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#1 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious how others handle this.  My three year old is incredibly single minded with certain things.  When we have to say "no" to something, he will ask literally 100 times again and again and again.  I'm not even talking about saying no to things we could say yes to.  For instance, take the request to "walk on the ceiling."  Sorry, it is impossible.  So what we normally do is: A) explain why that does not work B) suggest other options like "we can pretend the floor is the ceiling!  we can put our feet on the wall and pretend that is the ceiling!  we can make your baby walk on the ceiling of her house!"  Yeah, that doesn't work.  So then C) We validate feelings "I see you're really frustrated you can't walk on the ceiling (again validating probably 10-20 times as he keeps repeating "I want to walk on the ceiling!  Can I?!" and the D) We attempt to redirect which may or may not work.

 

So how do you other wise mamas handle requests that are either outrageous or just something you cannot allow (ie. new one...Mom.  Can I pee on your phone?")  Is there a point where you quit responding to the request?  After how many times of explaining, validating, redirecting?  When do you just give up? 

 

I swear a whining three year old has to be one of the most frustrating sounds in the world. 

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#2 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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So true, it does get annoying. I don't have much advice for you, but I can tell you that you're more patient than me. My 3 year old is spirited and can be quite persistent, and from what I hear, it's because they are in the stage where they are learning to be more independent. 

 

I just finished reading the book "Raising Your Spirited Child". It had so many great ideas about how to help a persistent child. For the life of me, I can't remember what they are... sleep deprivation kills brain cells. headscratch.gif

 

And  by the way, my way of dealing with it lately is to (after explaining why we can't do such and such) ask him questions like "what do you think it would be like to walk on the ceiling?" "Would you wear moon boots to walk on the ceiling?" 

 

Hope you get some good advice, I could use it too!


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#3 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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#4 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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Uh..... ignore?  Honestly, I'd respond with why not, but then probably just stop responding after a bit.  I mean if I've already explained why we can't walk on the ceiling or why it's not ok to pee on phones then, well, I've already explained.  Sure it might not be the answer he was looking for, but there's not much I can do about it, yk.  I'd probably make an effort to change the subject and then leave it at that.  I've definitely been know to say things along the lines of "I'm tired of answering the same question over and over again.  I'm going to talk about something else now".

 

I also might turn it around with "what do you think?"  ("But WHY can't I walk on the ceiling?!?!"  "What do you think ds?")

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#5 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by BonnieNova View Post

So true, it does get annoying.

 

And  by the way, my way of dealing with it lately is to (after explaining why we can't do such and such) ask him questions like "what do you think it would be like to walk on the ceiling?" "Would you wear moon boots to walk on the ceiling?" 

 

Hope you get some good advice, I could use it too!


So annoying!!  Thank you for the suggestion!  Unfortunately, the questions don't work either with him....just more of the same whine/cry/whine/cry/beg/nag/whine.

 

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Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post

For your DS, I would probably turn it around on him and ask him why he wants to walk on the ceiling or ask him to think about something else he could do that would be like walking on the ceiling.  He gets stuck on things--let him be stuck by having HIM be the one who gets creative.  He's only 3, he can only go so far with his creativity, but a.) it's great for his development and b.) it relieves you of the frustration winky.gif

Thank you too!  I should have mentioned this is one of the ways I try unsuccessfully to redirect him.  It might work one out of ten times, which I guess gets me to the actual real question... which you nailed pianojazzgirl.  I guess I am feel guilty ignoring but my real question should have been: Is it okay to just start ignoring once we've been through all the above steps that I listed initially?  Is there something decidedly un-gentle discipline/attachment parenting about just saying "I've explained already.  I'm not going to explain another time."  Then what?  Walk out of the room?  Stay there and comfort but don't respond?  Help me mamas!  There are days when he does this with 10 different things multiplied by 100 questions and you've got 1000 whiny/cranky/crying questions.  So when is ignoring appropriate with a three year old?  TIA :)

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Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

Uh..... ignore?  Honestly, I'd respond with why not, but then probably just stop responding after a bit.  I mean if I've already explained why we can't walk on the ceiling or why it's not ok to pee on phones then, well, I've already explained. 

 

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#6 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post
I guess I am feel guilty ignoring but my real question should have been: Is it okay to just start ignoring once we've been through all the above steps that I listed initially?  Is there something decidedly un-gentle discipline/attachment parenting about just saying "I've explained already.  I'm not going to explain another time."  Then what?  Walk out of the room?  Stay there and comfort but don't respond?  Help me mamas!  There are days when he does this with 10 different things multiplied by 100 questions and you've got 1000 whiny/cranky/crying questions.  So when is ignoring appropriate with a three year old?  TIA :)

 


Yep. Our son was incredibly persistent as well. Eventually, I realized that it took 2 to argue, and that if he didn't get a response, he would after 10-15 minutes, eventually subside. It's a LONG 10-15 minutes though.

 

Two other things that sometimes helped:

1. The 'less is more' approach to explanations. Sometimes, our kids think that because we're still talking, the matter is still open for discussion. Our son was king of the "why", but sometimes a firm "no" with no other explanations can forestall a 20 minute argument. (The peeing on the phone would have gotten that.)

 

2. Sometimes if you can help him imagine what would happen, it can satisfy them. So the walking on the ceiling is good time for that. "Wouldn't it be cool to walk on the ceiling? What would you do up there?" I confess that it worked better for dd than for ds. But even now, at age 7, it works well for dd. 

 


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#7 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Thank you too!  I should have mentioned this is one of the ways I try unsuccessfully to redirect him.  It might work one out of ten times, which I guess gets me to the actual real question... which you nailed pianojazzgirl.  I guess I am feel guilty ignoring but my real question should have been: Is it okay to just start ignoring once we've been through all the above steps that I listed initially?  Is there something decidedly un-gentle discipline/attachment parenting about just saying "I've explained already.  I'm not going to explain another time."  Then what?  Walk out of the room?  Stay there and comfort but don't respond?  Help me mamas!  There are days when he does this with 10 different things multiplied by 100 questions and you've got 1000 whiny/cranky/crying questions.  So when is ignoring appropriate with a three year old?  TIA :)

 

 

I've felt the same sort of guilt over wanting to ignore my son's "whys".  I've come to realize that it's important to set boundaries and I see nothing wrong with this from an attachment parenting perspective.  It's not reasonable to expect someone to answer the same question over and over nor is this helpful for the child in terms of development.  They need to understand that not every question has an answer (don't be afraid to say "I don't know", for example) or that whatever they are asking simply is not possible.  It's okay to say this, to try to help them understand as best you can, then make it clear that you're done talking about that.  The more you do this, the more he will become satisfied with your responses, I'd imagine.  Maybe he's becoming conditioned to expect you to keep talking and talking, so he sees no reason why he should stop, either.  I hope this helps some.
 

 

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#8 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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Whenever DD asked repetitively to do something impossible and wouldn't accept my reasoning, I usually went with "Go right ahead." Obviously not with anything that could be a safety concern, but in the example of walking on the ceiling, I'd likely give her the green light. She'd get creative, problem solve, eventually decide on her own that it just wasn't doable, and come complain to me, at which point I'd empathize, and we'd move on. Sometimes she needed the chance to find out for herself that some things really can't be done, not just because Mommy said no. When it was something that I just absolutely would not allow (like peeing on my phone), I'd answer her and tell her why no more than twice, when she'd ask again I'd respond with "What do you think?" If she continued after that, I went with "I already answered that. I'm not going to talk about this anymore." and then ignored any further requests. 

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#9 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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I love your pragmatic (and safe) approach - discuss it, if child insists then he/she can try, then discuss again or if the issue is closed - leave it behind!  Great attitude!

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#10 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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For silly and fun ones,  like the walk on the ceiling, I would validate and do talking wish-fulfillment.

 

"Yes, it would be kind of cool if we could, but we can't. Wouldn't it be neat if we had something sticky in our feet  like geckos or flies. Or like astronauts in a space station. What would yo do if you could walk on the ceiling?...."

 

Maybe even go to find that sequence where Ferd Astaire does dance on the ceiling?

 

Defintely there is a point where he needs to cut it out.

 

 Perhaps something along the lines of:

"Darling, I know you wish you could walk on the ceiling. We've had fun talking about what it might be like. But it is not possible at this stage. Maybe when you are a grown up you can invent something that allows people to walk on the ceiling or become an astronaut, but it cannot happen now, so we will stop talking about it.

 

If he then continues to say "I want to walk on the ceiling", tell him that repeating his desire will not make it happen. Then if he continues, tell him to take his whining to another room, or just cut it out.

 


re: peeing on the phone

 I think a simple "Yuck! No!"  Or that plus a short disquisition on how it's unhygienic and may destroy the phone, plus  the possibility of electric shock via pee. Then maybe add  a  comment  like "I suspect you were just trying to be silly and see how I'd react. "

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#11 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Oooh! Oooh! Give him a hand mirror to look down at while walking around the house. I used to love doing that as a kid. It felt like walking on the ceiling. It was "scary" (in a fun way) to start downstairs, then when I got to the stairs it felt like I was walking off a cliff when it changed from the basement ceiling to the upstairs ceiling :)


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#12 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 06:29 AM
 
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i love lilstar's idea-- i used to do that too.  super fun.

i think it's ok to ignore, or else what if you wrote down some of the research-able ones (not the phone pee one) and checked out books on gravity, for example?  is s/he asking to learn more deeply about things or just trying to push your buttons/get your attention?  i know that's hard to tell. 

what happens if you ask questions back?  like... what do you think would happen if you peed on the phone?

or what would it be like to walk on the ceiling? 

or ask him/her to draw it or record himself telling a story about the event?  could you channel it creatively (but it sounds like you've tried it). 

i'd probably cut that discussion short if i thought it was just so i could say NO about something and just ask ridiculous questions right back...


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#13 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I ignore after awhile, too. I do try to have a conversation about it, hoping to satisfy him, but somehow that rarely seems to work. Then after 3-4 explanations of why, I ask him to tell me. See? I already answered that, since you know why now. End of discussion. Or I simply tell him that I've already answered that and we're moving on. If he wants to whine about it, he can whine in his room, but I only speak to people who use their big-boy voices b/c the whining hurts my ears. He has started to come around with this, and I like it better than ignoring, b/c for us, ignoring doesn't really discourage him, and I remember my parents doing that to me, and even though I know NOW how it really was, at the time it hurt my feelings and made me insecure.

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#14 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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What you describe is what I meant when I said "ignore" upthread.  I guess I meant, after a reasonable amount of explaining, *then* ignore.  ;)  (and I have the same approach as you re. whining)
 

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I ignore after awhile, too. I do try to have a conversation about it, hoping to satisfy him, but somehow that rarely seems to work. Then after 3-4 explanations of why, I ask him to tell me. See? I already answered that, since you know why now. End of discussion. Or I simply tell him that I've already answered that and we're moving on. If he wants to whine about it, he can whine in his room, but I only speak to people who use their big-boy voices b/c the whining hurts my ears. He has started to come around with this, and I like it better than ignoring, b/c for us, ignoring doesn't really discourage him, and I remember my parents doing that to me, and even though I know NOW how it really was, at the time it hurt my feelings and made me insecure.


 

 


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#15 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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For stuff that seems impossible I would turn it into a science question...I don't think you can, but let's see...let's look up how we can defy gravity. 

 

For stuff that is possible but not allowed, I would go for the "I've already given you my answer on that." approach (repeat ad nauseum)  shrug and put on some music.

 

I think we miss great opportunities for learning when we dismiss stuff as impossible.  THAT is why the average 3 yo seems so frustrating, because they are still learning you have already learned.  You want them to take your word for it, but most kids aren't the kind of kids who learn by listening and trusting others, and to be honest, those kids can be easily lead down the garden path and though they might make easier toddlers, they may have a heck of a time as teens with peer pressure.

 

Whenever DS asked me (and asks me) about something I am not sure of or something he wants to try out that I believe to be impossible, we head to the internet and look it up.  Google is his favorite page. 

 

 


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#16 of 22 Old 10-29-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post

Whenever DD asked repetitively to do something impossible and wouldn't accept my reasoning, I usually went with "Go right ahead." Obviously not with anything that could be a safety concern, but in the example of walking on the ceiling, I'd likely give her the green light.



I agree with this. Also, to silly requests I would give silly answers. For the "peeing on your phone" question, I would reply: "yes you can, but I want to pee on your phone / doll / whatever first". Usually this kind of conversations end with a lot of laughter in my ds's case, because he has to persuade me why I can't do whatever I asked first.

 

For example: DS: mom, can I have X (something he's not allowed)?

Me: Yes, but I can I bite your nose first?

Ds: NO! of course you CAN'T!!!

Me: Why??? Just a bit, can I please?


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#17 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your ideas!  I am going to try them.  We definitely have not done any research on gravity or anything like that yet and I'm not so sure he would "get it" as he has some developmental delays, but it is definitely worth a shot.  Same thing with the silly stuff...we have done some of this before without luck but it has been a while since we tried so it is probably worth another try.  My only fear is if I ask him if I can pee on his xyz, he'll probably say yes and be all for the idea...lol.  Anyhow that is how it was a few months ago.  I will let you all know how it works out.  If not, thanks for giving me the confidence to know stopping the conversation and ignoring after a billion requests is okay :). 

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#18 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Thank you everyone for your ideas!  I am going to try them.  We definitely have not done any research on gravity or anything like that yet and I'm not so sure he would "get it" as he has some developmental delays, but it is definitely worth a shot.  Same thing with the silly stuff...we have done some of this before without luck but it has been a while since we tried so it is probably worth another try.  My only fear is if I ask him if I can pee on his xyz, he'll probably say yes and be all for the idea...lol.  Anyhow that is how it was a few months ago.  I will let you all know how it works out.  If not, thanks for giving me the confidence to know stopping the conversation and ignoring after a billion requests is okay :). 



Hehe. That's how my DD has always been prone to be. I don't take that route often because of it. When I do want to do a silly response like that, I have to pause and think very carefully first to try and come up with something that she would definitely say no to. Though on a couple situations she got stuck on what I asked if I could do and then backed out on, so I guess it did at least take the attention off what she originally wanted.

 

"Mommy, can I do this?"

"Only if I can sit on your head."

"Okay! Sit on my head, Mommy!"

"huh.gif I don't really want to sit on your head..."

"Do it! Sit on my head! Sit on my head!"

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#19 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hehe. That's how my DD has always been prone to be. I don't take that route often because of it. When I do want to do a silly response like that, I have to pause and think very carefully first to try and come up with something that she would definitely say no to. Though on a couple situations she got stuck on what I asked if I could do and then backed out on, so I guess it did at least take the attention off what she originally wanted.

 

"Mommy, can I do this?"

"Only if I can sit on your head."

"Okay! Sit on my head, Mommy!"

"huh.gif I don't really want to sit on your head..."

"Do it! Sit on my head! Sit on my head!"



Lol!  This has actually happened in our house. 

"Daddy, I want to ride on your shoulders." 

"My shoulders are too tired.  Can I ride on yours?" 

"Yay!!! Ride on my shoulders Daddy!! Ride on my shoulders" 

.....which is practically more work to not crush DS than putting him up on DH's shoulders.  Although I guess it does sometimes end the original whining. 

 

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#20 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Maybe you could do some fun gravity experiments, like putting wate in a bucket and swinging it super fast upside down to see how the water stays in the bucket, or watch some videos about roller coaster and ask him to think about why the people don't fall out.

 

My son tested gravity at the age of 3.5 by throwing a large rock in the air and watching it land on his own head...very bloody and upsetting results...I wish I had known about http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/ back then. Maybe we could have directed him to some safer theory testing.

 

Also, if you can find a good kids science museum near you, you may want to buy a membership.  If you have time to go often, that is. He sounds like a budding physicist, and they can offer him a safe way to experiment with things like what happens when liquids meet electronics, and how come flies and gekoes can walk on the ceiling but kids can't.   

 

 


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#21 of 22 Old 10-31-2011, 06:27 AM
 
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OP, you've gotten a lot of great ideas!

 

When my twins would go on and on about something, I'd say "Do you think if you ask 10 more times, I'll change my mind?" Or, if they were actually throwing a tantrum about something (and the mood was right), I'd ask "Do you think if you yell and scream loud enough I'll change my mind? Go ahead, give it a try!"  Encouraging them to throw a bigger fit was silly, and they knew it - but they would play along. A minute later I'd pause, concentrate hard, and say "Nope - the answer is the same". That worked in our house because if I made a decision about something, I stuck to it - no amount of whining or begging would get me to change my mind, and they knew it.

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#22 of 22 Old 10-31-2011, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

 If you have time to go often, that is. He sounds like a budding physicist, and they can offer him a safe way to experiment with things like what happens when liquids meet electronics, and how come flies and gekoes can walk on the ceiling but kids can't.   


I would love to say it is all about his scientific curiosity and creativity, but the truth is he's this way about just about everything...the peeing on the phone and walking on the ceiling were just the first two examples to come to mind, lol!

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Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post

OP, you've gotten a lot of great ideas!

 

When my twins would go on and on about something, I'd say "Do you think if you ask 10 more times, I'll change my mind?" Or, if they were actually throwing a tantrum about something (and the mood was right), I'd ask "Do you think if you yell and scream loud enough I'll change my mind? Go ahead, give it a try!"  Encouraging them to throw a bigger fit was silly, and they knew it - but they would play along. A minute later I'd pause, concentrate hard, and say "Nope - the answer is the same". That worked in our house because if I made a decision about something, I stuck to it - no amount of whining or begging would get me to change my mind, and they knew it.

That will probably work at least some times!  Thanks for the idea.  I do notice when we give him a chance to "be noisy" and express his frustration loudly and encourage it, he pretty much quits whining/crying immediately.  I have been using that for "legitimate" (in my mind, not to minimize his feelings) complaints, frustration, etc., but hadn't thought to use it with the seemingly more ridiculous requests that go on and on and on and on.  I will give it a try :). 

 

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