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When is control too controlling - Page 3

post #41 of 105
monkey's mom, just curious - at what age did you start using this method?
post #42 of 105
I'd say about a year ago--so he was 2ish. Mostly he wanted to be carried before that--so that worked out, too.

I see you have a monkey boy, too!
post #43 of 105
When dd is having trouble with a transition--or overloaded--holding hands makes her completely freak out. But, again, she has SID (and we didn't know it at the time), so she responds differently from most kids I guess. But holding hands in the parking lot was not a good option for us when dd was 2. It made things much worse.

I am glad to hear that the "hold hands" rule works so well for other kids. Maybe we will be able to do that with our next! Hopefully, if we have another, I will see first hand that most children *won't* launch themselves into traffic! (fingers crossed!)
post #44 of 105
"My dd launched herself toward cars more than once"

Mine too! I certainly control dds when near cars..........and water.

And for those whose children have never run out in a street - nor had my dd. Until the first time she ran out into a street, that is.
post #45 of 105
Originally Posted by Britishmum
"My dd launched herself toward cars more than once"

Mine too! I certainly control dds when near cars..........and water.

And for those whose children have never run out in a street - nor had my dd. Until the first time she ran out into a street, that is.
I wonder if it is something all children will eventually do? Maybe some do it at age 3, some at age 9, and some even older?

My brother tried to jump out his second-story window when he was three, but I never did anything like that.
post #46 of 105
Personally, I think it's important for kids to 'run their own show' in terms of their bodies - that means they determine what to wear, eat, when to sleep, etc. etc. with as little adjusting from parents as possible. For instance, with clothes I'll suggest she'll be too hot or too cold, but if she refuses I just bring along what I think she'll need in case she changes her mind. Of course, there are always exceptions - it gets pretty cold here, and going out is just flat out dangerous without a certain amout of clothes on. And, if she wants to be nekkid outside in the summer, she might have to put on sunscreen, or if she's in the house, she might not be able to hang out in front of the tv because she forgets to use the potty.
In general, though, I like to offer alternatives and other choices as much as I can & hopefully we can find something we both agree with. I will 'lay down the law' if she is too tired/overwhelmed to think, when she is adamant about making a choice she's not able to handle the consequences of, or if there are other factors beyond her scope at play (ie, we must make it to an important appointment or something).
Like many have said, I think everyone needs to find their groove with their kid. Some kids need a little more definition to their boundaries than others. Some, like dd, need to make as much choice as is humanly possible for a 2 yo to make without getting killed. But whoever you are, like FMB said, most imortant of all is making sure you aren't just making arbitrary rulings based on baggage or old assumptions. Kneejerk 'no's are IMO the most damaging of all kinds of coercion or control - kids will learn quickly enough that you are nothing more than a tyrant, and instead of learning and absorbing principles everything you say will be suspect.
post #47 of 105
Today I asked my dh this question, right after we saw our neighbors, who are eleven, outside in the 25 degree F weather without coats or sweaters or hats on. I said, "At what age would you let ds decide whether or not to wear a coat?"

My dh said, "That isn't a matter of personal preference! As long as I am responsible for his health (gesturing to 23 month old ds) he has to wear a coat and hat when it's cold!"

Then he compared not enforcing coats and hats to allowing the child to drink Drano. My dh engages in some hyperbole sometimes! Also, as you might guess, he runs cold and has a strong feeling about cold being bad for people. :LOL

I suspect that he will be phoning ds and asking him if he is wearing a hat until ds is into his 30s. Just a prediction.
post #48 of 105
Ummm, to answer the OP.....no.

There are a lot of bad choices kids will make if their parents do not show leadership and teach them what to do. TCC even advocates this, at least as I understand it. I admit I haven't read the whole book but I have read the articles linked here on MDC and it was pretty clear that parents need to show leadership. To me that means setting an example and giving instruction and rules.

My son would happily grab my chef's knife, jump off a dangerous place, or go to bed without washing his hands after touching the dog's ass if we let him. Obviously, these aren't options.

Actually, most of the time he is pretty good about washing his hands. He likes it. Except for tonight, he said, "no no no" in his high-pitched "I will not do it voice." I just calmly said, "Max, it is time to wash our hands. Step up on the stool". And he did.

I didn't feel like a tyrant or bad parent. I felt like a mom who handled the situation calmly. And he of course happily splashed in the sink and washed his hands. He's only two!

Have to say, to me this is a no-brainer. There is a difference between being a total control freak, bossing your kids for no reason, and setting some reasonable limits and guidelines that make life run a lot more smoothly for everyone. As well as teaching health, hygiene, and some basic societal mores.

As a teacher I have had a few students whose parents did not attempt any control. They were nice people, but guess what? Their kids were developing some pretty negative traits, like selfishness, inability to cooperate, expecting everyone else to wait, getting their way, being disrepectful to adults and other kids, etc. etc. The kids called the shots, and to me it seemed like they were well on their way to becoming miserable adults.

I also think there is a way to go about asserting some control, whether it is for safety reasons, health, etc. We don't yell, we don't berate, we explain our reasoning whenever possible. And we give choices when we can. Tonight for example--my son didn't want the dinner I'd cooked. So he had yogurt and cheerios. I don't force him to eat something he doesn't like, but I did allow him a healthy choice.

To me it is all about common sense mixed with compassion.
post #49 of 105
Originally Posted by Mariah101
There is a difference between being a total control freak, bossing your kids for no reason, and setting some reasonable limits and guidelines that make life run a lot more smoothly for everyone.

well put!
post #50 of 105
I agree. I think limits and boundaries are more respectful and children really need that. Children of parents who choose not to set any limits tend to be more anxious and crave the security that having a parent in charge means. I remember as a child testing a boundary and actually feeling glad when the rule was reinforced. I felt secure.

Now controlling is another issue. It's primarily for convenience, not for the benefit of the child's growth, development and social skills. I think that's the difference.

This is what I do when nearing a street or in the parking lot: I ask ds calmly whether he'd like me to hold his hand or he wants to be carried. He responds by his actions.. he holds my hand (he's 16 mos). If he doesn't want to hold my hand I take that he wants to be carried. We're always holding hands now, after only carrying twice. His face is beaming because he feels capable and I think because I teach him to look right and left before crossing the street. I also tell him in simple words that the street can be dangerous when there's cars. I ask him whether he sees one coming. He's starting to stop before the street and when I say "look left" he'll turn his head.. in one direction or the other

I love the fact that there are no hassles. I see so many moms struggling with the street issue, hollering at them, etc. I've heard that some moms spank their toddlers when they run on the street! Children this young simply don't know the dangers so it's our job to guide and teach them.. not control them.

post #51 of 105
I beleive as parents it is our job to keep them safe. I also believe it is our job to gently guide them until they can display they don't need that part of us any more. But as far as I can tell, to varying degrees, this lasts a life time.

I am not sure how we can expect children to not be children. I want to children to be children. PLAY have fun, explore. Leave the tough stuff to me at this age! They are too youg to be aduts IMO. What's the rush?
post #52 of 105
I believe that if you love your child unconditionally and give them the opportunity to have experiences they will not only learn from their own experiences but feel good about themselves as a result. I believe if you exercise control over then they are not getting the opportunity to learn from their own experiences. If they feel good about themselves than they are more likely to make better choices. I also believe that the parent needs to model the behaviour they want their child to have a tendency to follow. For instance, If I don't want my 2 year old to drink pop than I don't drink it myself or have it around to be drank. If I don't want my child to watch tv which is not age appropriate, I simply don't watch it myself and do other things in it's place. If I want to watch a program, I do it when he goes to bed. I don't think that is control. I want my child to be treated the way I want to be treated. I know that it is completely unrealistic for him to never have candy. I can certainly limit his exposure to it yet to expect him to never have it is not very realistic at all. Once in a blue moon I enjoy chocolate so why can't he? I ultimately want him to eventually go out into the world and make the right choices for himself because he is confident with his choices. I can't control what he does as a teenager but I can certainly give him opportunities to feel good about himself as a child which he can build on as an adolescent. If his behaviour is not life or morally threatening than I let him lead the way to his own experience. I believe if we start giving our children the ability to make their own choices and have control at a young age, it is a stepping stone for the future when they are on their own.
post #53 of 105
Originally Posted by Jacob'smomma
I believe if we start giving our children the ability to make their own choices and have control at a young age, it is a stepping stone for the future when they are on their own.
I totally agree It's been very important to our family that the kids have as much control as is possible over every aspect of their lives.
post #54 of 105
Our family is constantly trying to find an ever-changing balance point. I don't look at control in and of itself as a bad thing. Kids do respond to limits--I know that when DS has a nuclear meltdown, he finds comfort in the fact that I hug him tightly in spite of his flailing limbs because it does help him eventually reach a place where he can stop them from flailing. What we try to do is offer directed choices--give him two or more options that *we all* can live with, base the limits we impose on him on logic and rational reasoning, and help him to learn that other people have as much right to respect as he does.

The principles we've found that resonate most deeply with us in terms of where those limits fall center around the belief that no one person is the center of the family or the center of the universe. We make accommodations for DS who is 3 and not yet fully understanding of what it means to live with other people, but we are trying to teach him that everyone in the family has certain rights and that everyone else must respect those rights. I've got no problem with making him pick up a toy before picking out another toy--he's come to understand (completely by accident) that leaving his toys out on the floor can get them broken (it also makes mommy do a really loud and silly dance that unfortunately at the time scared the crap out of him :\ ). Mommy and Daddy have the right to walk through the main rooms of the house without tripping over toys that he's not playing with. He has the right to refuse to put them away, but if he uses that right, then the consequences are that I put up the toy for a week.

This has served a double duty in that we are getting to see which toys he really likes versus which toys he only likes while they're in front of him--my parents bought him way too many toys for the holiday, even though we told them not to. DS wanted to open and play with each toy, so we let him, but now the initial excitement has worn off, we're slowly picking which ones we want to give away, and which ones we want to put up until summertime for rotational purposes.

As he grows, I'm using mostly gut instinct and suggestions from what I see other parents do around me to give him more responsibilities. Thing is--he loves these things. He wants to not only be my helper when I'm cleaning, but he wants me to be the helper and let him do the big stuff! If he shows an easily distractible interest in something, I'll usually give him something else to do. When he's persistent, the challenge becomes streamlining what he wants to do into something he can--is physically able to--do. He cannot wash my chef's knives, but he can wash the pots (I've already scrubbed).

With food, like the majority of other posters here, we tend to limit what is in the house, so his choices are naturally limited. He's allowed to choose sprite in his lemonade when we are out for lunch, or have some of Daddy's coke or pepsi (I drink unsweetened tea when we're out and he's decided it's yucko). But we do have some grown up things in the house. Before I was pregnant, we occasionally had wine with dinner, and we explained to him that wine was a grown-up drink and that when he was a grown-up, he could have some (my own family didn't balk at giving kids a small glass of watered down dinner wine at about 7 or 8, or letting toddlers have a sip, and DH and I don't see it as that big of a deal, figuring that the bigger deal you make of it, the more it becomes something to want to do. But addictive personalities exist in DH's family w/r/t alcoholism, so DH and I have decided to err on the side of caution for the time being). However, we are bringing home the lesson that there are some things that mommies and daddies can eat or drink that little kids can't.

At dinners, from the start, since he expressed interest in what we were eating, we've given him the same thing. Mommy is not a short-order cook, though, and if he doesn't want what we're eating, he may have a sandwich, but he usually does eat with us. We don't make him clean his plate, but we give him more of something if he asks for it, as he's shown that he knows when he's full. We encourage him to "try one bite" of everything, but after that one bite, he doesn't have to finish any one thing. If he balks at the one bite, then we tend not to push if the balking seems genuine (sometimes he will refuse because it's become a game and he wants to see daddy make asparagus spears wiggle). He's proven over time, though, that he's capable of getting a balanced diet, if not at a single meal, then over a day or a few days' time. The only thing he can't seem to say no to is sugar. Fruit snacks, cookies, candy, etc. are always his choice if they are among the choices. We have worked out a deal where--when they are in the house--these choices come out for dessert or a mid-afternoon snack, and only in small amounts.

Our most important lesson to remember is to be flexible. The temperaments of parents and children must be taken into account, and no one theory works for everyone--but if you are flexible and put the love you have for your children and your family before the strict adherence to any theory, you should be able to muddle your way through, no matter what theory or mix of them you end up finding that works for you.
post #55 of 105
i hav eenjoyed reading this over the day b/c it has given me the chance for reflection
i would say that over all i do not expose my dd to things that she will want and can not have.
this is not 100% and as she gets older and she knows how to reason about turn taking, choosing your limits, safety issues etc then she will also slowly be exposed to situtations where she has control over these issues with natural consiquences....

for instance, i keep no sugar in my house and never eat it in front of her face
we do not own a tv
our computer is only used for "daddy's work" in front of her,
we do not keep anytoys that we would not want her to have (plastic batteries etc)
now she is only 1 1/2 years old
she is too little to know what she is missing
why would i give her something that i think is "bad" befoer she can even really ask for it?
as she gets older and she can understand more of what we explain about our reasoning i will allow her to make her own chioces and hope for the best...
unless i feel like she is really at risk for danger (physical or moral according to our beloved belief system) i will explain to her, listen to her and trust our abilty to communicate.

but i have to admit, remembering MY teenage years, makes me want to keep her in a padded room away from the rest of the world forever......

i know tha tmy parents' created my scary rebellion by ignoring my needs, being dishonest with me, and not respecting me overall

i try to do the opposite

and yes, i do "make her" hold my hand or be carried across streets and parking lots
she very rarely protests and we talk about why every single time

we live in a wild/drunken college town where there are armies of teenagers drunk/careless driving in their SUV's while talking on cell phones and we walk downtown alot
#1 it is my job to keep her alive
#2 it is my job to keep her healthy
#3 it is my job to allow her the space to create her own joy
that is the order
post #56 of 105
Control is something that is done out of fear--fear that your kid will turn out "bad" somehow and it'll be your fault. Control assumes that children will self-destruct/are not capable of making reasonable choices for themselves. Control comes from fear, and fear is the opposte of TRUST.

To the original poster, honestly, I chuckled when I read your off-limits list--WHY would you want to be SO VERY controlling of your dc?? They're still young, and SO much can change. Why think in terms of always and never?? Are you worried that your other ap friends would scoff if your son came to playgroup w/a power ranger or whatever?? I hear you, I understand how that feels. But in the long run it will be your son who is upset that you didn't honor/validate his feelings about liking power rangers, and that's what'll really matter.

When my son was born I was SURE he'd never wield a toy sword or play with any violent action figure. But he's 5.5 and loves both. Things change, and I finally had to decide that honoring his wishes were more important to me than protecting him from the bogeymen that apparently only exist in MY head. He is the most compassionate sweet soul you'd ever meet, but he sure enjoys his transformers, his cap guns, and his wooden sword and shield. I TRUST him to differentiate between real vs. pretend violence, and so far he's done a splendid job

Let's see, gatorade?? LOL there are waaay worse things to eat/drink than gatorade. Like dairy products, for example!! But it's all relative.
Seriously, I think it's much more likely that a child will assume that mom and dad won't let them eat/drink X b/c they're just MEAN, or don't care, then that kid will decide that mom and dad are looking out for their best interests. A happy childhood is really in the eye of the beholder. As for coffee/caffeine, well...this is a problem are of my OWN lol... I buy myself soda, and I know it's bad for me, but I wouldn't dream of telling my kids they couldn't have coke but I could.

My kids have been veg since birth (b/c we are), yet I've never had to "forbid" them from eating meat--they avoid it on their own, as if it were non-edible--even my two-yr old. I am trying so hard to be vegan, yet I don't hesitate to buy my son cheese pizza. I value autonomy over control, so he gets pizza

Oh, and the infamous candy argument--"if I let them, they'd gorge themselves." Well, maybe once or twice, but not every time. It's healthy to let someone (even a small someone!) find their own limits, instead of listening to external boundaries about meal contents/portions/etc. I used to restrict candy big-time for my son--he seemed to always want more! : So one Easter (when he wasn't quite 4 yet), I decided to just let him have at it--see what would happen. My poor boy ate two WHOLE bags of dove chocolates in 2-3 hours, and he ended up throwing up! He was sick the whole day and felt really sad that he missed all the fun. (I felt bad too--didn't mean for that to happen at all!) BUT, he hasn't eaten too much candy since then--he learned firsthand what eating too much candy does, and now he doens't need "restrictions" or "control"--he's perfectly capable of controlling himself now!

Anyway, I am running out of online time, but you see where I'm going with this... If you want to have a positive relationship w/your children, a good thing to do is to start trying to replace control and fear with trust and love--it's a lifelong process, but SO worth it

Good luck!!
post #57 of 105
Ok- maybe this is completely off topic but... I have a story to tell.

I have a 14 year old client who I saw today. She is living in a foster home due to abuse and neglect by her family. She is pretty mad. She got kicked out of school and I was asking her what set her off. She said she hates it when they (school staff) tell you that they care. She knows that they are just trying to trick her into doing what they want her to do. She says she can't wait to be 18 so she doesn't have to be around grown ups and all their lies. I told her I thought she was making some sense. She doesn't trust grown ups and she has very good reasons. She can't believe anyone cares for her when her own family chooses drugs over her. She hates rules. She doesn't have any reason to believe that the rules are put in place for her own good.

So mommas... everything you all said is true. Whatever way you set the rules in your home will work out fine because if rules are made with love, nothing else matters. And sadly, if the rules are made selfishly and abusively, nothing else seems to matter, either.
post #58 of 105
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom
I know that my feelings have changed in the last 3 years and I know they will change more over the next 3. I foresee today that with every passing year I will be letting go of more and therefore controlling less of son's life. But I just don't see how I can not, in good conscience control certain things in his life. A few thing I know I will NOT compromise on TODAY or in the in the immediate future are
Just thought I would highlight this part of the OP.

Following along with this thread has me thinking that some of what is being discussed is semantics. I've actually thought this quite a bit when reading about TCS and GD (both individually and comparatively).

And you can choose to call your guidance anything you like but it I'm reading much more similarities than differences in the way we control certain things. Some of us just say we don't call it that. We call it a lifestyle choice or a principal. I feel like it's control and so I call it that.

Does anyone feel what I'm saying? What is the significant difference for those of you who do guide things like toys, food, safety, tv but don't use the word control.

I'm just finding this interesting because I'm one of the least controlling parents I know and practice quite a bit of TCS and was raised with very limited control. I feel lumped into this 'control' group (and occasionally even a little talked down to) when I feel that we practice the same measures for helping guide our kids. I just don't have a big problem with the word.

For some it's fear, some it's love. This is subjective, no? So we don't like the word ~ why?

I'm sure there is some significance for most of you so I'd like to have a dialogue about this. Thanks.
post #59 of 105
yes, identity crisis mama- very interesting....
I dont have any answers yet, but will think about it
I do find a lot of the arguments very simalar-
some say they do it for love, others call it out of fear.......
I think it is good to follow the rules that help keep your dc safe and healthy and loosen the control as they are able to become more capable to take care of themselves
to show them respect
to listen to them

and a lot of what this thread has discussed is semantics, i agree
For me, I am just trying to find my way through the darkness- a lot of it is to hear myself and think about it
and read what everyone else is going through helps
post #60 of 105
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
I totally agree It's been very important to our family that the kids have as much control as is possible over every aspect of their lives.
I agree, too, provided, as Jacobsmomma said, danger is not an issue to himself or others, or doing things that would lead to that.

My DS, for example, loves babies. At every playgroup he is all over the babies. His choice would be to hug them, squish them, pig-pile on them. DS is 3 feet tall and weighs 33 lbs., but at the age of 22 mos. doesn't quite realize his own strength. So I have to shadow him, reminding him about "gentle" "giving space" etc. In effect, I am controlling his actions. Maybe I would prefer to call it guidance. Whatever the word, I am preventing him from hurting others and hopefully teaching him something. He can't be trusted to make a good choice here.

Ditto for the road issue--DH has tried to run into the road many times. I have had to physically restrain him more than once. He just doesn't "get" that cars are dangerous yet. He thinks it is a funny game to make Mama run after him. As his language increases I hope that soon I can help him to understand the reasons why he cannot go into the street without holding an adult's hand.

As far as food goes, I agree with the PPs, if I don't want DS to eat it, I don't bring it in the house. If it's around and they see you eating it, of course they want it too! Having a child has improved my diet. Except for my organic chocolate stash which only comes out when he is asleep! I really don't want him eating it yet, plenty of time for that later. And I really don't feel like he has to eat every single thing that we do. There are things that adults eat that are not appropriate for kids, like DH's beer, for example. I don't drink, but if I buy wine for company I'm not giving it to my son just because the adults are having it, KWIM?.

Other choices he is not allowed to make: pulling on the cat's tail, jumping off the back of the couch, jumping from mid-stairs, etc. These are things that cannot be removed from the house and thus far all the positive modeling in the world is not totally working YET....so I've got to be there to remind him of the consequences and sometimes again, physically stop him from doing these things. I'm certainly not going to let him fall down the stairs so that he can learn about gravity the hard way.

Let's face it, there is a fine line between letting them make choices to learn and child negligence! If I let him make his own choices every single time he wouldn't be making it to his 18th birthday, and I would be broken-hearted. Protection is vital.
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