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Old 01-17-2003, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I frequently would rather dd din't do something that isn't really worth making a big deal about, like eat paper or stand on a book or stand in her high chair or a million other things. Somethimes I just let ot go, but sometimes she seems to seek my opinion. I usually say something like, "please don't do x" and give her a reason. Most of the time ( ) she does it anyway. It feels a little like my words don't have any weight and I am sure it looks like I am being permissive when she does it anyway and I just shrug. I can now kind of understand why some parents make a big deal over little stuff. It feels like it is not a good idea to (using mainstream terminology here) let your child defy your words.

How do you resolve this type of situation? How do you differentiate between things you'd rather they not do and things they may not do? When the issue is something worth insisting upon, I do handle things gently and sucessfully (meaning no battle of wills or great disappointment on dd's part) over half the time. In the grey areas am I setting my self up for problem in future where my words don't hold weight?

I don't think I can let all these things just go and I also don't want to make a deal about them either. Really, so what if she eats a little paper? So what if she unrolls the toilet paper? So what if she is practicing her new balancing ability on a book? I also can't imagine putting a great deal of energy into committing to redirecting her in each of these types of situations every day. Also it is valuable for her to do each of these things...

Alright I am going to stop talking now and let you comment. Sorry this turned out so long....
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Old 01-17-2003, 08:46 PM
 
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Well, I have to say I wonder about this myself on a daily basis. Except for some things that never change, I feel like what ds can and can't do depends on my mood and how much sleep I got the night before! Also, sometimes I will tell him not to do something, and then think about it or realize why I don't want him to do it, and then say okay, go ahead. Of course, then I feel like he won't respect what I say because I change my mind.

Here's an example: We were at the playground yesterday, and he wasn't really into it, I think he was a little tired. He had played on the swings, and we were in the sand area playing with a ball. He made it clear he no longer wanted to play ball. So I decided we should head home. I picked him up and started to walk out, and he started twisting and whining that he wanted down. So I put him down and he went to the swings. I pushed him on the swings, and then he wanted off. So we went to leave again. Then he wanted in the sand. So I put him down. Then he wanted me to pick him up. Finally I just said, okay, we've tried the different activities, we're going home now. He threw a little mini fit on the way out, but I just kept walking and holding him and he got over it.

So each time I said we were leaving, but then decided to let him stay and try another activity, I felt like I was confusing him as to when I mean what I say and when I don't. But, I want to be flexible and considerate, and I feel like that's what I was trying to do. So it comes down to the uneasy fact that it really is on a case by case basis. And I just hope that ds gets that I will consider his input, maybe change my mind, but that there will be times when it is non negotiable.

I also want it to be clear that tantruming will never change my mind, but this is a little hard right now because he's not talking, so throwing a little fit is his only way of telling me how much he wants something that I'm saying no to. So right now this is also on a case by case basis, but leaning more towards the not goingn to happen side if he starts to really lose it.

He's awake - no time to reread and edit. Hope it makes sense.
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:02 PM
 
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i am very big on following through so either i dont say anything or i say something and inforce it even if half way through a battle i could care less if she was "standing on the highchair"

there are things we routinely say she cant do like standing in highchair or other things that are harmful, those things i always inforce. but i try and watch myself because i think if you find that you say things and your child ignores you and you dont make your words count you might have a huge problem when they take you for a pushover. i want them to love me but also respect me. my parents didt have to say a lot or yell or really ever punish me. when they said somethiing i knew that they ment buisness and i did it. there are times when you might not have time to explain why they shouldnt do something.....like when they are running for the street you cant stop and explain why you just better hope they listen without question when you tell them to stop.

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Old 01-17-2003, 09:02 PM
 
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I dont really care if ds eats paper or stands on books or unrolls the toilet paper. I did get tired of picking up kleenexes so i dont buy them anymore <shrug>.

He totally doesnt respond to verbal redirection at this point and i dont really expect him to--he's only 16 mos old and in that twilight zone between babyhood and toddlerhood. I'm practicing my non-violent communication techniques now and i figure that even if it doesnt 'work' now, i'm laying a solid foundation for later on.
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:41 PM
 
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I want to preface this by saying that you sound just like me. I have finally taken the attitude that we all know what catfood tastes like.: Did it kill us? No. Did we learn from it? Of course. So, if it really doesn't matter then it shouldn't matter. Let her experiment. This is how they learn about their world. My job is to keep her from danger while she explores.
I don't think that makes me permissive, I think it just makes the things I insist on carry more weight. She knows I'm not petty.
I was watching my aunt with her 1 year old the other day and she was on her case every little whipstitch and wouldn't even let her get on the floor or get messy or anything. I kept thinking how frusterating that must be to my baby cousin. How is she supposed to get about this business of learning without exploring a little. She is seriously gonna rebel early. She can already tell that my aunt is being trite.
As far as defying your words, she can't defy them if you rephrase them. I've been known to say, "Catfood tastes yucky," when I saw her go for it. That lets her know that I am the voice of experience. Then when she tried it and didn't like it that reinforced my authority on the matter. But I didn't rub it in. I lent her my support by letting her spit it out in my hand and giving her a drink of juice to get the taste out of her mouth. Now when I tell her it's yucky she remembers the taste, heeds the warning and puts it down. I didn't say don't eat that but got the desired effect. I can save, "Don't eat that!" for the paint in the garage or something big.

Did that help?
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Old 01-18-2003, 05:30 AM
 
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Thanks for posting this...I've been feeling the same way. There are so many little things I'd rather she didn't do (& I let her know), but if she really wants to, it's not a big deal. Like taking off her clothes in the house. I tell her she'll get cold & keep asking if she's cold & wants to put clothes on, but don't push it unless we're going out or someone is coming over.
It's hard when her dad asks her not to do something & she doesn't do it because she knows he will always enforce it, but he's not there all day for all the little things.
It is getting better since I noticed what was happening & tried to make a point of picking my battles.

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Old 01-24-2003, 05:23 AM
 
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I can totally relate to this. There are times when I'm just fried - and any intelligent means of handling something is too far out of reach! I have learned not only to pick my battles but also to create an environment where it doesn't really matter WHAT she does. Meaning, do I really care if an antique tea cup gets broken? Yes - I put it on the top shelf she has no way of reaching. Do I really care if a play tea set from Ikea gets broken? Nah - I know it probably will, we talk about it but it really doesn't mean anything to me (so long as she's safe).

When safefy is at stake, I use the word "danger" or tell her "I'm worried and scared" and then redirect. She gets it most of the time.

The other thing - I have found if I allow her the freedom and autonomy to explore without being on her back about every little thing - she quickly finds out for herself that whatever it is, isn't really all that cool! Again - saftey being the deciding factor.

It's really pretty difficult to expect that reasoning with a toddler will work, sometimes it seems to but it's far too inconsistent to be of much use at this point for us.

My best suggestion - decide the things that ARE important to you and stick to them...the rest is just fluff.
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Old 01-24-2003, 07:01 PM
 
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I make myself think through a 'no' before I say it. Half the time the only reason I had the 'no' instinct is some hang-up or assumption I've made about what's ok and what's not. He definately knows the difference when I say 'no' or 'stop' because of a safety issue vs. when I'm just lazy and trying to get him to chill out without getting up
I don't know how old your DD is, my DS is 22 months. When he is starting to do something, like tear up catalogs at grandma's house, I don't just ask him not to do it, I go over and get to eye level and tell him that we don't tear up catalogs, take them and put them somewhere out of reach and provide a substitute form of entertainment. He needs a combination of verbal and physical direction.
I think sometimes, depending on the age and personality of the child, you will set limits and they will experience some disappointment about that, and cry or have a tantrum. If you spend some time thinking about what your limits are in advance, you will sound much more clear about them when the time comes. It's also good to practice the redirection, substituion techniques so that they come naturally. You can do all kinds of creative things to diffuse a tense situation with a toddler.
I really like that book 'Becoming the parent you want to be' when it comes to discipline issues like this.
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Old 01-24-2003, 07:23 PM
 
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Quote:
I think sometimes, depending on the age and personality of the child, you will set limits and they will experience some disappointment about that, and cry or have a tantrum. If you spend some time thinking about what your limits are in advance, you will sound much more clear about them when the time comes. It's also good to practice the redirection, substituion techniques so that they come naturally.
Well said Sahara!!

I have really been trying to practice this myself. My son is almost 18 mos and at around 16 months I found my self saying, "No, please don't" etc way too often. Since then I really try to ask myself the question "If I allow him to do this now, will it really bother me if he does it another time??" For example, I don't really mind if unrolls all the toilet paper when he is in there with me since I can just roll it back up. But what if I come downstairs and find that he has unrolled it all and spread it all over the house?? Is it really going to bother me? If the answer is yes then I will keep trying to redirect to him every time he tries to unroll it. At this age he doesn't know the difference between it is OK now but it is not ok later. Like Sahara said if I can just figure out my limits in advance it is much easier. Since I have started trying to practice that we have had a much happier household. I am no longer constantly saying "No" and my son has more freedom to truly explore.

I also always wonder why it is so much easier (for both of us) when it comes to issues like carseats, scissors, standing in his high chair. The rule is the rule is the rule, no exceptions. I think it is because when it comes to safety issues I have never wavered even for a moment. My son knows it and I know it so we just do it. There may still be battles about it but they are of a much lower intensity than other tantrums.

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Old 01-27-2003, 03:23 AM
 
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My dd is 28 mths and I have slowly but surely learned that we both do best when I try to always follow thru with what I say. Not to say I am 100% perfect at this, but I try very hard to be consistent. But, it took me a long time and a lot of trial and errot to figure this out.
I will tell you that tantrums and frustrations on her part and mine wer escalating until I stopped letting her "get by" with something after I had said no.
She is pretty darn well behaved now! *And* she is very happy- more so than ever before!
I try to take a moment to stop and say to myself "is it worth a tantrum?", b/c with toddlers I think you can never be totally sure if they will throw one over your no's or not.
When she was, say, 18 mths, my no's were limited mostly to danger or untouchables that couldn't be removed easily. But at 28 mths I can say no to a lot more and she respects that.
Also, I often have to warn of a consequence- like if she got a pair of scissors I would tell her "Those are dangerous! Please hand them to me." And if she didn't immediately hand them over I would say "I am going to count to 3 and then I will have to take them", I used to hate when I heard parents counting, but I always always always follow thru with whatever is supposed to happen at 3, and dd thrives on it b/c it gives her control over her own body and actions, and she has a clear limit. Like if we are about to leave the park I give her a 5 minute warning, and then I say "ok, it's time to go- do you want to walk or do you want me to carry you?" She usually says "walk", but sometimes then she makes no move towards the car! So I say "Ok, we have to go now" and if still no movement I say "I will count to three and if you aren't walking by then I will have to carry you to the car." I am ver calm and cheerful, not threatening when I count. She usually moves on 2, and she delights in this "pushing to the limit"- so she gets her control and I get my compliance.
Anyway, at 20 mths there will likely be more just moving the kid or object or whatever, but I totally believe that the major difference in well-behaved kids and not so well-behaved kids is whether their parents follow thru with what they say.
It's not how many no's you say, it's whether you follow thru with them!
So I say try to take a moment to think if you really want your child to stop doing such and such, and then follow thru with whatever you say, even if they start screaming and you think "this is not that big a deal, I shouldn't have said that."
Kids will keep pushing boundaries, but I feel there will be far fewer tantrums as they get older and the kids will feel more secure if they know their parents will always follow thru.
Just my 2 cents!
Also, it takes a lot of practice to train yourself to be consistent- it's hard work but it does get easier!
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Old 01-28-2003, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so, nanner, what do you say on the medium stuff? The stuff that you're not going to say no to, but that you still don't want her doing?
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Old 01-29-2003, 03:20 AM
 
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Hey grumo! Can you give me an example? I am unsure of what you are asking.
I try to categorize everything into "I can deal with her doing that", or "I can't deal with her doing that".
There are always things I would rather her not do but they aren't worth saying no over- like getting play doh all over the place. I would like to keep it contained, but for me it is not worth enforcing the rule of play doh stays only on the table, so I just let her get it all over the place!
Is that what you mean?
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Old 01-31-2003, 07:12 PM
 
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We've gone through differing stages on this.

Mostly, I am pretty permissive in that a lot of things don't bother me. The advantage of that is that when I do say 'no,' he usually respects it. (I actually don't say 'no' I use the PET type of method ... which, incidentally, led to him declaring, "nervous" when I gasped as a chair he was standing in leaned. Yes, that's right, it made Mommy nervous!).

BUT, my son is now 22 months old and he understand more and more. Not all 22 month-olds are this way, but he does seem to be willing to agree to a lot of confines. Like when we play with something like flour/oats, I ask him to keep it on the sheet. I don't freak if it gets off, but I ask him to keep it on the sheet, and he does try to do so.

There are very rare occasions when I ask him to wear a bib, for instance, and that doesn't always fly. And there are times when something that normally isn't a big deal becomes enough of a deal (due to having to make it to an appointment or something like that) that I request that we compromise by taking an item with us or playing with it when we get home or whatever.

So, mostly I stick with safety as the rule. When my son was in a period where he was really enjoying his new ability to walk and would take the flour over to the sofa and dump it on the sofa, I just quit agreeing to that activity. We now have green grout in several spots in our bathroom thanks to my learning that sheets don't protect the floor from fingerpaint when he was in that stage! But now he's old enough to be able to compromise on having the fun and room to explore while staying within a kind of gray area that keeps paint on the paper or sink area (where he paints) but not on the doors.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2003, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking, Nanner, (and everyone else) for just the example I want to use.

This morning we were waiting for a ride to pick us up and I was all set to go, waiting in a chair by the window. It was a trying morning to say the least, our basement leaked some water last night and I woke up at 5:45 and tromped through a puddle to discover it. Needless to say, I was up for the day after cleaning it up. I spent I lot of time worrying about how we're going to find someone to repair the problem, considering people all over the city are probably having the same problem, except our basement is living space!

So by the time I'd gotten us ready up, fed, dressed, ready and now waiting I was pretty happy with where my butt was parked. I wasn't in a bad or worn out mood, but when dd wanted to put a chunk of the buttery bagel into our bag halfway across the room, I really didn't want her too. I wasn't about to tell her no, or put up the energy it takes to disttract her at that moment. If those were my only options, I'd just let her do it. Instead, I told her, pleaese don't put that bagel into the bag. She looked at me, thought about what I said and wandered away with her bagel. Great.

The dilemma comes when she doesn't follow my direction. If it were something worth following through on, I'd get up, and talk about how great bagels taste and bla bla bla. But when it is something that doesn't really matter I don't do anything. i don't even repeat myself. i just let it go. But I at least have to throw the please don't out there in the hopes that she will follow my direction. Do others think that I am not following through, and that i am setting myself up for problems later?

Do others really not mention some of that small stuff at all?
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:06 PM
 
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I was justing reading PET by Thomas Gordon and he mintions that it is a fact that all the same behaviors are not always met with the same amount of acceptability. What I mean is that sometimes it is OK to bang on drums, but when the parent has a headache, it is not. This makes humans inherently inconsistent. Also, acceptability of behaviors differs between parents and varies with location (it is OK to stand on chairs in the kitchen, but not the dining room in our house). This made me feel better aobut the fact that I am not always consistent either.
So I think it is worth it to say something whenever you want to correct something, but sometimes the behavior just falls ina grey area that can swing either way. The kids will figure it out (I think) but it may take more experimenting. ALso, I always say thank you if DD follows my verbal redirect. So I reinforce the positive behavior. If she doesn't, I repeat myself.

The bottem line is that I have no idea whether it will be a huge problem, and no doubt it will depend on the individual child, but I got the impression from Gordon that that is just a fact of life. You may want to check out this booklet he put out called "what every paren should know"
http://www.gordontraining.com/media/WEPSK.pdf
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Old 02-01-2003, 05:25 AM
 
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When "I'd rather dd didn't do something" but it's not a biggie I really think about my words. With the bagle incident I may have said something like, "bagles stay in the kitchen" or, "food doesn't belong in mommy's purse." If she goes ahead and puts it in the bag after that, she hasn't really disobeyed me, she just put the bagle somewhere it doesn't belong. I think it's all about making your words match your actions. I also try to limit the "don'ts" and "nos" from our daily interactions and replace them with sentences that are more descriptive. For example, if dd was about to put the bagle in my purse, instead of asking her not to I might tell her where she can put the bagle or ask her if she is finished with the bagle or ask her if I can have a bite or something like that. I try to be as consistent as possible with my words without being on constant patrol.
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:49 PM
 
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What might be another example for you came up in our household this morning:

My son likes to play with sieves. He particularly likes to bang them on the floor, sofa, etc. So, my sieve was essentially totally smushed-up and no longer usable as a sieve. I thought that a $10 investment in a toy like that was worth it. But today, he discovered my replacements, at $15 and $10 each, and started banging them.

Since he's old enough to understand now, we asked him to be gentle with those sieves and then retrieved his sieve, offering that if he felt like really banging hard, he could bang that one instead.

But it was definitely a never-neverland situation: On the one hand, banging the sieve doesn't hurt him and doesn't hurt us physically. On the other hand, I don't want to keep replacing sieves. Plus, when he was younger, he just didn't understand (and then, we either would've let him enjoy it forever or would've let him enjoy it and then put it where he couldn't get to it and used it in secret, so to speak, etc.). Now, he's old enough to understand that some things need to be played with gently and carefully ("dgen-tul" & "cah-ful" in his words!).

Anyway, I find these kinds of situations are a little complex (like spirited toddlerhood in general!) cropping up more and more and that the excessive lenience I once had is being kind of tempered by the fact that I know that he now has the ability to explore while also respecting that not everything in his environment is available for destruction!

Thanks for this post. I find it very helpful and interesting.
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:22 PM
 
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I'm at the point where if I don't want something destroyed, it has to be hidden completely. If I can "live" with it being destroyed I just try to set it up out of reach (although wtih the discovery of moving chairs around the house recently there is no such thing as out of reach anymore)
I had found myself saying no every five seconds and I was as sick of me as I'm sure they were sick of me. It now goes down into a few catagories. If it is something "I'd rather you not do" because it entails more work for me (like dumping the wipecloths everywhere, or getting out the silverware, or, tissues, you get the idea) I try to not say no, and physically remove them from the area (if I have a free hand to do so) and sit doqwn and get them interested in something else (last nights favorite, Mr. Potatohead). Or there's things like, furniture climbing, and I could say to please get down a million times and I'm just ignored. When I get a moment I will do the same thing. It's hard for them though,I think we all have cabin fever and they want to run and climb, etc...I do make it an absolute no if I have the baby in hisbasket sleeping and could get jumped on (there's the inconsistancy dilemna!)
Then theres the absolute danger catagory, where no means no and it is a matter of extreme safety whether they realize it or not, whether they like it or not. Like don't play with the outlets (They can get the outlet covers off so putting them back on is like asking them to keep playing with the outlets : )
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Old 02-02-2003, 01:12 PM
 
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grumo,
I think you are doing a great job, and it sounds like you really do know all the tricks. I love what you said about inconsistency, nuggestmom, it's so true! I think social interactions are very complex sometimes, and it's impossible to simplify them all for our toddlers. I trust that eventually DS will understand that it's ok to run around our house yelling at the top of his lungs sometimes, but that it's not ok at the grocery store.
Honestly I think the biggest thing at this age is that toddlers won't consistently follow verbal direction, you have to follow through with the physical back-up most of the time, distraction or removal or whatever. If you are too tired to follow through with the 'no', I'd memorize some lines that won't create a power struggle, so you can just about say them in your sleep
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