Disapointed with AP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:15 AM - Thread Starter
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#2 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:54 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this! As a single mother myself (fyi- you may get some additional support from the single mamas forum!) I know how important getting even a few minutes to yourself can be!

I've had to set some limits with my daughter's breastfeeding... like at 7 months she began sleeping in her own crib! She loves her bed, and I love the fact that she isn't waking me up every couple of hours to nurse for a minute! I know, I'm not AP enough for many! But it works for us. I think ultimately that is what AP is about, finding what works for the whole family, not just the parent or the child.

I don't think there is anything wrong with setting boundaries and guiding your son. I don't think you have to throw out all of the AP strategies just because some of it isn't going as planned. Keep in mind that being 4 can be a difficult age, and maybe he is just going through a rough patch.

I would find a friend or family member to watch your son while you go to a cafe and treat yourself to your favorite coffee concoction and write down what isn't working and what you think needs to change. Then you can figure out what you and your son need to do to get there. If his breastfeeding etiquitte is out of control, then maybe setting some boundaries, getting a nursing necklace, or even begin weaning him is in order.

Good luck!

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#3 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 06:47 AM
 
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This is why I look at AP as child lead with parental guidence

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#4 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 12:41 PM
 
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My friend & I have been discussing this lately.

For me, it's not so much the AP that's the problem, but I think I've allowed things to go too far, been a little too lenient about somethings and haven't set some clear boundaries where I need to with my oldest especially.

My interpretation of AP is that you are there for your child.

What I have done with my kids has been to be there for them.....but then I've also allowed them a little too much free reign and not been forceful about certain issues that are important. To me, that has nothing to do with AP. It has to do with me giving too much freedom where it wasn't necessary.

So, now I'm dealing with some difficult behaviours, which I admit, I am partly at fault and I am trying to make changes in a way that is respectful to both of us. It's a constant effort these days.
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#5 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 01:31 PM
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At first AP is all giving and the baby all receiving but it is important for you to provide structure and discipline for your son as well. He needs to learn that other people have rights, too.

I can't imagine how challenging it is for a single parent to do the job of two adults. I think you're in a special circumstance and you shouldn't be shy about asking for help.

Also, 4YO's are inherently a bit of a challenge. I had a 4yo nursling and I was happy when he decided to wean.

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#6 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks mothers

I think I've been afraid of the word "boundaries" because it never made sense to me the to impose random rules on children. I thought they would cause struggles and resentment. Now I'm the one who's resented.

I believe though I forgot I am limited and I was dishonest to my child pretending I didn't have limits. Children do need to know our limits or we they get a wrong expectation about our roles and about what it's right to do.

I also think I created a wrong expectation about my child too.
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#7 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 01:41 PM
 
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agreeing with the others who've posted.

i was a single mom with my first, now almost 15 from the time she was 3mos till she was almost 6. I met my now dh then and had two more babies with him.

To me, attached parenting doesn't mean letting your child make all the rules and become a tyrant. It means listening to your childs cues and letting them lead regarding timing, but it doesn't mean letting your child have his way all the time. If you are feeling like your child is out of control and you're resenting him then i'm guessing its time to change things in your home. Personal responsibility and all that.

i've never been 'disappointed' with AP because I am what determines what happens in our house, not a book or a definition or anything like that. Sometimes i've been disappointed in how i've parented, or a decision i've made and have had to change things.

We do cosleep. We also have started some sleep training with our son - crying in arms and not bfing at night to try to get him to sleep longer stretches. I babywear, but i also happily use my stroller. We use only gentle discipline but that doens't mean i'm not VERY firm about what is and isn't ok or that we dont' leave someplace if my kids is not behaving well or that she won't have consequences for her actions if she does something she shouldn't have done.

I think anyone who practices attached parenting will tell you that if you're resenting breastfeeding and find its become "ugly" then indeed its time to wean - even if you'd hoped for child led weaning. At 4 you've certainly done a wonderful job nursing your son - if you can't stand it anymore, then end it.

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Now he's 4 and he has horrible teeth, he's not specially smart, I was far more advanced than him at his age, and he's over demandind. He created expectations I can't keep with.
His teeth have nothing to do with breastfeeding. If he's brushing, flossing and eating properly as well as nursing then his teeth would be fine. Are you taking him to a dentist? if you're concerned about his teeth - and you think you need to wean. then wean.

As for not being 'especially smart'... sigh... mama i think you need to re-evaluate. I'm sure your child is perfect the way he is . Comparing him to you at his age or anyone else just isnt' healthy for either of you. if you're concerned about his developement maybe get him involved in some outside activities so you have others to help you gain perspective?
Maybe it is not HIS expectations, but yours that need to change. If you've let him decide what happens in your home and now you're tired of keeping up with it... then you need to change the rules. Don't resent the child - you've created him and the world he lives in. If things aren't going the way you'd like then you as the parent are the one who has to change things.

as for spending time alone without him.... is this new? have you done it before? does he go to playgroups, spend time with others etc? start slowly maybe leaving him with a babysitter for an hour. or at sunday school for an hour in the kids area if you have one? If its just you and he all the time then you are his friend and he wants to play with you. He's only 4 - he doesn't understand why you'd not want to play with him and i'm sure his feelings are hurt. Does he have friends to play with?

I hope this was not a "patronizing sermon' as that wasn't my intention. I doubt you'll find too many mamas here on mothering who were 'deeply disappointed' in attachment parenting. Maybe diappointed in how we've implemented it sometimes, but never in the theories themselves.

hang in there

barb
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#8 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonor

I think I've been afraid of the word "boundaries" because it never made sense to me the to impose random rules on children. I thought they would cause struggles and resentment. Now I'm the one who's resented.

I believe though I forgot I am limited and I was dishonest to my child pretending I didn't have limits. Children do need to know our limits or we they get a wrong expectation about our roles and about what it's right to do.
Yes!

Just because you practice Attachment Parenting doesn't mean you can forget about the "parenting" part. We need to set boundries for our children. It doesn't mean screaming "No! Don't touch!" everytime they look at a nick nack, but everyone has rules that they need to follow.

It is so awesome that you are continuing to nurse your 4 year old! However, just because weaning may be child-led, doesn't mean it can't be parent-involved. After all, mama, it is your body, and he is old enough to understand that breastfeeding is a two person relationship.

You don't have to become super-strict all of a sudden, and it will take some getting used to, but eventually he will realize what issues he can and can not overstep with you.

I am sorry you feel he doesn't trust you, but it would probably be worse if you hadn't practiced AP. I think all kids like to test and see if parents were lying. When I was four, my mother explained to me how pepper would make one sneeze should he inhale it. I didn't know whether to beleive it or not, after all I was only a child and had no experiance with pepper snorting. So I sniffed up a big handful when she wasn't looking. Ugh! It was terrible. My mother could have said "See, told ya!" or laughed at me or punished me, but instead she held me and tried to help get the pepper out of my nose.

I think you may be disapointed in AP now, but in the long run it is an excellent parenting style.

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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#9 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 02:13 PM
 
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I can't imagine how hard it must be to be a single parent.

With that said, don't blame AP. How do you know you've been doing it properly? Any method applied improperly or ineffectively is not going to meet your expectations.

Teeth and IQ have nothing to do with it.

I personally don't think a 4 year old should necessarily be happy with being sent off to his room to play. But obviously there's more to it than just that.

There's definitely not enough info here for a "full diagnosis", which I'm sure you are not interested in, and which I don't feel in any position to give. However, I just want to defend AP. Perhaps what you are doing is not AP. Please don't throw away the whole philosophy, or blame your difficulties on AP. Parenting is always hard work, and both children and parents are individuals.

I hope you find some solutions to bring some joy back into your parenting.

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#10 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 02:33 PM
 
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I think that "AP" is fairly easy to follow the first year. Baby's Needs = Baby's Wants.

As the child becomes older things become more confusing. As a parent you need to distinguish between what a child wants and what a child needs, because they are no longer the same.

I also think it is important to start teaching our children in their toddler years that others (like Mom) have needs too. When a baby needs something, Mom's needs often get put on hold, but as a child gets older they can be taught to be empathetic and understand that you have needs too. Sometimes your needs come first or a compromise must be found between your needs and your child's needs.

For example with nursing, your child needs to nurse and it’s great you are continuing to fulfill that need. However, there is nothing wrong with putting some boundaries on nursing so that Mom’s needs get met too. No twiddling the other nipple may be your need, or only nursing at certain times during the day.

Does that make sense?
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#11 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:05 PM
 
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You sound really burnt out and fed up. I can only sympathize with how difficult it must be to parent alone, I cannot imagine it. Does your son have any preschool program or camp that he attends? I hear the voice of a mama who needs a much-needed break.

AP is not something that I do for my daughter, it is something I do for myself AND my daughter. That's an important distinction: if I felt I was doing it all "for her", I would feel like a martyr. AP is as much for my bonding as it is for hers. But as you already said, you may have confused attachment with no boundaries and boundaries are vital. They model for children what is appropriate and acceptable and what is not. If your child has no boundaries, how will they know to impose them on others? For example, would you tell your child that it is okay if they have a friend who speaks to him in an unkind way, that dictates the way play is going to go, that tells him how and if he can interact? Of course not, you would want your child to speak up for himself and play with someone who is willing to be cooperative with him. If he has not been taught that there are boundaries, he can't impose them in his own social interactions. The same analogy is true in reverse: would you want your son to be the one who is unwilling to be flexible with his peers? That could lead to a very lonely life.

I agree in a sense with what Piglet wrote, this is not about the failure of AP. I think that boundaries are loving. I think that discipline is loving. I don't think that punishment and random (unpredictable) restrictions are loving. I don't think that being a martyr is loving, I think it's guilt producing. That's not to say that any AP mama doesn't devote a great deal of herself to her children, sure they do. But if it's not done within the confines of boundaries then resentment is sure to follow.

Your son is at the age where you can begin to really reason with him. It takes a great deal of time and effort, it is not easy. I can see the daily struggle on my daughter's face when she is trying hard to keep it together instead of resorting to a tantrum. I have a very emotional child, she is 10 times more likely to have a hissy fit than to try to deal with frustration and disappointment. But very slowly I am seeing the fruits of my labor, she is able to pull herself out of tantrums quicker and she I am finally able to reason with her before she goes over the edge.

You need a break mama. A daily break. I highly recommend yoga, it is incredibly centering.

Oh, and I think that it can be very intimidating on these boards to see how others parent and compare to yourself. Your situation is very different, every situation is different. I don't spend hours on the floor playing with my daughter. I am not a homeschooler, never want to be. My daughter is in preschool and she has activities besides that. I sometimes read these boards and I'm in absolute amazement that someone with 2,3,4 or even more kids is homeschooling - I just could never do that and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. If I was with my child that much I wouldn't be able to stand it. Does that make me a bad mother? I don't think so, I think it makes me a different mother, the kind I need to be. Not that I don't think those that homeschool are amazing, it just is something that I would never have any desire to do.
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#12 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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I wrote a long post which I decided was advice (sermon?) rather than talking about disappointment with AP. So that's gone, and here's this:

I was disappointed when I was getting no sleep in the co-sleeping situation with my son. We tweaked it so he goes to sleep in his own bed with one of us with him, and comes into bed whenever he wakes up at night. Not co-sleeping to the letter, but much happier for all.

I am disappointed in AP as a movement when I see moms who lecture others about AP "practices" and have miserable kids whose needs are not being met. The moms get caught up in the outward appearances and the philosophical, talking about organic food and not vaxing incessantly while their kids are unable to play with others and unhappy. They need to get down on the floor and teach their kid to play nicely, not brag about how AP they are. Not that this is AP's "fault", but as with any philosophy or practice, there are going to be people who just totally don't get it, and think they do.


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#13 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thanks everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dotcommama
For example with nursing, your child needs to nurse and it’s great you are continuing to fulfill that need. However, there is nothing wrong with putting some boundaries on nursing so that Mom’s needs get met too. No twiddling the other nipple may be your need, or only nursing at certain times during the day.

Does that make sense?
The problem is as my kid is not used to boundaries, he takes "no" too much to heart or other times he just laughs and doesn't take me seriously. And then I feel I have no choice but to escalate in coercion so he listens.

I do want him to respect nursing boundaries. I tried to give alternatives he can hold instead of twiddling, but it never worked, he doesn't want to play with those, he wants the nipple. If I say for instance "no twiddling or I won't nurse you" he touches to test me and then if I take the breast away he cries. And when he cries he's like a newborn crying. He doesn't stop!
If I say "breast only for sleep time or when you get hurt" he says he's sleepy when he's not or hurts himsellf on purpose to have the breast!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gr8flmom
I think all kids like to test and see if parents were lying. When I was four, my mother explained to me how pepper would make one sneeze should he inhale it. I didn't know whether to beleive it or not, after all I was only a child and had no experiance with pepper snorting. So I sniffed up a big handful when she wasn't looking. Ugh! It was terrible. My mother could have said "See, told ya!" or laughed at me or punished me, but instead she held me and tried to help get the pepper out of my nose.
I used to be the kind of mother who would explore the pepper with him, give him a tiny bit to taste or smell so he would satisfy his curiosity and not get hurt. If he was interested in something I would try to explore it safely with him. We had great times like this and it's how I believe children learn best.

But I followed his lead all the time, and I would feel guilty about pursuing my interests because he wasn't happy alone, and didn't trust other people to take care of him and when I did he got hurt. Now I can't do it anymore because he orders me around.

Kids grow too fast, when you learn how to take care of the baby, he's already a toddler, when you learn to take care of the toddler... you get the picture.
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#14 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 04:45 PM
 
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I have so ever been where you are, Leonor. And, my child is only 3! To me, it sounds like you need to start moving in a direction where both you and your child have your needs met more equally. I would start by making prioritized a mental list of the things that need to change. Then get some help with the first issue! Post here or talk to friends – and your child is old enough to be involved as well. Then, gradually start to change the first thing, then move on to the next one. So, what would you like to see changed first?

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#15 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
I am disappointed in AP as a movement when I see moms who lecture others about AP "practices" and have miserable kids whose needs are not being met. The moms get caught up in the outward appearances and the philosophical, talking about organic food and not vaxing incessantly while their kids are unable to play with others and unhappy. They need to get down on the floor and teach their kid to play nicely, not brag about how AP they are. Not that this is AP's "fault", but as with any philosophy or practice, there are going to be people who just totally don't get it, and think they do.
I know what you mean, people get lost in debate. Or maybe they are unable to control certain aspects in their lives and try control the more easily controlable, like the food and the vaccines.

By the way, my kid never hurt another kid, it's actually impressive how social he is with kids he meets, he actually goes to them and says "Hello" and makes up games, even if he's shy and we don't socialise that much.
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#16 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonor
A baby doesn't know best, but a 4 year old crying deeply offended like it's the end of the world if I don't breastfeed him right away, soon he wakes up? This is too much to put up with!
I can feel some of your pain. I don't have this issue, in particular, but especially when my daughter was four, I was so defeated. I felt like she had absolutely no empathy or consideration for me, and it was so hard. Especially when I'm trying to offer her choices and be respectful of her needs most of the time. I fail at times, and it seems like that is all that counts with her.

It's better since she is 5, but I still have long difficult periods where everything is my fault, and she'd just as soon scream at me as say anything.

One thing I just wanted to add is that not setting boundaries is not respecting the needs of your children. I think most practioners of AP agree that boundaries that respect a child's developmental growth are necessary and healthy. I think some people equate my failure to set proper boundaries as AP parenting, and it's not. I just have a hard time on some fronts and with certain aspects of parenting. There is always a fine line for me and I don't know exactly where to draw it, and my needs play a big part too.

And, of course, children's personalities are so different. It's difficult when you feel like people are telling you to do this or that, or expressing surprise at how you parent when they are just looking at the situation from the outside.

Anyway, just wanted to chime in with the others to let you know you are not alone.
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#17 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 06:08 PM
 
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I think a lot of AP parents are so dedicated to the security and bonding of their babies that they are unable to carve out some personal space for themselves. It's hard being on duty 24/7, I imagine more so as a single mom.

I learned the lesson after getting burned out and resentful towards my oldest dd, and now find ways to have some ME time to recharge my batteries so I can have more energy for my kids. When I'm not getting enough time for myself, I start getting short tempered and impatient. I have a membership to the local YMCA and sometimes on a really bad day I will just pack the girls up and drop them off in childcare for 30 min. so I can burn off steam in the fitness center.

Some parenting classes might be useful for you, perhaps some books on disclipline. I like Dr. Sears Discipline Book a lot. It does say to be firm and set boundaries, that all kids *need* boundaries in order to feel secure.

With my oldest I would set aside everything in order to carry her, nap with her, etc. With my youngest it's like, okay baby I need to have a cup of tea, you can sit in your bouncy seat for 5 min. and it's not going to kill you, and Abi (3yo) you can go and play with your ponies for 5 min. and when mommy's done with her tea she'll play with you and baby. But if I don't have my cup of tea and take a breather it's going to affect all three of us.

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#18 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 06:26 PM
 
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My first thought on reading your post was, "Is that attachment parenting she's describing?" : Because it sounded like you were expecting much more mature behavior from your four year old than seems reasonable to me, and I thought that attachment parenting was supposed to promote knowledge of development. After all, it's normal for four year olds to challenge their parents' reasoning and not to obey requests. It's not a sign of failed parenting, just of where your child is developmentally.

When I went to the Attachment Parenting International Website, however, I did find a shortcoming of their view of AP that I didn't expect. : API has ideals for infants and ideals for school-age children. But what about that incredibly difficult toddler to preschool period? It's not a great thing to do everything your toddler or preschooler asks, as developmentally speaking, most toddlers and preschoolers are working on the exploration of boundaries. They want to know when you will say yes and when you will say no. On the other hand, a four year old isn't a "school-aged" child. (Ah, I know you don't like school anyway! )

Anyway, I think what would be helpful for you is to discuss your son's behavior with other moms of three and four year olds. Every child develops empathy at a different age. Here on this board I have seen even more variation than I have in my daily life in the community. (Probably because people come here to discuss variation from their expectations!)

I am finding that my son's developmental pattern at 17 months isn't quite like mine. At his age I walked indepedendently and talked fluently. I worry about it a little. People have reminded me that
1) he is not my clone, so he's not genetically exactly like me;
2) he is a boy, and boys develop differently;
3) just because he isn't doing something now doesn't mean he won't do it later.

This certainly applies to you! Your son is a separate person! He isn't going to ever be exactly like you were at any age. That's good! At least, I think it's good. I want my son to be a different person. It would be so boring and so embarassing to raise myself!

I read your blog from the link in your signature.
Are you describing yourself in your hypothetical entry? Did your ex-boyfriend abuse your son when you left the house? If that really happened, then it's not surprising that your son is clingy and wants to nurse first thing every day and doesn't want you to leave the room.

I am really sorry, Leonor. Your family suffered a trauma there. That kind of experience could affect your son's development, as well. I hope you are getting real life support now.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#19 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 09:45 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that beginning to set boundaries is definitely something you must do. I've even set some boundaries for my 2 year old about nursing.

But the thing is, we've been working on boundaries and limits for a long time. AND I have been as close to 100% consistent as I can expect of myself.

When I say I don't think it's abnormal for your son to dissolve into tears b/c you ask him to play by himself, I'm taking into account what he is used to and has been taught up until then. It's not abnormal to ask him to play alone if this is something that he is used to, kwim?

What I'm trying to say is that you have a tough road ahead, and it is going to be very hard for your son to have the conditions of his world changed. But from what you have written, it sounds like you are lacking in the boundaries/limits area, so that is probably something you should work on. Just be easy on your son and recognize that this will all seem very "unfair" to him at first. Make sure you always validate his feelings, empathize with his feelings - without changing your stance on the issue that caused him to have those feelings.

One wise thing my mother told me is that consistency is KEY to discipline. I have found this to be true thus far with my DD.

Good luck to you!!

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#20 of 103 Old 07-05-2004, 10:22 PM
 
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Sending you a pm.
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#21 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Everybody agrees, setting boundaries, but how does one does that? Do you leave your kid crying for hours for the sake of consistence. Because mine doesn't break, he will cry and cry and cry. Am I going to CIO now he's 4?
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#22 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 04:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gr8flmom
When I was four, my mother explained to me how pepper would make one sneeze should he inhale it. I didn't know whether to beleive it or not, after all I was only a child and had no experiance with pepper snorting. So I sniffed up a big handful when she wasn't looking. Ugh! It was terrible. My mother could have said "See, told ya!" or laughed at me or punished me, but instead she held me and tried to help get the pepper out of my nose.
I've just been this thread but I wanted to say I teared up when I read that. Maybe I'm hormonal but I jsut could see it all in my mind's eye and it made me all weepy. Thanks for sharing that. Back to for me.
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#23 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 05:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Leonor
Everybody agrees, setting boundaries, but how does one does that? Do you leave your kid crying for hours for the sake of consistence. Because mine doesn't break, he will cry and cry and cry. Am I going to CIO now he's 4?

Believe it or not they do stop! DD threw some serious tantrums when I finally reached the breaking point about a month ago and started being more consistent and oh we had some long tantrums. If it was nursing I'd hold her while she screamed, if it was because I wouldn't replace a toy she broke (then demanded I buy a new on immediately!) I would let her have her fit and walk away and tell her I would be more then happy to discuss it when she can talk to me with out yelling or screaming (or hitting). At first she would follow me around the house in her tirade and dropping on the floor when ever I stopped for a moment, now she goes to the bedroom to have a cow then comes out a min to two later much more composed and able to discuss it. A few times I got so frustrated I decided to try a tactic a friend used with her kid, she gave pointers on how to give a proper tantrum! "Is that the best you can do? Come on! I know you can yell louder! Yeah! That's it! kick the floor harder!" Believe it or not, they may just start laughing at you and stop the fit You have to be really animated and into it and most of all... try not to laugh to hard while your doing it dd stopped a lot of tantrums when she realized 1) they don't work around here and 2) mommy was having to much fun with them! (well that's what she thought!)

I know its hard but try to carve out some time to yourself too, I was loosing it, and decided that giving her ALL my energy was no longer an option, she's been sucking the life out of me since she was conceived and now its time for ME before I self destruct myself. I've been in a 4 yr depression and I've had enough! I hadn't done much of anything for myself, not even eating! (which leads to my current health issues) so I've picked 3 things that I used to do pre child and I'm doing them and if dd doesn't like it, well... she better learn to at least put up with it! I chose, burning incense, listening to alt music (yanni, deep forest, clanned ect) and reading. I cant believe how much better I feel! Just 1 hour a day and I'm actually getting the entire house clean in that time and ENJOYING it. At first dd did NOT like the music and wanted her kiddy music at which point I was happy to tell her go to the bedroom to listen to it, this is MOMMY TIME Yesterday and today I actually caught her dancing to MY music I know its a lot and it just seems so overwhelming but with persistence it can be done I think we need to start a support group for us wimpy mommy's who have had enough and aren't going to take it anymore! lol!

Seriously?
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#24 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 05:55 AM
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I don't think you should just let him cry and cry.

The thing is, if your baby or toddler asks to nurse and you say, "Okay, we'll nurse as soon as I'm done making the eggs" or "drinking my drink" or "peeing" or whatever, that's a short enough time that most kids are okay with that, and they get a little practice thinking about the idea that mom has needs and wants, too. With Rain, if she seriously needed to nurse right then we usually could, but usually she was okay with waiting. As she got older she was able to understand more and be more considerate - I really think that's what it is, considering other people. At four she wasn't always great at it - four year olds aren't generally known for their consideration, it's pretty normal for them to want things their own way a good bit of the time - but she understood the concept, anyway.

So, assuming that your son never had those kinds of experiences, that's where I'd start. Not "no nursing now" but "nursing after ___", starting with something that lasts a minute or two and then working upwards. The same with time for yourself - start small and work upwards. I used to go to Rain before calling anyone on the phone, warn her that I was going to do it, ask what she needed, if anything, so that I could have a few uninterupted minutes - not a half hour, not even fifteen minutes, to start with - maybe 5. And maybe we'd nurse first and then turn on a video, or I'd set up a a basin of soapy water so she could do "dishes", or whatever.

So start small, and thank him afterwards. Don't try to break him, try to be his partner, and let him be yours. One of the things that he may be missing is the feeling that he's a competent and capable person - that's an important thing for people to have.

Dar

 
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#25 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 06:57 AM
 
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When we make new boundaries we always approach it slowly. Yes, sometimes I get overwhelmed with several different things that aren’t working for the family but I still take one issue at a time. And, it’s only fair to take responsibility for allowing yourself to get in such a negative place where you’re needs are so far from being met. It’s absolutely true that you can’t expect your child to handle a huge change in how you “discipline”.

Does the main boundary that you need involve mostly breastfeeding? Start with that then…slowly. Like Dar said, begin with a few minutes and move up from there. Also, give your child some notice and involve him in the process.

We don’t have many boundaries either. We did start with one or two when Aya was 18 months and then added on an “as need” basis. Honestly, we probably only have about 10. Most are just not necessary because either DC doesn’t have the impulse in the first place and/or I can be flexible about allowing it.

When it comes time to set a new boundary, I really think about *why*, *what* and *how much* I need and then I try to be realistic about what I can be consistent with. I also think of any possible compromises either of us could make. Then, I discuss with DC about what I’m feeling and develop a plan for the future. Also, I think you may want to start implementing these things during the best time of day for your child. Set him up for success – expect the best; start with the easy stuff and wade in the success for a few days before moving forward.

Also, I highly recommend posting a separate thread to get some help with the first change that you decide to take. If it’s twiddling, post in the BFing forum about how to discourage twiddling. Also, keep in mind that your child’s temperament is a huge factor. My DC did/does not handle gradual weaning well at all. Honestly, she responds better to ‘cold-turkey’ type weaning. When it comes time for her to stop twiddling, we’ll discuss it ahead of time, set a date, make a little celebration and that will be it. It’s so important that you factor your child’s personality into the equation…

On that note, I also don’t think AP is to blame (although, I can totally understand the feeling). I think we are responsible for how we evaluate a parenting strategy and how we adapt it to fit our lives. Our children are individuals and we have our own strengths as parents. We must incorporate these things into our discipline/parenting styles and then alter them when it’s obviously not working.

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#26 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 10:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Leonor
Am I going to CIO now he's 4?
I don't think "AP" is about making your child happy all the time, preventing them from ever having a negative emotion or giving in to their every whim to prevent a tantrum and/or make them happy. There is a huge difference between CIO (letting your infant/child cry alone until they stop) and allowing your child to cry in disappointment/sadness/anger while you are comforting them, but not giving in to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonor
. . .mine doesn't break, he will cry and cry and cry.
Do you usually give him what he wants when he cries or tantrums? If so, and I don’t mean this in an accusatory way, that may be why he doesn’t stop crying easily. He may have learned that if he just keeps crying and freaking out Mom will give him what he wants. I think a four year old is pretty capable of making this connection. If that’s not it, maybe he’s just a really intense child and his emotions really overwhelm him.

How would I go about setting up a boundary? Let’s take the twiddling. I would sit my child down and explain that twiddling is uncomfortable for me and that I love to nurse him, but if he twiddles we will end the session. I would talk about this at a neutral time, not right when he sits down to nurse.

So then the next time he’s ready to nurse I would give him a gentle reminder, “Remember, no twiddling.” I would probably put my hand over the un-used breast while he is nursing to prevent temptation. If starts to twiddle I’d pull him off the breast and remind him again that it hurts Mom when he does that so you are ending the nursing session.

Obviously this is where your child is going to be very upset. Allow him to cry, scream, whatever he needs to do. Be there for him, if he wants your comfort, by hugging him or petting his head, whatever he likes. Stay calm and speak calmly to him – “I know you are angry because. . . .” You can even give him suggestions for how to express his emotions. Tell him he can stomp his feet, hit a pillow, yell, "I'm angry!" And I would also offer again, “If you are ready to nurse without twiddling I’m right here.”

This isn't making him CIO. You are not forcing him to be alone in a dark room and deal with these intense emotions by himself. You are not abandoning him so that he can “learn to comfort himself” or be more independent.

Sometimes kids are going to be upset or frustrated or angry or disappointed or. . . and they need to release these emotions by crying. It’s okay and it’s not your job to stop him from ever feeling these emotions. Your job is to calmly help him learn to express and handle them.

Maybe the first time he will cry for a long period of time, but if you don’t give in, and remain loving and gentle with him and most of all consistently follow the no twiddling rule. He will get it. Maybe it will be after a few difficult days, but it will be worth it if you can then nurse him without wanting to scream each day – kwim?
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#27 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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Exactly what Dotcommama just said.

L.
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#28 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 02:49 PM
 
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It can be helpful to help your child express his emotions. Like if he wants to nurse or something and you have to say no... and he starts a fit... you can say wtih lots of emotion: "Wow, you are really ANGRY! You really wanted to nurse now, but I'm sorry, you can't do it right now. Mommy needs to do ____ and it isn't time for nursing. I know you really want to do it, and I wish you could, but you can't!" You get the idea. Repeating this over and over really works. Once children realize that you understand how they feel, but it won't change anything, they feel better. They have been heard and understood, and you put a label/word on their emotions! What a relief to know that what they are feeling is normal!

Give it some time. No, I wouldn't let him cry and cry for a long time. Try giving him words to express his emotions, hold him, and explain to him why he can't do whatever it is he wants.

Good luck,

Karen
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#29 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 02:59 PM
 
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Some excellent advice here. ITA with dotcommama and dreadmama.

It's not CIO if you are sympathetic and responsive to their feelings. You can do this and not change your stance on the main issue one bit.

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#30 of 103 Old 07-06-2004, 03:05 PM
 
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First of all, I don't think that AP is necessarily something you do "right" or "wrong." I think if a person subscribes to AP ideas, they pretty much do what works for them. I hate to see AP termed as a set of rules you have to follow and do "right," because I don't think it's so and I also think it turns off a lot of people who do some "AP" things but not others. (And in my lurking, pre-registered days I saw lots of discussions about what AP "is" and "isn't" in terms of doing this and not doing that.)
EXACTLY! DVMomma!
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