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parenting on the fringe support group 12/26

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
hi all,
i apologize for letting the thread dwindle away, but i'm back with a tiny bit of free time, so i'll start up a new week's thread and see who's still around...
this is the thread for parents trying to respect their children's autonomy, trying to guide and model more than correct and mold, parents attending to their own personal growth as they help their children to grow...

most of my personal energies this past week have been spent on dealing with my inner child and her reaction to the reunited family of origin, rather than my outer child and son, but that's another thread :

i do have what feels like a success to me, but i can't exactly define why. my dd (4) and her cousin (5) were playing, more parallel play on dd's part, with dnephew trying to engage her in more cooperative play. she's already decided she doesn't like boys and she's frustrated that nick is faster and stronger than her. they were sitting on a bumper pool table and each guarding a pocket when nick started making a game of trying to get a cue ball past her into her pocket. when he succeeded, she wailed and wailed and nick braced for a lecture. (his parents have a different philosophy of childrearing). i just sat there, sorting through the different reax popping up in my mind (gently chastising nick for not respecting her wishes, telling maddie it was no big deal) but they all seemed wrong, and in the time it took me to figure out what i wanted to say, she feinted a swipe at him and wailed that she was so frustrated that nick was stronger than her, and it clicked that i didn't have to do anything.
i said to her that she was doing a great job of handling her frustration, that she hadn't hit anyone, she had just yelled, and that was alot of progress. at which point she wailed louder and interestingly, nic (who was looking pretty confused) put his hands over his ears and chanted, "i don't hear you." and then she was done and they were playing again.
i guess it was a success because my first reaction was to jump in and mediate and that would have been a mistake.

as for my dilemma, i've read on the taking children seriously site and elsewhere the philosophy that it's wrong to overpower your kids and that we should avoid taking things from them by force (ie, to punish them by taking a toy away from them) because that only teaches that might= right.
but, what do you do, if you're trying to follow this philosophy, when oldest child, after repeatedly saying she wants the toy her sibling has and being told not to take it from him, takes a toy from youngest. to restore the toy to youngest before the wailing gets too intense requires wresting the toy from the eldest.
did i need to be more creative as the conflict was brewing and direct her to some other toy, if that were even possible? any thoughts?
hope you're all doing well today. i'm finding that the day after christmas is bringing all sorts of unexpected behavioral problems and conflicts. oh joy.
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
wanted to post a link to a really thought provoking article. the topic is religious unschooling but most of the article is spent talking about this couple's approach to parent and i thought it fit beautifully with what we've been talking about in past weeks.
(plus, i'm bumping the thread in hopes that the rest of you are just busy with the holidays and haven't abandoned the discussion entirely

post #3 of 6
Hi there.

Both your success and your challange play into my challenge this week. I have been spending a lot of energy trying to wrap my brain around my close friend's 31/2 yo. He frustrates me endlessly. He is very negative ("no, I won't" or "don't talk to me" to pretty much positive or negative anything I or others outside his family say to him) and his behavior is also isolating. He won't share (saying, "I don't share), he takes toys from my 14 mo old, she pushes her, pulls her clothes...etc. His mother frequently laments that when it is just her and her two ds he is a pretty happy, positive kid, but when there is another element (sometimes even his Dad), he just become unpleasant.

I never feel like I have successful responses to the challenges he presents to me. Last night I had an intereaction with him where he did not want to share several new itty bitty books he got, and everytime my dd got one and he would chase her down and take it back very aggressivly. He has been told that it is okay to not want to share, but that he needs to ask for help in retrieving items. After several rounds of this and redirecting dd several times, she came running to me, and when he tried to take the toy I put my arm out and held him at arms length until I could get him to say at least "help".

I think after that he finally got all the books out of her reach, but I wasn't very happy with my response. I think that sometimes I focus on making sure he understands the "rule" and what an acceptable reaction. And it isn't effective. I frequenly come very close to responding to his negativity with snippy sarcastic remarks, (ie "I am not a very good sharer" with "then you are not a very good friend"), but so far I have been able to employ my editor and not say anything hurtful, but.....

The evening came to a close with dh saying VERY forcefully to him 4 times "you do not pull her clothes." I think dh is fed up with her ds and dh doesn't trust him. They are very good friends and have been for several years pre-children.

I am finding that our intereactions don't feel like they have time to wait and think about my response like you found to work so sucessfully recently, sueami. Half the time either current safety or future safety is at stake.

I don't know. I just don't know how to keep seeing my friend without going home in a negative mood.

As for sucess these past weeks... my ILs have been in town for a week and a half, and I am handling it beautifully even though MIL keeps calling dd a princess and pretty baby.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
hi grumo!
first of all, i am really impressed that you're handling the MIL well! those sorts of misguided comments would drive me nuts. congratulations on not letting it get to you.

the situation with your good friend's son is tough, but a couple of things did come to mind as i read it, as we had a similar problem with a family friend.
we had a playmate who hit and bit and couldn't share, and we did decide not to see them very much for a time, but it was easier because we'd moved about 20 minutes further away, so there wasn't the awkwardness of having to explain why we were backing off on playdates. although as i think about it, i think i did say to the mom that my dd was resisting getting together with her daughter, that she was feeling like she couldn't share (which was true. maddie didn't want to share when the friend was over at our house. she also didn't want to get bitten.)
and the other girl, sarah, matured and they get along much better now, although because of the distance we don't see them as much.

i did notice the boy's age. 3 1/2 was a really tough time for my dd -- it drove me to the child development books, where i was really relieved to find that the half-years in general are a time of great personality disorder and difficult behaviors, but that it passes on its own.
so, if he hasn't always been this way, perhaps that offers some encouragement.
as for the in-the-moment responses, yeah, sometimes i find it very hard not to blurt stuff out that i swore i'd never say as a parent.
i don't know how the others feel, but i think it's probably fine to step in and set boundaries for your child, and i did it with dd, esp. when she was younger (she's 4 now and pretty much able to say no and defend herself). i'm thinking it's probably an important way for them to learn how to set boundaries for themselves.
(btw, i like that his parents say it's okay to not want to share, but that he should ask for help. that would make me think there's hope they'll be able to guide him through this stage effectively)
and one final note, not entirely on point, i have to say, at the risk of sounding like a terrible crank, that, apart from my own progeny (and they strain my affections from time to time), there aren't that many children between the ages of say 2 and 5, that i really warm up to. i love being around older kids, but the little ones are not my cup of tea. i think whatever they're going through personality development-wise in those years, it's a challenge for me. my husband's the same way.
happy new year!
my dh has yet again fallen asleep reading bedtime stories to dd, and i'm sitting here on the computer. my younger, childless self would have been horrified to know it was going to come to this!
post #5 of 6
Where did you guys go? I wanted to learn more about your style of parenting.:
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
you know, i posted a new thread, but i think i linked it to the thread before we started this one, and no one ever responded, so i figured it had run its course.
anyone else still up for talking about this?

edited to add: i found the thread http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=35256 and i take it back, grumo and i did post a bit...
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