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Manipulation...am I missing something? - Page 3

post #41 of 187
OP, I wanted to comment on what you shared about your childhood discipline: how the straightforward approach used in your childhood worked for your family, and how you saw this as logical and peaceful (no yelling or spanking, while using consistency and arbitrary rewards/non violent punishments to shape character). I think this is a widely used approach in other developed countries (Americans are more likely to use violent punishments IMO). I'm always glad to see families who are disciplining without hitting or yelling. The approach you described works for many children when two factors are taken into consideration. The first is age appropriate expectations, and the second one is personality.

Many people wind up in Gentle Discipline because of a personality issue with their child and traditional discipline. For whatever reason, their child just needs *more* in terms of engagement, creativity, and cooperative problem solving.

A second reason people wind up in Gentle Discipline is to learn how to parent during the window of time before a child is developmentally able to handle a traditional "When the dishes are done you can play" approach. Many 2 and 3 year olds will routinely melt down in the face of that logic, because they are not developmentally mature enough to understand the logic being used. You wind up with a toddler who is thrashing on the floor, screaming hysterically, and being less cooperative instead of more.

I have noticed that with older children, in Gentle Discipline, there is more reliance on the traditional logic you experienced in your childhood. I notice that the advice for handling problems with older children and teens is much more "traditional" than the advice for handling toddlers and preschoolers.

My explanation of this goes back to the issues I raised above. Gentle Discipline tends to be a salvation for parents of very high needs children, as well as parents of very young children. Even among GD families, there tends to be a shift towards somewhat more traditional logical consequences and more inclusion of "when/then" tactics as kids grow up.

One interesting last point is that when we talk about our own childhood memories, we are *usually* remembering ourselves from the ages of 4 or 5 and upward. Fewer adults have clear memories of their daily life at the ages of 2 and 3. What works with a 5 or 6 year old can be disastrous with a 2 year old--but few of us actually remember well enough to know this.

My rambling point is that you will notice there are very few posts here regarding older children, and I think this is for a reason. If you can survive the early years by building up the skills learned in Gentle Discipline, the older years are often easier to navigate. Not always of course, but in terms of "please put your plate in the sink before leaving the kitchen", your 10 year old will probably just think "okay" while a 2 year old may fall on the floor in hysterics. Your 10 year old might see the statement as logical, and need no further discussion, while the 2 year old takes it very differently. With GD you are looking for ways to gently and creatively involve the 2 year old, striving for an overall positive experience...because that level of creativity and patience is what a 2 year old might *need* in terms of discipline. Most 10 year olds don't need you to explain why they should put their plate in the sink, and in my experience, it has been enough to simply say "Please put your plate in the sink before leaving the kitchen". If there is resistance, I want to hear why, and get to the bottom of the issue. I think something is wrong if my older child needs lots of discussion or consequences lined up in order to cooperative with basic requests. By learning to discipline without punishment in the early years, *I* am actually more effecient dealing with older-kid discipline issues. I might say 'Please do the dishes before playing gameboy--it will be too late afterwards and the noise of clanging dishes will wake me up". I DO make a habit of explaining my reason if it's not obvious. The most I might get from ds is some grumbling. But I don't find I need to get into detailed discussions, or hand out punishments, in order for him to see the logic of my requests and cooperate.

Anyway, just some rambling thoughts for an interesting thread...
post #42 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
are you really "intrigued" or a you just busting on those of us who are interested in the semantics of discipline?
Oh no, the symtics intrigue me!

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Originally Posted by wallacesmum View Post
Perhaps I am misreading you, but your tone seems quite hostile. <snip> What I meant was "do you think it is important to think before you speak, do you think it is always reasonable to assume that others will and should absorb the hurt from a misunderstanding, do you believe in coercion and manipulation when dealing with adults?" because that is what I thought your post was saying about dealing with children.
Of course it's important to think about what you say before you say it. But going back to the picking up of the blocks. What I'm finding interesting is finding the right way to word a phrase asking the child to pick up blocks so that they ultimately end up picking up blocks. Like, you're planting a seed in their head so it grows into their idea (which in my mind, seems more manipulative then just asking to avoid arbitrary "consequences").

In our house I have no problem saying "please pick up your blocks". And if she doesn't, I have no problems saying "then we can't go to the park". That, according to everything on this thread, is coercive and manipulative, with a shot of bribery thrown in. BUT, that's the way life is. We can't run on our own time and expect the world to cater to us. If I have to be home to make dinner, and have to pick up all the toys by myself just so I can walk through a room, never mind vacuum, then I won't have time to pack up and get to the park. The effort has to go both ways.

I don't see how being direct in what you want is hurtful. But I mean, I pick my battles. Who doesn't? But when someone helping out or doing something is important to the flow of the house hold, like making dinner, or getting laundry done so everyone has clean socks, etc, I don't mess around with the "semantics". I just ask a direct question.

Perhaps I missed the intent of this thread, but earlier up thread there were several examples of how to word a phrase asking a child to pick up blocks. What's wrong with just saying "please pick up your blocks"?

And furthermore, what's wrong with having a relationship with your children where the desire to please and help out motivates them? You really mean to say that EVERYTHING you do in life is internally motivated by your own feelings of satisfactions in accomplishing said tasks? I think that's unrealistic, so I don't rely on that as a motivating factor (though right now, DD is wiping her crayon art of the wall because she LOVES cleaning, lol).

I certainly don't want to take advantage of someone's willingness to help, but I also don't see how the desire to please others is inherently bad either. I think striking a balance between being gracious for the help you get, and being aware of your and their limits is important (like knowing when to say no and accept being said no to). I take serious consideration for when DD says "not right now mama" because what she's doing is important to her. So I guess you can say I'm a considerate manipulator. LOL
post #43 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by ann_of_loxley View Post
Well I think sticky just said everything I was about to say in reply to the most recent posts! lol

To add to Devas - I also think , though this may just be plain obvious! lol, its also important to talk about it with your child. If a bike must be worn with a helmet, thats obvious safety reason, then I think its important to talk to your child about it. I only mention this because I know many of my friends have a 'because I say so' attitute and a 'well thats life - tough - live with it!' attitude...which I do not think is very healthy or helpful for the child and could turn into a potential manipulative situation.

I would also like to add to what sticky said about the subtlety of language and parenting and I completly agree. Its not something I spend my day fretting over and stressing on. However I do find it very interresting and a lot of truth in it. And at the end of the day, I see parenitng as my job. I am always looking to better myself and to improve - this invovled a lot of research and thought and then putting things into actions if I feel they fit our family. A lot of it comes easy...ive not been at this before, so im kinda a blank slate in some areas so if I take up doing something I can just do it. But some things have been a bit of work. Take the praise thing for example (which I also find manipulative depening on how it is used) - that took some work not doing because I found myself saying 'well done! Good boy!' to everything my son did without even thinking about it simply because that is what I have been surrounded by. I have a friend who says 'cool man!' (lol - shes from south africa) and because im around her, its rubbed off on me. If I wanted to stop saying that, it would take a bit of thought on my part because I end up saying it without even thinking about it. Its the same idea.
i agree.

but sometimes i probably will say "because i said so!"
not because i'm being being mean or anything, not "like it or lump it" said harshly. but i do have irrational needs and wants and sometimes it may feel like my boundaries are being violated by being questioned all the time. you know what i mean? sometimes i'm just me- humor me, darn it!

my child is 1 and we don't really have power struggles. well, they're there but it's mostly over things that simply have to happen- poopy diapers getting changed, not climbing on unsafe things... i think i try to be as understanding of his needs and wants as i can but sometimes my needs have to be met or his needs have to be met and he doesn't know it and there is no way around it than for him to *suffer* for a few minutes. sometimes i have to go to the bathroom or he needs a dipe changed when he wants me to keep playing and that starts a fit. i'm not trying to bubble wrap my child against fits or make it all about him all the time. i keep it gentle and explain why and i think that is truly consensual.

i see parenting as my job, too. so why wouldn't i want to read as much as i can and listen to as much as i can about it? it is fascinating on many levels and it's taught me so much about my self, boundaries, expectations, and control. i've had to unlearn some stupid stuff.

i started thinking about this praise/ reward/ punish/ manipulate thing when my lo was just a little baby and people would ask if he was "good". i mean he is a baby. he just "is". what does good have to do with anything. and "good"- in this case-is a value judgement based on other people's needs/wants/comfort. why does a docile, sleep through the night, non- crying baby mean "good"? and would the opposite type of child then be bad?

it's just weird and it starts at 0 with a child. the judging based on our own adult needs and then "setting limits" based on our need to control - i mean isn't that what CIO is all about? or scheduled feeding? that is where manipulation begins and it gave me the chills and made me start looking at the big picture.
post #44 of 187
i'm not going to quote previous posts because then this will get really long. so, i'm just going to put out here my thoughts and try to address direct questions that were brought up.

first, heartmama- pretty much hit the nail on the head about why these threds take place. (which is probably why she is a mod for GD )

i have a little child (under 3) and as i just wrote, i started thinking about this topic when ds was tiny. in observing the punish/reward dynamic it felt false to me.

i was a very well behaved child. my parents were good parents, strict parents, limit setting parents. there were consequences and expectations. i started to think about how i've learned internal discipline and how i learned to be a good person and in thinking about that i realized i hadn't! sometimes i think i have acted downright unconscionably- cheating on a boyfriend, lying to my boss. so why? why would i do these things if i had such a good upbringing? and i realized a lot of my motivations to "behave" even as an adult are based in fear- fear of punishment and fear of not be liked/loved. i started to see how adults do this all the time to each other. i wondered what would happen if a child, was simply taught honesty -to himself and his needs about others and their needs. i wondered what would happen if i stopped doing things from a motivation of wanting to be liked or to avoid being punished and did things simply from a place of honesty.


so, i don't steal and run red lights and speed and break "the law" not because i fear punishment but because they are anti-social/sociopathic behaviors- meaning they disregard the property/boundaries of others. prisons exist to separate from society those who cannot respect the boundaries of other people. i want to co-operate and belong to society not live on a fringe getting away with what i can, screwing other people over.

it's not from fear of being punished it's wanting to be a 'part of'. it's an internal motivation not an external one.

i think that all children are born with an internal desire to be a part of something- their family, their social groups, etc. they just don't know the etiquette of it but if given a chance they will, i believe, do the "right" thing.

i don't know how you get a 4 year old to clean up. or go to bed. or stop smacking his little sis. i'm not there yet and even if i were i would probably be mighty frustrated! so big <<hugs>> to jackson'smama!

spending time with my one year old now i have learned his triggers. so at 4 i would probably examine what was going on in the big picture and see what this "acting out" was all about. was he looking to spend more time with me? was he going through transitions that made day to day interactions escalate into a battle of wills?

i believe it is perfectly fine to say to my child- "i don't like going out while the house is a mess. i like the house tidy when we come home so we have a fresh start. but it makes me tired to have to clean up by myself and then i don't feel like playing at the park. so, let's start cleaning up by picking up the toys." i wouldn't even say "please". "please" implies that he is doing it for me instead of for us and our common goal of going to the park to play. i think it's fine to say to a kid that i'm ok with this and not with that and i need your help to accomplish xyz so we can all have fun. i wouldn't say to my dh "we can't go to the movies unless the kitchen is cleaned up" because it not true. but i might say " i really dislike coming home to a messy kitchen so could you help me clean up before we leave so i can relax and enjoy the movies." i'm asking for help and i'm being honest about my needs. let's say i don't care on a Saturday night if the dishes are left to soak while we go to a movie but on a Wednesday i do. with manipulation methods "we can't go to the movies unless the dishes are done" then we would always HAVE to do the dishes. it's not realistic and it allows no room for human needs/wants/whims. where with more open honest communication i could say "we'll leave the dishes tonight because i don't mind doing them when we get back".

being inconsistent in a rewards vs. punishment (manipulative/outward control) based discipline model would make someone neurotic! do the dishes need to be done or not?! being honest allows for more flexibility because the internal discipline is always in place.

boundaries are always consistent. boundaries and standards are a lot different than arbitrary rules designed to satisfy a need. "no hitting" is a boundary. "we clean before we go out" is a rule. my boundary of needing a tidy space doesn't need to be made into a rule if i express my need honestly without manipulation. ultimately, to me, "manipulation" results from dishonesty or at least the inability to express a personal need.

so wordy. sorry!
post #45 of 187
Quote:
i think that all children are born with an internal desire to be a part of something- their family, their social groups, etc. they just don't know the etiquette of it but if given a chance they will, i believe, do the "right" thing.
Im just gonna let sticky take over lol....
I quote this because I think this really hits the nail on the head. A lot of it starts here, is about this. From me, this requires a lot of trust. It wouldnt 'work' without that. Human are naturally social creatures. Thats how we learn. This is also why I feel a lot of the other things I do are very important - like babywearing. I dont just do it because its nice but because it also meets babys needs, going beyond including the need to be held and love to the need to be a part of society, invovled, stuck in where they can learn the best. For me, this trust and learning starts from birth. This 'discipline' starts right there.
post #46 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
i believe it is perfectly fine to say to my child- "i don't like going out while the house is a mess. i like the house tidy when we come home so we have a fresh start. but it makes me tired to have to clean up by myself and then i don't feel like playing at the park. so, let's start cleaning up by picking up the toys."
That makes no logical sense to me. That's a lot to expect a child to digest, process, and understand. The idea that intermingling a simple question - "please help me pick up the toys" - into a long winded paragraph makes it somehow less manipulative is erroneous. I counted the use of "I", "me" and "myself" 5 times in that ONE phrase, and yet your goal is to create a common motive as opposed to implying he's doing it (picking up toys) for you.

Quote:
i wouldn't even say "please". "please" implies that he is doing it for me instead of for us and our common goal of going to the park to play.
The fact of the matter is, according to your above alternative, YOU don't like going out while the house is a mess, because YOU like to come home to a tidy house and a fresh start, and it makes YOU tired to have to clean it by YOURself, and then YOU don't feel like going to the park.

But you won't say "please" because that implies he should do it for you. And yet using the words "me", "I" and "myself" 5 times is ambiguous enough for him to derive his own motivation. That makes no sense!
post #47 of 187
I have tried a few different approaches with DS and have found that the direct one works best. I see nothing wrong with saying, "Please pick up your blocks, honey."

And if I get resistance, it depends. If he is having fun doing something else then sure, it can wait for a few moments (we are big into 5 minute heads up, to which DS always "negotiates" for 2 minutes ).

If a person lives in our home then they contribute to the household in ways that they can, dependent on their ability. And I don't understand how making a direct request is harmful.
post #48 of 187
See "please" to me sounds like a request especially for the toddler set. If I ask for a favor, and the child says no, that's fine but a completely different situation. More semantics for you all.

If there is something that I've decided has to be done and I've decided it's my child's responsibility to do it, I simply say "It's time to do such and such." In the toddler years there was a lot of playfulness and step by step encouragement used to help him do what he was told to do, there was no punishments or rewards set up. I guess I'm reading that the difference is that I believe I have the authority to set those expectations and then to enforce them (primarily by being clear and consistent as opposed to a punishment/reward model).
post #49 of 187
Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I realize that sometimes I say "please do ...." and sometimes I say, "It's time to......"

I wonder if the inconsistency is going to ruin him.




I guess I do the same with DH. I might say, "Honey, please clean the bathroom. It's your turn." Or I might say, "Honey, it's time to clean the bathroom. It's your turn."
post #50 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by popsicle sticks View Post
If there is something that I've decided has to be done and I've decided it's my child's responsibility to do it, I simply say "It's time to do such and such."
How does that sentence specify who has to do what, though? That's not a request, it's a statement.

Can you imagine how that work in every day life? Making statements hoping people will understand that you're asking a question, and thus act accordingly? Doesn't that set people up for miscommunication?

Example...

Me "It's time for a beer"

Husband "yeah, you're right"

Me: "well can you get me one?"

Husband "huh? you want a beer?"

Me "yeah, because it's time?"

Husband "well, you didn't say you wanted a beer"

Me "oh, well, can you get me one?"

Husband "sure, but next time, can you just ask me for one?"

Gah, that makes my head hurt just thinking about it! The funny thing is (only it's not really that funny), is that when we're adults, we call those kinds of questions "head games". You're expecting a child to interpret a statement into a question, and then act accordingly. That's difficult for some adults to do, let alone children.
post #51 of 187
Consistancy can be a whole new debate. I do not believe you can be honestly and naturaly consistant. It just does not work, seems confusing for me at least, and children are just not stupid...

Kinda OT...but here is an example:

We were over at a friends house. Friends DS threw a rock at my DS. It hurt - my DS cried about it. I went to comfort him. Friend went to tell her DS off 'WE do NOT throw!'...Her DS was then taken into the living room to sit on the sofa chair there for a time out - it is a room that has a door to it, so she closed that door as well. When she went back into the room, she had found him throwing the sofa cushions on the floor in anger. I saw it coming...we are told to be consistant, that our children need us to be consistant. She told him off again - 'We do NOT throw!!!'... this includes the sofa cushion apparently!...So he was to sit in the chair for even longer.
Now....I feel there is more than one thing wrong with this situation - but its only the consistancy part I am refering to here. She was trying to be consistent. No throwing. But what exactly is wrong with throwing a cushion on the living room floor? I would rather my son threw cushions on the floor to help release his anger than throw a rock at someone. But its almost as if the feeling is we need to make the 'rule' not to throw at all because children are dumb and cant get the difference between throwing a cushion on the floor and throwing a rock at someone (which I think they can).
Also - things happen different in everyones house. A lot of my friends do not allow any kind of throwing at all in their house - but when they come ove to ours, we do. We have soft indoor balls that are always being thrown around. (about consistancy here). For us, concerning this and manipulation, we take things day by day really. The grand scheme of things has been looked at a few times - hence the CL path I am on now...but I dont and wont sit around fretting about the future today for the sake of tomorrow...baby steps lol...day by day... hehe
post #52 of 187
My 2 1/2 year old can totally understand "I" versus "you." I don't think that happens by magic, I think it takes communication. So we communicate. I tell him where I am at, what I need, what I want, and he tells me. Sometimes one of us doesn't really know, so we ask for something that doesn't actually meet the need.

Sometimes we are at odds, sometimes we are in tune. But we do it together. My boundaries and limits change all the time (sometimes I feel like dtd, sometimes I don't want dh within 10 feet, sometimes I feel like going apple picking with ds, sometimes I feel like staying home), so I find it is best to just focus on keeping the lines of communication open.

I guess this is a little off from manipulation, because it is clear to me that people on this thread have different ideas of what that means, and there is a lot of miscommunication happening. What it comes down to is a philosophical approach. If my goal is to get ds to do something, and he doesn't want to do it, then any tool that I use to get him to do it will be manipulation. If my goal is to come to a consensus about what our needs are, and how they can get met, then it doesn't feel manipulative.
post #53 of 187
Quote:
How does that sentence specify who has to do what, though? That's not a request, it's a statement.
Im not saying I agree or disagree but I think that was the point (just trying to clarify how I read her post). It is not a request because its going to be done. Its not up for debate. If it were a request then the other person is then open to say yay or nay. Its the difference between 'can you pick up your blocks please' and 'pick up your blocks'.

Quote:
Example...

Me "It's time for a beer"

Husband "yeah, you're right"

Me: "well can you get me one?"
Maybe you didnt pick the best example...sometimes I do that. I mean I used blocks as an emaple and everyone since then has use it lol.... anyroad... End quote there. Thats where it would end imo in real life between adults. Husbands reply would them be yay or nay. If it were my DH he would say 'you are closest, your legs work, get it yourself' lol If hes feeling like spoiling me though he would say 'sure'...whilst getting up to get it.

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Perhaps I missed the intent of this thread, but earlier up thread there were several examples of how to word a phrase asking a child to pick up blocks. What's wrong with just saying "please pick up your blocks"?
I think you did miss the intent - maybe with another bad example. Those examples were given to show how one asks a child in a manipulative way and how you could just simply ask them in a non manipulative way. But what if you ask them and they dont want to?...so...ask them, and if they dont want to do it, instead of you then manipulating them into doing it, just get on with it yourself.
post #54 of 187
Quote:
If my goal is to get ds to do something, and he doesn't want to do it, then any tool that I use to get him to do it will be manipulation. If my goal is to come to a consensus about what our needs are, and how they can get met, then it doesn't feel manipulative.
Well summed up.
What I was basically trying to show in my examples. But what I have learned time and time again is that examples can either help or hinder an arugment one way or the other lol.
post #55 of 187
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by popsicle sticks View Post
If there is something that I've decided has to be done and I've decided it's my child's responsibility to do it, I simply say "It's time to do such and such."
Quote:
How does that sentence specify who has to do what, though? That's not a request, it's a statement.
That is true, to clarify, the difference is likely due to the fact that when he was very small, I'd tell him time for you to do such and such. As he grew and came to understand the general expectations of the household he knows what his responsibilities are.

In my family, where I cook dinner almost 360 days of the year it would be similar to this:
Me: It's time for dinner
Husband: Ok, I'll be right there

The exact details are already understood, just like my child knows that when you get something out to play with, you put it away when you're done. It's not as if he was just dropped into this family as a school age kid with no prior knowledge of how we do things.

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I do not believe you can be honestly and naturaly consistant.
I think I disagree (but I understand it in two ways and may be saying something very similar to your example). We have very few rules here, but they are mostly based on how we treat each other not behaviors like throwing. Of course throwing is appropriate in some situations, we just encourage our kids to stop and think if the situation they're in is one of those and why. Would throwing be respectful to the pastor speaking in church? Would throwing possibly hurt someone? Would throwing something else be a safe choice in this context? We guide them through it while in the situation and encourage thinking whenever possible. Secondly consistency for me also means that I'm careful about giving a redirection or a "no" because once it's been said I'm very rarely going back on it. Those rare moments I do are due to getting new information, not because my child is refusing to do what he's told because he doesn't feel like it or see the value in it. Consistency to me doesn't mean being rigid, just following through with what were already well understood and reasonable redirections/directions. (If it's a favor, it's worded as such and no follow through is warranted...it was a request).
post #56 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallacesmum View Post
My 2 1/2 year old can totally understand "I" versus "you." I don't think that happens by magic, I think it takes communication. So we communicate. I tell him where I am at, what I need, what I want, and he tells me. Sometimes one of us doesn't really know, so we ask for something that doesn't actually meet the need.

Sometimes we are at odds, sometimes we are in tune. But we do it together. My boundaries and limits change all the time (sometimes I feel like dtd, sometimes I don't want dh within 10 feet, sometimes I feel like going apple picking with ds, sometimes I feel like staying home), so I find it is best to just focus on keeping the lines of communication open.

I guess this is a little off from manipulation, because it is clear to me that people on this thread have different ideas of what that means, and there is a lot of miscommunication happening. What it comes down to is a philosophical approach. If my goal is to get ds to do something, and he doesn't want to do it, then any tool that I use to get him to do it will be manipulation. If my goal is to come to a consensus about what our needs are, and how they can get met, then it doesn't feel manipulative.

exactly! i feel like as long as i'm clear in the motivations of my request- or as clear as i can be then i'm not being manipulative. i don't think that's "head games" at all.

i am explaining my need and i am asking for help in achieving it. i never said i didn't have needs, wants, whims and desires. in fact i said the opposite. which is not being "selfish" it's being honest.

i think when you are direct with your kids and communicate your needs or the needs of the family without using manipulation (punishment/rewards) you teach them that is ok to have needs, wants, whims and desires and how to express them appropriately.
post #57 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by ann_of_loxley View Post
To add to Devas - I also think , though this may just be plain obvious! lol, its also important to talk about it with your child. If a bike must be worn with a helmet, thats obvious safety reason, then I think its important to talk to your child about it. I only mention this because I know many of my friends have a 'because I say so' attitute and a 'well thats life - tough - live with it!' attitude...which I do not think is very healthy or helpful for the child and could turn into a potential manipulative situation.
Definitely. (I know that you were adding to my statement, not asking if I did explain ) My ds knows the safety reasons. And he cares about them (as much as a 4yo can). He just stops caring when they get in the way of what he wants in that specific moment. lol. That's when the "you can ride with a helmet, or leave your helmet off and not ride" comes along. But I do think that him knowing that I have a real reason, and knowing what that reason is, does help him with the fact that I'm setting a boundary that he might not really like.
(ftr, he's totally happy to wear his helmet every time he rides his bike now)

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Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post
So, for those who believe limits are not something parents need to set or enforce, how do they get learned?
That's not what I meant at all . I don't think it's necessary to *create* arbitrary boundaries just for the sake of "giving dc boundaries." Actually, I don't agree with arbitrary boundaries (boundaries just for the sake of boundaries) at all. But what boundaries are real and what are not will vary from person to person.
I DO think it's necessary to let dc know the boundaries that exist, that I have, that others have. So I do enforce those, and spell those out for him.
If it is important *to me* to, say, have no toys in the kitchen, then I make sure ds knows that, and I find a (gentle, obviously) way to enforce it. And I think it's good for him to know that boundary, rather than see me getting upset and him not really knowing why, and just having a vague sense that it has something to do with him. I think he "likes" knowing what boundaries I have, so he's not just trying to figure it out on his own.

But I think it would be a bad idea to create that boundary (no toys in the kitchen) for someone who didn't care about it, but thought that "kids like boundaries, so here's one I can set for him." Or even someone who thought "Well other people have this rule, so I may as well have it too." Does that make sense?

I think it's basically true for partners too. I think it's important for a partner to know if their dp doesn't like for them to be out after midnight (example out of the air). But I don't think it's a good idea to create that boundary when it's not something that you naturally care about.

Quote:
so basically, i feel that i cannot be a good parent - i'm destined for screwing up no matter what i do!
eh, like my dp says, it doesn't really matter what I do in any given moment. I can screw up, and it will all be ok. As long as we try to be gentle, try to be considerate of our kids feelings, and for the most part we do a decent job of it, it's ok.
post #58 of 187
Thread Starter 
OP here. Back to the blocks example...
several of you have mentioned that it's the mom who really wants it done. You can enlist the child's help in many different ways, but if the child says no then you just do it yourself. How can you do that to your child? (Asking in a puzzled way not trying to sound snarky, but maybe there is a touch of snark in there)

I don't just want the blocks picked up because I like things tidy. I want dd to learn to clean up after herself because it is good for her to learn such a thing. It is good for her to learn that things have a place, things have order. Our brains like order, not chaos. I want to teach/discipline and if necessary *manipulate* (in the best sense of the word, not the dishonest sense) in order for her to learn how to take care of her/our things. When she grows up and goes to school/gets a job, I want to be sure she will have these skills.

Have you ever met a man whose mother never *made* or *manipulated* him into doing things around the house. I have met many men like this and they are not easy to live with. They may be the sweetest men ever, but they won't lift a finger around the house.

Or how about the college student who leaves home and doesn't know how to operate a washing machine or a dishwasher. These people exist, and it is really hard for them to function in the beginning because nobody ever taught them.

How about the young women who get married and don't know how to boil water? They will struggle a lot trying to learn to cook for her family.

I don't want my dd to struggle like that, nor do I want my ds (if I ever have a ds) to grow up like the men who never help around the house.

I think Ann mentioned about trusting that they will eventually follow you in your tidying up pursuit. Several posters have asked, in so many words, how do you have the confidence that you child will, at some point in their little life, decide they will clean up after themself?

Sorry, I just went off on an unexpected rant.

If you are basing it on the fact that all children want to fit in to a group, which i do agree with, that is not enough because most people are also lazy or want to take the easy way out if they can. I guess this is a personality issue. Some kids will naturally be helpers and some will naturally take the easy way out. Whichever kind of kid I end up having my job is to help them to be able to help themselves.

North of 60, I also like a more direct approach. I get your point. Although...I have been thinking about how to phrase things, and it makes my brain hurt. And when you mentioned parenting on eggshells, that's how I started feeling and I couldn't put my finger on it. Thanks for wording it like that.

Heartmama, you are right, my examples were more for older kids. I appreciate you outlining, overall view, on the difference between the toddler GD and the older kid GD being more traditional. You gave me more to think about. Thanks.

Oh and one last thing. I say please and thank you to model it for her. I don't think she will misunderstand me. She will know whether it is a request or a statement.
post #59 of 187
I agree with you about modeling. That is where I focus my energy. In every aspect of my life. It is up to ds whether he ultimately prefers to be tidy - I know people who like tidiness and people who find it restrictive. I like to think I like a general level of tidiness in excess of the one that I usually live in! So picking up the blocks is modeling. I might even talk about why I like to pick up the blocks, unless it feels condescending.

FWIW, ds often doesn't want his toys picked up. Sometimes we have different needs in that area. He isn't resisting me, or not listening, or whatever. He likes having his toys out. I think he finds it comforting. In our family, as in most, we try to find a balance. My dh likes to have his feet sticking out of the bottom of the bed, I like the sheets tucked in. Etc.

Open communication is modeling, too. No one taught me that when I was a child - my parents were strict GD. I am still learning how to express my feelings, and respond to others.
post #60 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
Several posters have asked, in so many words, how do you have the confidence that you child will, at some point in their little life, decide they will clean up after themself?
Yes, someone please answer this for me! I'm reading every post in this thread at least twice, and although they all make sense to me, I just don't see how it works long-term.

Yes, I can pick up the toys because it's MY need to have the floor clear. Or yes, I can leave the toys out because I recognize that it's not the end of the world to have toys on the floor and/or my DD has a need/desire to have them all out where she can see them. But eventually DD is going to trip on them and hurt herself, the cat will eat one and necessitate a pricey vet visit, or DH will get annoyed and vacuum them up. I guess I just don't see how cleaning them up myself or leaving them on the floor is helping anyone in the family. Can someone help me out?

And then I'm confused by all the talk about rules and boundaries... if I like a clean floor and tell my DD to pick up her toys before going outside, then I'm being manipulative to make her meet my need; but if it's a "rule" of the house that is "understood", then I'm giving a reminder instead? Is that right?

Please know there is zero snark in this post whatsoever... this is an area I am struggling with because I really do appreciate the difference from the GD changes I've made already and want to continue growing, but it's still a challenge to me.
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