Should I let this slide? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-10-2010, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a feeling this is going to be a no-brainer to everyone here and I'm going to feel foolish after asking, but I'm really not sure how proceed with this.

My dd's are 5. We've gone through some rough patches where I've really had to change my approach to discipline but we have (or had?) reached a point where we are all respectful of one another and there's a lot more harmony in the family. However, a new behavior is creeping in and I'm not sure how to handle it. The behavior is making faces, noises, mewing, growling, etc when I am saying things that they don't like. Sometimes it's when I'm telling them things I have no control over and I'm just relaying information, sometimes it's over an instruction I give -- and it happens even when they've specifically asked me how to do something but they don't like my answer, sometimes it is over a correction or denial of a request or me giving an unsolicited instruction. Anything where they don't like what I'm saying. When it's me telling them to do something or denying something or correction they almost always do what they're being asked but they have to make a face or a hiss at me to let me know they're not happy about what I've said. So in one way I say, it's no big deal, they're just using it as a way to tell me that they don't like what I've said. On the other hand, it could be considered quite disrepectful and maybe I shouldn't let it go on. So far I've handled it very inconsistently -- I've playfully hissed back at them, or I've told them that it seems to me that they're not happy with what I've said but the way they are expressing it I find disrespectful and they can use words to tell me, or I've ignored it, and today I got angry with it and said yelled "Enough..." and ranted for a bit. I can't seem to settle on where I come down on this. It does bother me, but I'm not sure if it should. And if I want them to stop, I'm not sure how to go about getting them to. I can't "make" them stop. So, is it a big deal and if it is, what's an approach to dealing with it?
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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We are experiencing this with our dd, too, who is 6. Like you, I'm not sure how I feel about it or how I want to respond. I know it makes me angry.

However, dh is very clear that he thinks this is disrespectful and needs to be stopped. Dd does this little "hmph" thing and crosses her arms. That's it--no name-calling, no real 'disobeying' or anything. When dh told her she was being rude and disrespectful, she got very upset; but his tone was pretty angry, too. When I asked her about it later, she said it was "just a little thing she does when she's disappointed."

That really made me think. Especially about something someone on here said about not assigning intentions to others' behaviour. I really believe she was being honest when she explained why she did it, but that's not how it came across. I don't want to shut her down, especially when she's actually accepting what we've said. OTOH, it's hard not to take it personally and I kinda think it IS rude. Other than explaining how we feel and giving her other ways to express her disappointment or whatever, I'm not sure what we'll end up doing. We've never been a family that does time out/take away privileges, that sort of thing; so we need to find a way through this that's more on the non-punitive side of things. I hope others respond.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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It's not something I personally would let slide.
I don't think there is a place for disrespect like that in loving relationships.
Doesn't mean the kids aren't going to do it until they learn more appropriate ways of expressing themselves but it does mean I will bring the effects of that sort of thing to their attention.

If that was to happen at our house (and it has) I say that it is fine to be angry/frustrated/disappointed/whatever but that it is not okay to be rude about it. And then I ask them how they would feel if I responded to them in the same manner and suggest some alternative ways of expressing themselves.

It's not punitive in any way but it lays out a clear expectation for family behaviour and helps them find more appropriate ways to manage and express their emotions.

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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I wouldn't let it slide, but I would try to not get too upset, as that will escalate things. I would say, every single time, that you don't like to be growled at, or whatever the specific thing is, and that if they are angry, they can say, "I'm angry", but you didn't want them to growl. The key IMO is consistency, not punishment. You really have to say something every single time.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I'm dealing with a similar thing here. The boys (3 and 5) have taken to saying "Bad Mommy." and "Bad [brother's name]". Arg. I hate name calling, we don't do it in this house (and I tell them that.) They say it for fun when they're not annoyed, and they say it when they are annoyed or mad too. I have gone back and forth about how to deal with it too. I generally don't ignore it if it's really pointed and loud... but I do often ignore it if it's under their breath or one of them just kind of talking to himself, or I'll look at him and frown or say "I don't like that". I point out that it's not nice and it makes me sad to hear such sad words. I'm starting to think that more ignoring is the answer though. I'm sure not helping here, am I! Just more commisserating.

If it were just crossed arms and a "humph!" I don't think I'd say anything, personally. People should be able to express their disappointment and maybe it would just be helpful to hear a rephrasing "I see you're disappointed."
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I would figure out a few ways that you would be ok with them expressing their disappointment/frustration and then get together with your kids and brainstorm ways to express feelings like this that are not rude and decide on a few alternatives. I think it is fair to ask them to change to something that isn't rude, but just asking them to stop with no alternative is not likely to get a good result. I'm sure it will take some time to change to the new non-rude alternatives, but then you can just gently remind them each time they do the hiss or whatever and it should get better with time.

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Old 09-10-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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i am not quite sure what i would do honestly - as i have not really experienced this myself.

i think this might be more a 'company' thing. i have seen my dd roll her eyes and make fun of me with facial expressions, but its always been when we had her friends over. so i ignored it because its so rare.

however it reminded me of when i did the exact same thing. i think its something adults do too - you see it on tv shows.

and what i remember was that it happened when i was 'lecturing'. it was a good way for me to learn not to lecture. i recognise that i would have this tone and words which i am sure came out as arrogant.

so what i learnt to do was instead of telling i would ask. was that a right thing to do. what if they were the mommy and i did that what would they expect.

really i have noticed its when i turn it into a dialogue dd does much better.

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Old 09-11-2010, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought most would come down on the side of it's disrespectful and should be acknowledged as so. And since unchecked it does grate on me, I guess I knew it to (though I am a little relieved that I'm not the only one with some ambivalence about it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I wouldn't let it slide, but I would try to not get too upset, as that will escalate things. I would say, every single time, that you don't like to be growled at, or whatever the specific thing is, and that if they are angry, they can say, "I'm angry", but you didn't want them to growl. The key IMO is consistency, not punishment. You really have to say something every single time.
This I don't do and I think (know) too that consistency in these things is the key, and I haven't been consistent. Because of my wishy washy attitude about it. There are times when I've told them that it looks to me like they're unhappy about what I've said and that's fine but they need a more respectful way to express it. I've given them a few alternatives and asked them for other ideas (which they find very funny and starts them off on a vaudeville routine, so not really constructive), but not every time.

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Originally Posted by Quinalla View Post
... I'm sure it will take some time to change to the new non-rude alternatives, but then you can just gently remind them each time they do the hiss or whatever and it should get better with time.
And then I wonder, when these things they go through are take a long time to change (or even a short time), is it really anything I've done or do they naturally just drift out of it. I think dh and I are very good at modeling respectful disagreement and we don't make faces or grump at each other when displeased, and at some point the face making and growling and hissing isn't going to be funny to them any more and they'll stop doing it. I'm not saying this to be flip or critical of your statement, I seriously wonder sometimes if behaviors I think I have to help them change are really something that don't need intervention if I could just not let them bother me and not want them changed.

Meemee -- company thing; it's definitely happens more when they're together. They mimic each others faces, laugh at the other one, which eggs the other on, etc. It's like always having a friend around to whom you need to show off.
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