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Old 08-06-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by clickclackmoo View Post
...I try really hard to pay attention to when I'm tired and do things to manage that - mommy time out, mommy read a book or knit a little....
Totally agree with your post! I wanted to highlight the tired part because I notice there are *certain* times of the month when I am MUCH less patient than others.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, I'm a bit baffled about what you are looking for here.
Advice that helps me and my family, not some idealized version of the GD family in which dad is supportive, there's extended family around the corner, the child responds positively to verbal support because, well, she's sensitive like that, etc. And you know what?

I have gotten advice like that and I appreciated it. Just because I might have tried what you suggested or your advice is not something that would work for us does not mean I have turned down every piece of advice. Just perhaps some that worked for YOUR family.

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You claim to understand child appropriate behaviour and yet examples of how you deal with issues with your child don't seem to reflect that understanding.
Again, I don't thing accepting abuse is the same as accepting that something's normal. Hitting is a normal phase for many 2 - 3 year olds. It's not okay and the response should not be one that encourages more hitting.

Wait, wait, I know what you're thinking! "But our suggestions would NEVER encourage hitting!" Well, re-think your paradigm, 'cause guess what. They would in my child and they would in some other children.

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You have basically two choices, assuming you want to actually make a change.
Wow. I've said over and over three major changes I've made, in addition to starting cognitive behavior therapy (with a workbook) and you say, "assuming you actually want to make a change"?

That's really not helpful. It seems like you think you know the answer for me, and my family, and aren't willing to accept that you know what's best for us.

Here I have made these positive changes that are working, but I still have some issues, and you are suggesting that I don't want to change? I don't really understand that.


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Because you just said she isn't sleeping at bedtime. I must have misunderstood.
Yes, but that doesn't mean she's not tired... you know? I think we all know people who have trouble falling asleep even when they're tired.

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My ds was as difficult as your dd at bedtime, and there was nothing wrong with him developmentally.
BTW, I appreciate that.

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hey, we've been having so much fun today, remember that? Wasn't that a great moment?' It can derail an argument as it starts, and boost mommy morale even if it doesn't.
Such a good suggestion... I do that sometimes, but probably not enough. And I think I usually do it in a negative way, tbh... even if just in my own head, like, "Dude, this day was so great and now we have to screw it up???"



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If the veggies left circles under your child's eyes and led to malnutrition, you would try a different diet. Same with sleep.
But STILL with fresh fruits and vegetables! If she doesn't nap, she gets less sleep, period. I know because we've done it twice and it didn't work.

She does nap during the day... just an hour after I put her down, no matter when I put her down.

I'm going to wait it out until winter. The days will be much shorter. I can see skipping the nap at that time, letting baby have a shorter nap, and earlier bedtime. The sun sets at 10:00 p.m. here now so we can afford to spend 2.5 hrs doing the nap thing in the afternoon. Wintertime... no.

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Probably very charming in the right circumstances too - a child that can argue can also carry on a conversation, right
Haha, almost TOO charming. A conversation, yes, or a monologue, or, as she prefers, a scripted dialogue in which she tells each party what to say.

Yes. That's my child. The one telling you to say "I thought so," because that's what mermaids say.

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P.S. For the raspberries, try this: Tell your daughter that she might be able to do raspberries, but by no means should she ever call you "snickelfritz" or "chartreuse" or whatever silly word you want. She will, being 3 and oppositional, call you 'snickelfritz'. Then react as if she's said the worst thing in the world. Ham it up. Over react. She'll think it's hysterical, and do it again. Ham it up again.
Ok, I will do this for the sheer pleasure of hearing her say "snicklefritz" and I don't care if it stops the raspberries, that will be great. Also looking forward to the baby imitating it.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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A few more thoughts for you...

Have you tried things like telling her, "Don't you DARE go to bed, you will be in so much trouble! You better not close your eyes!" My daughter just loves it when I tell her NOT to do a thing she KNOWS I want her to do. This works almost too well with tooth brushing. If she is being a PITA about brushing her teeth and I say, "Fine, we won't brush your teeth." She will FREAK OUT. "NO MOMMY I DON'T WANT CAVITIES!"

No one said 3 yo's are logical!

Do you use lots of conditioner in her hair? I'm sorry if that is a dumb question but I recently met a mom who was seriously shocked that I could do B's super thick curly hair with very little trouble, but had never even thought to use conditioner on her own daughter. Also, re: hair, what if you guys do a project together and make little hair clips? You can buy alligator type clips very cheap and just glue things onto them, and then she can put them in her hair herself. B loves to "be fancy" and lately the more stuff we can put in her hair, the better! Another option is a tight braid, if you can leave that in for a few days, it's a few days with a few less battles, kwim?

I'm finding this age is all about the battles, and we as parents have to accept that. They are figuring out their independence. Just think how amazing your child is going to be as an adult! It's just NOW that it drives us bonkers. So instead of trying to *end* the battles, it's better to figure out how to deal with them, and use lots of different things, and then this too will pass!

(FWIW I have thick, curly, but FINE hair and yes it does knot up... lots and lots of conditioner! Comb from the bottom up. When B has big massive knots I separate them as much as I can by hand before I try to brush.)


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You would THINK I could just say, "Sweetie, I can't wait to get to the park! Let's have our rest so we can get out there!" and she'd be all, "Oh, yeah!"
Yeah, no, I wouldn't think that. They are THREE. Their JOB is to make us crazy. So when you say to your kid "I can't wait to get to the park!" she hears "Oooooh, here's a chance to assert my power and drive mommy crazy!" The only way I have found to handle this well, is to get ready early. When I'm running late my daughter can sense it and drags her feet even more. Even if we are en route to something she adores.

Hey does she like music? Maybe you can put on some music during chores and have her "help," or even just dance around? Bella loves to help "vacuum" and a spray bottle with water to clean the floor makes her so excited. I have to run but oh I have lots of ideas!
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL... Yes, reverse psychology does definitely work *at times* but I do feel it's too disingenuous to use often. It absolutely must be alternated. And no it does not work with sleep. Sadly!
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lots and lots of conditioner! Comb from the bottom up. When B has big massive knots I separate them as much as I can by hand before I try to brush
Yes, I do that, bottom up for sure. I also hold it in my hand so any pulling will not pull her head back. The fact is, sometimes it does hurt when I don't condition it (I guess we could condition it nightly... ack, parabens! LOL) plus, she has to SIT STILL and for some reason, it's not like when she does a craft. (No crafts when combing hair or she leans over too far and moves her head too much.)

Honestly, I think she just does not like it. I really am thinking about cutting it, though she has gorgeous hair.

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So when you say to your kid "I can't wait to get to the park!" she hears "Oooooh, here's a chance to assert my power and drive mommy crazy!"
Haha, two peas in a pod, seriously. I know, I know it ALL TOO WELL.

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Another option is a tight braid, if you can leave that in for a few days,
I'm not sure if I can't get it tight enough but it gets so messy looking! I should try... if she would sit still...

Plus... not to repeat myself... it's not about the hair, as you interpreted. It's about the conflict itself. So solving one problem will just result in another. For that, I really think these contests / challenges / games have helped HUGELY. It is a GREAT outlet for her and keeps her from getting on my nerves by challenging me. I think that may be the best parenting tip I've ever received.

Sometimes, though, it's just not happening.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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It's SO hard to get enough sleep when the sun sets at 10 p.m. and then comes up at 3 or 4. I'd forgotten about that issue. Do you have blackout shades on the window of her room?
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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EdnaMarie, I just wanted to chime in to say that your daughter sounds very spirited. I've been keeping up on this thread off and on and as a parent of a spirited 3 YO, I can understand where you're coming from.

It is almost impossible to apply most "normal" parenting advice to child who is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic. It just doesn't work, which is frustrating for us parents.

I'm not sure if anyone suggested this book, but I've really gotten a lot out of "Raising Your Spirited Child". It's not a magic bullet, and I'm on my third read. But I will say that it's really helped me change my outlook and expectations of my spirited daughter. I keep it on my nightstand and read a chapter or two when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Since I've read it before, it's good to get a little refresher and reminder of what my little girl needs from me.

I know for me, these days it's much less about her behavior and more about my own. More often than not my reactions and expectations are what cause things to escalate. If I can catch her before she starts to spiral (and trust me, I still miss her cues regularly) then I can try to head off problem behavior before it gets out of control.

I'm glad you're starting to see some success! Many hugs to you!!!

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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Oh, and I wanted to chime in to second that suggestion to condition your daughter's hair every night. It's really the only thing that keeps my daughter's tangles at bay. Hair brushing is much less traumatic these days.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
LOL... Yes, reverse psychology does definitely work *at times* but I do feel it's too disingenuous to use often. It absolutely must be alternated. And no it does not work with sleep. Sadly!


Yes, I do that, bottom up for sure. I also hold it in my hand so any pulling will not pull her head back. The fact is, sometimes it does hurt when I don't condition it (I guess we could condition it nightly... ack, parabens! LOL) plus, she has to SIT STILL and for some reason, it's not like when she does a craft. (No crafts when combing hair or she leans over too far and moves her head too much.)

Honestly, I think she just does not like it. I really am thinking about cutting it, though she has gorgeous hair.
Well if you have to, you have to, but yes I do think you should condition it nightly, or at least every time you brush it. Do you brush it wet? I know this goes against every bit of hair advice in the world, but for me I find an actual brush is gentler than a comb. For myself as well as for Bella.

As for parabens, I guess it's a balance between misery now or potential problems later. Though there are some lovely natural conditioners that have nothing bad in them, they are pricey though. oyinhandmade.com makes a conditioner that is seriously AMAZING for tangles.


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I'm not sure if I can't get it tight enough but it gets so messy looking! I should try... if she would sit still...
If I do it wet, and maybe even a smidge of leave-in conditioner (or olive oil or something too, could work!), it seems to stay put pretty well. I just put five braids in Bella's hair. She wanted 10 but could only sit through 5. And that's WHILE watching TV!

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Plus... not to repeat myself... it's not about the hair, as you interpreted. It's about the conflict itself. So solving one problem will just result in another. For that, I really think these contests / challenges / games have helped HUGELY. It is a GREAT outlet for her and keeps her from getting on my nerves by challenging me. I think that may be the best parenting tip I've ever received.

Sometimes, though, it's just not happening.
Honey I KNOW it is not about the hair, but what I and other moms have been trying to tell you is that all of this testing limits, pushing buttons, and outright defiance? TOTALLY NORMAL. So when you see something that is consistently a problem, it does help to deal with it. And yes, after you deal with it another problem will come up. Welcome to parenting! I mean it's not that much different from babyhood in the sense that just when you get one thing down, something new pops up. The challenges never go away. It's normal for YOU to get tired of dealing with it, too, btw.

Contests and games are a GREAT parenting tool, and we use it often. But you are right in that nothing works all the time, you will not always have the energy to THINK of something specific, sometimes we just want our kids to DO WHAT WE TELL THEM TO. It's hard, you know??? It just is. But our spirited, defiant, intelligent, argumentative girls are going to grow up and be amazing, strong women! It's just... NOW... it is like ACK!!!
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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BTW, the reason I came over to this thread to read was to get ideas for MY spirited argumentative girl. You are *so* not alone.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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But STILL with fresh fruits and vegetables! If she doesn't nap, she gets less sleep, period. I know because we've done it twice and it didn't work.
I don't follow your logic. You have stated the current routine leaves your child exhausted. Many children sleep more and better sans nap. 'No nap' does not equal less sleep. Cutting out the nap is a transition. It may take a few weeks, not twice, to see the results.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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Many children sleep more and better sans nap. 'No nap' does not equal less sleep. Cutting out the nap is a transition. It may take a few weeks, not twice, to see the results.
I second this. DD actually sleeps a bit longer and gets better quality sleep without a nap.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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For sleep, allergy, and developmental issues I suggest asking for issue specific help on the Nighttime Parenting, Ages and Stages, Allergy, and Special needs forums. Some of the issues recurring in this thread are not discipline related, thus making advice unhelpful from the perspective of this forum.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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First, the choice was you comb or I do, and the consequence of it not happening is shaving. Not "Comb your hair or I'll shave it!"

Of course you think thick hair gets tangled much worse than fine hair. Your child has thick hair--nobody could possibly have it worse. But fine hair gets in KNOTS and must be combed daily.

Comb while she's SLEEPING? How easy is it to comb your child's hair? Are you kidding? And I mean that honestly... is this one of those, cut your baby's fingernails while she's sleeping things? Because that made me laugh and laugh when I first read it (about the fingernails).

I guess some people have heavy sleepers!



Actually, she does comb it herself.

And who said I didn't sing and speak gently to her while combing her hair?

You are putting a lot of meanness into what I'm doing that's not there.

There was no shouting, there were distractions offered. Sigh.



Sure, if she wanted it to really hurt and be in horrid tangles. It literally gets into knots, huge knots and I have had to cut them out after missing a day. Can you just trust me that the "comb or cut" is quite literal and actually true?




: You know what's important to me? A healthy, happy kid. One that is able to sleep, eat, and play and go outside. A happy baby that is not eating moldy food off the floor. We live in a SMALL house that must be mopped every other day or I literally find the baby eating bizarre stuff off the floor.

I do want some control over our lives, that's right. Because in order to establish routine, you need to control more or less what is happening when. Going with the flow does NOT work with my older daughter, and it does NOT work with me (different reasons, though).

How can I have a routine without making it happen? It's not as if we're going to spontaneously end up dressed and fed and at the park. That is something I struggle for every day, I struggle HARD to make it happen.

You would THINK I could just say, "Sweetie, I can't wait to get to the park! Let's have our rest so we can get out there!" and she'd be all, "Oh, yeah!"

But that's not what happens. In reality, we have two big events plus one chore per day, and it is like pulling teeth.

Could we stay in daily? Sure. I'd say a good half the parents here do. But to me, staying in and just lolling around in a dirty house for the sake of avoiding an argument seems a pretty weak parenting strategy, to be honest.



Ever since the maid and cook left, it's true, I've felt very overwhelmed about having to keep the house safe and eat nutritious meals. My husband cut off my $1000 monthly food budget for eating hot meals out once or twice a day, and Taco Bell just doesn't hit the spot.

So YES, living in a reasonably clean house and cooking are THAT important to me.

I mean are you joking? Or perhaps you are into raw foods, in which case, I will just tell you... we aren't. LOL!



Oh, they can "help" alright, as the do. I can't tell you how many times I've scraped "dough" off the floor, or lost half a loaf of bread to a pre-schooler that finds yeasty dough more appealing than, say, chocolate chips.

They help.

I'm not ignoring them when I'm doing stuff.



It's washing the dishes, sweeping the floors, mopping the floors (I'm not sure if you think it's acceptable to have your slippers stick to the kitchen floor... I'm not really keen on it-- did I mention I have a 15-month-old as well?), folding the laundry, doing the laundry, picking up chokeable non-toys from the playroom, and filing bills we have to pay, doing work-from-home (ebay) stuff, etc.

I don't do this perfect folding of laundry. I just kind of try to keep it from getting massively wrinkled in a huge ball.

And yes, housework takes me three hours, including dinner prep so we can eat.

So sue me.

I'm not going to eat at Taco Bell nightly and live in squalor in dirty clothes. When I see people who are doing that, they look massively unhappy and unhealthy. I am sure they think it's just too much trouble to try and get their kids in a row and their house reasonably clean so they feel they can leave and not come back and cry.

I can understand that. I could not personally face that life, however and I know for a fact (because we had to stay in our two months here) that my daughter couldn't, either.

We like to eat good meals, to live in a reasonably orderly home which does not present an immediate danger to our health and safety, wear clean clothes that don't itch, and play outside.

As it is, right now there is no toilet paper, I have two loads of laundry that need to be brought down three flights of stairs (and then dried... and then back up...), the playroom was destroyed by the baby, and the dishes are dirty.

And I got a LOT done today, and the kids were great.

No, slacking on the housework is not where we have any room, sorry!

you sound very angry, and again, sorry to say, very black and white. My house is clean enough, even though I don't spend much time cleaning it. I don't eat out, but many meals can be prepared very quickly. I have two children: one with thick hair, one with fine hair. Brushing-wise, there's no contest which is easier (fine), but I'm not turning it into a martyr contest. It's just how it is. But yeah, my thick-haired kid is a heavy sleeper, once she's asleep.

You get so much good advice here, but you seem very resistant about reflecting on your attitude and actions. Which is fine, but it makes it harder to try new things, which is what your OP seemed to be all about.

As long as you feel so very sorry for yourself, I'm afraid you're not going to have the energy or the perspective to make the changes you seem to need
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:19 PM
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Yes, I do that, bottom up for sure. I also hold it in my hand so any pulling will not pull her head back. The fact is, sometimes it does hurt when I don't condition it (I guess we could condition it nightly... ack, parabens! LOL) plus, she has to SIT STILL and for some reason, it's not like when she does a craft. (No crafts when combing hair or she leans over too far and moves her head too much.)

Honestly, I think she just does not like it. I really am thinking about cutting it, though she has gorgeous hair.
Have you tried a soft natural boar hair bristle brush? That type of brush is more for making hair shine than normal detangling and styling so they take a bit longer but they don't pull at all. My DD calls it her princess brush and doesn't mind me brushing her hair at all with it. She also has very fine hair that knots up easily and we did keep it short until last winter when she said she wanted to let it grow out. My DH is the only one in the family who can use a comb, it just pulls too much with every one else.


It does sound like you and your DD are doing better. Hey that's great . No advice on the other issues ........ our parenting styles and personalities are just too different. I'm still glad to hear the stress is less.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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you sound very angry, and again, sorry to say, very black and white. My house is clean enough, even though I don't spend much time cleaning it. I don't eat out, but many meals can be prepared very quickly. I have two children: one with thick hair, one with fine hair. Brushing-wise, there's no contest which is easier (fine), but I'm not turning it into a martyr contest. It's just how it is. But yeah, my thick-haired kid is a heavy sleeper, once she's asleep.

You get so much good advice here, but you seem very resistant about reflecting on your attitude and actions. Which is fine, but it makes it harder to try new things, which is what your OP seemed to be all about.

As long as you feel so very sorry for yourself, I'm afraid you're not going to have the energy or the perspective to make the changes you seem to need
Martyr? Self-pity? Angry?

Dude, I'm not sure if there's projection going on here or what, but combing advice was just not helpful, THANKS ANYWAY.

I'm asking about DISCIPLINE, not sleep, or hair, or whatever.

I am not sure where that got lost... because as HeartMama points out, those would be better addressed elsewhere.

I do find it irritating that people assume that my problems are due to the fact that I can't keep house or comb hair or I don't know, whatever. If only I had the right brush, the right conditioner, the right bed, the right climate, the right husband, THEN I could be a good parent.

I assure you, we live quite a happy, organized life in many respects, and we are not in significant need of help in those regards. Is it perfect? No.

But we need help dealing with when it's not perfect, not with making it perfect. There will ALWAYS be a time when she's hungry, not well-rested, not able to have enough time to transition, feeling lonely. Dealing with those times is the hard part, not dealing with the times when she has everything she needs.

Heartmama, re: sleep: she's tired when she DOESN'T sleep. When she does sleep (which she can, according to the loose schedule we worked out), she does great. However, ever since I tried to do sleep without rewards or punishments (incentives to lie still in bed to fall asleep), things have gone downhill, since she keeps stimulating herself. This is why it's really a discipline (in the teaching sense) issue.

She HAD ways to fall asleep, she HAD a sleep routine that was working. But without rewards, she seems unable to control herself to make it happen.

It all fell apart when I decided to be good and really committed to gentle discipline since I felt rewards were getting out of hand.

But answering her stimulation doesn't work, nor does staying with her (one of the main reasons she sleeps in her own bed is that she was taking three hours to fall asleep laying in bed with me, which as a military mother of two was NOT working for us).

If you still think that goes under nighttime parenting, I will open a thread there, but I was thinking that because more or less the routine HAD been working, only with incentives, it was more of a discipline thing.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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She HAD ways to fall asleep, she HAD a sleep routine that was working. But without rewards, she seems unable to control herself to make it happen.

It all fell apart when I decided to be good and really committed to gentle discipline since I felt rewards were getting out of hand.
Gentle discipline includes rewards. I got my son to sleep in his own room with a 7 day chart, having him mark each night he slept in his own room, and took him to the toy store if he made it through a full week. For him, this worked. I have no problem with rewards.

Sounds like you have a solution to your problem. That is great to hear

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Old 08-06-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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Gently: it is difficult to know a person over a dozen of posts. But if you are completely and utterly honest with yourself, and you don't have to admit to this publicly, but you need to answer this question to yourself, and take it from there:

Are you reacting to your little one in the same way you've been reacting here?

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Yeah, some of this feels like crazy-making to me.

There's been plenty of "big picture" advice given here. Most of which was met with, "it's only these couple of issues." Now that people are trying to take on each individual issue, it's back to, "no, it's ALL the time! Stop telling me about these individual issues."

I am seriously .

I would suggest co-sleeping for the sleep stuff. My children do not go to bed/sleep on their own, they need us to lay with them. It's about meeting the kid where they are, right? AP?
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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She HAD ways to fall asleep, she HAD a sleep routine that was working. But without rewards, she seems unable to control herself to make it happen.

It all fell apart when I decided to be good and really committed to gentle discipline since I felt rewards were getting out of hand.
I guess, to me it seems that you have your answer.

In meeting your need to be textbook gd and 'good' (what exactly is good anyway?), you aren't meeting her needs. If it was working, why did you change it?
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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I do find it irritating that people assume that my problems are due to the fact that I can't keep house or comb hair or I don't know, whatever. If only I had the right brush, the right conditioner, the right bed, the right climate, the right husband, THEN I could be a good parent.
You DO sound like a very committed parent. I don't really view parents as 'good' or 'bad' based on how they're affected by things they go through with their children. What I was trying to say, probably not very clearly, is that you and your DD might be happier if you let some battles rest and focus on the things and moments that work well.

You can probably clean house or comb hair in a way that would be totally adequate as long as your standards aren't up to some level of perfection that simply doesn't usually work out in the real world.

Hugs and strength to you mama.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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You DO sound like a very committed parent. I don't really view parents as 'good' or 'bad' based on how they're affected by things they go through with their children. What I was trying to say, probably not very clearly, is that you and your DD might be happier if you let some battles rest and focus on the things and moments that work well.

You can probably clean house or comb hair in a way that would be totally adequate as long as your standards aren't up to some level of perfection that simply doesn't usually work out in the real world.

Hugs and strength to you mama.
I totally agree.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I was offering advice regarding specific issues (tangled hair) in an attempt to help you overcome that one little hurdle. I know, of course, that conquering tangled hair isn't going to solve all of your problems, but sometimes just overcoming one issue can make you feel that much better or at least free up some of your energy for the bigger stuff.

Many hugs to to you mama.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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But we need help dealing with when it's not perfect, not with making it perfect. There will ALWAYS be a time when she's hungry, not well-rested, not able to have enough time to transition, feeling lonely. Dealing with those times is the hard part, not dealing with the times when she has everything she needs.

She HAD ways to fall asleep, she HAD a sleep routine that was working. But without rewards, she seems unable to control herself to make it happen.

It all fell apart when I decided to be good and really committed to gentle discipline since I felt rewards were getting out of hand.
The thing about GD is that it isn't a checklist. It isn't about using exactly right words or picking exactly the right strategy for each challenge which I sense is what you are after here.
It's about context and intent. It's about parenting from the premise of loving respect and helping your child to learn to navigate their world successfully.

As a parent it is your responsibility to help your child meet their needs - that is where creative parenting comes in and that is why so many people are trying to offer you hands on practical suggestions about everything from hair brushing to managing household tasks in a way that will give you more time and energy for your kids.

If you are stuck in a situation where the child is acting in unacceptable ways because their base needs aren't being met then you need to 1) help your child recognize them and 2) help the child meet them. We use HALT in our family. If a child is out of sorts we check in to see if they are Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired and we try to identify and meet those needs first before we deal with the resulting behavior.

If for example you want to talk bedtime and what you are currently doing isn't working (and assuming it isn't complicated by nutrition, lack of exercise or too much sleep) then you can move on to some other strategies.

Ask her what she would like for bedtime - what would help her go to sleep easier. Then tell her what your expectations are - ie you need to be in your room, quiet and resting by 9:00 each night because I need to be able to do ABC.
Then together create a routine that incorporates what she needs with what you need. Find some creative ways to help her settle. You could try white noise machines, classical music, always finishing story time with the same sleepy poems (great for slowing into a rhythmic breathing pattern) audio books, sweet dream spray, a special doll from Dad, prayers, meditation, dream catchers or inventing a sweet dream before bed, songs, having 15 minutes of lie down time with you where you connect about your day, blowing out a candle after stories, special night light, a light in the hall, music she can hear from outside her room so she knows you are there, a routine of checking in on her every 15 minutes until she falls asleep.... the list of potential options to try is endless.

The thing is she is clearly communicating she needs help getting off to sleep. She's not old enough to solve this problem on her own and she's probably not able to even articulate what the problem without help. And she is unable to meet your expectation that bedtime "should" look like whatever you think it should look like. A GD parent starts at this place of "how can I help her meet her needs". If you start from the place of the child "should" then your paradigm is about what they aren't doing rather than it being about what you can do to help. The responsibility is not hers - it's yours. Yes it is work but thats part and parcel of parenting young children and hopefully it can be fulfilling work.

The second thing about GD is that because it is based on respect, it also honours the parents role in all of this. Children are born to adults for a reason. They take their cues from us. I know you didn't find Hold on to your Kids resonated with you but I think that there are concepts there that may help you. As the parent you set the tone of your relationship and of your days. The only parenting power you truly have resides in the connection between you and your child. If that connection isn't strong you can't parent from a position of strength and respect and so much of what you have to rely on will be external motivators like rewards or punishments or coercive parenting. If the child feels safe in that connection then they will operate from a place of respect within it. If you are clear about your expectations then the child will work to meet them because maintaining that connection with you is important to them.

For example my kids have never hit me. They very rarely ever hit each other. The expectation in our family is that is not acceptable. Any attempt at hitting from the time they were babies was met with a clear unequivocal "You may not hit" and later as they became verbal we added "Use your words." I can not expect my kids to respect me as their parent if I don't respect myself and my role as their mother enough to set those sorts of expectations for all of us.

And before you dismiss this as not possible with your child, we went through a very challenging time when my oldest was 3 and my twins were born - and then I had a 4th baby 2 years later so I have been where you are - in spades. Little local family support, partner working and out of the house a lot (granted not away completely), small house, spirited child, special needs child, health issues - all of it. My point in saying this is that circumstances and even the child's personality is secondary to the tone you set for your family and the way you approach parenting. Your OP and many of your subsequent posts indicate that you are willing, if you haven't already, to hand over your parenting power to your child which will leave her feeling insecure and searching for appropriate boundaries and connection. The more you allow yourself to take a defeatist position with respect to your child and your role as her parent the worse you both feel. My guess is that some of this is feeding her current need to try to engage you and find the boundaries.

Some other books that might help

Kids, parents and power struggles (excellent)
How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
Between Parent and Child
Kids are worth it
Buddhism for mothers


Good luck to you
Karen

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

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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Old 08-07-2010, 04:43 AM
 
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She HAD ways to fall asleep, she HAD a sleep routine that was working. But without rewards, she seems unable to control herself to make it happen.

It all fell apart when I decided to be good and really committed to gentle discipline since I felt rewards were getting out of hand.
You know, it's OK to try out a new way of doing things and then admit that it's not working for you and go back to the old ways. It's also important, I think, to model for our kids how you recover from a mistake. "You know, I tried this, and it didn't work, so let's go back to the old way."

I tried consentual living for about 2 days. I found it didn't fit my personality. Honestly, I'd rather have an argument and lose than spend 2 hours trying to get everyone to come to an agreement that we can all live with. (And before anyone who actually does this complains, I know that's probably an inaccurate representation of how it works, but that was how it felt to me.)

At times, I'm all for bribery. This kind of situation is precisely where I would use it. You need your child to learn a skill. It's more important to you than it is to her. Your understanding of the long term needs means that you can see how important it is for her to be in bed and resting. You will not be rewarding her for staying still when she's 12. She'll have figured it out then. And if she hasn't you can discuss this with her rationally, or decide that she's old enough to figure it out herself!

For the hair, if you want to try to braid it tightly, braid it while it's wet. Those braids stay in for a couple of days for my dd, and the hair is not tangled when it comes out. I will say that dd has thick hair, but I'm pretty sure this trick works for all kinds of hair. If it's wet, it's easier to get it tight. (Somewhere here I have a thread with lots of good hair tips. I posted for help after I found myself chasing dd down with a hairbrush in one hand and the scissors in another.)

I know that you are really after things that will work when things aren't going well, and I think that if a child is tired, hungry and/or cranky, sometimes, there's only so much you can do. AND most of it has to do with yourself, not her. If you can find a way to remain calm (or at least not descend into screaming banshee status), then you can help her regulate. If not, it's hard. I'll be the first to admit that I do not always remain calm. I have been a screaming banshee more than I'd like to admit. Sometimes, we have bad days. When I have a bad day, I try to apologize and move on. Usually, the good outweigh the bad, and so on the whole, it's OK.

Finally, I just remembered this conversation I had with dd when she was 3 (she was cranky):
She pointed to my leg and said "is this your left leg?"
"Yes," I replied, "it's my left leg."
"No," she burst into tears, "I want it to be your right leg!"

There's a whole thread where people posted similar stories in response to my posting this. The very heartening point is that a lot of three year olds are like this. And they do outgrow it.

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess, to me it seems that you have your answer.

In meeting your need to be textbook gd and 'good' (what exactly is good anyway?), you aren't meeting her needs. If it was working, why did you change it?
Because the rewards were getting out of hand. It was alike a rewards arms race, LOL! She was actually saying "no" to the Lara bars and almonds and upping the ante! Chocolate, ice-cream, I was like, ack! This must stop!

Non-food rewards do not seem to have any effect on her, strangely.

Quote:
Finally, I just remembered this conversation I had with dd when she was 3 (she was cranky):
She pointed to my leg and said "is this your left leg?"
"Yes," I replied, "it's my left leg."
"No," she burst into tears, "I want it to be your right leg!"
Yes! Yes! That is my life! LMAO! THANK YOU!

To the others... I will only say that co-sleeping doesn't happen with us. It's not only that it doesn't work. It's that we can "co" or we can "sleep" but not "co-sleep". Unless by "co-sleep" you mean, "cotemperaneous sleeping in different rooms". We did it for 1.5 years and it was tolerable, though not great, until I had a baby. I am not opposed to it. It is just that it doesn't work.

Quote:
If for example you want to talk bedtime and what you are currently doing isn't working (and assuming it isn't complicated by nutrition, lack of exercise or too much sleep) then you can move on to some other strategies.

Ask her what she would like for bedtime - what would help her go to sleep easier. Then tell her what your expectations are - ie you need to be in your room, quiet and resting by 9:00 each night because I need to be able to do ABC.
Then together create a routine that incorporates what she needs with what you need. Find some creative ways to help her settle. You could try white noise machines, classical music, always finishing story time with the same sleepy poems (great for slowing into a rhythmic breathing pattern) audio books, sweet dream spray, a special doll from Dad, prayers, meditation, dream catchers or inventing a sweet dream before bed, songs, having 15 minutes of lie down time with you where you connect about your day, blowing out a candle after stories, special night light, a light in the hall, music she can hear from outside her room so she knows you are there, a routine of checking in on her every 15 minutes until she falls asleep.... the list of potential options to try is endless.
Darn, it better not be lack of exercise... we spend three hours a day at the park, plus outside time at pre-school. I am not sure how much more I could do without putting her on a treadmill. LOL

I think music she can hear so she knows I'm there might help. We do a lot of the other things, briefly, except the poems.

I *so* wanted to read her these poems I love that are all sleepy and mellow and she doesn't like them. She wants me to tell her stories, which is exhausting. I should write kids books but when I write something I enjoy she doesn't like it. She wants character-driven, plot-driven stuff without metaphors. Of course.

I was checking in every 5 minutes until she fell asleep (she said "three!" so I said fine but actually it's five minutes... she can't tell time yet LOL).

I think this is why this thread is so long... you cannot imagine how many things I have tried, added, subtracted, trying to get this to work. Haha.

I don't want to shoot down every suggestion, that is not my intent. Because there is usually a gem in there. Like the music. Maybe I will put music in their room... go back to the old routine, and she can have the music if she doesn't come out?

Quote:
There's been plenty of "big picture" advice given here. Most of which was met with, "it's only these couple of issues." Now that people are trying to take on each individual issue, it's back to, "no, it's ALL the time! Stop telling me about these individual issues."
No, I did NOT say it was "all the time". I said it's a general discipline issue, and issue of connection, rather than an issue of how I comb hair. Or whatever.

Just because the issue might vary from day to day doesn't mean it's every single thing. It means it's not about things, it's not about specific events.

Do you see what I'm saying? It's that once an argument is picked, that's it. I need to deal with THAT. And no brush, or food, or book, or whatever, no physical object or extra minute, is going to solve that.

Perhaps this was confusing:

Quote:
There will ALWAYS be a time
This does not mean, "all the time there is". It means, poop happens, and this hungry or tired or just plain irritable moment will come up again, if not with hair, then with something else. Not every day, not all the time. But it's not going to be solved by the perfect routine and the perfect house.

FWIW I'd show you my house but eek. I don't think I have unrealistic standards. My house looks a little messier than most houses I've been over to, but I assume they clean up before I come, so I figure we're probably even. We are really not anal-retentive over here. Haha.

Okay, must take kids to park...

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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Like the music. Maybe I will put music in their room... go back to the old routine, and she can have the music if she doesn't come out?
Ok let's assume music works. Why would you frame it like this? Why not play music because it helps her rather than deciding ahead of time that you can use it as leverage to try to win your next power struggle? That's punitive discipline and witholding of something that could help you both get what you need in a peaceful way.
This kind of attitude is where you are going off the rails because you are setting up your relationship as a battle before you even start and then you are wondering why she responds in kind.
You know, as I am writing this it occurred to me that perhaps your response that "I've tried everything and nothing works" is because you are framing everything as a tool to control your child rather than as a way to meet her needs. You can not control a child. It doesn't work and it sets you up for a power struggle every single time.

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Do you see what I'm saying? It's that once an argument is picked, that's it. I need to deal with THAT. And no brush, or food, or book, or whatever, no physical object or extra minute, is going to solve that.

This does not mean, "all the time there is". It means, poop happens, and this hungry or tired or just plain irritable moment will come up again, if not with hair, then with something else. Not every day, not all the time. But it's not going to be solved by the perfect routine and the perfect house.
Once an argument gets picked?
Choose not to argue. Choose a different approach. Choose to reframe it in your mind not as an argument but as her telling you what she needs. Choose to meet her needs first.

There is no such thing as a perfect routine or a perfect house. But the routine can help you and your child move through transitions smoothly which is where a lot of kids get stuck. Streamlining your house and ensuring you have reasonable expectations means that you can start to create an environment with fewer potential landmines to your day. Finding ways to meet her needs FIRST and easily - the right brush for her hair, a peaceful bedtime routine, makes her life easier which makes your life easier.

I'm not a huge fan of Naomi Aldort but you might find some good things in her work.

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

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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Old 08-07-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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Because the rewards were getting out of hand. It was alike a rewards arms race, LOL! She was actually saying "no" to the Lara bars and almonds and upping the ante! Chocolate, ice-cream, I was like, ack! This must stop!
I am so confused. You said that the old routine worked. But now you are saying the old routine resulted in your child wanting more rewards so you stopped all rewards instead. Do you mean that it did get her a full night of sleep, but you disliked negotiations over rewards?

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Ok let's assume music works. Why would you frame it like this? Why not play music because it helps her rather than deciding ahead of time that you can use it as leverage to try to win your next power struggle? That's punitive discipline and witholding of something that could help you both get what you need in a peaceful way.

This kind of attitude is where you are going off the rails because you are setting up your relationship as a battle before you even start and then you are wondering why she responds in kind.

You know, as I am writing this it occurred to me that perhaps your response that "I've tried everything and nothing works" is because you are framing everything as a tool to control your child rather than as a way to meet her needs. You can not control a child. It doesn't work and it sets you up for a power struggle every single time.
I think Karen hit the nail in the head here. GD is not a quick fix, but a mindset, and until you (OP) understand that currently you are not on the same wavelength with GD, there won't be any meaningful direction change towards GD...Cognitively you are there--you are clearly a caring parent who really wants to be gentle with her child. But on a deeper level, emotionally, you are coming from a very different view of children, parenting, and GD.

You mentioned that you are not comfortable with babies / toddlers, and you are happier with older children. Fine. Imagine what kind of a relationship you want to have with your pre-teen. Are you on the road to that relationship?

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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You know, as I am writing this it occurred to me that perhaps your response that "I've tried everything and nothing works" is because you are framing everything as a tool to control your child rather than as a way to meet her needs. You can not control a child. It doesn't work and it sets you up for a power struggle every single time.
I think this is huge. Especially with little kids, it's a huge front-load investment: Hours and hours of laying with them, rocking them, nursing, slinging, talking, listening, figuring out how NOT to have power struggles, offering tools instead of punishments, showing empathy when you want to say, "Sigh. Get. over. it. It's a BLUE cup, not the end of the world!", working on how to get hair brushed without tears, all of what is being discussed in this thread and so much more.

You are not going to see an instant cessation of these behaviors. And a path to hell (or living in filth, a visit from CPS, malnutrition, rotten teeth, or a child who runs riot over you) is not the automatic result of NOT making these behaviors stop right this instant.

It seems like the relationship has been damaged. The child sounds angry. The mom sounds angry. It's going to take TIME to get the relationship back on track. And I can about guarantee that one postive, meeting-the-kid's-needs interaction at a time is going to eventually result in a better relationship and THEN a huge decrease of these behaviors.

And if she's still argumentative? Then that is her personality. Accept her. Find the joy in that. Raising Your Spirited Child has great advice on that front. Viewing her through a lens of "problem-behavior" b/c she's got the genetic traits of her father is not going to end well.

And even if you can't co-sleep, why can't you lay with her until she falls asleep? Let go of counting the minutes, being ready to pop up as soon as she's out, focusing on all the things that you could be doing instead, and just lay with her? Rub her back, sing her songs, put on music. She's three. She's just a baby.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Wow. I've been following this thread off and on. It is just so sad. To the OP I hope you find peace and some help for your situation. It has got to be incredibly difficult.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so confused. You said that the old routine worked. But now you are saying the old routine resulted in your child wanting more rewards so you stopped all rewards instead. Do you mean that it did get her a full night of sleep, but you disliked negotiations over rewards?
Close- what I disliked was that she was demanding rewards I wasn't prepared to give on a regular basis, and not interested in rewards I was, such as helping with breakfast, extra time at the park, healthy snacks that were nonetheless a treat.

I'd be willing to switch from one healthy thing to another, but not to ice-cream. Not every day!

So that was a bad place for us to be.

Quote:
Ok let's assume music works. Why would you frame it like this? Why not play music because it helps her rather than deciding ahead of time that you can use it as leverage to try to win your next power struggle? That's punitive discipline and witholding of something that could help you both get what you need in a peaceful way.
That is a good point, and I am trying to get away from any kind of bribe or punishment but we are going on nearly a week and a half of not sleeping enough so I just want her to stay in that bed.

Yes, I do want to control her, because I do believe in this instance, I know what's right for her. I know she needs sleep. I understand she may have other needs as well, but she still needs to sleeeeeep.

Tonight, after three hours of swimming at the lake, four rounds of the track, a 1.5 mile walk to and from a friend's for dinner, AND park for three hours, plus no nap, she fell right asleep.

Sadly, I'm not sure I can keep that up on a daily basis, LOL.

Quote:
And even if you can't co-sleep, why can't you lay with her until she falls asleep? Let go of counting the minutes,
I used to do this, but it actually took her longer to fall asleep. Three hours on average. With my bribe-scheme, until it fell apart due to demands for chocolate, ice-cream, etc., she fell asleep in a half an hour.

Plus, when that happens, if she wakes at night she comes to my bed where I'm sleeping (often with the baby, who is nursing).

And then I don't sleep, period. It's co-sleeping. I would tell you my personal nightmare from co-sleeping (or not) but it's really not relevant.


Quote:
And a path to hell (or living in filth, a visit from CPS, malnutrition, rotten teeth, or a child who runs riot over you) is not the automatic result of NOT making these behaviors stop right this instant.
I'm not sure what's wrong with my house or us, but frankly, if I don't keep up with the chores, we really do get to filth amazingly quickly. Perhaps I have good eyesight? I mean, urine crust on the floor, food stuck to the wall, that to me is unacceptable.

Also, "a child who runs riot over you" is also something that happens pretty amazingly quickly. I have zero control over my space, or my situation, if I do not completely manage the situation. It is HARD to explain and I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Well, that's because you're such a crappy mom in the first place. If you would just do what all the GD books say..." but I can tell you, we have TRIED and it doesn't work. By "work" I mean our bodies are respected, we are able to eat, rest, and exercise together. The riot still happens. I got to rewards and punishments for a reason.

I can see your point, for sure. That just letting x, y, or z go is not going to result in lifelong damage right away.

However, we do get to a point where things are unacceptable pretty quick, and I'm not sure why... maybe because there are two of them?

Quote:
Finding ways to meet her needs FIRST and easily - the right brush for her hair, a peaceful bedtime routine, makes her life easier which makes your life easier.
Ah, but here's the catch. You see, since my entire life revolves around the kids, and I actually did buy her a special brush, and let her design the bedtime routine, and I let her help meal-plan (but she sometimes still refuses to eat it, or just doesn't want to), etc. etc. I can assure you that there is a disturbing paradox here.

Her need is not to have one thing or another, in particular.

It's to create... drama? Conflict? Friction is probably the best word. Almost like, "Gee, I have my favorite breakfast, a dress I picked out, and I'm playing a game with my mom. This is boring. Let's spice it up!"

And then she asks me to say, "Hey, how come you're hitting me?" (I kid you not, she does that. I've been really, really trying to meet her needs and play only games and do absolutely NO arguing with her, so this behavior has increased a lot... but I do it.)

And I say, "Well... you're not hit-"

"No, say, 'How come you're hitting me?'" I smile and sigh.

"How come you're hitting me?"

"I'M NOT HITTING YOU!"

You see, her need is to exercise her playful, argumentative nature.

(Incidentally, thanks for the tip on accepting her nature. I have accepted her nature. Doesn't mean I want to be hit, or argued with incessantly, thanks. I can accept my child without accepting that she will engage in every behavior that comes to her mind without considering how that affects others.)

So it doesn't matter. About the brush, about her nightlight that SHE picked out and that SHE put on the wall with daddy, about the duvet she picked out, about the story she picked (down to the cast of characters).

When I've tried to make it a game, when I've tried to explain why she needs to do it...

if she wants to argue, that's her need.

But I have a right NOT to be verbally or physically abused by someone.

It's that her need conflicts with her sister's need for attention, and my need to occasionally NOT be arguing with her.

KWIM? I am not sure if this is getting through and I'm not sure if I can explain it again...

I am not saying, "Let me control you because I need to have this my way."

I am saying, "We have hygiene, health and safety standards. I have human rights as a person. Now, how can I help my you through this process with minimum disruption for all of us?"
Quote:
Finding ways to meet her needs FIRST
1. She has a baby sister. Sorry, they tie. She WILL NOT always be first. Period, end of story.

2. Meeting her needs first would be easy. I'm trying to teach her how to learn to be patient, how to wait, trying to build pathways in her brain that do not automatically demand that her every need be met immediately. That is the hard part.

3. I guess I can just stop here, because we're a gentle family but I'm a person, too. I can't meet her needs if that means I get hit. Period. I cannot accept hitting. Her needs go down the toilet if they are physical violence against me.

I'm not sure why you think I clean the house, wash dishes, make food. This is OUR home. I do that for the children. They may not appreciate the clean house, but they do benefit from a minimal semblance of order, from hygienic conditions, and good nutrition.

That's not like, my hobby. It NEEDS to be done for all of us.

So while I appreciate the sentiment--put her first--I am not sure that is where the issue is in terms of housework, food, etc. Do you realize that I haven't read my infant a story in my lap in weeks? That unlike my first child, the baby has never had time to do a puzzle with mom? Not ONCE?

I could go on and on, but frankly, I am tearing up as I realize how much of her needs I've sacrificed for my first daughter, hoping (apparently in vain) that if I could just get it together, she would stop talking and give me a moment of peace.

but there is no end to her need for my attention in that respect. I can't do work while she's here, but the baby does play alone. I do wish I could play more with the baby, though, especially when I read about child development.

No, I guess what I'm realizing is that I can't be a good parent to both of them at the same time (NO they don't play well inside, the three-year-old takes toys from baby's hand and does it "right", won't let her go down the slide herself, etc.) and probably that is my whole problem.

I have two kids, their needs conflict, we have a family, our needs conflict, she can't come first. Sometimes, dinner for four DOES COME FIRST. And yes, I mean, it can't wait, not even fifteen more minutes because my husband has to go and he can't march 15 miles without eating and we can't afford fast food daily, the baby is screaming and exhausted, and I'm about to faint.

Period. I guess this thread is over because if that's what's required... fail! Oh well, at least I know why. Glad we have boiled it down to this point. It is all clear to me now.

I do feel justified using other methods now. If what is required that she comes first... at least I am exonerated from that. I know I can't do it, so I might as well do whatever works for us. I really thought there was a better way, but apparently not for us.

GD=one kid or less, or spaced 5+ years apart at the very least. They should point that out in the books!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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