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#61 of 71 Old 05-14-2010, 07:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
Perfect example of the 50/50 in my life, from today:

I pick DD up from preschool, and say I want to go to a local Agway just to look at some plants and get some prices. Not gonna buy anythng, just look, and get soem prices. But first, we grab a bite to eat. She is AWESOME at the restaurant and we have a great time and she is polite and patient and helpful, such that 2 other patrons even stop us and say what a kick they got out of her. Awesome - feeling so great and happy on our way to Agway. We get there, and I remind her in the van we'll walk around together and she shouldn't run from me - she has to see me and I have to see her. OK. I follow her around the garden statues/fountains a few times, I give her her own piece of paper and pen, and we start walking around, and it's going fine. In the blink of an eye, she decides she wants to dart in between a row of plants; not in the aisle, but in between the pallets/tables and concrete pavers that are backed up against each other to create the rows. She is squeeeeezing herself trying to get in, and I ask her to stop. "NO. I want to be IN here." This is what she wants to do, and she's gonna do her damndest to do it. I tell her I'm worried about her getting hurt. I tell her I don't want her knocking plants over. I tell her I wouldn't be happy if she surprised or scared someone who was shopping because they weren't expecting a little kid to pop out from between rows of plants. She starts SCREECHING and insisting that it's safe for her to squeeze in between these displays and continuing to try to squeeze in. I squat down again and repeat calmly again why I don't want her doing it and tell her that she needs to stop or we're going to have to leave because it's not safe. She screeches even LOUDER and tries to get in there again. So, I take her hand/wrist and calmly walk out, with her melting down LOUDLY the whole way. When we were both finally buckled in, I said, "What just happened there, why did you not listen to me when I was asking you to come out from the tables?"

and she said, "I wanted to play hide and seek, and I didn't want you to find me or follow me."

"Well, kiddo, Agway is NOT the place to do that, we can do that at home. Out in stores, we stay together and walk together to be safe." (which we've talked about 10 jillion times)

"But I WANTED to."

"I totally understand you wanted to, it's just not safe and not an option in that place - other places, yes - but there, no."

"Oh.......OK. Sorry."



All this within an hour's timespan. Sigh.
Ha! We have the same child!

This is precisely the sort of thing i deal with, and i haven't even HAD another one yet! I am kind of dreading how i will balance the needs of a newborn with her need to do crazy-dangerous things against loud repeated advice....

Nelliekatz my kid knows when she's misbehaving. I can tell when she doesn't know. For example her step-father was telling me something about work yesterday and she told him "shut up!" (which we don't use in our household at all and consider very rude, but which she has heard elsewhere) and i looked at her and she hid her face and said "i love you!". I replied "i love you too." then after a pause, "please remember not to say hurtful things to people honey" and that was that. Earlier on she had said "hi guys!" to a stranger and her little girl en route to the bus stop and then, 20 seconds later "hi fat ladies" to two fluffy ladies at the bus stop. When i explained to her that some people find that word hurtful and it's therefore best not to refer to people using it she was genuinely confused, because she had no idea that was a wrong thing to do.

I can tell the difference between took-another-kid's-toy-and-ran-off-because-genuinely-believed-it-was-a-good-choice and took-a-kid's-toy-and-ran-off-despite-knowing-it-was-a-bad-choice. Perhaps at 4 my kid is incredibly adept to know already that is a bad choice, but she knows it, i know she knows it, and she knows i know she knows it. I don't think it does her any favours for me to go on assuming she didn't get it the last 46 times i explained to her that a thing was wrong/dangerous/unkind simply because she keeps doing it. And yes, she does sometimes do something like that due to poor impulse control, but she generally catches herself again, and either returns the object without being reminded, or does it on the first reminder.

I do not want to train her like a dog (fairly inflammatory phrase to me, but i am assuming you didn't mean it to be). And neither do i spend every second of the day micromanaging everything my DD does and forcing my-idea-of-good decisions on her because "might makes right".

For us (ymmv of course) in a situation like the grabbed kite, returning the kite and redressing the wrong is the first order of business. Any learning/discussion/punishment/whatever-is-going-to-happen-next waits until after that. The wronged party is righted again, as soon and as thoroughly as possible. That is not about shaming anyone, that is about treating others as you would like to be treated. THEN i deal with the situation with my kid. Why? Because i don't think the other child should have to wait and be a part of that process. Because i don't think it's the other kid's responsibility to be patient while *I* parent *my* kid. Because ultimately DD and how DD behaves IS my responsibility until she's old enough to take that responsibility for herself. And because i believe seeing me bring about redress IS teaching her something, even when she's not able or willing to help with it. I really don't care what other parents think of me, i care what *I* think of me.
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#62 of 71 Old 05-15-2010, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here! wow, thank you all sooooooo much for this great discussion! It has helped me tremendously to read your responses and know I'm not the only one dealing with this and trying ti figure it out. Sorry I haven't been able to get back to the thread in a fews days; been busy with the aforementioned 3 kids

I have been thinking a lot about how they model me- for instance if they ask me for something reasonable, and I keep doing what I'm doing and don't respond and they have to ask a couple times. Or I do respond but I don't get it right away. Why should they respond to me any differently? Not that I have to drop everything immediately every time they ask for something, but I'm trying to be more mindful of responding to their requests in a way that I would want them to respond to me.

Also, in listening to them. I am usually so busy and my attention is on so many things at once (often this is necessary, not just my own lack of attention to them, because we do homeschool, so I am with them 24/7 and my dh works long hours. So I don't think it's unreasonable that once in a while I make a phone call, and do housework sometimes and not converse with them continuously!), and they want to talk to me nonstop and have me respond enthusiastically to everything they say, and participate in every thing they're doing. Well, I can't physically do that, but as much as I'm able, I am trying to really focus on what they're saying, look them in the eye, and make my body language attentive. I think of how sometimes my dh is walking around or looking as his computer while I'm talking to him and how it makes me feel- like I'm not being heard, unsatisfied. So I"m trying harder to really have good times of connecting, so when the time comes for them to need to listen to me telling them something important, they are more in a frame of mind to listen.

We even did a listening exercise where each person got to talk about what was bothering them while holding a toy, and no one could interrupt. It really went over well. Of course, lots of vitriol was spewed, but they did seem to appreciate the chance to talk their hearts out.

I love the idea of bedtime talks, too. Or dealing with the situation quickly in the moment, and having more of a discussion later when it's calmer and it may be more of a teachable moment.


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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
They are bright, very persistent children and I am often emotionally exhausted from negotiating nearly every situation and interaction. I sometimes feel like I shot myself in the foot by always explaining things and giving them reasons behind things, because now they refuse to do a lot of things unless there is a detailed, lengthy explanation....and then they still won't do it if they happen to disagree with my reasoning. . I have to jsut keep my eye on the prize and remind myself I want critically thinking, understandign kids to grow into critically thinking adults and not obedient kids that grow up into unquestioning adults. I should print that out and post it somewhere.
Thank you!!! I totally agree!!

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I would let them know that you are not giving multiple chances at the park anymore. The first time they don't listen/behave badly with another child you are leaving. I did this with DD all of 3 times at the park when she ran away from me and then she realized that not listening/running away meant the end of fun. Plus, I find that once she starts not listening--it doesn't get any better. Usually it's a signal that nothing good will happen next.
Well, in my original post I didn't even get into my 7 yo- he is awful at playgrounds, and we leave in tears about 90% of the time. His behavior is not usually directed towards the other kids though, he just can't stand his younger brother's presence so he flips out regularly and severely. So that is my usual routine, we leave when he starts to act out, if it can't be solved- he tends to run away when he's upset (and has run into the street or very far away on multiple occasions).

So often to we do take breaks from the park. I just can't handle it. Maybe for a week or so we don't go. And I do let him know why. That it's just no fun to be at a playground fighting.

But then I'm stuck at home with 3 kids, and their behavior is usually so much worse when we're cooped up at home for days on end, and it's not fair to my 4 yo (the kite runner, LOL), and again, a punishment on me b/c then I have to find ways to entertain them all day.

Playdates do usually work out well, so I need to do more of that. They play much better with another kid in the mix, and it's easier to end it if someone isn't able to handle it.


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For a while, my DD and I had the "OK Club" where we tried to say OK to each other about as many things as we could all day.
I love this, thank you! I think my 4 yo especially would enjoy this

karen- thank you so much for your post, that was so helpful! It is great to hear from other parents with multiple kids how they manage things. I love your idea of family rules- I think I will do that with them this week. I wonder what they will come up with. I really need to hold myself accountable to the rules.

NellieKatz-thank you for all of your great ideas, and for giving me a different perspective to consider! You should definitely write some articles!

Ok, park situations from yesterday- WWYD?

4 yo got out bag of freshly homemade cookies to snack on at the park, walked around with it and left it at some random place around the park. I asked him very nicely to help me find it, since we all wanted some and there are aggressive squirrels there who will steal whole bags of food. He said "I don't want to!" and did his usual laughing and running away, begging me to chase him around. Not a severe infraction by any means, but the fact was, I asked him something nicely and he ignored me, and it made me feel so angry. I told him so, with the anger evident in my voice, and he came and helped me. I hate that it came to that over such a small thing.

Then they were throwing their food (snacks again!!!!!! URGH!!!!!!!!) in the stream and watching it go by. I totally see how this was fun for them and not a terrible or bad thing to do. I just didn't want the stream littered with our food or for it to be wasted, and said so nicely, and suggested they use natural items like sticks and leaves to float in the stream. They looked right at me and laughed and kept doing it, until again, I pointed out that I had just made a reasonable request and was feeling pretty sad and angry at being ignored.

So obviously we need to sit down and have snack times and not walk around with them- I got that!! Or not bring any and have very short times at the park! BUT, do you think I'm out of line in my responses or my emotional reactions? I know they were small things and not major instances of willfulness or anything but the deliberate ignoring makes me feel so disrespected!
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#63 of 71 Old 05-16-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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I dont think you over-reacted. I like how you handled the cookie thing. I probably would have taken the snacks away that were being thrown in the stream.
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#64 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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I would have to dole out the food in bits and pieces like you would have to do with a toddler- since that is teh behaviour they are exhibiting. When they are to be trusted not to throw it in a stream or dump it or lose it. I have to say I have a 4yo and a 7yo along with a 9yo and a two year old, and would be absolutely appalled if my children acted in any of this manner. They would have to stay by my side, like my 2yo toddler, since they are not to be trusted to act appropriately. Again, act like a toddler, be treated like a toddler.


I begin when they are toddlers modelling the behavior and manners I absolutely expect and so far it is working. I think your kids need to have firm expectations and firm consequences, no wishy washy-ness. Keep them close to you so that there are no opportunities to steal the kite or run off with it. Be firm with your expectations- snatching is NOT acceptable and we WILL return it to the rightful owner. Put your child in the offended child's shoes. At 4yo that is a concept that he should be able to easily grasp.
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#65 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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How about going to the park with no snacks and shorter time there? Drastically lower your expectations of having an afternoon there. Instead, just stopping in on the way home from something else now and then--don't make it a dedicated outing.

I know you have babies, so you probably always have some snacks in your bag, but the snack thing seems to be a recurring issue at the park.
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#66 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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Then they were throwing their food (snacks again!!!!!! URGH!!!!!!!!) in the stream and watching it go by. I totally see how this was fun for them and not a terrible or bad thing to do. I just didn't want the stream littered with our food or for it to be wasted, and said so nicely, and suggested they use natural items like sticks and leaves to float in the stream. They looked right at me and laughed and kept doing it, until again, I pointed out that I had just made a reasonable request and was feeling pretty sad and angry at being ignored.

So obviously we need to sit down and have snack times and not walk around with them- I got that!! Or not bring any and have very short times at the park! BUT, do you think I'm out of line in my responses or my emotional reactions? I know they were small things and not major instances of willfulness or anything but the deliberate ignoring makes me feel so disrespected!

I think that being proactive around this sort of thing is probably your best bet. We have a blanket we took to the park (essentially a big baby blanket) and that was the snack spot. Snack stayed there and was eaten there. Primarily it prevented me worrying about choking when I had two wandering little ones but it also meant that we were less likely to run into the situations you encountered.

I think you may want to think about communicating your expectations in a way that tells your kids what the appropriate response is without resorting to "asking" them which doesn't seem to be working for any of you. I fully believe you can parent gently and respectfully and still provide firm guidelines to kids. For things that I am not willing to negotiate with my kids I usually use the same approach to giving them directions: Expectation, reason, alternative, engagement.

With the cookie scenario I would have said "Bring me the cookies now please (expectations). We'll save the rest for snack. I don't want us to be wasteful with our food or and make a mess here. (reason) You can throw leaves or small sticks in the water instead. (alternative) Which do you think will go down the stream faster - a stick or a leaf?" (engagement) Depending on my energy level and the mood of my kids I might do this in a very playful way or it might be low key and straight forward. I find that the closer I am physically to my kids, the better I am able to make eye contact at their physical level and speak at a lower quieter level, the more likely they will do what I ask. It also makes it easier to engage in the alternative option smoothly.

I think there is a place for discussion and "asking" for certain kinds of behaviour and there are circumstances when it is important for parents to be clear about what the expectation is and how to meet it.

 


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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#67 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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I was going to suggest (already been done by the lovely ladies above!) that the snack stays in a static place and they come to it when they want it, so there is no scope for losing or wasting it. I tend with DD to say "you have to stand still to eat that" at the very least - usually we have a bench or a whole area with a buggy and heap of coats/bags etc. (we're often out with friends who have 3 kids) and we all sit down for a snack together. One parent takes on the responsibility for chasing and removing snacks of those who didn't listen/care to stand still. It is MUCH harder when there aren't at least 2 adults though!

Do you have a good friend with kids you can team up with? I know i find parenting easier (as does my friend with 3) when we're together, because we share tasks. Sure enough it can get crazier with more kids there, BUT the extra adult to help out, vent with and share the tasks with makes a MASSIVE difference to me.

Can i just add, i'm 38weeks PG and the idea of warm homemade cookies is sooooooooo tempting!
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#68 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Karen, thank you so much for that practical advice! That is super helpful, esp. coming from a mom of 4!

Bec- yes, sometimes I do have another parent, but because we homeschool usually I'm alone at the park with them during the day. I agree, it's a lot easier to go with a friend to spread the kid managing duties around!

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I have to say I have a 4yo and a 7yo along with a 9yo and a two year old, and would be absolutely appalled if my children acted in any of this manner. They would have to stay by my side, like my 2yo toddler, since they are not to be trusted to act appropriately. Again, act like a toddler, be treated like a toddler.

- snatching is NOT acceptable and we WILL return it to the rightful owner. Put your child in the offended child's shoes. At 4yo that is a concept that he should be able to easily grasp.
Thanks for your thoughts. A practical question- how do you MAKE them stay with you if you're watching multiple kids? They simply walk away and go play. I can't see how it would be physically possible without a leash-type thing and that would be ridiculous on kids this age! Not to mention defeating the purpose of being at a playground.

And how do you MAKE them return something that was snatched if they don't willingly do it, without physically grabbing it yourself?

Even though I need help dealing with some of these scenarios and it's hard sometimes, I don't think their behavior is "appalling"- just normal kids who are learning how to negotiate the world and interpersonal relationships.

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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
How about going to the park with no snacks and shorter time there? Drastically lower your expectations of having an afternoon there. Instead, just stopping in on the way home from something else now and then--don't make it a dedicated outing.

I know you have babies, so you probably always have some snacks in your bag, but the snack thing seems to be a recurring issue at the park.
Yep, I think I will need to greatly curtail the snacks and park time! We all have fast metabolisms and need to eat every hour or more often (and I've been nursing and/or pregnant for the past 7 yrs), hence the constant eating I have very long days at home alone with them so we need outdoor recreation - I can't just stay home always, so I keep trying it in hopes things will eventually improve with practice.
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#69 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Thanks for your thoughts. A practical question- how do you MAKE them stay with you if you're watching multiple kids? They simply walk away and go play. I can't see how it would be physically possible without a leash-type thing and that would be ridiculous on kids this age! Not to mention defeating the purpose of being at a playground.

And how do you MAKE them return something that was snatched if they don't willingly do it, without physically grabbing it yourself?
I know it wasn't me who said this, but i thought i'd reply...lol

I have always been ueber strict with DD. Obviously she too is now not always listening (so i cannot claim this is the answer!) but i do think things like returning someone else's toys i can "make" her do because since before she could really remember i have made it clear that it's a Cardinal Sin to take something from someone else and my (perhaps in those days OVER)-reaction has meant that she really knows VERY clearly that it's just not acceptable, it never has been, it's not happening. That of course is of very limited use in your situation, but i do think kids learn fast and if you're determined to be strict but calm (at least outwardly) it might take a few weeks but they'll probably learn what their boundaries are. It would be exhausting, but might make a big difference to what happens at the park. I think as well when i'm ready to explode i tell myself that if i do they (whichever kid it is, usually mine of course! But sometimes one of the others) have "won" - yes, it's a REALLY petty thought, but it really helps me to keep my head in the face of it all, and when she/they realise they cannot push me to breaking they soon give up and do as i asked.

Another thing i was thinking, after today, when i was with the friend i mentioned and in 2 separate incidents MY 4yo kicked her 4month old (accidentally) in the face and HER 4yo bit her 2yo very hard on the upper arm, is that the issue between the 7yo and the 4yo (that the 7yo can't stand his brother being around) might be making it worse. I noticed today that my friend is AS horrified and active when HER kids hurt one another as when they hurt other people's kids. I know when i was a kid my mother's attitude seemed to be that if my brother hit a stranger it was a Major Issue, but if he his ME it was One of Those Things. I know that drove a big wedge between us and made me really hate him and thus act up around him for a long time. My mother was very strict so i wouldn't have behaved as you describe your kids acting, but i definitely did subtle things to wreck outings for him/everyone because i felt she wouldn't defend me anyway, so why not ruin it for everyone while i had the chance. Of course all that's probably irrelevant to your situation, but i thought it was worth a mention.
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#70 of 71 Old 05-17-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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Karen, thank you so much for that practical advice! That is super helpful, esp. coming from a mom of 4!

Bec- yes, sometimes I do have another parent, but because we homeschool usually I'm alone at the park with them during the day. I agree, it's a lot easier to go with a friend to spread the kid managing duties around!



Thanks for your thoughts. A practical question- how do you MAKE them stay with you if you're watching multiple kids? They simply walk away and go play. I can't see how it would be physically possible without a leash-type thing and that would be ridiculous on kids this age! Not to mention defeating the purpose of being at a playground.

And how do you MAKE them return something that was snatched if they don't willingly do it, without physically grabbing it yourself?

Even though I need help dealing with some of these scenarios and it's hard sometimes, I don't think their behavior is "appalling"- just normal kids who are learning how to negotiate the world and interpersonal relationships.


In our family, those are appalling behaviors- obviously they are not ALWAYS nice to each other- but mutual respect IS EXPECTED AT ALL TIMES. I understand that they may not always want to play together, but I absolutely expect them to be respectful of the others feelings if they don't want to play- it's not ok to kick or hit each other or say they hate each other or other rotten things.

As far as *making* them stay by me, if they aren't exhibiting behavior that warrants independent play, I shadow them. For the most part, my 4, 7, and 9yos are able to play independently without being mean to each other or other children. If they were having a bad day or just plain mean, depending on the situation, they either need to sit with me, if the 2yo is nursing or eating or whatever, or I stick to them and intercept as needed.

For the kite, I would firmly tell them that I expect that they hand it over immediately, if not, I will take it from them. Honestly though, the only child that might even DO that would be my two year old, who I would as well take it from because she doesn't always understand not to snatch, so by returning it to the rightful owner while explaining WHY she can't just snatch things, thereby modelling appropriate behavior. Maybe my expectations of what my kids are capable of are much higher than yours, but I would not think that snatching a toy from a random kid at the park and then running with it and not giving it right back is normal age appropriate behavior and that hopefully I laid appropriate groundwork to avoid that situation ever happening at 4yo. Also my kids are 99% of the time compliant when I ask them to stay next to me and not run off, and I have never once used a kiddie leash. I give them firm expectations and they generally just heed them. My two year old is now in a phase of hitting kids who get in her personal space- as such, she does not get the freedom to play alone if there are other kids in the park. Which means most of the time I am her play buddy no matter where we are. She also dumps her drinks and snacks out, just because- which means I hold her drink for her, and give her one cracker at a time. When she can just eat/drink without feeding the ground, then she can have more freedom with her food and drinks.
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#71 of 71 Old 05-18-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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I have more than one kid, and NellieKatz philosophy rings most true to me. That said, putting it all into action is the hardest yoga, isn't it?

I think in the OP's situation with the snacks, I would simply upgrade the redirect approach and pre-plan the snack destruction time they seem to love. I mean, why are they throwing things into the stream? Why scatter things at all? I usually blame a love of science and wantiing to explore how the world works. I would set up a fun project a day or two ahead of making things that bio-degrade and bring them to the park. You could use a punch-hole in tissue paper and make a ton of holes to throw in. Make a game of who can find the most stones to throw in and compare how they react to the light tissue holes. You know, get creative and get them thinking about the current and cause and effect. That's what they crave, then dig in. They will forget about tossing in expensive snacks, I imagine. Heck, even bring some stale bread to toss in. Fish or birds will like that.
I am not making light of the suck that the kids are dishing out. I'm just showing a lighter way of dealing with it.Good luck!
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