How do you enforce things with a toddler/preschooler? Without being physical? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-12-2012, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is just about 3yo & our days often seem to go like this:

Me or DH: "DS, please get dressed so we can go to XYZ [somewhere he loves!]"
DS: "I can't." or "I'm busy right now." or he just outright ignores us.
...20 minutes and a couple of reminders later...
Us: "DS, this is your last chance to get dressed on your own, if you can't do that then we'll have to do it for you."
DS: ignores us or screams and runs away
Us: scoops him up and dresses him... sometimes he cooperates and other times screams and tries to run away, especially if DH is doing the dressing...

It's like this for so many things. I know he CAN be cooperative & compliant & prompt when he wants to be... but he often doesn't want to be, especially if we're at home or if DH is in charge. So how do you enforce it? Staying home because he didn't get dressed is not an option. Going out naked it not an option, nor is getting dressed upon arrival because it's below freezing, too cold to ride in the car naked! So I don't know what an appropriate consequence would be. I don't like that the 'consequence' thus far has been us physically (though gently, of course!) making him do it.

It's not just getting dressed... Other things like taking the house apart (he pulls trim off the door frame, things like that) or purposely spilling his drink or spitting on people or things and lots of other things...

I lean more toward redirecting the impulse or using natural (or at least logical) consequences. Redirecting doesn't always work well for him though... Like if he's hammering the wall, he doesn't want to hammer just a piece of wood instead -- he wants to do 'real' things, the way he sees us do things, and in his mind he's helping. Natural consequences don't seem to discourage the behaviors... so if he throws his drink on the floor, the natural consequence is that he no longer has anything to drink, right? But obviously he can just go to the faucet and refill his cup, so it doesn't work. Or if he throws his toothbrush in the toilet, the natural consequence is he can't brush his teeth -- and he hates brushing his teeth, so that's a reward to him. I struggle with coming up with logical consequences. If he hits me, he isn't allowed to sit/climb on me for a few minutes, and if he's using an item inappropriately, the item gets taken away... but often those things don't solve the problem, he'll just start using a different item to do the same thing.

Sorry this is so long-winded... the bottom line is, how do you come up with consequences or something that resembles consistent discipline?? We do not want to do time-outs because I don't agree with them philosophically, plus he is still very traumatized by separation from us, it would be a disaster... so I guess I need something that replaces the kind of universal function of a time-out?

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Old 01-12-2012, 07:44 AM
 
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While I loved that age... it left me so confused in the parenting arena.  I give choices but some things are not a choice.  Getting dressed would not be a choice if we were going out of the house.  I would put his clothes on him, he may be mad about it all he wants however he might want to take back control of it and eventually will do it when he is asked.  

 

The other items, wanting to do the adult stuff, well if it's not safe it's not safe and no matter how much he cries about it you just can't give in.  That was a hard one for me because I hated to hear them go on and on about wanting to do something that I felt was not safe or really just wasn't ok with.  Picking your battles is very important.  Know what you are willing and not willing to deal with.  Sometimes you have to be physical, like removing them from a situation or putting their clothes on for them.  

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Old 01-12-2012, 08:26 AM
 
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I am in the same boat.  For us, DS just loves to play football and tries to tackle his 10 month old brother.  Repeatedly saying, "be gentle" and showing him a gentle touch/hug just hasn't worked.  He's never malicious about it, he just wants to play his favorite game with his little brother. 

 

He also resists the teeth brushing, etc.  And, like with your family, he gets really upset when DH is the one brushing teeth or enforcing what we say. 

 

I hate it, but we have started to resort to time outs.  Although we don't leave him alone, I sit with him and afterwards we talk about why he had to take a break.  He hates them, cries while he's in time out, but honestly, nothing else was working.  He was still tackling his brother and just won't respond to redirection, etc.

 

Oh, as an aside... With getting ready in the morning, we started doing it first thing.  We get up, potty, brush teeth, dress & make beds all before going downstairs for breakfast.  That means that we spend 30-45 minutes upstairs before heading down, but if we went downstairs first he inevitably started playing or got caught up in something and didn't want to get ready.  Its helped a lot.

 

Anyway- sorry I don't have much to offer, but wanted you to know that you're not alone.


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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Remember that this is a stage - it's a tough one, but it won't last forever! 13-yr-olds get dressed before going outside.

 

So do what works for now. I have friends whose dd HATED to get dressed at that age - so they eliminated pajamas, and put her to bed in her clothes for the next day - no morning struggles about getting dressed.

 

I found the secret to that age was to be completely consistent - if you tell him he needs to get dresed so you can go somewhere, and you change your mind if he makes a fuss, he has learned that a fuss is successful - and he'll do it again. If you never give in to his tantrums, he'll eventually figure out that it isn't worth the effort (not tomorrow, not next week, but eventually).

 

The logical consequence for spilling a drink is that you have to clean up the mess (and maybe you take the cup away for a while, so getting a new drink isn't an immediate option). If hammering a board (instead of the wall) doesn't work, you take away the hammer - and the shoe, and the TV remote, and whatever else he decides to use as a hammer.

 

Remember to use "do" statements as much as possible, instead of "don't" - saying "sit on your bottom" is much more effective than "Don't climb on the chair". I think kids have a real hard time coming up with an alternative behavior if they are simply told what NOT to do (like if I told you Don't think about a chimpanzee wearing a tutu riding a tricycle - what are you thinking about?)

 

Make sure youre expectations are clear (though it sounds like you're already doing that). Before we would go somewhere, I'd say "We're going to the store. Your job is to stay close to me, help me pick out vegetables for supper, and help me push the cart. We'll use inside voices, and come home as soon as we're done".

 

I also like "catch them being good". It seems like we're just so relieved when they aren't destroying the house that we collapse on the couch for 10 mintutes and enjoy it! But make sure you tell him you like the way he's playing quietly with a puzzle, or you notice that he's using his crayons on the paper - now you can put his picture on the fridge! They need to know what TO do, even more than what NOT to do.

 

I'm not crazy about bribes (though they can serve a purpose), but a spontaneous reward is different. "You were such a big help at the store we got done quickly - lets stop at the playground (or ice cream store) on the way home!" You don't do it every time, but as a special treat for appropriate behavior.

 

Hang in there - it DOES get better! I found the 4th birthday to be a turning point for my twin boys.


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:24 AM
 
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i have nothing but a natural consequence for the toothbrush might be:

you have to replace the toothbrush in the grocery store with money that might have been used to buy a treat/ or something kid likes that you normally buy but won't this time. 

 

i also think the length of time between the request to get dressed and the actual getting dressed is much too long.  i personally would ask once and give a time frame, such as you have 5 minutes to pick out clothing and get dressed (and set a timer!) and then when the timer goes off not even discuss it further.  setting a timer might make it feel a little more like he has some control.  the natural consequence of ignoring you is that you help him get dressed.  or else you can try to eliminate something time-wise that he wants to do (but i wouldn't go there with a 3yo, myself).


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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I agree with the PPs, sometimes you have to be physical-not in a hitting/pushing kind of way but, its time to get dressed if you, DS, aren't going to do it, I am kind of way. DD responds a lot better to count downs for things especially if she's doing something. So if you need him to get dressed in 20 minutes, start off by saying "It'll be time to get dressed in 20 mins!" with reminders every five minutes after that then at two and one minute. After that its time to get dressed, no if/ands/buts about it. Again, if he doesn't do it, you will. Eventually he'll get that you mean business and be more willing to get it done. If you think it would actually work, you can let him go outside naked when its this cold at least for a second or two. Chances are he'll want to turn around immediately and get dressed!! If you've got a kid who would walk outside naked just to prove he will not get dressed, I wouldn't opt for that, though!

 

As for spilling, make him clean up the mess. He purposely spills it on the floor and instead of getting worked up, just look at it and hand him a cloth to clean it with and say "here ya go, you made the mess you can clean it up and get yourself something new to drink." Spitting would not be tolerated in my house. If he spit on a person or an object, I'd remove him from the room until he was ready to act appropriately. I'd stay with him and tell him why spitting is not ok and how its yucky and mean, but I'd remove him from the situation every time it happened until he stopped spitting.

 

I do agree with a pp-if its not safe its not safe and you have to stop him. Hammering on the wall isn't safe (to me at least) so I'd remove him and the hammer and deal with the meltdown. Then redirect as he began to calm down. I'd do the same with him ripping up the house. He cannot (in my mind) pull trim off the walls or damage the house in any way. I'd remove him from the situation, and explain to him why he cannot do that. Like with the spitting, remove him and stop it every single time until it stopped happening. Its nonnegotiable. 

 

There is a lot to be said for consistency. If he gets the idea what sometimes you'll let him do something just because you don't want the fight that day, he'll constantly fight against doing it. I guess what I'm trying to say is decide the things that are nonnegotiable to you and always enforce those. 

 

Good luck, I hope that helps!!


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this & not missing some special secret to gaining compliance lol!!

The problem with cleaning up after himself is that he thinks it's fun and will purposely make a mess so he can clean up or repair it or whatever. But then other times he throws all his toys across the room and I ask him to pick them up and he refuses. So what do I do then? How do I enforce the consequence? I guess... thinking aloud here... that I need to be better about follow through, which I guess means getting up off my butt and helping him pick up. Unfortunately I'm too lazy to do that all the time lol.

Getting dressed first thing is what I used to do but DH doesn't 'get' that so they have their own routine, which doesn't work, and causes morning stress, so I guess I need to talk to DH about that. Sleeping in the next day's clothes isn't a bad idea but I feel like they will be dirty & grimy after sleeping in them, eating breakfast in them, etc???

Catching him being good seems to bring out worse behavior??? IDK why...

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Old 01-12-2012, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i have nothing but a natural consequence for the toothbrush might be:
you have to replace the toothbrush in the grocery store with money that might have been used to buy a treat/ or something kid likes that you normally buy but won't this time. 
That's a good idea... do 3yo's usually 'get' this delayed consequence?
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i also think the length of time between the request to get dressed and the actual getting dressed is much too long.  i personally would ask once and give a time frame, such as you have 5 minutes to pick out clothing and get dressed (and set a timer!) and then when the timer goes off not even discuss it further.  setting a timer might make it feel a little more like he has some control.  the natural consequence of ignoring you is that you help him get dressed.  or else you can try to eliminate something time-wise that he wants to do (but i wouldn't go there with a 3yo, myself).
We did this a few times and it was pretty effective I guess, we should try it again. It's a reward to him for me to get him dressed, but punishment for DH to get him dressed. That's where we get tripped up sometimes...
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do agree with a pp-if its not safe its not safe and you have to stop him. Hammering on the wall isn't safe (to me at least) so I'd remove him and the hammer and deal with the meltdown. Then redirect as he began to calm down. I'd do the same with him ripping up the house. He cannot (in my mind) pull trim off the walls or damage the house in any way. I'd remove him from the situation, and explain to him why he cannot do that. Like with the spitting, remove him and stop it every single time until it stopped happening. Its nonnegotiable. 
Obviously I'm not in favor of him destroying the house, but the 'construction' play is just about the only kind of play he does alone. So it's a tough call sometimes, we want him to play alone, at least give me 5 minutes!!!! And he will play for a bit measuring, screwing, sawing, etc. (for pretend) and then wants to do it for real so all of a sudden I turn around and he has a real saw and is trying to saw the windowsill in half.

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Old 01-12-2012, 09:33 AM
 
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The problem with cleaning up after himself is that he thinks it's fun and will purposely make a mess so he can clean up or repair it or whatever. 


I'd get some things he can make a mess with to clean up after. He likes to spill? Ok, here's a cup and a sink of water, spill away! But when its a drink during dinner, that is not for spilling. Make clear guidelines about he and can't do with some of the things he likes. Do you have set times in the day that you clean up? Maybe everyday after lunch is pick up time and again after dinner. Then he knows that's pick up time and is more likely to do it. I really had to get down there and help DD and be involved with her cleaning up at that age. She's getting close to six now and I still have to direct her and be involved with her cleaning up to make it happen. 

 

Hopefully your DH is open to ideas since it seems to obviously not be working! 


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Obviously I'm not in favor of him destroying the house, but the 'construction' play is just about the only kind of play he does alone. So it's a tough call sometimes, we want him to play alone, at least give me 5 minutes!!!! And he will play for a bit measuring, screwing, sawing, etc. (for pretend) and then wants to do it for real so all of a sudden I turn around and he has a real saw and is trying to saw the windowsill in half.


I give this the same idea as the spilling I posted above. Give him his own toys and things he can use to play construction. A little wooden tool set and some boards and let him use those things to play with instead of your actual house. Are you guys doing some remodeling? You could include him in that with his toys and his boards to make it more appealing to him. And just be very clear and consistent-you can play with this but not that and this is why. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but that's the rule, DS. 


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Old 01-12-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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i think my 2yo would get the buying the toothbrush instead of something else, but she's particularly attuned to grocery store purchases in general.  so probably?

 

and, another thought.... though i too have my hands so full it's probably evil of me to say it, if it's a reward for you to help him get dressed, why not just go ahead and go with him and get him dressed?  it will probably wear out the fun factor pretty quickly, but if you still use the timer it might be a more ingrained habit?


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Old 01-12-2012, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I give this the same idea as the spilling I posted above. Give him his own toys and things he can use to play construction. A little wooden tool set and some boards and let him use those things to play with instead of your actual house. Are you guys doing some remodeling? You could include him in that with his toys and his boards to make it more appealing to him. And just be very clear and consistent-you can play with this but not that and this is why. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but that's the rule, DS. 

Well he won't really play with toys. He's just not interested. redface.gif I guess that makes it hard to set consistent limits in this area.
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and, another thought.... though i too have my hands so full it's probably evil of me to say it, if it's a reward for you to help him get dressed, why not just go ahead and go with him and get him dressed? 
Hmm good thought, often I don't have time to get him dressed myself (I WAH in the mornings) but maybe I can figure something out. I guess I'm never sure if it's better for DH to be more involved (but less peace overall), or have a nice quiet peaceful environment, but *I* do everything. KWIM? It's not DH's fault... just the way DS reacts to him... but I'm never sure if we should push him a bit or just lay off and have me do everything for him. Neither feels quite right.

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Old 01-12-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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Sounds like too much freedom and not enough watching to me.  I'm not trying to sound snarky, but how did a 3yo get a saw without you noticing?

so all of a sudden I turn around and he has a real saw and is trying to saw the windowsill in half.


As far as the other stuff, I still think it's too much freedom.  Tell him to get dressed one time.  Then, if he doesn't, dress him.  Simply, cheerfully, say, "Mama said it's time to get dressed."  And do it, fit or not.  If he is mean to Daddy, then you need to address that.  3yo is not to young to learn that you have to be nice to people especially ones who are trying to help you.  This isn't him expressing himself, it's him being nasty.  There's a difference.

 

As far as wrecking the house, "Ds, you can x, y, and z, but you may not a, b, and c".  You can give reasons if you want, but there are some things that he really can't do.  Then, if he does it anyway, then say, "I'm sorry.  I know you enjoy doing a, but you just can't.  I'm going to put these up until you are a little bigger."  One time, one offense, no warnings.  You have to mean what you say, not in a mean, authoritative way, but in a honest kind of way.  If tell him he can't, but actually, most of the time he CAN, why would he believe you? 

 

And if he keeps spilling his drink, then give him a sippy cup. 

 

If he can't handle all the freedom he has, then pull in the reins to a safe place where he can handle it.


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Old 01-12-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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BULL!  I had a 3 yr old scale shelves to get a nail file all while she was using the potty and I was taking a bath.  Kids are quick and will get to what they want.  I have locked up so much stuff and found that they have gotten into it anyway.  They're good about it now, but as toddlers I had bebe's kid.  I think it's rude you told her to watch her kid more.  
 

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Sounds like too much freedom and not enough watching to me.  I'm not trying to sound snarky, but how did a 3yo get a saw without you noticing?


As far as the other stuff, I still think it's too much freedom.  Tell him to get dressed one time.  Then, if he doesn't, dress him.  Simply, cheerfully, say, "Mama said it's time to get dressed."  And do it, fit or not.  If he is mean to Daddy, then you need to address that.  3yo is not to young to learn that you have to be nice to people especially ones who are trying to help you.  This isn't him expressing himself, it's him being nasty.  There's a difference.

 

As far as wrecking the house, "Ds, you can x, y, and z, but you may not a, b, and c".  You can give reasons if you want, but there are some things that he really can't do.  Then, if he does it anyway, then say, "I'm sorry.  I know you enjoy doing a, but you just can't.  I'm going to put these up until you are a little bigger."  One time, one offense, no warnings.  You have to mean what you say, not in a mean, authoritative way, but in a honest kind of way.  If tell him he can't, but actually, most of the time he CAN, why would he believe you? 

 

And if he keeps spilling his drink, then give him a sippy cup. 

 

If he can't handle all the freedom he has, then pull in the reins to a safe place where he can handle it.



 

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Old 01-12-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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Ds went through a lot of what you are describing right around his third birthday. It was AWFUL! I felt like such a horrid person stuffing him into his clothes all the time. We had to become really, really consistent. Getting dressed - you have two options - help me or I do it. Hammer the wall, stop or I take away the hammer. Don't help pick up toys, then the toys go away for a few days. And then we had to do it. every. time. It sucked. But he did eventually figure out we meant business & it was much nicer for everyone if we just got along. This makes me sound like a dictator - do what I say, or else, but we're really not. I try to give him lots of freedom, lots of choices & my days pretty much revolve around him & his sister so on those things that are rules we can be stricter.

 

 


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Old 01-12-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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OP - lots of times over the years (for various getting-dressed issues that have popped up) we've done the wear the "tomorrow clothes" to bed route and they don't get at all gross.  Most kid play clothes can easily withstand a night of sleep without looking any different (we're not talking about linen pantsuits here, lol).  I guess the only difference would be if your kid sweats a lot in their sleep, or if they regularly have accidents at night.  As for breakfast mess we have the kids get dressed before breakfast anyway (on school days) so it doesn't change anything there.

 

Little tangential anecdote...

 

The other day having dd sleep in her "tomorrow clothes" totally saved me.  Dh got up before me and re-set the alarm for me before leaving for work.  The alarm went off at 7 and I pushed the snooze.  Next thing I know I woke up to my phone ringing and someone banging on the door.  It turns out my alarm chose that day to go crazy and turn itself off with the snooze (I definitely didn't turn it off by accident - it was still set to "alarm on"), and our neighbour who we carpool with was there to pick up dd.  I went into super-speed mode.  Pulled dd out of bed (she of course already dressed - yay!), got her into her boots and coat, handed her a granola bar to eat in the car, gave her her backpack and she was out the door in ONE MINUTE!  Whew!!!!  Poor kid must have felt like "whaaaaa???" - one minute asleep, the next in the car on the way to school! 


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Old 01-12-2012, 07:06 PM
 
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I guess... thinking aloud here... that I need to be better about follow through, which I guess means getting up off my butt and helping him pick up. Unfortunately I'm too lazy to do that all the time lol.

 

Yep ages 2-4 are definitely "get off your butt" parenting ages! Think of it as part of your exercise plan! Remember too that 3s are still pretty physical learners.

 

My kids have slept in their clothes and it's fine. Really. I also like the idea that it happens first thing so that nothing fun happens before then. If he likes to clean up, give him some cleaning toys (there are montessori sized ones you can buy, or you can just to a plain squirt bottle filled with water).

 

Other kinds of consequences:

If you throw your drink, you have to stay at the table to drink. Or you have to drink from a covered cup/water bottle.

If you throw the toothbrush in the toilet, you get to brush your teeth with mom or dad in the room (strategically placed between you and the toilet).

If you push too many of mom's buttons, she turns into a screaming, raving lunatic for a few minutes. Oh wait, that's my life, not anything from a parenting book!

 

 

Instead of 'catching him being good' I like the philosophy of spending 1-1 time with him every day where he leads the play. Since it's really fun to get mom and dad to chase you, having dad spend his 30 minutes partly playing chase would be great (I'm assuming from your comments above that it's not your cup of tea). I found my kids were more cooperative when they'd had their fix of "mommy time" or "daddy time". That fills up their cups of attention so they've got the positive attention and don't need to act out as much to get attention. Not that this eliminates all struggles, as 3 year olds are notoriously difficult creatures.
 

 


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Old 01-12-2012, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know why but I am cracking up here at some of the comments. smile.gif Maybe I'm just over-tired.

Thanks for the ideas. I guess I am pretty much doing what I should be, at least 99% of the time. I always feel like I'm failing somehow and there is some great big parenting secret that no one will tell me. I'm glad to know this is just what it's like to have a toddler... and that the physical nature of it is sometimes necessary. I hate to override him or physically force him into things, it's something I'm very cautious of, but I guess it's a necessary evil.

I think another huge part of the problem is having 2 parents home all the time. Sometimes DH & I rely on each other too much to follow through on each other's statements, if that makes sense! So we're individually not as effective as we could be.

I swear I'm not as lazy as I sound. And LOL to not supervising DS enough -- I'm not sure what to say to that but I can guarantee that unfortunately, DS is more heavily supervised than any other kid I know. eyesroll.gif I'm not exactly proud of that level of supervision but it's necessary for him. I can't imagine how I'd supervise more, he is virtually always in arm's length of me or DH 24/7, we don't even go to the bathroom alone or shower without him in arm's reach. He just is very fast & very creative when it comes to getting in trouble, one minute he'll just be contentedly hanging out with us and then right before our eyes he does something crazy, faster than we can even respond.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:23 AM
 
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DH and I often find ourselves in that "I thought you were getting them  to do X" conversation. We've leanred when we are both here to activly pass off the kdis to each other,  a quick hey can you help DD with homework/ get DS dressed/make snacks or whatever make things run a lot smoother when we remember to do it.

 

For us the toothbrush in the toilet would probaby mean the child didn't get a bedtime story that night as I would need to spend that time cleaning the toothbrush. Our bedtime routine is story read by a parent and then a story CD so we do have times when we've spent too long battling over teeth that we skip straight to the CD. They miss the story but  because of the CD I think it doesn't interupt the routine enough that they don't sleep.

 

Getting dressed is still a problem for us somedays, however when we keep to a routine of getting dressed before breakfast it is a bit better. When we skip that and let them start plaingn it's usually dificult to come back to getting dressed. Shoes are our big problem and I'm runnign out of ideas for that one. Wehn they were younger I would stick them in the car/pram without shoes and carry on. Since by that age DD was not happy in the pram she got the messgae pretty quickly. DS is 5 and still we have shoe battles.

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Old 01-13-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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Until our twins were about 2, we couldn't leave them alone in a room without someone getting bitten, hit, or have a truck thrown at someone's head. DH and I literally "tagged off" with our hands if one of us was going to go to the bathroom or leave the room, so the other knew that he/she was currently in charge.

 

OP, I keep coming back to consistency, which is more difficult with both you and DH at home - you really have to be on the same page, or your son will learn to play one of you against the other. As someone else said, once ds figures out that you mean business, his behavior will improve. We often refer to our house as a Benevolent Dictatorship - I love you with all my heart, but I'm in charge!

 

Does ds get outside for play and exercise every day? He sounds like he has a lot of energy, and could use some wearing out! Can you join a playgroup, or take him to preschool a couple of afternoons a week?

 

Remember, it WILL get better! Hang in there!


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Old 01-13-2012, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We do get out a lot, in fact we are rarely home, and I try to get him outside time most days of the week (he doesn't like the cold so sometimes it just doesn't last no matter how much he's bundled!) He loves being out with friends etc. and is vastly more manageable when we're out & about. He's also better when he's home with just me (and I assume when he's home with just DH? not sure, it doesn't happen as often & DH never says much). So yeah, probably the inconsistency with me/DH... We try hard to make sure he's not playing us against each other & if DH says no, I say no too, things like that, we try to back each other up. I do the "tag - you're it!" thing with DH but not as often as I should; I assume sometimes that he knows he's in charge (or I am) but I definitely shouldn't be assuming that! I will work on that more.

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Old 01-13-2012, 01:30 PM
 
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Thanks for the ideas. I guess I am pretty much doing what I should be, at least 99% of the time. I always feel like I'm failing somehow and there is some great big parenting secret that no one will tell me. I'm glad to know this is just what it's like to have a toddler... and that the physical nature of it is sometimes necessary. I hate to override him or physically force him into things, it's something I'm very cautious of, but I guess it's a necessary evil.

I really feel you on this one! Sometimes even when days are going great and I feel as though I handled whatever situation cropped up great, I end up second guessing myself on it. I keep waiting to for that moment where TA-DA! I find the secret, its been hiding in this random book all along! Here's the perfect answer for every situation that could ever happen and will never ever have any negative impact on your child! Ahhh, if only!! rolleyes.gif


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Old 01-13-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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Great discussion! As far as clothes go, I've often gone the route (suggested by a pp) of taking my 3-year-old as far as the front door, opening it so that she feels the cold wind and then offering to help her get dressed. It nearly always works for her. The few times that it hasn't I've either bundled her into the car naked (if we're driving somewhere) or else - last resort- forced her into her clothes. I really think it's fine to use physical force sometimes to ensure the child's safety provided of course that you aren't overly rough. Going to bed in daytime clothes works well here too! (But sometimes she just isn't in a mood for clothes and takes them all off...inevitably at the most inconvenient time, like when we're going out in 10 minutes....). I totally understand the problem with your child wanting to play with real stuff not just toys. They know very well what's real and they want to do real, serious stuff, like their parents. With DD we do let her have some real stuff, like screwdrivers, to play with but she has to put them away carefully when she's done. We've actually also let her hold and examine more dangerous tools like saws - with those things we stay very close by and keep a careful eye and explain why they're dangerous. She's been rather careful with them so far in fact, and says herself that they're dangerous and she shouldn't play with them - though of course we wouldn't leave her with them unsupervised. As far as social stuff like not spitting, etc, goes - I wonder if you've come across Aletha Solter's ideas? (She's a child psychologist). I've found her enormously helpful in understading what's happening with my DD at times when she's acting up and doing things she clearly knows she shouldn't do. Basically Aletha Solter's theory is that sometimes kids just really need to have a good old cry, in the company of someone they love and feel comfortable with who'll lend a sympathetic ear, and so they'll find a reason to cry by doing something they know isn't allowed and then being told "no" (or held if necessary to stop them doing someting physically harmful). Crying can really be therapeutic (provided the child feels understood and isn't isolated or made to feel ashamed of being upset - and btw I totally agree that isolating timeouts are a bad idea). This may sound far-fetched but I really see it with my daughter sometimes - she'll get all hyper and strange and start doing things she knows very well are wrong and then, when we say she can't do x or y , she'll have a big huge cry for a few minutes, complete with flailing around, screaming, etc - and after that she's completely calm and sunny and no longer interested in making mischief. So maybe that's part of what's going on with your son. Just a thought.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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I'd get some things he can make a mess with to clean up after. He likes to spill? Ok, here's a cup and a sink of water, spill away! But when its a drink during dinner, that is not for spilling. Make clear guidelines about he and can't do with some of the things he likes. Do you have set times in the day that you clean up? Maybe everyday after lunch is pick up time and again after dinner. Then he knows that's pick up time and is more likely to do it. I really had to get down there and help DD and be involved with her cleaning up at that age. She's getting close to six now and I still have to direct her and be involved with her cleaning up to make it happen. 

 

Hopefully your DH is open to ideas since it seems to obviously not be working! 



http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/ 

 

To OP: This blog has some really fun ideas for 'invitations' for little ones to play and learn with things it sounds like your 3 yo DS would like! Check it out and see if there's anything you can put together for him to play with.

 

Good luck! hugs!

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Old 01-14-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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We had similar issues with getting dressed, and it seemed like DH "helping" made it worse all the time, even for me. One day I got close to losing it. I was so frustrated with the fighting and struggling and not listening that I angrily picked him up to carry him to his room to get dressed after he refused to comply. On the way there, I managed to calm down a bit (not that it was such a long walk down the hall, but it was enough time) but I kept going fast. I threw DS down on the bed, "wrestled" his PJs off and told him in a playful voice that if he wanted to fight, we'd fight. I did my Robert DeNiro "you don' wanna get dressed for ME? Huh? YOU! You don' wanna get dressed???" And then I wrestled his clothes onto his body while he fought me. It was exhausting. But it worked, he was dressed AND happy instead of miserable.

 

Unfortunately, that backfired b/c he had so much fun he wanted it done that way every day. I told him that we could do it that way, but that it makes Mommy tired so instead of x time at the park we'd only have y so Mommy could get home to rest. But if he wanted to get dressed himself, we could play longer b/c Mommy wouldn't be so tired from "doing it the hard way," as we've come to call EVERY struggle we have. (We did the same with teethbrushing for awhile -- I'd get him in a gentle but firm headlock and act like I was forcing it, but of course brushing as gently as I could.)

 

He brushes his teeth by himself now, but the getting dressed is something he still wants done for him (at 4 yo) even though he's perfectly capable of doing it all himself. I'm okay with it, as long as it's not a fight. Now he understands that since he's fully able to do it all himself, he has to cooperate or I leave the room. If I leave the room and he doesn't get dressed, we don't do fun things.

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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I just get a toddler dressed in a gentle but matter-of-fact way. "Oh, here's your shirt. Let's put it on." And I just put it on. I think there is going to be some physical stuff with a child that age.

 

I wonder if more sensory activities would help him? Being so active plus liking pouring things makes me think that. Maybe get some squishy, dirty play opportunities going for him and see if that makes him a bit more manageable,

 

I know it's hard this time of the year! It's so much easier when you can just let them run around outside till they're tired.

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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As for getting dressed, sometimes we say 'well, I guess we'll just have to go without you!' and veeeeery slowly get our jackets/shoes/bags on and sloooowly walk out the door, and usually by then DS has gathered his clothes/shoes etc to join us. Other things, I'm not so ure on. SOmetimes with toothbrushing and stuff he will do it if I do it

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Old 01-14-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Keep the ideas coming, thanks!

I have been following that play at home mom blog for a while & I love it, & do try to incorporate lots of sensory stuff into our day. Unfortunately he only wants it on his terms and looks at me like I'm crazy if I put out finger paints or give him water to pour. Two seconds and he's done with it. *sigh*

The clothes thing has gone better the last day or two and so have some other things, so that's good.

So here are a couple of things that happened today, and I still don't know how we should have reacted!

We were out with friends at a restaurant & DS jumped into the Koi pond. Don't even ask me how this happened, we were all sitting at a table and DS takes a bite of rice and then jumps up and runs across the room and jumps in. dizzy.gif DH was right on his tail but 1 second too slow. So he took him outside, got him dry clothes & talked to him and all... they come back inside just to pay the bill and while DS is quietly exploring the restaurant with my friend & her toddler (I was finishing my food), he takes off again across the room & goes to turn on the hibachi grill! (Bill was paid by then & so of course we left.) What the heck though??? He is so incredibly fast and 6 adults weren't able to keep up with him! So I told him we can't go to a restaurant next time. Except that we almost never go out to eat anyway because we can't afford it... so it's really not a meaningful consequence, you know? So what's the consequence? Fortunately we usually only have these kind of problems at home, otherwise I'd never take him out...

OK so he's on a roll, the rest of the day has been horrible even after a good hour+ outside and all... but anyway, the other point where I really didn't know what to do was when he started biting the couch... DH took him for a 'time-in' kind of thing (which is apparently great fun to DS), he comes back and starts biting it again immediately. So another 'time-in' and then he comes back and climbs on the table and starts knocking down speakers. So then I took him to the bedroom and talked to him again. I guess that calmed him down a little bit but this all happened within just a couple of minutes so I feel like we were totally ineffective...

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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(nak)

I find myself in similar situations ..... but i find the more i focus on consequences and discipline, the more it becomes an entrenched power struggle.  I try to keep the mood/tone light or matter-of-fact.  Stock up on patience.  Try some Playful Parenting tactics.  I could say more, but naking is slowing me down.  /good luck!

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Old 01-18-2012, 03:58 PM
 
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Is there a chance that he has too much independence?  My DD is a little over 3 years old, and we still keep her in a high chair at restaurants just to keep her safer.  Especially with verbally advanced kids, it's hard to remember that they're still little and have trouble with impulse control.

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