or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › help me get my kids to listen
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

help me get my kids to listen

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
This problem is driving me crazy. My kids (dd 6 and ds 4) will not listen to me or do what I say. I need some advise on how to get them to do what I ask and what type of discipline would be appropriate when they don't. Let me give an example.

Today my ds was opening the refrigerator door and kicking it closed over and over again. I told him to stop kicking the door. He walked away and then came right back and opened the door. I said "don't kick the door" and he did it again. I made him sit for a time out, but I wonder if there is a better way to handle it. I am so tired of saying the same thing over and over again and being ignored. I don't feel like they respect me at all.
post #2 of 80
:
post #3 of 80
AngieB, check out the sticky at the top of this forum that suggests some really great books.
I especially like How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen, and Listen so your Kids Will Talk (Adele Faber) and Both of the Mary Sheedy Kurchinka books listed there...

If the fridge incident you described happend in my house, I would
1. Ask what my 4 year old was looking for in the fridge, and help get it out.
2. If it turns out they were just having fun kicking the door, I would explain that kicking the refrigerator door will damage our fridge ,remind them that we don't kick stuff in our house and suggest another outlet for the kicking (a ball, dancing, air karate...)
3. If they turned around to do it again, just to get to me. I would scoop them up and redirect them to something else with me, because obviously they are wanting my attention ( this is just in keeping with the fact that they are 4...if they were older, I might have a sit down talk to find out what was bothering them)
post #4 of 80
I would avoid the power struggles with redirection. Instead of telling him what he can't do, I would say, "oh that looks like fun. Let's find some pillows to kick, do you want to kick them hard or kick them softly?" and whisk him away. I would also have him explain to you why you don't kick the refrigerator door instead of explaining it to him. I think he's old enough to know that it's not a good thing to do, he can probably tell you why not.

Also, remember to get to the root of the behavior. As I said before, he probably knows at this age that kicking the door is not a great thing to do so find out why he is doing it. He may not be able to verbalize his feelings so you'll have to ask yourself: are you not paying enough attention to him? Has something happened at school or with a playdate? Is he feeling like you are spending too much time with the baby?

I also urge you to check out the books. They will really help.
post #5 of 80
"I would avoid the power struggles with redirection. Instead of telling him what he can't do, I would say, "oh that looks like fun. Let's find some pillows to kick, do you want to kick them hard or kick them softly?" and whisk him away"

That IS redirection!

"I would also have him explain to you why you don't kick the refrigerator door instead of explaining it to him. I think he's old enough to know that it's not a good thing to do, he can probably tell you why not."

When MY son was 4, if he were in the kinda mood to stand in the kitchen kicking the fridge over and over...asking him to quote to me "why" we don't do that would definately NOT work!
post #6 of 80
The problem is that your children will not obey you. They listen to you, they have to if you are telling them not things over and over. They need to learn that you say what you mean and mean what you say. Distractions do not teach this. Time-outs (punishment) at best may stop bad behavior but do not teach good behavior.

Avoid telling your young children things more than once. If they don't do what you tell them to do then help them to do it - move them from the room, block the fridge door, feed them, ect. There are no warnings, no counting to 3. Avoid lectures and time outs. Make your voice appropriate to the situation.

You can teach your children to always respond to one word and a hand sign. When my youngest son was born I suffered nerve damage to my leg and couldn't walk. My husband left me and I had to learn how to single parent 3 boys from a wheelchair. I did learn to walk again but am very slow and sometimes have to use a wheelchair or walker.

The word I used was STOP and the hand signal like a traffic guard. When I used either, my children knew it was important and I expected compliance right away. I avoided overusing it and it evolved into the hand signal being more of a warning and a loud STOP along with the hand signal meaning the situation might be life threatening. Once your kids know you say what you mean, mean what you say, and will do something about it if they don't comply, you won't have to do anything more that give a hand signal or say something once and thy will do what you want.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen is great but may be more appropriate for older kids. Your public library may have the audiotape parenting class set that goes with the book. Without Spanking or Spoiling or other books by Elizabeth Crary are aimed at toddlers and young children. Don't Shoot the Dog by Pryor is a great book for opening your mind to the many different ways you respond to behavior.
post #7 of 80

Children DON'T listen

There's a part of me (and don't get me wrong, I believe in this whole GD business) that can't help but see this as rewarding bad behaviour.

If you have one child and limitless patience I'm sure that playing with, nurturing, etc. your child every minute of every day - that'll work.

What about in circumstances in which you have more than one child? Either you end up neglecting the one to constantly be on the other, the other will get the message that evil = attention, good = ignored and become just as evil, etc.

That's the ONLY drawback I see in this equation - and a very strong argument the wooden spoon brigade can make. I can't really discuss this with anyone not on here because the answer will be "after a few smacks the child WILL listen and settle down - rather than kill yourselves and neglect your other children, and not instilling discipline which isn't good for your child anyway."

So long as a child knows that bad behaviour will be rewarded with attention (and sometimes, with multiple kids, you can't just drop everything for that one child who needs "redirection") why listen? I'm asking for an honest answer to this - it's not a challenge. There's something to this gentle discipline I'm not getting. I see the "gentle" part but not the "discipline". Seems to me to be more about discipline avoidance.
post #8 of 80
I have had this problem for what seems like forever. I feel that I get no respect either. I try to start the day with redirecting, explaining,etc.. But by the end of the day "NO!" and "STOP!" seem to be all I have energy for. I agree with redirecting, explaining, etc. but I just don't have any control...any ground to start from. My 5 year old listens to his brother who is 3 more than me. I feel as though I am a joke to them. The more I lose the power struggle the more I find myself lecturing, getting extremely frustrated, etc. It seems to be an endless cycle. Things like "Please get in your car seat and buckle up!" should be no need for a power struggle. I don't know how the basics can become so difficult. I am really losing.
post #9 of 80

As I said

The problem with this appears to me that people being human, eventually you get to the point where even if you don't smack the bottom of the now-has-been-whining-and-hitting-and-biting-and-breaking-things-for-hours child you at the very least start talking harshly and simply turning it into a power struggle, which by definition YOU WILL LOSE

I really hope a GD guru can shed some light here. I really want to get this.
post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by burke-a-bee
It seems to be an endless cycle. Things like "Please get in your car seat and buckle up!" should be no need for a power struggle. I don't know how the basics can become so difficult. I am really losing.
I am in this boat with you. From DD's infancy (and before), I had it set in my head to never use corporal punishment and avoid unneccessary power struggles. My DD is 2.5 and I try to empower her with choices and negotiation. You should see some of the outfits we have gone out in public in! But I'm with you, getting into your carseat, changing a poopy diaper, putting the winter coat on because it is 30 below outside - sorry, these things have to be done. How does one avoid the power struggle? She has been able to negotiate 5 more minutes before the diaper gets changed and has picked out the coat herself - why isn't that working?!
post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
"I would avoid the power struggles with redirection. Instead of telling him what he can't do, I would say, "oh that looks like fun. Let's find some pillows to kick, do you want to kick them hard or kick them softly?" and whisk him away"

That IS redirection!
Didn't I say that? I was giving an example of redirection.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
"I would also have him explain to you why you don't kick the refrigerator door instead of explaining it to him. I think he's old enough to know that it's not a good thing to do, he can probably tell you why not."

When MY son was 4, if he were in the kinda mood to stand in the kitchen kicking the fridge over and over...asking him to quote to me "why" we don't do that would definately NOT work!
But it might work with her child. It works very well with my daughter - she is 4. When she is doing something that she knows she shouldn't, I can give her "the look" and say, "why are you not supposed to do ___________?" and she can answer. That usually stops the whole thing without having to do any type of redirection.

I know that the things that I suggested may not work for all kids but I'm just trying to help...
post #12 of 80
Well, I'm definately no guru of anything, but I have 3 kids ( 4 1/2, 6 1/2, and 8 1/2). GD has defenately worked for me. I've said this in other posts, but to me GD does NOT equal NO Discipline. We do have rules and limits in our house! I think a lot of people assume that GD means just let kids do whatever they want, don't punish them, don't ever tell them "No" etc.. I don't agree. I think there are kind and gentle ways to teach kids how be part of civilized society that don't require shaming, hitting, and screaming and the like. So far so good in my house. I often am complimented on what pleasant children I have. and we certainly are happy.
post #13 of 80
[QUOTE=LoveBeadsI know that the things that I suggested may not work for all kids but I'm just trying to help...[/QUOTE]


I didn't mean to come off like you weren't, sorry. I was actually chuckling to myself just imagining me saying that to MY son at the time! NOT a tactic that would have worked with him! :LOL
(my son at 4)

Different stuff works for different people, the more ideas the better!
post #14 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaednuSO
There's a part of me (and don't get me wrong, I believe in this whole GD business) that can't help but see this as rewarding bad behaviour.

If you have one child and limitless patience I'm sure that playing with, nurturing, etc. your child every minute of every day - that'll work.

What about in circumstances in which you have more than one child? Either you end up neglecting the one to constantly be on the other, the other will get the message that evil = attention, good = ignored and become just as evil, etc.

That's the ONLY drawback I see in this equation - and a very strong argument the wooden spoon brigade can make. I can't really discuss this with anyone not on here because the answer will be "after a few smacks the child WILL listen and settle down - rather than kill yourselves and neglect your other children, and not instilling discipline which isn't good for your child anyway."

So long as a child knows that bad behaviour will be rewarded with attention (and sometimes, with multiple kids, you can't just drop everything for that one child who needs "redirection") why listen? I'm asking for an honest answer to this - it's not a challenge. There's something to this gentle discipline I'm not getting. I see the "gentle" part but not the "discipline". Seems to me to be more about discipline avoidance.
I think you need to look at the big picture when you decide on a discipline technique. If you (and let me clarify that I don't mean "you" as in "you", I mean the universal "you") want to get through each day with as much obedience and as little work as possible, then smack your kids each time they disobey. It's fast, it's easy, it probably will stop the unruly behavior.

If you want to have a long-term, connected and loving relationship with your children, you will need to figure out ways to guide their behaviors, to teach them the right way to approach challenges, and to do so in a way that preserves their dignity. GD is a tremendous amount of work but you get back tenfold of what you put in. It teaches self-discipline instead of "I don't want to get caught".

Yes, it requires enormous patience and creativity and every single one of us loses it from time to time.

As for the wooden spoon brigade, if they feel that having one of their children witness another getting hit for misbehaving instead of watching a mother help her child work it out, then I would just have to say that we have different parenting goals. Parenting with fear is just out of the question in my household.

I also think that proper GD is not just about misbehavior = attention and good behavior = being ignored. GD is all about positive reinforcement when things are going well. If you are ignoring your well-behaved child, you're not practicing GD. (again, not saying "you" as in "you")
post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBeads
If you want to have a long-term, connected and loving relationship with your children, you will need to figure out ways to guide their behaviors, to teach them the right way to approach challenges, and to do so in a way that preserves their dignity. GD is a tremendous amount of work but you get back tenfold of what you put in. It teaches self-discipline instead of "I don't want to get caught".


Nicely said!
post #16 of 80
I totally get the philosophy and understand the long-term benefits, and am committed to raising my children with GD, but I guess I just need some concrete, day-to-day advice. How do you get your toddler to do the things that HAVE to be done (ie: get in the car seat , put on your coat, change the diaper) without turning them into a power struggle? Am I just expecting too much maybe? Do I need to adjust my expectations and learn to accept that at this age, she is going to throw a hissy and hit during certain activites and hope the stage will pass quickly?
post #17 of 80
At a risk of sounding simplistic, here I go from all the advice I've been reading for the past.. 18 months and experience:

-get in the carseat:
"would you like to hold my keys while I put you in the carseat?" or "as soon as you get in the carseat we'll drive to the park"

-put on coat:
"would you like me to put on your coat or would you like to do it yourself?" or "It's cold, you may want to wear your coat". If they don't want to wear it, let them experience a bit of cold. Don't rescue if it's not dangerous.

-change the diaper:
"would you like to change your diaper on the bed or on the floor?" or " would you like to hold the wipe as I change your diaper?" or "as soon as we change your diaper we'll read a story" or "Let me teach you how to wipe yourself"..Validate feelings: "I know you don't like to change your diaper, but I'll do it quickly and soon you'll be dry."

Hope some of these work! I have had success with my toddler so far

Cheers,
post #18 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by addiesmom
How do you get your toddler to do the things that HAVE to be done (ie: get in the car seat , put on your coat, change the diaper) without turning them into a power struggle? Am I just expecting too much maybe? Do I need to adjust my expectations and learn to accept that at this age, she is going to throw a hissy and hit during certain activites and hope the stage will pass quickly?
Yes and no. In the beginning, GD takes a lot of thought but believe it or not (and I know you don't believe it!), it will come totally naturally before long. You will become the creative mama that you never thought you could become. Honestly!

Some of what you describe is just the age and will pass but there are ways to make it less painful.

Because my DD has SID, she was a horrible transitioner. I developed a ton of tricks to get her from A to B which DH had very little patience for in the beginning. He soon saw that my way, although it seemed complicated, was in fact much easier because I learned how to elicit cooperation from my DD instead of power struggle with her (which I would always lose, by the way).

To avoid the struggles, you run down your list of usual suspects: Tired? Hungry? Overstimulated? Wet? Poopy? You get the picture. First rule those out.

Now, to get DD into the carseat was very much of a struggle for me so I would do the following:

"Do you want to hop to the car or fly?"
"Do you want to unlock the car doors with this thing (car door thing)?"
"Will you carry this package to the car for me?"
"Can you look and see if there are any doggies on the way to the car?"
"Do you want to climb up yourself or do you want me to help you?"
"Can you help me buckle you in?"
"Are you going to have pretzels or water in the car?"
"Let's try to see how fast we can get buckled in - maybe we can do it before I get to 10"

etc.

The coat: "Will you help me zip up your coat?"
"Do you want to wear your blue coat or your red one?"
"Can you help me put my coat on and then I can help you put yours on?"
etc.

The diaper: "Can you pick out a diaper for me?"
"Do you want to run to the changing table or skip?"
"Can you hold lthe wipes for me while I change your diaper?"
"Let's change your diaper and then we can have a snack, play a game, etc."

By giving DD benign choices, she felt empowered. By empowering her, I got her to cooperate instead of fight me. Nobody would relish being stopped in the middle of something fun to change a poopy diaper - I had to make the diaper change as much fun as the activity we were doing beforehand.
post #19 of 80
One thing I find helpful with toddlers is to give them some advanced notice before transitions. Don't expect a toddler to just "switch gears" the way we Mom's can at the drop of a hat.
For instance...toddler is in the middle of playing and become aware there is a poopy diaper. Let them know that you would like to change the diaper, let them (or help them) finish what they are doing, then change the diaper.
Or..when mine is coloring a picture, and it's time to leave the house, if I "say lets to get in the car" (there has usually been at least one advanced notice) I know she NEEDS to finish what she's doing before she puts the crayon down, so she does, and then we go . I used to think she was ignoring me when she didn't just drop the crayon when I said to, it took me time to realize she WAS getting ready to stop, she just has to finish... honestly I do the same thing.
post #20 of 80

Sigh

RE: The diaper: "Can you pick out a diaper for me?"

And then the child gets wise to this and basically says "No, I'd rather continue booting the cat."

And when you try and engage the child in a meaningful dialogue on not booting the cat, the child turns away from you, hits you, and refuses to pay attention.

Or, when you have another child in need of more immediate attention, the other one acts up, you cannot treat that one like the center of the universe.

I'm not discounting this per se - I'm just saying that "well, you simply redirect" doesn't work when you CAN'T. And "well, you engage the child in a dialog" doesn't work when the child WILL NOT LISTEN. And "well, you drop everything and play with the child" doesn't work when you're trying to feed the other one.

The point is, it seems to me GD works if and only if the child is into it, as well. If the child doesn't want to play along then you're stuck with an unruly, abusive, screaming drain on time, energy and patience.

Now, I'm not saying "I want to give in and smack the kid"

I'm saying "I've only ever heard how great GD is when the going is good." If the answer is basically "and if your child doesn't want to play ball, life is going to become a living hell and you'll be divorced within seven months cause you'll eventually start sniping at each other" then what good is GD. I know that's not the answer - what I'm getting at is, there are a lot of people saying there are times when they cannot pull the whole GD trip and/or times when the kid isn't into it. So what other tools are in the toolbox besides playing with the child and/or making its environment perfect?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › help me get my kids to listen