How can I get him to stop pushing me to the edge? Update in post 27 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I try firm but reasonable, I try talking calmly and rationally, modelling the way I would like to be spoken to, I try playful parenting techniques but lately, no matter what, everytime, EVERY time he thinks this is a cue to push the silliness MORE! What the !?

He is five. I know this is normal. But I just can't take it. And I try to be calm and rational and speak in an even voice and be steady and let him know enough is enough, no means no and he's allowed to be sad, but he just shouts over me incessantly until I have to leave the room and shut the door or I swear I will snap and just SHAKE him! and I can't even work up sympathy for him anymore as he cries his eyes out in his room for me to come back...I think; "Why? So you can totally disregard me again? forget it, man!"

It's like he just needs to have a screaming tantrum before he can listen to anyone and especially at night like he needs to get angry to settle down and I HATE ending the night like that! What happened to cuddles and stories and a song and sweet goodnight kisses? Suddenly he just can't stop asking for more...more stories, more songs, more hugs which turns into wrestling and bouncing and ARGGGGG!

And it's not just at night...every aisle in the supermarket is accompanied by a whinging diatribe of gimmegimmegimme and I want I want I want. Every no is met with wild protests and flailing...FLAILING tantrums. And it's not like his world is full of no and tyranny. He gets to choose his own cereal, and he gets to choose his own lunch snacks...he gets to help choose dinners and he always gets a special a treat afterwards with his dad while I pay for everything...What is his deal?

Two and three were a fricken cake walk next to this. And can I tell you the truth? I really find myself not liking him, right now. Last night I found myself staring at him in awe of myself for how little I wanted him to be next to me, and he and I used to be best pals. I mean, who stole my sweet, empathetic, considerate boy and replaced him with this greedy, selfish, abusive creature? Please tell me this will pass and more importantly that he will be a likable person again...SOON!

I'm going nuts.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#2 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 02:08 AM
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I've ask my DD if she can behave or do i need to come back alone and do the shopping. I don't attempt to shop if she's being rude. She's 4 now and we don't have much of a problem any more. It was more when she was younger. One thing that seems to help is to give the reason I won't buy something instead of saying no, for example "that's too expensive" "that has HFCS in it" "that's not real food it isn't very good for our bodies".

One thing to remember about phases is that they go away. With rudeness at home I have suggested DD go to her room until she feels better.
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#3 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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I have a 5 y/o too. The terrible 2s were fun compared to this age.
I found a poem by Malvina Reynolds that I'm going to print and put on my fridge. I think it may help a little.

"I wish you were here to get underfoot,
I wish you were here to get in my way,
To call me from work, to call me to play,
I wish you were here again.
Oh what did I do that had to be done,
And what did I read that had to be read,
When I might have turned to watch you instead,
I wish you were here again."


I have no suggestions, sorry...

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#4 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I have a 4 and a half yr old DD and yup. Same deal. I just got back from a walk with she and my older DS. She screamed the entire way home because I wouldn't pick her up (it was half way down the street, not long) and she is too heavy for me to walk with. Then, in order to get her home I had to hold her hand very firmly. Everytime I let go she sat down to have more of a tantrum. She was screaming bloody murder and I can only imagine what the neighbors thought.

I don't know what to to with her....and sorry I have no advice other than get lots of breaks. Boarding school? Just kidding.

It helped me just to read your post. At least we aren't alone!
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#5 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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Ultimately our sense of emotional control can't come from our kids. If you feel like you are always close to losing it, that needs to be addressed as a separate issue. No matter how challenging our child is, somewhere there is a parent dealing with a situation that makes ours look easy. Knowing this is true doesn't automatically change anything, but it helps me to put my situation in perspective.

I have three ways of addressing the feelings of not liking my child.

1) The out-of-control feelings are my own problem, not his. People can't 'drive me crazy'. If I start thinking like that then I feel powerless.
2) If I don't like my kid, it only goes so far to say 'Kid, you are driving me crazy". Sure, I say it, and SOMETIMES it is sufficient to change him, but sometimes he doesn't know how to change. In other words, telling him how I feel is important, and I do expect him to care, but I tend to say it and then move on to focusing on the solution.
3) Again, I *do* tell my kid when I feel angry or upset with him. I am very blunt and honest. But, telling him that this is so is not the same as teaching him how else to behave, so I don't stop with "I feel angry with you". It is my job to figure out what it is he needs. My son is 13 and just today, he did something rude, and I spent about 5 minutes ticked off and made it clear he had ticked me off. Then when he came in to apologize, I asked him to sit down so we could talk over what happened. I let him feel the anger, but it is under control. I let it go, and focused on the solution.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#6 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I've ask my DD if she can behave or do i need to come back alone and do the shopping. I don't attempt to shop if she's being rude. She's 4 now and we don't have much of a problem any more. It was more when she was younger. One thing that seems to help is to give the reason I won't buy something instead of saying no, for example "that's too expensive" "that has HFCS in it" "that's not real food it isn't very good for our bodies".

One thing to remember about phases is that they go away. With rudeness at home I have suggested DD go to her room until she feels better.
This is what I have been resorting to lately, but he sees it as a time out, and a punishment not a natural consequence...everything lately is "IT'S NOT FAIR!" and I think...not fair? Fair doesn't mean you get everything your id desires, buddy!

We do explain, the no. I have always given the why because I hated no without a reason. My MIL said it would come back to haunt me when she heard me explaining why he wasn't allowed to have chocolate for dinner at the age of two. Now DH is all "we never should have treated him like that. We don't don't owe him an explanation! Because we SAID so, that's why!"



But seriously, you say no to a request and he goes BALLISTIC...It's not fair, you never give me what I want! This is not compromising! Why won't you give me what I want?! I don't want real food! It isn't too expensive, you're lying! If you don't buy me those juice boxes everyone will laugh at me at school and I will never be part of your family again!



Calgon, take me away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post
I have a 5 y/o too. The terrible 2s were fun compared to this age.
I found a poem by Malvina Reynolds that I'm going to print and put on my fridge. I think it may help a little.

"I wish you were here to get underfoot,
I wish you were here to get in my way,
To call me from work, to call me to play,
I wish you were here again.
Oh what did I do that had to be done,
And what did I read that had to be read,
When I might have turned to watch you instead,
I wish you were here again."


I have no suggestions, sorry...
That made me cry.

He's not in my way though, ya know? He can be so much fun, so creative and smart as a whip. Just SOMETIMES I wish he would just be scared of me just enough to shut up and do what he's told!

I am going to try and see it like this...Do I want a push over for a child? Do I want someone who takes no for an answer and rolls over at the first sign of domination? Do I want to raise a subserviant toady?

NO...I just wish it didn't mean he had to practice his firm stances on ME!

I guess I have to consider his language skills almost developed but now help him to learn how to communicate non-violently and get his point across and make his feelings known without attacking me or his dad.

This is EXHAUSTING! Some days I look at the duct tape on my utility shelf and I dream of a quiet hour or two.

The good news is, according to his kindergarten teacher, his friend's mom, and the staff at soft play area drop off center (hooRAY for these, two hours of fun for him and quiet for me for 4 dollars...I'll take it!), he is a polite, sweet well behaved little boy who follows the rules and is sociable and sweet. So maybe he just needs to get out his anger and frustration with the world where he knows he can? He doens't hate us and want to drive us crazy, right?

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Originally Posted by destinybound View Post
I have a 4 and a half yr old DD and yup. Same deal. I just got back from a walk with she and my older DS. She screamed the entire way home because I wouldn't pick her up (it was half way down the street, not long) and she is too heavy for me to walk with. Then, in order to get her home I had to hold her hand very firmly. Everytime I let go she sat down to have more of a tantrum. She was screaming bloody murder and I can only imagine what the neighbors thought.

I don't know what to do with her....and sorry I have no advice other than get lots of breaks. Boarding school? Just kidding.

It helped me just to read your post. At least we aren't alone!
I almost typed that I think of sending him to boarding school, but I didn't think people would appreciate the humor. I can nearly understand the appeal now.

It is good to know this is not just my kid and a solely a result of being "too leinient." Hopefully I can start to see this in a positive light: he sees home as a safe place to test boundaries, and assert himself. Now if I can just make it through this phase before his father or I strangle him...

I gotta say it is really hard not to silently draw comparisons with his little baby sister who is just sweetness and giggles and slumbering dreamy coos. If only they could stay so cute and submissive forever.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#7 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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"My son is pushing me over the edge."

I see it this way. You have 3 choices. Two of them involve moving the edge.

Firstly, you can move it further out. You be more patient. You let him be the way he is, and even expect him to get worse as he grows. A lot of parents do this. "Sweet little fella, he doesn't mean it. He's just trying to express himself."

Secondly, you can leave it right where it is. You can keep doing what you are doing, and keep getting the results you have always gotten. You can keep hoping it will go away, and it will pass, but probably just morph into something else. Personally, I don't want to be doing this with my 7yo, and then my 10yo, and then my 12yo, and then a teen I really can't do anything about except wait and hope it goes okay.

Thirdly, you can move the line in a bit. Tighten the reigns. Expect polite speech, and demand it from him. 5 is big enough to talk nice. I think most 2 and 3 yos are capable of talking nice, but most people don't agree with me. . I've had two that do, and it wasn't because they are "easy-going". Trust me.

I, obviously, fall into camp 3. It's my job to set the standard, uphold the standard, and live by it. I don't think letting small children be rude to me is a sign that I love them and am teaching them that they can trust me and be safe in this relationship. I think it's teaching them that they can abuse people that they love, and that people they love have to take it. We are told to let our children talk to us however because it is a safe place for them to vent their feelings, and then we tell our children not to let anyone talk to them like that ever. That doesn't even make sense. Do you want your child to talk to his wife that way "because she should love him and he's safe in that relationship?" Of course not. I know, he's a child now, but I don't believe, like I said, that it's truly a phase. I think it's the same sort of disrespect that is going to come out in many different ways over the course of one's life.

No, no one is perfect, and I loose my cool and am disrespectful to people, including my children, too. I don't expect them to be perfect, but I'm not going to make my ideal less than that. We're aiming higher.

So, I don't think you are wrong to want him to be nice to you. I think you should require it. But I know that I'm in the minority around here on that point.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#8 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
Ultimately our sense of emotional control can't come from our kids. If you feel like you are always close to losing it, that needs to be addressed as a separate issue. No matter how challenging our child is, somewhere there is a parent dealing with a situation that makes ours look easy. Knowing this is true doesn't automatically change anything, but it helps me to put my situation in perspective.

I have three ways of addressing the feelings of not liking my child.

1) The out-of-control feelings are my own problem, not his. People can't 'drive me crazy'. If I start thinking like that then I feel powerless.
2) If I don't like my kid, it only goes so far to say 'Kid, you are driving me crazy". Sure, I say it, and SOMETIMES it is sufficient to change him, but sometimes he doesn't know how to change. In other words, telling him how I feel is important, and I do expect him to care, but I tend to say it and then move on to focusing on the solution.
3) Again, I *do* tell my kid when I feel angry or upset with him. I am very blunt and honest. But, telling him that this is so is not the same as teaching him how else to behave, so I don't stop with "I feel angry with you". It is my job to figure out what it is he needs. My son is 13 and just today, he did something rude, and I spent about 5 minutes ticked off and made it clear he had ticked me off. Then when he came in to apologize, I asked him to sit down so we could talk over what happened. I let him feel the anger, but it is under control. I let it go, and focused on the solution.
That's good. I need to hear that. This is stuff I know from dealing with my students and my line work is a lot about teaching people how to commincate their needs and not blaming others for their emotions. Conflict transformation and all that.

I think sometimes I forget that, because I spend so much time giving to him I just expect him to reciprocate!

He is the kid...

Your kid is much older, but how did you make it clear you were ticked off without blaming him/judging him? Do you find that in the middle fo trying to express your anger or frustration calmly that your child just shouts over you? What do you do then?

I will say, I do like when everyone has calmed down and he comes to me to apologize (or I go to him to initiate apologies), and we have a real conversation...I just wish the conversations could happen BEFORE the screaming and flailing...why is the tantrum a prerequisite?

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#9 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"My son is pushing me over the edge."

I see it this way. You have 3 choices. Two of them involve moving the edge.

Firstly, you can move it further out. You be more patient. You let him be the way he is, and even expect him to get worse as he grows. A lot of parents do this. "Sweet little fella, he doesn't mean it. He's just trying to express himself."

Secondly, you can leave it right where it is. You can keep doing what you are doing, and keep getting the results you have always gotten. You can keep hoping it will go away, and it will pass, but probably just morph into something else. Personally, I don't want to be doing this with my 7yo, and then my 10yo, and then my 12yo, and then a teen I really can't do anything about except wait and hope it goes okay.

Thirdly, you can move the line in a bit. Tighten the reigns. Expect polite speech, and demand it from him. 5 is big enough to talk nice. I think most 2 and 3 yos are capable of talking nice, but most people don't agree with me. . I've had two that do, and it wasn't because they are "easy-going". Trust me.

I, obviously, fall into camp 3. It's my job to set the standard, uphold the standard, and live by it. I don't think letting small children be rude to me is a sign that I love them and am teaching them that they can trust me and be safe in this relationship. I think it's teaching them that they can abuse people that they love, and that people they love have to take it. We are told to let our children talk to us however because it is a safe place for them to vent their feelings, and then we tell our children not to let anyone talk to them like that ever. That doesn't even make sense. Do you want your child to talk to his wife that way "because she should love him and he's safe in that relationship?" Of course not. I know, he's a child now, but I don't believe, like I said, that it's truly a phase. I think it's the same sort of disrespect that is going to come out in many different ways over the course of one's life.

No, no one is perfect, and I loose my cool and am disrespectful to people, including my children, too. I don't expect them to be perfect, but I'm not going to make my ideal less than that. We're aiming higher.

So, I don't think you are wrong to want him to be nice to you. I think you should require it. But I know that I'm in the minority around here on that point.
Okay, so how do you enforce it? Because at the moment I feel like all I have are time outs, and privilege restrictions and punitive measures. I do positive reinforcement when he acts in ways I am proud of, and I do lots of modelling and we never give in to his tryranny.

I am a quiet, mellow, peaceful, introverted (not shy, but I get my energy from being alone, whereas he and DH both get their enegery from being around people) person. I feel like my brain is going to implode when he starts up. What techniques do you use to enforce the boundary? Would you just walk away and let him cry?

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#10 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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My general approach with most things is...

1.) In a non-stressful, conversational environment make sure that I clearly lay out the expectations and reasons they exist. In this case, the need to talk kindly and reasonably. I will offer suggestions for managing ones emotions, and phrases and such to express things nicely and appropriately. Simple words, simpe message, but crystal clear.

2.) For a few days, I will remind of my catch phrases in times of conflict, and many other times throughout the day.

3.) After I am certain my expectations are clear, I begin enforcing. Would I walk away and let him cry? No. I used to try that, but found that it was counter productive. If a child is crying because he has a true need, rational or not, I will drop everything and come running. If a child is screaming and yelling and raging because he is mad and me and is hoping that I will change my mind, that's totally another thing. By walking away, I have only sent two messages. The first is that he can stand in public and be out of control and disrupt the lives of the rest of us. I'm sorry, but the living room is for living, and you can't act like that in here. The second is that *I* can walk away, but I can't help him get through this issue.

So, I remove the child. I would take him to his bed, or some other place. Then I would say, "You may not talk to people that way. In our house, we talk nicely to people. You may come out when you will talk nicely." (Remember, you have made sure he knows full well what "talk nicely means" This isn't news to him, and he doesn't need help to know what "nice" is.) If he comes out after you yelling and raging, politely and firmly return him to his bed. "You may come out when you will talk nicely. People deserve respect. I respect you, and I require you to respect others."

Repeat ad nausem. It will take awhile before he believes you. It's hard to make a point that firmly, but I believe that if you want to drive home the message of respect, zero tolerance is the only way.

The result for my children is that they can say, "Mama, I'm so sad my balloon broke. May I have another?" They might cry, but they don't kick and scream and become impossible. Ds, who is younger may say, "Ma, I sad 'bout that. I want ___ to gimme dat." He might let out a squeal, but with a gentle reminder, he talks nice, and he can come to me for comfort and distraction while he waits his turn.

We talk, again, in a non-confrontational time and way, about ways to say what we are feeling, how to read people's body language, and what theirs tells other people about them. We talk about the best ways to get what they want, and what freedom and fair really mean. We talk about the limits of money, and of the fulfillment of our personal desires on our happiness. My kids already appreciate that I have not allowed them the free reign of uncontrolled anger in their tiny bodies. Dd watched, appalled, at a little girl, probably 5, being dragged through the mall by her arm because she refused to walk. The girl was screaming, "I don't want to. I hate you. I hate you. You can't make me. I don't want to." Over and over. Dd's eyes got wider and wider. I have encouraged my children to control themselves, given them tools to do it, and then required them to do so. And we can have a lot more fun, and they can have a lot more of what they want, and I never have had to take anyone older than 2 screaming from anywhere.

I know there are extenuating circumstances for everyone, a child with special needs, for example, but I think that most children can be helped through this without the parent having to suffer through.

I do agree that we are responsible for our own emotions, so no one can *make* us feel a certain way. But it is also true that in most relationships, our tactic for emotional hardship is to withdrawl, for days, hours, weeks, etc. That method is not compatible with parenting a small child. You can't withdrawl to the level needed, completely leaving if the behavior doesn't stop, for example. A child still needs nurturing, and physical care. You can't just walk away. And, you are responsible for opening their eyes, gently and age appropriately, to the world. Waiting for them to figure it out or just stop isn't fair to THEM, I don't think. And I don't have to live with a tyrant, no matter their age.

Also, I have a child who does not connect the dots in social situations. I have to tell her how to behave in every situation, because she truly doesn't pick up the cues. That has led to a lot of discussion with her, and made me realize how good it was for children in general to have that explaination and not just assume they would "get it" by the knocks of the world.

eta-Just not giving in is not sending a clear message. Just not giving in is not the same as requiring practice at doing it right. You need to replace the behavior, not just ignore it.

(Please forgive the bad spelling...I just can't spell when pg.)

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#11 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 04:32 PM
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Oh mamma, it sounds like you're trying so hard, but it's really difficult sometimes to let our children be who they are and to delight in them when they do things that we don't like. It sounds like he wants more control over his life and even over yours. I know you said that you give him a lot of control over food, etc, but for any kid, there's so many places and times that they don't get what they want, and your son may be one who needs more control than some other kids.

Maybe you could look at any way you can handle to give him more control. I noticed from your signature that he got a little sister just a few months ago, and maybe that adjustment has been more difficult than you realize, not to say for sure that is the reason.

Control of you is where I think you need to draw the line. I don't think that children know what to do with control over another person. Actually, I think it's really difficult for anyone not to abuse their power over another person, which is why I think we also need to be careful not to control our children, not to take away their free will. I think that to empower children to take control over their own lives, we need to set an example of being in control of our own actions.

Leaving the room when you feel like you are losing control is a much better alternative to yelling at, hitting, or otherwise abusing your son in any way, and I would encourage you do continue doing that whenever it is needed to protect your son, but I think it would be even more wonderful if you could practice some skills that would allow you to stay and handle the situation.

I would really recommend to you Naomi Aldort's book "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves." Briefly, she gives an approach that really helps for lovingly handling those difficult situations where our children are doing something that we feel we can't stand. SALVE.

S - Self-talk: Briefly pay attention to what your mind is saying. A lot of times, our minds make a bigger deal out of something than it needs to by saying things like "He should know better" or "He always pushes me to the edge like this." Are they really true? Evaluate how you would feel if you didn't think those things.

A-Attention on your Child: Pay attention to how your child is feeling in the particular situation

L-Listen: to how your child is feeling

V-Validate your child's feelings. Even if you think that the actions are unacceptable, your child's feelings are valid

E - Empower your child to make a positive decision or to move on in a positive direction.

And read the rest of the book for good ideas about siblings and power games, etc.
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#12 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I know I keep coming back and posting more, but I am wandering around doing housework and pondering this post. I have been really struggling with the why and how of what I do lately. It isn't that I don't think I'm heading the right direction with my kids, or that I am displeased with the results thus far. Because I'm totally satisfied on both accounts. It's just that people IRL keep asking me WHY or HOW, and I find I can't articulate. Like a friend with a 5yo and I are talking and she tells me of a situation and asks what I would do. Or says, "Well, I've been reading such and such book. What do you think of it?" So I read it, and I disagree, but I can't explain why very well. Anyway, so I've been really thinking and trying to nail down my philosophy in order to aid me in these discussions, and to refine how I am parenting my children, and to keep me on track, so to speak.

So, as I was thinking about my post, I want to be sure that it doesn't come across in a punitive way. That isn't it at all. My actions are a consequence, sure, but the underlying push in my discipline is "Son, I love you, and you are going to get clobbered in life if I let you act that way. We've got to work on good habits and good practices because I want the very best for you." And my children understand that. They see me trying to better myself, and know that I am helping them be better people, too.

I don't jerk my child down the hall and back to their bed and say with a nasty tone, "You don't talk to me like that!" and flop them on their bed to sob while I huff off. I reach down to them and gently turn them by their shoulders and guide them to their room. Swiftly, and with purpose (and I'll pick them up if they resist), but gently and respectfully. And when I place them on their beds (or whatever), it's with gentleness and a kind tone, yet firm, when I tell them that I cannot let them x. I am firm, but I am not punitive. I am strict, but I am gentle and reasonable. My children trust me and come to me when they are upset. The two really can be compatible.

I just wanted to be sure I didn't come off as somebody who is just an exacting jerk to their children. Again, it's not shaming or punitive. I am very, very careful about that. That way disgusts me. (And if I read one more book advocating it...blah!)

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#13 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(crossposetd with the two above...)

Just One more...

Thanks! This makes a lot of sense. and is very much what we are doing anyway. Some days are easier than others, I guess.

I guess the frustrating thing is that this feels like regression, only even worse than ever (maybe though just because he is bigger and stronger and has even more sophisticated words to hurt me with?). When he was two and three he seemed to have this down pat. He'd take no on the chin and say quietly "I feel sad about that. I need a hug." or "Mommy I still love you, but I am mad about not getting what I want."

Could it be this is a slightly delayed reaction to the baby coming, or a result of having befriended a few children with slightly less restrictive expectations on their behavior?

Is this a natural ebb and flow?

Last night I did exactly what you described. I picked him up, taking him to his room, and he started screaming and crying "no no no" and I couldn't even hear myself say; "You may not talk to people that way. In our house, we talk nicely to people. You may come out when you will talk nicely." I had to shut the door, and come back five minute later before he was willing to even hear me say that much.

I seriously hope with consistency and repetition this will pass.

You're right, not giving in isn't enough...it's really exasperating.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Oh mamma, it sounds like you're trying so hard, but it's really difficult sometimes to let our children be who they are and to delight in them when they do things that we don't like. It sounds like he wants more control over his life and even over yours. I know you said that you give him a lot of control over food, etc, but for any kid, there's so many places and times that they don't get what they want, and your son may be one who needs more control than some other kids.

Maybe you could look at any way you can handle to give him more control. I noticed from your signature that he got a little sister just a few months ago, and maybe that adjustment has been more difficult than you realize, not to say for sure that is the reason.

Control of you is where I think you need to draw the line. I don't think that children know what to do with control over another person. Actually, I think it's really difficult for anyone not to abuse their power over another person, which is why I think we also need to be careful not to control our children, not to take away their free will. I think that to empower children to take control over their own lives, we need to set an example of being in control of our own actions.

Leaving the room when you feel like you are losing control is a much better alternative to yelling at, hitting, or otherwise abusing your son in any way, and I would encourage you do continue doing that whenever it is needed to protect your son, but I think it would be even more wonderful if you could practice some skills that would allow you to stay and handle the situation.

I would really recommend to you Naomi Aldort's book "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves." Briefly, she gives an approach that really helps for lovingly handling those difficult situations where our children are doing something that we feel we can't stand. SALVE.

S - Self-talk: Briefly pay attention to what your mind is saying. A lot of times, our minds make a bigger deal out of something than it needs to by saying things like "He should know better" or "He always pushes me to the edge like this." Are they really true? Evaluate how you would feel if you didn't think those things.

A-Attention on your Child: Pay attention to how your child is feeling in the particular situation

L-Listen: to how your child is feeling

V-Validate your child's feelings. Even if you think that the actions are unacceptable, your child's feelings are valid

E - Empower your child to make a positive decision or to move on in a positive direction.

And read the rest of the book for good ideas about siblings and power games, etc.
That's helpful...I like that acronym...it could work.

And about the new sister, I do wonder if it is partly that. It is hard not to coo over her, and we probably haven't been doing as much cooing over him as we used to...and I am tired, which is probably amping up those voices in my head like "why don't you just grow UP Benjamin?!" eta: Maybe he is being really great about his new sister, but in reality he is internalizing his anger...and it's venting itself this way. hmmmm.

I would like to find more ways to give him control in age appropriate ways. It's really hard to let your kids go be their own people when you can foresee the heartache they will probably have to face.

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I know I keep coming back and posting more, but I am wandering around doing housework and pondering this post. I have been really struggling with the why and how of what I do lately. It isn't that I don't think I'm heading the right direction with my kids, or that I am displeased with the results thus far. Because I'm totally satisfied on both accounts. It's just that people IRL keep asking me WHY or HOW, and I find I can't articulate. Like a friend with a 5yo and I are talking and she tells me of a situation and asks what I would do. Or says, "Well, I've been reading such and such book. What do you think of it?" So I read it, and I disagree, but I can't explain why very well. Anyway, so I've been really thinking and trying to nail down my philosophy in order to aid me in these discussions, and to refine how I am parenting my children, and to keep me on track, so to speak.

So, as I was thinking about my post, I want to be sure that it doesn't come across in a punitive way. That isn't it at all. My actions are a consequence, sure, but the underlying push in my discipline is "Son, I love you, and you are going to get clobbered in life if I let you act that way. We've got to work on good habits and good practices because I want the very best for you." And my children understand that. They see me trying to better myself, and know that I am helping them be better people, too.

I don't jerk my child down the hall and back to their bed and say with a nasty tone, "You don't talk to me like that!" and flop them on their bed to sob while I huff off. I reach down to them and gently turn them by their shoulders and guide them to their room. Swiftly, and with purpose (and I'll pick them up if they resist), but gently and respectfully. And when I place them on their beds (or whatever), it's with gentleness and a kind tone, yet firm, when I tell them that I cannot let them x. I am firm, but I am not punitive. I am strict, but I am gentle and reasonable. My children trust me and come to me when they are upset. The two really can be compatible.

I just wanted to be sure I didn't come off as somebody who is just an exacting jerk to their children. Again, it's not shaming or punitive. I am very, very careful about that. That way disgusts me. (And if I read one more book advocating it...blah!)
I don't think you came off that way at all...I cross posted with you both earlier so to explain...'

This does make sense...and it's really what I try to do...I guess I just have to keep repeating and being as consistent as possible.

ETA: On the one hand he seems like such a smart kid and such a fast learner, on the other hand....

Thanks for the advice, guys! I guess sometimes it takes me a long time to learn stuff, too.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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It's probably mainly the new sister. My older dd went a bit nuts when her baby sister was born.

Also, we find that her behavior is MUCH better for the whole day if she has eggs or some other type of protein for breakfast instead of cereal or any other kind of grain-based meal.
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huh...interesting. I will try the eggs.

I will try ANYTHING!

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#17 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 06:35 PM
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That's helpful...I like that acronym...it could work.

And about the new sister, I do wonder if it is partly that. It is hard not to coo over her, and we probably haven't been doing as much cooing over him as we used to...and I am tired, which is probably amping up those voices in my head like "why don't you just grow UP Benjamin?!" eta: Maybe he is being really great about his new sister, but in reality he is internalizing his anger...and it's venting itself this way. hmmmm.

I would like to find more ways to give him control in age appropriate ways. It's really hard to let your kids go be their own people when you can foresee the heartache they will probably have to face.
I don't see it so much as letting him go off and make his own mistakes and suffer the consequences as giving him the chance to practice making decisions and learn from mistakes in an environment where he is safe and loved unconditionally. It's like letting a child learn to walk and fall on a soft floor before sending them down the sidewalk to walk.

I really struggled with this idea and am still working out the kinks in my own philosophy, but Naomi Aldort's book helped a lot to give me a lot of things to consider. I had to read it slowly, pausing often to reflect on my relationships with everyone I know. There were a lot of emotions I had to deal with and release (and that I'm still working on) to get past all the habits I took for granted. Certainly, you want the control you give your son to be "age-appropriate" (Allowing him to drive your car right now would be irresponsible.), but I think a lot of times we (me included) take control away from our children unnecessarily for our own convenience.

Dr. Aldort gives a number of recommendations for how to turn conversations away from one person getting their way to respecting everyone involved. I just recommend reading with an open mind.
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Virtues parenting might be a "how" you and your son might connect with. There is a thread on here somewhere about it.

Tjej
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#19 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...I think a lot of times we (me included) take control away from our children unnecessarily for our own convenience.
That is so true. I'm ashamed to admit it, but you're right. Occassionally, I am limiting choices it's because the consequence of the choice is a nuissance to me. It is easier to say no.

Sometimes, I also feel like I have to say no because when I say yes to one thing, he immediately wants something else and something else and something else. It's so hard to not get angry when he doesn't take even a second to appreciate the yeses and can dos and haves and just focuses on what else he wants. Appreciation is in short supply, and his father and I both grew up in a world of heavy handed NO, reinforced with belts and wooden spoons, so both of us marvel at his...gluttony? I know that's not the right word, but it does feel that way when you feel taken for granted. Which I KNOW is ridiculous...I do know that. I just want to be able to teach him to be grateful for what he has before he covets what he doesn't...his whole motivation in life seems to be consumed with what's next and DH and I don't live our lives like that, so it's fascinating...where did this come from?

Thanks for being a sounding board...this is really helping!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Virtues parenting might be a "how" you and your son might connect with. There is a thread on here somewhere about it.

Tjej
Off to search! Cheers.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#21 of 35 Old 04-12-2010, 08:11 PM
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Sometimes, I also feel like I have to say no because when I say yes to one thing, he immediately wants something else and something else and something else. It's so hard to not get angry when he doesn't take even a second to appreciate the yeses and can dos and haves and just focuses on what else he wants. Appreciation is in short supply, and his father and I both grew up in a world of heavy handed NO, reinforced with belts and wooden spoons, so both of us marvel at his...gluttony? I know that's not the right word, but it does feel that way when you feel taken for granted. Which I KNOW is ridiculous...I do know that. I just want to be able to teach him to be grateful for what he has before he covets what he doesn't...his whole motivation in life seems to be consumed with what's next and DH and I don't live our lives like that, so it's fascinating...where did this come from?
I've heard that children tend to believe that they deserve whatever they get. If they get hit, they're likely to believe that hitting them is OK. If they're given the world, they think they deserve that too. Eventually, some of us grow up and realize that it's wrong to hit children or realize how lucky we were. I would imagine that modeling and talking about thankfulness would show him that it's something you value and something that has a positive impact on the world.
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#22 of 35 Old 04-13-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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One thing I noticed with DD1 was that if she sensed me getting irritated she would take it and run with it so to speak. So I tried to put on a front that she wasn't getting to me and the annoying behavior would end much quicker.

I agree with giving a reason behind the answer of "no".

Another thing that I learned was invaluable was that no means no and to think before saying it to see if you really mean it.

I would be caught up in something and one of the kids would ask for something and I would say no or not today then think to myself that really there was no reason to not let them do/have what they were asking for.

Good luck it is a trying age but you are able to teach them so much during this time.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#23 of 35 Old 04-13-2010, 05:05 AM
 
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Rebekah,

this is something i learnt from IRL friends of teenagers.

around 5 - 6 year old children hit this peak of emotions. its what i call child angst - their first teens. i have a 7 1/2 year old and she went thru it at the same time.

my dd would tell me 'mom i dont know what is in me that is doing it but i cant help it.' those were bad, bad, days because she felt the whole world was out to get her, nothing worked right. my friends children - those who remember said it was worse than teenage hood.

i am not sure what i would call it. going to another level of maturity.

the only way i could describe dd was hormonal, PMSing. she would go thru such unpredictable mood swings and wear her out so emotionally. it last a few months.

that's also the last time her hitting came out. her hitting which came out of nowhere really triggered me. so one day i sat and seriously talked to her about it. not when she was in teh middle of it, but later. and explained what triggered it and the deep anger i felt towards anyone hitting me - whether it was her or anyone else. little by little she gathered her self control over time and that it. she never hit me anymore.

when i understood how terrible the time is for them, how hard they try to control but it seems like split personality and they cant, it really took away all the anger and frustration i was feeling.

plus i am a single mom who coparents. and at that time dd was deeply questioning her dad. and she would cry piteously over why he doesnt understand her. so i was able to see the depth of her pain. just seeing how deeply she was feeling all of this - took all my frustrations away.

you have got a lot of great replies along the lines of what i wanted to say. about looking at yourself and what is going on rather than your child. but its all been said.

another thing. that you specifically asked about. i have always been brutally honest with dd about my needs and feelings. for instance she loves hearing stories of when she was younger. i share both kinds - the fun stories as well how incredibly hard it was as an emotionally intense high needs child. i even tell her sometimes that i am in a bad mood. that she better not push me to the edge because i might turn into something she may not like.

i make observations and use specific examples instead of you frustrate me. i say something like when you throw food away it deeply angers me because its a waste of food that we cant afford, because it felt like my hard earned money thrown away and it saddens me deeply because of all the children who will go hungry tonight. when i say so much it really helps her to understand it isnt her i dont like - its her action.

you know something i quite enjoy this side of dd. we are now hitting a similar stage where i notice i need to give dd more independence, more responsibility and some space. she is maturing and wants to have a say in our life. time to brush up on how to talk book.

gluttony - isnt that our birthright. the camel in the tent story. it isnt that he doesnt appreciate. he probably doesnt have the words to express his emotions. its on and on and on. but it is also v. age appropriate. because they are learning they were all this time brougth to believe teh world revolves around them, till they had a rude awakening at 5 that it DOESNT. they understand that life is bittersweet. everytime you make a choice you lose something. it is painful and hard to make a choice. and therefore the gluttony.

mama i would try and look at life through his eyes. if you can do that it will so help you rather than thru your past experiences. really look at him and see what HE is saying, rather than what you think you are hearing. its v. v. v. hard to listen, truly listen without wanting to fix things or offer an opinion.

your sweet child is lost amongst this angst. when it clears it you will get him even more sweeter than ever.

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#24 of 35 Old 04-13-2010, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Katie. That's a good point.

Meemee,

That was wonderful. Thank you so much for putting it into that perspective. I would really like to share piece this with dh, if you don't mind.

This is, to date, the most helpful thread I have ever started on this website. Thank you all so much!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#25 of 35 Old 04-13-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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As far as delayed reaction to the new baby goes, my dd was fine with the new baby for maybe a couple of months or so, and then she realized that it was FOREVER and her life was changed and she didn't get 100% of my attention anymore and wouldn't ever again. So it was delayed for her. It is such a hard transition for them.
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#26 of 35 Old 04-13-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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[QUOTE=hakeber;15291250]That is so true. I'm ashamed to admit it, but you're right. Occassionally, I am limiting choices it's because the consequence of the choice is a nuissance to me. It is easier to say no.

Sometimes, I also feel like I have to say no because when I say yes to one thing, he immediately wants something else and something else and something else. It's so hard to not get angry when he doesn't take even a second to appreciate the yeses and can dos and haves and just focuses on what else he wants. Appreciation is in short supply, and his father and I both grew up in a world of heavy handed NO, reinforced with belts and wooden spoons, so both of us marvel at his...gluttony? I know that's not the right word, but it does feel that way when you feel taken for granted. Which I KNOW is ridiculous...I do know that. I just want to be able to teach him to be grateful for what he has before he covets what he doesn't...his whole motivation in life seems to be consumed with what's next and DH and I don't live our lives like that, so it's fascinating...where did this come from?


Hakeber, this post really struck me in relation to the suggestion of reading Naomi Aldort's book. I think the idea you expressed about the "gluttony" your son displays indicates that there are some long held ideas in your head that act as a first filter for whatever is going on, if that makes any sense. You have ideas about how you were expected to behave and what would have happened to you if you behaved the way your child does, but those are your ideas only- they're not his, ykwim? I highly suggest reading the book- it is very excellent and helpful. I do think that in raising our children well, we are forced ourselves to finish growing up.

I also agree with Just1More- we really have to explicitly tell/instruct/model for our children what appropriate behavior is and why it's useful/helpful, etc. It's
so hard to remember how much they don't know yet.
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#27 of 35 Old 04-14-2010, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I have been taking a lot of what you guys have said to heart, and I wanted to share a really great moment I had today.

Yesterday I picked Benjamin up from school and everything was fine, he was happy, smilely, chatty then quite suddenly he snapped "arrrrrrg Stop talking to me!" And I thought; ooooh there is that teenager 'tude Meemee was talking about! And so I thought WWjustonemoreD? And I said calmly "Mommy, I need a little bit of quiet time now, if that's okay." And he repeated calmly and sincerely. I nodded. And a few steps later he growled; "I just wish I could walk to school and home by myself!"

My instinct was to guffaw at the absurdity of the request and say "no way! Not safe!" but I thought about the no, and thought of a compromise that I could live with...and I said "Can I talk?" And he laughed and said with a tsk; "Yes, mommy!" So I said, "How about tomorrow you get a head a start and I'll walk with Emily about ten steps behind you? That way you can feel alone, but if you need me, I'm not that far."

He liked it. Then he asked, quite nicely, for some more quiet time.

So today he started walking and I let him go ahead of me and we got about three blocks and he started slowing down, so I walked to him and put out my hand and hew grabbed it and he said "It's just I started feeling lonely." So I gave his hand a squeeze and said "I'm glad I wasn't far away." and he leaned his cheek on my hand and said, "me too."

Then I said, "How about when we get to the edge of the school building you can walk to the door alone?" (it's about six meters) and he lit up "That's a great idea, Mommy!"

And he gave me a big hug and kiss and kissed his sister, and off he went as I stood at the corner.

It was really great!

So thanks...from the bottom of my heart...days like today make me feel like a good mom.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#28 of 35 Old 04-14-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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memee that was such a wonderful post, thank you! I feel like I gained validation from it too.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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So I have been taking a lot of what you guys have said to heart, and I wanted to share a really great moment I had today.

Yesterday I picked Benjamin up from school and everything was fine, he was happy, smilely, chatty then quite suddenly he snapped "arrrrrrg Stop talking to me!" And I thought; ooooh there is that teenager 'tude Meemee was talking about! And so I thought WWjustonemoreD? And I said calmly "Mommy, I need a little bit of quiet time now, if that's okay." And he repeated calmly and sincerely. I nodded. And a few steps later he growled; "I just wish I could walk to school and home by myself!"

My instinct was to guffaw at the absurdity of the request and say "no way! Not safe!" but I thought about the no, and thought of a compromise that I could live with...and I said "Can I talk?" And he laughed and said with a tsk; "Yes, mommy!" So I said, "How about tomorrow you get a head a start and I'll walk with Emily about ten steps behind you? That way you can feel alone, but if you need me, I'm not that far."

He liked it. Then he asked, quite nicely, for some more quiet time.

So today he started walking and I let him go ahead of me and we got about three blocks and he started slowing down, so I walked to him and put out my hand and hew grabbed it and he said "It's just I started feeling lonely." So I gave his hand a squeeze and said "I'm glad I wasn't far away." and he leaned his cheek on my hand and said, "me too."

Then I said, "How about when we get to the edge of the school building you can walk to the door alone?" (it's about six meters) and he lit up "That's a great idea, Mommy!"

And he gave me a big hug and kiss and kissed his sister, and off he went as I stood at the corner.

It was really great!

So thanks...from the bottom of my heart...days like today make me feel like a good mom.
Oh that's so sweet. It made me tear up. I'm reading this thread with a lot of interest. My 5.5 yr old DD is acting the same way.

It does seem hormonal sometimes. She just becomes a totally out of control, unreasonable little person. But I can see how hard it is on her to feel that way. She's torn between still being little and wanting to grow up.

You all are inspiring me to handle these situations better than I have been.
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#30 of 35 Old 04-14-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Yeah for good days!

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

Just1More is offline  
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