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#121 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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I've missed a lot and don't have time to go back and read. I'm just sort of marking my spot so I can hopefully keep up with whatever comes next.

TCS talk was banned?

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#122 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Yes.

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/69072/polemic

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#123 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Oh...I just had a cool thought.  If we're talking about a child's need to know that they please us - should we not also talk about non-verbal or non-praise ways that children come to know that they please us?  I'm not saying that I necessarily believe that positive feedback is important to kids but, even if it could be established that it is important, how do we know that verbal feedback is the most effective method?  

 

For instance - if you truly love a piece of art that your child created don't you think they can feel that even if you don't choose to verbally praise them?  On the contrary - if you're not that into their work don't you think they can tell no matter what you say?  


Maybe sometimes. Why go out of your way not to say the words, though? Why make them be mind-readers, especially since they aren't mind-readers. I would think it'd be easier to clear up any possible misunderstandings or hurt feelings by simply saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Your point about non-verbal praise is very interesting though. Going back to the example of my 4-month old with her rattle....she obviously doesn't know what words mean but she definitely is picking something up from us that causes her to "put on a show" in front of us when she learns something new. Smiles, tone of voice, touch....I imagine it's a lot like the Love Language thing, just taken to a non-verbal level. For the big picture things, how do they know they are loved and cherished no matter what? Same ways, maybe.....affection, time, responsiveness to their needs and communications, not giving off non-verbal "negative cues" of annoyance when you're around them, etc. (That last one sounds weird but I've seen it with a first time mom I know who was having a real hard time with her baby, and being alone with her baby. And possibly had some PPD as well. The baby absolutely picked up on it, you could tell. And as a pre-schooler, still does. :( )

 


 

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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

The issue isn't that they're at odds but that the behavioral kind of praise, "Good job", has unintended consequences. I'm going to link to an article by Alfie Kohn that explains what he believes the consequences to be. http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm


 

Thanks. :) I read the link...I've actually read "Unconditional Parenting" but it was a couple years ago (before I had a baby) and I read it fast so I didn't absorb some of it. I agree with Kohn about little knee-jerk sayings like "good job!" being annoying-- when they're thrown at kids so often and so carelessly that it becomes totally meaningless. I disagree with his conclusions about praise in general in the link. It doesn't make sense to me and I don't know what exactly he's backing his theories up with. He's trying to make logical points, going from A to B, etc., but I don't understand the premise of A, and what I do understand (the part that seems to be just his opinion, or his observation), I disagree with. And then, maybe not to sound TOO extreme, he says "To be sure, not every use of praise is a calculated tactic to control children’s behavior. Sometimes we compliment kids just because we’re genuinely pleased by what they’ve done." Yes, that makes sense. But then....what would be an example of this good, "non-manipulative" praise if all the other possible examples of verbal praise that he gives are bad?


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#124 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Yes, all he is talking about is the "self esteem movement" of the 70s and 80s where parents and teachers ran a running commentary giving very frequent praise. He isn't talking about everything nice anyone says to their kids, but the "good job!" thing is really a part of the self esteem movement, as is "good walking!", "good coloring!", and all praise of that nature. But occasionally giving praise because it comes from you naturally isn't the problem he's talking about.


Yeah, I agree with him, then. I don't know if he ever hypothesized about this, but I remember being on the receiving end of absurd praise, and it made me really skeptical about genuine compliments/positive feedback. I also remember thinking the adults doing it were full of shit. lol. Those two aspects kind of played off each other a lot, too.

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#125 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post
For the big picture things, how do they know they are loved and cherished no matter what? 


I think this is really the crutch of the issue for AK.  For him, I think that the theory is that kids come to know that they are "cherished no matter what" in a sense by not being evaluated at all.  I really don't think the main issue is praise even.  I think it's whether we are sure - 100% that we love our kids no matter what.  We have to convey to them that we love them no less AND no more when they do something we like.  However that is conveyed in our individual household and to our individual kids is irrelevant to the main message.  

 

I think AK is valuable because the issue of shaming kids and making them feel like we love them less when they do something bad has been done - most parents get that this is a bad thing.  I do think the idea that it's bad for kids to feel that we love them *more* when they do something good is a fairly new and provocative idea.   AK's point is that both are sort of the same -- both imply that our love is conditional.  

 

Yes, kids will know when they do something that pleases us -- even if we are total AK dogmatics our kids can tell. So, in that way, AK's theory has a whole in it - you can "not say it" all you want but the kid's gonna know.  Therefore, "not saying it" must not be the key.  Parents just need to find a way to show their kids that they love them no matter what.  For some praise obviously plays a role.  For others it gets in the way.  


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#126 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's crazy because that happened only a month after I joined...and I remember A LOT of TCS talk for several years after I joined.  Anyway, given that we haven't gotten a single CL or TCS devotee to advise us on this thread I suspect that the drama has passed.  orngtongue.gif

 

 

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Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
The whole "Not compromise! Compromise is bad, too!" thing was TCS, iirc. I think they get confused because CL basically is zombie TCS, which I guess had to be invented (or something) after talk of TCS was banned here. lol.

Somehow I missed this post - what you said makes perfect sense.  I think you "iirc" - something I am incapable of while breastfeeding.  dizzy.gif

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#127 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BTW, Coffeegirl -- I knew I recognized your user name.  I was in your August DDC but miscarried that baby.  I went on to have the sweetest little girl just this past April.  Congrats on your babe - it's nice to see you again!  


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#128 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post





That's crazy because that happened only a month after I joined...and I remember A LOT of TCS talk for several years after I joined.  Anyway, given that we haven't gotten a single CL or TCS devotee to advise us on this thread I suspect that the drama has passed.  orngtongue.gif

 

 


Somehow I missed this post - what you said makes perfect sense.  I think you "iirc" - something I am incapable of while breastfeeding.  dizzy.gif

 

I suspect that CL and TCS have a pretty high "drop out rate" as kids get older, or more than one kid is thrown into the mix, etc. Especially since there is a certain type of kid temperament (in science literature it's described in terms of "resistance to control") where CL/TCS actually does work out well, and I can see how people think, if that's their only kid, that:

 

1) the breastfeeding and the cosleeping and the babywearing created the most mellow creature the world has ever seen! And,...

 

2) my kid never tantrums, etc, because I have this Total Life Philosophy that creates Harmony!

 

I mean, on the surface, I "practice" CL/TCS with my youngest (3.5 years old) and always have. Then again, her default opinion tends to be "Whatever mommy thinks is a good idea, must be a GREAT idea!"

 

Which was...umm...not the case with my other kid.
 

 

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#129 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamakay View Post

I suspect that CL and TCS have a pretty high "drop out rate" as kids get older, or more than one kid is thrown into the mix, etc. 

 



Interesting.  I was kind of wondering the opposite.  I imagined all these CL/TCS parents were coming from the perspective of a parent of an older child and they had convienantly forgotten what a bear the average 3 year old can be.  That age was so hard for me and I see all the posts about 3 year olds in the forum.  I just want to add a sticky that says something like:

 

"Parent of a 3 year old?  Post if you like but you're better off just hunkering down and waiting for it to pass."   whistling.gif


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#130 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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Interesting.  I was kind of wondering the opposite.  I imagined all these CL/TCS parents were coming from the perspective of a parent of an older child and they had convienantly forgotten what a bear the average 3 year old can be.  That age was so hard for me and I see all the posts about 3 year olds in the forum.  I just want to add a sticky that says something like:

 

"Parent of a 3 year old?  Post if you like but you're better off just hunkering down and waiting for it to pass."   whistling.gif



No, I think there has been some of that, too. I absolutely know what you're talking about there, and yeah, there's been some of that over the years, as well. It's both, IMO.

 

I also agree about the "Sometimes nothing 'works' when they're one, two, and three" thing. Actually, being evangelical about that message was one of my main reasons for coming back here. lol.

 

I felt so gawd-awfully guilty when my kid was three and newly 4 and totally still not responding to ANYTHING positively. I was SO SURE it was my me/my mothering/parenting "making him like that" somehow. Ugh.

 

My little brother was wild and defiant and eternally tantruming till he was about 4.5, and he was spanked, so I knew it wasn't a lack of spanking "making/allowing" my kid to be a hellion. But damnit. I AP'ed my kid, and he wasn't supposed to be like this! AP was supposed to prevent that shit! But no, that's not how it works, either. Some kids are 4 before they even notice the real cause and effect nature of consequences, and then other kids don't ever need any consequences. And some kids just grow out of stuff eventually, around age 8 (?), even without consequences.

 

Nobody really knows what the hell is going on with kids and parenting and stuff, but I really do want the moms of crazy three year olds to know that it's almost definitely not their fault, and three year olds are just kind of like that sometimes, no matter what you do or don't do.

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#131 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 09:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post




I think this is really the crutch of the issue for AK.  For him, I think that the theory is that kids come to know that they are "cherished no matter what" in a sense by not being evaluated at all.  I really don't think the main issue is praise even.  I think it's whether we are sure - 100% that we love our kids no matter what.  We have to convey to them that we love them no less AND no more when they do something we like.  However that is conveyed in our individual household and to our individual kids is irrelevant to the main message.  

 

I think AK is valuable because the issue of shaming kids and making them feel like we love them less when they do something bad has been done - most parents get that this is a bad thing.  I do think the idea that it's bad for kids to feel that we love them *more* when they do something good is a fairly new and provocative idea.   AK's point is that both are sort of the same -- both imply that our love is conditional.  

 

Yes, kids will know when they do something that pleases us -- even if we are total AK dogmatics our kids can tell. So, in that way, AK's theory has a whole in it - you can "not say it" all you want but the kid's gonna know.  Therefore, "not saying it" must not be the key.  Parents just need to find a way to show their kids that they love them no matter what.  For some praise obviously plays a role.  For others it gets in the way.  


Well I'm glad his books are helping some parents to be better parents, and helping their kids. But I don't buy the notion that children will pick up on the vibe that our love for them is "conditional" if we evaluate or judge them, either negatively or positively. I know as a child I received praise when I did good things (either morally good, or good in school, or doing something charitable, or achieving something that was impressive, etc.) and I was chastised when I did something bad. The reality of my two primary caregivers' love for me was NEVER something that I questioned. They made it clear they loved me no matter what and would always love me. I always knew this. Their love and acceptance of me was unconditional; their tolerance for my behavior was not. I NEVER associated this with a lack of love. I never associated praise with my parents putting a "condition" on their love for me that hinged on whether or not I continued to merit that praise or not. And I've never known anyone else IRL who's experienced such a thing with their parents. I just don't understand how AK came to his conclusions about this.

 


 

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BTW, Coffeegirl -- I knew I recognized your user name.  I was in your August DDC but miscarried that baby.  I went on to have the sweetest little girl just this past April.  Congrats on your babe - it's nice to see you again!  


 

Ohhh....I think I remember your name now, too, come to think of it. I'm so sorry for you loss, mama. But congratulations on your new little one.! :)


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#132 of 148 Old 07-02-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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I also never felt like disapproval over something I was doing = love withdrawal/conditional love with my "primary attachment figures", either.

 

 

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#133 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 04:30 AM
 
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It's good to know there are others out there who understand how difficult 3 and 4yos can be. Mine is a wild man right now and it's causing some major problems in my family. My middle ds was the mellow, pretty much whatever Mom says is ok, kind of guy from the beginning, so easy and cooperative. He has a really hard time with his little bro who doesn't get how his actions affect others and doesn't seem to remember from one moment to the next that he just had a problem with something he did.

He was giving me a fit yesterday at the beach. I talked to him 3 or 4 times about not running ahead of me onto the very steep beach stairs and about how wet and slippery the bathroom floor was. He had already slipped and fallen twice in there. I told him he needed to stay with me on the stairs and hold my hand in the bathroom so he didn't get hurt. Well, of course, as soon as I was finished talking he took off. I can't catch up to him right now, especially on a sandy beach, since I'm 36 weeks pg. It was scaring me to death!

Anyway, I do think that we give off non-verbal cues that our kids pick up on. Just about everything I've read about communication says that non-verbal cues have much more impact that anything we say. I can also see how praise could send the message that a child isn't quite good enough unless he does something we are pleased about or approve of. Feeling loved and feeling good enough are not the same thing. I never questioned my dad's love for me even though he was very critical when I did something he disapproved of and very demonstrative about being proud when I did something he liked. I have always felt that I was never quite good enough for him, though. Yeah, he loves me but I'm still an embarrassment and disappointment. I want my kids to not only feel loved but also feel worthy just because they exist. No one should have to perform in order to feel like they are worth something. KWIM? Not sure how that falls into the AK theories. I haven't read that link yet.

On the topic of expressing approval/disapproval or giving genuine praise, what about when your child asks you if you like something they like and you don't? Are you honest with them? I have heard or read theories that children can't always distinguish between their behavior or their likes and dislikes and themselves as people, if that makes sense. As example is when my oldest, who is 20yo now, was a child the big thing was to criticize the behavior but not the child. Instead of telling the child he was bad for doing something you didn't like, you were supposed to tell the child you love him but you don't like his behavior. Then a few years later the "experts" started coming out and saying that children couldn't really distinguish between the two. To the child, if a parent didn't like the way they behaved, that meant the parent didn't like the child.

As my kids get older they start to like things that I absolutely do not. I don't want to be dishonest with them but I also don't want them to think there's something wrong with the things they like and, therefore, something wrong with them. Movies are a big thing right now. I can't stand most of the children's movies that have been released lately. My boys say they really liked them. Oh, and music. My 7yo is being influenced a lot by a friend who's dad really likes Micheal Jackson. I have never liked Micheal Jackson. I never understood the appeal he had. So, my ds comes home singing Micheal Jackson songs and wants to know what I think. Do I try to focus only on his enjoyment and the joy I get from watching him perform without reacting to what he's performing? Is that being dishonest when I'm squirming inside because I hate Micheal Jackson's music and his apparently freaky lifestyle so much? Do I tell my ds how I honestly feel about Micheal Jackson?

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#134 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Double posting. Sorry redface.gif.

I just finished reading that AK article. I remember reading that in his UP book. What I get from that is that using praise as a way to manipulate a child's behavior ultimately has a negative effect. I don't think he's saying you shouldn't ever express your delight in something your child has done, just don't offer praise to get him to do something you want.

One thing I do is, rather than telling my children they did a good job when they help me clean, I express my gratitude for the help. I will also point out how them helping me clean frees up my time to do other things. "Cool! We finished that so quickly that now I have time to take you to the park." I will also point out how their behavior appears to affect others, whether good or bad. I want them to notice and understand how their actions affect others and the world.

My 4yo has been on a, "Was that good, Mommy?" kick lately. Not sure where he got that from. Rather than just saying it was good or bad, I try to express why it was appreciated or not. It's hard some times because it's not something I ever experienced, just like empathy. Empathizing is hard for me, too, because I haven't had much experience with it.

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#135 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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On the topic of expressing approval/disapproval or giving genuine praise, what about when your child asks you if you like something they like and you don't? Are you honest with them?

As my kids get older they start to like things that I absolutely do not. I don't want to be dishonest with them but I also don't want them to think there's something wrong with the things they like and, therefore, something wrong with them.

If it comes up, I am comfortable telling my kids that i don't like something that they do like. This comes up in life a lot: a sibling or friend doesn't like something my kids do like (or vice versa), and we talk about how people like different things. It's the same when they like a song, food, show, or any number of other things that I do not enjoy. Just at the dinner table we find differences in what we like. You like what you like, I like what I like. Those differences make the world interesting. We also like many of the same things, which is also fun.
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#136 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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On the topic of expressing approval/disapproval or giving genuine praise, what about when your child asks you if you like something they like and you don't? Are you honest with them?

As my kids get older they start to like things that I absolutely do not. I don't want to be dishonest with them but I also don't want them to think there's something wrong with the things they like and, therefore, something wrong with them.

If it comes up, I am comfortable telling my kids that i don't like something that they do like. This comes up in life a lot: a sibling or friend doesn't like something my kids do like (or vice versa), and we talk about how people like different things. It's the same when they like a song, food, show, or any number of other things that I do not enjoy. Just at the dinner table we find differences in what we like. You like what you like, I like what I like. Those differences make the world interesting. We also like many of the same things, which is also fun.

This is true. I think the reason I am unsure about this is because of the way I was, and am still, treated by my mother. If I had a different like or dislike from her, I was told I was silly or difficult. I was made to feel like there was something wrong with me because I didn't like what my mother liked or liked something she didn't. I think that makes it hard for me to express my opinions about such things in a positive and healthy way. I don't want to do to my children what my mother did to me.

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#137 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think that any book is for everyone so I don't want to harp on about AK as if I'm trying to making anyone change their mind about his books.  In fact, the more I think about AK the more I wonder if I am applying his philosophy in a way that he would agree with.  AK would not say we should not give any feedback and when I said children should not be evaluated at all I meant a very specific type of evaluation.  I can't think of an example but maybe I can describe it.  It would be the type of feedback that would either intentionally or unintentionally make the child feel pressure to change some very core part of themselves.  Perhaps that is why art is so often given as an example of when not to give feedback.  

 

Anyway, there are LOTS of great books out there that I didn't jive with so there is no need for everyone to like AK.  I hope no one felt like I was trying to convince them otherwise.

 

I do tell DC that I don't like her work...I guess.  I suppose I'd rather not say that so I wouldn't offer up a "Ew...I don't like that".  :LOL  I may kind of shrug and say something like, "It's not my style but I can see why you like it."  

 

Now, behavior stuff (being "polite", respectful and etc.) is a bit different.  While there is room for a difference of opinion there (don't we know it here at MDC!) I don't see any conflict with AK and offering guidance.  

 

 


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#138 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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I think he would say that evaluative praise is the problem, but encouragement and expressing joy over something is not the problem. I'm going to copy a small bit of the article I linked to earlier where he says the difference can largely be seen in the motives behind it:
Quote:
This doesn’t mean that all compliments, all thank-you’s, all expressions of delight are harmful. We need to consider our motives for what we say (a genuine expression of enthusiasm is better than a desire to manipulate the child’s future behavior) as well as the actual effects of doing so. Are our reactions helping the child to feel a sense of control over her life -- or to constantly look to us for approval? Are they helping her to become more excited about what she’s doing in its own right – or turning it into something she just wants to get through in order to receive a pat on the head

It’s not a matter of memorizing a new script, but of keeping in mind our long-term goals for our children and watching for the effects of what we say. The bad news is that the use of positive reinforcement really isn’t so positive. The good news is that you don’t have to evaluate in order to encourage.

I'm not evangelistic about it either, and I hope I haven't come off that way, but I think sometimes in discussions about AK it sounds like it's assumed he wants parents to not say anything nice or show appreciation for things our kids have done at all, and I don't read him that way at all.

So he doesn't want you to evaluate - I think it's more like setting yourself up as a judge whose approval or disapproval should be handed down for things your child does to get them to look to you for approval and try to stay away from disapproval. If I say, "Good sitting", how do I even evaluate the sitting as good or not? And what has made me an expert on sitting to be in a position to decide which sitting is good and which isn't? We don't mean that the child sat well. Really we mean, "I will show you appreciation when you sit, but not when you don't sit." And hope that makes our child sit more, because they want to hear that appreciation. But, on the other hand, there are times where we're all naturally delighted by things our children do and tell them so, not because we're hoping saying so will make them do it again, but simply because we can't keep our delight contained. That's still a kind of praise but it isn't manipulative praise being used as positive reinforcement.
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#139 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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On the topic of expressing approval/disapproval or giving genuine praise, what about when your child asks you if you like something they like and you don't? Are you honest with them? I have heard or read theories that children can't always distinguish between their behavior or their likes and dislikes and themselves as people, if that makes sense. As example is when my oldest, who is 20yo now, was a child the big thing was to criticize the behavior but not the child. Instead of telling the child he was bad for doing something you didn't like, you were supposed to tell the child you love him but you don't like his behavior. Then a few years later the "experts" started coming out and saying that children couldn't really distinguish between the two. To the child, if a parent didn't like the way they behaved, that meant the parent didn't like the child.
 

 

Re: you first question: I have struggled with this before. What I do now (dealing mostly with my niece and nephew, with whom I'm close, and occasionally my younger cousins) is if I like the art project (for example) then I tell them right out, sincerely, that I LOVE it and I tell them why. If they show me something that I don't think is all that great, then I tend to go into AK territory....ie: "Well...wow, you sure used a lot of green paint! And it's a pretty color green. Painting is so fun, isn't it?" or something like that. I've wondered if that's dishonest, but I don't think it is. I think it's just a part of having social graces. :p As to the bolded part, that is precisely where I part company with UP on the issue of praise and criticism. Simply because I haven't seen any evidence that backs it up and it doesn't make sense to my rational mind (which I know, has been formed in part by my experiences as a child.)

 

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As my kids get older they start to like things that I absolutely do not. I don't want to be dishonest with them but I also don't want them to think there's something wrong with the things they like and, therefore, something wrong with them. Movies are a big thing right now. I can't stand most of the children's movies that have been released lately. My boys say they really liked them. Oh, and music. My 7yo is being influenced a lot by a friend who's dad really likes Micheal Jackson. I have never liked Micheal Jackson. I never understood the appeal he had. So, my ds comes home singing Micheal Jackson songs and wants to know what I think. Do I try to focus only on his enjoyment and the joy I get from watching him perform without reacting to what he's performing? Is that being dishonest when I'm squirming inside because I hate Micheal Jackson's music and his apparently freaky lifestyle so much? Do I tell my ds how I honestly feel about Micheal Jackson?

 

In that case I'd probably just squirm silently but wouldn't let on that I hated him if my child loved him so much. Kids do respect our opinions and tend to adopt them as their own with alarming speed lol. But if I was asked outright, I'd be honest and tell him.

 


 

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Anyway, there are LOTS of great books out there that I didn't jive with so there is no need for everyone to like AK.  I hope no one felt like I was trying to convince them otherwise.

 

You never came across to me as trying to do that. Nobody on this thread has. It's been a good discussion I think. :)

 


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#140 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 04:35 PM
 
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As to the bolded part, that is precisely where I part company with UP on the issue of praise and criticism. Simply because I haven't seen any evidence that backs it up and it doesn't make sense to my rational mind (which I know, has been formed in part by my experiences as a child.)

I don't know if the thinking that a child can't distinguish between themselves and their behavior comes from UP or AK. I heard and read that sort of thing long before I ever heard of AK. I'm talking about the things I read and how ideas changed over the 13 years before I had ever even heard of AP. That was from 1991 to 2004.
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In that case I'd probably just squirm silently but wouldn't let on that I hated him if my child loved him so much. Kids do respect our opinions and tend to adopt them as their own with alarming speed lol. But if I was asked outright, I'd be honest and tell him.

But then do you think the child will pick up on nonverbal cues that you are squirming and then think you are being dishonest?

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#141 of 148 Old 07-03-2011, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Somehow I missed the thing about Michael Jackson.  I tell my DC what kind of music I like.  Live music is pretty important to me and DH is a big fan of electronic music.  We have very different tastes in music so the subject of not liking some types of music comes up for our family a lot.  I think it's important that our kids develop their own musical tastes and parents should look to their kids to see how they can best foster that.  For children who tend to want to "like what mama likes" maybe it's good for mom to keep her opinions to herself.  

 

I'm loving this thread too - I'm off on vacation tomorrow.  I'll look forward to catching up when I get back.

 

ETA: I meant to add one little plug for AK from a personal perspective.  My DC's school uses a lot of AK's philosophy, especially his theory on homework.  The school, however, used "recess minutes" as a form of punishment when DC first began attending the school.  I was really upset by this and wrote to AK.  He wrote me back within the day and was so, so sweet.  He just kind of empathized with me about how unfortunate it is that progressive schools don't always move all their theories along at the same speed.  He gave me a little guidance on how to speak with the school and I'm happy to say that they revised their policy on punishment.  He just seemed like such a nice "regular guy" and I was surprised and impressed with how approachable and helpful he was.  


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#142 of 148 Old 07-04-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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I suppose that we are closer to unconditional parenting, but I haven't been in a situation where punishment/etc is necessary. He's only 3, too, and so not in a logical place where we are talking out solutions. I do try to think about what is going on from his perspective, though, and work from there.

 

I suppose that this is consensual in that his needs are taken into consideration. What I want in our household is for my son to feel happy and supported, and so I work diligently to create that. I have several methods of doing so -- from simple living to having a strong rhythm to making sure he has outside time to making sure he gets consistent meals and so on and so forth. I make sure, too, that any transition has a lot of time as well. If the bus leaves at 9:01, and it takes 3 minutes to get from door to bus stop, I'll actually leave 10 minutes out, because I'd rather wait at the bus stop for 5-7 minutes. :) This means that shoe time can take 5-10 minutes before that, and coat before that, and tidying away before that, and ending play time before that. Each has it's own duration -- I give it a lot of space.

 

This helps him move at his own pace through these things. Some days, that is quickly, and other days, it is more slow. If it is a quick day, I add in an activity. If he's moving from passive to active (which is common with the bus situation), then I create an active game for us to do either prior to going to the bus stop or after we get to the bus stop. It's usually movement based. This keeps him happy and meets his need, while also meeting my need to be at the bus on time and without a fussy child. If he's moving from an active to a passive activity, then I'll typically choose a passive activity for us. I typically use cuddles plus story telling. Again, this allows him to transition without feeling rushed one way or another. Most times, he needs the time that I provide for him to transition, and it works great.

 

I would say that my son is easy-going, but he is actually quite a strong and spirited personality. So, I am firm with him -- there are rules. Most of them have to do with manners around other people and safety. "This is how we do things" -- and I am firm on them.

 

As an example, when you get on the bus, you greet the driver. You sit down properly on the seat ("like a gentleman"), and you do that the whole ride. If you don't sit like a gentleman (and you're told once), then you sit on my lap. That's the rule. 90% of the time -- and we ride the bus frequently -- DS sits properly. 5% of the remaining time, he needs one reminder and then sits properly. the remaining 5% of the time, he is in my lap for at least part of the ride (sometimes by his request), and if he is sitting peacefully in my lap, I'll ask him "would you like to sit in your own seat like a gentleman?" And then he will. The reasons that this is important are two-fold: 1. safety -- the bus jostles around and he can get thrown around. Heck, I get thrown around. 2. being polite -- getting dirty shoes on the seat means that other people cannot sit there later, or won't want to. We need to be polite to our fellow travelers, and leave the bus as clean as we found it. Of course, we also *model* all of this behavior with him, and we point out how all of the other passengers on the bus are sitting and behaving as well. 

 

When I feel that DS is "acting up" (a term DH uses), I find it's usually due to hunger, tiredness, or a need to switch activities. It's rare that he gets that way with me, it's more common with DH. He doesn't think beyond his own head most days, so he doesn't grasp the forethought that this process entails. BUT, he does great when he does have that forethought AND when he keeps a strong rhythm with DS. it's just that -- and I understand this -- sometimes you want a day to just relax and not be responsible for anyone. I get it. ;)

Zoebird, I love what you've described here - pretty much what I've done all along, and now my boys are teens.  I'm big on NVC, although I learned it just a few years ago, but it would have been a disaster for me if I didn't set limits on the things most important to me when they are young.  I'm so glad that I taught them respectful manners because it has already served them well, although ds 14 still needs much reminding since he is so often in his own world.
 

 

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#143 of 148 Old 08-15-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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We have started a Parenting with Joy, Trust and Love  Facebook page to share Consensual Living info and discussions.

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#144 of 148 Old 08-16-2011, 06:12 PM
 
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Let me explain a situation that happened in my house tonight and I'd really like to hear how others would have dealt with it, especially how the fans of CL would have dealt with it. I'm not at all being snarky or snide. I'd really like to know.

 

My son has developed (IMO) the bad habit of wanting to dip everything in ranch dressing. Tonight he wanted to dip his chicken, so I have these little packets that a friend who works in food service gave me. I take out the packet, he says I want it in a bowl, I put it in a bowl, he says I want it all, I say that is enough, he says there is more I want it all. I tell him he doesn't need it all, he starts screaming and reaching for the packet.

 

My position is that he does not need the enitre packet of ranch dressing, we're not talking about the size of something that would come with a fast food meal, this is much bigger. I'm not giving him the whole amount. It's not healthy and it's non negotiable. Where does a parent go from there? I want to be understanding and I don't want to be a dictator but some things are out of the question, sometimes these are the very things he really wants. Then what?

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#145 of 148 Old 08-17-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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Keep in mind that I haven't read this whole thread. I'm answering your question directly.

 

My first thought was, in this situation of the ranch dressing, why not just give it to him? I try and picture if it were me & my son. If he said he wanted a huge gross amount of dressing, I might say, but then all these packets our friend gave us will be gone. You'll have no more for later. (how old is your son by the way?) If he insisted, I might say OK, if you insist, but I'm not buying dressing to replace these. Now, keep in mind it sounds disgusting. And would he eat the whole amount? If he did, what would happen? Would he get sick? Would he just feel yucky? Or would he enjoy it? The packets were free, right? In THIS case I probably would have first warned him how they'll be all gone & is he sure. And if he is, I'd say OK. Here ya go. I mean, it's  not what *I* would choose, but I'm not him. And you did say they were given to you so it's not about wasting something you spent money on.

 

However, if there were a serious down side to something (i.e. as opposed to it just being "it's not what I would do" or "he doesn't NEED it"), and the answer had to be no, it would be no. That's it. Because in that situation, I, being the mom, would have access to the bigger picture (i.e. say he wanted to eat all of something that was designed to be shared with the whole family. Or he wanted to do something that would harm himself or some object you valued). Screaming and reaching for things, or to get our way, is not how we as a family want to deal with each other. So if the answer is no and he wants to scream, I would just be firm about the thing (i.e. not give in to the screaming) and later when he's calmer, I'd explain that when I say no about something, that's the answer. I will answer his questions as to WHY I said no, and I will certainly listen to his views, but if even after that, the answer is No, then he needs to accept it. Screaming isn't how we are going to relate to one another.

 

Wow. It's late. I would like to think further about my answer but I need to go to bed. I will check in tomorrow.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceMongerMama View Post

Let me explain a situation that happened in my house tonight and I'd really like to hear how others would have dealt with it, especially how the fans of CL would have dealt with it. I'm not at all being snarky or snide. I'd really like to know.

 

My son has developed (IMO) the bad habit of wanting to dip everything in ranch dressing. Tonight he wanted to dip his chicken, so I have these little packets that a friend who works in food service gave me. I take out the packet, he says I want it in a bowl, I put it in a bowl, he says I want it all, I say that is enough, he says there is more I want it all. I tell him he doesn't need it all, he starts screaming and reaching for the packet.

 

My position is that he does not need the enitre packet of ranch dressing, we're not talking about the size of something that would come with a fast food meal, this is much bigger. I'm not giving him the whole amount. It's not healthy and it's non negotiable. Where does a parent go from there? I want to be understanding and I don't want to be a dictator but some things are out of the question, sometimes these are the very things he really wants. Then what?



 

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#146 of 148 Old 08-18-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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Hi, PeaceMongerMom,

 

I've been thinking about your post today, and wondering whether I can articulate a response that would be consistent with what I've been learning in my NVC/Compassionate Communication practice group.  In NVC, the main thing is to connect and understand one another, honoring each persons needs as equally important.  The main tool for connecting and understanding is guessing which of the universal human needs underlying peoples' feelings and actions might be in play.  In this case, I think what your son wants is control over his own life, including what he eats.  It also sounds like you want good health for him, and also that you value respect both for people and for the work that it takes to put food on the table (i.e. not wasting).

 

Although I respect what NellieKatz wrote, I wouldn't want to give in, because if I were you and gave in I would feel that I was honoring his needs over my own.  I also would want to show more understanding for his needs than just saying "no" although Nellie was also saying to show respect for his needs by hearing out his views.  (I do agree, Nellie, that there are times when you just have to say "no" as a parent.)

 

So here's what I would try:

Son: I want it all!  Gimme!

Mom:  Wait a minute.  Let's see if we can both get what we want here.  (Maybe putting the packet in a pocket or something?  I honestly don't know.)

Mom:  It sounds like you really want the choice of what you are going to eat, and that having the whole packet would give you control over exactly how much dressing you have with your chicken, is that right?

Son:  Yes.  I want it all.

Mom:  So you really want to be able to put lots of dressing on your chicken, just as much as you want, even the whole packet?

Son: Right.

Mom:  I really want you to have choice about what you eat and for you to enjoy your food.  

Son:  Good.  Could I have the packet now, please?

Mom:  Would you be willing to listen to what I need also?

Son:  O.k.

Mom:  I really want you to grow strong and healthy, because I love you so much, kiddo.  Giving you that much ranch dressing does not make for a balanced meal and balanced meals help you to grow strong and healthy.  Could you tell me what you just heard me say?

Son:  You want me to eat less ranch dressing.

Mom:  Thank you.  It's not so much about the dressing and just that I want you to eat the kind of balance that will help you grow.  Can you tell me what you just heard me say?

Son:  You want me to eat good stuff.

Mom:  Yes!  A good balance.  So is there a way that you can control your amount and also I get to see that you won't use so much that it's not healthy?

Son:  [I'm really reaching here - I have no idea if he would say this:]  O.k., let Daddy put half of it in the bowl, and I'll use as much of that as I want, o.k.?

Mom:  O.k. Son.  I'm glad we can both have what we want.

 

I know this sounds awfully involved.  NVC does take time. What do you think?  Do you think it might go this way?  Really getting to the underlying needs can help so much.

 

-Dancy

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#147 of 148 Old 08-21-2011, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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I know this sounds awfully involved.  NVC does take time. What do you think?  Do you think it might go this way?  Really getting to the underlying needs can help so much.


I loved your post.  IME, things can really go the way you described.  Even when I was banging my head against the wall with some of this stuff I would rally and try suggestions like yours and be shocked to find that they worked...sometimes.  ;-)  

 

In our house (depending on the child's age) we often tried something like what Dancianna suggested, albeit a more condensed, blunt version, followed by some creative problem solving.  I may suggest that we find a small bowl for DC's dressing that she can have filled all the way up.  I may suggest that if DC is willing to consider healthy moderation that he gets to pour his own ranch or have seconds.  Maybe we consider making our own ranch from scratch so it's healthier (I'm loving this idea!) .  

 

Another way it sometimes went down in our house is that I would just say "no" and drop the conversation.  Or, sometimes I would just say yes - "give in" if you will.  I did not/do not always have the energy or inclination...or compassion to work it out.    Also, sometimes my DC could not get to a good place to talk in that moment.  When this would happen we would often talk it out later.  When DC was young, before bed was a good time to talk about the bumpy patches in the day.  As she got older the car was a good place to talk.  

 

Good luck!  

 


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#148 of 148 Old 08-21-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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I loved your post.  IME, things can really go the way you described.  Even when I was banging my head against the wall with some of this stuff I would rally and try suggestions like yours and be shocked to find that they worked...sometimes.  ;-)  

 

ICM, thanks for saying this!  I really wanted to know that it made sense to someone.

 

I I did not/do not always have the energy or inclination...or compassion to work it out.    Also, sometimes my DC could not get to a good place to talk in that moment.  When this would happen we would often talk it out later.  When DC was young, before bed was a good time to talk about the bumpy patches in the day.  As she got older the car was a good place to talk.  

 

Good luck!  

 

Boy do I get the part about not always having the energy, inclination, or compassion  - or even the time - to do the work of empathizing with everyone.  Especially when raising kids.

 

-Dancy
 

 

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