How to navigate "non-negotiable" activities (33mthDS) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 01-27-2012, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HELP!!!  

 

GD has been great for us so far. Our DS was even a challenge for a while with hitting/kicking/pushing instead of using his words, but "CalmDownTimes" were REALLY helpful. But now @ almost 3yo, he uses his words well, but is YELLING/SCREAMING them through tears when he chooses not to do something.  

 

Any activity he *thinks* he has a choice in: wearing pants in the house or not, wearing a jacket outside, and brushing teeth becomes a SRCEAMING/CRYING/FULL-FLEDGED TANTRUM nightmare. irked.gif  We're calm & verbal with him in response, telling him that "we can't understand you when you yell ( or scream or whine.) You have to breath and calm down and talk to us, so we understand." And being 6mth preggo, I'm all for picking my battles (especially since I'm pregnant), but certain things are in fact NON-negotiable like Brushing Teeth!

 

So, how do you coax YOUR 3yo to comply without forcing them or at least without using conventional techniques?? If your child's older, what helped you, or did they truly just grow out of it once they see that it doesn't work after a while? 

 

No one I know is of any help in this b/c they all use conventional threats, and spankings greensad.gif


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#2 of 16 Old 01-27-2012, 07:44 PM
 
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There are lots of threads for teeth brushing here and elsewhere -- making it into a game, singing etc. can help. I would not make him wear pants in the house unless company is coming though, and the jacket might also be optional if you don't live in too cold a climate. 2 1/2 to 3 and 3 1/2 to 4 are really rough times.


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#3 of 16 Old 01-29-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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My DD is the same age. She has never had much of a tendency to throw those huge tantrums, so what works for me might not work for you, but the main technique I use with her is to offer her acceptable choices so she feels like she has a say in what's going on but whatever needs to happen still happens. For example, for tooth brushing, I might ask her, "Do you want to brush your own teeth, or do you want me to do it for you?" Or, "Do you want kids toothpaste or grown up toothpaste?" I don't even fight with her about pants in the house unless company is coming, but we did have several weeks where she wanted to go around with no pants AND no underwear! lol.gif I would just tell her, "You can't go around in the house with nothing on your bottom because I don't want butt germs all over everything. I will give you a choice: you can put on your own underwear, or I will do it for you." So yes, sometimes I do make her do stuff that she doesn't want to do, but it only took a couple of times of me cornering her and putting the underwear on for her before she understood that I meant it. Now when she hears me say, "If you choose not to do it for yourself, I will do it for you," she generally chooses to do it herself.

 

Another thing I do is to make it clear that she needs to do something I want her to do before she will be allowed to do something she wants to do. "You need to pick up your Legos before I will read you stories." Or, "We will not be going to the park until you put your clothes on." Then I calmly and respectfully enforce that boundary. I'm not trying to *scare* her into obeying or punish her for not obeying by making her feel really bad, which to me is what threatening is about. I'm just notifying her what the consequences will be if she chooses not to do what I want her to do.

 

I also try to choose carefully what really is non-negotiable. Like I said, I let her run around in the house with no pants, as long as she's wearing underwear. I also will let her go outside with no coat if she really insists on it--I just bring her coat along and tell her that if she gets cold she can put it on. Then I wait long enough for her to start feeling cold and suggest again that she put it on.

 

And yeah, I also often end up telling her, "You don't need to scream/cry/whine to tell me what you want. Can you try again to ask me in a better way?" I think that's something that will just come with time.


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#4 of 16 Old 01-31-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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Another thing I do is to make it clear that she needs to do something I want her to do before she will be allowed to do something she wants to do. "You need to pick up your Legos before I will read you stories." Or, "We will not be going to the park until you put your clothes on." Then I calmly and respectfully enforce that boundary. I'm not trying to *scare* her into obeying or punish her for not obeying by making her feel really bad, which to me is what threatening is about. I'm just notifying her what the consequences will be if she chooses not to do what I want her to do.

 

I don't see how that the word consequences is any different from a punishment, just a different word for it. Sure, you're not spanking or yelling, but you're still using a negative outcome to try to change your child's behavior. While I'm sure you get results, which is probably nice for the family's organization, it would seem looking at what is motivating the resistance might help you find a solution that meets both your needs, such as making it into a game.
 

 


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#5 of 16 Old 01-31-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

I don't see how that the word consequences is any different from a punishment, just a different word for it. Sure, you're not spanking or yelling, but you're still using a negative outcome to try to change your child's behavior. While I'm sure you get results, which is probably nice for the family's organization, it would seem looking at what is motivating the resistance might help you find a solution that meets both your needs, such as making it into a game.
 

 



there is a huge difference between consequence and punishment. Punishment is about making a child pay for "misbehaviour". Like no dessert for not picking up your toys. They don't necessarily mean yelling or spanking. They can be administered in a calm manner.

 

Consequence is something that occurs more or less naturally for children and adults alike. They can be natural (you don't pick up your toys, you step on them and they break) or logical (you don't pick up your toys, we can't move on to the next activity).

 

Sorry, NAK

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#6 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by bodhitree View Post

My DD is the same age. She has never had much of a tendency to throw those huge tantrums, so what works for me might not work for you, but the main technique I use with her is to offer her acceptable choices so she feels like she has a say in what's going on but whatever needs to happen still happens. For example, for tooth brushing, I might ask her, "Do you want to brush your own teeth, or do you want me to do it for you?" Or, "Do you want kids toothpaste or grown up toothpaste?" I don't even fight with her about pants in the house unless company is coming, but we did have several weeks where she wanted to go around with no pants AND no underwear! lol.gif I would just tell her, "You can't go around in the house with nothing on your bottom because I don't want butt germs all over everything. I will give you a choice: you can put on your own underwear, or I will do it for you." So yes, sometimes I do make her do stuff that she doesn't want to do, but it only took a couple of times of me cornering her and putting the underwear on for her before she understood that I meant it. Now when she hears me say, "If you choose not to do it for yourself, I will do it for you," she generally chooses to do it herself.

 

Another thing I do is to make it clear that she needs to do something I want her to do before she will be allowed to do something she wants to do. "You need to pick up your Legos before I will read you stories." Or, "We will not be going to the park until you put your clothes on." Then I calmly and respectfully enforce that boundary. I'm not trying to *scare* her into obeying or punish her for not obeying by making her feel really bad, which to me is what threatening is about. I'm just notifying her what the consequences will be if she chooses not to do what I want her to do.

 

I also try to choose carefully what really is non-negotiable. Like I said, I let her run around in the house with no pants, as long as she's wearing underwear. I also will let her go outside with no coat if she really insists on it--I just bring her coat along and tell her that if she gets cold she can put it on. Then I wait long enough for her to start feeling cold and suggest again that she put it on.

 

And yeah, I also often end up telling her, "You don't need to scream/cry/whine to tell me what you want. Can you try again to ask me in a better way?" I think that's something that will just come with time.

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond at such length! My DS has never been prone to these WILD kind of tantrums either so this really threw us for a loop!  It's been better the past few days...he still 'protests' but only verbally. (I think what really is going on is that he's picked up, and is trying out on us, some bad habits from preschool (which he just started Jan3.)

 

Okay - "BUTT GERMS!!?"  That's hilarious, but exactly how I feel about it too!!! That's been the issue; he wants to be NAKED! And that we keep the house on the cool side (I'm a furnace right now), so he just can't be totally naked. (And it's not an option for me to turn up the heat and ME be barely clothed either - LOL!)  I did buy slippers HE picked out, so we've compromised lately that he has to have undies and slippers on in the house. (Haha! I wish I could post pics of those toddler buns and old-man slippers!...Adorable :) )

 

*Like* the jacket strategy - guess I was over-thinking that one...

 

Brushing teeth has still been a struggle but he only protests verbally now. I think he's realizing that it's a *MUST.* And also we've tried the "Are you ready to brush teeth? No? Okay, well, you come get me when you're ready... And he has voluntarily  come once!

 

BTW: love your username - Bodhi is the name hubby chose for our DS2!! Thanks again.


 

 

 


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#7 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

there is a huge difference between consequence and punishment. Punishment is about making a child pay for "misbehaviour". Like no dessert for not picking up your toys. They don't necessarily mean yelling or spanking. They can be administered in a calm manner.

 

Consequence is something that occurs more or less naturally for children and adults alike. They can be natural (you don't pick up your toys, you step on them and they break) or logical (you don't pick up your toys, we can't move on to the next activity).

 

Sorry, NAK


Yes. Agreed thumb.gif  Especially when a 'warning' of sorts is offered to assist them in 'thinking through' their choices. "Sweety, if you choose to do X, Y will happen, remember? Do you still want to do X? 


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#8 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 11:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

I don't see how that the word consequences is any different from a punishment, just a different word for it. Sure, you're not spanking or yelling, but you're still using a negative outcome to try to change your child's behavior. While I'm sure you get results, which is probably nice for the family's organization, it would seem looking at what is motivating the resistance might help you find a solution that meets both your needs, such as making it into a game.
 

 


LOL. Only on MDC would my style of discipline get criticized for not being gentle or playful enough. I *do* look at what is motivating the resistance, and oftentimes (not always), it's "I'm almost three and I'm learning to be independent, so I am testing to see when I'm allowed to refuse and when I'm not allowed to refuse." Letting her know what will happen depending on what choice she makes does meet her needs for calm, predictable, loving discipline that will help her learn what I expect of her and will in the long term help her learn to think through the consequences of her own decisions. This is not the only strategy in my discipline toolbox, and we certainly do sometimes play games, etc. But I don't think there's anything wrong with letting kids experience negative consequences of their decisions (as long as there isn't any real danger involved, of course). In fact, I think that's an extremely important experience to have (over and over again) in order to grow into a responsible, resilient adult. You should certainly do whatever works best for your family, but I'm perfectly comfortable with the strategies that we use in our family.

 

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#9 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by creddy View Post

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond at such length! My DS has never been prone to these WILD kind of tantrums either so this really threw us for a loop!  It's been better the past few days...he still 'protests' but only verbally. (I think what really is going on is that he's picked up, and is trying out on us, some bad habits from preschool (which he just started Jan3.)

 

Okay - "BUTT GERMS!!?"  That's hilarious, but exactly how I feel about it too!!! That's been the issue; he wants to be NAKED! And that we keep the house on the cool side (I'm a furnace right now), so he just can't be totally naked. (And it's not an option for me to turn up the heat and ME be barely clothed either - LOL!)  I did buy slippers HE picked out, so we've compromised lately that he has to have undies and slippers on in the house. (Haha! I wish I could post pics of those toddler buns and old-man slippers!...Adorable :) )

 

*Like* the jacket strategy - guess I was over-thinking that one...

 

Brushing teeth has still been a struggle but he only protests verbally now. I think he's realizing that it's a *MUST.* And also we've tried the "Are you ready to brush teeth? No? Okay, well, you come get me when you're ready... And he has voluntarily  come once!

 

BTW: love your username - Bodhi is the name hubby chose for our DS2!! Thanks again.


 

 

 


Yeah, I probably should think of a more delicate way to put it than "butt germs," but whatever. redface.gif

 

Glad things have been a little easier. I often do the "come get me when you're ready" thing when DD doesn't want to get dressed to leave the house, assuming there is time, and it usually works great. I think it's because I'm disengaging from whatever other fun thing she would rather do, kwim?

 

Bodhi is a great name for a boy! If we were going to have another we'd have to put that one on the list.

 

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Consequences can be natural, but when the parent is imposing them they are more like punishments. I'm not the only one who has that opinion either:

"If you want to have an egalitarian relationship with your children, it is necessary to examine your language very closely. Many times people use euphemisms (particularly for punishment) without even realizing it, and 'natural consequences' seems to be a popular one these days."

from: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/rue_kream2.html

Also,

"what parenting experts call “natural consequences” are no such thing, and that what these experts are really advocating is punishing children and denying responsibility for the resulting distress that their children feel."

from: http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/node/45


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I wanted to add a couple of ideas and some links for things to do to make tooth brushing easier, since I've found with my second that it goes much easier now that I've decided to try everything not to force the issue (I did with my ds and he still hates to brush his teeth at almost 9):

I ask dd if I can look for (and here I start with one and go through a long string of animals, because she loves animals) in her mouth, then if those don't work I think of what we did that day and work that in (eg activities like playing at the park etc). We have three toothbrushes and I let her choose one or two. Sometimes dh or ds does. 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/244805/tooth-brushing-success

http://codenamemama.com/2010/05/12/gentle-parenting-brushing-teeth/

http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/health/brushing.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/child-rearing-and-development/caring-little-teeth/teaching-toothbrushing


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#12 of 16 Old 02-02-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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oops 


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#13 of 16 Old 02-05-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

Consequences can be natural, but when the parent is imposing them they are more like punishments. I'm not the only one who has that opinion either:

"If you want to have an egalitarian relationship with your children, it is necessary to examine your language very closely. Many times people use euphemisms (particularly for punishment) without even realizing it, and 'natural consequences' seems to be a popular one these days."

from: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/rue_kream2.html

Also,

"what parenting experts call “natural consequences” are no such thing, and that what these experts are really advocating is punishing children and denying responsibility for the resulting distress that their children feel."

from: http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/node/45

 

I, personally, don't think I want to have an "egalitarian relationship" with a three year old.  

 

For that matter, I don't think that it is developmentally appropriate (or realistic) to have an egalitarian relationship with a three year old.  They can't operate on an adult level, and I'd rather not live life at the level of a 3yo, myself.

 

Three year olds are baby members of human groups.  They instinctively are seeking guidance from the adults in their group on what the "rules" of their social group is.   They do things on purpose to test what the rules are, where the limits are, what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the group in which they live.

Giving loving guidance on that --- including explaining and/or demonstrating the consequences -- is what adult human beings *do*.   We explain it's okay not to wear pants in private, but in the human group in which we live, there are actual real-world consequences to running around in front of nonrelatives naked from the waist down!   

 

Telling a child that you cannot go to the park until pants are put on is a totally reasonable consequence, IMO.  

 

I do agree that it's important to think for yourself about what really is and is not "non negotiable."   I worked hard to stop myself before saying "No,' or "You can't" or "We won't."   I trained myself to stop before saying anything that was a consequence ("If you do that one more time, then THIS will happen.").  But in *real* life, for most of us, there really are some non-negotiables.   

 

One of my kids did not deal well with lots of talking.  We had to state the non-negotiable rule ("You must be in your carseat to go to the park") over and over, but keep it simple, until he was older.  His sister?  We could say "Your carseat straps keep you safe if the car stops suddenly, and its the law that you ahve to ride in them.  Lets put them on and go to the park," and she'd be fine.


 

 

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#14 of 16 Old 02-06-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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I, personally, don't think I want to have an "egalitarian relationship" with a three year old.  

 

For that matter, I don't think that it is developmentally appropriate (or realistic) to have an egalitarian relationship with a three year old.  They can't operate on an adult level, and I'd rather not live life at the level of a 3yo, myself.

 



Yep. DD and I are equal in terms of our worth as human beings, but not equal in terms of our abilities and capacity to make reasonable decisions. I want to have a respectful relationship with her, not an egalitarian one. And to me, part of respecting her is not treating her as though she is made of glass or is incapable of handling a few moments of "distress." Experiencing distress, learning how to cope with it, and learning lessons from situations where our actions don't get the result we wanted is an important part of growth as a human being. I'm happy to guide DD through that process--when she does get upset over not being able to go to the park or whatever, I am certainly respectful and understanding of her feelings--and I really don't see my job as being to prevent her from having to experience it.

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Yes, I've read fairly widely on Taking Children Seriously and Consensual Living and *some* Radical Unschooling.

 

In general, I think a lot of those works assume a level of psychological, emotional, and neurological development that simply does not exist in small children.  I don't say that to be "Adults are better than kids."  I say that to mean "Children are not just short adults, and we should not treat them as such."      It doesn't mean you have to constantly impose your will upon your child, or that 'children should be seen or not heard," or "children need to learn to obey," or any of those straw men that get tossed out for arguing against.  

 

It means that parents need to be aware of how children develop cognitively -- socially, linguistically, and environmentally.   I remember a TCS advocate telling me years ago that "children are rational beings too!"  Of course they are.  But they still perceive the world differently than adults do in some very important ways, and part of what they *instinctively* seek from parents is more information about the way the world works, so that as they grow and develop and mature, they can incorporate that into how they act and interact.

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