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I Can't Be The First Guy With This Problem... - Page 2

post #21 of 34
I had to respond because my oldest child pushes buttons a lot as well. Kids have so many things going on in their lives that they have to have some control of something. Especially at age 6 (My DD dear/darling daughter will be 6 in Dec)... they are capable of doing so many things independently and have so many major life changes happening. My DD, for example, started K yesterday and her 6 yr molars are coming in as well. She can dress herself, write her name and other letters, in learning to read, etc. So many things to "handle" on an emotional level. It stresses her out. So she needs to feel in control of situations. To use a specific example that you brought up - dinner time. I offer my kids a variety of healthy choices for dinner. I do make sure that they each have 1 thing that they truly love and if all that they eat is that one thing then that is fine. I am not going to make them eat all their carrots. So, for a typical meal at our house (using last night as a good example):
Baked chicken breast
Carrots (sticks for 2 girls w/ranch, cooked for me, dh, and ds)
Apple slices
Cheese cubes

DD1 (the almost 6 yr old) ate everything but the chicken, DD2 had 4 helpings of chicken and ate everything else but the peas, DS ate everything but the apples. IMO (in my opinion everyone ate a very healthy meal. I always make 2 veggies for dinner and offer a fruit as well but they get to pick and choose which ones they want to eat. Sometimes one of the girls will eat apples and cheese cubes for dinner. That's fine too. Haven't you ever just not been in the mood to eat something?

Just had to put in my 2 cents about this. I have very strong feelings about forcing kids to eat. I have just recently started eating pork chops... I couldn't stand them for years and got upset every time I thought about them because my parents made me sit at the table until I ate my pork chop one time. I was probably about 8 years old. I'm now 32 and finally able to get past that hatred of pork chops instilled in me from my parents being so awful about it. (Side note, my mother made the dryest hardest pork chops... had to take a bite, chew for 10 minutes and swallow with lots of milk). I had to sit there for at least an hour, it felt like days. Please don't force a child to finish their food.

post #22 of 34
Hi and to MDC! This is a wonderful spot on the internet. I have learned SO much here in the years I've been reading.

Here is the link for the explanation of our accronyms: http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...d.php?t=522590

You've gotten some good advice here. I was raised in a very authoritarian household. So was my dh. That's how we started out parenting our children. Then I started reading here. I learned about a completely different way of parenting. Gentle Discipline. I was skeptical at first. The more I read, the more it resonated with me. We started practicing GD. I can't even begin to tell you what a positive thing it has been for my family. My kids "behave" so much better than they ever did when I was spanking them and trying to force them to obey with whatever form of coercion I could come up with. I get completmented all the time on how respectful and "well behaved" my children are. Yes, they are wild, free spirited and crazy little people, but I never have to punish them. It's really awesome.

Anyway, all this to say: I was very skeptical about the ideas put forth here at the beginning. I recommend you do a lot of reading in the forums linked to you previously. Then, you and your gf can take what you want from it and implement what you want for your family. There is no one right way of doing things. There is no magic formula. There is, however, a lot to be said for mutual respect and understanding childhood developement. I really like the books by Alfie Kohn. They make a lot of sense. I had to relearn a lot of things, but it's so worthwile.

Oh, and just so you know, GD isn't just letting the child do whatever they like, it isn't "neglect" parenting, or "spoiling" or anything like that. There still can be rules, guidelines, etc. It's just approaching discipline from a completely different angle.

Kudos for you for looking for answers. There is a lot of joy that comes from being involved in parenting a child. :
post #23 of 34
I know that you said that this boy usually mouth's off worse after visiting his father, but at 6, mouthing off is very normal. I was shocked at my sweet son when he turned 6. He started questioning my authority, sassing constantly, saying "no" just because he could. It is an age of testing. It's a good age because it really allows your child to experiment with people and find out how much power he has in the world. I think it's beautiful...and aggravating! After I realized that my son was experimenting with his power, I would laugh and ask him "who are you?" "Where did you learn that!?" and generally joke with him that he was growing way too fast for me. If he pushed it too far and was extremely rude, I would tell him that what he said or did was disrespectful and would offer other suggestions. If it was something that other people would find offensive, I would tell him that what he was saying/doing would keep other parents from allowing thier children to be around him. He needs to be allowed this stage with some instruction on how to use his newfound wit in appropriate ways.

Alfie Kohn said something that really stuck with me. We all hate "yesmen", but we act as if we want our children to be "yesmen" You can't have it both ways. Either your child is a "yeschild" or you let your child find some power.

As an adult with a lot of interaction with this boy, I absolutely think that you have the right to figure out how to deal with this. The child already has parents, but he also has to treat you with respect. You set your own boundaries. The fact that the child is calling you "dad" sometimes, means (to me) that he's open to allowing you to guide him.

Good luck.
post #24 of 34
I would like to add for the OP that I am currently reading a book that I am enjoying and finding some helpful ideas that are already helping me with our 5 yo DS who has been in a rather defiant behavior pattern lately. You might find it helpful as well:

Negotiation Generation: Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment
by Lynne Reeves Griffin

I am only about halfway through it so reserving final judgment until I finish it. But I am already applying the advice in it and it is already helping us be much more positive with each other around here

I realize this is not a book that may find much approval in the GD area here because it is definitely not about being consensual or non-coercive. However it is about being proactive and clear and staying out of the lose-lose scenarios of power struggles and punishment.
post #25 of 34
Originally Posted by gmankono View Post
Recently my wife and I discovered that the more we spoke firmly to our daughter, the more she would mirror our behavior as she perceived it and increase her opposition to what we were directing her to do, or increase her volume in yelling back at us (whether we had been yelling or just speaking firmly/scoldingly). Thankfully, it didn't take long for us to realize she was speaking harshly because we were speaking harshly. I thought about this for a while, and realized, as so many parents do, that I sounded very much like my father, who I constantly heard as "flat wrong" when he would speak to me in a commanding tone, to the point that I found ways as a young adult to prove him wrong and undermine his authority because he was so forceful.

My personal experience recently has taught me that pursuing obedience is a losing game. The more I speak clearly with my daughter, making sure she understands either what I am saying or the intention of what I am saying, the better each situation is, and the less I experience her yelling back what I've just said, because I'm not just berating her or attempting to force her to do something. She listens, as you pointed out, because it may well serve to her benefit in what she's trying to achieve, but she also listens because I am not attempting to herd her in a direction she doesn't like from the outset.

The other thing that has worked well recently is to reserve firm tones for times when there is the possibility for danger. When voices raise, she knows there is a reason to be scared. This works whether she is pulling something off the counter, getting herself into a bad balance situation, or attempting to pummel the cat with a foam soccer ball.
Great points! I'd like to add a resource given to me by a good friend, who has three really great kids. I'm not saying they don't give her and her husband grief sometimes, just that they seem to have found a good balance.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
post #26 of 34
in regards to parenting techniques being "experimental" i highly suggest that you look into cultural studies.

cultural studies are essentially the study of how something enters and becomes part of the culture.

many of the modern parenting techniques that we see today that are considered "normal" parenting are actually 20th century techniques that are far more "experimental" than most people realize. it's only because that is what they experienced that they think it is the "norm" (which it is) and that it has "always been that way" (which it hasn't).

to give an example of a cultural study, prior to the 20th century, 99.99% of babies were breastfed one way or another. whether it was by the mother, a wetnurse, or through a bottle of expressed breast milk--very few if any babies were on any sort of formula, and those who were were on traditional formulas such as poi or those made with animal milks, blood, and other mixtures to make them good enough to provide for a baby.

yet, in the 20th century, breastfeeding went from being the "tried and true" and the "experimental" bottle and formula feeding was adopted. Today, more children are formula/bottle fed than breast fed--and this is considered normal while breastfeeding is considered gross, dangerous, and to some "experimental."

It is important to note that ideas such as "The Continuum Concept" and "attachment parenting" are actually very old ideas. In fact, the continuum concept is based on the study of a traditional society that has lived in a consistent way since the stone age. This means that they have "experimented" with this mode of parenting for many, many generations, and overall have happier children and adults with fewer of the problems that we face.

while many of our problems can be chalked up to modernity itself, other aspects can be directly linked to how we treat children in infancy and childhood--including things such as discipline.

it is important to remember that while something may "feel" experimental to you, that doesn't mean that it *is* experimental or that what you assert as being healthy or normal is healthy or normal, or that it is what is best across the board.

I had the weirdest experience with a doctor who does accupuncture. He wanted to prescribe me some new medication for some such (i do not take medications unless absolutely necessary), and i suggested, based on my research, that we do the acupuncture route instead (afterall, that's why i'd chosen him as my doctor).

he then said "accupuncture is still experimental." and i looked at him and said "6000 years of history of application of chinese acupuncture is "experimental" but this new drug that is just out on the market isn't?"

so, remember to keep an open mind. it may seem 'experimental'--but the reality is that most of what parenting is today is theorhetical, experimental, and modern. they are ideas that have come up to us within the last 150, 100, or 50 years, and now many of us are looking back to traditional societies that still exist today to see what they are doing well, and also what we are doing well. . .

to create a parenting style that balances the unique needs of modernity while still meeting the inherent primal needs of each individual.
post #27 of 34
jscroft, I want to commend you on trying to parent this child well -- and in my opinion, you've come to the right place to learn! Like others have said, give things you read here a chance, and then take what you need and leave the rest.

My guiding principle these days (my kids are nearly 7 and 9) is "relationship comes before behavior" -- meaning that if you have a truly trusting, respectful relationship with your kid, they will behave (for the most part, or with gentle reminders) in a positive way. Also meaning that in any situation, your relationship with your child is more important than correcting whatever behavior you don't like -- the correction naturally comes with the positive relationship, as kids are social creatures, and want to get along with the people they trust and respect. Like zoebird said, punishment and reward get in the way of the true nature of human interaction, and make the kid act the right way for the wrong reasons, or at times even forces the kid to "misbehave" out of a grasp for power...we all need to feel powerful!

as for the carrot situation, I find that the more I insist that my kids eat something, the less likely they are to actually eat it. My dd liked broccoli until I *made* her eat it one time when she didn't feel like it. Now I give it to her and say not a word, and every so often she'll eat it...if she's in the mood for broccoli. I try to just provide healthy snacks all day, and some days she eats really well, others not as well, but the fact is, she'll grow and develop just fine without daily veggies -- her relationship with food is more important than what she actually ingests each day, as the relationship is lifelong... same goes for parenting!

welcome to MDC!
post #28 of 34
Originally Posted by llp34 View Post
I do not think there is ever anything wrong...no matter whose child it is or what your relationship with the parent is.....to express to a child who is speaking to you disrespectfully that you do not like it. You can say this in a respectful way. You do not have to be forceful or authoritative. You are not taking charge or administering discipline. You are not overstepping any appropriate boundaries by doing this. You have a right to speak up for yourself when a child or anyone is speaking to you in a disrespectful manner. If this child wants a friendly relationship with you (and it sounds like he does) then he will probably take your feedback into consideration when deciding how to act towards you.
As a stepparent, though... If the child's parent is in the room, the correction should come from the parent. Otherwise it sets up a "stepparent is SO MEAN" scenario in the child's head.

It's taken me 6 years to learn this. By all means, you should stick up for yourself when appropriate. But if the child says something rude to you and his mother just sits there and says nothing, then there is a mixed message being given to the child and the behaviour will escalate. So, you need to talk to the boy's mom and make sure that she is going to correct rudeness, every time.

Also, as stepparents we tend to have a lower tolerance for rudeness and other misbehaviours than parents do. We often need to readjust our expectations to figure out what is age-appropriate behaviour.
post #29 of 34
To the OP: I think you have gotten some great advice! Best of luck to you.

Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
As a stepparent, though... If the child's parent is in the room, the correction should come from the parent. Otherwise it sets up a "stepparent is SO MEAN" scenario in the child's head.

I do not necessarily agree with this all the time.

I do think it depends on the dynamic of the (step)parents and the dynamic of the (step)parents to child(ren). I think you can politely, calmly say something without being forceful and without the need for the biological parent to respond.
post #30 of 34
i dont know if the OP is still reading this, but i will put in my two cents.

my mother got a new boyfriend when i was about 6 years old, my mom had always pretty much just practiced CL (consensual living) with me up until then. every once in a while i would do something really dangerous and she would yell, got the point across, whatever.
when he came into the picture, he had the attitude that you have of needing to constantly "disipline" me. he would force me to sit at the table while i ate (i was and still am an upright grazer, hardly ever sitting for a meal, thats just how i work) and he would make me finish what was on my plate. as well as he started introducing spanking.

i still have therapy sessions to this day regarding the breech in trust i have with my mother for introducing this man into my life, and also regarding the fact that this guy had no idea he was harming me in any way.

i guess my point is that you have to be very careful with talking strict discipline, as it walks a very very very thin line with abuse.

no one likes living with a jerk, not to say you are one, but it does seem that you feel children are lesser beings with lower comprehension levels.
trust me, they comprehend just as much as you or i, maybe they cant explain that, but they do.

be careful if you choose to use force in your tactics, ESPECIALLY considering that you are not his parent yet and have yet to fully gain trust with this young guy.

children deserve respect just like everyone else.
post #31 of 34
ok, i'm sorry that post was a little harsh, i have some sore spots i am still working through.

i hope you figure out a parenting style that works for all of you.
post #32 of 34
first of all OP I am really impressed that you are trying to figure out the best way of doing things! Good for you, and your future family I just got some parenting book advice from a counselor that I really respect: http://mysite.verizon.net/turtlecounseling/Essays.htm

You might find his stuff on personal boundaries VERY interesting, it's totally applicable to your relationship with this boy.

here are the books:

".....Now, books. Lots is being written in this country about raising boys. These are good about raising children and are listed on my website.

* Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear by Pam Leo
* Love & Logic by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay
* Giving The Love That Heals By Harville Hendrix & Helen Hunt

Also you might want to look up Michael Gurian. (http://www.michaelgurian.com/ ) I met him about 15 years ago and he was working on raising boys healthily...."
post #33 of 34
Just want to say that regardless of the nature of your relationship, you have a right to speak up if anyone is speaking to you in a way that you find offense or disrespectful.
You can do it with love...like, "Hey, I want to be spoken to in a kind way. Your words feel unkind." or even "This doesn't feel okay. I do not like being spoken to that way. You can speak to me this way...."
Or something along those lines.
It doesn't need to be made into a discipline issue so much as a boundary issue...and that goes for anyone, including a 6 yr old. I have a 7 yr old boy who does this to my partner and we've encountered these issues. I think he feels threatened by our relationship...like, hey why is this guy getting my mom's attention too? Call it basic Oedipus complex or what you will..but that's what I think our issue is.
You do have a right to speak up in your own defense about the way you like to be treated and talked to. I would not let it slide.
post #34 of 34
I agree with the posters who say that obedience is important. I am a mom, a single mom, and up until pretty recently, was always a single mom. If you don't give your kid boundaries and stick with them, your kid is going to rebel. Period. Kids are more comfortable knowing their limits anyway; it gives them a sense of safety.

That being said, allowing kids to make choices about small things (edging towards larger as they get older) is a necessity as well. The 'handful of chips' line bothered me - is this what he usually has for a snack? Does he insist on this? Why isn't he having veggies or fruit?

Parenting is a WHOLE philosophy - not just gentle discipline or strict. Many, many different aspects apply, and setting rules and sticking to them is a great start, OP

Thanks for reading my rant
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