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Counting to three.... - Page 2

post #21 of 83
Well..we aren't GD, I'll say that much. i'm not sure how much else I can say without getting reprimanded...please mods, if I say something I'm not allowed to, please TELL ME and not just reprimand me...We do not advocate hitting or anything, but we are more authoritarian, we expect our kids to do what we tell them to, yes, I'll say it, "obey" us.

I see mostly cons to the counting. In general, I am not in favor of it, because essentially, you are telling the child "you don't REALLY have to do what i say, when i say it, you can do whatever you want for a little while, and only after i count to 3, or 5, or 20, etc, do you REALLY have to do what you are told" and I think that is absolutely the WRONG message to send kids. My kids need to do what they are told RIGHT NOW when I tell them to do it. But I am talking mostly about older kids who are developmentally typical and can, if it is taught to them, have that ability. Say, 4+

Now, for a younger child, or one who has serious "transition" issues, like my dd had for a while, I can see the benefit..although again, i would "structure" it in a different way that did not make it seem like they were "allowed" to ignore me and then choose when they want to obey me. Like...I might say to dd "in 5 minutes we are going to the store, you need to be ready." and then at the 3 minute mark say it again, and the 1 minute mark I will be more firm such as "in one minute, mommy is walking out the door and getting into the car to go to teh store, you will have to have your shoes on to come with me. would you like help or can you do it yourself?"
do you see how that is different than saying "please put your shoes on rigth now, we are going to the store." and then allowing her to disobey for a period of time before coming back and telling her again or counting to 3?

We are juggling 2 jobs for dh and I, 2 seperate families with custody/visitation agreements, 4 different schools (each with various pickup times, of course!) between the 5 kids and numerous activities like wrestling, boy scouts, etc. We have a strict schedule, and being places on time is simply not a negotiable issue(the state frowns on your 10 year old being left outside in the snow after school has let out fo rthe day, for example), we HAVE to leave when it's time to leave, we don't often get to stay in the house all day, etc.
We don't pick battles if they are not necesary, and if we have the option to stay at home all day, awesome! ...but generally, we expect the kids to do what they are told *right now*, not after we count to 5 or whatever.
post #22 of 83
This is a very interesting topic to me. Some posters are viewing counting as a way to help their kid with time in order for them to transition to another activity. Some posters feel it is an out for the the kid to play around more and not obey immediately.

I have a 1 year old so I am still telling her what I want her to do and doing it with her so I am not at the counting stage yet. However, I do want to set up the habit of her doing what I ask her to do immediately. Am I just crazy to think that a kid will do what you ask them to immediately? I am learning a lot from this forum and appreciate the help...but I probably fall more into the authoritative type than the consensual living type although I think I am a bit of both.

There is a subtle difference , which Bobandjess pointed out, between the '5 minutes and we are leaving' and the, 'I've asked you twice and now I will count to three', method. Both ways seem like a countdown of sorts to transition, but I think the difference is if the parent has asked 2,3,or 4 times and THEN start the count down. This is what I don't want to do as a parent. I want to ask once and if they don't do it then I will help them. Well, that is my plan anyway. Any more thoughts on this?
But how about for younger kids. How do you get them into the habit of just putting their shoes on when ask them to?
post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post

I have a 1 year old so I am still telling her what I want her to do and doing it with her so I am not at the counting stage yet. However, I do want to set up the habit of her doing what I ask her to do immediately. Am I just crazy to think that a kid will do what you ask them to immediately? I am learning a lot from this forum and appreciate the help...but I probably fall more into the authoritative type than the consensual living type although I think I am a bit of both.
I used to think that kids reached a stage when they immediately listen, but as dd has gotten older and has become more confident with herself and more aware of her desires I have stopped thinking this. This is not a stage I would want her to get to. It would mean that I wasn't respecting her right as a person to have things she wants to do. There are times when I do need her to listen to me and do something I asked her to do because of many factors and we do have some rules and limits, but I don't expect her to immediately comply even then, we do a lot of transition things and explaining and when I do need to help her get ready I explain why. She is six and is at a place where she can understand that her desires don't always come first but that I will still make a big effort to help her get many of her desires met.

We have only one word when we expect each other to stop immediately and that is Stop, it is our safety and a word we use when we want something like tickling or grumpy words to stop. We both use it and it is a word I respect when she says it and she respects when I say it.
post #24 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
However, I do want to set up the habit of her doing what I ask her to do immediately. Am I just crazy to think that a kid will do what you ask them to immediately? I
No, it's not crazy at all. You can train a child either way. You can either train them that you're not serious until you get to the "3" when counting, or you can teach them that you expect them to obey immediately. Kids are super smart. How many kids will totally ignore their parents until the mom raises her voice, starts to walk toward them, or starts counting, and then all the sudden they do what you asked? They have been trained to not take the parent seriously until this point (and believe me, children know what that point is with their parents). That's because they have been allowed to ignore the parent the first time, or second time, or whatever.

Picture the scenerio. Mom has said, "Bobby, it's time to put your shoes on now so we can leave." Bobby ignores mom and continues what he's doing. "Bobby, I said go get your shoes on for mommy." Again, ignored. "Bobby, I'm counting to 3 and you better go get your shoes on." Bobby ignores mom until... "Mommy's counting... one, two... two and a half....three!" Bobby finally obeys.

How stressful. Bobby has actually trained mommy, not the other way around.

I've tried both approaches (I'm pg with #5) and counting is only delaying their obedience and causes frustration for the parent. Children are perfectly capable of obeying the first time, but only if that's the way you train them.

Again, refer to my earlier post that mentions some exceptions. There are always exceptions because every situation is unique. Like just a few minutes ago I told my 3 year old that lunch was ready. She had just received a brand new book in the mail from her book club. She said, "Mommy, I want to read this book." I said, "Okay, that's fine, I understand it's a new book. After you are done though, you need to come and eat your lunch." Because she's 3 and not 6, I'll remind her when she finishes the book to come and eat her lunch now and I will expect her to get up and come eat her lunch, and she will without me counting to 3.

I guess some would also say that we're more "authoritarian", but honestly, I just call it loving my kids. Training my children respect and obedience is loving them, and increases their self esteem.

Good luck to you!
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
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 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.
Well I didn't write my post as a criticism of what you or anybody else do, I just described how I feel about this counting method, as the OP was asking for different opinions. I think it's relevant to imagine how it would feel for me to be treated that way, you don't - OK, you're entitled to your opinion.

I agree with those of you who say that they expect to be heard without having to count, and I don't think that's un-GD in any way. Depending on the situation and the age of the child I think it's perfectly reasonable that we can't always wait five minutes or ask several times. At the stage we are currently at I try never to ask more than twice, because I don't want to create the habit that they ignore what I say because they know that I don't mean it.
post #26 of 83
DH and I count to three. Works like a charm. She's only three and for now I'm happy with it. I don't expect instant obedience at this age. I'm not sure if I'll ever expect INSTANT obedience but I do expect that as she gets older, I won't have to count. But for now it'll do.
post #27 of 83
I got into the bad habit of counting to three with my older dd.

Personally, I didn't like the way I used it. It was a very 'my power over you' mentality.

We never even discussed what would happen if I got to 'three', kwim? Dd was just scared enough to comply. I should add we're a non-hitting family, and I rarely yell.

So, the other day dd was on my LAST nerve about dawdling when I needed to leave. I said 'One... two...' and we both busted out laughing.

Because she's almost six, it was almost incongruous, kwim? It definitely doesn't fit our discipline issues anymore.

We just talked about how I was feeling frustrated with her dawdling, and came up with some other solutions.

For the record, we definitely practice gentle discipline and appropriate consequences, but I would never say we are CL. Dh and I have the final say around here.
post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovebabies View Post
No, it's not crazy at all. You can train a child either way. You can either train them that you're not serious until you get to the "3" when counting, or you can teach them that you expect them to obey immediately. Kids are super smart. How many kids will totally ignore their parents until the mom raises her voice, starts to walk toward them, or starts counting, and then all the sudden they do what you asked? They have been trained to not take the parent seriously until this point (and believe me, children know what that point is with their parents). That's because they have been allowed to ignore the parent the first time, or second time, or whatever.

Picture the scenerio. Mom has said, "Bobby, it's time to put your shoes on now so we can leave." Bobby ignores mom and continues what he's doing. "Bobby, I said go get your shoes on for mommy." Again, ignored. "Bobby, I'm counting to 3 and you better go get your shoes on." Bobby ignores mom until... "Mommy's counting... one, two... two and a half....three!" Bobby finally obeys.

How stressful. Bobby has actually trained mommy, not the other way around.

I've tried both approaches (I'm pg with #5) and counting is only delaying their obedience and causes frustration for the parent. Children are perfectly capable of obeying the first time, but only if that's the way you train them.


I guess some would also say that we're more "authoritarian", but honestly, I just call it loving my kids. Training my children respect and obedience is loving them, and increases their self esteem.

Good luck to you!
It sounds like you are describing something children are capable of the majority of the time rather than your reaction when your children decide not to listen. Even really compliant children have times when they dawdle and don't comply immediately. I really doubt that there is not some type of verbal or nonverbal cue that your children have picked up on when they are in the dawdling mood to tell them that you are serious and that it is time for them to listen right away.

Nonverbal cues work the same way as verbal cues and allow the child to stay engaged in their task until they see that things are going to get ugly if they don't listen. I prefer having a verbal cue system set up so I don't have to get frustrated and cranky when my child fails to pick up on any nonverbal cues I set up.

Your claim that giving cues makes for a stressful situation for the parent is a very broad claim. This really depends on how the parent uses cues and how aware they are of the cues they are using. It sounds like you are describing a situation in which the parent doesn't know they are giving cues, perhaps one from a negative cycle you have fallen in and found stressful. I think that does raise a valid point about how important it is to be aware of the cues you use, how many times you use them, and how the cues are making you feel. It does not mean that everyone experiences stress from using cues, or even from occasionally repeating themselves. Life with one or two children is much different from life with four going on five children.
post #29 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. 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.
ITA
post #30 of 83
We count...and we LOVE IT

However, we do it as a challenge...

"Ok dd, it's time to head home!"

"But mom! I'm not done playing yet!"

"I know hon, but we need to get back home to see Daddy. I bet you can't get your shoes and coat on before I count to 10...on your mark, get set, 1...2...3...4...5...6...7......"

"YOU DID IT! Wow you're fast!"

I've done this since she was little...she is 6 now...
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
Your claim that giving cues makes for a stressful situation for the parent is a very broad claim. This really depends on how the parent uses cues and how aware they are of the cues they are using. It sounds like you are describing a situation in which the parent doesn't know they are giving cues, perhaps one from a negative cycle you have fallen in and found stressful. I think that does raise a valid point about how important it is to be aware of the cues you use, how many times you use them, and how the cues are making you feel. It does not mean that everyone experiences stress from using cues, or even from occasionally repeating themselves. Life with one or two children is much different from life with four going on five children.
I hear ya, but it's really not that complicated or psychological.
And just because my post makes you feel uncomfortable or you don't agree with me, doesn't mean I've fallen into a negative cycle that I found stressful.

The op asked if we count to 3 and I was answering her question.

What I'm saying in a nutshell is that we choose not to because we expect immediate obedience and we train our children to immediately obey, especially in certain situations. As I said in both my posts (please go back and read them), there are always exceptions, and there are sometimes different approaches. I even said in my first post that there are too many different situations to name. I LOVE what Mrs. Hos just posted and I totally agree with that as well! We do that too sometimes! We make it fun, a game, a race, and sometimes not, again, depending on the situation. It all depends on the situation, the child, what's going on, etc... But *for us*, and especially having a larger family, sometimes I need to be able to say, "Get your shoes on right now please" and my child immediately obey. Are there "verbal cues" to let him know I'm "serious"? Yes, of course. We are in tune enough with our children, and they with us, to know differences. It's all part of training them.

And yes, of course all children (compliant or not) will not obey sometimes. I didn't find it necessary to post the obvious.

If counting to 3 works for you and you don't find it stressful, then great! Do what works for you. My post was aimed at those who may find it to be and would like an alternative.
post #32 of 83
I don't count. I don't expect respecting-a-child to look, feel or sound like respecting-an-adult, but there is something about counting that feels disrespectful to me ... to be perfectly honest, my dislike of it goes beyond what I can articulate. I was mostly reading this thread to see if someone else could name what it is that rubs me the wrong way about it so much!

Anyway, I do a few things and of course they've evolved as my dc has gotten older. I give ETAs: "We have to leave in five minutes. When you get to a stopping point, put on your shoes so we can go." So that way I set the expectation whithout any expectation of doing it now. Then I try to give one more ETA: "Two more minutes! Do your very last thing and then we will go." Then I will probably model putting on my shoes, then take his hand and walk him to the shoes without any more discussion. If I am getting pushback I will repeat that we need to go and why, and if that doesn't end the discussing, I'll boil it down to "Your shoes need to go on. You can put them on or I can put them on."

It's not as coercion-free as I'd prefer, but frankly, on us, consensual living degenerates into child holding veto power, and I'm not willing to wait that out, or clever enough to reframe it acceptably when he's tired / hungry / overstimulated, or patient enough to let go of my agenda long enough to let the consensus happen, or whatever alchemy it would take.
post #33 of 83
"1--2--" means that even though normally we can take our time, this needs to be done ASAP for whatever reason, even if it's just "so mommy doesn't get frustrated."

I only recall it being used like 10 times total in my childhood for me or my little brother. Also, apparently the count only reached 3 once for each of us.

Anyway, I plan to include it as one of my parenting tools, but I'm also prepared for it to not be something that works with all or any of our children.

ETA:
We also had 10 and 5 minute warnings to help transition from things. Like playing at the park, first there'd be a casual "remember we need to go grocery shopping today" (or whatever) then "10 minute warning" then "5 minute warning"--usually just a hand signal--sometimes we'd get 2-minutes as well to waylay us from starting something more involved or farther away (obviously this was when we were older). And 5-minutes could be anything from 2 minutes to 10 minutes depending on what we were doing and when we'd be best able to stop.
post #34 of 83
I was using counting for a little while recently. I would say to DD (3), "I need you to get in your carseat now. If you haven't done it by the time I count to 3, I'll do it for you." Then I would start to count, and it almost always worked immediately.

However, I just don't like the counting. It frustrated me, and when I looked at it, it's not necessary. Now I simply say, "I need you to get in your carseat now. If you don't do it, I'll do it for you." I pause a moment to let her do it, and if she doesn't, I do it. I feel like the counting is an unnecessary part of the process.

ETA: I don't like counting at all when it's used as just counting with no specified consequence, b/c that seems to be playing on fear.
post #35 of 83
We don't count. I can't articulate why, either; but it was one of the few things (besides spanking) I promised myself I would never do as a parent. And I haven't! I would hear other parents doing it and it just kind of, I don't know, embarrassed me for the parent or something. But that's not really it, either. It just always looked like nobody was in control of the situation and parent and child both seemed to get angry pretty quickly with it. It also has amazed me how fast parents will start the counting if their kids don't comply with something. There are parents who come to pick their kid up at dd's preschool and seem to start counting the second they are in the door. I'm sure that's not the case here, but it's what I associate counting with. I'm also never really sure what's going to happen to the kids if the parent does get to three.

Dd does finish counting for other parents and I really, really try not to smile. They will start "1,2,..." and Dd will deadpan "...3." Doesn't help the situation at all and I guess I should really tell dd what parents are trying to accomplish in those situations.

Having said that, it's not like I know what TO do when dd won't comply. I'm sometimes at a loss, since I don't do time-outs or taking privileges away, either. But it's mostly good. Someone mentioned something about "do one last thing you want before we leave" and we do that with good success. I want her to feel she has power and choice, too.
post #36 of 83
I usually don't count. Sometimes I will count when I feel that it will help ds to focus on his "job" at hand (putting on his shoes, for example), but it doesn't seem to be the most effective method. It's often better to get his attention with eye contact and a quiet whisper. If he is just being a bit hyperactive, that will sometimes do the trick. When he is deliberately wishing to aggravate, I'll simply go to the next room and say he can come with me when his job is finished. With no audience for misbehavior, he doesn't keep it up for long.

He's also fiercely independent about certain tasks, so another effective response is to tell him that if he doesn't do it, I will gladly help! At 3.5, he is all about being a "big boy", so the idea of help is quite unappealing.
post #37 of 83
I think counting is a fine technique as long as the result of noncompliance is the parent helping the child do the thing, rather than some type of punishment. Oh, and if you start counting, you HAVE to follow through! Every so often I'll see a parent who strings the numbers really far apart and then does "two and a half...two and two thirds..." just waiting for compliance with no other strategy in mind, or a parent who gives up on getting it to happen if the child doesn't respond.

I wrote an article on how counting worked with my kid and one on how it stopped working.

Quote:
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.
We EXPECT immediate obedience, too! We just don't always get it. We never were counting to 3 "all the time"; we were saving it for those times when he didn't respond right away.

Quote:
"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?
Because you don't want to do everything for them forever; you want them to develop the ability to do what you ask on their own initiative.
post #38 of 83
I tried it. It worked about 5 times and then my son started shrieking "don't count!" if I took a breath to start. Ha. He's actually a generally jolly compliant kid. Until he isn't. We've more or less worked it out in other ways.
post #39 of 83
I don't count. I'll ask dd to do things a couple of times and if she isn't able to, I'll help her. Counting just seems unnecessary, like an extra step. I've seen friends whose kids' don't do anything unless their parents count.
post #40 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. 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.
Yeah, this is what I do as well. I am offering her a choice - "do it by yourself, or I can help you." GENTLY. Things like putting on shoes and whatnot. She's pretty big into ignoring me and so that counting down helps alert her that things are needing to get moving. Sometimes she chooses for me to help her - which is fine with me, I just want her to have the option of autonomy or, if she doesn't feel like it for whatever reason, I'll help. We do lots of helping back and forth around here, so it's definitely not a coercive situation.
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