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#61 of 86 Old 11-22-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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you made sweeping statements like the one below:
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I worked as a nanny for 15 years before starting my own family, so I feel like my experience is fairly broad; but I've never seen a child do what you're describing.

LOL, this isn't exactly what I'd call a "sweeping statement."  I said I've never seen it in my experience, which includes time as a nanny.  That's a statement of fact.


So now you're going to argue semantics? Okay, I'll admit the term sweeping was perhaps over-the-top. 

 

HOWEVER, the point I was trying to make is this:  You posted it to counter the many of us who said your suggestion just simply doesn't work for our kids.  Really, to me it seemed like you literally didn't believe us, and that was further reinforced by the fact that you then suggested that something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship because YOU had never seen it.

 

I think most of us were just looking for some concession that mothers are the experts on their own children.  I don't CARE if you were a nanny or a rocket scientist or an an astronaut.  At the end of the day, it still comes down to the fact that YOU DON'T LIVE WITH MY KID. 

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#62 of 86 Old 11-22-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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lizajane30, I hear you and I agree with you.  I think it's unfortunate that some on this thread are feeling judged or belittled, because I strongly suspect that is not the spirit in which your words are intended.  I found Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn to be a great resource for this type of concept, and I highly recommend it.

 

This line of thinking can certainly call into question some of what we've been doing, as well as what was done to us when we were that age.  It is unconventional (in a good way!), which is why I think we tend to get defensive.

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#63 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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lizajane30, I hear you and I agree with you.  I think it's unfortunate that some on this thread are feeling judged or belittled, because I strongly suspect that is not the spirit in which your words are intended.  I found Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn to be a great resource for this type of concept, and I highly recommend it.

 

This line of thinking can certainly call into question some of what we've been doing, as well as what was done to us when we were that age.  It is unconventional (in a good way!), which is why I think we tend to get defensive.


Actually, I'd guess that most of the people on this thread have read Unconditional Parenting, Punished by Rewards and at least a few of Kohn's articles.

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#64 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 02:28 AM
 
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"teach them that they can't talk that way" Ouch. Tantrums are NOT teaching moments. The time before a tantrum (for those who are lucky enough to get a bit of warning (more on that later)) can be a teaching moment, but only if you actually teach. Ignoring is not teaching, ignoring is ignoring and ignoring in the pre-tantrum time (for those who get that warning) can actually precipitate the tantrum.

 

 

So, for me, for any number of people that have shared their experiences, the things that help create the longest gap between frustration and tantrum and thus the most space for empathic parenting and solution-finding, are (things to consider, things to try):

everyone, particularly the child having enough sleep

child being fed, particularly with proteins and fats

child having outdoor time

an ordered environment (on a personal note, dd started being frustrated less often literally the day I did a ton of tidying I'd been putting off. clean house, more cooperative toddler, 1, 2,3. and yes, my own reduced stress really contributed.)

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#65 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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A point...I've read some of the UP stuff, some of the AP stuff and truthfully have seen a dozen plus parenting fads come and go.  No one method fits all kids, let alone all the kids in the same family AND the adult's parenting style at the same time. 

 

And, please realize that having a tantrum, counterintuitively, is tremendously rewarding in and of itself to a child.

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#66 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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And, please realize that having a tantrum, counterintuitively, is tremendously rewarding in and of itself to a child.



Yep, I've had some girlfriends that would do cartwheels or buy anything if it meant their kids would stop screaming. What does this teach the child? That screaming works just fine for them.

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#67 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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Actually, not what I meant.  All that carrying on releases a goodly amount of endorphins.  It is in and of itself rewarding......regardless of parental response.  One of the reasons it is hard to extinguish.

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#68 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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I had tantrums through the age of 8, to the point where my mom had me evaluated because of them.  (She says I got my own back wtih my older dd, though she didn't have tantrums that long.)  I remember the tantrums very well.  I felt great AFTER them, because I'd released all the built-up emotion, and it felt good to have that out, but no it did not feel good during them.  It was awful and I felt terribly out of control.

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#69 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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OK, Im trying to get through this thread all the way.  But I keep having this image pop into my head. 

 

Anyone see that movie with Uma Thurman called "Motherhood".

 

I keep having this image of the women in the play ground with their kids, and the one child begins crying in a very whiney, Im just sad sort of way.  The mother pulls him infront of her, gets down to his level and starts crying in the EXACT same way.  Uma thurmans character is so flabbergasted she doesnt know what to do. 

 

Ok, back to your original programming. 

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#70 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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Actually, I'd guess that most of the people on this thread have read Unconditional Parenting, Punished by Rewards and at least a few of Kohn's articles.


That is generally my default assumption coming into any GD discussion, but the replies I was reading didn't seem like it at all, so I thought I'd put it out there.  I guess the UP philosophy resonates so strongly with me that I sometimes lose track of the fact that this isn't true for everyone.  Within the UP framework, I totally get where lizajane30 is coming from, and was baffled by the backlash.

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#71 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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Crying and screaming and gagging/vomiting releases endorphins?  i did NOT know this!

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#72 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine.  It's interesting to me because as I mentioned, I've seen adults and children of all ages respond quite well to empathy!  I worked as a nanny for 15 years before starting my own family, so I feel like my experience is fairly broad; but I've never seen a child do what you're describing.  I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?

 

 

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HOWEVER, the point I was trying to make is this:  You posted it to counter the many of us who said your suggestion just simply doesn't work for our kids.  Really, to me it seemed like you literally didn't believe us, and that was further reinforced by the fact that you then suggested that something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship because YOU had never seen it.

 

I want to address this because I'm concerned you still aren't understanding my intent.  First, I would like you to notice that my quote begins with my saying that I have heard everyone who said that their kids are not like my kids.  "Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine."  I have been accused several times of being unable to accept that not all kids are like my own, which was confusing and frustrating for me since I thought I had clearly said that I do hear that and would like to understand more about it.  Hence, the question which was another source of conflict: "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"

 

I want to clarify what I meant when I said "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"  You've said that you interpreted this to mean I was suggesting that "something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship."   This is a complete misunderstanding.  I was not suggesting that your child has neurological issues, or that your parenting must be to blame.  It was not a suggestion at all--it was a question!  What I meant was, perhaps there is a deeper or different need on the child's part which is not being met by empathizing about frustration, or disappointment.  Perhaps the child is longing for power, or choice?  In those cases, absolutely the parent has way more information than a stranger on a parenting forum.  What I meant to ask is, when you think about what your individual child's needs are in a given situation, what is your feeling as to what your child is needing in order to connect emotionally with you?
 

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#73 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine.  It's interesting to me because as I mentioned, I've seen adults and children of all ages respond quite well to empathy!  I worked as a nanny for 15 years before starting my own family, so I feel like my experience is fairly broad; but I've never seen a child do what you're describing.  I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?

 

 

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HOWEVER, the point I was trying to make is this:  You posted it to counter the many of us who said your suggestion just simply doesn't work for our kids.  Really, to me it seemed like you literally didn't believe us, and that was further reinforced by the fact that you then suggested that something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship because YOU had never seen it.

 

I want to address this because I'm concerned you still aren't understanding my intent.  First, I would like you to notice that my quote begins with my saying that I have heard everyone who said that their kids are not like my kids.  "Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine."  I have been accused several times of being unable to accept that not all kids are like my own, which was confusing and frustrating for me since I thought I had clearly said that I do hear that and would like to understand more about it.  Hence, the question which was another source of conflict: "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"

 

I want to clarify what I meant when I said "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"  You've said that you interpreted this to mean I was suggesting that "something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship."   This is a complete misunderstanding.  I was not suggesting that your child has neurological issues, or that your parenting must be to blame.  It was not a suggestion at all--it was a question!  What I meant was, perhaps there is a deeper or different need on the child's part which is not being met by empathizing about frustration, or disappointment.  Perhaps the child is longing for power, or choice?  In those cases, absolutely the parent has way more information than a stranger on a parenting forum.  What I meant to ask is, when you think about what your individual child's needs are in a given situation, what is your feeling as to what your child is needing in order to connect emotionally with you?
 



OK forgive me, but I have to jump in. I've watched this conversation go in circles and I feel bad for everyone involved including the OP whose questions were lost somewhere in here.

What I see is a language barrier.  You are using language that is hurtful. Stating that a child is having problems that keep them from "connecting" or what do they need to "connect emtionally with you" is hurtful.  The logical assumption on the part of parents who find emphathy to be less than helpful during a tantrum is that you are saying, "you and your child are not connected" or "your child is not emtionally connected to you". 

 

Perhaps you could find a better way of putting it.  The idea that you are trying to get across is getting completely lost in your word choice.  Here, let me give it a shot and tell me if it has the same meaning you are looking for...

 

When your child is feeling overwhelmed by a situation, how do you connect with them?

 

This statement does not have any assumption that the child and parent are NOT connected, but is a positive statement that you want to know HOW we connect with our children during a tantrum.

 

Even this....

 

I have always found that with my children empathizing works, I'm wondering how you connect to your children while they are having a tantrum?

 

No assumption that connection didn't exist before, during, or after the fact.  The statement is simply curiosity about how HOW we connect during a tantrum.

 

I really was going to ignore this thread, but this same wording of yours keeps coming up.  So I figured rather than allow you to keep making the same mistake I would try to politely explain why that statement is so hurtful to some people.

 

 

 

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#74 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Petie1104, no I don't think those phrases have the same meaning as I intend.  Thank you for trying to re-phrase my words.

 

I really don't see how my words are hurtful.  I never stated that a child is "having problems" that are keeping them from connecting; I asked if there was a deeper or different need for the child. 

 

Seriously, if I'm "using hurtful language" here, I'm at a loss.

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#75 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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Petie1104, no I don't think those phrases have the same meaning as I intend.  Thank you for trying to re-phrase my words.

 

I really don't see how my words are hurtful.  I never stated that a child is "having problems" that are keeping them from connecting; I asked if there was a deeper or different need for the child. 

 

Seriously, if I'm "using hurtful language" here, I'm at a loss.



 OK, let's turn it around...

 

What if I said to you...

 

You mean that you have to spend time empathizing with your child, well, I've never heard of that, I wonder what is keeping him from connecting to you?  I mean what need are you not meeting that would allow him to connect to you?  I'm not saying anything is wrong with you or your child, but there must be some need not being met that makes your child unable to connect to you.

 

 

Do you still NOT see how this would be hurtful?


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#76 of 86 Old 11-23-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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I want to address this because I'm concerned you still aren't understanding my intent.  First, I would like you to notice that my quote begins with my saying that I have heard everyone who said that their kids are not like my kids.  "Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine."  I have been accused several times of being unable to accept that not all kids are like my own, which was confusing and frustrating for me since I thought I had clearly said that I do hear that and would like to understand more about it.  Hence, the question which was another source of conflict: "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"

 

Yes, you acknowledged those who said their kids operated differently.  And then you went on to cite your experience to the contrary.

 

Originally Posted by lizajane30 View Post

Wow, it really does sound like some of your kids are really very different than mine.  It's interesting to me because as I mentioned, I've seen adults and children of all ages respond quite well to empathy!  I worked as a nanny for 15 years before starting my own family, so I feel like my experience is fairly broad;  but I've never seen a child do what you're describing.  I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?

 

and thus, I drew the conclusion that you were implying something was wrong.  I get NOW that you did not mean that, and I appreciate your clarifying comments below.

 

I want to clarify what I meant when I said "I wonder if there could be something else going on that keeps them from connecting?"  You've said that you interpreted this to mean I was suggesting that "something was WRONG with the child or the parent-child relationship."   This is a complete misunderstanding.  I was not suggesting that your child has neurological issues, or that your parenting must be to blame.  It was not a suggestion at all--it was a question!  What I meant was, perhaps there is a deeper or different need on the child's part which is not being met by empathizing about frustration, or disappointment.  Perhaps the child is longing for power, or choice?  In those cases, absolutely the parent has way more information than a stranger on a parenting forum.  What I meant to ask is, when you think about what your individual child's needs are in a given situation, what is your feeling as to what your child is needing in order to connect emotionally with you?


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#77 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 09:24 AM
 
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 OK, let's turn it around...

 

What if I said to you...

 

You mean that you have to spend time empathizing with your child, well, I've never heard of that, I wonder what is keeping him from connecting to you?  I mean what need are you not meeting that would allow him to connect to you?  I'm not saying anything is wrong with you or your child, but there must be some need not being met that makes your child unable to connect to you.

 

Do you still NOT see how this would be hurtful?

Ah ha!  I do get it now, how that would be hurtful to someone else. Thank you for clarifying it for me. I'm sorry for hurting people with my choice of words.  Also, it was not my meaning to say that the unmet need should be met by the parent or they must not be doing things right--only that it's helpful to know what it is.

 

However, I don't actually see these words as hurtful myself, which is why I didn't get it at first.  Everyone has unmet needs at times.  Unmet needs are the basis for any conflict.  So I'm not saying that you aren't connected to your child and that's what leads to the tantrum--which I agree, my word choice was inaccurate and hurtful here--I'm saying that there is an unmet need that leads to the tantrum, and if you can find out what it is, you can give more accurate empathy (or if you choose, you can meet that need).  I inhabit a world where thinking about what needs are unmet is helpful in experiencing empathy, so no, I don't think this is a hurtful question to ask.  If my child is upset and I'm making empathy guesses, I keep going until I find one that connects: "Are you frustrated?" No. "Are you disappointed?" No.  "Are you upset because you wanted choice?" Yes!

 

I do this because I want my kids to have a large emotional vocabulary. I want for them to learn that anger is a surface level emotion, and when they feel angry I encourage them, by making empathy guesses, to explore and find out what's underneath the anger: are you embarrassed?  are you scared?  are you wanting to matter to others?  are you wanting consideration? are you wanting power?  are you wanting choice?

 

In my experience (I understand it's not yours) power and choice are huge for kids.  A large percentage of the time, this is what a tantrum is really about.  I want to give my kids as much power and choice as I can, while trying to balance the needs of other family members too.

 

Thinking about unmet needs and empathy isn't limited to children in my life.  It's not a parenting strategy, per se.  It's how I relate to my husband, my friends, my parents and siblings, and anyone else. 

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#78 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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However, I don't actually see these words as hurtful myself, which is why I didn't get it at first.  Everyone has unmet needs at all times.  Unmet needs are the basis for any conflict.  So I'm not saying that you aren't connected to your child and that's what leads to the tantrum--which I agree, my word choice was inaccurate and hurtful here--I'm saying that there is an unmet need that leads to the tantrum, and if you can find out what it is, you can give more accurate empathy (or if you choose, you can meet that need).  I inhabit a world where thinking about what needs are unmet is helpful in experiencing empathy, so no, I don't think this is a hurtful question to ask.  If my child is upset and I'm making empathy guesses, I keep going until I find one that connects: "Are you frustrated?" No. "Are you disappointed?" No.  "Are you upset because you wanted choice?" Yes!

 

I do this because I want my kids to have a large emotional vocabulary. I want for them to learn that anger is a surface level emotion, and when they feel angry I encourage them, by making empathy guesses, to explore and find out what's underneath the anger: are you embarrassed?  are you scared?  are you wanting to matter to others?  are you wanting consideration? are you wanting power?  are you wanting choice?

 

In my experience (I understand it's not yours) power and choice are huge for kids.  A large percentage of the time, this is what a tantrum is really about.  I want to give my kids as much power and choice as I can, while trying to balance the needs of other family members too.

 

Thinking about unmet needs and empathy isn't limited to children in my life.  It's not a parenting strategy, per se.  It's how I relate to my husband, my friends, my parents and siblings, and anyone else. 


I'm still gently laughing at some of this. I don't think I can quite bring myself to do it but I'd love to record my son while posing him the questions you ask above when he's upset. It would go like this:

 

"I want to watch Mighty Machines!"
"You're upset because you can't watch Mighty Machines!"

"I'm upset because YOU WON'T LET ME watch Machines!"

"You wish I would let you watch one million hours of Mighty Machines. You're mad at me because I said no"

"Yes!" ***note that there is an 'empathy connection' here***

 

So far we're going well along the lines of How to Talk So Kids...

 

Next few minutes, repeat similar empathy as the conversation gradually devolves, usually with an element of bargaining: "Oh mama, I will feel so much better and love you SO MUCH if you let me watch Mighty Machines!"

 

***note that all the empathy, fantasy wish granting, etc., has not resulted in the end of the upset***

 

Next few minutes, my son starts stamping his feet &/or trying to grab the remote.

Finally, tears and shrieks of anger.

 

Instead this is how we've learned to have it go down:

"You're upset because you can't watch Mighty Machines!"

"I'm upset because YOU WON'T LET ME watch Machines!"

"You wish I would let you watch one million hours of Mighty Machines. You're mad at me because I said no"

"Yes!"

"I'm really sorry hon. It is hard when TV time is over. But my decision is final. I'm not discussing it any further."

 

Then I walk away and there is still some upset, but it ends way faster. Usually I then say something like "I'm in here shelling pistachios, would you like to help?"

 

I think my issue continues to be that you insist that empathy in the moment is the one true answer and a lack of connection is the one true cause. When in fact, sometimes my kid just wants to watch more TV than he's allowed for that day. We're really connected and he does feel heard, but he's also 5. He gets upset when things don't go his way. So do I at 39, for that matter, at times. We don't have a lot of meltdowns overall, but we do consistently on a few things...not coincidentally, the things that we have limits on that he doesn't like.

 

That doesn't mean I don't seek the empathy/connection - but in my son's case, he really will keep going and escalating (particularly on the small things) until the adult helps to end it. And I do find it really kind of upsetting/annoying that you simply won't take my word for it but continue to speculate aloud that it's all about the empathy. In our family's case, sometimes it really is not.

 

 


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#79 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I think my issue continues to be that you insist that empathy in the moment is the one true answer and a lack of connection is the one true cause. When in fact, sometimes my kid just wants to watch more TV than he's allowed for that day. We're really connected and he does feel heard, but he's also 5. He gets upset when things don't go his way. So do I at 39, for that matter, at times. We don't have a lot of meltdowns overall, but we do consistently on a few things...not coincidentally, the things that we have limits on that he doesn't like. 

 

Yup. Me asking him over and over about why he is upset is pointless. We both KNOW why he is upset-I am placing a limit on something he wants to be limitless. The only difference is he hasn't yet gathered the skill set to handle disappointment or loss or desires with grace. And me standing around taking abuse, or asking questions he can't really process while he is shrieking and rolling around on the floor gets neither of us to the place we need to be. When he is calmer we can talk about what might make the situation better.

 

I have read Unconditional parenting. With the exception of the praise section I find it short on applicable detail and long on theory but that is just me.

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#80 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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YES!!  That's the crux of it for me.  DD DOES feel heard, but sometimes hearing her isn't going to change my mind (i.e. i HEAR that she wants to eat 53 ice lollies a day, drink my coffee and have as many of her chewy multivitamins as she wants every day but i cannot as a parent allow those things - i let her have 1 ice lolly, occasionally have the foam off my coffee and choose her vitamins herself and have one every day).  My DD doesn't seek my empahty, she seeks my compliance, and is too young to be able to see that there are times when i can give it and times when i cannot.

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#81 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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I'm a big fan of UP, and as I recall, the book says to not worry about what other people think, and to make sure you're child is physically safe, reassure them, and then to be calm and patient and wait it out.

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#82 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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I've never insisted that empathy is the one true solution or that empathy will stop a tantrum. Please stop saying that I am insisting on that. If you read my post carefully, you will see that I am talking about my family.

 

I'm the only one here being called on the carpet for mis-statements or hurtful language--but when I point out that speaking about my own personal experience is not exactly a "sweeping statement" I am ridiculed for "arguing semantics."  When I defend my position, and let you know that I don't feel that my perspective is welcome in this discussion, you say that I'm taking it personally and in fact I am welcome in a discussion where people are allowed to disagree with one another.  But then people continue to accuse me of being insensitive and hurtful.  I'm confused.

 

I've said I'm sorry for unintentionally hurting people's feelings with my word choice; I've explained my meaning; I've admitted (as has been requested several times) that your children are not like mine or any I've experienced; I've assured you that I'm not saying that I don't believe you, or that there's something wrong with your kids or your parenting.

 

I wonder if what people really want to hear  is "you're right and I'm wrong."  Do you want me to leave the thread?  Do you only want to hear from people who agree with you?

 

I'm frustrated that no matter what I say, people are still upset about what I didn't say, or what they think I said. 

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#83 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Perhaps you should respond to those of us trying to have a discussion instead of just those who disagree with you/rub you up the wrong way?

 

For example, i just said (a couple of posts back) that my DD seeks compliance rather than empathy.  Want to talk about that?  Want to talk about what else, besides empathy, might work for those of us who have kids who DON'T respond to empathy?

 

You don't have to respond to those people who disagree with you.  You can leave the thread or not, just as you please, who cares what people "want"?  They don't have to read your posts, they choose to, if they choose to, get upset, and post about it...oh well.  LOL, you can see, this is how i deal with all kinds of tantrums!  LOL!  Someone's contradictory experiences cannot invalidate your own, that goes for all of us.  BUt equally people will sometimes skim and misread/misunderstand/misconstrue what others say.  They don't owe you extra time to understand better, and maybe they actually understand fine and just don't agree.  That's ok too.  Try not to take any of this personally, it really isn't.  We are a bunch of people who don't know you, have never met you, cannot possibly judge any thing about you!  You cannot make people let go of their misunderstandings about your words, but you have the power to stop dissecting it all.  If you want. :)

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#84 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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Been following this thread for awhile now....

 

Just wanted to say to lizajane that I actually don't agree with most of your posts in this thread (the approach or the parenting philosophies-- like UP, etc.-- that seem to inspire it), but at the same time it does seem like you're trying to have a conversation about this and you're just getting heaped on every time you post. I'm sorry to see that. hug.gif


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#85 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizajane30 View Post


 

I wonder if what people really want to hear  is "you're right and I'm wrong."  Do you want me to leave the thread?  Do you only want to hear from people who agree with you?

 

I'm frustrated that no matter what I say, people are still upset about what I didn't say, or what they think I said. 


I hear you, sister.

 

However, a forum is supposed to be an exchange of ideas. Those of us who feel differently than the crowd should feel welcome to make our voices heard without threat as long as we've been reasonably respectful... which I think you have been all this time.

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#86 of 86 Old 11-24-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizajane30 View Post

It sounds to me like he continues to scream because he doesn't feel heard, especially if you are turning off the TV (why do this?  what does it have to do with the issue at hand?) or leaving the room. When he begins to get upset, can you "translate" his screams for him by making empathy guesses:  "Oh, you sound really sad!  Are you upset because you didn't get what you wanted?  It sounds like you're disappointed that your breakfast wasn't the way you were expecting.  It can be really disappointing when we think we're going to get something and it doesn't happen.  Do you want to tell me what you'd like me to do differently next time?"  I'm not saying that you have to bring him a new breakfast or do over whatever was done wrong.  But you can let him know that you hear his disappointment and would like him to let you know how it could be better next time.  

 

I don't think this is unreasonable behavior for a 4.5yo.  Strong emotions are hard to control and express in a constructive way at any age--when someone makes you really mad, it's hard not to raise your voice or use hurtful words.  It's hard to instead be vulnerable and admit to being hurt. 

 

My son is just about a month older than yours, and we deal with this sort of situation all the time.   They're still young, still learning how to navigate in a world where they often don't have power or choice!  The only difference is, my son doesn't need to escalate his behavior because rather than seeing it as a power struggle or thinking of him as being manipulative, I make sure I've heard clearly what the upset is about, and give him the tools to express himself in a different way.

 

I see a lot of PPs have advised not "giving in" to the tantrum.  In my experience, this only makes a stressful situation worse.  Basically you're telling an upset child that you don't care about what they're crying about, that their feelings and needs are less important than your need to "control" your child's behavior.  I don't see my methods as "giving in."  I see them as working together to meet everyone's needs so we can all be less stressed and have a better time of it.

 

If we model compassion and understanding, they WILL get it someday.


Thanks for this. I just posted on my 4.5 yr olds behavior and I need to make sure I empathize before disengaging from the screaming. Of course these "little things" are a big deal in their world. I just need to figure out a way to get my son to respect our ears, while I respect his need to be heard.

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