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EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 06:41 PM 07-25-2010
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I disagree. You can choose not to meet that demand and just keep repeating the choice. There is no question she can ask to which I would not repeat the choice/statement of fact, until she acknowledges MY demand which is her accpetance of my statement. Until she either answers appropriately or backs down there is NOT ONE thing I would change. Not one.
Maybe I don't like repeating a false dichotomy because it is a passive-aggressive way of saying "no". It's not acknowledging what the child is saying and that would drive me, personally, up the wall. As a child I would find that infuriating, to the point of driving me to distraction. Here the child is saying, "This is my reality. I want you to deal with it."

I agree that this gets me into a mess but there must be some way to acknowledge the child's point of view and move on. I think false-dichotomies are meant to trick the child into choosing a second or third or fourth choice, by means of distraction, and tricks aren't that nice. Why not just be honest and say, "I don't care what you think right now because I don't have time so we're doing this."

Because that is the message that is sent, if the child takes the repetition to its logical conclusion. "Mom's not listening; she's giving me choices that restrict the true choice here; she is in control."

So in that respect I don't think it's more gentle.

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So...tell me how you really feel about Dr karp.
OMG I'd totally send you to my review but it's probably a UAV, LOL! It's not him, personally, I shouldn't imply that it is. He's a doctor, not a child development specialist. I know many people for whom HBOTB was a godsend. It's that BOOK. Evil. But many self-help books are...

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if they don't say it it means they haven't got absolute confidence in what they are saying, so why bother saying it at all, let alone selling it for $19.95 a pop, eh?
My blessed copy of Adventures in Gentle Discipline (though very thin on this stage... hmmmm... wonder why, LOL!) has no such tone in it. It is SO humble and comforting.

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We used Monster repellent (I got a spray bottle from the drug store and made a label with pictures of all his dark phobias, sharks, crabs, ghosts, monsters, spiders, scorpions, snakes, whales, etc with a red x over them all) I filled it with just touch of my perfume and some rubbing alcohol to make the sprayer make a sound and each night before bed we "sprayed" the whole room down. I haven't used it in about three months now, but for a while (from 3-4.5) it was every night.
I was recommended this but I'm just thinking... my child, in her room alone with water in a spray bottle. Is that really a good idea?!? We are theists, DH is a Muslim, so she does say her simple prayers before bed which sometimes helps. The monster thing is not a huge issue, it was just to illustrate the question of the use of a sign. If I were desperate I would definitely try monster repellant.

mamazee's Avatar mamazee 07:00 PM 07-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Maybe I don't like repeating a false dichotomy because it is a passive-aggressive way of saying "no". It's not acknowledging what the child is saying and that would drive me, personally, up the wall. As a child I would find that infuriating, to the point of driving me to distraction. Here the child is saying, "This is my reality. I want you to deal with it."

I agree that this gets me into a mess but there must be some way to acknowledge the child's point of view and move on. I think false-dichotomies are meant to trick the child into choosing a second or third or fourth choice, by means of distraction, and tricks aren't that nice. Why not just be honest and say, "I don't care what you think right now because I don't have time so we're doing this."

Because that is the message that is sent, if the child takes the repetition to its logical conclusion. "Mom's not listening; she's giving me choices that restrict the true choice here; she is in control."

So in that respect I don't think it's more gentle.
You're the mom. You SHOULD be in control. Being a gentle disciplinarian doesn't mean you aren't in control. Discipline means someone is following you - you are the one who is calling the shots.

And it isn't a false dichotomy to say, "These are the options I have made available to you. You choose one, or I'll chose for you." That is you being in control and being the adult.

How you handle that problem determines whether your discipline is gentle. But being in control and making things happen that truly need to happen, particularly for safety, is not contrary to gentle discipline. Don't spank her, humiliate her, or yell at her, and it's gentle. I also avoid bribes, threats, and punishments, but I still take control. I just don't bribe to make her sit in the car seat. I put her in, I empathize ("You don't like the car seat. I wish there were a way to drive safely without it. I wish we didn't have to go to X.") and no matter what she says, or how unhappy she is, I put her in the car seat and go where I need to go.

I would take control, not engage in arguments, so that she understands that she isn't the mom and doesn't make the decisions in your house. It will take time and there will be tantrums. But her having a tantrum and being unhappy doesn't mean you aren't being gentle. Children are not always happy, particularly 3-year-olds, and they have tantrums when they dont' get their way.

Perhaps you think that GD = consensual living? I have tried living entirely consensually, and this kind of thing is why I don't find it to be practical. I try to find a mutually agreeable solution where I can, but my dd isn't used to making every decision with only her own desires to consider, so I don't have to battle her all the time anymore, and we are able to find agreement in almost all circumstances. But if your dd is used to calling the shots and you want to make her relinquish control to you, you're going to have to take over, and she won't like it.
hakeber's Avatar hakeber 07:09 PM 07-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Maybe I don't like repeating a false dichotomy because it is a passive-aggressive way of saying "no". It's not acknowledging what the child is saying and that would drive me, personally, up the wall. As a child I would find that infuriating, to the point of driving me to distraction. Here the child is saying, "This is my reality. I want you to deal with it."

I agree that this gets me into a mess but there must be some way to acknowledge the child's point of view and move on. I think false-dichotomies are meant to trick the child into choosing a second or third or fourth choice, by means of distraction, and tricks aren't that nice. Why not just be honest and say, "I don't care what you think right now because I don't have time so we're doing this."

Because that is the message that is sent, if the child takes the repetition to its logical conclusion. "Mom's not listening; she's giving me choices that restrict the true choice here; she is in control."

So in that respect I don't think it's more gentle.
But is it a false dichotomy to say there is no other cake, or this is the choice you have, A or B and no amount whining is going to change that? It's only false if you, the choice GIVER falters and decides that there IS another choice (which I do sometimes, when I realize I am being unfair, and then I add a third choice...you can be nice, you can go outside or you can go to your room). The reality is you ARE in charge and you DO get to limit the choices available to her, whether she likes it or not.

I don't think it's at all saying "I am not listening to you". On the contrary, it is saying I AM listening to what you are saying and I will keep standing here listening to you for as long as it takes you to get this simple fact, because my answer will never falter:

THIS IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. We are not going to get a different cake, you are not going to get away with hitting me, we are not going to paint pictures if you can't stop what you're doing, I am not making chicken nuggets tonight, you may not have a new notebook right now.

But I guess if you hate people doing it to you, you will not do it to them, but I learned this tactic in a course taken at Peace University where they train peacemakers from around the world. I have seen in reasserted in the NVC documentation from my training course with NVC.org. It is how violent communication is halted and true negotiations begin, by asserting a common ground upon which change can happen.

I cannot and will not get you a new cake, so you have two choices to make your needs get met: A) eat some of the cake, or B) have no cake. If you want to have further discussion on the topic you must FIRST and FOREMOST acknowledge the absolute truth of this statement. There will be no other types of cake in the house tonight.

Now, IF she manages to come out with a third or fourth choice that she is happy with AND you are happy with, be reasonable, of course. If she says, Mom, I want a piece but can you take the stawberries off my slice, please? Sure. But in that way she is acknowledging your fundamental premise first.

I don't see it as a trick. I see it as a way to be heard when talking to someone who refuses to listen to me.
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I was recommended this but I'm just thinking... my child, in her room alone with water in a spray bottle. Is that really a good idea?!? We are theists, DH is a Muslim, so she does say her simple prayers before bed which sometimes helps. The monster thing is not a huge issue, it was just to illustrate the question of the use of a sign. If I were desperate I would definitely try monster repellant.
Oh my dear god! I never left it alone with him! Even though I used rubbing alcohol for fast evaporation, I did the spraying, he just told me where.
hakeber's Avatar hakeber 07:21 PM 07-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
You're the mom. You SHOULD be in control. Being a gentle disciplinarian doesn't mean you aren't in control. Discipline means someone is following you - you are the one who is calling the shots.

And it isn't a false dichotomy to say, "These are the options I have made available to you. You choose one, or I'll chose for you." That is you being in control and being the adult.

How you handle that problem determines whether your discipline is gentle. But being in control and making things happen that truly need to happen, particularly for safety, is not contrary to gentle discipline. Don't spank her, humiliate her, or yell at her, and it's gentle. I also avoid bribes, threats, and punishments, but I still take control. I just don't bribe to make her sit in the car seat. I put her in, I empathize ("You don't like the car seat. I wish there were a way to drive safely without it. I wish we didn't have to go to X.") and no matter what she says, or how unhappy she is, I put her in the car seat and go where I need to go.

I would take control, not engage in arguments, so that she understands that she isn't the mom and doesn't make the decisions in your house. It will take time and there will be tantrums. But her having a tantrum and being unhappy doesn't mean you aren't being gentle. Children are not always happy, particularly 3-year-olds, and they have tantrums when they dont' get their way.

Perhaps you think that GD = consensual living? I have tried living entirely consensually, and this kind of thing is why I don't find it to be practical. I try to find a mutually agreeable solution where I can, but my dd isn't used to making every decision with only her own desires to consider, so I don't have to battle her all the time anymore, and we are able to find agreement in almost all circumstances. But if your dd is used to calling the shots and you want to make her relinquish control to you, you're going to have to take over, and she won't like it.

Minxie's Avatar Minxie 10:13 PM 07-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
This kind of thing seems soooo simple in principle. I used to imagine I would do just that as a parent. Cooly, calmly walk away.

In reality, when they follow you around, you must ignore them, even when they hit and pinch or whatever to get your attention, because they must engage you...


...My child's typical answers (she has refined her debate technique):

"Neither."
"The park!"
"I *am* playing nice!"

(Note that repetition will not work with any of these... the child recognizes other alternatives / interpretations of reality and demands you recognize them. In other words, she is changing the subject. You can call her on that but you're still arguing. You still lose.)
My DS is pretty smart and has tried those answers also. I respond to them with:

"If you can't decide, I will be glad to decide for you."

"The park is not one of your choices. Would you like to take a nap or watch TV?"

"So you prefer to go outside then? Great! I'll be glad to play with you when you are able to play nicely."


Children KNOW and they TEST. It is your job to set limits for acceptable behavior. They learn the rules from you. Don't kid yourself that she thinks she is playing nicely when she isn't; she's just trying to see how far you will let her push the envelope before calling her on it. We teach others how to treat us.

Also I don't consider it a false dichotomy to limit his choices. Children are often overwhelmed with many choices so it is reasonable to limit them. My son is always welcome to present a third alternative and if it works for me, I will consider it. If not, I repeat that isn't a choice and give him another chance to choose before I choose for him. There are many things about which I flat do not care.

For example:
"Do you want to wear your green shirt or your brown shirt?"

"I'd like to wear my SpiderMan shirt."

"Sure."

or

"SpiderMan is in the hamper; do you want to wear your green shirt or your brown shirt?"

"I'd like to wear my black shirt."

"Sounds good; here you are!"

At no point am I even remotely invested in the decision. My only concern is getting him dressed; what he wears is not important. It only becomes important if he refuses to choose; in which case, I choose for him.

Using the above and continuing:

"No, I want to wear SpiderMan!!!!!"

"Green shirt it is; thank you for your input."


Not only do I walk away, I engage myself in another activity away from him. I read a book or wash dishes or do something that I need to do. I make it clear to him that "I will be glad to play with you when you are ready to be sweet and polite." Then I walk away. I don't engage him any further.

If he starts screaming and crying and carrying on, I remind him that "we do not scream in the living room. You are welcome to go scream in your room." I escort him to his room if necessary and repeat if necessary. It usually isn't as I started this when he was very young.

Also when he was very young, he hit me when he was angry. We promptly discussed that "we don't hit people; we hit drums." Then we sat down with a couple of drums and beat out our anger until we were both laughing. It isn't just he who gets frustrated and upset; I do also so we find ways that we can be angry while still respecting the other person.

Lastly, DS goes to bed at 7PM. He doesn't have to go to sleep but he does need to be in his room and relatively quiet because "Mama Time" starts at 7. We do have the nights where he needs to be walked back to his room. I do so and tell him, "I love you, son; good-night." If it continues, a bit of impatience might even creep into my voice.
monkey's mom's Avatar monkey's mom 11:00 PM 07-25-2010
If the presumption is that children act out/badly/inappropriately b/c of unmet needs or underlying issues, and meeting those needs can do wonders to curb behavior, why wouldn't you just interact with the child?

Yes, it's exhausting. I'm an introvert and my oldest (and more spirited chid) is a HUGE extrovert. But he needs interaction. He needs the engagement. And it sounds like if the child is following you around the house doing everything possible to engage you, and using time-outs to play games, that she might just need more interaction. I don't understand the "just ignore" her advice. Until what? She just gives up? That need isn't going anywhere until it's met.

As exhausting as it is for me (or you) to have an extrovert tugging at me all day, it's equally exhausting for him to NOT do it.

But the kid's supposed to have better coping skills than the adult? Or figure out another way to have his or her needs met? Or just suck it up?

Why not ask the kid what to do in the case of an impasse? "Hmm...you don't like x or y, and it seems like that's all we have, what do you think we should do?" "How can we handle this?" State the problem and seek out solutions....together.

Seriously, my kids would *flip out* if I did some of what's being talked about in this thread. It doesn't surprise me to hear the amount of anger and acting out. That's what strong-willed people do. They do. not. give. up. And the more you fight with them and model not giving up....they do. not. give. up. MORE.

I don't think GD is the problem, I think the adversarial/behaviorism slant is. Stopping the behavior isn't going to change the fact that your kid is angry enough to talk about putting you in the trash or following you around the house hitting you. Or not having her need for engagement met.

And it's probably going to take a good long time to turn things around. I think the grandmothers' advice resonated with me the most in this thread. Be kinder. Hug her more. Gain her trust back. MODEL flexibility, patience, and positive interactions.

Like I said, I've got an 8.5 yr. old and a 5 yr. old and most of the time they are delightful, considerate, and respectful. The nicer I am to them, the nicer they are to me. They are both strong-willed and I know for fact that if I was doing the amount of punishing and ignoring that it *sounds* like is being described here, I would be in complete and total hell. Shoot, I HAVE tried it. And it sucked. In the same kind of ways you are describing. I would stop. I DID stop. It worked out great. You could stop, too.
mom2grrls's Avatar mom2grrls 11:17 PM 07-25-2010
I really, really want her to be able to go to sleep for ANY reason other than sheer fear of punishment (including loss of a bribe).

Talking it out does NOT put her to sleep, and with two sleeps in a 24/hr period, and about a three-hour talk-down-pat-down, that's six hours of our day gone.>>>>>

Unfortunately if she's chronically overtired it will take a while to get back to a normal sleeping schedule. I know I mentioned it but Sleepless in America has all kinds of different strategies to help get back to a bedtime routine. She doesn't promise fast or easy so that's why I liked it

have TOLD her that. "You're losing time at the park." "Do you REALLY choose yelling at me instead of feeding the ducks? Seriously?" "We were going to paint! Come on, let's make it happen."

Of course, these would work if she were rational. She is not. >>>>>

Most 3.5 y/os are not rational lol so she is normal in that aspect
EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 05:47 AM 07-26-2010
Oh, I know she's normal, mom2grrls. My question is not, is this normal.

My question is, how do I respond to these behaviors in a gentle way without encouraging them. Ignoring encourages them. Time-ins encourage them. Time-outs unless she cannot leave the time-out area encourage them. Bribes and withdrawal of privileges improve the behavior short term but quickly escalate in an arms race. Discussion encourages them.

So... ??? If I shouldn't ignore (not that I can), what can I do but calmly endure abuse?

I mean really, what would you do? When any interaction encourages further abuse, and ignoring also encourages it?

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The nicer I am to them, the nicer they are to me. They are both strong-willed and I know for fact that if I was doing the amount of punishing and ignoring that it *sounds* like is being described here, I would be in complete and total hell.
We are only discussing problem behavior. We have three to five activities a day that it's focused on her and we're having fun together. I am telling you about all the things I've tried, not every second of our day.

The nicer I am to her, though, the more she tests. Like, "Oh, you're being gentle and lenient? Let's see... how far does that lean?"

Hard to explain. If I agree to one thing, she IMMEDIATELY asks for another. And another. And another. Always? No, of course not. But those times are hard with two kids.

Strong-willed manifests in many different ways. I give my child many choices and challenges and we hug a lot and I really do try to "fill the cup" and connect and make sure she's always well-rested, well-fed, pottied, etc.

But the fact is, there are times when we do not agree, or when she wants to argue, and I'm asking about THOSE times.

I have distilled it down to three times that I really can't deal with:

-When she hits (this is because she disagrees with something that happens, i.e. mommy needs to care for someone else's basic needs, her little sister gets to play with a toy that suddenly becomes attractive though it was ignored for six months until little sister got it) or kicks.
-When she expels insults/abusive language (ibid)
-When she does not want to go to bed and will do ANYTHING to keep it from happening... even if the nightlight (that she picked out and chose the place for on the wall) is on, monsters are gone, three bedtime stories have been read, she had her nap, she went to bed on time the night before, she's been kissed, hugged, given sweet dreams, told about what we will do the next day if only she is well-rested... even if I were the world's most perfect mother, she would still challenge this.

Because she's 3.5. Not because I'm bad. Not because I don't have a gentle, half-hour routine full of fun and relaxing stories. Not because the room isn't the right temperature, or there isn't white noise, or she hasn't had a say in her pyjamas and her blanket. Not because we haven't hugged. Because, in her own words:

"I need something."
"What do you need, baby?"
"I need something besides sleep."
"You don't want to sleep."
"No, I want to not sleep."
"You don't want to go to bed, you want to be awake."
"Yeah, I want it to be day."
"I understand, you want to do the fun day things. It's night, though. When we wake up..."

She jumps out of bed at this point, and says, "Morning!". We've explored the possibility of nightmares, fear of the dark, the comfort of her bed, sounds at night, blah blah blah.

Nope. She's just a normal 3.5 year old and there's nothing I can do.

However, I have a responsibility to get her to bed so she can function normally. KWIM?

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But is it a false dichotomy to say there is no other cake, or this is the choice you have, A or B and no amount whining is going to change that? It's only false if you, the choice GIVER falters and decides that there IS another choice (which I do sometimes, when I realize I am being unfair, and then I add a third choice...you can be nice, you can go outside or you can go to your room). The reality is you ARE in charge and you DO get to limit the choices available to her, whether she likes it or not.
Yeah, but I'm just saying, this is no more gentle than being honest about it and telling her up-front, you know? Why bother shoving choices she disagrees with in her face when I could just tell her "nope!"

I'm just saying, presenting these choices is only more gentle than brute honesty when they are a genuine distraction for a younger child. Not when presented to a child that can see that this is just a distraction technique.


---

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"If you can't decide, I will be glad to decide for you."

"The park is not one of your choices. Would you like to take a nap or watch TV?"

"So you prefer to go outside then? Great! I'll be glad to play with you when you are able to play nicely.
"

---

You're just prolonging the argument. I am trying to avoid arguments. My illustrative answers were just to highlight this. That she's not going to give up. I"m not saying she's smart. I'm saying she DOESN'T GIVE UP. There is no WORD or ANSWER that is going to end the argument. Not one.

---

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Seriously, my kids would *flip out* if I did some of what's being talked about in this thread. It doesn't surprise me to hear the amount of anger and acting out. That's what strong-willed people do. They do. not. give. up. And the more you fight with them and model not giving up....they do. not. give. up. MORE.
---

Yep. Yep. But there are some non-negotiables. Don't hit. Don't kick. Sleep. Sometimes we have to go somewhere.

So WHAT DO I DO THEN? I can't argue, I can't incentivize, I can't force because you can't force someone not to hit every time, or to sleep.

So what do I do?!?!

I am modeling not hitting and using words to express anger and disagreement. I model sleeping. If you think I'm not doing these things, and not modeling compromise most of the time, you're wrong.

But I am not going to live with being hit until somehow it clicks. I'm sorry. She can't hit.

Except... with GD, apparently, she can. Because there's nothing I can do about it.

Except prevent it with the perfect life. If someone would have told me to have the perfect life before having kids, I wouldn't have had them! Sorry, we live in reality.

Incidentally, I am a behavioralist. I don't think behavioralism encourages punishment. I think modeling is ideal. However, modeling doesn't always allow for gentle co-existence when one person is not following the program.
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 10:11 AM 07-26-2010
It's possible she's hitting you looking for boundaries. You can enforce boundaries without hitting. You're bigger than she is. Block her hand and physically keep her from hitting you, and tell her "you may not hit me." Every single time. Consistency is the key, not punishment, and consistency is the key regardless of whether you punish. There's a good chance that if you regain control and are consistent with what boundaries you set up, she won't seek boundaries anymore and the hitting will stop. But it does take time, and you do have to be very consistent. And yes she will test looking for that boundary and testing that new boundary to see how strong it is, and it will get much worse as she tests before she accepts that the boundary is there to stay and is strong enough.

The false dichotomy here is "doing nothing and letting child have their way and hit you" or "punish". I've had a strong willed 3.5-year-old, as have many of us. We've been through this and we've handled it. You do have to be in control, but you don't have to punish, and it is possible to be in control without punishment. Having said that, time outs can be done gently, and if that fits your parenting philosphy (you said you're a behaviorist), then you don't need anyone's permission to do it.
hakeber's Avatar hakeber 11:08 AM 07-26-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Oh, I know she's normal, mom2grrls. My question is not, is this normal.

My question is, how do I respond to these behaviors in a gentle way without encouraging them. Ignoring encourages them. Time-ins encourage them. Time-outs unless she cannot leave the time-out area encourage them. Bribes and withdrawal of privileges improve the behavior short term but quickly escalate in an arms race. Discussion encourages them.

So... ??? If I shouldn't ignore (not that I can), what can I do but calmly endure abuse?

I mean really, what would you do? When any interaction encourages further abuse, and ignoring also encourages it?
Hang in there and pray for patience and come here and vent to people.

Seriously. That is the only advice I have. It will pass. There just isn't a whole lot you can do about it apart from physically restrain her.

I have scooped Benjamin up into a bear hug with legs wrapped around him to stop him from hitting and kicking at that age. But I did not have a second child at the time, so you may not have that luxury. I'd hold him, rock and repeat in his ear: "I love you, mommy is here. I love you, Mommy is here..." until he calmed down. Then I said "We do not hit people. Understand?"

Is that Gentle? Not really, but then neither was he and there was no way to isolate him or walk away. I have grabbed his hand mid hit and held it, and said. We do not hit! As sternly as I can and held it staring him down until he broke his glare and then let go.



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We are only discussing problem behavior. We have three to five activities a day that it's focused on her and we're having fun together. I am telling you about all the things I've tried, not every second of our day.

The nicer I am to her, though, the more she tests. Like, "Oh, you're being gentle and lenient? Let's see... how far does that lean?"

Hard to explain. If I agree to one thing, she IMMEDIATELY asks for another. And another. And another. Always? No, of course not. But those times are hard with two kids.
Oh they are hard, but thankfully they are only a few years (and only one or two years of such intense levels...one year down, eh?). But I found that once I was able to realize that it was developmentally normal for them to do this and not some form of manipulative play or delibrate abuse I was able to take it a lot more calmly...I think that's everyone saying "Yeah, that's normal!" because what we are trying to say is...lighten up, have a sense of humor and try to just give yourself a break. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to get through it without hurting or scarring your kids. You just have to let them know that no matter what craziness they throw at you you will still love them, and it sounds like you are doing a great job at that.

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Strong-willed manifests in many different ways. I give my child many choices and challenges and we hug a lot and I really do try to "fill the cup" and connect and make sure she's always well-rested, well-fed, pottied, etc.

But the fact is, there are times when we do not agree, or when she wants to argue, and I'm asking about THOSE times.

I have distilled it down to three times that I really can't deal with:

-When she hits (this is because she disagrees with something that happens, i.e. mommy needs to care for someone else's basic needs, her little sister gets to play with a toy that suddenly becomes attractive though it was ignored for six months until little sister got it) or kicks.
-When she expels insults/abusive language (ibid)
-When she does not want to go to bed and will do ANYTHING to keep it from happening... even if the nightlight (that she picked out and chose the place for on the wall) is on, monsters are gone, three bedtime stories have been read, she had her nap, she went to bed on time the night before, she's been kissed, hugged, given sweet dreams, told about what we will do the next day if only she is well-rested... even if I were the world's most perfect mother, she would still challenge this.
Okay, the truth is IMO that there is no way to handle this that YOU will feel is gentle, because you don't think it is gentle to over power her and control the situation physically, or to disengage when it is non-negotiable, and you cannot let insults wash over you or laugh at her when she calls you names.

So either wait it out, or decide when you need to be less gentle than you ideally want to be and do what you need to be a good mom without violence or abuse in return. That's about it.


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Because she's 3.5. Not because I'm bad. Not because I don't have a gentle, half-hour routine full of fun and relaxing stories. Not because the room isn't the right temperature, or there isn't white noise, or she hasn't had a say in her pyjamas and her blanket. Not because we haven't hugged. Because, in her own words:

"I need something."
"What do you need, baby?"
"I need something besides sleep."
"You don't want to sleep."
"No, I want to not sleep."
"You don't want to go to bed, you want to be awake."
"Yeah, I want it to be day."
"I understand, you want to do the fun day things. It's night, though. When we wake up..."

She jumps out of bed at this point, and says, "Morning!". We've explored the possibility of nightmares, fear of the dark, the comfort of her bed, sounds at night, blah blah blah.
Yeah, I know. It's exhausting. I just have to keep going back to "Goodnight Benjamin, I love you."

I stopped talking about what we would do when we woke up because then he would be up for another hour excited about tomorrow. Instead when it is time, and I decide it is time. I just say "Goodnight, Benjamin, I love you." and apart from water, bathroom, or a hug that's it for the me meeting your needs times (obviously when he's sick that's different) "Goodnight, Benjamin, I love you."

This phase of needing to do this EVERY night began to fade around 4, and now it's once every like ten days or something...maybe to do with the moons or something? I dunno.

Quote:
Nope. She's just a normal 3.5 year old and there's nothing I can do.
infuriating, isn't it?

Quote:
However, I have a responsibility to get her to bed so she can function normally. KWIM?
Yes you do, but she also has a responsibility to meet you half way. If she can't do that, she will need to live with some logical consequences as well, for example when DS was refusing bedtime and waking up exhausted and cranky, most of which I got the brint of at 3pm when he came home even MORE exhausted, I finally decided to write his teacher a note letting her know he was tired because he refused to sleep the night before and asked her to send him home if he acted out at all. An hour later I got the call. I told him his teachers asked me not to let him come to school so tired anymore. I put him to bed an hour earlier each night he refused to go to bed. I kept him home once or twice the next day and made him spend the morning in bed with the lights off "catching up on sleep".

I made staying up late not so much fun. It was HELL on me, who had to stay home with a very cranky unhappy little boy, but it didn't take him too long to see the benefits of sleep.

I still need to remind him now and then. But it is WAY less often and as I mentioned we now have MUCH earlier bedtime, which has really helped. Does it mean he gets less outside time? yes, but it works for US.

Quote:
Yeah, but I'm just saying, this is no more gentle than being honest about it and telling her up-front, you know? Why bother shoving choices she disagrees with in her face when I could just tell her "nope!"
Well we will have to agree to disagree. I know it is more gentle to let a child know that they have their own autonomy and to help them acknowledge that THEY are making the choice right now. That the consequence they are about to face is avoidable according to their choices. Much more gentle than a "No, end of discussion, now please stop talking or go away. It allows them a safe place to verbalize their arguments, and voice their opinions and vocalize their frustrations without being told, "your thoughts are invalid and I do not want to even HEAR them. Shut up." It allows them the boundaries of reality with an arena to explore other possibilities...because you are not IGNORING them, you ARE listening, you just aren't changing your stance...except when they strike on an answer that makes sense. NO closes all conversation and shuts down communication. No says "You don't count and you are not even allowed to speak your mind on this issue" There is no where to go with NO but into total meltdown implosion. I have seen it happen with my own kid and his father. I have seen it happen with my niece and her Gran and her mom.

Quote:
I'm just saying, presenting these choices is only more gentle than brute honesty when they are a genuine distraction for a younger child. Not when presented to a child that can see that this is just a distraction technique.

I can only speak for my kid. It is not in any way a distraction for him. I don't think it takes a particularly bright kid to see that it has nothing to do with a reality and everything to do with the adult asserting authority and control over the situation (which is okay...in many ways they are searching for that sense of order, for SOMEONE to be in control and make unbreakable rules -- hence the constant pushing). It isn't aboput distracting him, it is a way for ME to keep my sanity. It is a coping mechanism for ME. I need to keep repeating my statement not because I am not listening but because I need to stay resolute and strong and not break down in tears, because sometimes I want to give in. Sometimes I want to say, "Okay have graham crackers for dinner and stay up til 2am and spit on me...I GIVE UP!!!!" I am too tired and stressed to deal with this abusive little need machine...OKAY! What do I care? Rot your teeth, get pneumonia, be sleep deprived...who cares?!

By repeating a choice or a statement I:

A) make up my mind that these are the two ways I am going to end this (always listening if the kid can come up with a better solution, yet).

B) do not allow myself to be sucked into toddler logic and can remain calm and not feel personally attacked.

C) Remain serene through the chaos and remind myself that I am not inflicting this on him, he is choosing the negative logical consequence over the positive natural consequence because the negative natural consequence is too severe for him to undertsnad and I must protect him from that.

and often as I am carrying out the negative logical consequence I have to remind myself, I am not being a monster, I am not garbage to be thrown out, He does not really hate me. I am being a good mom by giving him food instead of ice cream. I AM.

It's entirely about empowering myself and remaining calm. It has nothing to do with distracting a toddler. As if you could with anything less than a parade of clowns and balloons and the cast of Lazy Town dancing through your living room...even with similar distractions DS has been known to go right back to his bone the moment the distraction has ended.


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So what do I do?!?!
You do whatever works and gets you through toddlerhood with your sanity in tact and dignity salvagable. Whatever it takes, mama!
monkey's mom's Avatar monkey's mom 11:12 AM 07-26-2010
Perfect life? GD = letting your kid hit?

I really don't get it. Either it's all the time and so overwhelming you are talking about handing your child over to CPS or it's just 3 pesky behaviors that aren't really that big a deal. I can't follow.

If you think your kid looks at parental kindness as weakness then I'd start there.

If your kid truly thinks that parental kindness is weakness (which I do not believe), then sleep and time-outs might be the least of your worries.
midnightwriter's Avatar midnightwriter 11:43 AM 07-26-2010
Quote:
The nicer I am to her, though, the more she tests. Like, "Oh, you're being gentle and lenient? Let's see... how far does that lean?"
It is absolutely normal and expected that she would test. She tests how much she can trust you. She needs to know, subconsciously, whether the gentleness is for real, whether it will last. She can sense another gimmick, another "attempt" to "deal" with her.

When you are gentle, she will test boundaries until she knows she can trust you. The important thing here is for you to wait it out, and consider this as an adjustment period.

You can't expect immediate results. You shouldn't expect a quick magical solution. Parenting a strong willed child isn't easy. It is exhausting. It feels like it will never end. I've been there, I know. And it does get better.

If you think that you were gentle once and she still did something undesirable, and now it is all ruined and you need another strategy, then you are not giving it enough time, and not letting the process to start working. Being gentle works. But it takes time. And it is totally worthwhile, because it is a long term solution.

Also, being gentle does not necessarily mean to be lenient.

ETA:
Also, if you are on the path to gentle parenting, you don't have to be 100% perfect. If you lose it, you are not a failure. You can always just restart, re do, and keep on going. Even if you are at 70%, you are still doing awesome. As more trust develops between you two, and as your DD matures, it will be easier and easier.
monkey's mom's Avatar monkey's mom 11:47 AM 07-26-2010

Minxie's Avatar Minxie 09:16 PM 07-26-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Yeah, but I'm just saying, this is no more gentle than being honest about it and telling her up-front, you know? Why bother shoving choices she disagrees with in her face when I could just tell her "nope!"

I'm just saying, presenting these choices is only more gentle than brute honesty when they are a genuine distraction for a younger child. Not when presented to a child that can see that this is just a distraction technique....

...You're just prolonging the argument. I am trying to avoid arguments. My illustrative answers were just to highlight this. That she's not going to give up. I"m not saying she's smart. I'm saying she DOESN'T GIVE UP. There is no WORD or ANSWER that is going to end the argument. Not one.
Well, that's the thing; I am NOT prolonging the argument. I am ending it. The choices are his if he is willing to choose; when he becomes unwilling to choose, I choose for him. That is the natural consequence. I am not emotionally invested in it either way and I am not going to engage in an argument with him over it.

As hakeber noted:
It's entirely about empowering myself and remaining calm. It has nothing to do with distracting a toddler.

By empowering myself and letting my son know what I am WILLING to do, I give him the opportunity to work with me. GD isn't about him always getting his own way; it is about me gently teaching him how to live in a world where he will not always get his own way, a world where he is going to have to make wise choices and where he will need to be able to communicate with the other citizens around him.

Incidentally one of the other things we discuss is that it is okay to have whatever feelings you are feeling but it is NOT okay to take them out on others. You are welcome to feel angry with me; you are not welcome to yell at me or call me names or be rude. My son will come to me and tell me, "Mama, I am very angry with you right now!"

To which I then respond, "I am sorry to hear that. I love you, my son." And I go on about my day. This gives him the freedom, comfort and space to be angry without worrying that I will stop loving him. When I am angry or frustrated with him, I do the same. "My son, I am very angry with you right now." We're very big on modeling here.
Quaniliaz's Avatar Quaniliaz 10:03 PM 07-26-2010
You've gotten lots of good ideas here - and I know none of them will be a magic bullet for you. But they're tools - give them a shot.

DD1 was very similar at 3. It was the hardest age for me to deal with. She's 7 now - we all survived. Four was a little easier, five even more so, and it just kept getting better.

Hang in there, mama.
nina_yyc's Avatar nina_yyc 05:01 AM 07-27-2010
Had to stop reading after 4 pages so I can wake up with the kiddos tomorrow morning but just wanted to put in my two cents in case these points haven't been raised.

First of all . Not in exactly your situation but I can relate. DD is 3.5 and it's been power struggle hell since DS was born 8mos ago. When DD hit the toddler phase I really didn't know what to do for discipline and didn't expect her to listen to me (nobody else ever has) so I let stuff go that I probably shouldn't have. When that started to backfire we got really coercive for awhile because teeth need to get brushed and mommy needed to get to work on time. When she hit three, it became apparent what a hole I had dug for myself and I've been digging myself out ever since Second kid's a do-over right? (kidding. sort of.) We also try to have high standards in our home, keep things tidy, meals on time, etc. I am just not a let-it-go, this-too-shall-pass kind of person. I try to understand age appropriateness but just because a behavior is developmentally normal doesn't mean it's acceptable.

I don't agree with the advice you are getting from a lot of PP to be playful. I'm not a playful person either and I would rather gouge my eyes out than play princess fairy ballerina when I am in a perfectly happy good mood so there is no.freaking.way that I'm going to do that in an argument. It sounds like you're putting a ton of stress on yourself to be someone that you're not. I am of the view that my job as a mom is to raise good kids, not to entertain them (unless I want to.)

I have taken a lot of parenting ideas from Alyson Schafer. You might be able to use her ideas for cutting down on attention-seeking behavior and power struggles. For us cutting down on the power dynamic has meant structure in the form of rules and routines, with DD getting as much input as possible into both. I have also tried to find ways for DD to feel empowered at home without winning arguments, helping to make big decisions and participating in projects so she feels important. I also found Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles had helpful information about temperament in there which allowed me to be more accepting of DD for who she is and let go of the guilt over having a difficult child. Yeah some of our problems were caused by me, but a lot of the oppositional stuff is just her temperament.

I know you are not having much luck with reasoning and democratic decision making, but I've been trying it off and on with my DD for 6mos and she really is getting better at it. Don't lose hope.

I sure don't have all the answers but just know you're not in it alone. As DD gets closer to four I realize that she's made a LOT of progress, although it felt like it was going at a glacial pace. Since she's turned three she's become toilet trained, learned to get herself ready, stopped wasting my time during the bedtime routine, cut way down on aggression towards other kids, etc... gotta go baby crying!
EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 05:21 AM 07-27-2010
Thanks everyone.

Okay, not pregnant... I think I was a "little bit pregnant" but I don't see how I could be now.

I guess I will just have to accept being followed around and spoken rudely to at times. :P That is okay. Someday, as you all have pointed out, it will magically stop. If it doesn't, I will take her to a therapist and THEY can figure out how to make her stop talking trash without physically stopping her.

Because with my kid, arguments don't end. They just go on and on, unless I ignore her, which as it has been pointed out here is not gentle or loving, and I don't want to be that passive-aggressive parent that is not gentle. I want to do the gentle thing. I want to empathize with how she feels. I do want to. I don't want to ignore, isolate, or get angry.

I want to be peaceful, empathetic, appreciative and loving all the time. I know I can do it. If other people are doing it, I CAN do it. It is just a matter of lowering my expectations. I will give it a couple years, and if she hasn't stopped hitting, I will re-post.

Thanks. At least I can have peace about this.

The only thing is now the baby is starting to hit when angry, too, which does make me kind of sad but I suppose she will grow out of it, too.
EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 05:25 AM 07-27-2010
Further proof that my entire parenting strategy has obviously messed up my child beyond belief:
Quote:
Some children find this new limit exciting and what to test it out, however, after a night or two, most children prefer to void before bed and since they no longer have a successful stalling / attention tactic, they just get on with going to bed.
Nope. We're going on ONE YEAR and she still goes to the bathroom (without peeing) at least once, usually twice, before falling asleep, unless I sit with her and tell her if she can't pee in the toilet she needs to go in her bed, because it is just too late to wait for pee on the toilet.

She never goes that often during the day. What am I doing wrong? I usually don't pay ANY MIND when she goes, though after I go to bed, if she's still wide awake, I do have to do something, because I need to sleep. Are those once-monthly toilet sessions ruining it?

This woman talks about a few days!

I should never look at new parenting sites. They only serve to make me feel worse about my family.
hakeber's Avatar hakeber 11:32 AM 07-27-2010
First, You need to stop measuring yourself up to the exectations of parenting guides. They HAVE to say that or their books won't sell. Nothing I have ever tried in a book worked like a charm in a night or two...total BS. Most kids at the toddler stage especially crave that predictable routine and when it is disrupted their lives are entirely up for question from every angel. I move around a lot as part of my work and also because I like it. It sounds to me like your DD has to put up with some pretty sudden shifts in schedule and routine, too. That means every routine or method you want to try out is going to take (IME) about 6 mo to a year longer to take any effect. Because not only do you need to establish this new regime, but you also have to convince them that despite Daddy's coming and going, or despite living in a new house or a new country, this regime remains the same.

Not many kids are willing to swallow that pill.

These books and sites (this site included) and advice columns are just other people sounding off. Some of them are not even parents. If you get what seems like a good idea, try it, but please do not ever measure yourself against their success. You are not doing anything wrong. You are just human.

Do you want to know what I truthfully believe?

I believe all the tactics and tricks and tools in a parent's discipline tool box is MOSTLTY about making sure the parents keep their sanity through these years, because by the time any of them had a chance to take effect or have a long lasting result, he had probably outgrown the behavior anyway.

Seriously. Deep down I think it's all just about psychologically tricking myself into not reacting violently to the triggers my son is particularly capable of pulling. Remain calm. Remember the rules (sometimes more for me than him, because believe me I got some hum dinger insults I could fly right back at him, but I must refrain and that requires serious concentration and mantra repetition). And respond with love and firmness.

It is also a convenient way to re-write history. My mother likes to say things like "when you were young, you would wake up at 3 and 4 am and I would a snack for you and you would play alone in your room and then go back to bed." "When you were three I taught you the alphabet and by 4 and half you were reading yourself to bed at night." "When you were 3 you almost never had tantrums."

All of these statements are utterly false to hear my dad and older sister tell the tale. Parents delude themselves that the years behind them were easier than they really were. I am sure if I went through my posts here I would find a gazillion references where I was being altogether as truthful as I can but if someone held it up to a video of our lives at the time, I was not as calm and serene as I sound here. It was more like " Benjamin!!!! STOP! I WILL NOT COME UP AGAIN!!!! GO!! TO!!!! SLEEP!!!!!!!!!...I love you, Benjamin,Goodniiiiiight."

Don't beat yourself up if some dippy trick on the internet makes it seem like magic. Nothing is magic. Benjamin tried the I have to go pee pee trick with me. On the third night I told him if he didn't really pee I would take him to the doctors to see if he had a urinary tract infection and he asked what they would do, so I told him that they would have to stick a q-tip in the tip of his penis and test it to see if he had any problems and then if he did they would probably have to give him some medicine.

He didn't pull that stunt for the rest of the night and the next few nights, we were in the clear. But then every few weeks he'd try it out again. This is the thing...nothing is EVER gone for good, IME. They will go back to and back to and back to the old habits.

I left DS wide awake last night playing (but DD shares a bedroom with me, so this is not a problem.) or telling himself stories. He had a story and a song and I was KNACKERED, so I went to bed. I could hear him singing and talking to his stuffed animals for the next hour or so...but I was too damn tiredd to do anything about it. He took himself to the bathroom as needed and went back to bed. I presume he drifted off at some point.

I tell you this not to make you feel bad, but to say that between 2 and half and 4 and half his bedtime routine was more often than not tears and long drawn out stalling and huge arguments or incredibly long routines leaving me EXHAUSTED and him seemingly smug. But over the last year there has been a shift, and I don't think I did anything differently but neither was I a regime machine. I was just me and he has just gotten older and more understanding when I say things like "mommy is pooped...I can't stay awake anymore, goodnight." or "Mommy and Daddy need some alone time. I'll check in on you again in ten minutes" and those same phrases would have been met with RAGE and sadness two years ago, now he accepts with less fighting. And now I would say the ratio is closer to 60% good nights and 40% terrible nights. However, seeing as we are moving country in three days, I have myself prepared that when we arrive in the new house, it will be a rough transition and it will be like going back a full year. I am bracing myself for the worst.

Seriously though, you have to remember when reading websites that it is a business. If she said "expect them to push this for the next two years." who would READ her website? Obviously she is selling her brand. Just like I don't believe Pantene is any better than Suave, I don't believe any "expert" has all the answers. never make a book your bible (well except your bible ) and never let an expert make you feel bad.

ETA: only YOU know what goes on in YOUR house, and only you know what is best for your daughter. The ONLY thing that really helps me best of all is turning around my vision of Discipline. I am a teacher so it is more natural for me to evaluate learning and adjust my teaching style to suit my students, even if they are my kids, but once I started seeing my job as a parent and the job of discipline in particular as teaching, DH (also a teacher) and I were able to face each conflict with the idea of what do we want DS to learn here? and developing a strategy that worked to that end. It also helped us to remember that we have never ever met a student who learned a lesson in one or two repetitions. Usually they need at least six and some more string willed students may even need a repeat YEAR or two to get it right. Helped me immensely in not losing my cool...but I still DO!
mamamille's Avatar mamamille 11:41 AM 07-27-2010
peeing was always a battle of ours. But there came a point where I knew she was in control of her bowels- so that if she had an accident, it was because of her being stubborn. Nobody- even demon children like to be covered in pee, so I started to let it go. As long as she "tries" when I request (not without a battle mind you), she is in control of her body. And that is what it's all about. And it's totally normal for this age- especially for girls I think. When she stop wearing diapers, I would take her pee right before I went to sleep- whether or not she peed before bed. That seemed to be fine. my dd was alos soembody that didn't really pee alot unless I was forcing tea on her because of illness. I have a friend that forces her kid to pee and he gets sooo enraged, that to myself I feel like what's the big deal. At some point you have to start believing in them, and trusting in their own bodies. Even if they make mistakes (and it's PITA to clean, etc- I see red myself) that's what their job is! Going to the bathroom is the ONE thing that no one can make them do. And I was always a little afraid that if I tried too hard, she would be one of those kids that would use it for vengence, like a big FU. Not into that LOL
Don't know if that helps, but I would def. stay away from those other parenting sites. I think they are such BS. That lady sounds like she's never had kids...
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 11:48 AM 07-27-2010
I don't know. My second baby is so much easier than my first. My theory is that someone has an easy kid, like my second, and thinks the child is easy because of their mad parenting skillz instead of the child's temperament, and then makes websites and writes books to share their knowledge with us all, thinking if we did what they did, our kids would also be quiet and sweet and sleep well and not fight.

And then maybe they have another child who is not so docile. LOL. I wonder if they ever update their info after the second child.
hakeber's Avatar hakeber 11:52 AM 07-27-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I don't know. My second baby is so much easier than my first. My theory is that someone has an easy kid, like my second, and thinks the child is easy because of their mad parenting skillz instead of the child's temperament, and then makes websites and writes books to share their knowledge with us all, thinking if we did what they did, our kids would also be quiet and sweet and sleep well and not fight.

And then maybe they have another child who is not so docile. LOL. I wonder if they ever update their info after the second child.
How true!
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 12:17 PM 07-27-2010
I have one like this who loves to argue. I would suggest The Secret of Parenting also. I find that roboparenting and not engaging are my best options, although they can be hard to do. Repeat the expectation over and over like a robot. Remain calm. "Wait for the bus." Be boring.

I don't agree that ignoring is not gentle. Probably it hurts some kids. It doesn't seem to hurt mine, and ignoring her is often the way to avoid my doing something worse (yelling, losing my temper).

BTW, empathizing does not work with my DD. Playful parenting stopped working in the 2s (she just ups the ante and gets wild). Some kids need more limits and harder walls than others. My younger child is completely different--cries if I speak firmly to him, accepts boundaries much more easily, and apologizes of his own accord.

I will add that I see some positive aspects to this personality type. DD never gives up, whether that is about learning to swim or arguing her point!
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 12:31 PM 07-27-2010
Also. Is she very bright? Is she an extrovert? Does she have a very long attention span, perhaps? (We have often joked that we wish DD had a shorter attention span.) Perhaps she needs more stimulation and more time with others. My DD is a huge extrovert and is smarter than we know what to do with. She desperately needs to have her mind engaged or she will create her own challenges and drama. Things have improved a lot since she learned to read. What does your DD like? Can you find something that will involve her deeply?
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 12:46 PM 07-27-2010
Also also. You do realize that you are rejecting every suggestion and idea, right? I have been in that place of despair (NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, I HAVE TRIED IT ALL AND NOTHING WORKS) and I get it, but I think maybe you just need to vent? I don't think you are ready to hear any of the ideas being given here, really. Like I say, I get it, I really do, but I want to make sure you see that.
midnightwriter's Avatar midnightwriter 03:19 PM 07-27-2010
So I read more posts in this thread, wondering how come it got so long. Here is my free short analysis of the issue.

Observations: It seems that the OP has a child whose mind thrives on arguments. the OP doesn't like when HER DD is argumentative. the OP is QUITE argumentative herself

Yet it seem that OP wants her DD to stop being argumentative (two similarly strong personalities often clash), but this is not going to happen. In the same way as the OP is not going to just stop being argumentative for the sake of others. (nothing wrong in this per se)

You can't change one's personality. The OP needs to start seeing this personality trait as something awesome, though currently very challenging in her kid. And needs to start seeing herself as quite similar to her kid, personality wise. This is a child who won't just succumb to peer pressure. This is a child who is a leader, not a follower. These are great traits. Very hard to nurture, often hard to be around for long periods of time, but great traits nevertheless.

Embrace your traits, and your DD's traits for what they are. Try not to out-argue her, as it is obvious dozens of parents here can't "out-argue" you
Being 3 is HARD. Being an argumentative 3 is even harder. Ride the wave, do your best, support her in WHO SHE IS, and it will be easier sooner than later.
PGTlatte's Avatar PGTlatte 04:04 PM 07-27-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
I don't agree that ignoring is not gentle. Probably it hurts some kids. It doesn't seem to hurt mine, and ignoring her is often the way to avoid my doing something worse (yelling, losing my temper).


IMO ignoring is not "not gentle" when it is consciously used as a technique to deal with a child (or adult) who persists in pulling you into a pointless argument. A person, big or small, who succeeds in doing this (over and over again as a pattern) has got your number and is yanking your chain. When this is a pattern, it's not about the subject of the argument - it's about control of the situation. Deciding to actively disengage yourself from this type of game is a decision on your part to take control of your own actions. IMO it is gentler than being determined to out-argue a young child, or staying in an interaction until your temper explodes. It is you deciding to let go of your end of the rope and be in control of yourself. If the other person chooses to stand there and hold the limp rope and scream, fine - their choice. But it is not unkind to disengage, offer the child a way to save face (ie offering a change of subject after disengaging) and regardless of the child's decision on their own behavior, move on with your day.

I came back to add...disengaging is not refusing to hear the child. You can acknowledge what they said, that you heard them, and what you are deciding. You can acknowledge their feelings about it. You can show that you hear and empathize with the child without opening negotiations.

Also regarding bedtime....the book I read (Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child) stressed the importance of observing what kind of dance you and your child do in your difficult areas...and then, learn to skip the dance entirely and go straight to action. We have almost no bedtime routine in our house. They have a snack, put on jammies, and brush teeth all in the kitchen, followed by a quick trip to the potty. Once they go upstairs it is straight to bed. No hugs, games, stories, etc. We do all of that way before bedtime and we do it downstairs. Once they are in their bedrooms, they get into their beds and that is it - just "goodnight". No games to play. If they get up to use the bathroom after that, it's just a functional bathroom trip and nothing else.
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 05:44 PM 07-27-2010
Quote:
The OP needs to start seeing this personality trait as something awesome, though currently very challenging in her kid. And needs to start seeing herself as quite similar to her kid, personality wise. This is a child who won't just succumb to peer pressure. This is a child who is a leader, not a follower. These are great traits. Very hard to nurture, often hard to be around for long periods of time, but great traits nevertheless.
ITA. I remind myself often of the above when it comes to dealing with my own hard-headed, tenacious, stubborn, independent little person. I was a bit shy to be the first to say that the OP is pretty argumentative too, but OP, you are. I am too, by the way! It's part of why my DD and I clash so much.

Another suggestion, FWIW: can you give her more independence and responsibilities? This helps with my DD.
mamamille's Avatar mamamille 09:20 PM 07-27-2010
My dd used be so hard to put to sleep, and then I read ~somewhere~ that when a child has trouble going to bed, it's because it's a seperation issue. That put a new spin on it for me and helped me figure out a new way of dealing with it- one where I didn't engage, but kept it matter of fact, and *tried* to not get angry when she pulled and pushed so hard. She was just having trouble letting me go. And it was up to me to teach her to feel safe by herself and how to disengage with me.
EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 06:40 AM 07-28-2010
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Also also. You do realize that you are rejecting every suggestion and idea, right? I have been in that place of despair (NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, I HAVE TRIED IT ALL AND NOTHING WORKS) and I get it, but I think maybe you just need to vent? I don't think you are ready to hear any of the ideas being given here, really. Like I say, I get it, I really do, but I want to make sure you see that.
This is not true. I've posted twice about ideas that I have taken up and that are working well: making everything into a challenge (which is still working and which she loves), and... okay, that is the only idea that has worked. LOL. But it has really worked well! Because it's an action that redirects her that she can't refuse because she loves it SO MUCH.

Because other ideas really are not working! I can't emphasize enough how words just don't do it. I really cannot. I keep getting posts that begin with "I say..."

I don't need any words. I need actions. She is not hearing the words, or she argues with them. Repetition does not have an effect on her because she just hears "no" and as I mentioned... that's a challenge for her.

Also, there are some things that I'm already doing, and I don't think mentioning that is rejection. Sorry, I was very hormonal so it definitely came off badly but I do model, I do allow for play time, we do have choices, I do try to keep her to a sleep routine, and so on.

But I came here because I was at the end of my rope, and that means I really, really have tried a lot.

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Originally Posted by Minxie View Post
Well, that's the thing; I am NOT prolonging the argument. I am ending it. The choices are his if he is willing to choose; when he becomes unwilling to choose, I choose for him. That is the natural consequence. I am not emotionally invested in it either way and I am not going to engage in an argument with him over it.
If you do something, you end it. If you talk, you prolong it. So my question is, when you end it, what do you do to make him stop talking?

Do you see what I'm asking? So, "choosing for him" is an example of that. Giving a false choice is not, in my experience.

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The OP needs to start seeing this personality trait as something awesome, though currently very challenging in her kid.
I know she's awesome! She's mine! Doesn't change the fact that I have to deal with it, though. It's fine to say, "Wow, you're really persistent. That will help you later in life!" again and again, and another thing to explain to your husband why you're sorry, but he'll just have to wait in the rain because DD wants to wear shoes that are too small and in the closet and you cannot physically fit them on her feet, so here we are... you know?

I'm not saying, she's bad.

I'm saying, help me deal with this in a way that does not damage her psychologically or cause me to end up in a looney bin.

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They have a snack, put on jammies, and brush teeth all in the kitchen, followed by a quick trip to the potty. Once they go upstairs it is straight to bed. No hugs, games, stories, etc. We do all of that way before bedtime and we do it downstairs. Once they are in their bedrooms, they get into their beds and that is it - just "goodnight". No games to play. If they get up to use the bathroom after that, it's just a functional bathroom trip and nothing else.
So, let's supposed you did this with them for a year, and a la Supernanny, kept bringing them back to bed, without a word except "good night", back to bed, back to bed, back to bed.

Right?

And it just doesn't end. And for two hours, every night, after the routine, whatever it may be, you have a child that doesn't get it. Even though the child is yawning and struggling and falling asleep on car trips and showing every sign of being tired, the child doesn't want to go to bed.

Right?

See where I'm going?

You do the "perfect" routine and it just... doesn't work. Not the first night. Not the second. Not the third. It just... doesn't.

That is where we are.

We do not have a song and dance. We have exactly your routine, except yes I read the stories with them sitting in their beds.

I did try a week of stories on the couch. I will just say... wow, that was a bad idea for our family, LOL! They stayed up longer, even baby was wound up (even on day seven).

What I'm trying to say is not, that's not a good routine. What I'm saying is, when the routine doesn't work, long or short... It's not the routine.

The separation thing is interesting, because I do go back and check on her every three minutes until she's asleep and that USED to work. Stopped working. Perhaps it was our vacation, how could I not have seen that? We all slept in one tent and I know she liked it although she did say she wanted to go back to her own comfortable bed.

Hm. We will talk about that with her today.

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You can show that you hear and empathize with the child without opening negotiations.
I'd love to hear the mechanics of this. Like, a sample conversation of what makes the child stop pushing the limit. Ultimately, I suspect it ends in walking away from or not responding to a talking, crying, or arguing child.

Remember the Far Side cartoon with the dog? (Sorry to compare my child to a dog.) And the owner is saying, "Fetch, Spot! Go fetch the stick, Spot! Fetch it now, Spot!" And so on, and the dog hears: "Blah blah, Spot! Blah blah blah blah, Spot! Blah blah blah, Spot!"

I suspect a similar thing is happening with my child.

"You feel upset you can't have Nutella. I hear you. What a disappointment. But we need to go. Dad needs us. This is not negotiable."

=

"Attention! Keep talking! You have my attention! Go ahead and keep talking! Hi! I'm looking at you! You have my attention and therefore you still have a chance! Here's your chance! Keep talking!"

"I'm done." = "Here's one more chance to respond!"

"I'm going to leave the room to get stuff done." = "Go on, here's another challenge! Go for it! Go for it! Tantrum, FTW!"

"I'm sorry, discussion is over." = "Here's more attention! One more chance! Let's see if you can disagree with this one, woohoo!"

"I'm serious." = "Game on!"



Yes, I validate. That is not where our problem is. Our problem is, after validation, we need to MOVE ON.

It is the MOVE ON part that we have issues with.

And yes, we are a talkative, argumentative family. It is not that that I don't like. It is argumentative minus logic and empathy that is difficult to deal with, haha. And that is where we are.

However, I will repeat that challenges have helped immensely, and also I decided to give myself time-outs. I know it is to some extent isolating for her and I am sorry for that but she needs to calm down and not to have my face in front of her so that she can do that. So, I won't keep her in time-out, but I will keep myself away from her with shut doors that she cannot open, for three minutes or less while I breathe deeply.

I don't think we can do the hitting any other way.
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