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What is it I am doing wrong? - Page 2

post #21 of 37


You sound overwhelmed and in major need of some time to refresh and rejuvenate yourself before tackling the issues with your kids.

I also wonder if picking one thing that's really driving you nuts and working on that, rather than trying to overhaul everything might help you feel like you're making progress!

Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
I liked Sledg's post, but I would never be able to do all of that. I don't know if you would, but it would make me far, far more frustrated to try and tease out that kind of information. When I first read Jane Nelson's "Positive Parenting" I thought I would love family meetings, but in reality I think our family is moving towards more of a top-down traditional authority structure. Maybe when they get older this will change, but for now, I'm finding it necessary to keep myself sane. And, believe it or not, I'm also finding that it minimizes sibling rivalry. I think they feel united against me Maybe you and dh could try being slightly more authoritarian, but in a gentle way of course
:

I spent quite a bit of time this summer trying out and pondering a more consentual living type approach to parenting. It turns out it doesn't work for me. I am intrigued by the ideas, I like the theory. But I don't like the practice. It feels false to me. I'm sure it's not false for people who are comfortable doing it, but since it doesn't feel genuine to me, I can't do it. thus, while I love the ideas from sledg and WuWei (Pat), it ain't happening in our family!

I will confess to not even trying family meetings, so I'm really impressed that you do those! Maybe it's because my kids are 3 and 6, and we're more or less a family of introverts (with dd being the exception, poor child). I'll consider it in the future, but now, it's not a concept that appeals to me. We have dinner together every night, we have together time. My kids are masters at incorporating into their games the issues that are bothering them -- so I'd prefer to do it through play for now.

Like natensarah, I am more authoritarian than some parents here. Part of it is time, like you said. I too WOH, and my kids are in school/daycare. We have a bit more flexibility in that dh works from home and dd is home with him 2 days a week, but there are times when I cannot be flexible. I cannot leave 40 students waiting for me because dd didn't want to get dressed that morning.

I do consequences for a few select behaviors (hitting, throwing things are the two big ones) -- the consequence for hitting (now that they're old enough to have a minimal amount of impulse control) is to be sent to your room until you calm down enough to be civil again. Throwing things may be that or may be that the toy takes a trip out to the garage until we all calm down. If my kids scream/yell at me, I will leave the room until I can muster the deep breaths needed to deal with it. My kids absolutely hate this, and they react as if I'm abandoning them to the wolves. I'm trying to model good cooling off behavior, but it sure doesn't feel like it in the moment, so I sort of file this under 'punishment'.

I don't have any real answers for you - I struggle with a lot of the same issues. Dd is going through a very, very trying time in terms of demanding yelling, screaming, whining, etc. either when things don't go according to her plan (no we don't have time to watch TV, we're eating dinner in 5 minutes, you can watch TV after dinner).

Having said that, here are some random thoughts:

-Have you considered rotating the evening/bedtime 'duties' between you and your dh? The most exhausting part of parenting to me is when I feel like I'm riding herd on my kids constantly -- and bedtime is a lot of reminding, keeping the kids on task (are you done with your snack yet? finish up please. where are your reading books? it's time to clean up -- come help me put away this game. Are you putting anything away? Keep the broom on the floor...OK, it's time to brush your teeth, where are your bedtime stories? no, it's time to turn out the light...) It's exhausting! So, dh and I rotate. He's responsible for 2 nights, then I get two nights.

-Getting home at 6 pm is late. What time to you leave in the AM? Is there any way for you to adjust your work so you're home at 5 or 5:30? It's tough, I know. I'm lucky to have a job where I can do that most days. The downside is that I work most evenings/weekends too (from home). But, we do a lot better when I can get home just a half hour earlier. things aren't so rushed/stressed.

-Is the TV time in the evening? Have you considered just letting them do TV for 1/2 hr before everything? would that remove a bone of contention? Eliminating it altogether? TV isn't like books where you can read a short book if time is short.

-The Secret of Parenting type waiting/not engaging works pretty well for me. Partly because it keeps me calm. And then we don't feed off each other's strong emotions.

-I am also fairly firm about my limits. If they're not coming to dinner, we sit down to eat without them. If my kids don't get dressed, they leave the house as they are. (dd very nearly rode in the car naked from the waist down today because she wasn't getting dressed.) If they refuse to brush their teeth, then they don't get to eat anything with sugar the next day because we need to keep their teeth healthy. (At 5 and 6, your kids are old enough for this kind of delayed consequence).

-What's your dh's take on this? Does he have any suggestions? Ways to lessen the burden on you? It sounds like you're worrying for the whole family!
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
Wow! I feel very much loved, reading all these nice posts. I woke up this morning looking forward to reading all these "letters from faraway friends" and I am feeling a lot more energy right now. Thank you for spending time thinking about me, and about my kids. Natensarah, thank you for your words of hope. I like your posts too.

It is true I am really tired and I am working very long hours these days, and it is not an option to be home earlier than 6. Six is already a major effort. I was never very good at taking care of me. I start taking a supplement, I drop that. I start going to the gym, I drop that too. I know I need to make more of an effort!!!

It would be paradise if someone could take bedtime off of my shoulders half of the time. But dh works in another town and he comes home Thursday night after the kids are asleep. He is then here until Monday. That way, our week has a funny structure to it, there is never a sound routine in place. Plus, much as I would like to go home and play with the kids, in fact, the evening is made up almost exclusively of dril sergent (sp) requests.

As for discipline, you've given me quite a lot of good ideas and I need to talk to dh again this weekend to make some changes. Lynn, you are right about addressing first the issue which is making us nuts the most, and that's the "lying" or not keeping deals. That should be relatively easy to implement, in terms of not giving them opportunities for lying and breaking deals. Like "dd did you wash your teeth?" 90% of the time, if I am asking I know what the answer is. Bargaining seems also a major opportunity for broken deals and I believe that we should try to have an even stricter schedule, and say matter of factly "time to do x". No deals. We need to introduce a flexible schedule but with limits for the weekend also, because when there is no schedule to the day the girls become even less manageable.

As for consequences, I do not want to introduce a zillion consequences, but I agree that we should be more consistent with those we do have. Hitting and breaking, especially. I like the approach of "whoever lose his/her temper goes to his/her room" including parents, but my dh will not like it. However, we need to be stricter about the hitting and the truly disrespectful behaviour.

I often do send dd1 to her room to cool off, or sit across the room from dd2 to help her calm down. The hitting (of myself and dh) mostly occurs when we are trying to help them calm down, not as direct and intentional hitting but as part of a general meltdown. When they meltdown that way they truly have no control over what they do or very little, so I do not react to that the way I would if it was a direct and purposeful hit. But anyway, there is too much hitting, and you are right, we should now stop "helping to calm down" and implement the send to "cool off" place before things escalate in a meltdown, so we at least do not get hit anymore.

I like the teeth consequence, and, I think I will definetely keep the "pajamas+teeth+homework"=TV because with books (what we had before) it was worse. The TV program just ends. The book is always there and potentially one could read it, just a few pages, how many pages, one more page..

Sledg's idea of negotiating solution is feasible, if we keep it down to a few things. For example, the wake up routine and the go to sleep routine are things we need to rediscuss, and I will try and see what their real concerns are in those areas, if there are ways we can address them.

About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.

And. I am not Christian but I really like the article you posted Deva. I am not sure I will be able to implement it. But it is a great, great approach. I think I should also talk to my kids and my husband using those words. I understand you want to play. I have a problem with that because I need to make dinner. Can we please play afterwards? It does not sound false. I will try to teach them this. The idea of obeying then discussing, I wonder. I really doubt I will ever be able to implement it. In truth, all my life, I have not been able to comply with requests, even stupid ones, especially stupid ones, and it has caused a lot of havoc. It is very true that kids will teach you what you need to learn the most! So, I will think about this, perhaps it could be used for specific situations, like getting ready to go out, for example. It is a great skill to have, to be able to trust authority for limited amounts of time, and in a critical manner of course. If you give it some thought, we give mandate to a government, it does its thing, then when the elections come again, we may change but in the meantime someone has to be in charge to an extent. Worth thinking through.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6
I spent quite a bit of time this summer trying out and pondering a more consentual living type approach to parenting. It turns out it doesn't work for me. I am intrigued by the ideas, I like the theory. But I don't like the practice. It feels false to me. I'm sure it's not false for people who are comfortable doing it, but since it doesn't feel genuine to me, I can't do it. thus, while I love the ideas from sledg and WuWei (Pat), it ain't happening in our family!
(eta I'm chuckling not because there's anything wrong with consensual living-I love the idea-but because that's just not how I see myself.) We're really not a consensual living family. What we do, and we don't do it all the time over every single thing, is just the collaborative problem solving approach from The Explosive Child. Collaboration is our ideal (mostly), but we are open to imposing our will at times (and not just when it's a safety issue). There was a time, though, when we were very much all about the idea of top-down, more traditional, authoritative parenting. That kind of parenting didn't work for our oldest, though, which is how we came to collaborative problem solving (which is wonderful for our family and has helped us so much, and which we're still learning and not always very good at).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
As for discipline, you've given me quite a lot of good ideas and I need to talk to dh again this weekend to make some changes. Lynn, you are right about addressing first the issue which is making us nuts the most, and that's the "lying" or not keeping deals. That should be relatively easy to implement, in terms of not giving them opportunities for lying and breaking deals. Like "dd did you wash your teeth?" 90% of the time, if I am asking I know what the answer is. Bargaining seems also a major opportunity for broken deals and I believe that we should try to have an even stricter schedule, and say matter of factly "time to do x". No deals. We need to introduce a flexible schedule but with limits for the weekend also, because when there is no schedule to the day the girls become even less manageable.
I agree that giving fewer opportunities to break deals and lie is an excellent strategy. And I, too, find that having a predictable structure to our day really helps us all. We do a lot of "it's time to do 'x'" here too, and I think the key to being able to do this is to make it routine, consistent day in and day out. IME, it can be kind of hard when we're just starting to make it routine but that it does get easier as it just becomes the way we do things. KWIM? Weekends with no structure make life here crazy too, so it's good for us to have a plan even if it's a different plan for every day. If we go into the day with a general plan and the kids are busy doing stuff (fun stuff and chore-type stuff both) then things go much more smoothly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
As for consequences, I do not want to introduce a zillion consequences, but I agree that we should be more consistent with those we do have. Hitting and breaking, especially. I like the approach of "whoever lose his/her temper goes to his/her room" including parents, but my dh will not like it. However, we need to be stricter about the hitting and the truly disrespectful behaviour.
At our house, whoever has hit someone sits in the same room with us until they're calmed down and ready to be safe (this is kind of a newer thing for us). And that's just how we say it: "Come sit and calm down. When I know you're ready to be safe, you can go back to what you were doing" or "It's time to sit and calm down. When you're feeling more calm we can talk." We try say it as neutrally and calmly as possible, kind of casually in fact. And you know, my oldest is one who I swore until a few weeks ago would never, ever stay in a time out---but this works for her (as long as she's not actually having a meltdown). It's something we are just presenting as "when you get angry enough to want to hit someone, it's important to take some time to calm down so that you can solve the problem. Hitting doesn't solve problems."


Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
The hitting (of myself and dh) mostly occurs when we are trying to help them calm down, not as direct and intentional hitting but as part of a general meltdown. When they meltdown that way they truly have no control over what they do or very little, so I do not react to that the way I would if it was a direct and purposeful hit. But anyway, there is too much hitting, and you are right, we should now stop "helping to calm down" and implement the send to "cool off" place before things escalate in a meltdown, so we at least do not get hit anymore.
What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
Sledg's idea of negotiating solution is feasible, if we keep it down to a few things. For example, the wake up routine and the go to sleep routine are things we need to rediscuss, and I will try and see what their real concerns are in those areas, if there are ways we can address them.
This is actually what I meant. Pick what's currently the biggest problem (or two) to work on collaboratively with the kids, and give it some time. Try not to get discouraged if the first solution or couple of solutions you all come up with don't work. And remember this is work not to be done during the wake up routine or the got to sleep routine--these problem-solving sessions happen at some calm time when you aren't feeling rushed or pressured. Sometimes solving a tough problem takes a few tries. And I want to emphasize that this process as we see it really does involve setting limits and maintaining boundaries. So if the kids come up with some solution that really isn't addressing your concern as well as theirs and won't work for you, that solution comes off the table. And as parents we have to be willing to do the same, if our solution doesn't address the kids' concern(s) it comes off the table. Also, an important part of the process sometimes is evaluating potential solutions-will it really address your/my concern? is it really realistic? is it really unrealistic? what might happen? how might it go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
I think this is a great idea. I find it very helpful to create opportunities to show appreciation for my kids and to create opportunities to feel warm fuzzies toward them. Particularly when we're going through a very hard time with dd, I can find it very difficult to feel warm toward her and very difficult to be positive with her or even see what's wonderful about her. It's easy to get focused on the negative. It's good to deliberately choose to see the positive and to create opportunities to connect positively and express genuine appreciation.

gaialice, you are a thoughtful, dedicated mom. And I've always admired your playful parenting approach (I find being playful and playing to be very difficult). You will find an approach that works for your family, and things will get better. I do hope that you can find a way to be able to take care of and nurture yourself more, that's so important-we can't give what we don't have. When our cup is empty, it's really hard to care for others.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.
This works really well with my 2 yo who has regular meltdowns about not doing something herself -- God forbid I get distracted for a moment and take her hat off for her.

The other day she had a total meltdown over me trying to carry her fork while she carried a plate of bananas. She got so upset she ran into the kitchen and threw her bowl of bananas on the floor. I stayed with her, at a distance, while she kicked and screamed on the floor. Eventually, she came to me for a hug. When I suggested she go to the living room and wait a while before having some banana, she said, "No, V angry over there (pointing to the kitchen). I go pick up." And she did -- and missed only one slice!

Hmm, did I post that just to tell a cute story?
post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 
Mamaoutthere it is a cute story
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg View Post

What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.
I posted about this recently on a meltdown thread - that got moved to special needs? Anyway - this is very true for us. During a meltdown, all attempts at collaborative process, negotiation, or even playful parenting are just off the table. For my DS, they all make it worse. He just had his first meltdown in a long time this weekend - after a day of too many video games and a neighborhood friend who just pushes all his buttons, he got stuck on wanting the TV on - which DH and I knew would just make the situation worse. So DH distracted DD (who loves to come get into the middle of her brother's freakouts) and I just sat with him, repeating, "I know you really want that, but right now you can't do that. I'm sorry." until he was first able to crawl into my lap and get a big squeeze, which helped, and then start to talk about it. But talking, at first, would have whipped him up into a kicking hitting ball of overstimulation. For us, coming down comes first and then we can talk about it.

Which actually reminds me - do the two of them do this together? I know that in our house, the sibling can make it worse accidentally, or she can make it worse on purpose, and it is best, if you can, to either remove the sibling ("Honey why don't you and daddy go color?") or if possible remove the tantrummer to another room, and ban the sib from joining the tantrummer.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls View Post
I set boundaries of expectations of what our home will be like. We will not hit each other, we will not yell and scream at each other, we will not abuse each other or property in anyway. Doing so will bring consequences. This applies to all of us.
I think there are several really important keys here:
* The rules apply to everyone (not just kids)
* Appropriate response to strong emotions are modeled by the adults
* Expectations are high and explicit. I am a really firm believer that people (including children) will live up to expectations, so if you expect them to have temper tantrums, then they will. If you expect them to control the expression of their anger, then they will (eventually) do that too.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
-The Secret of Parenting type waiting/not engaging works pretty well for me. Partly because it keeps me calm. And then we don't feed off each other's strong emotions.
Yeah that, except in my case, it think it works *mostly* because it keeps me calm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
That really spoke to me. I've always much preferred doing chores where you could really SEE the results. Like, I hated sweeping a cleanish floor. But a floor that was really dirty- now THAT was fun to sweep. lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg View Post
At our house, whoever has hit someone sits in the same room with us until they're calmed down and ready to be safe (this is kind of a newer thing for us). And that's just how we say it: "Come sit and calm down. When I know you're ready to be safe, you can go back to what you were doing" or "It's time to sit and calm down. When you're feeling more calm we can talk." We try say it as neutrally and calmly as possible, kind of casually in fact. And you know, my oldest is one who I swore until a few weeks ago would never, ever stay in a time out---but this works for her (as long as she's not actually having a meltdown). It's something we are just presenting as "when you get angry enough to want to hit someone, it's important to take some time to calm down so that you can solve the problem. Hitting doesn't solve problems."
Sorry, this will be a bit OT...Do you mind if I email this (crediting you) to a friend who's ds is hitting?
post #29 of 37
Deva, that's fine.
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
Things that my kids love to do:
  • Mopping the floor (or anything else with water!)
  • Vacuuming (for ds, dd is still to freaked out by the sound).
  • Recycling (OK, that's a hold over from ds' garbage truck obsession days, and might not be applicable to anyone but my quirky son).
  • Cooking -- scrambled eggs for dinner are quick, easy and even my 3 year old can do it!
  • Laundry - sorting, putting in the machine, putting in the dryer and cleaning the lint trap. They hate putting it away.

Whatever 'chore' you work with her on, make sure it's a real, grown-up chore, not something kid related like picking up toys.

Suggestions for dinner time -- can you spend 15-20 minutes interacting with your kids before you make dinner? I know it's hard, and it delays the whole evening routine. But, I find that when my kids are needy, whiny and just plain hard to get along with, my coming home from work and saying "I can't play Kids on Stage with you, I've got to make dinner" makes things doubly hard. If I can (and I can't always) say "I can play for 20 minutes, then I have to start dinner", life is much, much easier. I set the timer, and when the timer beeps, I'm done. Now, they don't always respond with grace and equanimity, but over time, it helps.

Can you cook some frozen things (lasagna? meatballs?) over the weekends with dh so you can have the nanny or yourself just pop something in the oven? Prepare a salad for the whole week and add dressing? Have breakfast for dinner one night a week (cereal, milk, fruit).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg View Post
(eta I'm chuckling not because there's anything wrong with consensual living-I love the idea-but because that's just not how I see myself.) We're really not a consensual living family. What we do, and we don't do it all the time over every single thing, is just the collaborative problem solving approach from The Explosive Child. Collaboration is our ideal (mostly), but we are open to imposing our will at times (and not just when it's a safety issue).
Ah, but you seem so much more "with it" and collaborative than I feel at the moment! Sorry for the mischaracterization. I'll have to read the Explosive Child -- maybe I'll find it useful even if my kids aren't really explosive. (Just like the only truly Spirited Child in our house is me!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
I think there are several really important keys here:
* The rules apply to everyone (not just kids)
* Appropriate response to strong emotions are modeled by the adults
* Expectations are high and explicit. I am a really firm believer that people (including children) will live up to expectations, so if you expect them to have temper tantrums, then they will. If you expect them to control the expression of their anger, then they will (eventually) do that too.
I agree, mostly. Though as a former tantrumer myself and the parent of a current tantrumer, I'd say tantrums are a reflection of being overwhelmed. So what really helps is to work on skills for calming down. And that's very, very individual. What works for dd to help calm her down (holding her) is exactly what doesn't work for ds (he needs to be on his own).
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Sorry for the mischaracterization. I'll have to read the Explosive Child -- maybe I'll find it useful even if my kids aren't really explosive. (Just like the only truly Spirited Child in our house is me!)
No need to be sorry! It's not like it was offensive. Just tickled my funny bone, mostly because I see the consensual living types as waaaaay more with it than I am most of the time.

I do find The Explosive Child to be rather helpful with my non-explosive kids, and extremely helpful in terms of my own temper (oddly, because before we tried it I thought the whole collaborative approach would be very frustrating).
post #32 of 37
wow... im jumping in late here, hope people dont mind a slightly different perspective on some of the issues raised...

reading your posts gaialice i can appreciate the challenge in trying to find gd and respectful paths with your children but feeling that to do so is at times exhausting/ time consuming and effectively not possible for you at times because of your circumstances. At the same time you are sounding very overwhelmed by what seems like a busy schedule. Im not sure if this is accurate?

i really feel for your situation & dilemma and am glad that you are feeling supported by this thread. I wanted to put some ideas out there also:

- i wonder how you would feel about brainstorming with dh around changing your context? Rather than focusing on the strain and time children are taking, i think its powerful to use such opportunities to review the 'big picture' and consider where your time & energy is going and whether that is what you want?

Such brainstorming might lead to a series of relatively simple strategies (eg. paying the 14yr old from up the road to help out for 2 hours around dinner / bed time) right through to major more long term strategies (changing work, downscaling, moving near family etc etc). The question i try to ask often is "how can we create an empowering and supportive context for what i value most"... it might not even lead to any external change but it can help align my mind with what is important.

its simple for me... basically i need a lot of help to do the sort of parenting i do (or at least aspire to do) so i am constantly trying to create environments & situations that support me.

- in terms of consequences... perhaps that could be turned on its head also? Rather than considering what the consequence is of someone hitting... why not ask what hitting is the consequence of and focus on that?

For example this morning dd (5yrs) pushed ds (21 months) and grabbed a book from him. Being into consequences my mind immediate started working out theories – I suspected that this action was a consequence of recent unfortunate (high sugar) food choices on dds part and a feeling that her space had been infringed upon before that. Basically the action was a consequence of frustration & disconnection.

My response was to ensure ds was ok, apologise to him on dds behalf and ensure he got his book back– then i was able to work with dd to see what was happening for her, to validate her feelings and let her know that i was ready to understand and help.

In the end we all got absorbed in another activity together and dd had some much needed protein...

the idea of consequences in the traditional parenting sense often gets immediate results behaviourally... but in my opinion misses an important opportunity to connect and support a child to be all they can be out of love, rather than out of fear of punishment.

arun
-------
http://www.theparentingpit.com
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
I haven't read the book and it sounds interesting. It is totally true I was unprepared to be a parent. It is true also that we are surrounded by examples of bad parenting. I cannot agree more about the fact that I am finding this very unfulfilling. Yet, I wonder how much of that I can really change at a deep level.
The ONLY thing you can change at a deep level is you. Your beliefs, your paradigms, and most importantly your thoughts. It is the thoughts and judgements we have about situations that make them so difficult to cope with. When we can quiet our minds and cease our internal dialogue concerning others, we can then be free to act instead of react.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
There are no true natural consequences -- none. Now, firing the babysitter and taking the job of cleaning on top of my two other jobs of going to work and caring for the kids would positively make me explode.
No, I am definitely not suggesting you fire the housekeeper. However, you could decline to have her cleaning rooms that are not reasonably picked up.

As Naomi points out, it is our thoughts about our childrens' behavior that are the problem. When we believe they shouldn't do something, we cannot meet them on their playng field. We need to devlop the ability to conceptualize that they, in their minds, shoould be doing what they are doing. Only then can we address the underlying need the child is expressing

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
I am really not following you. Can you explain to me? I understand about giving a good example, and I agree about cleaning happily, etc. But, I am not lying to my kids, yet they are lying, they are not keeping their word, etc. Should I not try to teach them lying is wrong? I am not sure what needs they are expressing, through lying, other than that they want to have all the freedom, not contribute anything at all, and let us be their slaves.
In your DDs' case, I wouldn't even characterize it as lying. First because at your dcs ages, truth and falsehood are not clearly defined as they are to adults. They literally cannot see the difference between what they want to be true and what IS true. When our attitude is that they are liars, dishonest and bad, kids feel defeated. They then have little incentive to cooperate with someone they feel doesn't trust them and seems not to like them very well. However, when we examine our beliefs (They will NEVER be truthful. They will ALWAYS lie to us.) we can begin to see the absurdity of this kind of thinking. Of course they will learn. You can't MAKE a child not learn.
As far as doing for them, what I mean is, you cannot gain cooperation through force. The two are mutually exclusive. The idea is to uphold your own value (of a clean living space) actively. This is one of the things we agree to when we have children, whether we like it or not. It's not slavery, it's service. Think back to your own childhood. Did you experience the trauma of being coerced, or the loneliness of silent submission? What were your feelings about the standards (or lack thereof) your parents set? Your answers will give you clues to your own discomfort in your relationship with our dds. It's all aboout belief. What we see really is what we get.

ETA One of the most core issues for me as a mama of younger kids was my own, deep ambivalence at being a mother. It turns out that being a mama was exactly and precisely what I needed to heal myself, but it sure was tough in the beginning. s
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by laoxinat View Post
The ONLY thing you can change at a deep level is you. Your beliefs, your paradigms, and most importantly your thoughts. It is the thoughts and judgements we have about situations that make them so difficult to cope with. When we can quiet our minds and cease our internal dialogue concerning others, we can then be free to act instead of react.

As far as doing for them, what I mean is, you cannot gain cooperation through force. The two are mutually exclusive. The idea is to uphold your own value (of a clean living space) actively. This is one of the things we agree to when we have children, whether we like it or not. It's not slavery, it's service. Think back to your own childhood. Did you experience the trauma of being coerced, or the loneliness of silent submission? What were your feelings about the standards (or lack thereof) your parents set? Your answers will give you clues to your own discomfort in your relationship with our dds. It's all aboout belief. What we see really is what we get.

I've been lurking and am learning so much from this thread. Laoxinat, could you clarify what you mean here? I think I'm getting the gist, but want to hear more. Are you saying parenthood is service, not slavery? Are you saying that the things we hated most about our parents are the things we avoid in being parents? Do I just need to read Naomi Aldort?
post #35 of 37
I so appreciate all of the thoughtful posters on this board!!

My boys are younger, 4 and 17mo. I'm finding that my expectations for the 4yo are changing and we're getting into some new strategies.

Last week I totally lost my patience with picking up some things over and over that would make the house look trashed - lincoln logs, tinker toys, wooden puzzles - they were being played with by getting dumped. With some explanation, but gently (although with some frustration), I picked them up and put them away at the top of the boys closet. It wasn't a punishment, but a realization that these things are still a bit advanced for them and since they're not able to take responsibility of picking them up (after the joy of dumping them out), they are out of play for a while. I feel much better! ... and have some more to do. Mostly I think this has happened because there is just too much 'stuff' I try very hard to keep it pared down, and by many standards we do quite well, but I don't remember having near these many toys & books as a child.

I think maybe the girls are missing your DH as well. You'd said you think they're needing some more time with you, too. My DH was out of town in November for the first time since DS2 was born. It was a week and a half and hard for me. I was always 'on call' and putting 2 boys to bed was so hard. Normally we do some bedtime things together, teeth, diapers, pajamas, then I'm responsible for getting DS2 to sleep and DH is responsible for DS1.

As far as 'promises' ie I'll do this then you'll do that... sounds like while you're working these things out, it needs to go in the order of the girls do something, then you'll do something.

to you and your girls for finding your way to the next new normal.
post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anne+arun View Post
reading your posts gaialice i can appreciate the challenge in trying to find gd and respectful paths with your children but feeling that to do so is at times exhausting/ time consuming and effectively not possible for you at times because of your circumstances. At the same time you are sounding very overwhelmed by what seems like a busy schedule. Im not sure if this is accurate?
I am really touched by your words. You are describing my feelings with absolute accuracy. It is so sweet that you took the time to really, really understand what I'm going through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anne+arun View Post
i wonder how you would feel about brainstorming with dh around changing your context?
There are no quick fixies that dh or I were able to see (like for example the idea of the 14 yo sounds good, but doesn't really exist here where I live where 14 yo are all very busy studying, seeing friends... )

However what you say is right, the heartache does not come from the kids' behaviour but from a situation so different from what I'd like. Yet, it seems like so selfish to say so, when you look around so many people are happy with so much less than what I have. And Laoxinat is absolutely right "It is the thoughts and judgements we have about situations that make them so difficult to cope with. When we can quiet our minds and cease our internal dialogue concerning others, we can then be free to act instead of react. " If I could somehow see this situation as fulfilling, I would engage in this situation with full force, rather than remaining somewhat attached to a romantic vision that is not my true reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anne+arun View Post
in terms of consequences... perhaps that could be turned on its head also? Rather than considering what the consequence is of someone hitting... why not ask what hitting is the consequence of and focus on that?
We've done this for a long time, but it seems we need some more structure right now, in terms of predictability of what follows some of the kids' behaviours. One of the pps suggested thinking of consequences as solutions and I agree: reminding dd1 to go to her room to meltdown (and I say remind her, because when she meltdowns she actually longs to be in her bedroom but she does not know anymore that that's what she needs) and letting dd storm and rage sitting from across the room are solutions - real solutions - to hitting during meltdowns. I do not want to change into a consequence-filled paradigm but we need to gradually move into real world scenarios, where my role to filter reality for my daughters gradually lessens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
I think there are several really important keys here:
* The rules apply to everyone (not just kids)
* Appropriate response to strong emotions are modeled by the adults
* Expectations are high and explicit. I am a really firm believer that people (including children) will live up to expectations, so if you expect them to have temper tantrums, then they will. If you expect them to control the expression of their anger, then they will (eventually) do that too.
Here, I think there is a lot of work to do by us adults. Dh has a short fuse and he tick off very easily. I am extremely patient but because I am exhausted I tend to explode in the evenings. So, we're both not doing very well in this area and you're right, they are learning what we teach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laoxinat View Post
As far as doing for them, what I mean is, you cannot gain cooperation through force. The two are mutually exclusive. The idea is to uphold your own value (of a clean living space) actively. This is one of the things we agree to when we have children, whether we like it or not. It's not slavery, it's service. Think back to your own childhood. Did you experience the trauma of being coerced, or the loneliness of silent submission? What were your feelings about the standards (or lack thereof) your parents set? Your answers will give you clues to your own discomfort in your relationship with our dds. It's all aboout belief. What we see really is what we get.
I agree and don't. While I agree you will not gain cooperation through force, it is our responsibilty as adults to keep the canvas, to create an environment in which the kid can flourishm, and resist his/her force as she tries to break out of this nurtuting context. So, in my view there is a place for a respectful, non-punitive coercion, which should sound like "I will not let you hurt yourself, I will not let you hurt me". I agree also I need to create opportunities - through chores for example - for the kids to feel good about themselves. I felt from the very begining everyone thought I was extremely clumsy and they never challenged that in terms of making me try to go beyond my perceived limit.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalya View Post
I've been lurking and am learning so much from this thread. Laoxinat, could you clarify what you mean here? I think I'm getting the gist, but want to hear more. Are you saying parenthood is service, not slavery? Are you saying that the things we hated most about our parents are the things we avoid in being parents? Do I just need to read Naomi Aldort?
Yes, in essence, I am saying that parenting involves a certain amount of service, but not in a negative sense. It is the recognition not only of our children's limitations in terms of understanding the necessity of chores and other ""tasks" but staying awake to the unfolding of their maturity. Watching and determining as dispassionately as possible what they can do for themselves and being strong in the face of their desire that we do for them what they can do for themselves, as that ability develops. I am referring here to things the child wants, not the things we want, like obedience and compliance. But we also must surrender to the reality that since a 3 year old is highly unlikely to share our desire for a clean house, attempts to force compliance invariably end in tears and frustration.
So so many problems arise because of misunderstanding or misrepresenting a child's motivation. Where conventional wisdom sees a 3 year old 'manipulating' mama into picking up after him, a gentler approach sees a little person who isn't yet capable of making the logical connection b/t making a mess and the responsibility to clean it up. So rather than get into an inevitable power struggle, instead we cheerfully and lovingly model our value by cleaning up. One thing we need also to recognize is who owns the problem. If I want the room clean, I own the problem. Now, if my teen gets in trouble with the law, for instance, we both own the problem; him because he made a mistake, me because until he is 18, I am legally responsible for him.
So when we can think carefully about who wants what, coupled with the needs the situation imposes, this can give clues to ownership of the problem. PET has a good chart for this as well, and I'll see if I can find it.
As for looking at what our parents did, it's really more a question of identifying the beliefs their behavior engendered. Certainly we don't want to repeat mistakes our parents made, yet it is equally important not to parent "at" our parents' inadequacies. KWIM? In other words, it is fairly common for us as parents to swing too far the other way in reaction to the way we were parented, because we react instead of examining our thoughts and feelings to determine their validity. This means that when we are confronted with a troubling situation, as Naomi says, our first task is to separate our own emotions and thoughts from our child's behavior. After all, as she says, they are OUR thoughts, and have nothing to do with our child in this moment. Internal dialogue is always about the past or future, never about right now. To be fully aware, we must stop talking to ourselves and be present. Otherwise, we risk reacting to an assumption or an attribution of intent that we cannot know is true, because we are not inside our child's mind.
HTH!!
ETA Yas, definitely read naomi's book, but also try Pam Leo. Naomi's book is not a how-to style book, but more of a philophical work, IMO. I havn't yet read Pam, but given the recommendations on MDC, and who gave them, I feel confident recommending her.
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