What do you do when your child refuses a request? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 02-22-2011, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 5.5 yo and has a very strong personality. He's always been VERY attached to me, but lately I could just cry over how we interact. Essentially, he refuses to do things DH or I ask him to do, or throws a fit, or calls us names. Not all the time -- sometimes he can be very sweet and helpful. But when he *is* this way I'm at a loss of what to do.

 

We've practiced UP up until recently, when we started threatening not to read to him at night or to take away something or whatever. But honestly, when he does not comply I'm at a loss of what to do, since threatening doesn't feel right, and doesn't always work anyway. And I can't help flash-forwarding to when he's a teenager and I might not know how to handle things.

 

As an example -- last night at bedtime he got in bed, said, "I forgot to take off my socks!" and proceeded to throw them on the bed next to his (the one my DH sleeps in). I said, "Please put those down the laundry chute if you're done with them" and he said, "Daddy won't mind." I repeated the request and he said, "NO! I won't!"

 

What do I do then? We'd already read our story; it was just about time to turn out the light. I *could* have just done it myself and told him I was disappointed that he wouldn't do his share, but I am so seriously tired of feeling like my kid is a spoiled brat who walks all over me.

 

Another thing -- he *still* has us help him put on his boots & winter outerwear. I've been trying to get him to do it himself, but what do I do when he refuses to even try?

 

Please help. I'm near tears some days and I do more yelling than I'd like. :(


Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#2 of 35 Old 02-22-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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First thing is, I don't make any requests unless I'm OK with hearing "No".  If it's a requirement, it's a requirement, and consequences follow if it's not done.  If it's something they have a choice with, *then* it is a request.

 

For the boots and jacket thing?  If he does not feel like putting his outerwear on, he can stay in (or go out and be cold, if you'd rather that be the consequence).

 

We do not do UP.  And are on the stricter side of discipline, so we did have battles of will, but when they were much younger.  I do think it's going to be harder on you because of his age and because if you do decide to establish consequences (not threats), it's going to be a huge change for him and he's not going to like it one little bit.  I believe you can make some positive changes, but it's going to be really intense--you will have to be firm, consistent, and stay very calm. 

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#3 of 35 Old 02-22-2011, 06:27 PM
 
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You might like the book/concept of Virtues parenting.  You call a child to the virtue - in the sock case it is being considerate of Daddy and respectful of you.  He spoke to you in an unkind tone, and he wasn't being considerate of your DH's sleep space. 

 

I tend to just wait until my expectations have been met.  We have a spot where the kids go (usually with me, but sometimes they head there alone to cool off).  If I expect something of them and they won't do it or have a bad attitude, we go there, wait until they are ready, talk about it, and then do the right thing.  If we are somewhere public or just somewhere else, we find a quiet spot and I wait.  It can be a long wait the first time or two, but once they know you will wait they tend to do things.

 

Call him on how he is treating you.  Tell him (during a happy time) that you are both going to work on speaking with respect to one another, and that means no yelling and using kind words.  Then help eachother do that (remind eachother in the situation - but do it respectfully).

 

HTH  5 is hard.  DD just turned 5 and it's a real mix of growing up and asserting independence and being sweet and helpful and understanding.

 

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#4 of 35 Old 02-22-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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I notice from your siggy that you have a new baby in the house.  I wouldn't be surprised if things like wanting you to dress him (boots, winter gear, etc) is due to him needing a little "babying" from you... just to feel secure that he's still your baby too, yk?  I think for now I wouldn't even engage in any kind of power struggle over that issue.  I'd probably just ask him if he'd like to do it himself or if he'd like help.  If he asked for help I'd give it.  If he *demanded* help (rudely) I'd ask him to please ask nicely and/or model a polite way of asking ("mommy, would you help me with my boots please?"), and then I'd still help him.

 

Like a pp said 5 is a pretty hard age, caught between wanting to be babied and wanting to be a big kid.  And I think it's important to acknowledge that besides the normal ups and downs of that age he's also going through the big transition of no longer being an only child.  I'd try to bear that in mind during your interactions with him.  Try to see past his words (he might come off as rude, but try to see past it), to his true need to still be your "baby".  Try not to let yourself start seeing him as a "spoiled brat" (or worry that he's headed that way).  In the socks incident I might have said something like "it sounds like you would like help with your socks - that you'd like me to put them in the laundry chute for you - is that right?", and (presuming he answers "yes") then you can respond "I don't mind helping you.  Next time you can just ask nicely for my help". 


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#5 of 35 Old 02-22-2011, 07:53 PM
 
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My DS did this when our littlest was born.  He's getting better now that he is nearer to six.

 

One of the things we did was that we didn't make a lot of requests and we do tie respect and familial cooperation to privileges, for example, if *I* have to take his socks to the laundry chute you can be sure I would no longer be in the mood to read him a story or sing him a goodnight song. 

 

I don't think that jives with UP, but then I don't know that I get UP.  I am not conditional with my love, but I am conditional with my time and energy...or well better to say, I have a finite amount of time and energy, and if I need to spend my time and energy cleaning up after and dressing a child who is more than capable of doing those things for himself, while also having to wait hand and foot on a baby who is not, well let's just say that then my energy is not going to be available for such niceties as cookie baking, song singing, game playing, and stories and snuggles...I will be exhausted.  So if my boy wants me to have the energy to do those fun things, he helps me by being a big boy...this is how we have framed it for him and he now has more and more days where he chooses stories and cuddles and cookies over mommy being his lady in waiting and daddy being his manservant.

 

I am glad for that because cookies and cuddles are WAY more fun than dressing a GIANORMOUS baby and picking up his messes or just generally following him around nagging him constantly.

 

I also ocassionally do help with stuff, without him asking, just to remind him that I do love him as much as the baby, if I have the time and energy to spare, like if it's the weekend or the baby is sleeping late.  Just this morning, I had an extra 20 minutes in my morning because the baby was still sleeping by some miracle and so I dressed him while he stayed curled up under the covers, and he cuddled with me all the way to work/school on the bus (I teach at his school).  It was such a nice moment.  It's moments like that I think that get us both through the growing pains of childhood.

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#6 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies.

 

Yes, we had a baby in November and DS5 was not happy about it. I think he's seeing that it's not as bad as he was dreading (he's never been around babies & I don't think he knew what to expect), and he never really complains about the baby (he mostly ignores him), but I'm sure it's adding to things. Though I should add that he had these issues long before I was pregnant, and he's had the issues of not dressing himself before then, too. I guess he's kind of a typical first/only child who takes longer to be independent. I guess it never occurs to me that he *could* be doing things for himself until I see a friend's child doing it.

 

Things came to a head last night and DH grabbed him and yelled at him and told him that he WILL speak respectfully to us. It's strange because DS5 didn't really react but went back to what he was doing. I had told him earlier in the day that I wouldn't read to him before bedtime and he asked, "I know you're not going to, but I just want to check -- are you going to read to me?" and then accepted the answer calmly. We *did*, however, have a discussion after the lights were out. I asked him to tell me how he felt about the baby being here, and then we talked about how we all needed to be more respectful of one another. I think it was a good talk...we don't generally talk like that.

 

I was raised in an authoritarian household and it was awful. And I can see that when I dig in my heels my DS5 feels he has no choice but to dig in HIS heels, and it gets us nowhere. But at the same time, I feel like I have no recourse, and I don't want him to walk all over me. But you've given me some good ideas. "I will put the socks down the chute, but if I have to do your work then I may not have the energy to read to you."

 

Hakeber, I've read some of your advice to other parents on here, and I really like your ideas. I like your take on UP -- that my time & energy are not unconditional. Those things are important, too. I just can't give and give and give to DS5. And my DH raised his first three kids (from his first marriage) in a more authoritarian way. They weren't scared of him, but they complied with "requests." But I think our DS is a lot more intense than his kids were.

 

Anyway, you've given me a lot to think about (and I would welcome more ideas/opinions, too!). Thank you.


Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#7 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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My daughter didn't dress herself until later as well. I wanted her to be able to, but it wasn't in her nature. I would try not to compare him to other children in terms of independence. It's not bad if he needs a little "babying" when it comes to getting dressed etc. It can be frustrating when we have an expectation our child can't live up to.

 

The number one thing we did from 2-? is Limited Choices.

 

"Do you want to walk to the laundry shoot or crawl"

 

Red pants or blue?

Red cup or green?

Which foot should go in first?

 

It gives the child a sense that they are in control, yet you are guiding the options. It ends most power struggles.


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#8 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Our ds is in a pretty similar spot as yours. Although he is 5.5 yrs now and our new baby came a year ago. We've had a tough road this last year, but although it's not great it has gotten a lot better.

 

We've tried to practice UP and until ds turned 4 I felt that it was going pretty well. But we've definitely have had to change our strategy over the last year. I think we (or I) still believe in the idea of UP but when things get out of hand (tantrums/raging/etc) it isn't always realistic. Dh is much more of an authoritarian than I am but when I tried to follow his lead (when nothing else was working) I didn't feel that absolutes/consequenses/threats were doing anything with ds. He could care less or rage even more.

 

I think the moments when I've had more patience to slow down and get to the root of the problem, ds's reactions/behavior etc, I've had more success. We see a lot less aggression/rage but we're still dealing with a lot of the defiant behavior you've described. Dh still tries to throw a lot of consequences out there (none of which I think are logical) and usually doesn't follow through with them. I know we need to get on the same page. But I've been more focused on what some of the pp's here have suggested. I respond a lot with "that is not appropriate and we don't {act, treat, talk, behave} like that in this house".  We probably let a lot a less desirable behavior go and definitely pick our battles. So I do make sure not to make absolute requests unless I'm really willing to stop the bevhavior or give a consequence. Usually with talking back and being rude I have focused on telling him how xyz was not okay and he's not being respectful. They're is a lot of respect and responsibility talk at school and so we use this a lot to reinforce at home.

 

I really need to get better about expecting him to do certain things and not do it for him to avoid a fight. Such as picking up his clothes (he throws them everywhere in his room and in the family rooms) and cleaning up toys. I've noticed when I've put my foot down about certain things he does start to comply, not right away but I've seen gradual changes in some behavior.

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#9 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 10:02 AM
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My DD is 5 and several kids in her preschool class need help with outerwear. My DD can do her boots unless she's wearing the bib overalls and I still help with gloves and her coat if she's layering. So it's a skill some kids can do and some can't yet. With dressing I help if she wants help and don't if she doesn't and have never made it an issue.

 

It does sound like if you become insistent about something your DS becomes insistent back. Then the situation just becomes adversarial or competitive instead of co-operative. It doesn't seem to be working. It does sound like the talk you had was productive though.

 

We taught DD manners and how to treat people respectfully by modeling the behavior ourselves. We also calmly talk about possible social consequences. For example "If you are tell people what to do they might not want to play with you" or "Shouting hurts peoples ears and their feelings. Use a friendlier voice.". I've noticed her and some of her 5 year old friends are more intense now than a few months ago and we've had some demanding, oversensitive and rude behavior at home. When an adult does yell, DD seems to have worse behavior for a few days. We find talking calmly and consistently showing her the polite, respectful behavior we want her to use does much more to improve her behavior. The discussion you had with your DS after the lights were off is one of the main types of discipline we use. I've found quiet discussion to be very effective in helping my DD to change her behavior. As for not doing something when I ask her to, well depending on what it is there may or may not be any kind of consequence. For example if she doesn't want to clean up after painting I remind her that I might not want to get them back out if I have to clean it all myself. For some things I just remind her that it's not fair if one person does most of the work. With your example of thrown socks, I wouldn't want DD to get out of bed after going to bed so I'd have picked them up myself. If it's during the day and DD leaves clothes somewhere I usually just give them to her and she puts them in the laundry. DH is the family member who leaves socks in different places. DD does leave toys all over and with me it's whatever I'm reading.

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#10 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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I agree with the limited choices approach. I just try not to give an out. So, in the sock example I would say, those need to go in the laundry. Do you want to toss them in there one at a time or at the same time? Or I would give the option of a slam dunk or "shooting them" into the basket. I try for natural consequences too. So, for getting dressed I as k if he wants to put his pants on first or his shirt? If he refuses we don't go outside. If we have to go he will just be cold (I always bring the clothes) or he stays home with DH and I go with the baby. Usually there's some option. Some things are not acceptable and we use a modifed timeout that is more like "time to think about it and discuss". DS just turned 4. Last night I asked him to get his jammies and his reply was, "whatever, I don't have to". This is not an acceptable way of talking in this house. Even though I know he was testing this out he had to go down to his room and sit there and think about how it would feel if I talked to him like that. After a minute or so I go down and talk with him. Then he gets his jammies. Good luck

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#11 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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Hey, quelindo.  I came in the GD forum today because I needed a little moral support and grounding after parenting a fairly intense 5 yo, too, this week.  ((hugs)) to us both.  Five is really an age to me, right now, where they're experimenting with rudeness, I'm finding.  Today, ds told dd that he liked her least of all the people he has ever met on this planet, ever.  He then began to name all of the people he likes better than her.  I was about ready to intervene and call him on his rudeness/meanness to her when she perked up and actually started helping him *list people* that he likes better than her.  She named every kid in his class and started running down the list of relatives we have before he just stopped because it wasn't satisfying anymore...  I'm having a hard time with the blatant rudeness to his sister lately.  Anyway....yeah.  They're a tough bunch, these 5 yos.  I was joking with some parents yesterday that "Blind obedience was much more convenient for me." -- tongue in cheek, of course, but then the kids turned 4 & 5 and I really don't remember those days all that well...

 

Our house is not consensual, and I don't necessarily agree with all of Alfie Kohn, either -- I will love my kids no matter what, but I will not be a doormat.  I tell the kids every day that they can FEEL and THINK however and whatever they want, but they cannot ACT and SPEAK however they want, whenever they want.  They can feel like I'm the biggest stinkyhead in the world (favorite word in our house lately) and they can think it in their heads all they want....but if they try to whack me as I'm bending to their levels or yell it at me while slamming their bedroom doors, there will be consequences.  Many times, the consequence is that my feelings are hurt by their rudeness and I do not feel like reading books when I am sad; they're just going to have to play by themselves while they're feeling like hurting other people's feelings.  It feels sort of manipulative sometimes but it's the only way I can get to a somewhat logical consequence from name-calling and rudeness -- i.e., it feels like "Fine!  You hurt my feelings and I don't feel like playing with you!" -- but it is more logical than a punitive taking-away-of-something or whatever --- and I find that if I respond with a calm, rational voice to tell my angry/rude child that because they did xyz, I will no longer do abc, then it returns a sense of calmness to our situation and ds/dd can perhaps re-think what they're doing/saying.  Does that even make sense?

 

When ds is being rude/petulant/awful, I'm not above saying to him, "You are being really rude to me and (dd) right now.  Go to your room and you may calm down by yourself.  I think you'll feel better if you have some quiet time."  Oftentimes, he does -- and sometimes he does really just need some time away from us to just play legos by himself before he feels like interacting positively.  On occasion, I have picked him up and carried him there and told him it was not a request, either.  I do talk with him sometimes about how I am the mama and it is my job to teach him how to be polite and kind, and that sometimes, kids just do have to listen to their parents and do what I ask, when I ask it.  I realize it's authoritarian, but I think that sometimes life is just that way.  I do try not to make every situation/transaction a "Do This."-sort of command, too, but if it's a request (and optional), then I ask, and if it is not, then I tell.  In quiet moments, the kids and I talk about the differences.  (This has helped with school situations for us:  both kids have had to realize that when their teachers say for them to do something, that it is a command and not a request...  I remember ds's utter confusion last year in preschool over this concept: when kids with far more authoritarian parents than I simply complied with the teacher's plan, ds thought he had a better idea...  ;)  )

 

This is just my .02 -- obviously I came into the GD forum today for tips on handling rudeness, so I certainly don't have all the answers but am throwing some of my random thoughts out there -- but just know that you aren't alone & it isn't just your five year old, my friend.  Also, that these are typed out in relative calm right now and that I think we all yell sometimes, even when we don't want to.  In fact, I think the last thing I yelled was yesterday:  "GET YOUR BOOTS ON!  WE ARE LEAVING!", speaking of outerwear...  (I then threatened to make them walk outside without said outerwear because I was leaving in two minutes --- and I've done that one before, so they both scurried to comply.)

 

With love ~

 


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#12 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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I do practice UP.  First, as for the outerwear, I'd just help with that.  He's just had a new baby come into his house and he will need to be babied for a while.  Also, my dd couldn't do that by herself anyway at that age.  Some kids are slower with that stuff than others.

 

I would not take away expressions of love like bedtime stories and songs.  The bedtime ritual in our house is pretty sacred.  Rituals are very grounding for children, and particularly children who have just gotten new siblings and are insecure about their place in the family.

 

If he is taking the word "please" to mean that something is a request, I'd stop saying "please" or put it elsewhere in the sentence to make it more clear that it is not a request.  "You need to put your socks down the laundry chute now."  And then do the "waiting for the bus" thing where you sit and look at him until he does it.  Also, I would say something like, "I expect to be spoken to respectfully in our family" if I were spoken to disrespectfully.  That is more about consistently reminding them, and teaching them how to speak respectfully.  I'll sometimes give a respectful option.  "A respectful way to say what you are trying to say to me is X."  I try to think of it as them still learning to be polite instead of them deliberately being rude.

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#13 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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I'd have put the socks on the floor and told DS to put them in the laundry chute in the morning -- they won't hurt anything by being on the floor overnight. I wouldn't get out of bed to put socks in a laundry chute, so I wouldn't expect my kids to either. 

 

I still help my DS with certain tougher pieces of clothing, like his baseball socks and his jackets, and he's 6. It's one of his love languages and I don't mind helping him with it. 


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#14 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I guess I should mention that we're planning on sending DS5 to school soon, so I need to know that he can put his outerwear on by himself (and also wipe himself after pooping, but that's another story). We've been unschooling up until now, and yes, this will be a huge change for him and yes, the timing is probably bad what with a baby joining our family three months ago. He doesn't yet know that we're definitely going to do it, just that we've toured the school (with him) and we're thinking about it.

 

Hopefulfaith, I can totally see DS5 thinking his teacher is offering him a choice, too. He is always saying that he knows better, that he knows more than we do, etc. I wanted a confident child, but now I want it notched down a little!

 

I agree with asking him to rephrase things and reminding him to be respectful; I've been trying to do both. It's just so exhausting to be talked to like dirt much of the day and to have to keep reminding him to say "please," etc. I want my sweet little toddler back!

 

And I really think he might be more strong-minded than most kids, or at least the kids I've seen. I recently tried telling him to go to his room, and he refused. He's WAYYYYYYYYYY too big and heavy for me to carry him up the stairs. And if I told him that if he doesn't get his boots on by himself I'm going anyway, he'd throw himself on the floor and refuse to come.

 

I guess I just need to realize that he's still a little boy and that the best way to change his behavior is to model the *right* behavior and let him see consequences. Sigh. Can't I just slip him a magic pill and make it all go away?


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#15 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

 

I would not take away expressions of love like bedtime stories and songs.    

I agree with you on principle, and I never prefer to have picking up time over story time, but I am not sure that those actions are any more expressions of love than dressing a child, feeding them, or cleaning up their room.  They are just more fun, but they are all expressions of our love and willingness to care for our children's needs.  Sometimes his need is to be babied, and sometimes his need is to have fun.  They are both valid needs, though I may enjoy meeting some needs more than others.   

 

Quote:
  

If he is taking the word "please" to mean that something is a request, I'd stop saying "please" or put it elsewhere in the sentence to make it more clear that it is not a request.  "You need to put your socks down the laundry chute now."  And then do the "waiting for the bus" thing where you sit and look at him until he does it.  Also, I would say something like, "I expect to be spoken to respectfully in our family" if I were spoken to disrespectfully.  That is more about consistently reminding them, and teaching them how to speak respectfully.  I'll sometimes give a respectful option.  "A respectful way to say what you are trying to say to me is X."  I try to think of it as them still learning to be polite instead of them deliberately being rude.



 

 

I agree with this, Quelinda.  I also agree with the PP who said specifically in your sock case, I'd probably leave them on the floor, or playfully stuff them under his pillow, and say "Daddy doesn't want to smell your stinky socks, you sleep with them!" and then leave them for the morning.  Or give him the words "Mommy, I am so warm and cozy now, will you please do it for me?" and wait for him to repeat it.


 


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#16 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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A bedtime story is a nighttime connection ritual, and I do personally believe it's different.

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#17 of 35 Old 02-23-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I do practice UP.  First, as for the outerwear, I'd just help with that.  He's just had a new baby come into his house and he will need to be babied for a while.  Also, my dd couldn't do that by herself anyway at that age.  Some kids are slower with that stuff than others.

 

I would not take away expressions of love like bedtime stories and songs.  The bedtime ritual in our house is pretty sacred.  Rituals are very grounding for children, and particularly children who have just gotten new siblings and are insecure about their place in the family.

 

If he is taking the word "please" to mean that something is a request, I'd stop saying "please" or put it elsewhere in the sentence to make it more clear that it is not a request.  "You need to put your socks down the laundry chute now."  And then do the "waiting for the bus" thing where you sit and look at him until he does it.  Also, I would say something like, "I expect to be spoken to respectfully in our family" if I were spoken to disrespectfully.  That is more about consistently reminding them, and teaching them how to speak respectfully.  I'll sometimes give a respectful option.  "A respectful way to say what you are trying to say to me is X."  I try to think of it as them still learning to be polite instead of them deliberately being rude.



I agree with all of this. I'm not saying that I haven't "taken away" the night time ritual a few times, but I felt horrible about it and really don't think it teaches a lesson.

I did it more because I really couldn't stand being near a child who was behaving terribly for a long time around bedtime anyway.

 

My first child was extremely insecure about the arrival of both of her siblings. I had to dress her until 1st grade. She really needed to know I was still going to take care of her to be able to take care of herself. She is almost 8 now and (in another post) is wanting me to do things that she should be doing.

I think she is testing me to see that she has some power around here and that her needs are being met.

I really do think the first child takes much longer to even want independence.

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#18 of 35 Old 02-24-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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I agree with a couple others, take please out of the equation unless you're ready to be ok with "no".  You could say-laundry goes down the chute, do you want to get out of bed and do it or take care of it in the morning?  As for helping to get dressed and such, all my kids were capable of doing coats, clothes, shoes, boots by 5.  The approach I take with other kids is I will help them but I want to see them try first.  I model what they need to do and tell them to try, that way they can practice while you're helping.


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#19 of 35 Old 02-24-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

 

 

For the boots and jacket thing?  If he does not feel like putting his outerwear on, he can stay in (or go out and be cold, if you'd rather that be the consequence).

 

 


That's an easy one.  "I bet you can handle being cold from here to the car, you don't have to wear a jacket"  <--honestly cheery voice.  If he chooses to be cold, that's OK, it won't hurt him.  If you have to walk several blocks, you might want to carry his coat and he can change his mind.  When he has to start living with the consequences of his choices, he'll start making better choices.  Learning this at age 5 or 6 is easier than learning it at 18.   Besides... it really isn't THAT horrible to be outside without all those outer clothes.  I grew up in Chicago, and snow pants were called ski pants.... for skiers in Colorado.  We wore blue jeans, boots or tennies, and a winter coat.  But, we often played outside for hours in just a sweater.  

 

With the "No I won't move my socks" You could have handed him his socks, and said "Fine, but you sleep with them, we don't want them on our bed".   I wouldn't have a power struggle over that though.  Next time, if you think you can see a power struggle coming, word it differently.  "Do you want me to drop them in the laundry shute, or do you want to?"  It's not a big deal to do it yourself.    But, if it's not a request, make sure it's worded in a way that there are no options.  If it sounds optional, it is optional.

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#20 of 35 Old 02-24-2011, 10:41 PM
 
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Have you read Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? It's a good book and might help you.

 

There's also a good technique from Anthony Wolfe's Secret of Parenting that he calls "waiting for the bus". In the example with the socks, if he'd refused, I would have said "socks go down the chute. They don't belong in Daddy's spot." Then you wait. Patiently, calmly, boringly. As if you're waiting for the bus and don't have anything else on your mind. 9 times out of 10, they'll do it. In the 10th time, I'd probably ask (after 5 minutes or so): "Daddy doesn't want to sleep with your dirty socks. What can we do about this?" and let him answer.

 

The self-care stuff is harder - both of my kids went through a stage around 5 where they COULD get dressed, but didn't really want to do it by themselves. I found it easier to help then to fight about it. If you know he CAN put his outerwear on, that's all you need. Let the school fight that battle when it comes to it. They both came out of that stage right around 6.

 

Finally, is he competitive at all? Sometimes it works for me to ask my kids to race me -- can you get your boots on before I finish brushing my teeth ?


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#21 of 35 Old 02-25-2011, 07:53 AM
 
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I second Kurcinka's books! They were really helpful for us with ds this past year. Honestly we should re-check it out from the library for a refresher.....ds .5.5 yrs had a doozy last night!

 

I also agree if you think he can put the outerwear on and he's just choosing not to, then let the school deal with it when the time comes. Maybe he will surprise you. Also the indluence of other kids and their abilities may influence him for the good in this respect...
 

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Have you read Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? It's a good book and might help you.

 

There's also a good technique from Anthony Wolfe's Secret of Parenting that he calls "waiting for the bus". In the example with the socks, if he'd refused, I would have said "socks go down the chute. They don't belong in Daddy's spot." Then you wait. Patiently, calmly, boringly. As if you're waiting for the bus and don't have anything else on your mind. 9 times out of 10, they'll do it. In the 10th time, I'd probably ask (after 5 minutes or so): "Daddy doesn't want to sleep with your dirty socks. What can we do about this?" and let him answer.

 

The self-care stuff is harder - both of my kids went through a stage around 5 where they COULD get dressed, but didn't really want to do it by themselves. I found it easier to help then to fight about it. If you know he CAN put his outerwear on, that's all you need. Let the school fight that battle when it comes to it. They both came out of that stage right around 6.

 

Finally, is he competitive at all? Sometimes it works for me to ask my kids to race me -- can you get your boots on before I finish brushing my teeth ?



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#22 of 35 Old 02-25-2011, 01:03 PM
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Well, I guess I should mention that we're planning on sending DS5 to school soon, so I need to know that he can put his outerwear on by himself (and also wipe himself after pooping, but that's another story). We've been unschooling up until now, and yes, this will be a huge change for him and yes, the timing is probably bad what with a baby joining our family three months ago. He doesn't yet know that we're definitely going to do it, just that we've toured the school (with him) and we're thinking about it.

 

Hopefulfaith, I can totally see DS5 thinking his teacher is offering him a choice, too. He is always saying that he knows better, that he knows more than we do, etc. I wanted a confident child, but now I want it notched down a little!

 

Kids usually save their most trying behavior for their parents. So your DS will probably behave more politely for his teacher. Also the preschool and kindergarten teachers I've seen will help kids with their outer wear and I've seen kids helping each other in my DD's preschool class.

 

I also loved Kurcinka's books. Kids, Parents & Power Struggles is my favorite followed by her Raising Your Spirited Child.
 

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#23 of 35 Old 02-25-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

First thing is, I don't make any requests unless I'm OK with hearing "No".  If it's a requirement, it's a requirement, and consequences follow if it's not done.  If it's something they have a choice with, *then* it is a request.

 

For the boots and jacket thing?  If he does not feel like putting his outerwear on, he can stay in (or go out and be cold, if you'd rather that be the consequence).

 

We do not do UP.  And are on the stricter side of discipline, so we did have battles of will, but when they were much younger.  I do think it's going to be harder on you because of his age and because if you do decide to establish consequences (not threats), it's going to be a huge change for him and he's not going to like it one little bit.  I believe you can make some positive changes, but it's going to be really intense--you will have to be firm, consistent, and stay very calm. 


I think this is excellent advice. I understand not feeling comfortable with "threats", but if you actually follow through then it's not a threat...you're just requiring certain good behaviors and if your child doesn't comply, there are consequences. The truth is, no matter what parenting philosophy you follow, there's a time where it comes down to the fact that they are the child and you are the parent--- ultimately, you are the boss.

 

I have seen certain gentle discipline tacts used on children...trying to explain how their behavior makes you feel so the child will choose to make the right decision, trying to offer all kinds of different "choices" so the child feels empowered, etc., and in the cases where I've seen this applied, it more often than not hasn't worked. Five years old is very young in a lot of ways....I think sometimes parents can over-estimate their kids' capacity for reason and empathy in every situation. Sometimes the child just wants compliance...he wants to do what he wants to do and doesn't want you to stop him, or he wants YOU to do what he wants you to do. If this is unacceptable to you, you are the only one who can stop it. I've seen a parent try to lecture a child to death and pullwhat amounts to elaborate guilt trips (which fail, btw) in order to get the child to empathise and make the rigth decision. I've seen the child in this scenario, I've seen his eyes glaze over and I've thought that, honestly, if I were that kid I would much prefer an "archaic", efficient "because I said so". That's clear and it's something the child understands. I think that sometimes we put far to much pressure on our children to just KNOW how to behave well when really they need our guidance and they need and want our firm, clear limits. They want consistency because it makes them feel secure, even if, in the moment, they may not enjoy the consequence. Does that make sense?
 


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#24 of 35 Old 02-25-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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I am so thankful for this. I don't have enough time right now to read all the replies but I hope we can get help for our 5 year olds. Maybe 6 (March 18th) will be a better year. I do know if there are any conflics in the family it will show up in her behavior.

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#25 of 35 Old 02-25-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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My oldest is almost six, so we don't know how my kids are going to turn out yet, lol.  However, my observations thus far have been that I can do everything I can to make the scenerio perfect for my kids, but when it comes down to it, I have to make them do whatever it is.  I cannot coddle or manipulate them into being what I hope them to be.  I can be patient, but I must be firm and, most importantly, clear.


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#26 of 35 Old 02-26-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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I agree with this. I have noticed this in our own parenting. Some parents (like us) get MAD at their kids when they misbehave and other parents don't. I question ....why do we get MAD. (whether or not we show it aggressively). I question where the emotion comes from. (I question things all the time like this). I ask: What assumption is under the anger? And the answer I've come to is that we get mad when our son doesn't behave because of many things. One is, he's making things harder for us. Two, we're afraid for what it means if he doesn't learn or obey the thing in question and Three, we must be assuming on some level that he is supposed to KNOW how to behave and that his "failure" to do so is somehow willful. Ugh! I've said to my husband (once I realized this) that we get mad because he's making us have to parent effectively. It's much easier just to bark orders and expect obedience. In our own top-down authoritarian childhoods maybe, but not in our son's. He is not being raised that way, and that is why things get difficult. And if we want to do a good job, it's going to be difficult. There's no reason to get ANGRY at a child.....because the anger assumes he's supposed to know the easiest, most effective and logical thing to do. He's a KID. He doesn't always know that, and that's what we have to work with. We are called to firm with him but not mad and full of threats and all that, because it is our job and privilege to teach him right from wrong, and how the family rules work, and all that. I have to remind myself of this constantly. He is under no obligation to make my job easy for me. If I put in the hard parenting work, only THEN will it become easier for me. Took me a while to figure that one out.  :-) I am a slow learner sometimes. 

 

 

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Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post




. I think that sometimes we put far to much pressure on our children to just KNOW how to behave well when really they need our guidance and they need and want our firm, clear limits. They want consistency because it makes them feel secure, even if, in the moment, they may not enjoy the consequence.


 



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#27 of 35 Old 02-27-2011, 02:39 AM
 
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I agree with this. I have noticed this in our own parenting. Some parents (like us) get MAD at their kids when they misbehave and other parents don't. I question ....why do we get MAD. (whether or not we show it aggressively). I question where the emotion comes from. (I question things all the time like this). I ask: What assumption is under the anger? And the answer I've come to is that we get mad when our son doesn't behave because of many things. One is, he's making things harder for us. Two, we're afraid for what it means if he doesn't learn or obey the thing in question and Three, we must be assuming on some level that he is supposed to KNOW how to behave and that his "failure" to do so is somehow willful. Ugh! I've said to my husband (once I realized this) that we get mad because he's making us have to parent effectively. It's much easier just to bark orders and expect obedience. In our own top-down authoritarian childhoods maybe, but not in our son's. He is not being raised that way, and that is why things get difficult. And if we want to do a good job, it's going to be difficult. There's no reason to get ANGRY at a child.....because the anger assumes he's supposed to know the easiest, most effective and logical thing to do. He's a KID. He doesn't always know that, and that's what we have to work with. We are called to firm with him but not mad and full of threats and all that, because it is our job and privilege to teach him right from wrong, and how the family rules work, and all that. I have to remind myself of this constantly. He is under no obligation to make my job easy for me. If I put in the hard parenting work, only THEN will it become easier for me. Took me a while to figure that one out.  :-) I am a slow learner sometimes. 

 

 


 

THANK YOU for this post.
 


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#28 of 35 Old 03-05-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post


I agree with this. I have noticed this in our own parenting. Some parents (like us) get MAD at their kids when they misbehave and other parents don't. I question ....why do we get MAD. (whether or not we show it aggressively). I question where the emotion comes from. (I question things all the time like this). I ask: What assumption is under the anger? And the answer I've come to is that we get mad when our son doesn't behave because of many things. One is, he's making things harder for us. Two, we're afraid for what it means if he doesn't learn or obey the thing in question and Three, we must be assuming on some level that he is supposed to KNOW how to behave and that his "failure" to do so is somehow willful. Ugh! I've said to my husband (once I realized this) that we get mad because he's making us have to parent effectively. It's much easier just to bark orders and expect obedience. In our own top-down authoritarian childhoods maybe, but not in our son's. He is not being raised that way, and that is why things get difficult. And if we want to do a good job, it's going to be difficult. There's no reason to get ANGRY at a child.....because the anger assumes he's supposed to know the easiest, most effective and logical thing to do. He's a KID. He doesn't always know that, and that's what we have to work with. We are called to firm with him but not mad and full of threats and all that, because it is our job and privilege to teach him right from wrong, and how the family rules work, and all that. I have to remind myself of this constantly. He is under no obligation to make my job easy for me. If I put in the hard parenting work, only THEN will it become easier for me. Took me a while to figure that one out.  :-) I am a slow learner sometimes. 

 

 


 


What a great reminder.

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#29 of 35 Old 03-05-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

First thing is, I don't make any requests unless I'm OK with hearing "No".  If it's a requirement, it's a requirement, and consequences follow if it's not done.  If it's something they have a choice with, *then* it is a request.

 

For the boots and jacket thing?  If he does not feel like putting his outerwear on, he can stay in (or go out and be cold, if you'd rather that be the consequence).

 

 


Yep!

 

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#30 of 35 Old 03-05-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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There's no reason to get ANGRY at a child.....


 


I would note the difference between feeling angry and acting out of anger.  Parents shouldn't have to apologize for their feelings, nor should children.  Anger is an emotion.  Emotions are devoid of moral value.  Both saints and sociopaths feel anger... it is action that defines existence.  [End existentialist rant.]

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