I absolutely REFUSE to attempt to control my kids. - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 47 Old 08-21-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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I totally think you are still controlling them. That said, I consider it my job to "control" my kids to a certain degree, and I do the same kind of thing you're talking about.

Chrissy, lucky mama to Noah (9), Lilah (6), Rowan (3) and Laney (1).
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#32 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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That's still controlling them, just in a different way.
But the difference is key. Escalating, direct, or abusive control of a person feels so different to both parties than effective, appropriate, sensitive control of a situation. In my own experience, young children expect adults to have control over their environment--they expect to be fed, clothed, protected, and nurtured 24 hours a day without fail--and it is this expectation which gives an element of control to parents. It is our job to meet the constant needs of a child, and in doing so, we exercise tremendous control over the world as our child knows it. Just by meeting or not meeting those needs, we are controlling our children on a profound level. This is partly why debates over whether parents should control children ring a bit hollow for me personally.

I think whenever parents can find a level of control that is not dependent on direct power struggles, the results are usually more positive and effective. I agree the OP is still controlling, but I think she is focusing on the aspects of the environment she can control without inflaming a power struggle with her child, and that is great.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#33 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 11:12 AM
 
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I think that was an awesome solution! It's still controlling your kids though. Which I think is a GOOD thing.
Agreed. And I was glad to see that, because the thread title is a little scary.

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#34 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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But the difference is key. Escalating, direct, or abusive control of a person feels so different to both parties than effective, appropriate, sensitive control of a situation. In my own experience, young children expect adults to have control over their environment--they expect to be fed, clothed, protected, and nurtured 24 hours a day without fail--and it is this expectation which gives an element of control to parents. It is our job to meet the constant needs of a child, and in doing so, we exercise tremendous control over the world as our child knows it. Just by meeting or not meeting those needs, we are controlling our children on a profound level. This is partly why debates over whether parents should control children ring a bit hollow for me personally.

I think whenever parents can find a level of control that is not dependent on direct power struggles, the results are usually more positive and effective. I agree the OP is still controlling, but I think she is focusing on the aspects of the environment she can control without inflaming a power struggle with her child, and that is great.
Posts like this keep me coming back to MDC to learn.

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#35 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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It was still punitive, and yes parents really still control without punishment anyway. And I do think parents have to have some level of control, though I personally avoid punishment. Anyway, it was certainly much much gentler than dragging him in or screaming at him to come in. I do think the title "I refuse to control . . ." isn't really accurate, but I think it's definitely an example of gentle discipline regardless.
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#36 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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It was still punitive
I'm not trying to change your mind but want to express that I think it was not punitive at all. The family had a certain order of the day, an established evening routine. With three young children I can't imagine what a balancing act it is to meet the needs of all children at once and keep everyone fed, nurtured, and in bed on time. If the family has a routine of dinner, playtime, tv, bath, storytime, and one child wanted to stay out side during tv time--as long as he was informed that this meant giving up tv time (which this child was)--I don't see where he was punished for his actions at all. From what she said, tv time always comes after playtime and bath time--she didn't invent the TV consequence just to punish him. It was bath/tv time and when she told him so, he didn't want to watch, he wanted to play outdoors while his siblings had baths. He made a choice and was trusted to cope with the implications, which it sounds like he did peacefully. He had his bath while the others went to the next step--tv time. It sounds like the mother tried very hard to make sure the child was aware he was making a choice, it sounds like she did this in a matter of fact and respectful way, and not in a vindictive or angry tone--and it sounds like her child heard the choice as a fair one, and not as mom trying to pick a fight and control him unfairly.

I don't see where she invented a negative consequence in response to his behavior (punishment)--if anything she tried hard to make sure he was happy with his choice by keeping him informed of what was next on the agenda, and it sounds like he was, in fact, happy. She didn't bend on the bedtime deadline--she didn't extend his bedtime so he could add more activities-- and I know some parents would have just let him stay up later. But I don't think he was being punished just because bedtime wasn't shifted so he could catch up on his tv watching. At least, that is not my definition of punishment.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#37 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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DS *finally* comes home about 15 mins, later I suppose it was. And I paused the DVR until he was in the bathroom, steered past the TV by me and informed that he had used his TV time playing outside while the other 2 had taken their bath....so now he would have to take a bath and have his snack in the kitchen, away from the TV.
That's the part that was punitive. A negative consequence created and enforced by the parent is a punishment. She had to pause the DVR so he couldnt' see it and steer him past the TV and tell him he had to have his snack away from the TV. That is definitely a punishment.

Edited to add that I didn't say it was unfair, just that it's a punishment.
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#38 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 01:10 PM
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But the difference is key.
I realize that. I was just disagreeing with the title of the thread.

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#39 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 01:15 PM
 
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My experience is that it is just the opposite WRT 'control' and teenagers.

My 15.5 y/o daughter, who has always been very, very spirited, has also always shown me that she is going to do what she is going to do and that is that. Therefore, she is the one who has taught me to become centered in my own power because (as she ruthlessly points out) - that it is all I have.

However, my power is grand. And she is smart enough to know that. The greatness has been to create the kind of relationship where we are both doing what we choose to do and the result is cooperative.

By this age, most kids have learned that they are freer than they previously knew and, let's face it, it is a very short time before they're off in the world on their own. I love that my amazing teenager wants to spend time with me, asks me for my opinions and (most of the time) enjoys being around me. Just the fact that she is not ripping her hair out with frustration toward me like I was with my (very well-meaning-but-controlling) mother is such a joy for me. And I have zero disagreements with her life choices on top of that.
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#40 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
But the difference is key. Escalating, direct, or abusive control of a person feels so different to both parties than effective, appropriate, sensitive control of a situation. In my own experience, young children expect adults to have control over their environment--they expect to be fed, clothed, protected, and nurtured 24 hours a day without fail--and it is this expectation which gives an element of control to parents. It is our job to meet the constant needs of a child, and in doing so, we exercise tremendous control over the world as our child knows it. Just by meeting or not meeting those needs, we are controlling our children on a profound level. This is partly why debates over whether parents should control children ring a bit hollow for me personally.

I think whenever parents can find a level of control that is not dependent on direct power struggles, the results are usually more positive and effective. I agree the OP is still controlling, but I think she is focusing on the aspects of the environment she can control without inflaming a power struggle with her child, and that is great.


This is a great post. 'Control' is the natural effect of providing. When we realize the power inherent in the fact that we are their providers of everything, we can become aware of the greatness of our power without ever having to resort to intentional control efforts.
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#41 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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That's the part that was punitive. A negative consequence created and enforced by the parent is a punishment. She had to pause the DVR so he couldnt' see it and steer him past the TV and tell him he had to have his snack away from the TV. That is definitely a punishment.

Edited to add that I didn't say it was unfair, just that it's a punishment.
Oh I see now what you mean--but I honestly read it differently! I would have paused it because 1) I don't like talking over the tv and 2) if my ds had caught a glimpse of the TV it would have been 10x harder for him to move on as smoothly to whatever else he was supposed to do. And in this case since her child can't have a bath in front of the tv and they might have rules about keeping snacks in the kitchen--I thought mom hitting pause until her son walked through the room was her way of facilitating what her son was doing--pausing the tv until he was out of the room. Kind of like being respectful of the fact that he was there, but not to watch tv, so why flaunt it in his face in a sense--like pausing it when someone answers the phone or the door. Does that make sense? That was how I read it.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#42 of 47 Old 08-22-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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PeacefulMama-I think you are doing awesome.

What I relate to the most about your post and handling of the situation. You handled a situation calmly and felt that your children understood why you are doing what your are. I feel good when I handle a tantrum by staying calm.

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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#43 of 47 Old 08-23-2010, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh I see now what you mean--but I honestly read it differently! I would have paused it because 1) I don't like talking over the tv and 2) if my ds had caught a glimpse of the TV it would have been 10x harder for him to move on as smoothly to whatever else he was supposed to do. And in this case since her child can't have a bath in front of the tv and they might have rules about keeping snacks in the kitchen--I thought mom hitting pause until her son walked through the room was her way of facilitating what her son was doing--pausing the tv until he was out of the room. Kind of like being respectful of the fact that he was there, but not to watch tv, so why flaunt it in his face in a sense--like pausing it when someone answers the phone or the door. Does that make sense? That was how I read it.

thanks heartmama for both posts. I also dislike talking over the TV, so much that I am currently waiting on DH to MOVE IT and we will only have a portable one that comes in *sometimes.*

Yes, it was intended as a way to keep from totally rubbing it in his face that he wasn't going to be watching TV that night.

And several have said that I'm still 'controlling' them...I agree with at least one, possibly more people that this is my *job.* But what I'm doing is moving away from total attempt to control *them* physically and their choices, and into exerting my control as the parent over the *environment*--the choices I make available to them, the routine we typically have, things like that.

We do have a consistent evening routine--and I've moved from waiting until it's absolutely urgent to come inside NOW, and then chasing, dragging, begging, etc.
to this....a reminder of what is next, and the option to choose. And, so far, they have responded well...like they really understand that they *chose* this.

Yes, it probably is still 'control' to then not give in and let them stay up later if they ask.....but I view that as part of my job of meeting their needs. TV viewing is a *privilege.* Adequate sleep is a *need*. Especially so for my DS1, who typically doesn't sleep past 7-7:30 no matter *what* time he goes to bed. And to top that off, this particular day was during our first week of kindergarten, when he *must* get up at about 7 in order to have enough time to do what we need to do and arrive at school on time.

But it's far less about me controlling him...and more about me starting to give him tools to control his own world, when he is offered a choice on how to spend his time before bedtime.

Yes, ultimately *I* control when bedtime is....but he's 5...he honestly is not old enough yet (in my mind as a 5 year old, and what I know of his understanding) to self-regulate sleep and bedtime when he has to be at school early in the morning. At 5, he understands what he wants to do *right now* and how he feels *now.*

I see probably the most important job I have as his mom as this...meeting his needs while gradually handing over the control for taking care of his needs to him, as he gains the maturity to handle things himself.

I've already done this with allowing him, and his 3.5 year old sister, the choice of how they will spend their time before they need to take baths, brush teeth, and go to bed.
Their not-yet-2 yr. old brother does not choose yet. He pretty much gets to be inside or outside based on where *I* need to be, because he needs constant supervision.

Eventually, I will determine when I think they have enough maturity to regulate when they go to bed with how they feel in the morning...and *yes* I will still enforce going to school those first few times they don't quite get it right and are tired. How would they learn to move their bedtime earlier if I allowed them to stay home and sleep if they didn't get it right?

Maybe the title of this thread really should be that I refuse to engage in power struggles in an attempt to 'control them.' I'd change it, but I tried and can't.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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#44 of 47 Old 08-23-2010, 02:53 AM
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Well....I'm glad that works for you. It will be interesting to see how that pans out when they are teenagers. Personally I'm of the belief that children are....well, children....and that it is my responsibility to teach them and discipline them. And that they need to understand when I say they need to do something that they need to do it.
Natural consequences (barring obvious safety concerns) are usually better teachers than imposed consequences. Learning through natural consequences teaches personal responsibility. In the OP's scenario, the natural consequence of staying outside for an extended time is that the child missed TV time. He has nobody to blame for that but himself, and it may or may not teach him to manage his time better.

I don't think punishments do much except create fear and resentment, to be honest.

I'm someone who questions authority, so it's no great surprise that my kids do, also. That being said, they are well-mannered teenagers who don't engage in recklessness and pretty much do what's asked of them.
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#45 of 47 Old 08-24-2010, 02:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also view it as my responsibility (as I've stated before) and part of discipline--to hand over responsibility to the child as the child grows up and gains understanding and maturity. (In this example, that would be giving the child the choice to stay outside or to come inside and take a bath now so that he has time before bed to watch a show.)

And part of handing over that responsibility includes allowing the child to experience the consequences of the choices they make. (i.e. I don't give in and let him watch even a short show if I have said that there is now not time for *any* TV.)

(this is one thing my mother did not do for me, other than making me go to school no matter how late I stayed up. One example that I'll never forget is the endless hassles in the morning over getting up for school--this went on into HIGH SCHOOL. *I* plan to end this struggle at the point where my children know how to set an alarm clock and use it. They'll have one in their room, I'll help them with figuring out how much time they need, and then THEY will set it and get themselves up. (OF COURSE I will help them if I get up and see that the power went out! Or if I don't hear it and think that they possibly set it for PM instead of AM by mistake!) If they are late to school, that is between them and the school. I think it's absolutely ridiculous to be arguing with a child who, in just 4 short years, will probably NOT be living in your home, will likely have a paid job, etc. about getting out of bed in the morning to get somewhere on time. Better they experience the consequences from school than later in a job where they're dependent on the income, may be fired, and it may affect their ability to be hired at a different job! My job as a parent is to give them ever-increasing responsibility to prepare them for this, and it *should* help end power struggles--by---GIVING THEM POWER.)

I also view it as my responsibility to, when I see something that is not working, revoke certain privileges that they've not shown the maturity level to have, (one example off the top of my head is the alarm clock--if I've given them an alarm clock and promised to leave them alone to get themselves up in the morning and they are consistently late for school due to over-use of the snooze button) or talk to them and brainstorm possibilities. Just because I have handed them a responsibility, does not mean that I have totally now become *not* responsible for helping them learn to manage it. (with the current scenario, if my son were seriously objecting to the TV not being allowed, I might brainstorm with him ideas--like maybe he wants to be told a specific time and see it on a watch that he wears.)

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#46 of 47 Old 08-27-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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I think you are on the right lines.

You are giving them age-appropriate choices, and expecting them to deal with the consequences of those choices.

You are showing that you consider your time worthy of respect

I think you are ending up not only having taught them that actions have proper, human-scale consequences, but also having given them the skills to make these choices. And also that people are not there to act on their whims. Good for you.

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#47 of 47 Old 08-28-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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That's it. That is my new secret. I don't know what's so new to me about it since i used to use it on my preschool kids *all the time.* (I guess something snapped in me when I started dealing with MY defiant children....I wasn't going to *have* kids who did this stuff because *I* was not going to raise kids who behaved this way or that way...yeah right.)

or maybe the title of this thread should be--"I'm refusing to make a career out of attempting to control my children's every move..." as there's obviously situations where I will take control--obvious safety issues and hurting others come to mind.

I came to this conclusion at some point this evening. I finally decided i was just plain sick of chasing kids through the neighborhood trying to MAKE THEM come in the house.

I went to where they were and announced "If you want to watch a show after your bath, before you go to bed, you need to come home NOW." And I walked away with baby DS on my hip.

DD followed me home...I commented "looks like you want to watch a show..."

DS ignored me, and I ignored him while the younger two took a bath, I prepared a snack, and they started to watch their show and eat said snack.

DS *finally* comes home about 15 mins, later I suppose it was. And I paused the DVR until he was in the bathroom, steered past the TV by me and informed that he had used his TV time playing outside while the other 2 had taken their bath....so now he would have to take a bath and have his snack in the kitchen, away from the TV.

It WORKED....it so WORKED...........even if it hasn't yet WORKED at keeping my kid from trying to get extra time outside and then attempting to argue his "right" to watch TV, it has WORKED in the sense that I am calm, cool, and I feel like I *AM* in control while I do this. (he, by the way, especially loves to watch a show before bed, even if it is a 10 min. short cartoon, so he was not happy to miss out on this. BUT we got through the whole scenario calm, cool, collected......it was a pretty amazing feeling

It's so freeing somehow...a conscious decision to realize that these children are people....of course duh ... people with their own right to make their own decisions, even when the path they have chosen is not the one *I* want in that moment.
AND when they choose to exercise their right not to make the choice i would like them to make in that moment.....that is NOT a reflection on my parenting. It is NOT MY "FAULT" that they don't do what I say immediatly when I say it.

It is NORMAL for them, as human beings, to exercise their free will. NORMAL. It is NORMAL for them to experiment and see what might happen fi they do this or that instead of what was asked. NORMAL. ALL NORMAL.

and it is calming somehow to resign myself to concentrating on another task and waiting for him to come in from outside, for example....and *then* enforce the consequence of not following directions.

I deal better this way....maybe someone else can benefit...
Thank you for posting this. I was wondering what else I could do, but this makes total sense. I had already been doing this for meal times, but didn't "click" to do it for other things as well.

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