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#1 of 16 Old 09-30-2013, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a Charlotte Mason fan and in reading her materials it sounds like she feels it's very important to train the child up in the habit of obeying the first time.....   I think that's a good habit and one we didn't do so well with with our first two kids.  But I'm wondering how to practice that with a 3 year old.  I don't believe in spanking, so let's not even go there.  I'm not judging those that do, but it's not my style and I have personal issues with it.  I'm wondering what other options there might be other than time out?  I'm not against time out.... I'm just not sure it's the best thing or the best thing in all situations.  I'm just looking for other ideas.  When a child refuses to do something and decides to have a tantrum or if you ask him a question and he won't answer.... that sort of thing.  Just looking for some general ideas.  Thanks.

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#2 of 16 Old 09-30-2013, 10:25 PM
 
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Check put this thread
http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1388780/lets-go-over-this-again-whats-wrong-with-time-outs
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#3 of 16 Old 10-01-2013, 04:09 AM
 
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I respect others opinions regarding time outs but disagree that they are harmful. I just don't want to overuse them as I feel any method can be overused. Just looking for other creative ideas... does that thread offer such ideas as I'm not looking to spend time looking at people's arguments one way or the other...just creative ideas!

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#4 of 16 Old 10-02-2013, 03:06 AM
 
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I don't think obedience is "natural", or even particularly desirable. I don't want my child to be an unquestioning, obedient adult so why would I train them to be a doormat as a kid? I think kids should ask questions, and challenge us, and challenge authority in general so that they can develop their own moral compass. If you're always told exactly how to behave without questioning, you only learn how to follow directions instead of learning real autonomy and empathy. The only parents I know who have obedient kids use fear (ie spanking), otherwise it's normal for them to question and challenge the rules.

This is an interesting read on the topic Since when did obedience become the epitome of good parenting?

 

Quote:
 "A child will push the boundaries if they have a more secure attachment. Children who have been responded to, led to believe - in a healthy way - that their voice is valued, that all they have to do is object and action will be taken - they will push boundaries. And this is really healthy behaviour. Compliance? They've learned there's no point arguing because their voice isn't valued."
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#5 of 16 Old 10-02-2013, 04:06 AM
 
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If I want my 3yo to answer me when I speak to her I find getting down to her level and touching her before I ask the question helps.

No idea how to get her to do something the first time I ask but I have How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen on the bedside table so, if I absorb some useful advice while I sleep I'll come back and update.
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#6 of 16 Old 10-02-2013, 08:32 PM
 
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It certainly hasn't produced "obedience" for us but we use Dr. Cohen's "couch time" (from playful parenting) instead of time outs, which is basically a conference on the couch about whatever behavior has occurred. We also have toyed with rewards charts but I'm not finding them very effective and have big reservations about them.

Wherever possible I try to use a logical or natural consequence. For instance, if he is jumping on his stool after I ask him not to, I take it away until he can learn not to jump on it, or if he spills something we clean it up together. But this doesn't work for everything because there is not always a consequence that feels natural or logical and I try not to force it.
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#7 of 16 Old 10-11-2013, 06:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MiddleRiverMama View Post

It certainly hasn't produced "obedience" for us but we use Dr. Cohen's "couch time" (from playful parenting) instead of time outs, which is basically a conference on the couch about whatever behavior has occurred. We also have toyed with rewards charts but I'm not finding them very effective and have big reservations about them.

Wherever possible I try to use a logical or natural consequence. For instance, if he is jumping on his stool after I ask him not to, I take it away until he can learn not to jump on it, or if he spills something we clean it up together. But this doesn't work for everything because there is not always a consequence that feels natural or logical and I try not to force it.


I like this. I'm not against time outs, but they don't really work for us because she treats them like a game--gets all giggly, refuses to stay in one place, does things on purpose and then requests time outs. So I have started just removing her from the scene, holding her, and trying to talk to her more seriously about why I don't like it when she throws food, grabs my glasses, etc. I'm not familiar with Dr. Cohen but sounds like someone we should check out!

 

We did use stickers as rewards for eating vegetables (she was having major constipation problems) and that was successful for a while.


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#8 of 16 Old 10-11-2013, 10:58 AM
 
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I don't want my DS to "obey" me nor do I want him to be "obedient."  He's not a dog he's a human being who happens to be 3.  Yes it's challenging but that's a part of learning and growing up.  There are times that he will listen to me.  The minute his foot lands on pavement and we happen to be in a parking lot.  He knows to hold my hand.  How he knows it?  I tell him "In a parking lot you have to hold mommy's hand we have to be careful of cars."  Teaching is better then dominating into submission. 

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#9 of 16 Old 10-12-2013, 09:59 AM
 
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I take a pretty different philosophy towards discipline...very Daoist/noncoercive. Works pretty good even on really tough kids in behavior classes. The core idea is to tap into a person's natural desire for autonomy and competence, and to use mistakes as a teachable moment for further growth.
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#10 of 16 Old 10-12-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lulu0910 View Post
 

I don't want my DS to "obey" me nor do I want him to be "obedient."  He's not a dog he's a human being who happens to be 3.

LOL, I don't even want my dog's to be "obedient"!  I'm a dog trainer and I HATE the use of this word because its become synonymous with dominance.  My dogs, and my clients dogs, are all very much independent thinkers each with their own quirks - and allowing them to be this way makes them better "behaved" because it has become a working relationship where no one is absolutely right and everyone is allowed to challenge.

 

I treat my daughter the exact same way, and trust me, she challenges plenty! But because I'm fair, when push comes to shove, she will listen when something is important enough because that's how a good relationship works. There has to be give and take for there to be respect.  There also needs to be flexibility.  Not every method works in every situation and if you limit yourself to one "tool" then you limit the response you will get.  Time outs, time ins, and sometimes just walking away and allowing the tantrum to occur.....they all have a place and time.

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#11 of 16 Old 10-20-2013, 04:40 AM
 
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I have to chime in to agree with the others:

 

Let's not forget that we are not only raising children but adults. In fact, these little people will be adults for most of their lives. Who they become as adults is shaped very much by how we treat them as children. So, is obedience really, truly a quality you want your child to have as an adult? Obedient adults are the ones who can't think for themselves, think critically, or form their own opinions. They can't see the deeper issues because they believe whatever they are told. They have a hard time standing up for themselves and allow themselves to be taken advantage of and walked all over.

 

I live in Germany. When Goethe (perhaps Germany's most famous writer who did much more than just write) was once asked what the worst German characteristic is, he answered "obedience". We all know what catastrophes came from the German propensity for obedience. There has been research into the popular means of child-rearing in this country just before the war, and links have been established. Granted, those methods back then were basically child abuse we're talking about, but the goal was absolute obedience and never questioning adults. I realize that's a very intense comparison but just to give you an idea, in the extremest of examples, what obedience can mean. Obviously I'm not saying your kid will commit genocide at someone else's orders....but you get the idea, I hope.

 

That said, I sympathize. I sometimes wish, in difficult moments with my 3 1/2 year old, that he were more obedient. But outside of those moments of struggle, I am glad he stubbornly insists on his way even when it isn't possible and it ends in a fight. I like the way he rebels against me, even though it sucks in those moments. In the bigger picture it means he's smart and doing what a three year old is developmentally supposed to do. Right on target. I hope he keeps his rebellious spirit his whole life. He'll need it! We live in a f*cked up world and those who just blindly follow along end up doing nothing more than contributing to the problems. It takes free thinkers to make positive contributions and solve the world's problems, or at the very least to find their own truth and happiness in this crazy world. I would worry if my child were complacent and just always did exactly what I wanted him to. Nor would I ultimately want to train him to do so. I rather look at it as trying to find ways we can work together and be partners, and positive ways to guide him and be the parent and the leader, with minimal struggle. It is so so hard! It's a work in progress, but I'm learning just like all parents learn, as we go along. I am grateful for the help I get from friends, family, experts and places like MDC. The already mentioned book Playful Parenting is wonderful and useful.  A website I also refer to a lot is: http://www.ahaparenting.com/  Loads of useful and effective strategies and tips for the toughest situations.

 

Best of luck finding ways to help your child willingly co-operate. Big difference from obedience. :thumb 

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#12 of 16 Old 10-20-2013, 08:04 AM
 
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As a practical tip, I find that it helps to create a "culture of yes" in the home. That includes the common advice to say yes to as many things as you possibly can, but also creating lots if opportunities for your child to say yes to you. Ask lots of desirable questions to help shift the vibe. Really seems to help us when my DD is in a defiant phase (like now!)
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#13 of 16 Old 10-20-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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Pj - That's a great website!  Thanks for posting the link!

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#14 of 16 Old 10-20-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sageowl View Post

I take a pretty different philosophy towards discipline...very Daoist/noncoercive. Works pretty good even on really tough kids in behavior classes. The core idea is to tap into a person's natural desire for autonomy and competence, and to use mistakes as a teachable moment for further growth.

 

I would be interested to hear more about how this works in real life, if you happen to drop in again sageowl.

 

Outright defiance is quite hard to deal with I'm finding with my just-over 3 year old. Please don't do that (or do do the safe/tidy/better alternative) just leads directly to doing the undesired thing, usually over and over again. Hmmmm!

 

Mind you - we are seemingly struggling all round at the moment. Have entered tantrum city big time and nobody seems to be able to calm down or manage anything very well at all at the moment. Parents included. Or...parents especially?

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#15 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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I have a very defiant, self-confident, dominant 3 1/2 yo boy.  He will certainly grow up to be the leader of whatever he chooses to do with his life.  He is my eighth child, so he seriously annoys my older children with his demands.  I'm so thankful that he wasn't my first child.  My job is to teach him how to use his powers for good and not for evil.  Sometimes that includes expecting first time obedience to those in authority over him because unless he becomes the Ruler of the World, there will be someone in authority over him.  I refuse to set him loose on society thinking he can challenge anyone and everyone he comes across and rules do not apply to him.  It's all about respecting the needs of others and not being selfish or treating other people like doormats.  Whether you call this obedience or cooperation doesn't really matter to me.  Every child is different; I even described children as snowflakes to my 11yo today when he was questioning why some of his siblings had to do certain chores while others did not.  So what works on my defiant dragon child may not work on a tender blossom child.

 

I expect first time obedience and I do train my children to obey first, ask questions later.  Cheerfully.  They obey right away, I cheerfully answer all their WHY questions afterward.  If they ask why first, I refuse to answer and remind them that they need to obey first.  The number one reason I've chosen to train/teach FTO is SAFETY.  My 3yo is not a perfect example of obedience and neither are my other kids.  But if I'm out with my 3yo alone, weeks away from delivering a baby, and he is running out in the road...I expect him to stop the minute I command STOP.  Someone may think I'm treating him like a dog, but really, I'd rather have a living child than suggest than he choose to listen to me and then watch him drive off in an ambulance.  My older kids (5yo and up) understand why I expect them to obey.  I give them all sorts of examples, both fictional and real, so they really understand why they need to listen to me and do what I ask them.  And it all starts when they are at that 2/3yo stage...

 

We practice.  We practice at home and make it a game, like Simon Says.  "Touch the wall.  Good job! Good listening!"  The older kids totally ham it up because they are "in" on why we are playing the game.  We practice at the store with short shopping trips.  "Walk behind me. Walk on the right side of the aisle so you don't block the other shoppers.  We walk like we drive. We take turns. We respect people. You aren't listening, you need to hold on to the cart until you can listen."  I ask him to pick up his pants, he'll say, "No."  I'll cheerfully say, "Say, 'Yes, Mama,'" and then I physically take his hand and put his pants in them and praise him for listening.  It drives him crazy, but it is so necessary.  We practice, practice, practice.  Staying cheerful and not being overbearing, angry, or negative really helps.  Even my tyrant would rather be praised than scolded-but he would never admit it!

 

Then when he throws the tantrum, I just walk away.  I absolutely refuse to get down in the mud with a tantruming 3yo.  If he takes a long enough breath, I can remind him that I will talk to him when he is finished screaming, but until then, he needs to scream where he isn't bothering people.  I put him in his room or we all just go somewhere else (the older kids will giggle at his attempts to rule the world).  I don't call it time out or give a number of minutes in his room.  I just tell him he has to stay until he is done screaming at people.  He is learning quickly enough that tantrums have no effect on bending the wills of the people around him and he misses out on fun stuff when he is not behaving.  I imagine the sibling peer pressure is harder to come by when the 3yo doesn't have houseful of siblings to use as examples;)

 

For Grover-my 3yo prefers to make bad choices and use hurtful words too (I hate you, you can't be my mom anymore, I WANT to be a bad boy, etc) and I guess I've just grown a super-thick skin over the years.  I always tell him, "You don't hate me, you are mad at me.  Say that.  Say, 'I'm mad at you Mama!"  I have a better sense of humor and perspective than I did when there was only one or two kids in the house.  I know this boy is madly in love with me and he couldn't survive without me.  And when he is acting his worst, he usually needs to eat something, sleep, or use the bathroom and I just need the patience to wait for him to come to that realization on his own...its all part of his defiance and need to control.  It took us a long time to get to the point where I could tell him to go potty without him freaking out and refusing to go until he peed his pants.  But now I can ask him if he needs to go (while he is jumping around holding his pants) and he will first say, "No, I'm just dancing," and two seconds later say, "I have to go potty! Take me potty!"

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#16 of 16 Old 11-01-2013, 08:50 AM
 
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Mum06 has great advice.  My son is 8 now, and when he was 2 or 3 my partner and I were speaking of the concept of "obedience" like many in this thread.  Now we have a different perspective.  We still don't think that constant, unreasoning obedience is a good goal, but we have a hard time with our kid who now resists or argues essentially every time we direct him to do anything.  We feel that his personality makes him unusually challenging in this regard--many other kids raised the same way would not be acting like this--but it is a real danger of being lackadaisical about obedience.

 

I feel it's important to pick your battles so that you can be serious about obedience in the situations where it truly matters a lot: child is hurting someone, immediate safety risk, or need to get on with things right now because of some time-dependent event like the tardy bell at school.  You can be more relaxed about other situations--but that doesn't mean you just ignore it when the kid does the opposite of what you said; instead, point out his choice of behavior and negotiate toward behavior that works for both of you.  I've had some success with the concept of "emergency" as illustrated by an early chapter of Little House on the Prairie in which it is crucial that Laura and Mary do what Ma says without question because their wagon is floating (crossing a river deeper than expected) and could tip if they don't keep still.  I do not overuse "This is an emergency.  Do exactly what I tell you." but it's great for times when, for instance, we're both barefoot and a glass has just smashed on the floor in between us and the stove where two pans of food are cooking.

 

For the more day-to-day stuff, where it's not super-crucial but I do want him to cooperate in doing what needs to be done, the strategy that's been most helpful to me is telling him once, allowing time for him to do it, then if he doesn't do it imposing a logical consequence right away--no repeated nagging, no warnings.  This gets him to see that I really mean it.  It gives him no opportunity to launch complicated negotiations.  It helps me to control my own behavior by ending the problem before I get really frustrated and angry.  Once the consequence has been imposed, then we are in a different place (we're no longer in the middle of a power struggle; I have demonstrated my authority; the effect of his choice is clear) from which we might negotiate that he can try again to do it right, or we might just move on to something else.  I wrote about this approach, with some specific examples, when he was 4: Second Chance.


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