Gentle Dicipline for strong willed children - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-04-2009, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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My kids are very VERY stubborn and strong willed. A lot of the GD techniques do absolutely NOTHING. It feels to me like the only thing they really respond to is anti GD stuff, strong voice/yelling, time outs, threats, ect. I don't want to parent like this but I also want my children to be well behaved. Not saying I am one of those people who parents with an iron fist or has unreasonable expectations of their kids, I am just saying I don't want my kids hitting eachother, throwing toys, pouring juice into the carpet, drawing on the tv, hitting the cat, stealing food from the bins at the grocery store, running off into the street, ect.

Half the time when I try to do gentler things -like explaining why we don't hit, or putting them on time out- they yell things like "no!" in my face or pound on the door (I rarely put them in time out for longer than a minute or two, and usually it's more of a time out for ME so that I don't lose my temper).

My therapist gave me a book called "Magic 123" and I haven't read it yet, anyone heard of it? Is there anything else I can do to be gentler but still very effective with my discipline?

My husband and I are both extremely stubborn, strong willed people and our children are no different. I am really starting to wonder if the people for whom very gentle parenting worked are also really calm and patient, and thus have calm, patient children.

Also, I was abused as a child and this really effects my parenting a lot. I was raised by two authoritarian parents and I have a hard time not reverting to that style when frustrated. I *want* so badly to be different, and I'm already a lot better, but I just can't manage to get there all the way.

Any tips are appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat, so no advice but I'm giving this a bump
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:27 PM
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It sounds like you're trying to use more gentle techniques - which I applaud you for - but your basic mindset about discipline is the same. It sounds like you're still looking for ways to get your kids to do what you tell them to do...and I think discipline works much better if you come it at looking for ways for everyone to get all of what she needs and as much of what she wants as possible. I would think in terms of solving problems, rather than getting kids to do something.

So, why are your kids taking food from the grocery store bins? Would they like a snack? it's really hard for me to shop and keep passing by all the yummy stuff... maybe you could start off by grabbing a package of something they like so they have something to nibble. Or if it's the bins that they like, maybe you could have them each get a quarter pound of something from the bins. Would it help to have them riding in the cart? They're still very little, and sometimes impulses get the better of little kids. Or maybe they could switch off being in the cart and walking... and you could find jobs for each to do to help you, like finding a certain item (maybe even make them each a list, with pictures if need be) or organizing items in the cart. Maybe none of this will work, but if you ask them for their suggestions and ideas and try some things out, at least you'll be working with them, on the same "team"... and then after a successful trip to the store you can all feel good about your accomplishment.

IME, the kinds of time-outs you're using often just escalate power struggles with strong-willed children. If it's a time out for you, how about telling them that you're really angry and need to take some time to calm down, and going into your room for a couple of minutes?

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Old 03-08-2009, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually I work very hard to solve problems and make sure their needs are met. For instance, whenever we go to the grocery store, I feed them RIGHT BEFORE. Either just before leaving, or I feed them on the road. In the case I am thinking of particularly, it had been literally minutes since they had eaten a full meal. They are the age now where they absolutely refuse to ride in the cart. If I put them in there, I'd have to screaming children on my hands. I do assign them jobs in the store, AND I buy them 1 or 2 "treats" when we go as well, so they know if they ask for those yogurt covered pretzels that they always are going for in the bulk bins, I will buy it for them. Giving them a package isn't possible in that situation, becuase it's sold in bulk. I have given them packages of food in the past to eat while we are shopping, but they almost always see something else they want and start screaming for that or taking it.

It's not that I want to force them into doing what I want them to do, but some things are inherently not ok. Like running into the street or stealing food. I take them to the park to run around, and we have a decent backyard they run in as well, but that doesn't stop them from running down the driveway into the street whenever we leave the house.

I guess I could put myself on time out, but what do I do when, say, they do something dangerous or hurtful? Mostly the things that get them a time out is hitting, biting, kicking, ect. Anything where there is a safety issue. And it's not like I am leaving them in there for a bazillion years, we're talking 2-3 minutes, if that. Half the time I don't even shut the door. If I do the whole "this is why we don't hit" stuff, I get zero results. Zero.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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I can identify with your frustration. This is me : and : feeling like I am . Makes me when my DS1 : with me despite all my efforts to meet his needs and those of his siblings. When I can't, I want to .

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Old 03-09-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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I totally understand your frustration. We have been a yelling home for too long - and it has worked. My kids listen when we threaten and yell. BUT, I know they fear me and don't respect me LOL. So, we are starting to try more gentle discipline measures but it's going to be a long road. I hope to get some ideas from this thread.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:54 AM
 
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I have struggled with this same thing, questioning and trying out different parenting styles. I think we have to put aside preconceived notions or ideals about how we want to parent and how we wish our kids would respond -- and look at what our child needs and is responding to.

Like you, I need at times to be able to say, "Don't do that!" and have it respected. Nothing wrong with that. My very strong willed dd1 seems to like boundaries, when she tests and tests and tests and I remain firm even though she wails and screams, a few minutes later it's all hugs and "i love you's". My pdoc also said that very strong willed children need boundaries.

I think it's possible to have both GD and some more authoritative parenting. You have to find what works for you and your family. There is no "one size fits all" or "If only was doing this GD thing right it would work on my strong willed kids." Hog wash. There are ideals that we can work towards but if reality calls for some other techniques as well, you are wise to respond. Find what fits for you and your family.

As a side note, now that dd1 is about 4 y.o., I have been reading The Explosive Child (forget the author's name). There are some good techniques in there for helping your child to stop and cool off and learn to think through problems and frustrations. It also helps parents to think about what their priorities are and how to chose your battles. This has been helping take the frustration level down in our home and work better together. Just thought I'd mention it.


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Old 03-09-2009, 07:56 AM
 
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Oh, I am with you on this!
I find the children are each so different. You may be right with the gentle, peaceful people and their gentle peaceful children to some extent.

I never knew how loud I could be until I encountered my middle child, now 7. If it were just my other two I would never be yelling or shouting or doing time outs.
Sometimes that is the only thing he responds to. Some behaviors are not acceptable, and I don't hit him, or belittle, or shame him, but sometimes being taken out of the situation, and being at a distance is what helps. He decides when to come out- when he is ready to talk to me about whatever it was, or apologise to the sibling he was hurting, etc... it is usually a minute or two. Sometimes he gets to playing all by himself in the place I put him, and it takes alot longer before he wants to rejoin us, which tells me that it also helps him to have a few moments alone.

When I realized I was not coping with going grocery shopping with my children I found ways to do it without them, now that they are at school in the mornings, or they stay at home,(we have a housekeeper, so they stay with her,) or I dash out when my husband comes home in the evening.
As they get older it's a treat for them to come along, so they behave really well and are helpful.

Even with all the advice in the world, you have to find what works for you. If you are firm in yourself what the boundaries are they will also learn them.
Good luck with this most frustrating, yet rewarding time!
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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It is very important to use gentle discipline with strong willed children when they are young. Gentle discipline is kind of a bad name - it's effective parenting. Gentle makes it sound like wimpy parenting. It's supposed to be parenting without punishment but somewhere along the way using time-outs and other punishments have been considered, at least by some, part of gentle discipline.

If you don't learn effective non-punishment oriented parenting now what are you going to do with a strong willed child when they are 16 and 6'2" and weigh 210 pounds. One of my sons was that big. Another was almost 6 foot at 13. I am a single mother and am 5'2". There were 3 of them 1 of me.

Shouting, spanking, grounding, making threats, and punishing don't work, make them hate you at least while they are teens, and you may loose them forever. I don't have a lot of time now but I wanted to write a little to move this up and I will write more later.

Right now you are bigger and smarter than you children and it is time to take control. I think Without Spanking or Spoiling is the best book of all. It is an old book, I think 1981, by Elizabeth Crary that changed my like. My oldest was born in 1979 and it taught me how to parent. It is a small book with almost no theory and all how to's. She has a newer book that is a how to book that I will find the name of that I don't think is quite as good. Public libraries or LLL Libraries may have Without Spanking or Spoiling.

More later.

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Old 03-14-2009, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I would just like to say that I do NOT think it is ok to yell at, threaten, or spank your kids. I've never grounded them, taken away things, or anything like that. And I find it offensive you seem to think so. I DO NOT DO PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT. Ever.

There is a differerence between yelling and resorting to the only parenting style you really know when *frustrated and upset* and having that be your goal style of parenting, or a style you think is ok. I'm glad you're able to practice perfect gentle disicpline without ever doing those things. I'm not perfect, and I went through pretty severe abuse as a child. It's actually a miracle I'm even sane, let alone able to even aspire to a different way of parenting.

If I really thought SPANKING of all things was ok, why would I even be posting here? Shoot, why would I even be on MDC at all?

Thanks for the book recommendation.
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Surfacing View Post
I think it's possible to have both GD and some more authoritative parenting. You have to find what works for you and your family. There is no "one size fits all" or "If only was doing this GD thing right it would work on my strong willed kids." Hog wash. There are ideals that we can work towards but if reality calls for some other techniques as well, you are wise to respond. Find what fits for you and your family.
hello, thread. omg, this quote is so spot-on.
my ds is 8yo now. oh BOY was he hard to parent as a smaller child, and still can be. he's very strong willed.
i decided a long time ago that i had to find some mix of parenting styles that work in my house. i've run the gamut from as GD as i could, to spanking : to everything in between. it's been a journey, i tell you!

i used 123 Magic. i still do, sometimes. you can use a method without agreeing with some of what they say (like the comparing kids to wild animals, FI).
i don't have a problem with "getting kids to do what you want". mine is not a consensual household. i believe kids have parents for a reason, and that is to guide and help them, and yes, sometimes just outright tell them what to do. i often explain why. sometimes it's not till later, though.
i seldom pull the "because i said so" but when i do, it's because he's pulling every ace from his sleeve and trying to deflect the problem elsewhere (IOW get me distracted).

when i tell my son to Do X and i want him to do it without question, sometimes i have my reasons, and i may not be able to explain them Right Now. we've discussed this. i've said, for instance, that what if there is a <insert danger here> where i have to make a snap decision that involves his safety-- yes, i expect him to comply immediately, without question, and that sometimes he has to trust me on that one because i am his mom, i am the adult, i have more life experience, and i am the one who loves him most of all the people in the world. and sometimes when i want him to Do X Immediately Without Question, it's a practice for if there's ever that <insert danger here> time. it's never arbitrary and i don't use that indiscriminately.

as for the grocery store example, he still, at 8, rides in the cart (of course in the big part ) most of the time. he knows he can't control himself enough to walk alongside, and most of the time chooses to ride because of that. but when he was three, or five, he always rode, because it was ride or don't go. i often had to find ways to go alone, even though i wanted so badly to be one of those moms whose kid could handle it.
i thought "why, oh why can't i just walk with my kid into the store and have it not be a huge deal/meltdown/catastrophe?" but it ended up being about my acceptance that it just could not.
i used to think "why does GD work for every other parent i know except for me? why does every other mama on the playground have a velcro child that sticks right by them and doesn't need constant hovering so they don't run in the street and die? why don't the other mamas' kids run in the street like mine does? why can i only go to playgrounds with fences or my child risks his life?" and on and on and on.
the acceptance came hard. real hard. and what came with it was a lot of confidence, eventually, that i just had a different child who needed different parenting and different circumstances.
thankfully he doesn't even remember not going to the grocery store much but as he got older, i would (and still do) tell him that his behavior there told me he needed more practice, and that i would just have to take him every time, and even more times, so he could practice appropriate behavior in the store
(it sucked for me, but i did do that for awhile, and i do it with manners at the table, too)

it takes time. time takes time. LOTS of time. mama, your kids will eventually grow out of this, a tiny bit at a time, and it will seem excruciatingly slow and frustrating in the meanwhile. i know how it is to have a high-need, very very spirited kid (go you; i can't even begin to imagine two) and if you ever want to PM me to commiserate, i will be right there for you

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Old 03-14-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your comment, Maia. I am so relieved to hear I am not the only mother who has thought, "why can't my kids be like this? why doesn't this work for me?!?!"

I'll work harder at acceptance.
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:58 PM
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beware 123 magic - fyi its NOT gentle discipline book (unless you re the kind of person who thinks as long as you aren't spanking or yelling then you are being gentle)

It is ESPECIALLY important to use GD with spiritied children, IME.

You shouldn't be trying to make your kids like anything. And by "work" you mean why isnt what your doing get them to be who you want them to be? because they are their own people.

trust me I understand your frustrations. DS1 is ASD/sensory issue/explosive, spirited. DD is very physical. the hitting, aggression, toy throwing, destructive behavior is VERY hard to deal with.

have you read any books? are you open to reading any? If so, please throw 123 MAgic in the trash where it belong (hehehe) and check out the gentle discipline book recommendation thread for a good book. (there is a sticky that of gentle discipoline resources, there is also a thread on the board of books listed by how often they are recommended)

I really agree with what Dar posted.

If you don't want to read, why not try picking 1 or 2 main concerns you have, and posting here to ask advice. The best way to do this IMO is to start a new thread.

Thread Title: clearly stating bottom line of what you need help (fighting/destructive behavior/not following directions"

In the Thread: Give an example of how a scene usually plays out, so we can see what you usually do. Let us know what you have already tried, how you tried it, and what the results were.

Then we can better address your concerns. It's very hard to help someone who says "I tried everything and nothing works" you have tried everything YOU can think of, but there is always more. also, when people give advice, even if its things you tried (but forgot to mention) or even if they are things that wont work for you, there may be something in there that will help you brainstorm up some new ideas of your own to try.

good luck! this parenting thing is hard!
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Old 03-14-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess by "work", having me say "hitting hurts people, please do not hit your sister" not having them 1. laugh in my face 2. scream at me "no" or 3. keep right on hitting just seconds after saying this. That would be the biggest issue I am dealing with. I have tried separating them, distracting them with activities (coloring, tv sometimes, going outside to the park), explaining why we don't hit, quick time outs. And yet they do it. Daily. MULTIPLE times a day.

How can you gently discipline a child who yells or laughs in your face? I MEAN REALLY.
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Old 03-14-2009, 04:30 PM
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I do all the time I would love if they were laughing in my face I usually have a finger in my face yelling NO or my daughter just keeps hitting and hitting and hitting until I move my son out of the way. I know its hard, but for my strong willed children punitive measures such as time out do not help, but make matters worse (may help in short term not in the long term)

definitely get a copy of connection parenting if you can.

I also really love how to talk so kids will listen, but for what your concerns are I think connection parenting is your best bet.
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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This is the book that saved my sanity:

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. MacKenzie

It probably doesn't meet many of the GD "rules". It does use time outs. It does involve coercion.

However, the bottom line for me, is it helped ME be more gentle than I was before. It helped me to be effective in setting my expectations for my child's behavior, in a way he could understand. When I follow this, there is no need to overreact, and no situations escalating to me losing my temper. For me, it is a better way, that overall is both gentler and more effective than what was going on before.

Once we got through the initial stage of establishing a new system without the "dances" and power struggles we had been involved in before, more of the GD approaches became something I could actually use and have them be effective.

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Old 03-14-2009, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I will check out both of those books, Super Glue Mommy and LLP. Thank you!!

my other concern is bedtime. This doesn't always happen, but what do you do when your kids outright REFUSE to lay down and go to sleep (and it's waaaaay past their bedtime. I'm not at all strict about bedtimes, but I do want them in bed before it's ridiculously late). They are especially this way for naptimes, even when I am consistent about the nap schedule.

I have tried just letting them not nap, and it's a disaster 100% of the time. My oldest gets really mean and irritable when she doesn't nap (and has way more tantrums) and my youngest absolutely melts down. She gets to the point where she does nothing but scream becuase she's so frustrated/overstimulated/exhausted. What is a gentle way to get them to nap and go to bed without a big production? Do I really just have to accept that it's going to be miserable almost every day, twice a day?
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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This is the book that saved my sanity:

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. MacKenzie

It probably doesn't meet many of the GD "rules". It does use time outs. It does involve coercion.

However, the bottom line for me, is it helped ME be more gentle than I was before. It helped me to be effective in setting my expectations for my child's behavior, in a way he could understand. When I follow this, there is no need to overreact, and no situations escalating to me losing my temper. For me, it is a better way, that overall is both gentler and more effective than what was going on before.

Once we got through the initial stage of establishing a new system without the "dances" and power struggles we had been involved in before, more of the GD approaches became something I could actually use and have them be effective.

I came back to add that I had previously tried 1-2-3 Magic, and our son just blew through it. Figured it out and how to work that system to keep me on a chain and yank it all day long. The "Setting Limits" system was much more effective. No playing around, straight to the point. Within a week of starting this, it had pretty much eliminated his physical aggression toward other kids and toward me. He also dropped his defiance and disrespectful screaming at me and started cooperating. The transformation was amazing. I feel that it saved my sanity and our relationship. Once the defiance was gone, a really sweet kid emerged.

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Old 03-14-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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I am really starting to wonder if the people for whom very gentle parenting worked are also really calm and patient, and thus have calm, patient children.
My husband is extremely high strung and short tempered and not at all gentle. Patience is something I'm gaining with practice (patience has always been a problem for me). I also am easily upset by loud noises and have some anxiety. I likely was a high needs/sensory child, just not something my mom would have known anything about.

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Also, I was abused as a child and this really effects my parenting a lot. I was raised by two authoritarian parents and I have a hard time not reverting to that style when frustrated. I *want* so badly to be different, and I'm already a lot better, but I just can't manage to get there all the way.
This is a constant inner battle for me... not being like my mom.


My only tip is consistency. Frustration is eased with breathing for me. (Sometimes I have to cover my ears or else I think my head will explode).

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Old 03-14-2009, 05:52 PM
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i definitely have sensory issues too - no surprise where my son gets it - im also loud, high strung, and my husband is always stressed and very impatient. PAtience doesnt come naturally, not that my mom had any for me growing up. my kids are not calm or patient either, but I am hoping they will learn to be as I learn to be.
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:07 PM
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Has anyone suggested Siblings Without Rivalry? That's a great book, with practical advice on what to do when your kids are fighting with each other and how to create an atmosphere that facilitates working together, rather than competition. It is hard work, though...

For bedtime and naptime, how are you handling things now? What does your routine look like, and what are your expectations? Are your kids in separate areas? Can they look at books quietly in bed during rest time? Things like that might help...

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Old 03-14-2009, 08:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by llp34 View Post
This is the book that saved my sanity:

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. MacKenzie
what ages is this book appropriate for? i might check it out, too, if it applies to older kids (mine's 8).

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Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
Thank you for your comment, Maia. I am so relieved to hear I am not the only mother who has thought, "why can't my kids be like this? why doesn't this work for me?!?!"

I'll work harder at acceptance.
i bet. isn't relief....well, relieving? seriously, my kid is one difficult kid sometimes, but at 8 when i'm having a hard time, what sometimes gets me through is realizing how intermittent it is now, compared to, oh, say...3. 3 was hard. 3 is hard for parents of typical kids. my goodness i can't believe i survived.
someone clued me to Louise Bates Ames's books when my ds was 3. i was sure i was raising a sociopath (it wasn't funny, then, though).
she is spot-on for age appropriate behavior. not so great for discipline ideas ("drop your child off at a babysitter") but for what's normal? it was a big WHEW. when i read "Your Three-Year Old" i almost cried with relief-- other people's kids did the same things, and so much so that there was a whole book written about it! and she's got a book for every year of age! whee!

oh, acceptance...do. but remember also that acceptance doesn't mean approval. just acceptance. you don't have to be a doormat either

hugs, you.

Me treehugger.gif Handfasted wife to M  geek.gif as of 3/7/10 , and Mama to R  reading.gif (1/31/01) luxlove.gif

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Old 03-14-2009, 08:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BonMaman View Post
I can identify with your frustration. This is me : and : feeling like I am . Makes me when my DS1 : with me despite all my efforts to meet his needs and those of his siblings. When I can't, I want to .

Awww someone else with a smiley addiction:nana::

Be calm with it. I know with Ds he is very strong willed It took him a long time to really see that it is better to talk to me about things. Now once in awhule he will just stop look at me and tell me "I am angery that..." Give it time Mama it will eventually happen

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Old 03-14-2009, 09:25 PM
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Here are some notes from connection parenting I think may give you some insight.

p135

If the only reason children have for not doing something is the fear of being punished, what guidelines will they have for behavior when no one is there to punish them?

more p135
we cannot control anyone's behavior but our own. true parental discipline leads children to self discipline.

more p135
though punishment may stop a challenging behavior temporarily, if the behavior is a communication of an unmet need, some form of needy behavior will persist. We cannot punish people into not having needs.

(punishment in this book includes time outs. they advocate time in's..ill get more into that in a second.) needy behaviors are temper tnatrums, whining, not listening, hitting, talking back, not cooperating, teasing, bullying, refusing to share, fighting with siblings, refusing to get dressed, name calling, hurting others, etc.

Children behave better when they feel better. Connect before you correct!

Here is how we have come to handle hitting in our house:

1) Stop the Hitting
2) Attend to the Hurt Child
3) Time In
4) Problem Solve
5) Restitution

Stop the Hitting:
You have two choices, move the child being hit, or stop the hand that is doing the hitting. I think which is best depends on the child. For my children it depends on the situation.
"Stop Hitting. I understand you are hurting too, but you may not hit your sister." If you feel comfortable with a "mad pillow" you can add "You may hit the mad pillow"
(I do this while starting step 2 - I am comforting/holding the physically hurt child during this time)

Attend to the hurt child. At this point I have already been giving my comfort physically and by defending them verbally to the other child, but after that short statement I have no reverted my full attention to the child who was attacked. "It hurts when people are not gentle with us. Are you okay?" (usually this is replied to with - she/he hit me!) and I say "I want to hear about you right now. Are you hurt?"

TIME IN. Once the hurt child is cared for, I bring the other child with me somewhere quiet and "away" to sit down. I then give info, state feelings, state needs, listen with love, and make my request.
*give info: Hitting hurts. You may not hit your sister.
*state feelings: I feel upset when I see someone I love hurting someone I love.
*state need: I need all of us to feel safe
*listen with love: I know you must be upset too, because the only time you are hurtful to others is when something is hurting you. I am willing to listen to your feelings. (then listen empathetically)
*make request: Are you willing to work together to find a safe way to tell your sister how you feel? (this leads into the next part)

Problem Solve: you have already begun this process because you have stated your feelings and needs and your child has stated their feelings and needs. you have the concerns on the table. Time to brainstorm together to find a mutually agreeable solution. Write down all their ideas and your ideas (best to let them give some ideas first, of they have none then you can suggest some) write down all ideas at this time, don't evaluate - write down even the ideas you don't agree with. Once you are done, then go through the list. let child know how you feel about ideas and let them let you know how they feel. you can say "there's an idea. my concern with that is _____, so I think we will have to cross that one off, unless you have an idea how to ease my concerns about that idea? Decide which ideas you like, and which you plan to follow through on. A solution might look something like this:

In the future when you get mad, what can you do instead of hitting?
push
yell
hit a mad pillow
come ask mommy for help calming down
go into another room and take deep breaths
draw a picture about how I feel
tell my sibling how I feel

when you go through this list you may say "my concern with hitting and yelling is its still hurtful to others" these other suggestions sound like they would work for everyone though.

Step 5: Restitution: It is up tpo the child to apologize. I wouldnt force it. I would say "When we do something wrong, we can still make things right. We can apologize to someone by saying sorry. You may want to apologize to your sister to make things right again"

For less verbal children, some parts of this may be skipped, and some phrases may be simplified. instead of problem solving with them, you may just offer up some solutions and model them for the child.

When you see a problem escalating you can say to the child "do you need help calming down, or can you calm down on your own" for my son I say "calm down, or mommy help" he lets me know what he needs. if I see he says calm down but cant I will say "you wanted to try calming down on your own first, but you needed my help after all." then I step in to help him, we take a time in, but its a preventative time in, so we jsut talk about how we feel and what we can do when we feel that way. A preventative time in would look more like this:

Acknowledge: You feel really ... right now"
Validate: It's really hard to/when ..... , isn't is?"
Accpet: It's okay to (cry, say 'xyz')
Listen: I'll stay with you. I have a hug for you if you want it"

and then of course, give them the tools they need for the future.

You can also model time outs. instead of giving time outs, take time outs. when you feel you are getting angry say "im getting so mad! I am taking a time out to calm down." and do so. this can be in another room, or just sit down against the wall and keep to yourself for a few minutes and focus on being calm.

Children do what they see us do, not what we tell them to do. We cant control children, we can only control ourselves.

Connection Parenting p150
Parenting is a struggle because we cannot control children's behavior. When we see our job as that of meeting childrens needs we enjoy children, because we can meet childrens needs.

childrens behaviors are caused by their unmet needs, so this is solving the problem at its route. children who are action out are usually trying to tell us "i need more love" (i find this to be true with my children! I can always tell who my connection is the weakest with by who ishaving the most behavioral issues at the time.

It really helps to look at the bigger picture too. sometimes you may think something isnt working, because they arent responding to it that second, but these things take time. and it works in the long run. punishment gives temporary results only. it does not set our children up for success in our absence, or teach them what they should do. It only teaches them what not to do out of fear, not what they shoud do...

If you do yell or do something not so gentle yourself, you can model all you are trying to teach your child. You can Rewind, Repair, and Replay.

Tell your child "I am working on not yelling anymore. If I start yelling please remind me to stop by telling me 'talk to me like I'm someone you love'

when you catch yourself yelling, or they do, you

rewind "Thank you for reminding me to stop yelling" or" Oops, I was yelling. Let's rewind."

repair " Im sorry, you didnt deserve to be yelled at. what you did was not okay but yelling at you is not okay either.

replay: let's start over. I feel frustrated because I need...


It may seem like all this takes a lot of time, but it happens pretty quickly, and in the long term, it takes less time as our children learn and their needs get met and their behavior improves. Yelling/punishing may give short term results, but the problems dont go away. in fact, they may escalate because they are causing emotional pain, which creates more need in the child, which creates more of those "needy" behaviors.

I know its a lot to take in, so I really want to say that from what you concerns are and the things you have said in this post, the book I most recommend is connection parenting. It's an easy read, definitely a book you can pick up and put down, and easy to book mark a few pages that give strategies on how to handle these situations.

Remember, how we treat them is what we teach them.
Children do what we do, not what we tell them to do.

I hope this was helpful to you, I have more to say, but I think I've said enough!
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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I'm more on the 'parent in charge' side of GD, but still nonpunitive and nonthreatening. I personally love Anthony Wolf's books. His general discipline book is:

The Secret of Parenting: How to be in charge of today's kids, from toddlers to teens, without threats or punishments

And his sibling book is, "Mom! Jason's breathing on me!"

I guess if I had to sum him up in a nutshell, his technique is to disengage from the struggle - NOT disengage from the child, as in ignoring the child, but disengage from the struggle itself, because a lot of times kids will bring in things for shock value to distract you from the real issue at hand (like screaming NO at you when you're trying to stop them from hitting each other). You basically refuse to take the bait when they're doing stuff to distract from the issue, stick to the issue at hand, and then later address what they were doing to try to distract you.

His sibling idea is mainly to let them work things out themselves, if it isn't involving someone getting hurt. To NOT take sides, but talk to the 'victim' at a separate time to address things if you feel the need. To empower them to have their own relationship with each other without coming to you to resolve everything...even if their resolutions seem to be unfair to you, they have their own ideas about what they'll accept and what they won't as THEIR kind of fair. But that part usually is for older kids, so I'm still wrkingon helping them figure things out cause mine are 5 and 2-1/2.

Soooooooo. If they are hitting at each other. I physically get in between then and say something like, "WOAH, not OK! This is not a great way to solve whatever the problem is!" Then I talk with both of them and figure out the problem, and help them talk to each other about solving it - help them get out into the open what each one was trying to do, and figure out something that works for both of them. If one of them is sassy, I ignore it, or just say, "That's rude, and I don't like it." and drop that part. Then later in the day, or at bedtime, I'll talk to them calmly about how it's OK to be mad, but not OK to talk like that to each other or to me.


As for other stuff, my general mode is:
1) Make the request once, maybe twice.
2) Go to them and help make it happen, while repeating the request. Tell them what they could do instead next time.
3) If they wig out, validate their upset and empathize, and explain about the situation again briefly.
4) Drop it, and move forward with the day/activity/whatever.
5) Later on in the day, talk about the situation and how it could have been better handled.

I guess basically what I'm trying to do is replace the undesireable behaviors with more desireable ones....not have them behaving to avoid being caught or punished for doing something.

Hope this helps.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:35 PM
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what you say sounds similiar to me only I see myself as the parent who works with my kids not the parent who does things to my kids. but overall, sounds like we handle things very similar 4ofus
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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Oh, I work with them a lot - it's just not a dealbreaker to me if I have to pull rank after I've tried for a couple minutes to work things out with them. And I agree, our households probably look pretty similar day to day.

And it's funny about the "with" vs "to" thing, because I'm usually saying that people probably thing I'm not "doing" anything when I discipline my kids in public because I'm not doing anything TO them, that is, I'm not punishing them. And I also write about working with the kids thorugh their phases instead of trying ot extinguish them.

I think, probably the main thing keeping me from being an actual CL parent is that I don't always think that there's something else to try to make things work out - frankly, I'm not patient enough for that - if I spend a couple minutes trying to work things out and they're not responding, I just make a decision (that is the path of least resistance) and go with it. I'll empathize and validate, but move forward nonetheless.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:53 PM
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oh im sorry you seemed to have misunderstood my comment. I wasn't saying your approach was a "to" not a "with" approach. I was saying our approach is a uncannily unlike! just that I refer to mine as the "with not to" approach and you refer to yours and the "parent in charge" approach but we are really doing many of the same things! ETA: this is still coming out wrong lol - clarifying. we are both parents who use a "with not to" approach. but that's what I see my approach as where you call yours a parent in charge. If you are the parent in charge who does with not to, I don't know my equivalent to that. I don't know what "end" im on, im not CL, maybe I lean that way on some issues, but I guess the closest I can get is im not a parent who is in control I am parent who is teaching her children self control? I think its the same thing in the end (based on the way you approach and I approach it), we are just getting to the same end point with a different way of looking at it.

PS - I'm not a CL parent either, despite how it may sound by some of my posts, I have had a shift in thinking that makes me look at things from more of a CL point of view, but I can't find a way to practice it fully in a way that is practical in my family. we'll see what the future brings, we are always growing!

I just don't look at is as my "pulling rank" but I think the bottom line so to speak is the same in my family as it is in yours
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I guess technically I do do things TO them because I make them do things they don't want to do sometimes (and sometimes this involves me physically moving them - gently, but moving them nonetheless)....however, I don't do things TO them in the sense that I don't punish them, or threaten to punish them in order to get them to comply with me. Does that make sense?

I love thinking about this stuff, so I've been enjoying this - I wasn't offended at all, I probably read too much into your post.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:05 AM
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I guess in that sense I do things to them too, as you can probably tell by my post, as I will take the hand that is hitting to stop the hitting, I will move the child who is being hit, I will pick them up and move them into another rooms, etc. I guess it's not a real issue for me because they either 1) they are already upset so I dont feel they are upset by my touching them or 2) it seems when I get involved they immediately calm down. its almost as if they are thankful I have arrived to help...

but when I say that you and I don't do "to" then I mean that you and I dont threaten or punish - so yes you made sense. I was just thinking how even though you and I think of our approach in different lights, to an outsider it must look like we are doing the exact same thing.
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