How do you 'expect' kids to do something, or 'not give them a choice'? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 116 Old 02-17-2013, 07:47 PM
 
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I just last night, after years of putting it off, read the How To Talk book, and while I already do many of the positive things mentioned, I also unfortunately have flipped into a few of the negative things too...

So, today I tried the "I see xxxxx" instead of calling a kid to take care if something they forgot. It felt kind if silly at first, like I was playing I spy, but I'll be damned if it didn't work almost every time, with no whining or complaining from them!! Two times they were like "and?" or "ok" and then is say, "please take care of the xxx" and they did it. I'm still not sure how its going to keep them from running everywhere and fighting, but......baby steps, and so far I'm pleased with what I've read.
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#62 of 116 Old 02-18-2013, 05:48 AM
 
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The4OfUs that was my experience with the book as well, so I just kept reading. I made a little cheat sheet on an index card and put it on my fridge for those moments when I can't think straight :) They wrote another book that specifically deals with siblings that may help you with the fighting, I just started reading it because I'm pregnant with my second child and someone said it helped her even in pregnancy. It's called Siblings without rivalry.

 

I got this email today and it describes what I was trying to say in a previous post more clearly. The link has the same subject followed by comments and some examples of how this may work in an everyday situation.

 

http://www.enjoyparenting.com/daily-groove/vibe

 

 

THE DAILY GROOVE
by Scott Noelle
 

Kids Hear Your Vibe, 
Not Your Words


The younger your child, the more his or her interpretation of your words is based on the emotional energy they carry -- your "vibe" -- not the words themselves.

So if your child doesn't listen to your reasonable requests, try this: Listen to yourself as if you didn't know the language and couldn't understand the words; all you have to go by is the tone, the body language, the vibe.

Is it joyful, or heavy? Do you sound eager, or burdened? Does it feel confident, or ambivalent? Is your life a groove, or a grind?

If your vibe is heavy, your joy-oriented child will naturally (and wisely!) tune you out.

Try being silent until you feel centered, connected, and in the Flow. When you speak from that place, you'll emanate an attractive vibe and your child will *want* to align with you.

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#63 of 116 Old 02-18-2013, 05:58 AM
 
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Don't we all respond to the vibe? I was just talking with my son about this last night. He said something his father might say, but my reaction was completely different, because the *tone* and body language conveyed an "oops" message rather than a "it's your fault" message. Same words, though!
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#64 of 116 Old 03-31-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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I haven't posted in ages, and now I'm doing two in a row about The Explosive Child--but it's a book I'd recommend to you.

The idea is to slow down, reconnect, and get her to talk to you about whatever the issues is. She won't put her clothes on, you spiral into tantrum and defiance, the whole morning goes to garbage...sometimes if you can remove the powerstruggle, you can get it done. Sometimes the powerstruggles become the go to reaction for kids.

If you've been doing timeouts for over a year, and you have to hold the door closed (I've been there, too!) it won't hurt to try something different.

My goal was to teach my child to behave correctly, and deal with their big feelings--not to dominate her. Now she is 8, and I will say, it worked.

Lastly, if your husband gets her ready for school 90% of the time, it's probably tough for you to step in. I know my DD was a little creature of habit! Not sure if following his routine or having the three of you together create a poster board with the morning routine would help.

Also, since she is 4 and a big girl, I might have a family meeting with Dad and talk about cooperation. A family needs cooperation! Everyone needs to cooperate. You do things for Dad, he does things for you...a family works together. And then when you catch her cooperating, give her props for it.
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#65 of 116 Old 04-03-2013, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

By the way the reason she got upset (I think) was because the plan that day was for DH to take her to school and we tried to switch things at the last minute to ensure he would get to his meeting on time.  He went in the shower and I was left to take DD1 to school.  She actually told me she wanted Daddy to get her ready when I first told her to get dressed; I explained that he was in the shower and I was going to take her to school.  It went downhill from there.  In hindsight I should have just let DH know that he needed to speed up his shower and take her (which is what ended up happening anyway).  Of course at the time it wasn't obvious that the issue was going to blow up into WWIII.  There have been other times when she was perfectly unruffled or even pleased by a change in which parent would be taking her to school that day.

 

 

 

In my experience with my younger child (2.5), any kind of big upset or major tantrum that is out of the realm of normal (like things that are usually routine becoming battle grounds, like putting on clothes or getting in the car seat or whatever) is always, ALWAYS preceded by some event that made him feel disempowered or betrayed or unheard. 

 

An example - the other day as we tried to leave the house he got epically upset that we were leaving the dog behind.  We never take the dog with us, so this was super bizarre. But he kept crying and yelling her name and refusing to leave. Then I remembered that that morning DH had left before we got up and he didn't get to say goodbye. We have a little routine when DH leaves that usually involves crying and not wanting him to leave. He woke up asking for daddy and he was gone already. I think that the big deal with the dog was that he hadn't gotten to say goodbye to DH and was transferring those emotions with the dog, in effect acting out the routine with her.  

 

Or just today, he didn't want to get in the car at all and it required lots of convincing on my part. He ultimately relented, but when we got to our destination (the craft store, thankfully it wasn't time sensitive) he refused to get out of the car. Luckily, the weather is mild and we weren't on a schedule, so we just sat there. For forty minutes! I didn't entertain him or anything, he just sat and now and then I asked if he was ready to get out. Finally, he was, and we got through the craft store without incident. 

 

Everyone - including kids - wants to feel capable and powerful. When kids feel disempowered - which is often, since so much of our lives are lived on adult terms without their consent - they try to feel powerful again and regain a balance. This is a good thing, but we sadly see their efforts as simple bad behavior that has to be stopped. 

 

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and it's hard to see the cause of a power struggle as its happening. But there are things you can do to help them feel in control again, and hopefully avoid the battle. 

 

For older kids, I think role reversal in play can be great. Let her be the parent while you pretend to get dressed. Do it slowly and let her hurry you up and remind you that you're going to be late. If you know what they're really upset about, maybe you can talk through it. "You expected daddy to take you to school, didn't you?" and see where that takes you. 

 

As far as setting up expectations and having them magically be followed, I think that it's much easier if there is balance and they are empowered. Beyond that, I like the method of simple one-word reminders for routine things. After dinner - "Dishes!" Before bed, "Teeth!" then "PJs!" Before leaving the house, "Shoes!"  That tends to be more effective than, "Okay, time to put your dish in the sink please." With a single word, you're also telling them that you know they know what to do.

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#66 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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Mama 24-7, I'm glad your method works for you. However, your post comes across as pretty harsh towards those who disagree. In life there are things that we all have to do that we don't want to do. Teaching children this at a young age, to me, prepares them for the real world. Your child's boss is not going to sit down with them and discuss why they don't want to do a certain task and try to reach a compromise. The boss will expect the task to be done. Children need to learn that life is not always fair and that it doesn't always go their way, but that's just my opinion. That said, I feel like you can use "gentle" discipline even if you do have expectations for your children's behavior.

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#67 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 09:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama24-7 View Post

I've read through this thread and OMGoodness, if some of these responses are gentle discipline, then I'd hate to hear what is not gentle discipline.

 

A parent can be their child's partner in life & figuring out how to make family life work taking everyone's needs & wants into consideration or the parent can be the dictator.  I feel bad for the children of the parents here who have decided to be the dictator.  Dh has a thing he says: he's parenting our children so they actually WANT to take care of us when we're older.  IMO, working to be your child's partner will go towards accomplishing that & being your child's dictator will not.

 

 

 

So, it's do what I say or else.  What punishment do parents who espouse this sort of thing for their children get when they make a mistake?  A child is communicating w/ his/her parent when s/he "misbehaves."  The parent can choose to see it as communication & help the child through it so they can mature & avoid making the same mistake again or the parent can punish, teaching the child that those w/ more power are the rulers.  This is called adultism & some feel it leads to all the other -isms out there.  Here's more children "misbehaving:" http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_gordon2.html

 

 

I am yikes2.gif that the word "break" is being used in the gentle discpline forum of mothering as well as the rest.  These are not horses that we are trying to tame.  These are not animals we are trying to train.  People who treat children as less than end up creating people who feel less than. 

 

 

I would say that it sounds like you are having trouble because some part of you knows there's another way to do this, you just haven't figured out what that way (more likely more than one way) is.  Here's more on timeouts.  THey are a punishment just like going to jail is a punishment.  If punishment worked, then there would be no repeat offenses.  http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/peter_haiman.html  

 

 

yeahthat.gif to everything I bolded & most of the rest.  In this response, the parent is the one changing because all we can really control is ourselves.  Trying to control our children only results in children who turn into adults who don't know how to control themselves.  Unfortunately, I know this from experiences.  Expecting your children to change only leads to frustration.  Children (the vast majority) are not capable of being the ones to do the changing because they are not mature enough yet to put the needs/wants/whatever of others ahead of themselves.  They are selfish because that's how thye're supposed to be.  They will not become unselfish by "breaking" them.  It will be the opposite.

 

 

I wonder how the child will feel about themselves when the parent thinks that something "should be embarrassing" for them.  How does this promote connection with the child?  Dr. Phil wants no parts of gentle parenting.  And why would he?  Then there won't be people coming to him for many years because they're screwed up because their parents only worked them over & instead of worked w/ them.  I loved Dr. Phil pre-parenthood.  Now, I take very little to heart of what he says.  I wonder if his children will want to become his parent when they are old & need care taking?  Will Dr. Phil be there w/ all the parents who are caregiver-less because they are following his hard line approach to everything.  Doubtful.

 

 

I'd say the reason it's gone on for a year is because the child is *still* attempting to communicate w/ her parent & she is still not being heard.  Children sure are persistent, arent' they?  They keep giving us chances to hear them & to respond out of love instead out of our place of power.  How will the child who's parent refuses to communicate w/ them learn to communicate?  How will the child who's parent refuses to communicate w/ them learn to compromise?  How will they learn to find alternatives?  How will they learn to work w/ others if the ones they rely on the most refuse to work w/ them?  What are they really learning?  I'd say how to use their power over others.  Is that really what we want for our children?  

 

yeahthat.gif greensad.gif

 

My children are not perfect by my own standards nor anyone elses.  But they are children & they know that I will work w/ them to figure out life, to figure out how to work together, to figure out how to live when we have to meet others needs besides their own (example, to play) and mine (ex, to get out of the house by a certain time).  They won't be in my shoes when they are an adult trying to figure out how to live life & work w/ others & compromise & not get defensive when someone wants to discuss something.  They will have lots of practice w/ us while they're young.  

 

A few books that would likely have additional ideas for the OP: Kids, Parents & Power StrugglesHow to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids WIll TalkParent Effectiveness TrainingPlayful Parenting.  

 

Best wishes,

Sus

 

ETA - another book title

 

 

I'm glad your method works for you but your post is quite harsh and seems to condemn those who disagree. I don't see how discussing every single thing that you want to have your child do with them until they agree is possible, at least not for me. In the real world, we all have to do things we don't want to do. Your child's future boss is not going to discuss why they don't want to do a certain task with them and come to a solution with them. The boss will expect that the job gets done. Teaching your child that they can talk through every single situation, to me, does more harm than good. That said, I believe you can have expectations for your children and punishments if they don't meet the expectations and still use gentle discipline.

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#68 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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Mama 24-7, I'm glad your method works for you. However, your post comes across as pretty harsh towards those who disagree. In life there are things that we all have to do that we don't want to do. Teaching children this at a young age, to me, prepares them for the real world. Your child's boss is not going to sit down with them and discuss why they don't want to do a certain task and try to reach a compromise. The boss will expect the task to be done. Children need to learn that life is not always fair and that it doesn't always go their way, but that's just my opinion. That said, I feel like you can use "gentle" discipline even if you do have expectations for your children's behavior.

I am not entirely in disagreement with you, but I am not raising my children with their future boss in mind, nor their future professor.  Perhaps their future partner and friends, but I am more focussed on what needs to be addressed right now.  I have faith, though, that a child does not need harsh lessons now in order to prepare them for harsh lessons in the future.  Harsh lessons happen without purposefully manufacturing them, and though that is not what you are saying, hopefully, when we talk about them like this, that's what it comes across as.  

 

My children are in the "real world" already-- as yes, that includes the world where Mommy isn't always patient enough to guide them.  And I know full well that there might come a time when something isn't working out and you need to charge on through with another direction, but I would say that the more harsh direction is not the first choice.  I like to give my children a chance to work things out without the "sticks and carrots".  (Boss be damned--we're self-employed.  orngtongue.gif  I'm being sarcastic there!)


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#69 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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I find it kinda weird when I see comparisons made to "when they're at work" when it comes to parenting/discipline choices.. and it comes up in homeschooling debates, too. I mean, it really has no relevance whatsoever to whether I insist my 3yo get these shoes on (and not spending 10 minutes looking for the other, more desired..and in my opinion crappier pair!) and get in the car NOW vs talking it out and negotiating until we come to a mutually agreeable solution. I think learning to negotiate is an excellent interpersonal skill. As for the workplace, an adult (or late teen) has a much more developed brain than a preschooler :)  They choose to apply for a job, and when accepting a job offer, they understand what will be expected of them and are agreeing to that. If they don't like it, they are free to leave and find work elsewhere. Or, actually, if they disagree with the way they are told to do their job, being able to clearly state their objection and a proposed alternative is a valuable skill! What comes to mind is a friend of mine at a new job, in a meeting discussing some project that was going to take several tedious hours. She had better ideas, they were skeptical, she asked for 20 minutes, and created something (computer programming related) that saved everyone hours and made her a VERY valuable part of the team. 

 

Thats not to say I'm discussing every single thing with my kids! In the shoe scenario.. I'm inclined to just grab him  and the shoes and buckle him in and put the shoes on when we get there than sit and reason with him. 


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#70 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 12:31 PM
 
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don't know if this helps, but my 3yo son sometimes has similar issues with us changing things up on him.  for us, i don't see it as a power struggle. i see it as a situation that stresses him out, and a stressed out 3 year old isn't always good at staying calm. so we do what we can to keep the stress down and everyone calm.

 

if we know ahead of time that we'll be breaking routine, we give him as much warning as possible. so if we know the night before that daddy'll be taking him to school instead of me, we tell him the night before. then we remind him again in the morning.

 

if we make a last minute change, one of us will sit down with the boy and tell him about the change of plans. and when we tell him, we make sure we have his full attention. we ask him if he understands, and if he has any questions. usually this works well but sometimes it ISN'T okay with him to change things up, and sometimes he throws a tantrum. when that happens, we acknowledge that he's upset and we move forward with the changes. i often offer him extra snuggles, which goes a long way with him. 

 

if time permits, i'll ask him on the spot why he's upset. (if time is short, i ask him later.)  sometimes it's that he just wants to do it the old way. other times, other issues are revealed. (he had a bad dream that something happened to me or daddy. or i told him we'd stop for something on the way to school, and now he couldn't because daddy's taking him, etc.) 

 

later, we'll talk about how to make changes to our routine easier. we ask him what would make it less stressful for him and remind him that we're a team and need to work together.

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#71 of 116 Old 04-08-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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To me a parent changing lots of things to accommodate what schedule makes it easiest for their child to behave is a bit like changing the rules so the child doesn't have to follow them. To use your example, what if a higher speed limit makes it easier for you to comply with the law? Should it be changed so you can do what you want rather than have to follow the rules? If the sped limit was changed to be 50mph faster than it is now could the government then claim people are following the speed limit 99% of the time instead of the current 50% (or whatever number)? Sure, but they would just be manipulating things to get it to appear how they want it to look. The point is that everyone would be following the rules if they would just make the rules easier to follow but that's not always in the best interest of everyone.

 

I disagree with your analogy. Refusing to create routine for your family that your children can count on is like changing all the traffic laws every day and expecting the drivers to just flow with it. Imagine how frustrating it would be if every time you got in your car, you had to figure out whether to drive on the right or the left, whether or not you had the right away at intersections, the speed limits changed and were not posted, and you were randomly yelled at for not knowing that you were supposed to be doing. That is what life is like for a small child whose parent constantly changes how things happen in their family. They have no idea what is about to happen or what they are supposed to do, and they get really, really frustrated.

 

I'm in total agreement with Linda on the Move here.  I believe that if you read the book Simplicity Parenting you'd find out how to solve this problem with your DD.   It has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in my house.   Kids need life to be simple and predictable- with lots of unscheduled time to get to know (and like!) their true selves.  The more a child has this type of lifestyle, the MORE adaptable they are when things are changed up/go awry.  

 

-Jen

 

 

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#72 of 116 Old 04-09-2013, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In my experience with my younger child (2.5), any kind of big upset or major tantrum that is out of the realm of normal (like things that are usually routine becoming battle grounds, like putting on clothes or getting in the car seat or whatever) is always, ALWAYS preceded by some event that made him feel disempowered or betrayed or unheard. 

 

An example - the other day as we tried to leave the house he got epically upset that we were leaving the dog behind.  We never take the dog with us, so this was super bizarre. But he kept crying and yelling her name and refusing to leave. Then I remembered that that morning DH had left before we got up and he didn't get to say goodbye. We have a little routine when DH leaves that usually involves crying and not wanting him to leave. He woke up asking for daddy and he was gone already. I think that the big deal with the dog was that he hadn't gotten to say goodbye to DH and was transferring those emotions with the dog, in effect acting out the routine with her. 

 

I admire the degree of perceptiveness here but I'm not sure I can replicate it.

 

Thanks to everyone who is contributing to this discussion; I'm still following along and enjoying the different perspectives.

 

Overall things have been pretty calm and we haven't had to have a time-out in rather a while; I'm not sure if DD is just growing up a little or what.  I did figure out an extremely simple way to get the time-out to go more smoothly.  I just stop counting the time when she screams/kicks/etc, so that only non-screaming/tantruming time counts towards the end of the time-out - this works great, whereas the 'screaming/tantruming adds more time to the end of the time-out' (recommended by the 1-2-3 Magic author) totally did not work at all, I guess because she doesn't have the executive function to connect the two when she's in that state of mind.

 

She does have this total hypersensitivity to minor bumps in the road, and while I see the value in trying to forestall them with predictability and have been trying to stick to that, sometimes the things that set her off are so insanely miniscule that ironing them out of her life seems a gargantuan task that smacks of overparenting.

 

Eg today her dad picked up a new bike for her (old one getting too short) and he came home early and met us at the park after work with it.  She was excited etc,, tried it out but it was a little too big so she couldn't ride it yet (we just needed to lower the seat).  I was walking the bike back to the car and as a bit of a joke/timesaver I swung my leg over and rode it a couple of yards.  She went *ballistic* ("Don't ride my biiiiiiike..." etc).  I mean okay in retrospect I can see she was probably upset that she couldn't ride it so seeing me ride it was like salt in the wound, and I can file it as Thing 1,001 That Will Upset DD1 and try to avoid doing this or similar again, but isn't all this tiptoeing around her hair-trigger temper sort of excessive?  As some posters have pointed out, the rest of the world won't be bending over backwards to accommodate her sensitivities. 


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#73 of 116 Old 04-09-2013, 04:56 AM
 
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She was excited etc,, tried it out but it was a little too big so she couldn't ride it yet (we just needed to lower the seat).  I was walking the bike back to the car and as a bit of a joke/timesaver I swung my leg over and rode it a couple of yards.  She went *ballistic* ("Don't ride my biiiiiiike..." etc).  I mean okay in retrospect I can see she was probably upset that she couldn't ride it so seeing me ride it was like salt in the wound, and I can file it as Thing 1,001 That Will Upset DD1 and try to avoid doing this or similar again, but isn't all this tiptoeing around her hair-trigger temper sort of excessive?  As some posters have pointed out, the rest of the world won't be bending over backwards to accommodate her sensitivities. 

 

Ohhhh, I so get this, the hair trigger.  Trying to be playful/funny and it backfiring in a big way. Our DD is a funny, funny girl but has the same hair trigger if she perceives any kind of joke at her expense (even when it's not, when they're really little some kids don't get it).  The thing is, SHE might have suggested the same exact thing, and *THEN* it would have been funny to her ("The bike is so big, mom could almost ride on it!  See if you can fit on it mom hahahahahah!"). You just can never tell.  *Facepalm*.   It is getting slightly better as she gets older.

 

I really, totally feel you.  It's like a crap shoot, you never know what's going to happen.  And therein lies some of the biggest frustration with it all. I agree with the not wanting to walk on eggshells - it's a fine balancing act between setting things up to be predictable and setting kids up for success, and not being able to accommodate minor shifts/disappointments/changes that are just called life.  


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#74 of 116 Old 04-10-2013, 08:54 AM
 
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  When I say keep things simple and predictable I do not mean don't jump on her bike as a joke.  My thought is that she might be hair-trigger sensitive to that because she's feeling generally overwhelmed by changes in her daily schedule/lack of free time/too much stuff everywhere, etc (of course I have no idea how much of that is relevant to your home).

 

Here's one example..when my DD was 3ish she went through a phase where she would flip out if she didn't have a particular color cup to drink from.  This behavior started when I started a part-time job with hours that varied each week.  I might have been out of the house 10 hours a week total and this instantly turned her into a nightmare.  Now, you could argue that is life, I need to work, she needs to deal, right?  The issue was not that I was working but that she became generally unsure of when I would be around and when I would be gone.  A big thing was when I had to leave early for work and she would wake up in the morning not knowing I wouldn't be there on a particular day.  Once I read Simplicity Parenting, I set up a super-simple weekly calendar with "MOM WORKING" blocked off..and we would discuss the night before if I would not be there when she woke the next day.  Guess what?  She stopped asking for that damn cup.  

 

-Jen

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#75 of 116 Old 04-10-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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Oh my gosh, sorry to digress a bit, but I LOVE Simplicity Parenting. I'm so, so not a  routine/ritual person, and it helped me see the value and necessity of creating little habitual, predictable routines throughout the day. I'm never going to be the type to have a hyper predictable daily routine, so the little routines are that much more important (going for a walk after breakfast, same book before nap time, leaving the house routine, etc).




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#76 of 116 Old 04-14-2013, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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  When I say keep things simple and predictable I do not mean don't jump on her bike as a joke.  My thought is that she might be hair-trigger sensitive to that because she's feeling generally overwhelmed by changes in her daily schedule/lack of free time/too much stuff everywhere, etc (of course I have no idea how much of that is relevant to your home).

 

Honestly that doesn't match my perception of our home at all.  In general I would say our home has a very predictable daily and weekly routine.  Do we have clutter?  Yeah we have some clutter.  It doesn't look like a hoarder lives here or anything.  We have cleaners come every other week and the house has to be clutter-free enough for them to work, so it gets picked up that often at minimum. 

 

Of course it may be that I am insufficiently appreciative of the extreme degree of routine and orderliness that DD1 could potentially? require.  Eg posters have pointed out that the alternation in which parent takes her to school could be a problem.  As I mentioned most of the time it is not.  I would say I do drop-off about once a week, DH the rest of the time and usually it is not a problem.  (We are both present for breakfast and preschool/daycare prep.)  We could work to minimize the times when I do drop-off but it would create a lot of scheduling difficulty for DH (i.e. he could never do morning meetings for work which would be problematic) for something that 90% of the time is not associated with any behavior issues.

 

I am scratching my head trying to figure out where else we could reduce variability in her daily routine, and the only places to do that would be taking away enjoyable things that just can't happen every day.  E.g. most days I get home early enough to take the kids to the park after work, some days not.  We need to be home by about 5 pm to start the dinner/bath/bed routine.  If I get DD1 out of day care by 4 we will go to the park, if not we will go straight home.  I could switch to never going to the park or always getting the kids at the same (later) time just to enhance routine, but that doesn't seem like it would be a win for anyone.  (No-park results in some disappointment but no tantruming that I recall, it's just an example of something that isn't exactly the same every day.)


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#77 of 116 Old 04-14-2013, 10:49 AM
 
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If it's predictability you want to enhance, but not drop the fun, extra stuff you do some days, you need to make a calendar.  A big one, with sequential days, not the stacked days of the typical monthly calendar.  Put stickers or cut-out pictures you glue on on the days where something is happening-- a mommy face for the days you take her to school.  A tree for the days she can expect to go to the park.  Bath day.  Etc.  Then use a marker to indicate what day it is.  Ours is a paper chain, with a clothespin we decorate.  Or you can tear off a link for each day, but my girls chose to keep the chain intact.  I posted this picture somewhere else, and I'll post it here, too.  It really helps!  This one is missing all the pictures we make and glue on.  Here is February and March:

 

 


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#78 of 116 Old 04-14-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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.  A tree for the days she can expect to go to the park.  Bath day.  Etc.  Then use a marker to indicate what day it is.  Ours is a paper chain, with a clothespin we decorate.  Or you can tear off a link for each day, but my girls chose to keep the chain intact.  I posted this picture somewhere else, and I'll post it here, too.  It really helps!  This one is missing all the pictures we make and glue on.  Here is February and March:

 

But I think the issue here is that it's *not* predictable when she can do the fun thing of taking her to the park - it's a semi-spontaneous fun thing.  So putting it on a calendar would probably make it worse, in case there was a day the park was expected and it couldn't happen (speaking from experience). 

 

Still, I see the point.  Calendars and checklists seem to work really for my own kids, so maybe you could get a regular calendar, and then look at it every night or every morning, however far ahead of time you know whether it will be you or DH doing school run, or when you could go to the park/not.  I used to use a visual checklist for my daughter before she could read for her "chores" and the rhythm of the day, when she was around 4...so I'm sure you could find some good pictures - I just dropped them into a table I created in MS Word along with check boxes, then printed and laminated it.  

 

These days they're asking for a lot more details, so I've been printing out daily schedules at night and it's the first thing we look at in the morning, so they can know what we're doing for the day.  Takes less than 5 min to do at this point.

 

 

Oooooh, OP - I have a book I'm working through with my own angry badger kiddo, called, "What to do when you grumble too much"  -  and basically it's about "jumping hurdles"...where the hurdle is an unexpected problem.  My daughter is almost 7, but I think you could tailor the book for a smaller kid, for sure, because this one seems almost a little simplistic for her.  She really enjoyed the hurdle analogy, and I wish I would have started using it sooner with her.  

 

You could also ask *her* what kinds of things would make it easier on her if you had to change plans at the last minute...and you might be surprised what the answers might be.  One time I was having a problem getting my son't attention repeatedly, and so we brainstormed and he said he wanted me to go PSSSSSSST!  and he's her that and turn his attention to me.  This was several years ago, he was probably 5 or 6.  I thought there was no way it would work, and felt a little ridiculous/rude doing it out in public, but damned if he wasn't right...and I still do it to this day for both of them, and figured out a way that I can make the sound that doesn't sound or feel totally rude.  lol.


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#79 of 116 Old 04-14-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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Eg today her dad picked up a new bike for her (old one getting too short) and he came home early and met us at the park after work with it.  She was excited etc,, tried it out but it was a little too big so she couldn't ride it yet (we just needed to lower the seat).  I was walking the bike back to the car and as a bit of a joke/timesaver I swung my leg over and rode it a couple of yards.  She went *ballistic* ("Don't ride my biiiiiiike..." etc).  I mean okay in retrospect I can see she was probably upset that she couldn't ride it so seeing me ride it was like salt in the wound, and I can file it as Thing 1,001 That Will Upset DD1 and try to avoid doing this or similar again, but isn't all this tiptoeing around her hair-trigger temper sort of excessive?  As some posters have pointed out, the rest of the world won't be bending over backwards to accommodate her sensitivities. 

I'm with your dd on this one. You rode *her* bike. In my experience, you don't get respect from them if you don't respect them yourself, their things and their boundaries. I don't take my kids' things. If I take them, I ask first.

 

I'm re-reading "Kids are worth it!", and it was a great refresher on  the difference between punishment and discipline. Discipline is when you child's and you own dignity remain intact in the process. Punishment is when we want to control our kids' behaviour and make them mind.

 

IMO, time-outs as you do them are punishment; you want to control your dd and make her mind. If this is your objective, you can do it, she just needs a bigger punishment to make her stop tantruming.

If your objective is to give your dd the tools to deal with her own frustrations, I would change my approach. You don't need to bend over backwards to avoid tantrums. Let her be upset and express her frustrations. I wouldn't even dream of rearranging my schedule just to drop off my kid, because my dh dropping her off would make her upset. Let her be upset. She'll be over it.

 

To answer the title of your thread, you can't expect them to do something and not give them a choice if they know you would do anything to accommodate them. They KNOW they have a choice. They just need to be persistent enough to get what they want.

 

I leave small decisions to my kids, like who is riding their bike or what outfit to wear at school; decisions affecting the whole family, like who is doing the drop off at school, or if they are going to school, are made by adults.


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#80 of 116 Old 04-14-2013, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm with your dd on this one. You rode *her* bike. In my experience, you don't get respect from them if you don't respect them yourself, their things and their boundaries. I don't take my kids' things. If I take them, I ask first.

 

Well, if she didn't want me touching her bike she should have walked it back herself (she didn't want to).  Given I had to do that job, in general I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed to do it in the most efficient way possible.  Would apply to an adult also (of course most adults would transport their own bikes in the first place - but if I had to transport someone else's bike I sure as shooting would expect to ride, not walk it).  All the customs in our house apply to all members equally.  I don't treat DD any way I wouldn't want to be treated.  If I ever hit her (I haven't) I would apologize and put myself in time out.

 

But yes, totally not worth triggering a tantrum, and as I said I am clearly insufficiently senstive to her triggers.  Although I might not have pulled that stunt had she not a moment before been laughing hysterically at a dad who was riding his kid's trike around in circles.  There is definitely a dishes-it-out-but-can't-take-it quality to DD1's personality.

 

Quote:
I'm re-reading "Kids are worth it!", and it was a great refresher on  the difference between punishment and discipline. Discipline is when you child's and you own dignity remain intact in the process. Punishment is when we want to control our kids' behaviour and make them mind.

 

IMO, time-outs as you do them are punishment; you want to control your dd and make her mind. If this is your objective, you can do it, she just needs a bigger punishment to make her stop tantruming.

 

I want her not to be violent.  Physical violence is an absolute no around here, and it is the only thing that is absolute in that way.  It is not up for discussion.  If that is controlling or if it makes her tantrum then so be it. 

 

Quote:

If your objective is to give your dd the tools to deal with her own frustrations, I would change my approach. You don't need to bend over backwards to avoid tantrums. Let her be upset and express her frustrations. I wouldn't even dream of rearranging my schedule just to drop off my kid, because my dh dropping her off would make her upset. Let her be upset. She'll be over it.

 

To answer the title of your thread, you can't expect them to do something and not give them a choice if they know you would do anything to accommodate them. They KNOW they have a choice. They just need to be persistent enough to get what they want.

 

I leave small decisions to my kids, like who is riding their bike or what outfit to wear at school; decisions affecting the whole family, like who is doing the drop off at school, or if they are going to school, are made by adults.

 

This advice doesn't seem relevant to what was asked in any way... ???


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#81 of 116 Old 04-15-2013, 05:51 AM
 
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"This advice doesn't seem relevant to what was asked in any way... ???"

 

 

You asked: how do I expect kids to do something and not give them a choice?

I answered: they know they have a choice if you give in to their tantrums.

 

I specifically addressed the situations mentioned in your posts: dressing up for school and who is dropping them off.

 

Were these not your posts???

 

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I see many mamas on here say they 'just expect' that their children will do A, B, C, or that they 'don't give them a choice.' 

What are the logistics of this?

 

I have an almost-4 year-old who this morning did not want to get dressed for preschool.  ...

 

My question is, what are the nuts and bolts of 'setting an expectation' or 'not giving a choice' to a child that do not involve a wrestling match?

 

TIA

 

 

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  I would say I do drop-off about once a week, DH the rest of the time and usually it is not a problem.  (We are both present for breakfast and preschool/daycare prep.)  We could work to minimize the times when I do drop-off but it would create a lot of scheduling difficulty for DH (i.e. he could never do morning meetings for work which would be problematic) for something that 90% of the time is not associated with any behavior issues.

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#82 of 116 Old 04-15-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"This advice doesn't seem relevant to what was asked in any way... ???"

 

 

You asked: how do I expect kids to do something and not give them a choice?

I answered: they know they have a choice if you give in to their tantrums.

 

I specifically addressed the situations mentioned in your posts: dressing up for school and who is dropping them off.

 

Were these not your posts???

 

 

Sure but then you went off talking about parents who "bend over backwards to avoid tantrums," or "do anything to accommodate them," which doesn't in any way describe my approach or the situations I mentioned, so it just seemed like an irrelevant addition to the thread.  Cool if you want to drop it here for the record, it just didn't really seem too on topic to me. :shrug:


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#83 of 116 Old 04-15-2013, 06:36 PM
 
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She does have this total hypersensitivity to minor bumps in the road, and while I see the value in trying to forestall them with predictability and have been trying to stick to that, sometimes the things that set her off are so insanely miniscule that ironing them out of her life seems a gargantuan task that smacks of overparenting.

 

Eg today her dad picked up a new bike for her (old one getting too short) and he came home early and met us at the park after work with it.  She was excited etc,, tried it out but it was a little too big so she couldn't ride it yet (we just needed to lower the seat).  I was walking the bike back to the car and as a bit of a joke/timesaver I swung my leg over and rode it a couple of yards.  She went *ballistic* ("Don't ride my biiiiiiike..." etc).  I mean okay in retrospect I can see she was probably upset that she couldn't ride it so seeing me ride it was like salt in the wound, and I can file it as Thing 1,001 That Will Upset DD1 and try to avoid doing this or similar again, but isn't all this tiptoeing around her hair-trigger temper sort of excessive?  As some posters have pointed out, the rest of the world won't be bending over backwards to accommodate her sensitivities. 

 

I can see why this wasn't a "minor bump" to her. It wasn't "insanely miniscule" to her. She has a very different perspective than you, and you don't seem to see life from her PoV.

 

Helping our children deal with their difficult emotions is just parenting. Its not over parenting.

 

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Well, if she didn't want me touching her bike she should have walked it back herself (she didn't want to).  Given I had to do that job, in general I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed to do it in the most efficient way possible.  Would apply to an adult also (of course most adults would transport their own bikes in the first place - but if I had to transport someone else's bike I sure as shooting would expect to ride, not walk it).  All the customs in our house apply to all members equally.  I don't treat DD any way I wouldn't want to be treated.  If I ever hit her (I haven't) I would apologize and put myself in time out.

 

 

I think that it is completely unfair to a 3 year old to expect them to handle things the way an adult would.

 

The bike was too big for her. She couldn't ride it. You made a big joke out of you riding it. Of course she was upset, most kids would be.

 

(since the customs are the same for everyone, if your husband buys you a gorgeous  new ring for a gift and it is too small for you, does she get to wear it first and make a big joke of it?)


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#84 of 116 Old 04-17-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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I havent had to deal with much of this yet with my own son since hes 1, but with my nephew often as i was his primary caretaker, I used what my mom did with me.... the unbending will.

She's one of those people who just naturally command attention even tho shes super tiny, but she was always very matter-of-fact with us. Things just werent presented as an option... 'i dont wanna take a bath' got 'well its bathtime so off you go'. there was a consequence for every bad behavior and for good behaviors as well. She never gave in to a tantrum even tho we all threw them at one point or another. We also all knew what the phrase ' that is unacceptable behavior' meant at a very very young age.

As for getting ready in the morning, if you're on a time constraint, can you have her pick her clothing every night for the next day so that she has free will in the choice and gets to be excited about wearing her specially picked clothing in the morning? It worked for us (that and color coded hangers ... white for everyday and colors for church/dress up).

My mom was a single parent with 3 girls and we all had a really good childhood! (and now shes a great role model for all our kids... and for us as parents!)

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#85 of 116 Old 04-17-2013, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can see why this wasn't a "minor bump" to her. It wasn't "insanely miniscule" to her. She has a very different perspective than you, and you don't seem to see life from her PoV.

 

Obviously it was quite a big deal to her (things are a big deal to her very often), and yes I agree that she has a totally different perspective and I don't see life from her PoV. 

I am generally pretty calm, it takes a lot to upset or offend me, my relationships are stable with no drama.  DD2 is like this as well.  DD1 is totally different in a way that makes no sense to me, and I therefore am unable to predict the triggers for her behavior with any accuracy.

 

The question is, how far do I go in trying to arrange things around her PoV, versus letting her know that while she may have this PoV, she still has to get dressed for school in the morning, etc.

 

Quote:
I think that it is completely unfair to a 3 year old to expect them to handle things the way an adult would.

 

I agree, but a previous poster suggested that the problem was that I was not giving DD1 the respect I would give an adult, which was not the case.  It may be that this situation in fact required more/different consideration than if she had been an adult, but certainly there was not less-than.

 

I do think there is value in letting children see that the same rules apply to everyone (insofar as that is practical and reasonable given our different levels of development and roles in the household).  Eg when I tell DD1 not to hit, I am able to say 'I don't hit you, you don't hit me: Nobody hits in this house."  It's important to young children that things be 'fair' and I do think that having similar behavioral expectations for everyone is useful.  That's not to say that I expect DD1 to act like an adult, but that the general rules of respect for others apply to everyone.

 

Quote:

 

The bike was too big for her. She couldn't ride it. You made a big joke out of you riding it. Of course she was upset, most kids would be.

 

I wouldn't call it a big joke.  I certainly didn't call attention to it.  I just swung my leg over and scooted it a few yards to the car.  There was a parents-riding-bikes joke vibe in the park because of the other dad riding the trike, who was attracting attention (it was quite funny-looking and his kid obviously didn't mind).  But the joke aspect didn't originate with me.

 

Quote:

 

(since the customs are the same for everyone, if your husband buys you a gorgeous  new ring for a gift and it is too small for you, does she get to wear it first and make a big joke of it?)

 

Well, that's sort of an unfruitful comparison because I don't have much interest in jewelry or in 'stuff' in general, my DH knows that and therefore doesn't buy me jewelry, and jewelry that does get bought for me (my MIL keeps bringing me gold) does seem to often end up as children's toys.  My general lack of interest in stuff does make it hard for me to relate to others who really care about stuff, both adults and children.  I have to remind myself that other people really care about things that I don't care about at all. 


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#86 of 116 Old 04-18-2013, 05:18 AM
 
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Obviously it was quite a big deal to her (things are a big deal to her very often), and yes I agree that she has a totally different perspective and I don't see life from her PoV. 

I am generally pretty calm, it takes a lot to upset or offend me, my relationships are stable with no drama.  DD2 is like this as well.  DD1 is totally different in a way that makes no sense to me, and I therefore am unable to predict the triggers for her behavior with any accuracy.

 

The question is, how far do I go in trying to arrange things around her PoV, versus letting her know that while she may have this PoV, she still has to get dressed for school in the morning, etc.

 

 

 

 

I have a kid like this, and I'll give you the same advice I repeat to myself: "get to know them, figure them out--childhood is a short time" Spend time doing whatever it is they like to do and just listen when they talk--laundry be damned :-)  Sleep in their bed every few weeks and chat during the night if that's all the time you can manage. This is a member of your family, so G-d willing you will be in a relationship with them for a good long time. It's worth it now to try to understand their innate personalities and motivations and build a solid relationship. This "not understanding" a persons character or personality will not magically disappear when they get older, and you may miss out on a relationship with your adult child.

 

If you can get a handle on what makes this kid tick, simple routines or habits will do wonders for your transitions. If not, you are always going to be flummoxed by something that went wrong unexpectedly.

 

**About five years ago, I started having each child do a different job with me. So not a chore that I nagged them to do, something I would do alone usually. My eldest helps fold and put away clothes, second kiddo helps me clean the bathrooms, third helps load/unload the dishes, number four does very little at this point, etc. We do "our job" at least once a week (together) so it's not a fight and we get to talk without tv, toys, siblings, etc. They open up a lot when they are distracted with a job they know how to do. Start small, you'll figure some way to connect with your kiddo. They have actual jobs to do also, this is just a good way to connect without feeling forced--as long as you can make it a habit.

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#87 of 116 Old 04-19-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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This once came up on another online forum (not UP, btw).

I kept pressing pressing pressing, but What would you do if your child defied you?

And they all had consequences in mind after all.  So to say they parented without needing consequences was untrue, they just did not have to resort to them very often.

 

I think some people have considerable powers of persuasion.  I have none and am generally immune to them too, so I am late to find out this exists or how this works.

 

Also, some people are easily bullied (I was). Others are merely compliant by nature (DS3 & DD).  I can usually get cooperation out of them just by asking nicely, occasionally resort to glowering.

 

But DS1, omg.  And DS2 (SHUDDER).  DS2 is breath-takingly defiant.  He goes thru life arguing with everyone and everything.

 

They are all changing as they get older, though.  DD has turned horribly defiant but only just occasionally (now 11).  DS3 can get hysterical during his rare disagreements.

DS1 goes dead calm nowadays, 80% of the time, when he wants to stand his ground.  Ultra reasonable.  And DS2... well, still a nightmare.  Best way to get cooperation out of DS2 is to make him think it was his idea to do what I wanted in the first place (I think this is one of those secrets of persuasion things).


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#88 of 116 Old 04-20-2013, 11:02 PM
 
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When I was first parenting a toddler, I applied my years of dog training (stay with me, here) to the experience.

 

*Never ask them to do something you know they won't do, always use gentle touch, positive reinforcement and no treats or rewards.*  

 

This works for kids too.  As in, only require things of them that you know that they're capable and willing to do.  That way you're always celebrating success!  People always thought that my dog was the most well-behaved dog at the dog park, because she always came when called.  The secret was that I only *called* for her when she was already enroute and there were no distractions between her and I (ie. squirrels, etc).  With children, again, I try to ask only when I know there will be compliance.  This is good for small children, so they get used to complying willingly and then it can be phased out with older kids, who have more nuanced reactions and opinions.  

 

Now at the playground, people think I have the most well-behaved children because they don't fight me when it's time to leave and on the rare occasion that I ask them to do something, they do it.   But again, the secret is that I've set up the expectation of cooperation over the years (with my older one) and am doing it again with my younger one.  How does this work, when it comes down to nuts and bolts?

ie.  We're leaving in ten minutes, so finish up what you're doing and say goodbye to your friends.

     We're leaving in five minutes.

      We're leaving in two minutes.

      It's time to go.

      Older child comes willingly (now).  The younger one is lifted out of the sandbox/play area/wherever and secured into the carrier.

      Off we go.  Every time.  No exceptions.  So there is an expectation that we're going, period.  There's never been a time that we didn't go, so it's like the waiting for the bus idea, or as predictable as bedtime, say.

This works for leaving the house too.  "Jackets and boots on, we're leaving in ten minutes." Or with age-appropriate chores.  "Clean up your blocks and then choose two books for bedtime." And so on.

 

This also works for throwing sand, hitting, etc.  I see the hurtful action, and say, "Gentle touch,  Hands are not for hitting."  or "Sand stays on the ground, no throwing sand." They get a second chance to make the right choice, and if they do it again a third time, we leave.  So no punishment or time out, but no more enjoying the company of their friends or hanging out in the playground.  When they're still young, I remove them, and by the time they're old enough (time will tell if this pans out with her brother) they come, knowing that there is no other option.

 

Also helpful in our family:

 

Never use "Okay" ...

 

I never say "Okay," as in "Time to get ready to go, okay?" or "Time to put on your pajamas, okay?"  It invites negotiation where there is none.   John Holt's writing taught me that one, and it's been immensely helpful.  My older child knows that there is room for discussion if I use "okay" and no room for discussion when I don't. 

Barbara Colorosso is big on that too.  "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  Protest ensues, parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  More gnashing of teeth, flinging self to the ground, pounding fists.  Parent calmly restates: "We will go to the park after you've cleaned your room."  And so on.  Key being, don't engage in the drama, and don't invite negotiation by saying, "We'll go to the park after you've cleaned your room, okay?" 

 

Give yourself double the time you think you'll need.

Transitions with children are often difficult.  They're busy doing their 'work'  (play) and we want them to stop because of something on our agenda.  

I find my patience is thinnest when time is of the essence, so I try never to let it be.  We have very few obligations, but we do have a class that starts across the city at 0900 on Monday mornings.  I let them sleep in clothes that are comfy and presentable, so that I don't have to get them dressed.  I make breakfast ahead of time, and we leave the house at 0820, on the dot.   We get up at 0700.  That's a LOT of time.  

 

Pick your hills

I don't like the phrase "Choose your battles," but I get it.  Like choosing the proverbial "hill to die on," and so on.

I don't care what my kids wear.  I don't care if they have a jacket on in the cold.  I don't care if they get dirty.  I don't care if they don't want to learn to climb the jungle gym.  I don't care if they want to ride their bike or walk.  I don't care if they want to fill their backpack with blocks and carry it around for the day.  I don't care if they want their sandwich cut in strips or squares.

I do care about a few choice things;  they are not permitted to do anything harmful to themselves or others, or anything that is simply unkind. 

 

That's a lot of blathering on to essential say that I think consistency is the key here.  That's how expectations become intrinsic and unfaltering.  If children know what to expect, it's easier to let it happen without protest.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I've been trying to think of a response to this post for a few days, but I think that this ^^ is pretty much what I would say.  She did a great job of breaking it down.  I'm a kindergarten teacher and regularly wrangle 30 - 60 5 year-olds a day and rarely have any problems - and I don't yell, threaten, belittle, shame, or use sarcasm.  The kids WANT to do what I ask them to do.  An early poster (can't remember who, sorry) said that she thought some people just have a natural way of commanding respect or getting others to listen.  I would say that I do come by it naturally, which is why I spent so long figuring out what to post.  I wasn't even sure exactly WHY kids, and even adults, listen.  But, I do all of the things the above poster suggests, so I'm sure that is part of it.  My motto is: "Say what you mean and mean what you say."  I think a lot of times, adults aren't clear which leaves a lot of wriggle room.  For example, you might say, "I'll be in there in a minute" when you really mean 5 minutes.  Or you ask a child to put away their plate and then you walk away.  The plate stays out and it is too much trouble to go track down the kid, so you put it away yourself.  Little stuff like this ads up.  You have to be very clear and consistent.  That isn't to say you can't change your mind if you realize your expectations were off.   You just have to tell them that you changed your mind and why, so they understand - you don't want them to think they just wore you down.   And, most important: prevent problems before they start.  If the same problem keeps arising, you have to step back and figure out WHY it is happening.  If you don't know, ask the kid - he/she probably does know!  With discussion, you might be able to figure it out together.  Often times, kids can come up with great solutions to problems.  You might be able to talk it out right then - in the middle of the situation - but, more often, you need to wait until the child is calm and well-rested.  Sometimes, you need to bring it up more than once to give the child a lot of time to think about what is going on.  

 

Lastly, when I think about getting kids to do what I need them to do, I want to start with asking them to do something I know they can do successfully.  I'm very visual, so bare with me. . . I imagine a lasso, corral, or box or something - my visual for boundaries.  If I needed to "catch" that child, I'd want to start with a HUGE "lasso."  I set the boundaries, but I set them large enough that the child will be INSIDE of them.  If I start with the boundaries too, tight, the child will just jump right out.  Over time, I gradually tighten the boundaries to move them in the direction I'm trying to move the child.  I know if I'm moving too fast, because that is when the child goes outside of the boundaries I'm setting.  (I'm not sure if this will make sense to others and it sounds a bit manipulative, but there are times when I really need to modify behavior and this is far more gentle/respectful to what is generally practiced.)  Basic example:  if I walk into a room and there are kids running around wild and I need to get them calm, I'm not going to immediately expect them to be quiet (tight boundaries)- I would totally fail at that and then would lose their respect, which would make the next thing I try even harder to accomplish.  Instead, I might invite them all to hop in place, stomp their feet, or engage in a clapping game (loose boundaries.)  Then, I can gradually tone down the activity, like asking them to pat their thighs, touch their toes, sit down, whisper, etc.  In just a minute or two, they will all be calm.  This is a simple example how this works quickly with a large group of children, but it also works with individual kids on more challenging behaviors, though in these instances it might take many days, weeks, or even months.  Anyway, I hope that wasn't too confusing!


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#89 of 116 Old 04-20-2013, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sonjagrabel View Post


I've been trying to think of a response to this post for a few days, but I think that this ^^ is pretty much what I would say.  She did a great job of breaking it down.  I'm a kindergarten teacher and regularly wrangle 30 - 60 5 year-olds a day and rarely have any problems - and I don't yell, threaten, belittle, shame, or use sarcasm.  The kids WANT to do what I ask them to do.  An early poster (can't remember who, sorry) said that she thought some people just have a natural way of commanding respect or getting others to listen.  I would say that I do come by it naturally, which is why I spent so long figuring out what to post.  I wasn't even sure exactly WHY kids, and even adults, listen.  But, I do all of the things the above poster suggests, so I'm sure that is part of it.  My motto is: "Say what you mean and mean what you say."  I think a lot of times, adults aren't clear which leaves a lot of wriggle room.  For example, you might say, "I'll be in there in a minute" when you really mean 5 minutes.  Or you ask a child to put away their plate and then you walk away.  The plate stays out and it is too much trouble to go track down the kid, so you put it away yourself.  Little stuff like this ads up.  You have to be very clear and consistent.  That isn't to say you can't change your mind if you realize your expectations were off.   You just have to tell them that you changed your mind and why, so they understand - you don't want them to think they just wore you down.   And, most important: prevent problems before they start.  If the same problem keeps arising, you have to step back and figure out WHY it is happening.  If you don't know, ask the kid - he/she probably does know!  With discussion, you might be able to figure it out together.  Often times, kids can come up with great solutions to problems.  You might be able to talk it out right then - in the middle of the situation - but, more often, you need to wait until the child is calm and well-rested.  Sometimes, you need to bring it up more than once to give the child a lot of time to think about what is going on.  

 

Lastly, when I think about getting kids to do what I need them to do, I want to start with asking them to do something I know they can do successfully.  I'm very visual, so bare with me. . . I imagine a lasso, corral, or box or something - my visual for boundaries.  If I needed to "catch" that child, I'd want to start with a HUGE "lasso."  I set the boundaries, but I set them large enough that the child will be INSIDE of them.  If I start with the boundaries too, tight, the child will just jump right out.  Over time, I gradually tighten the boundaries to move them in the direction I'm trying to move the child.  I know if I'm moving too fast, because that is when the child goes outside of the boundaries I'm setting.  (I'm not sure if this will make sense to others and it sounds a bit manipulative, but there are times when I really need to modify behavior and this is far more gentle/respectful to what is generally practiced.)  Basic example:  if I walk into a room and there are kids running around wild and I need to get them calm, I'm not going to immediately expect them to be quiet (tight boundaries)- I would totally fail at that and then would lose their respect, which would make the next thing I try even harder to accomplish.  Instead, I might invite them all to hop in place, stomp their feet, or engage in a clapping game (loose boundaries.)  Then, I can gradually tone down the activity, like asking them to pat their thighs, touch their toes, sit down, whisper, etc.  In just a minute or two, they will all be calm.  This is a simple example how this works quickly with a large group of children, but it also works with individual kids on more challenging behaviors, though in these instances it might take many days, weeks, or even months.  Anyway, I hope that wasn't too confusing!

 

Thank you, I like both these posts.  The only thing is, I actually feel like I already do most of this.  Maybe I am wrong.  But most of the specific stuff starling&diesel listed, that describes very well how I operate.  The procedure for leaving the park, tailoring requests to things the child is primed to do, the picking-battles (I also have a very small set of essential things I need my kids to do, I certainly am not picking battles over type of clothing, backpack full of blocks, sandwich shape etc.).  I do use the time-out for hitting, I'd be open to alternatives but I have yet to hear a good one (leaving the park doesn't work when you're at home already).  The timeout really works, DD1 is almost never physically violent in any way, actually she is incredibly tolerant of DD2 who will just walk up to her and pull her hair or scratch or bite her.  (I am implementing short timeouts for DD2 to work on this problem, and also to show DD1 that DD2 does not get away with hurting people either.)

 

In terms of the same problem arising, actually I would say that is part of why this is tough to figure out - because it isn't the same problem all the time, actually I can't think of a single situation that is a problem all the time.  The problem is that every day there is a different problem.  She may brush her teeth without complaint for nine days in a row, and then on the tenth day suddenly it's a huge issue that blows up into a battle before I can even see it coming. 

 

(Although again I would say things have gotten much much better over time, and are much better now than they were when I started this thread.  When DD1 was around two she had multiple screaming fits every day over minor issues, now maybe it's once a day and they don't last nearly as long as they did.)

 

I like the idea of a gradation of boundaries, that is really interesting and sounds potentially useful.  I'm not really sure how it works with a temper tantrum though.  Like what is the smallest step down from a temper tantrum other than stop-crying?  She's not too bad at stop-crying if she has a reason to - e.g. if the reason for the tantrum is something I can actually fix and I tell her 'I can't understand you when you scream, so tell me calmly and I will help you out," she can pretty much control herself, but if the thing she is tantruming about is not something I can fix there doesn't seem to be any way to get her to calm down.  I just let her know I'm sorry she's angry, I can't give her what she wants, and then let her get over it in her own time.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on stepping her down from a tantrum.

 

Also sometimes when she is upset and I try to move her from angry to silly, then the silly just gets out of control and that's not something I want either.  Then when I try to tone down the silly she goes right back to angry.  Eg she is flipping out about getting the wrong cup or whatever, I try to redirect to silly ('We hate the monkey cup!" make silly monkey face etc.) then she might start laughing but also jumping on me making loud monkey noises in my face, grabbing my hair etc.  Then if I try to calm that down at all (quiet monkey?  no dice) she gets upset and returns to her tantrum.

 

I also think the people who pointed out the predictability/routine issues may be on to something, because obviously there are things that I don't think of as major areas of unpredictability (eg park some days and not others) that may seem like mountains of random unfairness to DD1.  I'm still thinking about ways to enhance routine without taking away the fun little extras.


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#90 of 116 Old 04-21-2013, 06:28 AM
 
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OP -- you posted for advice, and have been given some good advice, in my opinion. I disagree with some of what I've read, but some has been spot on!

The theme I've seen is you being argumentative with the posters. You say you already do what's been advised, or it wouldn't work with your child, etc. Based on that, I'm inclined to believe things are not going to improve with your daughter until you are open to making a change. I fully expect you to disagree with this. Still, if you can open yourself to the idea that you and your daughter are different people, with different points of view, AND NEITHER IS RIGHT OR WRONG, then, I predict, you will see improvement.
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