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#1 of 5 Old 09-10-2010, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds1 (almost 3) is doing the whole "independence" thing, which I respect. As much as possible, I let him make decisions. However, there's a few things I'm not sure about how to react. For example, we're potty learning and he wants to flush the toilet himself. I tell him then we need to wash his hands. He has a fit, and if I force it, then he will go throw the towel on the floor and wipe his hands on the toilet or whatever else in a fit of anger. He's obviously expressing that it's his body. BUT, if he has dirty hands, it's not just his body, because then he touches other things in our house. Or for example, he has a snotty nose, and he has a fit if I try to use a Kleenex on it...and he doesn't do a good enough job himself. But then he'll go and wipe his nose on me, on our bed, etc. I have a 4 week old, so I don't want to have snot on my shirt ... as I'm trying to keep ds2 from catching ds1's cold. So, again, it's his body, but it doesn't just affect him. I know I need to be more creative, but jeez, sometimes you just want to get something done quickly because there's a million other things I need to do. The worst thing about it, is that I get so frustrated, and I have a hard time feeling like I can project calmness...and I don't want my ds thinking that if you don't get your way, then you act p***ed off, because that is what I'm modeling.
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#2 of 5 Old 09-10-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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You may have already tried this, but I found that for my son who is 3, giving him a "choice" really goes a long way toward getting him to do stuff he might otherwise resist. So like with handwashing, I would say, do you want to wash your own hands or do you want Mommy to do it for you? Same thing with kleenex. Of course if he didn't get it all, I would do a quick pass to get whatever he didn't ... my son would sometimes grouse about that but I did it very quickly. Often if he gets the chance to do it himself first or at least participate in it, he will let me help him finish up. Let's see, what else ... well, he watches Curious George and there's a character on there who always talks about "the proper way to do [x]", so he is responsive to the idea that there is a proper way to do things, that there is an order to things ("first we get our pajamas on, then we brush our teeth, then we read a story" -- though we've also gotten mileage out of letting him mix up the order). For things that are nonnegotiable (like sitting in the car seat, or only using markers at the table) I try to talk about it like the rule is an immutable rule of the universe, not something I made up -- of course with the seat belt I can invoke the law and police ...

Every child is different, so none of these things may be effective for you ... I will also say that as my 3yo has gotten more and more verbal, able to communicate, and able to understand when I make a rational argument (you can't play with that because it's breakable), parenting has gotten easier in some ways. (And harder in others, lol).

SAHM to Bird (6/07) and Bear (7/09), and now enjoying our newest additionbabyboy.gif, born June 1, 2011!  bfinfant.giffamilybed1.gifsigncirc1.gifcd.gif

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#3 of 5 Old 09-10-2010, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by msmiranda View Post
You may have already tried this, but I found that for my son who is 3, giving him a "choice" really goes a long way toward getting him to do stuff he might otherwise resist. So like with handwashing, I would say, do you want to wash your own hands or do you want Mommy to do it for you? Same thing with kleenex. Of course if he didn't get it all, I would do a quick pass to get whatever he didn't ... my son would sometimes grouse about that but I did it very quickly. Often if he gets the chance to do it himself first or at least participate in it, he will let me help him finish up. Let's see, what else ... well, he watches Curious George and there's a character on there who always talks about "the proper way to do [x]", so he is responsive to the idea that there is a proper way to do things, that there is an order to things ("first we get our pajamas on, then we brush our teeth, then we read a story" -- though we've also gotten mileage out of letting him mix up the order). For things that are nonnegotiable (like sitting in the car seat, or only using markers at the table) I try to talk about it like the rule is an immutable rule of the universe, not something I made up -- of course with the seat belt I can invoke the law and police ...

Every child is different, so none of these things may be effective for you ... I will also say that as my 3yo has gotten more and more verbal, able to communicate, and able to understand when I make a rational argument (you can't play with that because it's breakable), parenting has gotten easier in some ways. (And harder in others, lol).
Thanks! I do offer choices, and lately the answer is "NO". Do you want to wash your hands or do you want mama's help? "NO" No I don't want to wash my hands. Plus, he can't really wipe his own nose well enough...usually he just smears the snot all over his face and then wipes his face on me! And I hate to keep saying, let's not do this, because your brother may get sick. I try to avoid making his brother the reason we do anything ... to avoid resentfulness. I'll try giving me choices...I know I need to be more creative...but he's really testing lately everything, and I know he's not getting as much attention as before...but then I'm not getting as much sleep as before! LOL
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#4 of 5 Old 09-11-2010, 06:04 AM
 
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I like to exagerate whatever real emotion I'm feeling and make it a game of sorts. The emotion I most often exagerate is frustration when dd (3yo) won't go along with my requests. I cross my arms, pout and act powerless and disappointed in a very comical way that is obviously a charade and never intended to make dd feel badly about her choices. She laughs and bosses me around. Nine times out of ten she'll start telling me to do the very thing I was asking her to do. I loudly protest that I'll turn into a stalk of broccoli or some other ridiculous comeback. Once we play through the entire scenario (when she's giggling and laughing too much to continue ordering me around), I can usually guide her back to the activity she was refusing to participate in and accomplish our task.

I do realize every child is different, and this approach might not work for all kids. However, what I truly love about this approach isn't how it helps me control dd - I love how it changes my perspective. When I make a "game" out of an emotion I am really feeling (frustration, annoyance, etc), it won't be long before I get into the spirit of the game and that original emotion melts away. Also, it sounds time consuming, but we actually don't have to play this "game" very often at all. Think of it as an investment that you make when you can (when you're not in a rush, late getting out the door), or better yet, think of it as dropping coins into an emotional piggy bank. I feel that insisting the child goes along with your goals is perfectly fine and sometimes quite necessary, but remember that you are withdrawing coins from the piggy bank and you will need to pay them back before the bank runs dry. After all, being a small child, with no access to family resources, limited recourse if you feel wronged, lesser abilities to communicate or negotiate, and subject to the apparent whims of your parents is a fairly powerless kind of experience, wouldn't you say? No wonder kids try to refuse our requests; in fact, I think they need to in order to figure out how the world works and how much control they really have over themselves.

If you're not sure whether this would work in the moment, make time to play out a similar scenario when you don't have a necessary activity like handwashing to accomplish. Invite your lo over and jokingly command him to do some silly and impossible task, like put all his toys on the ceiling. When he refuses or looks at you like you're crazy, go into a gentle comic routine and act powerless. Beg, plead and generally reverse the tables, giving him the feeling of power. Play through it as long as you both want and have fun. He should win, not you. Make sure you end with connection in the form of hugs, verbal "I love yous" or similar emotional closeness and your unconditional acceptance of him.

If you are interested, I got all these ideas from a fabulous book, "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen.
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#5 of 5 Old 09-12-2010, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by annmartina View Post
I like to exagerate whatever real emotion I'm feeling and make it a game of sorts. The emotion I most often exagerate is frustration when dd (3yo) won't go along with my requests. I cross my arms, pout and act powerless and disappointed in a very comical way that is obviously a charade and never intended to make dd feel badly about her choices. She laughs and bosses me around. Nine times out of ten she'll start telling me to do the very thing I was asking her to do. I loudly protest that I'll turn into a stalk of broccoli or some other ridiculous comeback. Once we play through the entire scenario (when she's giggling and laughing too much to continue ordering me around), I can usually guide her back to the activity she was refusing to participate in and accomplish our task.

I do realize every child is different, and this approach might not work for all kids. However, what I truly love about this approach isn't how it helps me control dd - I love how it changes my perspective. When I make a "game" out of an emotion I am really feeling (frustration, annoyance, etc), it won't be long before I get into the spirit of the game and that original emotion melts away. Also, it sounds time consuming, but we actually don't have to play this "game" very often at all. Think of it as an investment that you make when you can (when you're not in a rush, late getting out the door), or better yet, think of it as dropping coins into an emotional piggy bank. I feel that insisting the child goes along with your goals is perfectly fine and sometimes quite necessary, but remember that you are withdrawing coins from the piggy bank and you will need to pay them back before the bank runs dry. After all, being a small child, with no access to family resources, limited recourse if you feel wronged, lesser abilities to communicate or negotiate, and subject to the apparent whims of your parents is a fairly powerless kind of experience, wouldn't you say? No wonder kids try to refuse our requests; in fact, I think they need to in order to figure out how the world works and how much control they really have over themselves.

If you're not sure whether this would work in the moment, make time to play out a similar scenario when you don't have a necessary activity like handwashing to accomplish. Invite your lo over and jokingly command him to do some silly and impossible task, like put all his toys on the ceiling. When he refuses or looks at you like you're crazy, go into a gentle comic routine and act powerless. Beg, plead and generally reverse the tables, giving him the feeling of power. Play through it as long as you both want and have fun. He should win, not you. Make sure you end with connection in the form of hugs, verbal "I love yous" or similar emotional closeness and your unconditional acceptance of him.

If you are interested, I got all these ideas from a fabulous book, "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen.
I will try this...I especially like the role play ahead of time...I know it's hard to for ds to understand sometimes when I want him to do something RIGHT NOW - why it needs to be done. Like when he poops in his potty, and then wants to sit on the bathroom rug before wiping his bottom ... yuck! I have that book on request from the library. Thanks for your suggestions...I definitely need a new perspective, as I'm sinking into a power struggle and no one wins in those.
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