How do you get your kids to appreciate/respect what they have? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids are 4 and 7, and I feel like they do not appreciate what they have, at all.  This in turn results in them not taking care of any of their belongings.  We have done some volunteer work and helped others (including kids their age who had nothing including bare cupboards and fridge, which they saw).  We’ve adopted needy families at Christmas, and helped other down-and-out families during other times of the year.  They enjoyed bringing the families food, clothing and toys etc. and talked about how they were glad they had what they had, but it never translates in to taking care of their belongings or being thankful/grateful.

 

For example, they don’t seem to care if their toys get broken.  They don’t pick them up or look after them, in fact they will walk on them or kick them or draw on them.  They rip or cut the boxes to their games, and they throw their toys constantly.  They don’t have a lot of toys – I end up returning 90% of their birthday presents cause it’s just stuff they don’t need, and although Christmas and birthdays are one time I do spoil them (they get several presents), they get nothing from any of their grandparents or other relatives for birthdays of Christmas, (some do give money to me for their sports and activities).

 

Another example, they drag their brand new coat through the mud, walk on it, leave it in the playground, etc.

 

I’ve tried putting all of their toys away and only having one out, but they just end up taking things out of the kitchen cupboards or finding other things to play with (blankets, dishes, socks, shoes, umbrellas, etc.), and it’s the same thing – they end up all over the place with no care if they are taken care of or treated poorly.

 

I’m just so fed up.  I feel like telling them if they lose their coat, they have no coat (but I live in Canada so I’d probably have the CPS/CAS after me…I also don't feel right about that).  I feel like just taking all of their toys away, but then I’ll end up with MY things wrecked.

 

How do you teach your children to respect their belongings, and those of others, and to appreciate and take care of what they have?

 

Any ideas are welcome.

 

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#2 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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i feel for you.  my sons are 7 and 4.

i hope you get some answers here.  i'd like some help too!

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#3 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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I am interested in  hearing the responses.... 

 

One thing that has made a big impression on my kids is having had to apologize to our librarian when I have noticed library books were not treated properly.  For example, if I see that library books have been left on the floor (repeatedly) I have made them return them early to the library and explain to that they have not been taking good care of the things they have borrowed.  This makes a big impression on them, and they always are sincerely sorry and much more careful for at least the short term.

 

I routinely put things away when, with reminders, things are not being treated well.  It works pretty well and I use it as sort of standard policy. They let me know when they are "ready" to try again to be more responsible. 

 

Using the computer, instruments, certain art supplies etc... are privileges that come along with treating their own toys and belonging well.  This has been a helpful tool I use as a way to reward positive care.  It makes a BIG impression when one of the kids is able to have time at the computer because their things are put away, and someone else is not able to have a turn THIS TIME because of not taking care of their belongings.

 

I find smaller, consistent reminders and consequences work better in the long run.  It takes time to change habits.

 

I am looking forward to reading other suggestions!

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#4 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to those who have replied so far.  I also notice that this extends to food - they will take one sip of a juice box and then leave it, only to go get a new one a 1/2 hour later, and another 1/2 hour after that.  I come along and find all these nearly full juice boxes!  Such a waste.  Or they will ask for an apple, take one bite, then decide meh, they don't want it anymore, now they want a banana...

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#5 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Ok same problem at our house and this is what I did.  If the toys were destroyed they were thrown away and not replaced.  If they were buried in the backyard... yes a grave yard of barbie feet, I dug them up when doing yard work and threw them away and again did not replace them.  At this point the girls only have the occasional toy that is given to them as a gift.  Toys are so limited at our house they try to keep them safe and clean.  When you have a lot of something it's hard to place a value on it.  A new jacket drug through the mud... why heres your old not as glamorous jacket to wear until I get around to cleaning your new one.   We don't have a toy box anymore.  Just a shelf with art supplies and a few toys.  They now know that if they don't take care of it, it's gone. 

 

One year my mom bought DD2 a really cool doll house and DD1 convinced her to fill the floors with mud and gummy bears.  Destroyed!  And it stunk.  I tossed that and actually went and got a new one because DD1 is older and she convinced a 3 yr old to do it.  It was a collective effort but DD2 didn't want that done to her doll house and was actually pretty upset she didn't quite grasp the cause and effect part yet.  So you have to pick your battles but I do believe too much stuff is an issue.  And the amount varies per kid. 

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#6 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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On Supernanny, one family that had kids (about that age0 that really didn't appreciate their toys, Jo had the kids choose a set number of toys to keep and explained the importance of keeping their belongings safe.  The children boxed up the rest of their toys and each week as they'd proved they could take care of them, they were given the choice of 1 toy.

 

Another thing she suggested was cycling the toys, depending on age. Letting the kids box up toys that they weren't quite fond of anymore (but had loved at one time) then putting them away for a few weeks to a few months, then bringing them out and the toys were new and exciting again! 

 

That's all I've got.

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#7 of 32 Old 11-08-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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what others said about the toys. my kids have too many and don't take care of what they have. i have plans this weekend of getting rid of a bunch and putting away a bunch.

 

with the coat, yep here's your old coat.

 

as for the food.  no more juice boxes. period. get them each a cup, color code them, get a plate and bowl to. that is their cup, bowl, plate. they should use it every time. If they bite into an apple leave it on their plate until they are hungry later. or cut up an apple and banana and give them each some slices of both.Apples do well even the next day if you just cut off the part they bit, i slice it up at that point so they don't whine about it having a bite out of it.

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#8 of 32 Old 11-09-2011, 05:56 AM
 
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So many good ideas.

 

One thing that we implemented that seemed to work is set clean up times, usually before meals or other fun activities.  So, until you've put away your stuff nicely, no lunch, no park, no whatever.   After a few days it really does become routine for them.  You can also make cleaning up more fun.  We'll do, go quickly pick up 10 things.  Now pick up 5 things, but turn around after each item.   Or have races, can you put the books in the bookshelf nicely before A picks up the Legos?

 

Last year, I started teaching my older kids to clean their bathroom weekly.  (They were 7 and 5).  It really helped them to realize how much work it takes to clean it--and although not perfect--it did help them realize what it takes.  I also had them fold their shirts when they dumped out their drawers.  No, they don't fold very well, but it still took a lot of effort--and I had no qualms asking them to re-fold a shirt, if it wasn't their best effort.

 

When DS1 destroyed one of DS2's new birthday gifts, DS1 had to pay to replace it.  It cost him all of his piggy bank money, plus he had to do chores (helping DS2 do his chores) for two weeks.  That definitely made an impression.  

 

Definitely box up some of the toys.  Allow each kid 5-10 toys period.  Give them a box or a shelf...someplace to put them.  Don't go onto other activities until they've put them away.

 

I agree with the juice boxes.  Why are they getting new ones? No way.  Same with the apple...put it away...and give it to them later.  No banana just because they changed their mind.


Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#9 of 32 Old 11-09-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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It sounds like there are two related but somewhat separate issues: teaching children gratitude, and having them pick up after themselves. I think I would at least for some period of time try to teach those things separately, until they're able to connect the dots.


I think for teaching gratitude, saying some kind of grace at meals - not necessarily religious (although it certainly can be), but just expressing gratitude for how much you have - is one ritual that can help with that lesson. Also, working discussion of gratitude into regular conversation, like, "we're so lucky that we're able to have X. So many people are having to do without these days." Or even, "I'm very thankful we have such a nice dog. We're lucky people." They'll catch that feeling of gratitude if it's around them enough.

 

Gratitude is tied to compassion, because part of feeling grateful for what you have is having compassion for others who don't have the things you have, so the things you've done in that realm are great and will help.

 

As far as picking up, I feel like kids get into a habit of not picking up after themselves, and it can be more an issue of creating a habit than them not caring. I'd try to establish a new habit but really keeping right on them about it, but in a positive way, and help them as they do it. I'd try to keep a positive attitude about it, or at least neutral, because I think sometimes it turns to trouble when picking up is turned into a chore instead of a habit. And I'd try to do it like continually, kind of like cleaning as you cook and then there isn't much at all to do after the meal - you just work picking up the last thing before you get something else out. But it's a HUGE habit and it is not easy to get into. Many adults aren't into the habit. If you can get them into that habit, it will be a great gift to them for the rest of their lives. Maybe you can think of it as giving them a huge gift rather than hassling them.

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#10 of 32 Old 11-09-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
 Many adults aren't into the habit. If you can get them into that habit, it will be a great gift to them for the rest of their lives. Maybe you can think of it as giving them a huge gift rather than hassling them.


I'm one of those adults!  I love this perspective (teaching them good clean-up habits as being a gift).  I think I need to work on giving myself (and my kids) that gift!


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#11 of 32 Old 11-09-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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So many good ideas.

 

One thing that we implemented that seemed to work is set clean up times, usually before meals or other fun activities.  So, until you've put away your stuff nicely, no lunch, no park, no whatever.   After a few days it really does become routine for them.  You can also make cleaning up more fun.  We'll do, go quickly pick up 10 things.  Now pick up 5 things, but turn around after each item.   Or have races, can you put the books in the bookshelf nicely before A picks up the Legos?

 

 

One thing I see time and time again is to have something positive right after something negative.  My therapist even suggests this.  In the case of children, I often heard the suggestion, of phrasing something along the lines of, "I would really like you to enjoy as much time at the park/reading/playing as possible, we have set amount of time, and the quicker we get xyz done, the longer you have to do the enjoying activity."

 

My husband said his mother did this every single day when he got home from school with his homework.  They got a snack, and then immediately were offered play time.... as soon as their homework was done.  He says that rather than seeing it as having to do a negative activity, he always saw it as being able to get more positive activity once the unpleasant one was done.

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#12 of 32 Old 11-09-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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My kids are 4 and 7, and I feel like they do not appreciate what they have, at all.  This in turn results in them not taking care of any of their belongings.  We have done some volunteer work and helped others (including kids their age who had nothing including bare cupboards and fridge, which they saw).  We’ve adopted needy families at Christmas, and helped other down-and-out families during other times of the year.  They enjoyed bringing the families food, clothing and toys etc. and talked about how they were glad they had what they had, but it never translates in to taking care of their belongings or being thankful/grateful.

 

For example, they don’t seem to care if their toys get broken.  They don’t pick them up or look after them, in fact they will walk on them or kick them or draw on them.  They rip or cut the boxes to their games, and they throw their toys constantly.  They don’t have a lot of toys – I end up returning 90% of their birthday presents cause it’s just stuff they don’t need, and although Christmas and birthdays are one time I do spoil them (they get several presents), they get nothing from any of their grandparents or other relatives for birthdays of Christmas, (some do give money to me for their sports and activities).

 

Another example, they drag their brand new coat through the mud, walk on it, leave it in the playground, etc.

 

I’ve tried putting all of their toys away and only having one out, but they just end up taking things out of the kitchen cupboards or finding other things to play with (blankets, dishes, socks, shoes, umbrellas, etc.), and it’s the same thing – they end up all over the place with no care if they are taken care of or treated poorly.

 

I’m just so fed up.  I feel like telling them if they lose their coat, they have no coat (but I live in Canada so I’d probably have the CPS/CAS after me…I also don't feel right about that).  I feel like just taking all of their toys away, but then I’ll end up with MY things wrecked.

 

How do you teach your children to respect their belongings, and those of others, and to appreciate and take care of what they have?

 

Any ideas are welcome.

 


I went through this phase with Benjamin.  We found not giving him so much helped a lot.   One birthday present and one Christmas present.  He gets one pack of crayons, a back pack and a snack box and juice bottle in September and one set of beach toys at the start of the summer.  If they get broken or ruined or trashed and they cannot be fixed, they go in the bin and he has to wait a whole YEAR to get a new one.  Everything else bought or given to us by family and friends are deemed family gifts, so we control them at all times.  We started this by culling the existing toys, we had a garage sale and gave the rest to charity. We also implemented a policy that Christmas presents and birthday presents are a great time for getting stuff we need, but if we have everything we need then we can get fun stuff (we usually do).  Santa knows when we have been careless with our things, and will replace those things before he gets us shiny new toys. So if he lost his jacket or ruined it, or he destroyed his shoes or other things, we bought him new ones but that meant no money for a present that year at his birthday or at Christmas depending which was closest, or if it was a very long way from either of those, he had to pay it back in chores and we kept a chart of chores and how much they were worth and he slowly earned the price back.  I can't remember the last time he was careless with his belongings or ours.

 

 

 

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Thanks to those who have replied so far.  I also notice that this extends to food - they will take one sip of a juice box and then leave it, only to go get a new one a 1/2 hour later, and another 1/2 hour after that.  I come along and find all these nearly full juice boxes!  Such a waste.  Or they will ask for an apple, take one bite, then decide meh, they don't want it anymore, now they want a banana...


 

I don't see why it is a waste to have a half empty juice box...it's not like you throw that away, you just pop 'em in the fridge and next time they need a drink, you hand them the unfinished ones.  I don't think they mean to be wasteful, they are just forgetful.  you can also add leftover juice to smoothies, popsicles, cake recipes, pancakes, and other recipe...or just freeze them in ice cube trays for flavored water bottles, too.

 

I do have a rule that you cannot eat a half a piece of any fruit and then change your mind for a DIFFERENT piece of fruit.  I explained it to DS that we wouldn't go to a restaurant, order a cheese pizza, eat half of it and then say "Ya know what?  can I have pepperoni instead?" without paying for two pizzas...so the same rules apply at home.  You can have as much fruit as you want and if after a few bites you realize you are full...that's okay, but don't say you want a banana 2 minutes later.  You may decide you are not hungry and store it in the fridge for later, but sampling the whole fruit bowl is not an option.  I do however also have a solution for left over fruit, which is I have a large ziplock baggie in the freezer and every time a banana doesn't get finished and won't in the next 12 hours it goes in the baggie and when it is full, I make banana muffins, which everyone loves...same goes for apples and pears...I just cut off the teeth marks and make apple sauce, or fall fruit muffins or a yummy coffee cake for the weekend, pancakes, you name it.  Fruit is actually a really easy thing to store and reuse.

 

That being said I keep our snacks up pretty high, so it's not normally a problem.  We just put out what we are okay with being eaten that day and what we are okay with having to put into the freezer bags.


Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#13 of 32 Old 11-10-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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It sounds like there are two related but somewhat separate issues: teaching children gratitude, and having them pick up after themselves. I think I would at least for some period of time try to teach those things separately, until they're able to connect the dots.


I think for teaching gratitude, saying some kind of grace at meals - not necessarily religious (although it certainly can be), but just expressing gratitude for how much you have - is one ritual that can help with that lesson


I was thinking the same thing -- it's 2 different issues. We aren't religious, but at dinner time we go around the table and each say one thing we are thankful for/grateful for/good thing that happened that day.  It helps build a habit of being thankful and it also helps get our conversation off to positive start. (our only rule is that it can't be a negative thing stated as a positive thing -- for example, saying that you are grateful that so and so is out sick from school because you don't like them isn't OK)

 

We tackled picking up by setting up a 10 minute pick up time at bedtime. I set a timer and everything. In general, I think that if kids started with a picked up space at the beginning of the day and have more they (plus mom) can picked up in 10 minutes, they may have too many toys. Fewer toys is better for actually playing with them.

 

As far as the coat, I would have the child help wash it (they are old enough to stand on a stool and help press buttons) and if they lost it, I'd buy a replacement at Goodwill/St Vincent de Paul/whatever your second hand store is. You are right -- they need a coat. But if they are going to treat them like they are disposable, there's no reason to spend a lot of money on it.

 

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#14 of 32 Old 11-11-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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This is gonna be long, but I think it might really help you!

 

My kids (7, 6, and 5 - all girls) are pretty good about not mistreating their toys, but boy do we have issues with them cleaning up after themselves!!  And they are all Montessori kids! Jeez. :/

 

Anyway, we have been doing PCIT (Parent/Child Interaction Therapy) with our 7 year old (mostly for her anxiety, not discipline problems), but they have a really great method of discipline. They call it "the perfect time out" and even though I am not a fan of the time out method, this has REALLY worked for our kids.  9 out of 10 times we do not have to give them a time out. :D

 

"For younger children a timeout is very effective and avoids other types of corporal punishment.  It is important to follow a specific sequence in giving a timeout.  The timeout that we teach parents in PCIT gives children a 'choice' to comply and provides ample time for them to make a decision."

 

PERFECT TIME OUT (every child no matter what their age should be given a 3 minute time out. PCIT has found that giving a 7 year old 7 minutes in time out is not necessary to be effective):

 

Parent:  Please give me the yellow lego.

Child (non-compliance)

Parent:  One, two, three, four, five. (counting should be done exactly the same way every time.  Don't drag it out...simply count the seconds away.) You have two choices; either give me the lego, or go to timeout. One, two, three, four, five.

Child: (non-compliance)

Parent: You didn't mind me. (Stand up immediately and take the child to the timeout chair/spot).  You sit here quietly until I tell you to get up.

Child: (sits quietly)

Parent: Are you ready to come back to the table and give me the yellow lego?

Child: Yes

Parent: (Child returns to the table with NO FURTHER DISCUSSION, parent ONLY points to the yellow lego - NO VOICE COMMAND)

Child: (complies)

Parent:  Thank you. (do not use any enthusiasm here.  JUST a simple thank you) Now please put the green lego in the container.

Child: (complies)

Parent:  Thank you for putting the green lego in the container. I like it when you mind me right away (can provide a hug.)  When you mind me, you don't have to sit in timeout (this is a KEY sentence to tell the child!!!!).  Use enthusiasm here for compliance.

 

The most important part of the timeout sequence that parents often forget to do is to make sure that the child complies to your initial command after coming out of timeout. However, in PCIT it is the child's willingness to comply that we want.  So, in PCIT, the child remains in the timeout chair until they are calm.  It is then that they are asked whether they are ready to comply with the command.  When practicing timeout in clinic we also give a follow-up command that requires your child to immediately comply.  This is to make sure that your child truly understands that they can avoid a timeout by complying right away to your command.

 

REMOVAL OF PRIVILEGES

Removal of privilege begins with making a list of the child's favorite treats or favorite things to do.  When your child does not comply to a directive you can begin to remove his or her most favorite things until they willingly agree to comply.  removal of privileges is very effective as long as the privilege was something that was very important to them.  Follow the same specific sequences in timeout; giving two choices and allowing time to comply.

 

It is important that you are predictable and consistent in removing privileges as a consequence.  If you have told your child that they will lose their privilege when they get home from the park, or store, then you must follow through.  So, you may go through a list of removing his or her most favorite things before you get compliance.  If you follow through enough times your child will begin to believe that you will, in fact, take away those things.

 

Tone of voice is neutral!!!! Parents often say that they have to raise their voice to have children hear their command.  Repeatedly giving commands in a very loud voice can be stressful to parents, and it often leads parents to being frustrated and irritated with their child. Some parents think their child is 'hard of hearing', when in reality their child has learned to tune them out.  Give all commands in a firm and matter-of-fact manner, avoiding angry, frustrated, pleading, or loud tones.

 

RESPECTFUL AND POLITE:

Starting most instructions with the word "please" is respectful and provides an example of using good manners.

 

BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR COMMANDS:

Make commands specific rather than vague.  It is important to tell your child exactly what you want him/her to do.  Providing a child with a specific command likely will result in getting the desired behavior.  For example, instead of saying, "Please clean your room," a parent could say: "Please put your lego's in the bin" and "Please put the books back on the shelf" or "Please walk beside me".

 

EVERY COMMAND POSITIVELY STATED:

Avoid using No-Don't-Stop-Quit-or Not.  These words are a subtle form of criticism and may cause some children to respond negatively, doing exactly what you've told them not to do.  Instead, provide a command that is instructive and tells the child what TO DO rather than what NOT TO DO.  For example, many children enjoy jumping on the couch or their beds.  A common response would be to tell the child to "Stop jumping on the bed," or "quit it."  A positively stated command would be, "Please sit on the couch.", "Please put your feet on the ground." or "Please jump up and down on the ground."

 

Hope that helps a little!!  We have been doing most of this in our house since they were little, but started doing the time out's the way PCIT has taught and it is AMAZING how compliant our kids are these days!!!!  I think you could totally use this with a child who is not taking care of their toys.  "You have two choices, be gentle with your toys or I take them away for good."  Eventually when they have nothing to play with they will get the message that you are serious.

 

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#15 of 32 Old 11-11-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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Parent:  Please give me the yellow lego.

Child (non-compliance)

Parent:  One, two, three, four, five. (counting should be done exactly the same way every time.  Don't drag it out...simply count the seconds away.) You have two choices; either give me the lego, or go to timeout. One, two, three, four, five.

Child: (non-compliance)

Parent: You didn't mind me. (Stand up immediately and take the child to the timeout chair/spot).  You sit here quietly until I tell you to get up.

Child: (sits quietly)

Parent: Are you ready to come back to the table and give me the yellow lego?

Child: Yes

Parent: (Child returns to the table with NO FURTHER DISCUSSION, parent ONLY points to the yellow lego - NO VOICE COMMAND)

Child: (complies)

Parent:  Thank you. (do not use any enthusiasm here.  JUST a simple thank you) Now please put the green lego in the container.

Child: (complies)

Parent:  Thank you for putting the green lego in the container. I like it when you mind me right away (can provide a hug.)  When you mind me, you don't have to sit in timeout (this is a KEY sentence to tell the child!!!!).  Use enthusiasm here for compliance.

 


Huh...sooooo, what do you do when that bolded purple part goes more like Child: runs away and screams and cries and has an ever loving fit and won't sit let alone quietly?  Then what?

 

 

 

 

 


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Yeah, sit there!  Never worked for us.  The non compliance carried over to the time out. 

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Yeah, sit there!  Never worked for us.  The non compliance carried over to the time out. 



Yep...and I have found limited LONG TERM success with the methodology of non-logical punitive consequences such as the removal of privileges for non-compliance.

 

I have found that using logical consequences works far better than trying to ask a child to distinguish between privileges and rights. 

 

If my kids won't give me a lego, rather than have a big power struggle over it I let them know that whoever picks them up and puts them away, will decide where they go and when and if they ever come back.  Then I count to 3 and make a dive (a sort of slow false dramatic dive) for the bucket...That's usually enough for my kids to take charge of the activity.  I only had to follow through once with my son's trains which went away for two weeks and he hasn't ever done it again since.

 

I also think compliance is far less important than teaching a child to respect things because they are valuable, cost money, and might be fun or useful for others.  It helps that we spend a lot of time with family and especially kids who have nothing, not even beds to sleep in or clean clothes to wear, so we talk a lot about who will get the toys, and clothes when we are finished with them and why we should take good care of them so we can give them away.  When we meet new kids at the foundation or in the streets we think about what we have that they could use when we are done.  We also have a drawer of clothes and a box of toys that are okay for trashing, or playing roughly with.  Kids need to feel some autonomy and sometimes having that outlet is okay, too.  I'd rather my kids meet my requests because they believe my requests are fair and good and understand that I will still meet their other needs, rather than because they are avoiding punishment.  I guess that's what I mean  by long term  success.  There will come a day when my child needs to do more than obey the law in fear of losing a privilege but rather because it is the upright, moral thing to do. I do not think childhood is too young to teach those things.  Compliance is nice and makes my life easier and low-maintenance, but it's not my objective as a parent. 

 

Some kids won't be ready to treat certain things nicely until they older.  That's why I'm not going to let a 3 year old play with my fancy glass Christmas balls and why they will probably remain in storage and not get hung on a tree until the kids have proven to me they are old enough to look at them without having the thought "What happens if I throw this? *SMASH*  Oh!"  That's why when Grandma splashes out on an Olily dress for DD we put it on ten minutes before we take the pictures or have the skype session and take it off immediately after.  That's why we buy winter coats at the Goodwill and make sure we get sturdy clothes.  His uniform stuff is expensive and there isn't much we can do about that, but if he has to wear a pair of trousers with green paint down the leg for the next three months until the new year's bonus comes in...tough patootey...that seems like a more natural consequence than taking away his toys or his science museum trips, or visits to the playground. 

 

What is the long term benefit, the long term life lesson, of total and immediate compliance?


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Huh...sooooo, what do you do when that bolded purple part goes more like Child: runs away and screams and cries and has an ever loving fit and won't sit let alone quietly?  Then what?

 

 

I've been very lucky to only have had that happen a few times with my kids.  Follow through is key.  They know if they throw a fit in time out it just extends their time.  Trust me, they do NOT want to sit there for 3 minutes, let alone 13.  But if they have to...that is *THEIR* choice. 

 

Child runs away, screams, cries, and has a fit?  Ok...so let them! (well, running away is dangerous outside and if we were at the park we would leave immediately).  If they run away inside of your house, give them the option of a) you come sit quietly or you lose a privilege.  I have told my children that they can scream and whine all they want, but they need to do it in their own room where I don't have to listen to it.  Point is...Mommy isn't going to control your fits and screaming, but Mommy doesn't want to hear it because (for this Mommy) it stresses me out. And they understand that the longer they throw their fit the longer it's going to take them to come out of time out.

 

I have listened to my middle child throw a tantrum that lasts a half hour long.  I check on her every 5 minutes or so and tell her when she is ready to calm down I'm willing to listen.  I don't feel the need to *MAKE* my child stop throwing a tantrum.  Sometimes kids just need to get out a good scream or cry (just like adults!).  I let it happen and eventually she calms down and will tell me, "Mommy, I'm calm now." and we hug and talk about it and we go on with life.

 

We use a lot of natural consequences, too.  My kids know they have to hang up their backpacks, coats, and put the shoes on the shoe rack by the door.  What happens the next morning when they can't find their backpack?  They go to school without it.  I once asked my oldest not to run in the rain in the middle of winter when I picked her up from school, she didn't listen, and she drove home very, very cold.  It's her body...not mine.  She has never ran out in the cold rain since then.

 

Bottom line is in our house if I say something is going to happen, it happens.  Again, follow through is key.  



 


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#19 of 32 Old 11-12-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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What is the long term benefit, the long term life lesson, of total and immediate compliance?



I look at it like this.  When we are driving over the speed limit and get pulled over by the police and given a ticket for $400, the cop doesn't follow us home, then continue to follow us around for compliance for the rest of our lives.  We know that if we drive over the speed limit, we will face the natural consequence of risking getting another $400 ticket.  I have rolled through a stop sign before and every.single.time I go through that stop sign I think about that speeding ticket.  Now?  I stop.  


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I look at it like this.  When we are driving over the speed limit and get pulled over by the police and given a ticket for $400, the cop doesn't follow us home, then continue to follow us around for compliance for the rest of our lives.  We know that if we drive over the speed limit, we will face the natural consequence of risking getting another $400 ticket.  I have rolled through a stop sign before and every.single.time I go through that stop sign I think about that speeding ticket.  Now?  I stop.  



hmmmmmm, so are you saying if there was no fine or punitive consequence at all you'd wrecklessly endanger your life and the life of other drivers and their passengers or pedestrians and cyclists by speeding and running stop signs?  Ethics, general conscientiousness and basic safe driving doesn't factor in at all to that?

 

I am pretty sure I don't want my kids making decisions like that, but I am glad that analogy works for your kids.


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#21 of 32 Old 11-12-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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Bit harsh.

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Which part was harsh?  Saying we want our kids to make the right choices because they understand natural consequences rather than enforcing punitive consequences?

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Bit harsh.



 

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#23 of 32 Old 11-13-2011, 05:55 AM
 
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Bit harsh.



I agree, I think the whole "you will comply" method is a bit harsh, too.  But if it works for some I can totally respect that. 

 

 

I just have a different parenting style.  So far, not asking for total compliance from my kids and working with natural, and logical consequences, as well as restorative Justice principles has been really really effective. I see follow through as going beyond the consequence up to the larger lesson learned.  It's not just about being consistent with the what you say but being consistent, too, with your morals and principles.  And I speak as someone who has tried the "you will comply or I will make your life miserable" route and discovered it's not in line with my long term parenting philosophy or goals.  I cannot see the long term benefits as the kind of choices I want my kids making.

 

In our family we follow rules because the rules are there to keep people safe and make sure everyone has a fair shot as happiness, not just because we say so.  It's just not a value that makes sense to me if I want him to change the world.  We question rules all the time, in school, and in the world and when rules are outdated  or no longer make sense, we change them even if the powers that be don't like it very much. If we all grew up complying with all the rules set by the state instead of questioning their moral value and ethical standing, men would still legally have the right, even our sons, to beat us into submission when we did not obey their arbitrary commands or sell us into slavery to pay off their debts (in fact this still does happen in many parts of the world where women have no agency to change things).  Questioning the order of things is good (scary and hard to manage in the short term, but essentially and eventually very good), and I think it has to start at home.  But again, if that's not the sort of home you want, I can totally respect that. 

 

I am just expanding the spotlight to discuss the bigger picture, that's all.

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#24 of 32 Old 11-14-2011, 05:05 AM
 
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I think what works about BCFD's method is that her children believe her.  That method cuts the drama entirely.  I think alot of us getting into this mode of arguing, cajoling, pleading, and trying to fair and gentle, and we forget that our children are...children.  Little children need concrete things to work with.  The abstract is difficult for them to grasp for quite some time.  In an effort to be gentle and fair, I have noticed a lot of children just seem confused.  Their outward behavior could be labeled defiant, disrespectful, etc, but they aren't really that way.  They just don't know what's what and are trying so hard to figure it out. 

 

So, if a child finally learns that when mom says hand me the lego, she isn't going to mess around.  Then the kid hands over the lego, and that's that.  There are benefits here, specifically to the calmness of the child in the security of the situation, and the general peace in the home.

 

I do think that it isn't necessary to go the domination route to teach your child to believe you.  But, that is the root of it...do your kids believe you mean what you say?  Do they think you are a waffling liar?  Or a pushover that really doesn't have standards?  Because then why should they?


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I think what works about BCFD's method is that her children believe her.  That method cuts the drama entirely.  I think alot of us getting into this mode of arguing, cajoling, pleading, and trying to fair and gentle, and we forget that our children are...children.  Little children need concrete things to work with.  The abstract is difficult for them to grasp for quite some time.  In an effort to be gentle and fair, I have noticed a lot of children just seem confused.  Their outward behavior could be labeled defiant, disrespectful, etc, but they aren't really that way.  They just don't know what's what and are trying so hard to figure it out. 

 

So, if a child finally learns that when mom says hand me the lego, she isn't going to mess around.  Then the kid hands over the lego, and that's that.  There are benefits here, specifically to the calmness of the child in the security of the situation, and the general peace in the home.

 

I do think that it isn't necessary to go the domination route to teach your child to believe you.  But, that is the root of it...do your kids believe you mean what you say?  Do they think you are a waffling liar?  Or a pushover that really doesn't have standards?  Because then why should they?



I totally get that part of it.  I think that's why things work in our house, too.  My kids believe consequences, both positive and negative, will be handed out swiftly and consistently.  They also know they will not be arbitrary or punitive.  But then that absolute faith in a forthcoming consequence was why I listened to my parents...when they said jump, I said how high, because I knew if I didn't I was gonna get it, and when I got too big to be spanked or smacked, I knew I was gonna get grounded from whatever thing or event most connected me to the world, which they saw as a privilege, but I saw as a need for autonomy, connection, community, etc.  It was a "privilege" I didn't want to lose, so I did whatever they said...as far as they knew.  I learned not to get caught because the consequence was so undesirable.  I never understood why I had to do what they said or how their rules were keeping me safe, and most times their rules didn't make sense.  They had created a false sense of peace and calm.  On the surface I seemed obedient and we seemed to have a safe, calm home, but underneath I grew to resent them and mistrust them and do everything I could to defy them without getting caught, until finally I just walked out.  Meanwhile in my mother's house where she spoke to me like a person and didn't try to train me, I felt safe and calm and loved in genuine ways.  I didn't get sick as often, I didn't feel anxious all the time.  I didn't feel afraid to make mistakes or disappoint anyone. 

 

I never want my kids to live in a home where they feel they have to "mind" everything I say only because I said so.  I love my parents, and they did the best they could, but I don't think it was wise to raise us that way, and they agree.  We have had open discussions on the matter and they regret the way they ran our home.  Peace and calm only count when it is genuine and by the time my siblings and I all reached adolescence it was pretty clear that we were all without exception either paying lip service to compliance and shining our halos at night, or openly defying them as if to show them the total lack of control they had created....some of my siblings still do this...maybe we all do in our own ways.

 

Given my life history, I can't condone the idea that it is okay to demand total compliance from a child regardless of their needs.

 

I don't think you have to be totalitarian to gain absolute trust and faith from your kids, and I find that at least with MY kids (and I concede again here that every family is different and will have different needs and end-goals), the "My way or the highway" routine built anger and resentment and even more defiance, and I saw my childhood repeating before me.  I agree that kids need few choices, swift consequences and clear instruction, but they don't need purely punitive measures and despotic rule to get there, and outside of the toddler years, most children over the age of 5 of average intelligence can contribute actively to their own discipline process.


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hmmmmmm, so are you saying if there was no fine or punitive consequence at all you'd wrecklessly endanger your life and the life of other drivers and their passengers or pedestrians and cyclists by speeding and running stop signs?  Ethics, general conscientiousness and basic safe driving doesn't factor in at all to that?

 

I am pretty sure I don't want my kids making decisions like that, but I am glad that analogy works for your kids.



Well, of course not!  But when you get that yellow light, knowing there are video and still cameras taking your picture, it makes you think, "Hmm...do I want to gun it?  Or should I hit the brakes?"  Of course when my children are of driving age they will learn how to drive safely, but when talking about small children I think it's imperative to understand from a young age that if they do X, consequence Y is going to happen.  I certainly hope that I don't have to have my 15 year old in a "time out". That's why we decided to do the program while she was 6.  So, that is why I recommended what I learned in PCIT to the OP.


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I think what works about BCFD's method is that her children believe her.  That method cuts the drama entirely.  I think alot of us getting into this mode of arguing, cajoling, pleading, and trying to fair and gentle, and we forget that our children are...children.  Little children need concrete things to work with.  The abstract is difficult for them to grasp for quite some time.  In an effort to be gentle and fair, I have noticed a lot of children just seem confused.  Their outward behavior could be labeled defiant, disrespectful, etc, but they aren't really that way.  They just don't know what's what and are trying so hard to figure it out. 

 

So, if a child finally learns that when mom says hand me the lego, she isn't going to mess around.  Then the kid hands over the lego, and that's that.  There are benefits here, specifically to the calmness of the child in the security of the situation, and the general peace in the home.

 

I do think that it isn't necessary to go the domination route to teach your child to believe you.  But, that is the root of it...do your kids believe you mean what you say?  Do they think you are a waffling liar?  Or a pushover that really doesn't have standards?  Because then why should they?


Yes! This exactly.  My kids attend a Montessori school where everything was very concrete up until 2nd grade where I am now seeing their works becoming a bit more abstract. It's what I expected.  I didn't expect to see a pink tower in a room with 3rd graders.  By now, they have seen the pink tower since they were infants, and the learning must progress as they get older.

 

The reason we went through PCIT is not because my children are defiant, it was because our oldest has serious anxiety issues that paralyzes her with fear!!  Does she sometimes scream and run away calling me, "the meanest Mommy in the world"? Oh yeah! (I try SO hard to wipe the smirk off of my face when she does this!)

 

The funny thing to me is that she is such a gentle, sweet child.  I have rarely had to struggle with her.  It's been like that since the day she came to us (adoption).  Now, my third child will make me say things 5 times before she listens.  Every single chance she gets she chooses to power struggle with me.  So, honestly, SHE is the one that the PCIT therapy has come in handy with.  Just today at the library I asked her to please put away her book and lets go get her big sisters (gave her a 5 minute warning and she said, "NO! SIX MINUTES!" LOL! See??)  So, when it was time to go, I kept a calm, neutral tone and said, "Let's go, love."  She did listen to me, so I said it again.  She TOTALLY ignored me and I said, "1, 2, 3...." and she jumped up and said, "Ok ok ok ok ok...I'm coming."  There was NO fighting about it, no drama, no scene in the middle of the library.....it was a simple reminder that if she did not come with me I was going to give her a consequence (and she knows all too well about Mommy-follow-through! LOL!).  She knows Mommy loves her and she has plenty of time to question rules. As she gets older she will also have plenty chances to question rules. I am as stubborn as an ox and question EVERYTHING! Hehehehe... However, there are certain times when she absolutely HAS to listen to me.  Today her big sister's were waiting for us at art class and we could NOT be late. 

 

I am working on my own struggles with anxiety and crazy mood swings.  So, between my own therapy and therapy that involves my kids (PCIT is a very gentle way of disciplining children or I absolutely would not be there!) it is making our world a little better.  Nothing worse than having a crazy, out of control, screaming Mom!  I do not want to be that type of parent.  


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How did this one morph?

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#29 of 32 Old 11-15-2011, 05:19 AM
 
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I'll just speak for myself, but I don't have any problem with you presenting what has worked for you, and I'm glad you've found something. I don't like it when people present what has worked for them as if it is necessary for other people's kids, as when people say that kids *need* consequences placed upon them to learn to do right, or learn how to follow road rules when they turn 16.
 

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Yes! This exactly.  My kids attend a Montessori school where everything was very concrete up until 2nd grade where I am now seeing their works becoming a bit more abstract. It's what I expected.  I didn't expect to see a pink tower in a room with 3rd graders.  By now, they have seen the pink tower since they were infants, and the learning must progress as they get older.

 

The reason we went through PCIT is not because my children are defiant, it was because our oldest has serious anxiety issues that paralyzes her with fear!!  Does she sometimes scream and run away calling me, "the meanest Mommy in the world"? Oh yeah! (I try SO hard to wipe the smirk off of my face when she does this!)

 

The funny thing to me is that she is such a gentle, sweet child.  I have rarely had to struggle with her.  It's been like that since the day she came to us (adoption).  Now, my third child will make me say things 5 times before she listens.  Every single chance she gets she chooses to power struggle with me.  So, honestly, SHE is the one that the PCIT therapy has come in handy with.  Just today at the library I asked her to please put away her book and lets go get her big sisters (gave her a 5 minute warning and she said, "NO! SIX MINUTES!" LOL! See??)  So, when it was time to go, I kept a calm, neutral tone and said, "Let's go, love."  She did listen to me, so I said it again.  She TOTALLY ignored me and I said, "1, 2, 3...." and she jumped up and said, "Ok ok ok ok ok...I'm coming."  There was NO fighting about it, no drama, no scene in the middle of the library.....it was a simple reminder that if she did not come with me I was going to give her a consequence (and she knows all too well about Mommy-follow-through! LOL!).  She knows Mommy loves her and she has plenty of time to question rules. As she gets older she will also have plenty chances to question rules. I am as stubborn as an ox and question EVERYTHING! Hehehehe... However, there are certain times when she absolutely HAS to listen to me.  Today her big sister's were waiting for us at art class and we could NOT be late. 

 

I am working on my own struggles with anxiety and crazy mood swings.  So, between my own therapy and therapy that involves my kids (PCIT is a very gentle way of disciplining children or I absolutely would not be there!) it is making our world a little better.  Nothing worse than having a crazy, out of control, screaming Mom!  I do not want to be that type of parent.  



 

 

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#30 of 32 Old 11-23-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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This used to be a big issue for me, too.  Then I read something that helped me to appreciate my kids' perspective.  It was from A.S. Neill's book Summerhill, about the well-known democratic school in England:

 

"Adults find it very hard to realize that young children have no regard for property.  They do not destroy it deliberately--they destroy it unconsciously.  I once saw a normal, happy girl burning holes with a red-hot poker into the walnut mantelpiece in our staff room.  When challenged, she started and seemed quite surpirsed.  'I did it without thinking,' she said, and she spoke truthfully. . . . .The fact is that adults are possessive about things of value and children are not.   Any living together between children and adults must therefore result in conflict over material things. . . . The argument of the disciplinarian who says that children must be compelled to respect property does not appeal to me, for it always means some sacrifice of childhood's play life.  My view is that a child should arrive at a sense of value out of his own free choice. As children leave the stage of preadolescent indifference to property, they become respecters of property.  When children have freedom to live out their indifference to property, they have little chance of ever becomig profiteers and exploiters."

 

And Neill says this about the food issue:

 

"Akin to punishment is the parental demand that a child should not bite off more than it can chew.  Literally--for often a child's eye is bigger than his stomach and he will demand a plateful that he cannot consume.  Good parenthood is the power of identifying oneself with a child, understanding his motives, realizing his limitations, without harboring ulterior motives or resentment."

 

So yes, I've tried to make sure the kids don't have so much stuff they're overwhelmed, and I've organized it well so that everything has a place, and I do ask them to help me pick up mid-day and before bed.  My eight-year-old nearly always helps, my six-year-old sometimes does, and my four-year-old often refuses.  And it's all okay.  Stuff does get broken sometimes, and I do remind them that leaving something on the floor may result in breakage.  And I may or may not replace the broken item.  And sometimes, if I see a pricey toy left in the middle of the floor, I just pick it up myself. And I expect that occasionally, the dishwasher door may get a big dent in it, or someone may leave an uncapped marker oozing on the couch, or whatever.  I no longer take it personally, in other words.  I have come to believe that the nagging I used to do did nothing to help them develop a sense of "respect" for stuff.  In fact, their lack of concern with material stuff actually shows that they just aren't that materialistic.  DH still gets upset when the kids leave their money lying around, but the truth is that they don't seem too upset if they lose a few quarters. Which is, in a way, a good thing.

 

I realize that this is an entirely different way of looking at things, but it has vastly improved my relationship with my children.  I think they feel more respected.  I mean, I wouldn't want DH going on and on every time I leave a yard rake out in the rain, or if I break an expensive handmade coffee mug because I'm juggling too many things in my hands.  Because MDC types (I'm included) tend to have such a strong sense of social justice, and such an aversion to waste, I think it's easy to feel it's our job to teach this to very young children.  But I now think this can't truly occur until the right amount of brain development takes place.  For example, my eight-year-old has recently become more conscious of his belongings, of not wasting food, etc.

 

 

 

 

Edited for typos.

Luckiestgirl is offline  
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