Sick of not being listened to, sick of yelling, sick of feeling disrespected... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 05-02-2012, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a sort of post that I know is not foreign to this board. I know that these are issues that many people deal with but I am just so frustrated and run down that I need to share. Any inspiration or thoughts would help me out right now.

 

My kids (age almost 6 and 3.5) Are just not following my directions at all. The three year old is not quite as bad as the 5 year old. He literally does the exact OPPOSITE of what I tell him. I try not to give direct instructions about what they cannot do unless it is important.

 

It is constant, but I will provide a couple examples...

 

Yesterday as the kids were heading out to play (I was coming right out in 5 minutes with a batch of cookies) I got down to my sons level and very seriously told him that I could see the barn door was hanging off of its hinge and that for his safety I really needed him to stay away from the barn doors. I look out one minute later and he is not only playing there, but he is holding up the barn door that he knocked off.

 

They are watching a movie together and they are not getting along. I hear lots of, "I can't see! Stop touching me! Move your leg!" After a few minutes of constant bickering I firmly tell them that I am going to take the IPAD away if they cannot get along. I even said, I need to not hear any fighting at all. One second later more of the same thing.

 

I tell them to stay out of the junk drawer and they get into it.

 

I tell a kid to take a 5 minute break because they are listening and not only do I get "No, I dont want to!" But I get temper tantrums and the kid throwing things through the room. I don't understand why they (especially the 5 year old) can't accept that he messed up and take a short break. It is seriously like everything has to be difficult.

 

I am worn out.

 

We have some dinners completely as a family, but when my husband has masters classes It is just the three of us. Well, they follow proper table manners when my husband is here but when it is just me for some reason they always erupt into laughing, screaming, talking about poop...we are talking about really rude table manners and it is not safe because they might choke. I think I give too many warnings. I should remove them from the table immediately but I want them to get some food into their bellies so I am more likely to yell at them and give constant VERY firm warnings. Yesterday i forced my 5 year old to leave the table but did they learn today? Nope, of course not. That would be FAR too easy. They got ridiculously crazy and I warned and finally took both plates away and made them get into their pajamas a whole hour early. I read one book and put them to bed. I told them that since they were going to bed this early it would be hard to go to sleep but that I expected quiet. My son started in on farting noises. I looked at him VERY firmly and told him that I had better not hear a single fart sound out of him. Well, I walk out and there go the farts. Of course I start yelling at him because at this point I really don't know what else to know.

 

They don't care about yelling. They don't care that I am angry or feel disrespected. They laugh and giggle right over the top of me. They seriously don't care.

 

Today I felt like turning them each over my knee and giving them a hard spanking. I am SO angry and so frustrated.

 

How on earth am I supposed to be their mom if I am not respected and if my directions are not followed?

 

I am lost and depleted.


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#2 of 37 Old 05-02-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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Take away something they value...such as all screen time or a favorite toy. Don't give so many warnings. At this point it's a game and they want your negative attention. Detach from the situation emotionally as much as possibly, and don't get into a verbal power struggle, just act decisively. Make a plan ahead of time and stick to it. Also, get your partner or a babysitter so you can take a break! 

Second, when they are not being brats, shower them with lots of positive attention and play...sounds like they mostly just want attention even if it's the wrong kind. 

Good luck!

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#3 of 37 Old 05-03-2012, 04:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Take away something they value...such as all screen time or a favorite toy. Don't give so many warnings. At this point it's a game and they want your negative attention. Detach from the situation emotionally as much as possibly, and don't get into a verbal power struggle, just act decisively. Make a plan ahead of time and stick to it. Also, get your partner or a babysitter so you can take a break! 

Second, when they are not being brats, shower them with lots of positive attention and play...sounds like they mostly just want attention even if it's the wrong kind. 

Good luck!

 

At this point I had already taken almost everything away. :(

 

You are right. Not so many warnings.

 

I do take breaks actually.

 

Some of it may be attention getting. I want to defend myself and jump in with, "They get lots of attention!" But it doesn't matter, they still might be asking for it with the behaviour.

 

Thanks so much!


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#4 of 37 Old 05-03-2012, 06:56 AM
 
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My not quite 3.5yo is testing every.single.limit.all.the.time. I feel for you. Nothing works, he just tantrums. I wish he didn't, but he does. He doesn't listen, he's not nice, he's not fun, its just torture day in and day out. Thank goodness I only have one - now I just have to get my tubes tied....

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#5 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My not quite 3.5yo is testing every.single.limit.all.the.time. I feel for you. Nothing works, he just tantrums. I wish he didn't, but he does. He doesn't listen, he's not nice, he's not fun, its just torture day in and day out. Thank goodness I only have one - now I just have to get my tubes tied....

Yep, we are definitely done at two. I love having two, but it is double the work.


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#6 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 04:42 AM
 
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Kids do like to be told what to do so they can know if they're doing what mom wants.  Now that doesn't mean they are little angels that sit with their hands folded.

 

I think you're not being firm enough.  I think it's easy to get "firm" and "mean" confused.  I don't think constant yelling and threatening is valuable.  You don't need to get angry to correct their bad behavior.

 

First you have to get over that they will do what they're not supposed to.  There is no "why" to this.  I stopped asking the kids "Why did you do that?"  They don't know, they just did it.

 

Then you need a pattern.  Three warnings or something.  If they won't listen at dinner, put them on the steps.  It will take some time to get them to realize you are serious and they won't starve in the mean time.  

 

Try and make sure you are constantly correcting or nagging them while at the same time being firm about things that are out of bounds.


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#7 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 05:30 AM
 
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What did you do about those things?

 

Did you bring your son in from the yard when he played with the barn door?

 

Did you take the iPad away?

 

My 6yo can be VERY boundary-testing too.  I find not being emotionally engaged works best.  She gets plenty of attention, but she wants more.  She is a good big sister to my nearly-2yo but she still wishes it was just me and her again.  She wants 100% of my attention.  She can't have it.  She WILL disobey/get into scrapes to get attention.  I just deal as i go.  The overall trend seems to be improving a little as DD2 grows and DD1 realises there are benefits to having a sister.

 

I think for us the main things need to be very consistent consequences and firm boundaries.  The 2yo gets 3 warning, the 6yo gets ONE.  She is big enough to listen.  If she chooses not to then she has to deal.

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#8 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 06:00 AM
 
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You need follow through and sooner than you are.  I noticed that my younger  children were starting to not listen to me.  I was giving warnings and not following through.  Now I give one warning and follow through immediately.  My son kept putting soothers in his mouth when they were supposed to be for bed.  When I would ask for it back he would run away with it.  Instead of telling him over and over and over I told him what the consequence would be.  I told him I would cut the end off of it if he put one in his mouth or ran away with it.  He ran away so I grabbed it, cut it and told him I would do it again.  He was shocked and didn't do it again.  My 4yo daughter was outside and I told her not to run to the front of the house without an adult there.  I told her we will go inside if she didn't listen.  She did it so we went in and stayed in while the other kids played outside.  She listened after that.  They have to know that mom isn't a pushover.  I can get like that sometimes but I notice the best results when I am consistent, follow through and right away.  

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#9 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 08:35 AM
 
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Advice from a different angle, not intended to contradict others.

 

Look at what you are asking them to do, and find the places you can back off.  Bickering?  Drives me nuts, too.  Try to ignore it.  This is hard.  If my kids want my help, I'll say I'll only help if they listen to my advice.  If they don't mind it, if they persist I say they are on their own, and I know they can find a way to work it out.  Then I leave.  It's not as perfect as it sounds, but they get the idea.  

 

Remove the worst stuff from the junk drawer and tell them they can play in it as long as everything gets back in there.

 

You get the idea.

 

You cannot reasonably expect to have the energy or sanity to clamp down more firmly if you have overcommitted your personal resources.  You need to pick your battles and forgo the rest.  Again, that sounds more perfect than it ends up being.

 

Also, your presence is desired.  If they don't hear you, don't try to make yourself louder, just leave if it's making you crazy.  At the dinner table, read a book.  Or maybe that's the important part of the day.  If so, make it fast.  Don't call them in until the food is on the table.  When they start being rude, forget the rudeness, just say It sounds like you are done eating.  You may be excused.  Or change the subject.  Repeat your mantra or mental prayer and set a good example as to what good manners look like.

 

It sounds like this is giving them permission to do rude noises, etc.  But no.  They are doing these things because kids get hyper in response to these kinds of situations.  Fart jokes just aren't the thing in our house I think because I'll make farting noise right back.  Granted, the table manners in our house are not Emily Post, but then this is not my personal battle.  Be polite, keep the food in the mouth and out of view and I'm good.   Also, we have a standard dinner table conversation:  what did you do at work today?  Or whatever.  Same question every time, so they are ready for it.  But they sit for 5 or 10 minutes and get going to their playtime.

 

Lastly, find a time when you can set aside chores and be silly with them.  Runaround the yard (literally!) play "Calvin Ball", the game with rules that are invented as you go (like Calvin's ball games with Hobbes).  Lie in the grass and revel in their silliness.  Giggle with them when they fart or burp.

 

I'm not saying that these aren't good fights to fight, what I'm saying is that when you are going nuts trying to keep order, something has got to give.   The solution is not to become more unyielding and brittle.  Strength comes with being yielding at the right times.  Ignore all the pettiness and look at the big picture.  Find your center.  Choose what is most important and pour your resources into that.

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#10 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Advice from a different angle, not intended to contradict others.

 

Look at what you are asking them to do, and find the places you can back off.  Bickering?  Drives me nuts, too.  Try to ignore it.  This is hard.  If my kids want my help, I'll say I'll only help if they listen to my advice.  If they don't mind it, if they persist I say they are on their own, and I know they can find a way to work it out.  Then I leave.  It's not as perfect as it sounds, but they get the idea.  

 

Remove the worst stuff from the junk drawer and tell them they can play in it as long as everything gets back in there.

 

You get the idea.

 

You cannot reasonably expect to have the energy or sanity to clamp down more firmly if you have overcommitted your personal resources.  You need to pick your battles and forgo the rest.  Again, that sounds more perfect than it ends up being.

 

Also, your presence is desired.  If they don't hear you, don't try to make yourself louder, just leave if it's making you crazy.  At the dinner table, read a book.  Or maybe that's the important part of the day.  If so, make it fast.  Don't call them in until the food is on the table.  When they start being rude, forget the rudeness, just say It sounds like you are done eating.  You may be excused.  Or change the subject.  Repeat your mantra or mental prayer and set a good example as to what good manners look like.

 

It sounds like this is giving them permission to do rude noises, etc.  But no.  They are doing these things because kids get hyper in response to these kinds of situations.  Fart jokes just aren't the thing in our house I think because I'll make farting noise right back.  Granted, the table manners in our house are not Emily Post, but then this is not my personal battle.  Be polite, keep the food in the mouth and out of view and I'm good.   Also, we have a standard dinner table conversation:  what did you do at work today?  Or whatever.  Same question every time, so they are ready for it.  But they sit for 5 or 10 minutes and get going to their playtime.

 

Lastly, find a time when you can set aside chores and be silly with them.  Runaround the yard (literally!) play "Calvin Ball", the game with rules that are invented as you go (like Calvin's ball games with Hobbes).  Lie in the grass and revel in their silliness.  Giggle with them when they fart or burp.

 

I'm not saying that these aren't good fights to fight, what I'm saying is that when you are going nuts trying to keep order, something has got to give.   The solution is not to become more unyielding and brittle.  Strength comes with being yielding at the right times.  Ignore all the pettiness and look at the big picture.  Find your center.  Choose what is most important and pour your resources into that.


Your advice is more aligned with what I have done in the past that has worked. Thanks so much for the reminders. This is my style. I have just lost my flare in my exhaustion.

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#11 of 37 Old 05-04-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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My post seems like I am a general barking orders to my children. lol.  I am actually pretty laid back and don't give out too many rules.  It is when I feel like I am being disrespected by my children not listening to me.  That is when I have to be more consistent.  I do need to play with them more though.  That is my weakness.  I cuddle, read and tickle them.  I have a hard time actually playing with them.  

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#12 of 37 Old 05-05-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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I think all of these have good advice - and they're not contradictory.  I only have one lil one-year-old, but I have to remind myself to look for "yes" in his day, and to pull back when I'm feeing exasperated.  Usually that means something isn't working on my end (e.g., my expectations aren't totally reasonable, or he needs more attention/playtime from me, etc.).  

 

An example I've shared before is his climbing the stairs - we put up a gate to stop him, but he kept trying to climb it.  So I just tried to pull him off the stairs and enforce a "no stairs" policy - of course, this failed miserably, resulting in lots of tantrums.  I examined my reasons for not letting him climb, and ended up with something lame like, "I don't want to stop what I'm doing to follow him up the stairs."  Now, I get up, take a break, burn a few calories, he works on his gross motor skills - it's win-win.  Similar experiences with things that make a mess, etc.  Maybe move the location, but let him go at it.

 

I think SweetSilver's advice is golden.  Relaxing expectations (for them and for ourselves!), looking for "yes" and making sure we spend active, engaged playtime with our kids is huge, even in my limited experience.  Sometimes the latter isn't super easy for me (like homeschoolingmama admitted) but like anything in parenting, a lil more (positive) effort up front saves you from expending at least as much (negative, frustrated) energy later.  

 

That said, I also agree with the PPs that suggested swift, clear and direct consequences.  I think these approaches go hand in hand - by not struggling over every little thing, you have more energy and focus available to enforce the rules you do set - no muss, no fuss.  You aren't spinning your wheels with warning after warning out of exhaustion (and kids pick up on your desperation like a lion picking out a weak gazelle!), because you are too exhausted to act quickly and confidently.

 

Finally, I really like the idea of age-appropriate consequences (one warning for an older child, more for a younger toddler).  It's developmentally appropriate and fair.  I think when moms have two kids (speaking more of my experience as an older sister here) they are so desperate to make everything "fair" that they level the playing field too much, and fail to respect differences between their children.

 

Good luck, OP!  You got some great advice - hope things improve for you soon. hug.gif

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#13 of 37 Old 05-05-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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And to add: try to play offense as much as possible.  You can't always do this, but some things are so predictable.  Ask any chess or Go player, how miserable it is to be caught in a defensive role, forever playing catch-up.  You have absolutely no control over the game.

 

So, iPad fights?  Before handing it over (or in my case turning on the TV) you go over the rules.  Briefly.  Loudly, like you are talking to an auditorium, not 2 kids.  Or, conversely, sit between them and whisper the rules.  You'd be surprised how much kids listen to a whisper!  They often stop everything to hear you.  Then hand over the iPad when they have engaged you.  Not listening?  Walk away.  "Engaged" doesn't mean they understood you necessarily, or that they will comply and be perfect.  No, they get rewarded simply for giving you their attention.  Then if they break the rules, I will repeat them, but usually I will pause whatever they are watching to back me up.  Often, I will just say "No video *tomorrow* if you can't follow the rules" instead of taking it away right then.  Give them a second chance, but otherwise stick to your guns.  If you can't back it up, you should have done something else or dropped the issue entirely.  Chalk it up to the parental learning curve.  

 

About outside:  they don't get to go outside, even a minute earlier than I'm ready if I can't trust them to be out of my sight.  You might have to pull your oldest aside when his brother is playing by himself to talk to him.  The time to discuss is not necessarily the time to go outside, and 5yo is old enough to start having these conversations apart from the moment.  Then a reminder before you head out.

 

And this:  don't be afraid to change your mind, even if you've been a hard-ass, even if their has been near-tantrums about something.  Have courage and change your mind.  And let them know why, too.  "I didn't realize how important this was too you.  Clearly you really care a lot about it.  I guess it's more important to you, and not that important to me.  Go ahead."  Sort of like the Serenity Prayer, have the wisdom to see where you can do this, and where to stand your ground, and to see the difference between the two.  In my house, this has never resulted in more tantrums, but that's not a promise.  You know your kids.  I know mine.  It could work in my house, not in yours.

 

All this advice together sounds like things are so together at my house and ooooh no they are not.  I still yell way more than I should.  I don't follow my own advice as often as I should.... because it is all so frustrating sometimes and I just forget.  And as soon I think I'm on to something, they change and everything becomes unpredictable again.  Again, its not perfect and neither am I.

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#14 of 37 Old 05-05-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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Pickle18 - I agree with much of your advice. Except for one thing. With 3yos, more than one warning makes consequences seem very arbitrary, because they aren't keeping track of how many times you say, 'stay out of the flour'. If you say it 3 times, they don't understand the 3strikes and you're out concept at all. And they just aren't old enough to realize that every time they do something they get 3chances. However, when you say it once, remind them of the consequence, and then follow through the next time they do start taking you more seriously.
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#15 of 37 Old 05-05-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Thank you, Super~Single~Mama! smile.gif Just so I'm sure we're on the same page - you're saying that with younger kids it would be appropriate to remind them of the rule when they first do something, and then act to remove them (or whatever) when they repeat it?  That seems fair to me, because just like they wouldn't be able to keep track of three strikes (or differentiate why the response is different on strike 3), it doesn't seem like they would always be able to keep the rules in mind ahead of time before the first offense - it seems like at least one reminder/second chance is in order (especially at that age, when memory is still fairly short, and when their bodies are saying, "go, go, go!").  So that would effectively equate to a single warning/"two strikes you're out" approach, instead of three?


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#16 of 37 Old 05-05-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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Yeah, except that when it's something like an iPad I tell the rules before he gets to play, and then it's one strike (I use it for work, it can't get broken).
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#17 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 06:25 AM
 
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I just wanted to give you a big cyber-hug! I have a very willful nearly-three year old and lately I have felt so HURT by her rudeness and not listening. I get frustrated and yell and am upset and she just doesn't care! It hurts my feelings when she says "NO!" and hits me and runs in the other room. My husband tells me not to take it so personally, that it's developmental and being willful can be good as she grows up, but she doesn't act like that to him.

 

I do agree with a past poster who said maybe you should let little things go. DD doesn't do fart noises but she makes other gross sounds just to rattle me and I try to ignore her. I get so worked up that I think every thing she does is related to how she's been acting all day and I freak out about things that don't even matter!

 

I also wanted to say thank you for sharring your story because I would see your cute profile pic and name and think, "That Vermont mom, she's prolly so much more natural than I am. I bet it's easy for her to be gentle and creative all the time." It's crazy, but moms do that! We have to remember not to compare our insides with other people's outsides. Mothering is HARD. You're doing ok, be gentle with yourself.

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#18 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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I was just about to post about this regarding my 4yr old.  Everything I say is met with "no, i won't".  It is driving me INSANE.
 

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#19 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When I ask him to chew with his mouth closed he purposefully chews with his mouth wide open while staring me down.

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#20 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to give you a big cyber-hug! I have a very willful nearly-three year old and lately I have felt so HURT by her rudeness and not listening. I get frustrated and yell and am upset and she just doesn't care! It hurts my feelings when she says "NO!" and hits me and runs in the other room. My husband tells me not to take it so personally, that it's developmental and being willful can be good as she grows up, but she doesn't act like that to him.

 

I do agree with a past poster who said maybe you should let little things go. DD doesn't do fart noises but she makes other gross sounds just to rattle me and I try to ignore her. I get so worked up that I think every thing she does is related to how she's been acting all day and I freak out about things that don't even matter!

 

I also wanted to say thank you for sharring your story because I would see your cute profile pic and name and think, "That Vermont mom, she's prolly so much more natural than I am. I bet it's easy for her to be gentle and creative all the time." It's crazy, but moms do that! We have to remember not to compare our insides with other people's outsides. Mothering is HARD. You're doing ok, be gentle with yourself.


Thanks so much. This is very supportive and sweet. Parenting is VERY hard and you are right that we are all doing the best we can.


Living the Joyful life as a mama of three beautiful children who are just right the way they are.

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#21 of 37 Old 05-15-2012, 07:48 PM
 
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When I ask him to chew with his mouth closed he purposefully chews with his mouth wide open while staring me down.

 

I laughed when I read this, not because I thought it was funny, per se, but because my boyfriend's youngest daughter does this, so I can picture exactly what you're talking about.  We have to be very stern with her, moreso than with the other children, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and I could have written most of your original post about her- I was lurking in this thread to find a solution for myself.


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#22 of 37 Old 05-16-2012, 05:06 AM
 
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When I ask him to chew with his mouth closed he purposefully chews with his mouth wide open while staring me down.

 

I laughed when I read this, not because I thought it was funny, per se, but because my boyfriend's youngest daughter does this, so I can picture exactly what you're talking about.  We have to be very stern with her, moreso than with the other children, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and I could have written most of your original post about her- I was lurking in this thread to find a solution for myself.

 

My ds also does this.exact.thing. At this age, I think its so so so important to choose your battles. I personally choose safety as number 1, empathy as number 2 (I make sure he knows when he says hurtful things that it hurts peoples feelings, but I have reasons for doing that - other parents may not need to stress it as much), and everything else falls below my radar. Things like this annoy me, but aren't zomg important. So I leave them to chew with their mouth open, and might ask them not to - but I leave it at that. My ds dresses himself, and oh boy does he look interesting sometimes (stripes with plaid, etc), but it doesn't matter because he's happy.

 

I don't know why people call it the terrible 2's, 2 doesn't hold a candle to 3.

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#23 of 37 Old 05-16-2012, 05:27 AM
 
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I agree with letting the little things go. Kids are desperate for autonomy, and they will fight to the death to get it. Giving up on most stuff gives them a sense of autonomy and hopefully makes them want to fight less, and at the same time keeps your strength up for handling the stuff that is really important, and hopefully helps keep you sane. It can be maddening to fight about a lot of things. When I want to push in about something, I try to step back for a minute and ask myself what is the worst that could come of it. If it isn't that bad and isn't a safety issue and doesn't cause my kids to annoy the world, I ask myself if I can let it go. If it is a safety issue or whatever, I try to think if there's a way to modify their behavior so it is safe, or not so annoying, or whatever, so they can get what they want and I can get what I want (usually safety.) This often means moving the behavior from one place to another. "Jump on this, not this." And if I don't have a solution to that, I'll often try to get them involved in the problem solving. "I see you're having fun jumping and I want you to have that fun, but jumping on that isn't safe because of X. Can you think of a way you can have fun and also be safe?" That many words obviously only works with older kids.

Anyway, good luck! It's not easy.
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#24 of 37 Old 05-16-2012, 06:43 AM
 
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When I ask him to chew with his mouth closed he purposefully chews with his mouth wide open while staring me down.

And it's so hard when it seems the only options are Mean Mommy or Pushover!

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#25 of 37 Old 05-17-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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I just wanted to post with some more ideas. I also think that we have to pick our battles. When it is not so important, instead of stating a command, like "eat with your mouth closed," try saying something like, "it is yucky/not pleasant to see the food in your mouth while you're eating," or, "nobody likes to see the food inside your mouth." Then, it is not a command, they don't feel that drive to do the opposite of what you have said. They may choose to stop, or they may not, but if they don't they are not defying you, so it will not anger you as much, and you will start to change the cycle of defiance.

 

When it is important, state your command, give one reminder, and then if they do not follow instructions, take action. I know it is hard when there is more than one child, but you really have to remove them from the situation. Or, in some cases, have them think through things. For the barn door example, you could try showing it to your DS, asking him what do you think might happen given the door is starting to come off? What would happen if it fell down? Help them do their own critical thinking.

 

We really have to keep in mind that our purpose is to teach them, not to have little robots following our every command. We want them to think critically, we want them to help others, we want to instill values. When they do something you want to see more of, label the value, like, "you did X, that was helpful/kind/generous/caring/etc." Also, focus as much as you can on the positive, things they can do, not what they can't. Rather than "don't kick your sister," you can try "please keep your feet to yourself."

 

One thing that I love from Becky Bailey is the concept of always assume positive intent. Focus on what they are trying to accomplish and then show them or let them know what acceptable alternatives are in order to accomplish that. For example, if they are pushing the younger sibling who is trying to get a toy they are playing with, assume they are just trying to protect the toy, but they don't know how to do that. Give them options, like showing the sibling a different toy, or moving the toy to another location. Obviously, this is hard when they are directly defying your directions, but if you can steer away from commanding them as much as possible, and reserving the commands for only moments when they are truly important, hopefully some of the defiance will subside.

 

And, before you can do any of this, you really need to make sure you are not burnt out, that you have enough time to yourself, and that you are rested. Try to get some moments of relaxation and rest to rejeuvenate!


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#26 of 37 Old 05-17-2012, 11:35 AM
 
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Porcelina's post reminds me of the great book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, which I will highly recommend. The suggestion that she made and is in the book is to, instead of ordering ("Eat with your mouth closed), to give information, ("It looks icky . . .") That can work a lot better because it doesn't put you and your kid on different teams in the way ordering does. There are other great ideas for how to handle issues with kids in that book too, if you haven't seen it. It's aimed at parents with kids a bit older, but it starts being useful when you can start having two-way conversations.
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#27 of 37 Old 05-17-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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Porcelina's post reminds me of the great book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, which I will highly recommend. The suggestion that she made and is in the book is to, instead of ordering ("Eat with your mouth closed), to give information, ("It looks icky . . .") That can work a lot better because it doesn't put you and your kid on different teams in the way ordering does. There are other great ideas for how to handle issues with kids in that book too, if you haven't seen it. It's aimed at parents with kids a bit older, but it starts being useful when you can start having two-way conversations.

I was going to say the same thing.  I've been re-reading this book lately and now that my boys are 5 and 7 it's really the right time.  Wording your request as an observation gives them the chance to decide for themselves how to solve the problem.  "I can see your food - people don't want to see the food in your mouth."  For pushing, etc.: "Your brother needs some space".  For bickering that you know is heading for distaster: "I can see you guys are getting really frustrated." "Can you two think of a way to solve this?"  Three is a little young for this kind of thing, I guess, but you can direct it at the 5 year old, getting his ideas on how to solve things.

And I want to add that when this approach doesn't work, they keep fighting or whatever, then I ask "can you two solve this, or should I come up with a solution?".  Then I have to follow through on my way, separating them to different rooms, or taking away the toy, etc.

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#28 of 37 Old 05-21-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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Yes! This is one of my favorite books! I'm happy to realize I have been incorporating their advice without consciously doing so!
 


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#29 of 37 Old 05-30-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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I just wanted to add a tip that I have found really useful (when I manage to do it...). Instead of constantly criticizing (don't do this, stop that, etc) it can be very productive to come up with a positive approach. So at the table, you can say something like: "how about we all try really hard to use our best manners tonight! Who can remember what good manners look like? Let's practice to impress dad!" Or, "can you show me how nicely you can share the iPad together? I bet you can sit SO quietly!"

This can be really hard to do when you are tired and fed up and not in the mood to be all cheery and happy. But I do find it works loads better than commands, and it avoids all those battles of will which are awful. Also the more you do it the easier it gets, you find yourself talking like that without thinking.

But I think it is also true that sometimes your kids do just drive you up the wall! Squabbling, not listening etc. - ALL kids do that, it is just par for the course in my opinion, to some extent at least.
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#30 of 37 Old 06-09-2012, 08:34 PM
 
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First of all big hugs. I have had moments, days, phases of my life when I feel the same way you do and it is so disheartening. You have a lot of great posts all with good ideas. These are thoughts that pop into my mind.
First and foremost when I take care of myself I am so much better able to take care of my kids in a playful and productive way. For me that means some sleep, good cardio exercise, and less sugar. I have a 1 year old, 4 year old and an almost 6 year old. I am having a bit of a struggle with potty talk. For a while we would have to pay up a quarter for everytime any of us said a bad word, name called or potty talked...but that was so stressful for our almost 6 year old.
I would say don't sweat the small stuff. I remember giggling and being silly at dinner with my sister. Of course choking is a real threat and being safe at the dinner table is important but if my kids are being silly yet safe I am ok with it. Infact I feel happy that they are getting along and eating at the same time..
If my kids do something I ask them not to outside, they come in. They usually get one warning. I try everyday to yell and keep the mantra: stay calm and carry on.
For me I have realized that I am ok at the end of the day if my kids had momentary freak outs and tantrums what kills me is if I have yelled, been mean, or made a big deal of something small.
I say let him make fart noises, let him be silly at dinner. They fight over iPad, iPad is gone. I strive to keep emotions out but quite frequently I cry in front of them.
My main struggle is not so much that they don't listen..although I have that too...it's the attitude my 5 year old gives me throughout the day mainly when he is tired, hungry or just feels moody.
I may be of little help but I know that making my son sit on a step would make everything worse. We do send the kids to their rooms when they are off the hook and they do stay. They may call us names and scream and cry but they stay.
I say pick one thing that really needs to chance and let the rest slide.
You are doing a great job! Your kids have a full life and this is just a rough patch. 3.5 is a hard age, and I go in and out things with my almost 6 year old high energy boy
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