What is the right response? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 06-30-2008, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need a non-emotional, non-judgemental, neutral response for when I have to make DSD do something that she doesn't want to do (brush her teeth, for example) and she replies with "I wish I was with my mom/I hate this house." I know she does this at both houses. I know it has nothing to do with me, it's just that she doesn't want to brush her teeth. I know that most times, her mom would make her brush her teeth, too.

I basically need a canned response to repeat ad nauseum every time she says this. If I just have the same old boring response, I think she'll stop saying it because it won't push any buttons.

Suggestions?

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#2 of 25 Old 06-30-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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I would just say that you hear her, but that isn't possible at this moment. You could also just ignore it altogether. That is probably what I would do. It is one of those things that is all about attention and pushing buttons. Try not to give it any.

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#3 of 25 Old 06-30-2008, 11:41 PM
 
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Maybe the same thing I do with my dd. "Yes, I know. Toothpaste."

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#4 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Maybe the same thing I do with my dd. "Yes, I know. Toothpaste."
This was what I was about to write, too! Perfect.

Although, in reality, from me, it might occasionally come out like:
"Yes, I know, everything is better over there. Now brush your teeth."
"Yes, I know, at Mommy's house we let our teeth turn black. But here we brush."
"Yes, I know. It's rough having such mean parents who make you clean your teeth. Now brush."


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#5 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 09:11 AM
 
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My DSD does the same thing for everything she doesn't want to do... eat dinner, brush her teeth, go to the bathroom on the actual toilet. And all the time it's, "I want to go to my Mommie's house to do this..."

We just tell her it's her time here and this is how we do things here. *shrugs*

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#6 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 09:20 AM
 
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We get that here too. I sometimes reply with "Should we call mommy and see if she thinks you should brush your teeth? I know she tells you to brush your teeth beore bed too."
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#7 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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We get that here too. I sometimes reply with "Should we call mommy and see if she thinks you should brush your teeth? I know she tells you to brush your teeth beore bed too."
We get this too, and a variation on this response is usually what comes out.

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#8 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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We get that here too. I sometimes reply with "Should we call mommy and see if she thinks you should brush your teeth? I know she tells you to brush your teeth before bed too."
I've done exactly that before, and it worked perfectly (as in, she quit fussing for her mom and stopped that tactic for the time being), but then I posted about it here and the Mommy Police jumped all over me for it.

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#9 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 10:20 AM
 
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I've done exactly that before, and it worked perfectly (as in, she quit fussing for her mom and stopped that tactic for the time being), but then I posted about it here and the Mommy Police jumped all over me for it.
While I don't think the "Mommy Police" should have "jumped all over" you for it, I do think that that particular response should be avoided for a number of reasons.

First, if the goal is indeed to convey the message that house "rules" are to be obeyed, there is absolutely no need to bring the other house's rules into the mix. Even when those rules are the same.

Second, there is too much scope for it to veer out of control into a not-so-good place:

What would you do if the child decided to call you on it and ask to call the other parent? Would you really want to follow through on your offer? If you don't follow through, you undermine yourself.

But if you do follow through, it could work but that comes with risks too:

What if the rules turn out to be different? Not over the first "issue" so much but over a future issue once you've set the precedent of "you only have to do it if it's required at the other house as well"?

What if one day, for some reason (no matter how irrational), the other parent gets a bee up their bonnet and refuses to "back you up"? Or actively decides to undermine you even if the rule in question is theoretically the same in both houses? Then, you're really up a creek. And you've handed someone with a bee up their bonnet a whole heck of a lot of control over your house rules...

Honestly, I think the best option is some variation on a completely neutral, no reference to the other house, as close to ignoring it as possible: "Ok. Now, brush your teeth [or whatever]."

As tempting as they are (and boy are they tempting! DD's pulled that one on me once or twice), sarcastic replies are probably best avoided, too. If only because they show that a button got pushed. (And because in the heat of the moment they could/might cross the line into snark about the other house.)
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#10 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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We get the "Mommy doesn't make me." or "Mommy doesn it this way or that way." and similar. Drives me and my Hubby crazy. Our "canned response" is, "Mommy makes the rules at Mommy's house, me and Daddy make the rules at our house. You're at our house. Brush your teeth."

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#11 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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While I don't think the "Mommy Police" should have "jumped all over" you for it, I do think that that particular response should be avoided for a number of reasons.

First, if the goal is indeed to convey the message that house "rules" are to be obeyed, there is absolutely no need to bring the other house's rules into the mix. Even when those rules are the same.

Second, there is too much scope for it to veer out of control into a not-so-good place:

What would you do if the child decided to call you on it and ask to call the other parent? Would you really want to follow through on your offer? If you don't follow through, you undermine yourself.

But if you do follow through, it could work but that comes with risks too:

What if the rules turn out to be different? Not over the first "issue" so much but over a future issue once you've set the precedent of "you only have to do it if it's required at the other house as well"?

What if one day, for some reason (no matter how irrational), the other parent gets a bee up their bonnet and refuses to "back you up"? Or actively decides to undermine you even if the rule in question is theoretically the same in both houses? Then, you're really up a creek. And you've handed someone with a bee up their bonnet a whole heck of a lot of control over your house rules...

Honestly, I think the best option is some variation on a completely neutral, no reference to the other house, as close to ignoring it as possible: "Ok. Now, brush your teeth [or whatever]."

As tempting as they are (and boy are they tempting! DD's pulled that one on me once or twice), sarcastic replies are probably best avoided, too. If only because they show that a button got pushed. (And because in the heat of the moment they could/might cross the line into snark about the other house.)
Yeah, I know, and I actually agree with you. I would do the other one now, as I mentioned in a previous post. But the temptation to sarcasm is always there, and I'm only human..

Nonetheless, the time I used it, it worked great. And it was a purely sarcastic response on my part, as I knew she'd never take me up on it (she was 3). I never would have offered if I thought she'd have wanted to call. I think the context was similar to what pink said: dsd was refusing to get dressed, saying she wanted her mommy. So I just volunteered that we could call Mommy and see if Mommy agreed that she should run around naked all day. It's not the best response, as it comes from a place of pure sarcasm, but in that particular instance it produced exactly the desired result: she stopped fussing about her mom, got dressed, and hasn't given me a single "I want my Mommy" in the several months since.

The key, I think, it either case, is just to make clear that you're not really reacting -- just the picture of nonchalant -- so it's obvious your buttons were not pushed. If they're not getting a response then it becomes less exciting.

She still does little versions of this to me: "My mommy does [x, y, z] better" but I just say, "I know" and we move on. Except one time, and this was so odd, as she loves to make these silly comparisons: Mommy clips her nails better and Mommy folds her shirts better and whatnot. But this one time last week I was putting ponytails in her hair. I usually don't do those -- I do her hair differently. So she says "My mommy does it faster." I laughed and said, "I bet she does. You know why?" And she perked up, "Why?" I said, "because Mommy has more practice. This is how she does your hair. If I gave you lots of ponies I'd get faster too." And then, inexplicably, the child says, "Yeah, because you're much more smarter than her." (!!!) I can't remember what I might have said next, but I think I just sat there in stunned silence and did her hair.

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#12 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 11:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
We get the "Mommy doesn't make me." or "Mommy doesn it this way or that way." and similar. Drives me and my Hubby crazy. Our "canned response" is, "Mommy makes the rules at Mommy's house, me and Daddy make the rules at our house. You're at our house. Brush your teeth."
We don't get too much of that, but when we do that's the reply. They've started to try to work this -- it's pretty funny. DSS actually told us about a violent movie he wanted to watch but that Mommy won't let him. So he was hoping, you see, since we have different rules, that we'd let him see this. It was a nice try, of course, but actually we're the stricter ones about many things, including movies, so his ploy didn't work.

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#13 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
We get the "Mommy doesn't make me." or "Mommy doesn it this way or that way." and similar. Drives me and my Hubby crazy. Our "canned response" is, "Mommy makes the rules at Mommy's house, me and Daddy make the rules at our house. You're at our house. Brush your teeth."
We have done this response lots too.

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#14 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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We usually say the same thing, about how we have our rules and mom has her rules. Most recently, she told us her mom said she was too big for booster seat, and we told her that at our house she still needed one, as well as measuring her and showing her how tall she had to be to be out of the booster seat. She accepted that with no problem.

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#15 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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My SD is a bit older so this may or may not work in your situation for right now, but we acknowledge that her MomState Home Rules are different from her OurState Home Rules and that adjusting from one to the other can be difficult at times but that she does a GREAT job of adjusting. By tying it to the state (suppose you could do city or description of the house) we try to take it out of the Mom vs. Dad dynamic which can get judgmental at times.

Also, I try really hard to notice and compliment her when she does things OUR way at OUR home.

For example, in her MomState Home, kids are told to lean over their plates at dinner so they don't spill food on their clothes. In her OurState Home, we tell her that now that she is getting to be a young lady, we'd like her to try to sit up straight at the table and bring her fork to her mouth.

Then she herself mentioned that at MomState Home, the rules make sense since there are more little kids around, and the OurState Home rule makes sense since she has more freedom and responsibilities here.
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#16 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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Our kids are done with this by now (seemed to be a 4-8 year old thing), but we used a two-step response system: acknowledge, repeat. Acknowledge the feelings, repeat the instruction.

Me: SS, it's time to get ready for bed.

SS: That's so stupid! Mom lets me stay up as late as I want!

Me: That must be fun. Go get ready for bed.

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#17 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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We usually say the same thing, about how we have our rules and mom has her rules. Most recently, she told us her mom said she was too big for booster seat, and we told her that at our house she still needed one, as well as measuring her and showing her how tall she had to be to be out of the booster seat. She accepted that with no problem.
In most cases, I would say that whatever parents' house the child is currently in, is the rules the child should be following, but sometimes when it's a safety issue, you need to take it further, you need to step in. Seatbelts would be an issue that I'd consider urgent enough to step in for. In NY, you need to be 8 years old AND 80 pounds AND a certain height (I can't think of off the top of my head) before you can be without a booster seat. My stepdaughter is 7 (this has been going on since she was 5) and currently 65 pounds (She was 40 pounds when she was 5.). My stepdaughter's Mother has many times put her in a car without a booster seat (not emergencies, just, she didn't want to move the booster seat to another car) and has even driven her in the front seat and without a seatbelt twice. My Hubby and I consider this a potentially life threatening situation, so we've had to resort to playing hardball. We sat down at the computer with my stepdaughter and showed her the laws regarding the booster seats and the rest. We were as nice as we could be about it- "Well, maybe you're Mother doesn't realize what the laws are, but if a police officer pulls her over when you're not in a booster seat or a seatbelt or sitting in the front seat, your Mother could get in big trouble with the police officer." My stepdaughter has been very adamnant about being properly buckled in since then.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#18 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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"Different strokes for different folks"
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#19 of 25 Old 07-01-2008, 11:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
In most cases, I would say that whatever parents' house the child is currently in, is the rules the child should be following, but sometimes when it's a safety issue, you need to take it further, you need to step in. Seatbelts would be an issue that I'd consider urgent enough to step in for. In NY, you need to be 8 years old AND 80 pounds AND a certain height (I can't think of off the top of my head) before you can be without a booster seat. My stepdaughter is 7 (this has been going on since she was 5) and currently 65 pounds (She was 40 pounds when she was 5.). My stepdaughter's Mother has many times put her in a car without a booster seat (not emergencies, just, she didn't want to move the booster seat to another car) and has even driven her in the front seat and without a seatbelt twice. My Hubby and I consider this a potentially life threatening situation, so we've had to resort to playing hardball. We sat down at the computer with my stepdaughter and showed her the laws regarding the booster seats and the rest. We were as nice as we could be about it- "Well, maybe you're Mother doesn't realize what the laws are, but if a police officer pulls her over when you're not in a booster seat or a seatbelt or sitting in the front seat, your Mother could get in big trouble with the police officer." My stepdaughter has been very adamnant about being properly buckled in since then.


thanks-this just happened this weekend, and my dp just sent her mom an email with the appropriate info., which will hopefully solve the problem. Otherwise, we will figure out what to do next to ensure that she is riding in an appropriate seat. In PA it is 8 years old OR 80 lbs OR 4'9". So we only have another year that we could theoretically enforce the use of a booster seat at dsd's mom's house. We measured dd and told her how much taller she needs to be before she can be out of the seat. Telling dsd that the rule was different at our house was just a temporary explanation until the problem could be addressed.

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#20 of 25 Old 07-02-2008, 12:22 AM
 
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Both my xh and I have used all of these, and there are no steps involved. Dd's evolved a wonderful face-saving measure which involves stomping and shouting that she's only going to do it this time and next time she's not going to listen.

I find sarcasm usually makes things worse, now that dd is old enough to be sensitive to it. So -- tempted as I may be sometimes -- I refrain.
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#21 of 25 Old 07-02-2008, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is very helpful. I think you guys are right - the one-word acknowledgement and then repeating what she should be doing is probably the best tactic.

Things have been a little frustrating around here lately - Every. Little Thing is like pulling teeth. It probably doesn't help that I am WAY less tolerant of attitude than DF is (and maybe her mom? Not to hear her tell it, but I can't really say). I'm just not going to be treated in a disrepectful way in my own home, not by anyone. Granted, she treats DF worse than she treats me, but I think that is just because he lets it go on too long before correcting her.

It's getting to be a problem, though. She hits/raises her hand to hit DF fairly regularly when she gets mad. In the last few weeks, there have been a few instances when she has hit DS (who is 16 mo) or hurt the dog in anger. She also told DF and I that she wanted to kill us because she didn't want to leave the park.

It's going to be a long summer.

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#22 of 25 Old 07-02-2008, 01:24 AM
 
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Ah, those sound really difficult! But, I have to add my bio kids are more apt to these tactics at the moment than my stepkids. They really love to say - "but Mo-om, we get to do x,y,z" at DAD's house!", while looking furtively at me out the corner of their eyes.

What I want to say is, "wow, you're so lucky you even get to do it at all!" But I usually just say, "hmm, how nice." and move on.

Also, to the above poster - I think those are just normal kid things, maybe aggravated by stepkidness, but still normal kid stuff nonetheless. I would take it as a sign that she feels really comfortable and accepted around you. Not that it's ok!
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#23 of 25 Old 07-05-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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I need a non-emotional, non-judgemental, neutral response for when I have to make DSD do something that she doesn't want to do (brush her teeth, for example) and she replies with "I wish I was with my mom/I hate this house." I know she does this at both houses. I know it has nothing to do with me, it's just that she doesn't want to brush her teeth. I know that most times, her mom would make her brush her teeth, too.

I basically need a canned response to repeat ad nauseum every time she says this. If I just have the same old boring response, I think she'll stop saying it because it won't push any buttons.

Suggestions?
I use the response
"thank you for sharing that with me now we need to *insert activity*" Non emotional, they get heard and you can use it for everything

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#24 of 25 Old 07-05-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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I ususally respond by acknowleging the underlying reason, not the stated reason. For example, if she doesn't want to brush her teeth and says she wishes she was at mommy's I would probably say "I understand you don't want to brush your teeth, but it's important to keep your body healthy. Do you want fruity toothpaste or strawberry tonight?"

My husband is GREAT at changing the tone of the interaction to avoid the power struggle, so he might say something like "If you don't want to brush your teeth yet, maybe it is time to brush your belly button first!" then, with gusto, start brushing her belly button instead... he can usually laugh both of them out of most any situation before it becomes a struggle.

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#25 of 25 Old 07-05-2008, 05:38 PM
 
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My husband is GREAT at changing the tone of the interaction to avoid the power struggle, so he might say something like "If you don't want to brush your teeth yet, maybe it is time to brush your belly button first!" then, with gusto, start brushing her belly button instead... he can usually laugh both of them out of most any situation before it becomes a struggle.
I do that, too--or I let SD spit into the bathtub or toilet, which she finds hilarious.

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