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#31 of 56 Old 01-04-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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For me it's like this: Will you please get mommy a spoon?
No.
ok. Then I get it myself. I tell them that it's wrong to not help me if I ask for help.
Later, when they want something and I say no, they understand what it is to want help and not get it. We may have to run through this scenario once or twice more then they get the point. When a child gives rejection they don't understand what they are doing. Once the receive it in return they get the point rather quickly. I really believe that teaching children like this opens up a whole new way of perceiving things. They are able to understand it in a clearer manner.

 

 

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#32 of 56 Old 01-04-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
For me it's like this: Will you please get mommy a spoon?
No.
ok. Then I get it myself. I tell them that it's wrong to not help me if I ask for help.
Later, when they want something and I say no, they understand what it is to want help and not get it. We may have to run through this scenario once or twice more then they get the point. When a child gives rejection they don't understand what they are doing. Once the receive it in return they get the point rather quickly. I really believe that teaching children like this opens up a whole new way of perceiving things. They are able to understand it in a clearer manner.
hmmm...i'm hoping this isn't going to sound snarky and get me all moderated upon...but i feel like this method is kind of vengeful in a way.

It's not necessarily wrong to NOT help someone when they need help. Sometimes it's perfectly appropriate not to help someone, especially if the helper is not in a position to help, but just feels obligated to. Then they put their own well-being and needs/wants in second place, just so they can help someone.

Also, to say no, just because someone said no to you, seems kind of vindictive.

Does this work for you? Exactly how are the children expressing that they understand the point? Are you sure that they are not just feeling obligated to help you. Like you won't be there for them unless they do help you everytime??

I'm just having a hard time trying to imagine this situation NOT being manipulative.

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#33 of 56 Old 01-04-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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This thread made me realize that when I need a favor from DS, even if there is really not an option to say no, I still ask him. However those times when I really need him to do it ("Could you please run downstairs and fetch me a roll of toilet paper?" comes to mind) he will do it for me. He doesn't want to leave me in the lurch when I really need him and it feels right to ask him nicely (as I would anyone else) rather than issue an order.

I get that in some cases phrasing it as a directive makes it easier, though. Obviously if my son said "No" when I asked him to get the TP I'd need to reevaluate!
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#34 of 56 Old 01-04-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Whether you phrase it as "asking" or "telling" there is always the possibility that a kid will say "No."

If that happens, I might describe what happened. "Hm. I asked you to get me a spoon and you said "No" - and let that statement hang there a minute.

When they hear it like that, they tend to reconsider and do whatever it was.

And I don't have a problem with expecting my kids to do what I ask. No worries that they'll be set up for being taken advantage of by strangers because they do what their (known and loved) parents tell them.
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If I ask, I recognize that "no" is a reasonable answer to a request. Therefore, I only ask if I will accept "no". If there's not a choice, I'd say, "Honey, get a spoon for me please." No asking.
Both these things. My two year old gets more leeway, but my seven year old realizes that we work together as a team. I tend not to ask unreasonable things, and she knows I'll drop just about anything to give her a quick hand, so it all evens out.

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#35 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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If I ask, I recognize that "no" is a reasonable answer to a request. Therefore, I only ask if I will accept "no". If there's not a choice, I'd say, "Honey, get a spoon for me please." No asking.
This.

If I ask a favor of anyone, I need to be able to accept "No" as an answer. Makeing it a question or request leaves open in anyone's mind that there are more than one acceptable answers, and a child, especially, doesn't have a sense that it's socially inappropriate in most cases to not help someone who needs it. So, if "No" isn't an option, I don't make it a request, but a requirement. Intead of "Are you willing to...?" it is phrased "Here are the children's plates, son, please put them on the table for me. Thank you!" or "This evening your job is to count out 6 forks to put on the table".
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#36 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 03:26 AM
 
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I am working on watching how much I ask them to do and how *I* respond when they ask *ME* to do something.

because of course if *I* get to say "NO, I don't want to" why can't they?!

Can I do it myself? Then maybe I should.

There's always the "It's time to pick up your toys" instead of "Can you" or "Will you" That seems to help.

Oh and in our house, nothing gets--espeically dd but sometimes ds--to move faster than, after hearing the "NO" "Oh, well, 'other one' Will you please..."

Sometimes "Who wants to...XYZ" works too. I'll usually get one to answer.

(what I *hate* is what my mom does, "DD, will you pick up these toys? DS won't do it..." grrrrrr)

It depends on what it is. A refusal to do something for me that I can darn well do myself will probably get me to do it myself. A refusal to do something like clean up a mess you made with your toys is likely to make those toys disappear if I have to pick them up myself.

Mental note: :note "start telling kids more that we need to all work together as a family to...'keep our house clean', 'get dinner on the table' " whatever it is that I'm trying to get them to help with...........reason might help...

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#37 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 04:33 AM
 
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What's wrong with saying "NO." I think everyone should learn how to say "NO."

When ones drug addicted cousins asks if he can barrow $50, "NO" is a very good answer.

When the guy your going on a first date with wants to take it all the way in the back seat, "NO" is a very good answer.

When the telemarketer from so bizarre charity that you've never ever heard of calls and asks for a donation, "NO" is a very good answer.

When randomly pulled over by the police and they ask if they can look in your trunk, "NO" is a legally acceptable answer, and everyone should know they have that right.

When you in the middle of typing a post on MDC and your DP asks you to make him/her a sandwich, "NO" is a very good answer.

Embrace the power of "NO!" and do not deny it to your children.

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#38 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 08:58 AM
 
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What's wrong with saying "NO." I think everyone should learn how to say "NO."

When ones drug addicted cousins asks if he can barrow $50, "NO" is a very good answer.

When the guy your going on a first date with wants to take it all the way in the back seat, "NO" is a very good answer.

When the telemarketer from so bizarre charity that you've never ever heard of calls and asks for a donation, "NO" is a very good answer.

When randomly pulled over by the police and they ask if they can look in your trunk, "NO" is a legally acceptable answer, and everyone should know they have that right.

When you in the middle of typing a post on MDC and your DP asks you to make him/her a sandwich, "NO" is a very good answer.

Embrace the power of "NO!" and do not deny it to your children.
But as a pp pointed out - if I ask my seven year old to please get me a diaper for her younger sister, that's a reasonable request, and part of being a contributing member of our family. The above scenarios are different, and require different levels of thought... And FTR, there are at least a couple scenarios you've listed that I would have said 'yes' to.

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#39 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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I dont' mind my dd saying "no" because people aren't always able to do what I'd like them to do, and she's a person. She sometimes has very good reasons for not being able to do things. I just ask her why she can't. If it doesn't seem like a fair reason to me, I say, "I can't do two things at once and I really need help." She's reasonable and if she knows I really need something and if she doesn't have a good reason to not do it, she does help. She is a helpful person and likes to help. This is not an area where we have problems, and she is not an easy child by a long shot.
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#40 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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But as a pp pointed out - if I ask my seven year old to please get me a diaper for her younger sister, that's a reasonable request, and part of being a contributing member of our family. The above scenarios are different, and require different levels of thought... And FTR, there are at least a couple scenarios you've listed that I would have said 'yes' to.
i hear you in this respect...but I feel like children have to learn how to use the word no. And saying it even to a reasonable request is part of that.

I can't quite put into words what I am thinking. But it seems like a child who is ALWAYS compliant would have a harder time saying no in an appropriate situation than a child who has used the word and seen it's effect on people and knows what to expect.

This is coming from a former VERY compliant child. With a very non-compliant sibling. As we became adults he found himself in a lot fewer awkward situations, and actually with a lot more friends. Of course there are other things different about our personalities...but for me at least, I know certain areas of my life would be a lot easier for me had I learned to say NO at an earlier age.

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#41 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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i hear you in this respect...but I feel like children have to learn how to use the word no. And saying it even to a reasonable request is part of that.

I can't quite put into words what I am thinking. But it seems like a child who is ALWAYS compliant would have a harder time saying no in an appropriate situation than a child who has used the word and seen it's effect on people and knows what to expect.
Absolutely, I agree with you as well. It has to be a fine line between the two. And I have to admit, I do secretly get a kick when my two year old yells 'NO YOU GO MAMA!' when she's being defiant. As well as seeing my seven year old stand up to her friends when she's not comfortable with something...

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#42 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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When I ask my child something, it's because he or she has the right to say "no". If it's something that the child HAS TO do, then I don't ask him or her to do it, I tell him or her to do it. "DS, please empty the dishwasher." means that he needs to empty the dishwasher. "DS, could you please empty the dishwasher?" means that I'd prefer if he emptied it, but if he's busy doing something else, it's OK with me if I empty it myself this time.

I recently caught myself asking when I should have been telling, and I apologized to DS for being unclear (along with telling him that he needs to do that chore right now.)

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#43 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
This thread made me realize that when I need a favor from DS, even if there is really not an option to say no, I still ask him. However those times when I really need him to do it ("Could you please run downstairs and fetch me a roll of toilet paper?" comes to mind) he will do it for me. He doesn't want to leave me in the lurch when I really need him and it feels right to ask him nicely (as I would anyone else) rather than issue an order.

I get that in some cases phrasing it as a directive makes it easier, though. Obviously if my son said "No" when I asked him to get the TP I'd need to reevaluate!
I do this to. I find phrasing things as questions more respectfull...even when it is more of a directive than a request.

I do not, for example, say to my DH or friends "get me a spoon" because it sounds like an order and I do not order people around (as a general rule). I would ask them.

So far, this has not confused my kids...they do grasp that I ask because asking is polite and friendly, but that the asking really is a social nicety. If I make a request and it is reasonable and they have nothing else going on...they really should (and do) comply.

YMMV

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#44 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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One more thought:

Many years ago I enterred a community centre with way to much stuff in my hands. This was stuff for the community centre, not just my own junk, FWIW.

I asked a 7 year old if she would get the door for me - and she said no. She was busy on the computer. I struggled in on my own and it was a struggle.

I told her mother, who just laughed and said "yeah, she is trying out the no word". The whole thing was so ironic to me, because her mother would have helped me in a heartbeat if I asked her, but somehow did not expect her daughter to do the same.

I don't really think that a person should be denied help because they failed to frame something as a directive instead of a command. Children should learn to help people when it is reasonable and they can - whether the help is requested or demanded. Particualrly out of the house - most people are not going to issue directives (I hope!) but that does not mean they shouldn't be helped.

Kathy
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#45 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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hmmm...i'm hoping this isn't going to sound snarky and get me all moderated upon...but i feel like this method is kind of vengeful in a way.

It's not necessarily wrong to NOT help someone when they need help. Sometimes it's perfectly appropriate not to help someone, especially if the helper is not in a position to help, but just feels obligated to. Then they put their own well-being and needs/wants in second place, just so they can help someone.

Also, to say no, just because someone said no to you, seems kind of vindictive.

Does this work for you? Exactly how are the children expressing that they understand the point? Are you sure that they are not just feeling obligated to help you. Like you won't be there for them unless they do help you everytime??

I'm just having a hard time trying to imagine this situation NOT being manipulative.


I don't see it as being manipulative because I want my children to understand that: 1. When they see someone who needs help, they should put the other person before them. I want to instill in them an unselfish heart. 2. I want them to treat others as they would like to be treated.

Let me be clear.....they know the difference between letting people take advantage of them with this because we have talked about it many times. I also don't expect them to be my own personal fetch and go person. I don't take them away from their own personal activities because I can't or don't want to get something myself. But at the same time I have a huge household and I also want them to know that EVERYBODY must help one another because a household this size can't run just on the needs of one person who doesn't or won't pitch in and help.

Something else I have thought about is that if you teach children to only think about themselves by putting themselves before another person, by not teaching them what self-sacrifice is (and I am NOT talking about letting people abuse you, or use you, or being another person's pansy) how do they grow up to be accountable citizens?

 

 

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#46 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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One more thought:

Many years ago I enterred a community centre with way to much stuff in my hands. This was stuff for the community centre, not just my own junk, FWIW.

I asked a 7 year old if she would get the door for me - and she said no. She was busy on the computer. I struggled in on my own and it was a struggle.

I told her mother, who just laughed and said "yeah, she is trying out the no word". The whole thing was so ironic to me, because her mother would have helped me in a heartbeat if I asked her, but somehow did not expect her daughter to do the same.

I don't really think that a person should be denied help because they failed to frame something as a directive instead of a command. Children should learn to help people when it is reasonable and they can - whether the help is requested or demanded. Particualrly out of the house - most people are not going to issue directives (I hope!) but that does not mean they shouldn't be helped.

Kathy
Was the mother there when this happened, or did you tell her the story about it afterwards? I'm trying to figure out if she was available to either get the door for you or tell her 7yo to do so.

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#47 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Was the mother there when this happened, or did you tell her the story about it afterwards? I'm trying to figure out if she was available to either get the door for you or tell her 7yo to do so.
I told her the story a few minutes after it happenned. She was in the community centre but out of the room (probably the bathroom, lol)
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#48 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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But as a pp pointed out - if I ask my seven year old to please get me a diaper for her younger sister, that's a reasonable request, and part of being a contributing member of our family. The above scenarios are different, and require different levels of thought... And FTR, there are at least a couple scenarios you've listed that I would have said 'yes' to.
Of course one could say "yes" to my hypothetical situations, but one has the right to say "no." Using my own example, I did say "yes" to a quick car search while pulling into the indoor parking garage of a prominent museum. I could have said "no" and gone off to find street parking, but I was happy enough to oblige the security guy.

The problem is when people live with the idea that they have to give in to every single reasonable request.

First it can turn one into a doormat. They constantly put their own needs aside. They end up being burnt out people who become resentful of those around them for making too many requests.

The other problem is, that it means that one can only request things when one really really needs something. If I know someone feels obliged to follow my every request, then it means that I can't casually ask for XYZ. However, if a request is made with the understanding that it is OK for the other person to say "no" then I can make a casual request for a bit of help when it would make things a bit easier for me, but it isn't a dire emergency.

Finally, learning to never say "no" often leads to passive aggressive behavior. This is a huge problem with DH's family. They never ever say "no" to anything, but they often then don't do the things they agreed to. I really would rather hear "No, we can't go to your house for thanksgiving" than have an entire family of no shows making unreasonable excuse thanksgiving morning.


I think it's very important to learn to use "NO." I also veiw it as a learning process, and don't expect a 3-9 yo to always use it at the exact right moments. Just as we start out by giving our kids picture books, before they are proficient readers, I believe we should give them the power to say no to things that aren't effecting basic welfare and safety. Could you imagine saying to your kid they couldn't have any books until they were able to read novels?

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#49 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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Eepster, you put that very wisely. :-)
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#50 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I try to judge it on a case-by-case basis. My kids are all different people, and each situation is a different one.

For example, when I'm changing a diaper and am up to my elbows in baby poop and discover that I need about four more wipes than I brought with me, and DD1 is sitting and watching me, and I say to DD1, "please go get me four more wet wipes," and she tells me, "no," my response would be, "get up off your duff and go get me those wipes right now, child." If she persisted in saying no, she'd probably wind up being threatened with some pretty sharp consequences that I would definitely follow through on, and also be subject to a pretty strong lecture on mutual responsibility in a family to boot.

But if I'm cooking and need a jar of tomatoes, and DD1 is busily painting, and I say to her, "will you please go in the cellar and bring up a jar of tomatoes," and she says, "no, I'm busy painting," my response would be, "okay, I'll get it myself, that's fine," because clearly my situation is not an urgent one. I don't NEED the help right now. I can turn down the heat under the sauce, and go get the tomatoes myself, and DD1 is clearly engaged in something absorbing and positive.

So there's no easy answer. I do think a child should have the right to say no, but I don't think a child, any more than anyone else, has the right to consistently refuse to accept the mutual responsibilities and courtesies of family life. I like the idea of letting kids try out "no," but I think that part of trying out, "no," is finding out the hard way that sometimes refusing legitimate requests gets you in trouble, or gets people angry at you, or makes people less willing to help you. They need to know that, too.

I do, also, think that when "no" is an unacceptable answer to you, that ASKING is dishonest and deceptive. It might not sound so courteous to say, "I need you to go get it for me now," but it's a heck of a lot more honest than couching your request in the form of a polite question, "would you please go get it for me?" and then getting angry when you're met with refusal. So if I really mean that something is non-negotiable, I try to say so--- if "because I said so" really is the truth, then I speak the truth. We've never claimed to be a consensual household, though. That's something I have no illusions about.

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#51 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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First it can turn one into a doormat. They constantly put their own needs aside. They end up being burnt out people who become resentful of those around them for making too many requests.
I'll have to just agree to disagree. I don't see in any way requesting my child do something when I ask, as turning them into a doormat to others. As I previously stated, my seven year old has zero issues saying no to her friends, her younger sister, random kids at the playground. I don't think doing something when I ask her to automatically leads to her being compliant to every random request from strangers or worse!

I was a very compliant child, oldest of five, very willing to drop what I was doing to help others, my mother's right hand helper, etc. Now I'm an emerg/trauma nurse and spend the day standing up to others and saying 'no you can't' and 'no I won't' most of the day. I rarely, if ever, put my own needs behind others.

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#52 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
For example, when I'm changing a diaper and am up to my elbows in baby poop and discover that I need about four more wipes than I brought with me, and DD1 is sitting and watching me, and I say to DD1, "please go get me four more wet wipes," and she tells me, "no," my response would be, "get up off your duff and go get me those wipes right now, child." If she persisted in saying no, she'd probably wind up being threatened with some pretty sharp consequences that I would definitely follow through on, and also be subject to a pretty strong lecture on mutual responsibility in a family to boot.

But if I'm cooking and need a jar of tomatoes, and DD1 is busily painting, and I say to her, "will you please go in the cellar and bring up a jar of tomatoes," and she says, "no, I'm busy painting," my response would be, "okay, I'll get it myself, that's fine," because clearly my situation is not an urgent one. I don't NEED the help right now. I can turn down the heat under the sauce, and go get the tomatoes myself, and DD1 is clearly engaged in something absorbing and positive.
This puts what I'm thinking much more succinctly. I have no issues telling my seven year old to 'move it', if I require something with some urgency and she's merely saying no to say no. However, if I'm requesting assistance because I'd rather choose not to step away from what I was doing, and she says 'I'm busy', that's acceptable.

Again, I'm with others in the 'if you term it as a question, no is an acceptable response'; which is why I rarely 'ask' if I require something immediately.

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#53 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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I do, also, think that when "no" is an unacceptable answer to you, that ASKING is dishonest and deceptive. It might not sound so courteous to say, "I need you to go get it for me now," but it's a heck of a lot more honest than couching your request in the form of a polite question, "would you please go get it for me?" and then getting angry when you're met with refusal. So if I really mean that something is non-negotiable, I try to say so--- if "because I said so" really is the truth, then I speak the truth. We've never claimed to be a consensual household, though. That's something I have no illusions about.
This is how I feel too. Kids simply don't have the social skills that adults have, and I think it's a deceptive mind game to ask them, have them say no, and then get angry at them for answering a question that has two potential answers with one of the potential answers. If it's a question, then "no" is a reasonable answer. If "no" isn't a reasonable answer, then it isn't a question, and it's just confusing to children to word it that way. The fact that it isn't confusing to adults doesn't make it stop being confusing to children. There's an age where they stop thinking they're the center of the universe - this is a developmental stage, they reach this without being taught unless the're sociopaths or something - and until they reach that developmental stage it is completely normal for them to not think about other people in the way adults do. That doesn't make them bad kids. My dd at 7 is about there I think, at least she isnt' saying "no" to stuff unless there's something urgent going on, regardless of whether I ask or tell. But at 4 or something? That's just unreasonable to expect. Are there selfish kids? Sure, but I don't think pretending to ask when you aren't asking is going to stop a kid from being selfish, and I don't think not pretending to ask when it isn't a request is going to make a kid selfish. It's just honesty.
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#54 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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I don't see it as being manipulative because I want my children to understand that: 1. When they see someone who needs help, they should put the other person before them. I want to instill in them an unselfish heart. 2. I want them to treat others as they would like to be treated.

Let me be clear.....they know the difference between letting people take advantage of them with this because we have talked about it many times. I also don't expect them to be my own personal fetch and go person. I don't take them away from their own personal activities because I can't or don't want to get something myself. But at the same time I have a huge household and I also want them to know that EVERYBODY must help one another because a household this size can't run just on the needs of one person who doesn't or won't pitch in and help.

Something else I have thought about is that if you teach children to only think about themselves by putting themselves before another person, by not teaching them what self-sacrifice is (and I am NOT talking about letting people abuse you, or use you, or being another person's pansy) how do they grow up to be accountable citizens?
we show self sacrifice through example. in our case i think saying "no" to teach a lesson would detract from that example.

my son is very generous, and as helpful as a 20mo can get. But boy does he say no all the time!!! we'll see how it gets as he gets older.

for now i'm firmly in the camp that if you "ask" you can't get angry if the answer comes out no.

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#55 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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.... and I think it's a deceptive mind game to ask them, have them say no, and then get angry at them for answering a question that has two potential answers with one of the potential answers... The fact that it isn't confusing to adults doesn't make it stop being confusing to children. It's just honesty.
Mind games? Really?

Simply because I ask my children ( and anyone else) rather than order them to it is mind games?


The truth is I cannot make someone help me. There will be consequences if you refuse and I asked you for a darn good reason - but I cannot make you.

My children are quite aware that no one can make them do anything.

If we are talking honesty - it is no more dishonest to make a demand (when you know full well it is a request because you cannot or will not make them do it) than it is to make a request when you know full well they will face consequences if they do not do as requested.

In any event, the above arguement may be moot....most kids do comply when people ask or make a directive for reasonable things. If they are regularly non compliant/ unhelpfull, you have bigger issues than should you ask or demand.
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#56 of 56 Old 01-05-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Mind games? Really?

Simply because I ask my children ( and anyone else) rather than order them to it is mind games?


The truth is I cannot make someone help me. There will be consequences if you refuse and I asked you for a darn good reason - but I cannot make you.

My children are quite aware that no one can make them do anything.

If we are talking honesty - it is no more dishonest to make a demand (when you know full well it is a request because you cannot or will not make them do it) than it is to make a request when you know full well they will face consequences if they do not do as requested.

In any event, the above arguement may be moot....most kids do comply when people ask or make a directive for reasonable things. If they are regularly non compliant/ unhelpfull, you have bigger issues than should you ask or demand.
I imagine by your kids' ages, they do comply and know that no one can make them do anything. Younger kids might not.

But no, it is not the same thing as calling something a demand or command just because one person can't force someone else to do something. A command simply means telling someone to do something, just as a request simply means asking someone to do something. It does not get into what happens if someone says no. People of all ages can and do say no to anything, but that ability doesn't make a command a request. It is a command because I am not making two options available, as I would be if I were requesting.
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