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Counting to three....

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
What are your opinions on counting to three when your child will not follow through with something?

If you are not in favor, what are some other options?

Thanks.
J.
post #2 of 83
We count. I count to 10 when its time to leave a place. Though now I have graduated to a visual 60 second timer. DS needs a lot of help with transitions...that is, moving from one activity to the other - this might be from leaving the house to go to the playground, leaving the playground to go have lunch, etc.
BUT - and a big but here... I do not do anything to my DS if said time is up and he does not budge. A lot of people who I know who 'count' - then do something to their child if they didnt do said request. Be it spanking them, punishing them, physically forcing them, etc. DS has decided he was not ready to go and needed a bit more help with the transition a handful of times. Other than that, I have no problem with it. He knows I wont do anything to him. There is no obligation there. I just use it to help with the transition (and it really does help, beside the fact he has SPD and I suspect an ASD - most small children do need some help with transitions). If I felt I needed to use it to control DS, then I would have to take a step back and look a bit deeper at the issue at hand. (which means you would have to get more specific about what your child is not doing that you are requesting of them). Most people that I see who use 'counting' to control their child (besides how I use it, thats how they do use it) - use it as a quick fix to get their child to comply quickly to their wishes. They give them the false choice of either doing A or getting B (which is always a punishment of some kind). - That, I do not agree with.
post #3 of 83
We don't do a count-down or count to 3, but I will count the number of times I've asked dd to do something; more to help her realize what's happening in the moment.

"Dd I need you to put on your shoes so we can leave"

... playing, asking questions, making excuses for a few minutes....

"Dd, I'm asking you a 2nd time to put your shoes on please."

... more playing, more whining, etc...

"Dd this is the 3rd time I'm asking you. I'm feeling really frustrated because I feel like you're not listening. How can we be sure that I won't need to ask you a 4th time?"

That's just an example. It's not always that smooth.
post #4 of 83
We count. I said I would never do it but I do and I am okay with it. There is no punishment involved or anything, typically it is after we have playful parented/reasoned/whatever and I am running out of patience. The "three" only means "and now I will help you along with that."

So, the "punishment" if you could call it that, is that she doesn't do it by herself or whatever. So an example would be:

"dd time to go, please get your shoes on"

(10 minutes and 3 more reminders)

"Okay dd, do you want to just put them on in the car instead?"

"No, I want to put them on here!"

"Okay, I'm waiting... put them on please"


(dd gets distracted, 5 more minutes go by... we are going to be late at this point)

You get the idea. Then, I may say something like okay, I am giving you to the count to three to (even begin) putting on your shoes. I will help you after that.
post #5 of 83
I think that counting can be useful if you make it clear to your child that when you reach a specific number you are going to come over and help them get a task done. You can help a child cooperate in gentle ways with a gentle tone. If counting makes you angry then you shouldn't do it, but if you can do it in a calm and matter of fact way then I think it can be a great thing. I also think it helps kids learn their numbers. I used to count to ten but now that dd is older I count backwards from ten and sometimes I count by 2's to 20.
post #6 of 83
: I think it's appropriate as a transitioning tool, whether letting them know it's just about time for them to do something or for you to do something for/to them, so they can start to shift mentally into cooperation with you. That's different than doing it with a threatening/punitive air.

I also think that you have to make sure you have their attention before you start doing this. I feel like sometimes the issue of non-cooperation that parents feel is really about the child being so absorbed in something else that they don't even hear you. So acknowledging what they're doing and looking for a good moment to interrupt, then getting down on their level, touching them and making eye contact...
post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I think that counting can be useful if you make it clear to your child that when you reach a specific number you are going to come over and help them get a task done. You can help a child cooperate in gentle ways with a gentle tone.
This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justthinkn View Post
I also think that you have to make sure you have their attention before you start doing this. I feel like sometimes the issue of non-cooperation that parents feel is really about the child being so absorbed in something else that they don't even hear you. So acknowledging what they're doing and looking for a good moment to interrupt, then getting down on their level, touching them and making eye contact...
And this.

I only use counting similar to the the shoe issue above. When we get to three it means I will come help dd do whatever it is I am needing her to do. She's 3 and very much wants to do everything herself so often this motivates her to get the job done. But sometimes, I've noticed that couting will help focus her and she sees what I'm asking when she was she was too absorbed in playing to hear me before.
post #8 of 83
I use it...but I don't like it. I can't really pinpoint why I don't like it, and I'll admit I use it when I'm getting really frustrated. It's usually after "DS, do you want to come over here by yourself, or do you want me to help you?" I start counting when that doesn't work and they usually come over by '2'. If I get to three then I get up and take them by the hand and walk them over to where I wanted them in the first place. But does it seem kinda pointless to anybody else? I mean, why didn't I just get off my lazy butt and go to them in the first place? Anybody feel this way too?
post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
We count. I said I would never do it but I do and I am okay with it. There is no punishment involved or anything, typically it is after we have playful parented/reasoned/whatever and I am running out of patience. The "three" only means "and now I will help you along with that."

So, the "punishment" if you could call it that, is that she doesn't do it by herself or whatever. So an example would be:

"dd time to go, please get your shoes on"

(10 minutes and 3 more reminders)

"Okay dd, do you want to just put them on in the car instead?"

"No, I want to put them on here!"

"Okay, I'm waiting... put them on please"


(dd gets distracted, 5 more minutes go by... we are going to be late at this point)

You get the idea. Then, I may say something like okay, I am giving you to the count to three to (even begin) putting on your shoes. I will help you after that.
That's what I do.
The thing is, I want to know that if it was something serious, a safety thing, that my kids would or could comply when I asked them to. I don't ask them for compliance without giving them a valid reason, but I do expect some compliance over some things.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by abomgardner417 View Post
I use it...but I don't like it. I can't really pinpoint why I don't like it, and I'll admit I use it when I'm getting really frustrated. It's usually after "DS, do you want to come over here by yourself, or do you want me to help you?" I start counting when that doesn't work and they usually come over by '2'. If I get to three then I get up and take them by the hand and walk them over to where I wanted them in the first place. But does it seem kinda pointless to anybody else? I mean, why didn't I just get off my lazy butt and go to them in the first place? Anybody feel this way too?
I see what you mean, but I use the time to give them the chance to decide they're going to do it on their own first. I can imagine my kids would get really annoyed if I went straight over and got them in that type of situation. The warning give them time to finish up what they're doing.
post #11 of 83
I give the ol' one, two, three to let dd know I am serious about a deadline So with us, it works because typically we don't have any time constraints/deadlines. Typically, we are a mostly consensual family in most day to day interactions. There are times though, where I can't (and quite frankly don't feel like) sitting there for 30 minutes trying to "mutually agree" on getting your darn shoes on so we can get out the door. Of course right now she doesn't understand the whole concept of people waiting, being late, holding people up etc -- because she is (and very developmentally appropriate) self centered -- so I do whip out the 'ol 1-2-3 in those situations with absolutely zero guilt. The kid has the life of Riley over here, if 1-2-3 *I'm going to help this along* is the worst she is subjected to
(and ya know what, it pretty much is), I call that a pretty charmed life
post #12 of 83
ooh i tried that, my daughter just counts with me (she's two 1/2 ) , & that makes me laugh, & then we forget what the problem was, so it works that way. I don't think I'd ever really want to use it , though, because I remember my father doing it & me being incredibly scared of him. I don't want my children to be scared of me. Not judging you,though, whatever works for you & your family, it's different for everyone!
post #13 of 83
DD is definitely not scared of me There is only fear if there is something to fear kwim. Like, if the only fear is "I'm sure scared mama might make good on my shoes having to be on before gallavanting around town" then yeah, that is the risk I am willing to take. We don't do punishments but we do expect reasonable requests to be, at the very least... considered
post #14 of 83
yes, i know that. I am often too nice to my dd (if such a thing is possible) , because I remember how my dad was, & I still don't really talk to him. I just don't see the the point in wrestling my crying toddler into trousers when she would rather be naked, & we''re not going out that day. Of course she has to get dressed when we go outside, but inside i am really not that fussed.
post #15 of 83
We have never forced anything on dd -- when I say help, I really mean... help... not force. I am not an advocate of forcing a dissenting child into doing something with their body that the don't consent to! Sometimes with dd though, she needs a concrete example of what not putting shoes on means -- that we can't go to fun places -- not as a punishment, but I am beyond carrying my 35lb 3.5 year old around all day simply because she has chosen not to wear shoes -- and it is not agreeable to me to let her go barefoot unless we are in a place where there is nothing to hurt herself on.

So, the one two three is ... at three I will help you, if you protest, cool, but we can't go -- which of course, results in a tantrum, which of course, results in... well, put on your shoes... (and I am only keeping to the shoe example for continuity, not because I care so much about shoes ) --- but sometimes, we are meeting someone, or there is an appointment, or a situation where time is of the essence and I am not going to make people sit around all day because my child didn't feel like putting on pants.

That having been said though, in 3.5 years we have never forced anything on her but once when after 3.. count them 3 hours of her not wanting to leave a shopping center (we weren't shopping or playing or anything, it was three HOURS of her sitting outside of a store not wanting to leave... and me trying to reach a "mutually agreeable solution" ,) I carried her, kicking and screaming, to the car without a shred of guilt about it.
post #16 of 83
ooh,been there,done that, nine months pregnant, heavy rain & dd will not leave the playground. had to call dh , he came home from work , because i simply could NOT carry that big scraming & kicking toddler home. So he came to the playround, put her in the car & drove us home.
I like "1,2,3 & then i'll help you , i think that is a very good thing to do. Me personally I could not wait 3 hours for dd to make a decision, we have a time limit of roughly half an hour around here, because of ds, who is only 2 months old.
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by herewearetogether View Post
Me personally I could not wait 3 hours for dd to make a decision, we have a time limit of roughly half an hour around here, because of ds, who is only 2 months old.
I would never wait three hours again!! That was before, when I used to think every single situation had a reasonable, agreeable, happy solution for everyone involved. 99% of the time, yes, that can happen ime -- but there is that one percent of course LOL That was it.
post #18 of 83
I don't count and I can't really imagine doing it. I have never seen anybody use this method, but it sounds to me a bit ... too much of a method, maybe, a bit mechanical? A bit like a threat, perhaps.

I do say "Ok now I have asked you two times (to put your shoes on) and I have waited for quite a long time. I don't want to wait any longer, so you have to put your shoes on now, or I will put them on for you."

I'm not entirely sure what the difference is? I think maybe I feel that counting over the child's head is a bit disrespectful. I wouldn't do it with a grown-up, or liked it if my husband did it to me.
post #19 of 83
We don't count. We expect immediate obedience. Children learn quickly when you "really mean it" and when they can stall. If you count to 3 all the time, they will never take you seriously the first time because they know that until you count, they don't have to listen.

This doesn't mean we don't give them a head's up when appropriate. First, we make sure they hear us. We get on their level, make eye contact, even have them repeat it back to us if we're unsure. If we need to leave a playground for example, after we know they're listening, we'll say, "Okay, you can play for 5 more minutes and then we have to leave.". This lets them know that we will be leaving but we aren't yanking them away in a moment's notice from something they are loving with no warning.

We also try to be careful that we don't make them stop in the middle of something unless we have to. If my dd is drawing and almost done, we'll let her finish.

Also, depending on what it is, we've had our children say things like, "Can I do this first?" or whatever. So many things I could put in here. It depends on the age too.

But overall, we teach our children that when we say to do something (or not to do something), they are to listen the first time. We start teaching this at an age appropriate time (around 2 depending on the child).
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
I don't count and I can't really imagine doing it. I have never seen anybody use this method, but it sounds to me a bit ... too much of a method, maybe, a bit mechanical? A bit like a threat, perhaps.

I do say "Ok now I have asked you two times (to put your shoes on) and I have waited for quite a long time. I don't want to wait any longer, so you have to put your shoes on now, or I will put them on for you."

I'm not entirely sure what the difference is? I think maybe I feel that counting over the child's head is a bit disrespectful. I wouldn't do it with a grown-up, or liked it if my husband did it to me.
I don't use the "I wouldn't do it with a grown-up" analogy anymore. I am not dealing with a grown-up, I am dealing with a child. I am not suggesting they both are not deserving of respect -- but at the same time they have wildly differing abilities and understanding, as well as the adult having a (hopefully) deeper sense of consideration and empathy and ability to put themselves in the shoes of another ---- I have never sat and completely ignored my husband as he (inwardly) freaked out about being late to an appointment we needed to get to, as he patiently asked me and reasoned with me while I continued to go about my business completely oblivious and caring not about things such as appointments or time constraints. On the same token, my husband would never dream of saying to me, "I have waited for you to put your shoes on, now I will do it for you. " as per your example, so I don't get what you are exactly getting at I don't expect my child to be a mini-adult with the same reasoning skills, understanding, impulse control, and empathy. I treat her with respect but I treat her like a child, and that is not an insult imo.

I don't count over her head ... it is more from across the room as I am doing 10 other things. I don't expect it is any more disrespectful than my kitchen timer that will continue beeping when the pasta is done until I do something about it.

That is what my counting is, a slightly annoying reminder that something needs to start happening.
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