as though it were an election.

post #18 of 25

When I have these sorts of situations come up I have to stop and ask myself "what need is my child expressing with this behavior?"  If my child were verbalizing repeated requests like that I would see that as a way for her to have a verbal connection with me while waiting for a different type of connection. (for my child, I don't know what it would be for yours)

 

I would go bonkers with the repeats because it's too easy to interpret them as yet more demands on my energy or a message that I am not doing a good job . . . soooo I would need to have a different verbal connection for my own sanity.  (hopefully that makes sense, I don't know if I'm writing well tonight)  To meet dd's need for verbal connection I would say "yes, I am going to use the bathroom first, let's sing (a favorite song) while I'm in there"  or I might even count with her, or do a verbal call and repeat game with rhythm (sometimes words are too much for me!)

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovepickles View Post

I am offering information based specifically on what works for OUR family and I'm being met with generalities and assumptions the my techniques  "more than likely won't work with this child at this point in time." My offense is in the insinuation of statements like this that your opinion, PrimordialMind, is of greater value than mine. There is no need to discount the likelihood of a successful outcome with anyone's opinion. It is my understanding that our ideas can exist together in this thread and not debated as though it were an election.

Yes, and what works for one family doesn't necessarily work for another family. Looking at what the OP said about her daughter in regards to her age, repeated behavior and how she has been raised (specific circumstances, not generalities) the advice you gave didnt seem practical. Why you assume your words are golden simply because you spoke them is beyond me. Forums are designed for both sharing and debating ideas. If you can't handle the debating aspect then maybe you shouldnt post. People are allowed to debate and pick apart other people's ideas. It has happened to me and it has happened to others. Its not a very comfy feeling, but i prefer debating over everyone being nice just for the sake of being nice. If i can learn something from someone through debate, which often happens, then that is preferable over feeling a little hurt that my comment was argued against. Debating also doesnt mean comments are lost or overridden. One person's opposing perspective doesn't have as much weight as you seem to be giving it. The comment is still there and the OP or someone else might still find value in it.
Edited by PrimordialMind - 7/24/13 at 7:40pm
post #20 of 25

What of the suggestion to give her a role in making her requests move faster?  One of my favorite "tricks" to GD is to prevent problems before they start. OP, have you considered taking one problem at a time (another GREAT trick) and trying to address that?  For the vitamin, how about putting the daily vitamin out before you go to bed?  I'm not a fan (personally) of making discipline issues a game but if that fits for you you could even hide the vitamin!  Or, you could involve your DC in getting the vitamin the night before and her setting it out.  This would all be in an attempt to make her an active participant in getting her needs met. 

 

Also, OP, are you trying to make some time for when your DC doesn't have to wait for things?  I know this may sound counterintuitive in this case but maybe your DC would do well with a conscious attempt to try to meet her needs as fast as you can - at least once/day. 

 

I don't mean to suggest that a mother should "hop to it"... but to acknowledge that I think we can fall into a trap of fighting for respect - even with a child as young as 4.  Sometimes I think we can fall into a cycle where a parent and child are kind of fighting for their space, needs, and etc. 

 

Sometimes, it helps if the parent steps back a bit and re-sets things by "giving in" a for a while to check if there are power struggles.  If there aren't, and the problem really is with truly unreasonable expectations of the child, that "checking in" by the parent can give more confidence to move forward.   

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