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#31 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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I am/was a very senitive person/child (and honestly I think high needs) and my mom gave me the silent treatment sometimes. I was a big talker and EVERYTHING was always exciting or horrible to me and I loved sharing everything I knew. She would just stop listening because she was too tired to listen anymore. It really hurt my feelings that she couldn't even conjure up a 'that is very nice sweetie' for me because I never really needed her to be engaged... I just needed to know she was listening (and even if she wasn't REALLY listening, something that makes it seem like it was nice)

I think there is a big difference between letting a child get out what she needs and saying 'honey I love you and I know you are ___ but I've explained why ___ so how about we ___' and giving the child the chance to be done while changing topics/distracting/whatever and just plain down right IGNORING and not having any sort of communication with the child.

I agree that not engaging in something that won't change is good. Children need to know boundries and they can't always have what they want. But I also think it is very important to meet their emotional NEEDS and help them come down from whatever is going on by leading them away from the topic by a gentle means. Asking them about something else that will make them happy or whatever is a much better option than ignoring cries of 'mommy! I'm trying to talk to you!'

I'm still hurt today by my mom ignoring me. Especially because she has actually told me that she definitely did ignore me. It wasn't just a feeling I got, but something she did. I understand I was exhausting, but I still needed something from her. One time won't destroy a child (I definitely don't remember the first time or most of the times!) but if it is your go to way for dealing with situations your child has a hard time with but you simply can't change, eventually I think it might affect her in a negative way.

Enough is definitely enough, but sometimes kids need help getting away from what can't and won't be changed. It can be hard to shift gears when the emotions are big.
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#32 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thank you for all, the feedback.

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#33 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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To those of you who are in support of continued validation: not all children respond positively to this. I'm completely in favor of validation, but some kids just get stuck, and need help or time to move on. If I were to validate dd1's feelings until she decided she was ready to move on it could take (literally) hours. By contrast genuinely validating and empathizing for a while, and then moving on works much much better.

OTOH, DD2 seems less likely to get stuck.
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#34 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay - from page one comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
Are you serious?
It is completely inappropriate and (imo)cruel. A child needs to be validated and loved and shown that they exist in anothers' eyes. How completely frightening to a little child to have her parents ignore her. wow.
I think your reply is rude and over the top. Obviously I am serious. I've reported this post and I hope the mods remove it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MtBikeLover View Post
I disagree with the above poster. You tried for 10 minutes to sympathize with her and hear her. I don't think what you did was that cruel.

I do the same. After about 10-15 minutes of listening to one of my kids go on and on and on about something that can't be changed, I will say "I am done with this conversation." and I will not engage any more.
The trip home was about 20 min long. For the first ten minutes I tried so hard to sympathize/change the subject/empathize. Then for about 5 min I tried to just distract her. Then for the last 5 min I gave up lest I lose my own temper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edn
aMarie;15663587
Wow Katie, read my thread, "Anyone try this?"

I think the silent treatment, per se, is not cruel for many children, though not ideal. For the sensitive child it could be devastating but for the strong-willed, optimistic child? Just very irritating.

However, having had a toddler like yours, Artichokie, I am all too aware of what happens when you feed the whine monster. Mine HATES it when I do not feed her arguments. Of course, mine is older and they really are arguments (not fights, just arguments).

I think at 2.5, I would be quiet for some time, then reply with, "I will speak to you when you are calm," or "shhhh..." Sometimes I would start singing and wait for her to join in. Because empathizing and validating at that moment is to the child, reinforcing really, really irritating and unsustainable behavior. So there has to be a way to tell the child you are there for her WITHOUT getting dragged into a whine/complaining vortex.

If you can stand to read my possibly-pregnant, certainly-hormonal venting about my 3.5 year old (and remain calm about your impending future as the mother of a verbal, strong-willed little girl--tip, it's a good grape year, so buy wine now) you will find a TON of useful tips in there.

Especially tips that last beyond the 2.5 stage. A lot of stuff that used to work with us that no longer works was also brought up there.

Good luck. 2.5 was the beginning of my adventure in trying to remain gentle with someone who has been trying really hard to see how gentle she really needs to be with me. And it has tested my every limit.
[bolding mine]
I'll check out your thread for sure. While my DD is 2.5, she operates much like a child of 3.5, including the love of using her vast vocabulary to argue with me. She would not permit me to change the subject and every time I did she yelled at me that THAT was NOT what we were discussing. We were discussing her disappointment in leaving. I did tell her we would be happy to talk with her when was ready to talk about something else.

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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
"The silent treatment" makes me think of shunning and pretending someone doesn't exist. I do think that's cruel. But that doesn't sound what you're talking about. I wouldn't argue and I'd say, every so often, "I'm not going to talk about that anymore" or whatever (but the same thing every time.) So she knows you're there and not ignoring her existence, but she also knows you aren't going to sit and argue with her. Don't feed it. Kids that age want arguments and power struggles much more than you do and will work harder at it.
Yeah, I did that until the last 5 min at which point I couldn't engage her and still hold my myself together - I would have started yelling at her. Maybe yelling would have been better than ignoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificbliss View Post
I have definitely taken a similar approach by saying something like, "I have explained why we had to leave. This is not up for discussion anymore. When you're done we can talk about something else." Then I don't engage. If there are signs of quieting down I might sing or try another topic or distraction. I don't think you were cruel. It sounds to me like she was surprised by the new approach, instead of getting attention by way of attempted distractions there was suddenly no attention.
I did try to sing and that was met with, "NO! I HATE THAT SONG! WE ARE NOT SINGING NOW!" Sadly we just got a new battery in our car and can't remember the radio code so our radio doesn't work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I disagree that it's inappropriate. It's a tool i have used similarly - i don't just blank her without warning, but i do, after some long moments of tantrum/etc. say "ok, i'm not going to discuss this anymore". I have also been known to say "i'm sorry, my ears can't hear whining".

I think validating feelings is very important, but it's also very important to recognise when behaviour has become about a power struggle or confrontation rather than what sparked it off. For example if my DD1 says she's angry i will always ask why, listen to her, see if i can help her work out a way to feel better and generally try to help. I do not sit for the hour + she is perfectly capable of, validating that the minor setback which made her angry is a major setback she deserves restitution for.
See, I hated not acknowledging her; I felt like it took power from BOTH of us, but I also felt like it had stopped being about the original issue and had become forcing me into an argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curiouscanadian View Post
My only thought was to wonder if your DD is by any chance still RFing. I could see myself doing something very similar, but DS is RFing still and tends to be a bit insecure in the car as he can't really see us, YK? Periodically he'll just ask "Mama?" as though to make sure I'm still there.

So not aknowledging him - even if I had warned him I was through talking about it - would totally freak him out. Maybe another way around it would've been to start discussing something (anything!) else with your DH so she knows you're still there but are through with her conversation?
Nope, we turned her FF at 366 days. She screamed hysterically every single moment she was in her car seat from birth until we turned her around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
I generally have a hard time with the silent treatment. If my ds were shouting out:

"MAMA! PAPA! I AM TALKING TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING!" "MAMA! TALK TO MEEEEE!"

I would say "I hear you honey. I know you're sad, but we're really really done talking about that now." And I would probably put on his favorite CD and sing along loudly.

IME, the silent treatment in its true form can make these sort of clashes worse. Leaving fun places is particularly hard for DS. He is only just starting to realize that he will get to back another time.
We did do the acknowledgment stuff for 10+ minutes and she got FURIOUS when I tried to sing. Our radio is not working. DD gets that we can go back but in this case we couldn't - it was a traveling exhibit and a one-time thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisCat View Post
I think it's pretty cruel at any age, but it must be particularly frightening for a small child. I think it's fine to be done discussing a certain issue, but there's no need to ignore a child altogether.
And when she presses it continuously and I can't walk away because we are in the car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by northcountrymamma View Post
I think the silent treatment in general is somewhat harsh, however, I would let my child know that I was not going to talk to them about this situation anymore but if there is something else they would like to talk about, I'd be happy to talk to them.

I also would typically put some music on at that time and if they were screaming out of control (non-sensically), try to engage in some song. That works alot in our family...turning sadness to song is magical!

I don't think I could ignore this line:
"MAMA! PAPA! I AM TALKING TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING!" "MAMA! TALK TO MEEEEE!"
I would have to acknowledge them.

But I think a pp had a good point about being RF...if this was the case, it could make the child really uncomfortable.
Yeah, again my kid is very controlling when it comes to singing. Like, very, very. Even when she is in a good mood.
With respect to her yelling to us about talking to her - when we responded, she dragged us BACK into her argument and would not be persuaded to changed the topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
yes, this is what I mean too. I don't think it is cruel to tell a whining child- I am not going to talk about this anymore, and to stick with that. But to ignore the child altogether- I think is inappropriate.
For the last five minutes of the trip, it was either ignore her or yell. Really, I held it together as long as I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbsc View Post
I sometimes will hold my son's hand while we are driving, and he is very upset. And after 10 minutes or so of explanation, it is better for me to just say "Uh huh, you are very sad" and "it's ok to feel sad."

Or "I love you so much."
Yes, I should have held her hand. Very good point - ty for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petey44 View Post
The silent treatment is an inappropriate response to a person of any age, for any reason. There is a difference between ignoring a person (cruel) and ignoring a topic (fine).
In this case I would have said, "Sweetie, I've explained why we left, I understand that you're upset. Let's talk about something else- would you like to sing a song?" If she's distracted, great. If she's not, and she continues to scream about leaving, I would just continue to repeat the above statement.
LOL, 5 min of doing this was all I could take. Mostly because I was also hungry, exhausted, over hot, and in need of a nap.


Quote:
Originally Posted by friskykitty View Post
Agreed. I would have continued to say things like "I know you are sad." or continue to distract, or hold hands or something. But to completely ignore would not be something I would do. I too am curious to know if your child is still rearfacing. We choose to continue to rear face but, when we travel as a family DH or I always ride in the backseat with little man.
Nope, FF. DD screamed even when I sat back there with her. Every single time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
Yeah after 10-15 mins of validating/helping etc, I would be totally fine ignoring. I know some folks think its cruel, but really as we get into minute 16 of the whining/crying/freaking out about something I can't change, the best you might get is being ignored!

I have defintely said to my own and to other kids I'm around, things like, "when you are ready to talk about something else, I'm right here." or "I'll go in the other room when you have calmed down we can xyz." or "Tell me when you are ready/willing to..."

While I value validating and helping through moments, sometimes kids need to do it on their own and sometimes continuing to engage with it just continues it for longer. Sometims they just need a few minutes to freak out about it and then we can all move on.
LOL, I would have paid cash to be able to walk away. Sadly we were stuck in the car. I did tell her that we would be happy to talk about something else but she just WOULD NOT STOP.

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#35 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From page 2:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple Girl View Post
I don't think what you did was cruel at all. I'm at that stage too. My very verbal 26 month old occasionally has tantrums like that, where no amount of me distracting him, understanding where he's coming from, or explaining to him why he can't have his way, works. After 15-20 minutes, I've just had enough, and will tell him, I just can't hear this anymore. If we're in the car, I put on music or open the windows (weather permitting) to make some "white noise". At home, I go into another room. Of course, I don't usually not respond at all. Every few minutes or seconds (I don't know, time goes SO slowly during a tantrum, doesn't it?), I will say something along the lines of, "When you're ready to talk calmly, I'm ready to listen" or, "When you're ready to listen and not yell, I'm ready to talk with you again." This way I let him know I'm there for him once he wants me there. But really, continuing to interact with him when he's like that just gets him more and more wound up.

Interestingly, I've found this to not be the case with my (older) son. When he used to tantrum (he doesn't very much anymore, but back in the good ol' toddler days), he NEEDED interaction with me to calm down. He wouldn't calm himself unless I was holding him or "talking him down" from it. My younger son doesn't respond the same way at all, so it took a few iterations before I got what he really needed. (I kept thinking that what had worked for DS1 would work for DS2).
[bolding mine]
Yes! I feel as though sometimes she gets on a certain track and anything I do feeds the fire! Sometimes when she is very upset she'll scream, "DO NOT LOOK AT ME! GO IN THE OTHER ROOM! LEAVE ME ALONNNNEEEE!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
This is just ignoring the child while talking at her.

I agree that it lets the child know you're still in the car, which is important if that is the issue.

It is not any more emotionally gentle because it does not recognize what the child is saying.

I think these are disingenuous tactics. "I'm not listening to you or responding to what you're saying, but I'll just talk/sing so that you think I'm not ignoring you."

For a child focused on the discussion or topic, I don't see how it would be any more gentle.

It does keep up a connection for an inarticulate child that is using the topic as a bridge for connection.

But that is not always the case.
Going about our business (rather than just no speaking to her) would upset her just as much, I am certain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by treetop View Post
No I do not think you were cruel at all. I think that 10-15 minutes of explaining why you had to leave was more than enough conversation. At that point she is just arguing.
Did she try and talk to you about something else or was it only about having to leave?
I think that acknowledging her emotions is vital in situations like these. Asking her why she is upset and telling her that you understand. Maybe you felt sad to leave because you were having so much fun watching her.
I know that when it is time for us to leave, when DD is having a lot of fun, I give her a heads up at 5 min. and 2 min. before departure. I often have a snack or milk for her because I know she is hungary from all the excitement. Also, I remind her that we will be coming back at some point.
Remember, we try the best that we can and there is no possible way to be perfect. We can only try our best and you did. Hugs to you Momma. There are times when there is no right answer and I think that you handled the situation better then many other parents.
I did offer her a snack (we always travel with one) and she was DEEPLY AND MORTALLY OFFENDED by the suggestion that she might want to eat. We don't usually give time warnings because she doesn't have a good concept of time yet, but we did give a "we're going to do x and then we'll be ready to go" and a "one more time and then we are leaving" warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightwriter View Post
Silent treatment isn't appropriate for any child, or even adult. I can understand the temptation to not talk and just ignore the child in the situation you describe, but obviously for your child it was quite traumatic. I believe it is a traumatic experience for an adult as well.

If you were upset over something and felt like venting or ruminating to DH about it, and instead of support were faced with a silent treatment? Extremely isolating, invalidating, and cruel. And yes, some people have a higher need to vent and ruminate.

In such a situation I would keep on reaffirming that I loved her, and that I knew she was sad / upset / angry...I would also try to engage her in a different conversation. With my 2 year old it works to remind her of other things she's done. Like, "Remember the farm animals we visited yesterday? I remember a pig. Who else was there?"

And yes, she might cry and whine about something else at that time, but she knows I'm there to help her calm down, rather than leaving a 2 year old to her own devices.
I don't equate this with me venting to dh because I don't argue with him when I vent. And she would not let the subject be changed. But I agree that I SHOULD have broken the silence with an occasional, "I love you."


Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post
I am/was a very senitive person/child (and honestly I think high needs) and my mom gave me the silent treatment sometimes. I was a big talker and EVERYTHING was always exciting or horrible to me and I loved sharing everything I knew. She would just stop listening because she was too tired to listen anymore. It really hurt my feelings that she couldn't even conjure up a 'that is very nice sweetie' for me because I never really needed her to be engaged... I just needed to know she was listening (and even if she wasn't REALLY listening, something that makes it seem like it was nice)

I think there is a big difference between letting a child get out what she needs and saying 'honey I love you and I know you are ___ but I've explained why ___ so how about we ___' and giving the child the chance to be done while changing topics/distracting/whatever and just plain down right IGNORING and not having any sort of communication with the child.

I agree that not engaging in something that won't change is good. Children need to know boundries and they can't always have what they want. But I also think it is very important to meet their emotional NEEDS and help them come down from whatever is going on by leading them away from the topic by a gentle means. Asking them about something else that will make them happy or whatever is a much better option than ignoring cries of 'mommy! I'm trying to talk to you!'

I'm still hurt today by my mom ignoring me. Especially because she has actually told me that she definitely did ignore me. It wasn't just a feeling I got, but something she did. I understand I was exhausting, but I still needed something from her. One time won't destroy a child (I definitely don't remember the first time or most of the times!) but if it is your go to way for dealing with situations your child has a hard time with but you simply can't change, eventually I think it might affect her in a negative way.

Enough is definitely enough, but sometimes kids need help getting away from what can't and won't be changed. It can be hard to shift gears when the emotions are big.
I spend SO MUCH time listening to this child. The stories, the imaginary friends, the recounting of what we did yesterday, the books memorized and recounted back to me. Really, I spend 16 hours a day listening and responding to her. The other 8, she is sleeping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quaniliaz View Post
To those of you who are in support of continued validation: not all children respond positively to this. I'm completely in favor of validation, but some kids just get stuck, and need help or time to move on. If I were to validate dd1's feelings until she decided she was ready to move on it could take (literally) hours. By contrast genuinely validating and empathizing for a while, and then moving on works much much better.

OTOH, DD2 seems less likely to get stuck.
Yes! DD get stuck and it can literally take hours to move on.

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There is "the silent treatment" and then there is "I am not going to prolong this by continuing to discuss it with you." When my daughter gets hung up on something like that I tell her I will not be talking about it anymore. When I hear that, "Mama?" from the back seat I say, "is this going to be about X?" And the first few times, maybe it was going to be about X so I say, "I said I am done talking about it. Do you want to ask me something else?"

Mostly my daughter is pretty good about moving on, but when she decides to wallow she does NOT need my help staying in that miserable, whiny place and my trying to "help her process" is just making the misery last longer.
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#37 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artichokie View Post
We did do the acknowledgment stuff for 10+ minutes and she got FURIOUS when I tried to sing. Our radio is not working. DD gets that we can go back but in this case we couldn't - it was a traveling exhibit and a one-time thing.
Ahhhh, that happened to us once when we were on a 6 week road trip. We had an emergency clutch repair, and the machanic took the radio out, but we had left the code at home. It took me 1 day to realize that was not going work so I bought a car-lighter ac adapter for my cd walkman and a pair of computer speakers and made it work...5 more weeks of no car music? No way!

5 minutes of silence is not going scar her for life, but because I hate the silent treatment I tend to just throw out every so often: "I hear you. Let me know when you're ready to move on."

Silence is always better than shouting, imo.

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#38 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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mamma,
you did well considering all the circumstances...I think it was the titling "silent treatment" that struck a chord with so many...I don't think by reading further, that is what you actually did. I think the hand holding and reassurance of I love you could have helped...but hindsight is 20/20.
s

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#39 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post
I am/was a very senitive person/child (and honestly I think high needs) and my mom gave me the silent treatment sometimes. I was a big talker and EVERYTHING was always exciting or horrible to me and I loved sharing everything I knew. She would just stop listening because she was too tired to listen anymore. It really hurt my feelings that she couldn't even conjure up a 'that is very nice sweetie' for me because I never really needed her to be engaged... I just needed to know she was listening (and even if she wasn't REALLY listening, something that makes it seem like it was nice)

I think there is a big difference between letting a child get out what she needs and saying 'honey I love you and I know you are ___ but I've explained why ___ so how about we ___' and giving the child the chance to be done while changing topics/distracting/whatever and just plain down right IGNORING and not having any sort of communication with the child.

I agree that not engaging in something that won't change is good. Children need to know boundries and they can't always have what they want. But I also think it is very important to meet their emotional NEEDS and help them come down from whatever is going on by leading them away from the topic by a gentle means. Asking them about something else that will make them happy or whatever is a much better option than ignoring cries of 'mommy! I'm trying to talk to you!'

I'm still hurt today by my mom ignoring me. Especially because she has actually told me that she definitely did ignore me. It wasn't just a feeling I got, but something she did. I understand I was exhausting, but I still needed something from her. One time won't destroy a child (I definitely don't remember the first time or most of the times!) but if it is your go to way for dealing with situations your child has a hard time with but you simply can't change, eventually I think it might affect her in a negative way.

Enough is definitely enough, but sometimes kids need help getting away from what can't and won't be changed. It can be hard to shift gears when the emotions are big.
I have a chatty child. She needs and wants an audience all day long. Before she could talk or when she just kind of jabbered words here and there, people would say things like, "Just wait, you will be wanting quiet soon enough" and I'd think, oh just tune it out, you big wimp. How hard can it be.

Now I have a child who talks endlessly all day long. Everything is dramatic, everything is a story, there are songs and characters and it JUST NEVER ENDS. I'm EXHAUSTED by the middle of the morning just from all the talking at me. I do the best I can and I don't want to hurt her feelings. I love that she has this BIG imagination (and will be SO relieved when she can write some of it down instead of vomiting words at me all day long - can you tell she's been talking since 5.45 am and I am WORN OUT?) but sometimes I have to tune her out or send her on her way or I will just explode. I think endless kid jabber could be a form of torture, I really do. I love her, she is often very funny and always very inventive and creative but the endless talking is needy and it wears on a person.

Sometimes the help they need "getting away" from something they can't change is a firm line in the sand that says I WILL NOT ENGAGE WITH YOU ON THIS ANYMORE. Sometimes that is the only thing that will help them shift gears. When you've given a warning that something is going to happen, it happens, and then you've spent a reasonable amount of time being sympathetic and reflecting their feelings, you can either stay with them and help them be muddled and stuck in that moment or you can refuse to entertain it any longer so they will move on. I am sure if the OP's daughter had decided to talk about anything else at all they would have been more than happy to listen. Sometimes continuing to engage the misery makes things WORSE, not better.
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#40 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
Are you serious?
It is completely inappropriate and (imo)cruel. A child needs to be validated and loved and shown that they exist in anothers' eyes. How completely frightening to a little child to have her parents ignore her. wow.
I disagree too.

You tried to let her know you were listening, and understanding. The occasional happy "I know, I hear you honey" would have been good enough. To continue to be pulled into her yelling conversation wouldn't have fixed it.

What you did was not the "Silent treatment" exactly... it was just refusing to continue that conversation.
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#41 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
There is "the silent treatment" and then there is "I am not going to prolong this by continuing to discuss it with you." When my daughter gets hung up on something like that I tell her I will not be talking about it anymore. When I hear that, "Mama?" from the back seat I say, "is this going to be about X?" And the first few times, maybe it was going to be about X so I say, "I said I am done talking about it. Do you want to ask me something else?"

Mostly my daughter is pretty good about moving on, but when she decides to wallow she does NOT need my help staying in that miserable, whiny place and my trying to "help her process" is just making the misery last longer.
This exactly. I was given the "silent treatment" growing up and have received it as an adult and it's not at all what you described, OP. I think you did great with what you had going on-longish car ride, everyone tired/hungry, etc. I liked the suggestion of hand holding, I may have tried that in the same situation. I also think there comes a point sometimes where if they won't follow you out into a better mood, you can hit the ignore button so you won't explode. It's okay. Mary

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#42 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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I think all of the suggestions have been great. One other I would add if you are going to use this discipline method (other than calling it something else like planned ignoring or something) Is to give a time limit of some sort. Like I will talk to you when this song is over if you're quiet or In five minutes if you've calmed down we can talk again. Then are you calm? no, ok here's another song.

I think my issue with this is the idea that kids might not realize that there is an end. It may feel like you are never going to speak to them again or you no longer love them (this is not with all children) and I think offering clear parameters as to when they will again receive attention can take away any negatives, also it stops the continued conversation.
just my two cents

BTW: the actual silent treatment, ie shunning I think is cruel from anyone, but that is clearly not what you were doing.

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#43 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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I don't think that's the silent treatment. I think of the ST as an actual punishment, like shunning. Yes, that's cruel. But what you did is different. You were done with the conversation. I've done that with adults, too. It's called saving my sanity.

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#44 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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To those of you who are in support of continued validation: not all children respond positively to this. I'm completely in favor of validation, but some kids just get stuck, and need help or time to move on. If I were to validate dd1's feelings until she decided she was ready to move on it could take (literally) hours. By contrast genuinely validating and empathizing for a while, and then moving on works much much better.

OTOH, DD2 seems less likely to get stuck.
This is DD. She calms down much better if I am no longer feeding the drama with 'validation'.

Of course, I do my best to help her transition, but when she's over-the-top Losing It, walking away is better for her personality. We sometimes have a co-dependent type feel to tantrums that I'm trying to deal with.

For the OP, I personally would've kept trying to change the subject. "What's your favorite color, animal, shape etc..." "Look over there at the XYZ" kind of stuff tends to work for us.

Also having an immediate distraction in the car is always a great idea. A snack. A special toy for the car---b/c asking her to transition when the next activity is not immediate is probably too much for her.

To get my DD out of the house, we do popscicles in the car seat. And then I usually have a snack in the car for the ride home. She has her laptop too to play with which she enjoys.

I am not necessarily opposed to how you handled it, but I think you had some other options on the table still.

And maybe I would have said "You have big feelings about leaving. That's okay, but I am done talking about it. You let me know when you're done too." as opposed to how it was worded in the OP. This allows her to have her feelings but removes you from being responsible for them.

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#45 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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That response would send me over the edge as an adult, as a child it would have been beyond damaging. That is who I am, and how my personality works. I have vivid memories of car trips with my parents from about that age, and I was incessant. My parents tried everything, and I could not settle myself. Reassurance was the only thing that helped.

I do believe that shutting down completely as you did was understandable as you were at a loss, but I also think it was a less-than helpful solution for her. I think I would have responded simply by calmly stating that I knew she was upset, but it was time to go. Sure, it's a broken record and annoying for you, but paired with asking about her favorite part of the day it might have helped her transition.

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OMG you'd think we were tormenting her. She was screaming at us, "MAMA! PAPA! I AM TALKING TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING!" "MAMA! TALK TO MEEEEE!" and kicking in her seat and trying to kick me, and really becoming out of control. I have actually never seen her so upset - not being acknowledged was clearly the worst experience she has ever had. She is normally very mild mannered and rarely has a temper tantrum so this was very much out of character for her.
Should have told you that it was inappropriate for her. It's trial and error to find what works.

What worked with my oldest was time in her room- or somewhere else on her own to regain her composure. Trying to hug/touch/reassure her when she was really upset backfired a lot, but so did having her upset and within eyesight without interacting. After a while she learned to say she was feeling upset and head off to her room before she unraveled.

(FWIW, totally not a judgment, we all have moments in parenting where we do something that isn't what we would like it to be. If this is the worst that ever happens, you've got a super-lucky kid.)
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#46 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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I didn't read everyone else's answers, but my answer is that it was clearly inappropriate and too harsh for YOUR dd, and now you know! The whole reason you stopped talking about it was to diffuse the situation, and obviously it didn't work well!

I do tell my 5 year old that I'm not interested in talking about it anymore, but I still answer her. If she cries, "Mommy, I SAID..." or "Why aren't you answering me?" (even though she ought to know), I answer something like, "I hear you, sweetie, but I'm not going to talk about xyz anymore. I'll talk about how much your feet have grown, or how many fairies are riding in the car, or whether our car is blue or green, though!"

Just as an example.

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#47 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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okay, I agree that I expressed my opinion too strongly and the way I worded it was rude.
I am sorry about that. It just made me sad to think of a 2 and a 1/2 yr old being ignored. I also might have over read your original post? Maybe not. the part that made me react was that I thought you ignored her to the point of not even acknowledging that she was speaking. Not that you ignored the thing she wouldn't stop talking about. There is a distinction there.
I will try not to react so strongly in the future at the expense of being rude to the poster. should I edit out that response myself then?
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#48 of 57 Old 07-26-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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Yeah, I did that until the last 5 min at which point I couldn't engage her and still hold my myself together - I would have started yelling at her. Maybe yelling would have been better than ignoring?
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For the last five minutes of the trip, it was either ignore her or yell. Really, I held it together as long as I could.
I think this has to be taken on a child by child basis, honestly. I would 1000X rather be yelled at than ignored...seriously. My mom is the same way. Her mom used the silent treatment (in a much more punishing way, admittedly) and at 66, she still remembers how horrible it made her feel. I've met kids who seem to do okay with it, but for me (being on the receiving end, I mean), it would definitely qualify as cruel. I'd rather be yelled at, any day.

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#49 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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Artichoke we might be sharing the same kid!

Mine too can be VERY controlling, to the extent of screaming "DON'T DANCE YOUR HEAD! NOOOO HEAD DANCING!" if i'm nodding along to music in the car! She would definitely rather be yelled at than ignored, she is the sort of kid who doesn't mind what the interaction is, so long as there is interaction and SHE is directing it. However, i don't want to spend my life yelling, and since yelling is within her range of "good" responses from me, it doesn't help any anyway. She would go on even more, to get more yelling, because it's better than someone else directing where the conversation is going or having NO conversation. My DD is 4 and frequently brings up "terrible" things that happened 2+ years ago when she's looking for a reason to fuss. I was the same way - i remember it making perfect sense at the time, but now it makes me laugh at how attached to such things i got. To be fair she will also bring up wonderful or exciting or happy things to discuss.

The Silent Treatment isn't something i think is being described here. When i was 11 my mother THOUGHT i did something she disapproved of (i didn't, my brother was a liar and mad at me because i wouldn't lend him headphones i KNEW he'd break, so he made something up and my mother believed him) and she didn't speak to me above one-word responses or LOOK at me for ELEVEN days. And when she found out my brother had lied she didn't. even. apologise.
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#50 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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I guess for me it helps to examine my expectation that the 2.5 yr. old is in some way capable of holding it together (i.e. not going on and on about her disappointment), yet the grown ups (with a life-time of coping skills) are struggling to hold it together, too.

And to sort of compare the disappointment of leaving the best place you've ever seen vs. listening to someone have very strong emotions for 10-20 minutes. If I'm struggling to hold it together in the face of someone expressing themselves (and it happens), how much can I expect of the kid, you know?

That perspective shift helped me a lot when my kids were little and BIG feelings took a lot of processing (especially for my extroverts).
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#51 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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I do the "I'm done with this conversation--would you like to talk about something else?" thing. I think that's fine--I really do.

I have sometimes just stopped responding at all and shut down because I was about to lose it, which is different and not something I really advocate. However, at times I think it's preferable to the other alternatives. Maybe DD would rather be yelled at, but *I* would not rather be yelling. I feel rotten about myself as a parent when I go over that edge, and I also will resent my kid for "making" me go there. (fair or not)

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#52 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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I guess for me it helps to examine my expectation that the 2.5 yr. old is in some way capable of holding it together (i.e. not going on and on about her disappointment), yet the grown ups (with a life-time of coping skills) are struggling to hold it together, too.

And to sort of compare the disappointment of leaving the best place you've ever seen vs. listening to someone have very strong emotions for 10-20 minutes. If I'm struggling to hold it together in the face of someone expressing themselves (and it happens), how much can I expect of the kid, you know?

That perspective shift helped me a lot when my kids were little and BIG feelings took a lot of processing (especially for my extroverts).
I work on this a lot. When I find myself yelling, "SETTLE down and stop freaking out", it really sinks home that I'm being completely ridiculous, yk?

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#53 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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I guess for me it helps to examine my expectation that the 2.5 yr. old is in some way capable of holding it together (i.e. not going on and on about her disappointment), yet the grown ups (with a life-time of coping skills) are struggling to hold it together, too.

And to sort of compare the disappointment of leaving the best place you've ever seen vs. listening to someone have very strong emotions for 10-20 minutes. If I'm struggling to hold it together in the face of someone expressing themselves (and it happens), how much can I expect of the kid, you know?

That perspective shift helped me a lot when my kids were little and BIG feelings took a lot of processing (especially for my extroverts).
Exactly this! Great post.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#54 of 57 Old 07-27-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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Wow, you got a lot of great advice in this thread. I'm interested to know if you've tried it out yet and how that worked. From my experience, I agree in completing your explaination, validating that she's upset/angry/sad and you know it, then stating you're not going to talk about it any further. I love the other ideas about bringing up topics you will talk about. Every so often suggesting a new topic or acknowledging her calmly is great.

The only thing I'd add is perhaps taking the time later after you're both cooled off to talk about it with her. Maybe while getting ready for bed, "You sure were upset today when we left xyz." and let her talk. When you're both calm is a better time to take advantage of the experience as a learning opportunity, if only to teach about letdown, "I know you wanted to stay and play. It's so hard to do things we don't want to do, like leave when we're not ready." You can also let her know the rules, "When we have to stop doing something you want to keep doing like that, I can tell you why, but then we're done with the conversation, sweetie." Then give her the power to be in control when that happens again, "When we have to leave another place you like, what can we talk about to help make it easier?"

I sure hope all this has helped!

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#55 of 57 Old 07-28-2010, 04:00 AM
 
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I totally read those books and often thought about what I would rather have. In my family, I think I would have welcomed the silent treatment!

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#56 of 57 Old 07-28-2010, 04:24 AM
 
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Going about our business (rather than just no speaking to her) would upset her just as much, I am certain.
I agree. Mine is the same way. I am just saying, I don't think that "talking at" is any less cruel than not responding, unless of course the child is worried that her parents are not there at all. But it doesn't sound like that would be the case.
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I work on this a lot. When I find myself yelling, "SETTLE down and stop freaking out", it really sinks home that I'm being completely ridiculous, yk?
Haha, when I get into a yelling rut of a few days it always ends with words like that. Duh, mom. (<-- That is to me, not to you!)

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I am/was a very senitive person/child (and honestly I think high needs) and my mom gave me the silent treatment sometimes. I was a big talker and EVERYTHING was always exciting or horrible to me and I loved sharing everything I knew. She would just stop listening because she was too tired to listen anymore. It really hurt my feelings that she couldn't even conjure up a 'that is very nice sweetie' for me because I never really needed her to be engaged... I just needed to know she was listening (and even if she wasn't REALLY listening, something that makes it seem like it was nice)

I think there is a big difference between letting a child get out what she needs and saying 'honey I love you and I know you are ___ but I've explained why ___ so how about we ___' and giving the child the chance to be done while changing topics/distracting/whatever and just plain down right IGNORING and not having any sort of communication with the child.

I agree that not engaging in something that won't change is good. Children need to know boundries and they can't always have what they want. But I also think it is very important to meet their emotional NEEDS and help them come down from whatever is going on by leading them away from the topic by a gentle means. Asking them about something else that will make them happy or whatever is a much better option than ignoring cries of 'mommy! I'm trying to talk to you!'

I'm still hurt today by my mom ignoring me. Especially because she has actually told me that she definitely did ignore me. It wasn't just a feeling I got, but something she did. I understand I was exhausting, but I still needed something from her. One time won't destroy a child (I definitely don't remember the first time or most of the times!) but if it is your go to way for dealing with situations your child has a hard time with but you simply can't change, eventually I think it might affect her in a negative way.
Enough is definitely enough, but sometimes kids need help getting away from what can't and won't be changed. It can be hard to shift gears when the emotions are big.
I have a chatty child. She needs and wants an audience all day long. Before she could talk or when she just kind of jabbered words here and there, people would say things like, "Just wait, you will be wanting quiet soon enough" and I'd think, oh just tune it out, you big wimp. How hard can it be.

Now I have a child who talks endlessly all day long. Everything is dramatic, everything is a story, there are songs and characters and it JUST NEVER ENDS. I'm EXHAUSTED by the middle of the morning just from all the talking at me. I do the best I can and I don't want to hurt her feelings. I love that she has this BIG imagination (and will be SO relieved when she can write some of it down instead of vomiting words at me all day long - can you tell she's been talking since 5.45 am and I am WORN OUT?) but sometimes I have to tune her out or send her on her way or I will just explode. I think endless kid jabber could be a form of torture, I really do. I love her, she is often very funny and always very inventive and creative but the endless talking is needy and it wears on a person.

Sometimes the help they need "getting away" from something they can't change is a firm line in the sand that says I WILL NOT ENGAGE WITH YOU ON THIS ANYMORE. Sometimes that is the only thing that will help them shift gears. When you've given a warning that something is going to happen, it happens, and then you've spent a reasonable amount of time being sympathetic and reflecting their feelings, you can either stay with them and help them be muddled and stuck in that moment or you can refuse to entertain it any longer so they will move on. I am sure if the OP's daughter had decided to talk about anything else at all they would have been more than happy to listen. Sometimes continuing to engage the misery makes things WORSE, not better.
I think this is an interesting interaction.

I am glad to hear from someone who was "that" child.

To treeoflife, have you considered that she might have actually done that and you did not hear her at all because you were talking? I know that there have been times that I've gotten down at my DD's level (not sure if she saw for all the bouncing), explained two or three times that we need to move on, we are going to do a quiet game now because sister has to calm down and go to sleep, and I'm not sure she heard.

At all.

I truly believe that she will remember only the moment that I picked up her sister and left the room to put sister down for a nap.

That was the ONLY thing that mattered to her. I didn't want to leave without her! But she didn't hear me asking her to calm down and come for a story.

So consider that you might not have heard the gentle things your mom was saying, really, truly not heard. You might also not have accepted her faux-listening. If I say, "mmmm, really?" to my daughter after I have processed my maximum number of Dora stories for the day, she starts complaining. "You're not really listening! Really listen!"

I mean, sorry. My brain just shorts out at that point. I can't listen any more, any more than I can keep running up stairs all day. I eat a lot of fish and flax and leafy greens and drink coffee but apparently, my gray matter just has room for patience for about six kabillion Dora stories, and that's it.

OTOH, as the mom of a kid like this and at this age, my plan was to start giving myself time-outs. Because if there was ANY word I could use to get through to her, any gentle touch, I would use it. There is not.

What this says to me, though, is that I need to explain to her beforehand (at a time when she can really, really listen) that when she doesn't hear me or listen and does something mean it makes me so angry that I need to leave or I will yell. And that as soon as she's ready to speak like a person (instead of trying to engage me in a directed dialogue), she can tell me it's safe to come out.

She might prefer yelling, but guess what? I'm not here to give her positive feedback for being rude. I'm here to keep it together, and it's darn hard to do.

I do think "silent treatment" needs to be defined, though. Not continuing a conversation is one thing. Asking someone to leave to calm down is one thing. Not listening for 20 minutes so you can concentrate on not messing up the dal is one thing. Telling a child that you won't talk to them for x minutes or hours or whatever because you are angry and then blatantly and demonstratively ignoring them, which is what I consider the silent treatment to be, is immature and if not cruel, at the very least rude.

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#57 of 57 Old 07-29-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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but I was very taken aback by how very very upset she was by this.
could she have been tired? that is the kind of behav. my dd showed when she was tired or hungry or didnt have enough activity. she completely lost the power to reason and became tantrummy and totally illogical.

however at that age - for my dd - your kind of silent treatment when dd is yelling those words WOULD be cruel to my dd. i may not continue arguing with her, but i would use other body language to respond to her.

i personally hate the silent treatment, so i have never done it with dd. but she has gotten many silencing looks to guide her how to behave.

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