GD is failing. Anyone with any insight? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday, my three year old electrocuted himself.  I'm pretty surprised this was the first time, honestly, and it dawned on me that what we are doing for discipline is clearly not working.  We have very few rules here and they are pretty much all safety related (no electrocuting yourself) and respect related (kicking the babysitter is not okay).  We have set up the environment in a way that we should have to say no less.  There are actually only two electric sockets in the entire house that are accessible and both are in our bedroom.  Other than that, there are dummy plugs in every one or lamps, etc. are plugged in behind other furniture so no access for little fingers.  Since he was probably 15 months old, DS has taken every opportunity he has gotten, wherever we are, to try to unplug things and stick his finger in the socket.  Yesterday, he pulled out a lamp cord and then touched the metal.  Zap.  Until recently, we typically told him "that is not safe. Please walk away" and then redirected him. We have explained a countless number of times WHY you don't want to stick your fingers in the sockets.  That was not working, so even though we lean towards GD, we tried time out and cancelling a trip to the pet store (ie. he's grabbing for cord and I say that if he does not let go of the cord and walk away, we won't go to the pet store) and neither of those worked either.  It is the same thing with hitting/kicking both DH and our babysitter.

 

Anyhow, I am out of ideas.   I want to be able to tell my kid to keep his fingers out of the electric sockets, or that we only touch people gently and have him *listen.*  Any ideas or suggestions welcome! 

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#2 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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I'm curious if he tried it again after his electrocution.  It sounds like you need every outlet covered and bolted down and don't get him a drill for his birthday!  Seriously.  Is he responding to "no" this defiantly about other things?  Or is he curious about this alone?  

     Your son is still young enough for "no" not to sink in.  And he needs other, less dangerous things to practice this.  In my house (I am not the perfect GD parent but I try to be more like that every day) I try to keep the consequences as tightly connected as I can.  In your situation, I might relate to trust issues.  "I need to be able to trust you when you play on your own.  If you ignore the rules, you'll need to play where I can see you.  I'm washing the dishes, so come in here and pull up a chair.  You can help me."  

     And get the rest of those outlets absolutely, positively inaccessible.  This is not the place for him to practice his compliance!


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#3 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious if he tried it again after his electrocution.  It sounds like you need every outlet covered and bolted down and don't get him a drill for his birthday!  Seriously.  Is he responding to "no" this defiantly about other things?  Or is he curious about this alone?  

     Your son is still young enough for "no" not to sink in.  And he needs other, less dangerous things to practice this.  In my house (I am not the perfect GD parent but I try to be more like that every day) I try to keep the consequences as tightly connected as I can.  In your situation, I might relate to trust issues.  "I need to be able to trust you when you play on your own.  If you ignore the rules, you'll need to play where I can see you.  I'm washing the dishes, so come in here and pull up a chair.  You can help me."  

     And get the rest of those outlets absolutely, positively inaccessible.  This is not the place for him to practice his compliance!



No, he hasn't tried it again, but he hasn't had the opportunity.  Like I said, there are only two sockets that are accessible, and both are in our bedroom, and he is never ever left alone in there.  It is the type of thing where I'll be brushing my teeth or something in our attached bathroom which is literally three feet from the socket, all will be going well, and bam...he'll make a run for the cords/socket.  We almost always notice and stop him before it happens. He was actually with DH when this happened yesterday and DH doesn't always do the best job of anticipating stuff like this.

 

We've tried the trust angle, and he isn't allowed to play where I can't see him except in the part of the house that is completely 100% childproofed (basically the entire house except for kitchen, bathrooms, and our bedroom...all which are kept closed if we aren't right there).  We are going to figure out some solution so that he can't access even these sockets in our room, but I need a solution for the bigger problem....which is that our discipline style is not working at all.  If I can't stop him from even doing something this dangerous, I feel like we need better tools for discipline, but I am at a total loss for gentle options. 

 

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#4 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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My three year old isn't quite as dangerously inquisitive, but he IS kind of a brute with his little brother.   And he *absolutely* knows and tries to sneak about it.  

 

And so, we implemented time outs (well sort of.) When he does something he shouldn't, I ask him to sit down right where he is until he settles down.  When I see that happen, I remind him of the fact that we don't use hands for hitting, we don't sit on  siblings' heads, we don't use the big wooden block as a hammer on the two year old... whatever the challenge of the moment was. Obviously, I watch to try to avoid and prevent in the first place, but it doesn't always work.  

 

Now, he doesn't have a lot of language- he has a delay and while it is improving, he's not yet at a 'let's talk about this' point, it has to be short and simple and for him, the act of having to remove himself in a given moment (even just by sitting right where he is) is very effective. It also seems to have reinforced that he CAN stop himself from doing something he knows he shouldn't. 

 

I don't ascribe to the concept of putting him in a special chair or for a specific time- that would backfire with this particular kid.  For him it is all about finding a way to create a pause button in that moment.  For him, sitting down works, for another kid it might be 'wiggle your fingers in the air!'  It depends on your child.  Mine happened to be going through a pretending to be a dog phase at the time we started this and it was largely accidental.... Yep, obedience training my three year old.. along with the puppy dog.  I asked the dog to sit, and so did the three year old, and then we found out that it worked and it still is a good tool for us. (Insert deep GD mom shame here!)

 

The point though is that for us, it was all about helping him realize that he can stop what he is doing so he has a few seconds to consider the impulse.  Now I can stop him midswing with a toy at his brother, and he sits for a moment until that feeling seems to fade away, he gets up and he gives his brother a hug and kiss instead.   Trying to take away a more vague thing like a rip to a pet store wouldn't work for him, he doesn't have the verbal skill yet to understand the whole explanation and make the connections, but as I say, he is newly three and has a pretty significant delay.  

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#5 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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A large part of parenting a toddler is keeping them from killing themselves. Just like you can't trust a toddler to play on the roof because they might fall off, and no type of discipline can make it safe, you also have to be careful about whatever is their own personal envelope-pushing issue. For you, it's electrical outlets apparently. For me, it's climbing crazy dangerous things.

At 3, he's close to "getting it" anyway, and won't do it for much longer regardless of how you handle it. But I don't think younger than 3 anything would make it safe to have him around electrical stuff, and I don't think there's any way he isn't going to figure this out very soon regardless of how you handle it at this point.

But how dangerous it is is really irrelevant as far as how much impulse control they have. They don't get more impulse control the more dangerous something is, and they aren't any more likely to learn not to do more dangerous stuff, and harsher discipline methods don't work any better for more dangerous stuff than less dangerous stuff.
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#6 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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I distinctly remember the day that my four-year-old sister stuck a metal bobby-pin into a socket in our house. There was absolutely nothing "gentle" about the discipline in our household, growing up. We'd been warned, repeatedly, away from the outlets. We knew we would be punished if we disobeyed. The sockets were (mostly) covered with plugs, since there were many younger siblings. We were generally closely supervised, but she and I had been left alone in the dining room while playing a game that somehow ended up involving electrical outlets. She received an electrical shock. The fuse blew--plunging the house into total darkness. We were both punished. She did it again a few days later with a plastic barrette.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure it's really a failure of gentle discipline. It seems like this kind of thing can be more about a child's personality, their curiosity, their activity level, their reaction to parental no-no's, etc, etc, etc.

 

What worked for my sister WAY better than the punishments meted out was when my father, after the second time, took a trip to the library. They got a lot of books about/on electricity and read them together. My father showed my sister the fuse box, the outlets, the wiring behind the outlet, and explained how electricity worked. They did some "experiments" with electricity--I don't exactly remember what, but something that they wired together that caused a light-bulb to turn on and I think they took apart a toaster or something. I think this worked because it combined close, personal attention and actual information with the "no" directive that she just wasn't hearing.

 

I know there are some differences between 3 and 4, and maybe this approach won't work for your son, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

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#7 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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It doesn't sound to me like a different type of discipline will help.  It sounds like he just doesn't yet have the understanding and/or impulse control to keep himself from doing dangerous things.  If he doesn't understand that doing X will lead to unpleasant consequence Y, or understands it but can't stop himself from doing X anyway, it doesn't matter how unpleasant Y is; threatening him with Y still won't work.

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#8 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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How about this? Go to your local hardware store. Buy him an electrical outlet and a cord. Let him plug away to his heart's content to things that aren't connected in any way to electricity.

 

Then get these spring loaded ones for the bedroom: http://www.amazon.com/Kidco-Universal-Outlet-Cover-Beige-3/dp/B001O21F34 -- if he unplugs something, the cover immediately slides over the outlet so he can't push his fingers in. (I love these too because you don't have to pry those #$@! little covers off.)

 

Are the electrical sockets the only thing that aren't working, or are there other things that are causing you to question GD?

 

It's important to remember that he's THREE. And he sounds like an impulsive three at that. For many children, impulse control doesn't develop until 4-5. You can 'work on' it by playing games like Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I?  But one of the reasons that Simon Says is fun for 4 year olds and really boring for 10 year olds is that 4 year olds have trouble stopping doing something, whereas 10 year olds have got it down pat. 4 year olds are likely to mess up and they have to concentrate. (And your son is not yet 4.)

 

Three year olds are also very concrete learners and very physical learners. That shock that he got (he didn't actually electrocute himself), might well be what he needed to 'get it' when you say "that's dangerous". Now you can say "remember the shock you got?"

 

A book that might help you is "The Emotional Life of the Toddler" -- there's a great chapter in there about the active child (don't remember what it's called but that's the gist of it). These kids do calm down, but it takes until they're 4-5.


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#9 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas!  Lots of good information and advice.  It isn't just the electric sockets...its safety in general.  Today he tried to dart into the street (again) and also climbed up and perched himself in a window that he had opened (we forgot to lock).  He does *know* that these things aren't safe.  It is pretty interesting to watch him actually see an opportunity while I'm doing dishes or something and go for it.  He knows I am watching, but also knows it will take me a second to dry off my hands or whatever.  Same thing with hitting/kicking/  He knows it isn't okay but we're at a loss to change the behavior.  I think what a lot of you have said about impulse control is right though, so I guess we'll just keep on doing the same things.  Like I mentioned before, timeout and taking away the pet store did not help any more than anything gentle we've done, so I guess I didn't really expect anyone to have some magic gentle discipline tool that would solve the problem, but I was kind of hoping someone would!  The other thing is that although he turned three a few months ago, he does have gross motor and speech delays, and I very much wonder sometimes if there is an auditory processing component that is going along with some of this.  I didn't want to throw that out there initially when I posted because I wanted to see what people had to say, but I think that in a lot of ways, he's a very "young" three because of that too.  Thanks everyone for your replies! 

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#10 of 23 Old 08-17-2011, 05:52 PM
 
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There is *that stretch* during a child's life where you know s/he understands the "no" but the impulse control is not there.  At what age totally depends on the kid, and of course it remains to a certain degree as they age.  (I won't even start addressing adolescence!)  You can see the battle going on in their eyes.  I see it with my 6.5yo about certain things.  It is a skill that even normal adults don't learn perfectly.  Look at our waistlines!  In our longer discussions, I like to point out that some things are hard to learn for everybody.  We can accept this behavior in kids, but we expect them to learn to control their impulses as they grow up.  Of course, this isn't a 3yo conversation but a nearly-7yo one.  But it's a helpful perspective for a parent to have.


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#11 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 05:56 AM
 
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What has worked best for DS is giving him some kind of control and ability to safely use whatever he is interested in.

We had major issues with the electrical outlets, it was a many-times-a-day struggle. We ended up rewiring all of our outlets with built-in internal shutters (took only a couple hours and $20, they are called tamper-resistant outlets & I got them at Home Depot). We removed all the plastic plugs since they were no longer necessary or even remotely effective, essentially he thought they were another 'toy' to play with! Then, the crucial part -- we taught him how to plug in & unplug things. We showed him how you should only touch the plastic part. We hovered anxiously while he practiced. He learned. He hasn't touched the outlets in a dangerous way since then, and he takes great pride in unplugging the vacuum for me. This was probably a little less than a year ago, when he was just under 2yo, so I think a 3yo could probably learn the same thing. Now, he still does occasionally unplug things at inconvenient times (like my computer, while I'm working!) but at least it's not dangerous, and I can push the couch in front of the computer outlet.

With hitting/kicking, I think the tendency is just to view it as negative behavior, and forget that it serves a purpose for the child. What purpose, though, depends on the context. If DS is trying to get someone to get out of his personal space, then we show him other techniques -- like he can ask them to move, or walk away, etc. Often, he just wants to have some physical contact with someone, so we suggest high-fives, clapping games, hugs... Then there are times when I feel like he just needs the physical intensity of hitting, so we will hit the floor in a rhythmic beat, stomp around, throw balls, etc.

And with the window, one -- make sure you figure out a fail-safe way to keep it locked, like some kind of visual reminder, or what we do is only open the windows from the top down, and there is a bar holding the bottom window so it can't be opened. But also, think about ways that he can enjoy the view appropriately. We have chairs and couches in front of most of our windows, so DS can climb on those to see out. He loves looking out the window. smile.gif

I guess my point is not the details of any of those examples, though... but that one of the most effective GD tools I've found is honoring but redirecting the impulse. I read it all the time on here but it's easy to forget (especially if I'm afraid he's going to get hurt, then my rational mind goes out the window!!) Also, this might be a good time to start working on getting him to redirect himself (with verbal coaching)... I noticed that I had gotten so much in the habit of physically redirecting DS (picking him up and moving him, for ex.) that he wasn't getting much chance to learn to do this himself, and I didn't notice it 'til I was talking to a friend about these kinds of things. So I am trying to be more verbal and less physical, though as we transition, I do a lot of hand-holding and gently pushing/leading because I know words alone won't always suffice, but we're getting therel! And then when you're doing dishes, you won't have to stop, dry your hands, etc., but instead just ask him to get down & tell him what he can do instead.

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#12 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What has worked best for DS is giving him some kind of control and ability to safely use whatever he is interested in.

We had major issues with the electrical outlets, it was a many-times-a-day struggle. We ended up rewiring all of our outlets with built-in internal shutters (took only a couple hours and $20, they are called tamper-resistant outlets & I got them at Home Depot). We removed all the plastic plugs since they were no longer necessary or even remotely effective, essentially he thought they were another 'toy' to play with! Then, the crucial part -- we taught him how to plug in & unplug things. We showed him how you should only touch the plastic part. We hovered anxiously while he practiced. He learned. He hasn't touched the outlets in a dangerous way since then, and he takes great pride in unplugging the vacuum for me. This was probably a little less than a year ago, when he was just under 2yo, so I think a 3yo could probably learn the same thing. Now, he still does occasionally unplug things at inconvenient times (like my computer, while I'm working!) but at least it's not dangerous, and I can push the couch in front of the computer outlet.

With hitting/kicking, I think the tendency is just to view it as negative behavior, and forget that it serves a purpose for the child. What purpose, though, depends on the context. If DS is trying to get someone to get out of his personal space, then we show him other techniques -- like he can ask them to move, or walk away, etc. Often, he just wants to have some physical contact with someone, so we suggest high-fives, clapping games, hugs... Then there are times when I feel like he just needs the physical intensity of hitting, so we will hit the floor in a rhythmic beat, stomp around, throw balls, etc.

And with the window, one -- make sure you figure out a fail-safe way to keep it locked, like some kind of visual reminder, or what we do is only open the windows from the top down, and there is a bar holding the bottom window so it can't be opened. But also, think about ways that he can enjoy the view appropriately. We have chairs and couches in front of most of our windows, so DS can climb on those to see out. He loves looking out the window. smile.gif

I guess my point is not the details of any of those examples, though... but that one of the most effective GD tools I've found is honoring but redirecting the impulse. I read it all the time on here but it's easy to forget (especially if I'm afraid he's going to get hurt, then my rational mind goes out the window!!) Also, this might be a good time to start working on getting him to redirect himself (with verbal coaching)... I noticed that I had gotten so much in the habit of physically redirecting DS (picking him up and moving him, for ex.) that he wasn't getting much chance to learn to do this himself, and I didn't notice it 'til I was talking to a friend about these kinds of things. So I am trying to be more verbal and less physical, though as we transition, I do a lot of hand-holding and gently pushing/leading because I know words alone won't always suffice, but we're getting therel! And then when you're doing dishes, you won't have to stop, dry your hands, etc., but instead just ask him to get down & tell him what he can do instead.



Thanks crunchymommy!  Very good point about the habit of physically redirecting.  That is a huge issue right now.  I constantly used to pull DS up on my lap and snuggling with him could stop pretty much any behavior.  Now I am pregnant, on modified bed rest, and not allowed to lift at all, so sometimes it is hard for him to settle his body when he doesn't have that same physical touch.  I encourage him to climb up by me, but when he's really wanting to do something (like kick the crap out of the babysitter or DH), I can't convince him to come up and snuggle.  Also good point about the physical intensity.   He does have some sensory issues too that we haven't done much to address lately because again I can't be doing all of the sensory activities he used to do but we're working on it.  The windows start only about a foot off the floor, so he can see out just fine...I think he just likes the feeling of sitting up there.  It sucks because we can't have the windows open when he's doing that or I have to be hypervigilant.  Thank you for the ideas! 

 

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#13 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is *that stretch* during a child's life where you know s/he understands the "no" but the impulse control is not there.  At what age totally depends on the kid, and of course it remains to a certain degree as they age.  (I won't even start addressing adolescence!)  You can see the battle going on in their eyes.  I see it with my 6.5yo about certain things.  It is a skill that even normal adults don't learn perfectly.  Look at our waistlines!  In our longer discussions, I like to point out that some things are hard to learn for everybody.  We can accept this behavior in kids, but we expect them to learn to control their impulses as they grow up.  Of course, this isn't a 3yo conversation but a nearly-7yo one.  But it's a helpful perspective for a parent to have.



Ha!  I am laughing out loud at your post as I stare at my own waistline which is up 28 pounds in 24 weeks.  Yikes.  Good point.  As far as the battle in their eyes...that is sometimes where I am a bit concerned, because there is no battle in DS's eyes.  Nothing but pure determination to do whatever it is he wants without an ounce of restraint, but I suppose that will come with time. 

 

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#14 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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A 3-yr-old really doesn't understand the word "Don't" (I have a great story about my twins at that age, involving the phrase "don't eat the worm"). Instead, retrain yourself to use positive commands: sit on the floor (instead of "don't sit on the window"), Feet together (instead of don't kick), and so on. It takes a bit of practice before "do" statements become as natural as "don't", but they work a whole lot better. One of our twins went through a biting stage, and sometimes we could ward off an impending bite by saying "Give kisses!" It didn't work every time, but often enough to be worth trying. The beauty of this approach is that as soon as the child follows directions (and therefore stops doing whatever he's not supposed to do), you can reinforce that acceptable behavior ("Thanks for sitting! Climbing on the window is dangerous"). We would use phrases like "Hands on your head" or "Clap your hands" if they were reaching for something they shouldn't.

 

Along the same lines, it is important to "catch him being good". If he's wound up and does NOT kick the sitter, acknowledge that you notice he was doing something else with his feet (I wouldn't say "not kicking" because you'll no doubt plant the idea!) In our case, with twins, we would comment when they were playing nicely together. Teaching them what To do is at least as important as teaching what not to do.

 

I agree with the others about impulse control, and making consequences fit the crime (there's no connection between kicking and not going to the pet store, for example). A logical consequence of kicking someone is that they turn their back on you, or walk away, or shout "Ouch!" so loudly it startles you.


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#15 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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Oh man, if you're pregnant and on bedrest, all bets are off! He's probably climbing the walls right along with you. I think you're in 'manage as best you can' mode and don't worry too much about your discipline 'failing'. Given his language delay, you'd be best off to treat him as a crafty 2 year old in terms of expectations. (Crafty in that he's got the skills to get into situations that most 2 year olds can't, but 2 in terms of understanding an impulse control.)

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#16 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh man, if you're pregnant and on bedrest, all bets are off! He's probably climbing the walls right along with you. I think you're in 'manage as best you can' mode and don't worry too much about your discipline 'failing'. Given his language delay, you'd be best off to treat him as a crafty 2 year old in terms of expectations. (Crafty in that he's got the skills to get into situations that most 2 year olds can't, but 2 in terms of understanding an impulse control.)



Yeah, you are right.  I am glad to hear others don't think it is so much an issue of GD failing as I was thinking when I posted this. Pregnancy hormones are making me a bit of a nut too.  Most people I know who do use GD seem to have kids who listen when they tell them to walk away from the electric socket or whatever.  We are both totally crawling the walls though.  And yes, we do probably need to think of him more like a crafty two year old.  DH has pretty significant ADD and I have a feeling we are going to be dealing with that with DS too.  We're used to thinking of him as two as far as both expressive and receptive language skills as well as motor skills, but sometimes I forget that things like impulse control probably go along with the other delays.  

 

And, if anyone is wondering, apparently he did not learn his lesson.  Today DH had the griddle plugged in and was making pancakes.  I was sitting there watching and he was standing flipping the pancakes when DS ran over and unplugged it.  He was literally touching DH when he did it and was that fast.  Nothing happened obviously, but whatever shock he got the other night apparently didn't make an impression on him which also makes me realize that any other discipline technique other than constantly redirecting him and anticipating this stuff in the first place isn't going to work.  It does make me a little worried about later on.  DH and one of his sisters were both big risk takers growing up and I was so hoping to have kids who were a bit more cautious for my own sanity. 

 

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#17 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A 3-yr-old really doesn't understand the word "Don't" (I have a great story about my twins at that age, involving the phrase "don't eat the worm"). Instead, retrain yourself to use positive commands: sit on the floor (instead of "don't sit on the window"), Feet together (instead of don't kick), and so on. It takes a bit of practice before "do" statements become as natural as "don't", but they work a whole lot better. One of our twins went through a biting stage, and sometimes we could ward off an impending bite by saying "Give kisses!" It didn't work every time, but often enough to be worth trying. The beauty of this approach is that as soon as the child follows directions (and therefore stops doing whatever he's not supposed to do), you can reinforce that acceptable behavior ("Thanks for sitting! Climbing on the window is dangerous"). We would use phrases like "Hands on your head" or "Clap your hands" if they were reaching for something they shouldn't.

 

Along the same lines, it is important to "catch him being good". If he's wound up and does NOT kick the sitter, acknowledge that you notice he was doing something else with his feet (I wouldn't say "not kicking" because you'll no doubt plant the idea!) In our case, with twins, we would comment when they were playing nicely together. Teaching them what To do is at least as important as teaching what not to do.

 

I agree with the others about impulse control, and making consequences fit the crime (there's no connection between kicking and not going to the pet store, for example). A logical consequence of kicking someone is that they turn their back on you, or walk away, or shout "Ouch!" so loudly it startles you.



Thanks mama!  We actually do tell him what to do and not what not to do.  I was being sarcastic about the "no eletrocuting yourself" stuff.  We normally tell him to "please walk away.  that isn't safe" or please touch your babysitter gently (instead of attempting to beat her up every time she comes over... ugh!).  I may suggest to her though that she starts with the logical consequences for that stuff with him though.  She seems totally paralyzed to deal with it when I'm around and says it doesn't happen when I'm not there.  Pretty sure she is just trying to be nice though. 

 

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#18 of 23 Old 08-18-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post

A 3-yr-old really doesn't understand the word "Don't" (I have a great story about my twins at that age, involving the phrase "don't eat the worm"). Instead, retrain yourself to use positive commands: sit on the floor (instead of "don't sit on the window"), Feet together (instead of don't kick), and so on. It takes a bit of practice before "do" statements become as natural as "don't", but they work a whole lot better.


I am not disagreeing with you, but years ago the point was made to me that a "no" statement is actually more freeing than a "do this" statement.  The example given was a child walking with his parents.  "Don't walk in the street" leaves more options open to him than "Stay on the sidewalk".  He can walk on the sidewalk, the grass, down a garden path, around a tree, anywhere but the street.  Perhaps this is why you get such good results with your positive statements-- the meaning is concise.  But we parents need to realize how limiting a positive statement can be, use it appropriately, and not to shy away from negative commands (like my example) when the situation allows it.

 


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#19 of 23 Old 08-19-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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You make a good point, SweetSilver. I didn't use "do" statements in an attempt to micromanage everything my kids did, but in place of "No" to immediately stop them from doing something harmful (like "sit on your bottom" when they are climbing up the back of a chair).

 

The "Don't eat the worm" incident at our house simply emphasized the fact that toddlers hear the last part of the sentence, not the "Don't" part. It didn't occur to either of my kids that they should eat an earthworm until my Dad told them "Don't eat the worm!" Their faces first showed disgust, then you could see the wheels turing in their heads as they thought "...eat the worm ... Grandpa said eat the worm".

 

Tel a kid "Don't jump on the bed", and he'll keep doing it - not necessarily because he's being deifiant, but because he can't think of an alternative behavior. If I said "Don't think about a chimpanzee wearing a tutu riding a tricycle", it's going to take some effort on your part to get that image out of your head. Young kids have a lot more trouble thinking about something else, and telling them what to do instead of what not to do provides an immediate alternative. The work is on us to think of something else, not them.


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The "Don't eat the worm" incident at our house simply emphasized the fact that toddlers hear the last part of the sentence, not the "Don't" part. It didn't occur to either of my kids that they should eat an earthworm until my Dad told them "Don't eat the worm!" Their faces first showed disgust, then you could see the wheels turing in their heads as they thought "...eat the worm ... Grandpa said eat the worm".

 

biglaugh.gifYou made my morning.  This is hilarious!
 

 


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#21 of 23 Old 08-20-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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How consistent are you being with your expectations and the consequences?  When he hits or kicks you guys does he get a different reaction based on how stressed out you are?  When you give a consequence is it from frustration or is it a predictable one each time?  Consistency can really make a big difference for a lot of kids.  If you have tried consequences sometimes but they are generally only put into place when you are frustrated then you may need to find something that is consistent and you can stick with for a month.  A few unrelated moments of giving a consequence in the heat of the moment is not going to change long term behavior. 

 

Keep in mind that it is very normal to have times when you question what you are doing and if it is right though.  It sounds like you had a big scare, but really your son probably would have wanted to find out what would happen when he played with the cords even if you smacked him every time he went near them.  Kids do the craziest things just because they wanted to see what would happen and it doesn't really have anything to do with parenting style.  If you have been mostly happy with parenting until this moment then I think you should continue on as you are doing right now.  If you still feel the need for a change in a few weeks, after you have gotten over the electrocution, then you should look for changes to make.

 

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#22 of 23 Old 08-21-2011, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How consistent are you being with your expectations and the consequences?  When he hits or kicks you guys does he get a different reaction based on how stressed out you are? 

Yes.... eek.  I didn't even think about that, but very good point.  It is really more a matter of how tired I am.  This pregnancy is kicking my butt and I've already been in L&D for contractions, so my response is definitely different if I am laying on the couch just trying to tame the contractions versus when I'm doing okay.  I'm pretty consistent otherwise, but this is probably part of the reason discipline is seeming to be a bigger challenge lately, because the consistency is definitely not what it once was.  Thank you for pointing that out. 

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#23 of 23 Old 08-22-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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What is the consequence when he hits/kicks?


Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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