How do you 'expect' kids to do something, or 'not give them a choice'? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  I tried being funny (hokey pokey), bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own clothes, telling her what a big girl she is and so good at getting dressed by herself, could she show me what a good job she does at getting dressed, etc.  No dice.  Eventually I said I had to go to work and she had to go to school and she was going to get dressed now.  Then we had a huge tantrum.  I physically dressed her (I am barely capable of this, she is big and strong), after which she removed all the clothing while continuing to scream. 

 

Eventually DH stepped in and played the nice guy, and I left for work.  If he had not been present I would have re-dressed her, dragged her screaming out to the car and strapped her in her seat with no shoes or jacket on, and let her calm down on the way to school.

 

This seems extreme and not what I picture when I hear I should just be able to 'expect' her to get dressed in the morning.  Also I will not be able to physically do this for much longer.  I can only barely do it now.  (This is not an everyday occurrence - it was more frequent when she was two but now it is only once in a while.  But there are other times when she flatly refuses to do something that I need her to do, and somehow I don't see her growing out of this in general.)

 

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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#2 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 01:09 PM
 
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I will be very interested to see the responses to this because my experience with "I just expect" and "I don't allow" so far have universally translated into "my child has never actually defied me on this one" :-P
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#3 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 02:06 PM
 
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Seriously.  lurk.gif

 

I've seen the "waiting for the bus" tactic mentioned.  Apparently if you just stand there and wait, as if you were waiting for a bus, that comes across as "expecting" or "knowing" something will happen and then the kid magically does it.  I haven't had that work yet but I'm interested in hearing what everyone has to say, or learning if I'm misunderstanding this whole bus technique. 

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#4 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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I really think those parents who just expect something will happen and it actually does must radiate some kind of innate alpha dominance thing. That I don't have. And that can't be translated into a prescription of do this do that say it like this and voila your child will do it.

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#5 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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I've never once had simply expecting something to be done to consistently work.... or even frequently work. I agree with you that sometimes there just isn't time to do anything but 'force' a kid into their clothes or into their carseat. It's gotten worse the older the kids get. Not only are they now old enough to understand that I can seldom actually force them to do something they don't want to do but they also are giving bad examples to the younger ones. That said, they are now old enough to think that not getting dressed or throwing a fit over something they don't like is not worth their time.

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#6 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 03:14 PM
 
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I'd do just what you said. Force them to get dressed and put them in the car. Sometimes there really isn't a choice. People have to go to work, school, appointments..


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#7 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 03:47 PM
 
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It depends on the age of the kid. With a 3 y/o, I would do what you did.

 

With my 8 y/o, I take the "waiting for the bus" approach. But with him, it's easier to reason.


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#8 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post

I really think those parents who just expect something will happen and it actually does must radiate some kind of innate alpha dominance thing. That I don't have. And that can't be translated into a prescription of do this do that say it like this and voila your child will do it.

 

Interesting thought. Ever notice at a group gathering of sort, sometimes someone (in charge, an organizer) will say "Hey everybody, can I have your attention?" or something of the effect.. and everyone just keeps on chatting, or a few people listen, but its really hard to get everyone paying attention. And its an awkward thing for the would-be announcer to get a group of adults to pay attention. Then, someone comes along (a friend, assistant, whoever) and just shouts, "Hey! Everyone listen up, ____ has an announcement!" and suddenly.. everyone listens? I'm always the first one, trying to get everyone's attention. I've always wondered if I'd get a little more cooperation from my kids sometimes if I was 2nd type. I'm not sure what it is, or if this is a trait that can be learned. I definitely don't have the innate alpha dominance thing. Reminds me of a time I was teaching a class to 4-5yos once a week (only 3-4) and they walked all over me no matter what I did. At the time I was thinking that I felt like I must give off the vibe of a teenage babysitter who lets them eat ice cream and stay up past their bedtime instead of, as you say, an alpha vibe. 

 

But yeah, there are times I'm just in shock at how ignored I am as mom sometimes! And I'm sure all parents feel like this, at least sometimes ;) Sometimes I'm just stunned, like, "can't they be just a LITTLE afraid of me?!" 


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#9 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm wondering the same thing. DS is 4 and I have to repeat myself many times to get him to do what I need him to do. DH only tells him once and he listens.

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#10 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 05:35 PM
 
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I think when people say they expect certain things and don't give a choice they mean the kid has consequences for not doing it. The things you need them to do also change as the age changes. Two of children at 2/3/4 would have days they refused to get dressed, or refused to put on Pj's and I forcibly did it for them. What else can you do when you have to go out? If my 2 year old refuses to get in the car seat i have to forcibly practically bend him in half to him seated enough to get the seat belt on, but the only other option is to not pick up the kids from school, which of course is not an option at all, so you just do what you have to do. My older school aged kids always put on a seat belt. It has never once been an issue. by the time they are old enough to put on their own seatbelt it has been years of the same thing, so they never question it. My now 9 year old who would not get dressed wouldn't be caught dead not wearing clothes or wearing  his PJ's at school (I used to threaten that in kindergarten if he didnt' hurry up and get dressed for school and i was fully prepared for him to go to school in him PJ's one day, but he always got dressed at the last minute). Of course there are other things now they don't like to do,  but they have consequences for not doing those things and they know what it is, so they have a choice they have to make.

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#11 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 07:40 PM
 
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I have been thinking about this a lot lately because I am trying to figure out how to help my assistant figure this out and make it work for her.  As a mom and a preschool teacher I have many things that I just expect to happen and they do happen.  I am not really sure how to explain how to make this successful though because it is just a natural thing to me.  I don't think consequences have much to do with it because I don't often use anything beyond the look and my assistant is forever having to resort to consequences and children still act out with her in ways they won't with me.  I do think consistently following through with what you are asking a child to do has a lot to do with this though.  This is much easier as a teacher than it is as a mother and I definitely have more periods of being ignored as a mom than I do as a teacher. 

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#12 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 07:54 PM
 
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I think it is not something that can be explained, because it involves the subconscious.

When my son was young there were things I expected him to understand, such as 'I'd love to buy that, but we need the money for food'. I was totally sincere when I said it, and he never made a fuss. Because it was totally true and completely sincere, and I expected him to realize that, he did. I'm sure subconsciously my attitude was different than a 'that is a piece of junk, and I do not want to buy it' attitude. I wouldn't be able to tell you what was different, but he saw it, every time. Kids respond to subtle signals.
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#13 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 08:58 PM
 
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I would have taken her to preschool in her jammies. (Only once did my 3 year old leave the house in jammies. It just never came up again. She did look really cute at the vet appointment in a pink princess nightgown. )

 

Plan ahead --  all clothes laid out the night before. No choices for her. Just select her clothes, show her where they are, talk about what she will be wearing.

 

Phrasing -- "once you are dressed, we will Name Of Thing She'll Be Happy About."

 

Reminder, "first get dressed, then Name of Thing She'll Be Happy About."

 

You may have to ignore some nonsense from her at first, but ignoring nonsense is a completely gentle thing to do. If you ignore the nonsense, it becomes a lot less interesting to her. Right now, its too much of a game, and you have the power to stop the game.

 

BTW, did she get enough sleep the night before? Could she be coming down with something?


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#14 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 09:38 PM
 
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I say it, they do it, or there are consequences. Those might be logical, or they might be punitive. But they are consequences, not choices that can be freely chosen between. The only reason it works is because they know that I will follow through. If they think I won't, then they don't bother. It completely sucks about 4 days out of a year when it's being challenged, but one of those days and then they know you mean business the rest of the year until they decide to challenge it again a few months later.

 

In the morning, I say "Do you have all your gear?" and make DD check and gather (she's nearly 9). For my son, who is 5, I have him help me check and gather stuff for his classes. Sure, they've "defied" me about it now and then, but I don't tolerate that either. Instant time out until it's done. And if that means no breakfast, or lunch, or playground time, or bedtime story, so be it. I allot extra time to have a snack before classes. Always near the class itself, so we will be on time. If they dally getting ready, then no snack time remains. (Sometimes transit throws off snack and the kids haven't dallied. Then we do the snack after class instead.)

 

We also have rules for proper behavior when unhappy. Stomping=time out and loss of a toy for a day. Door slamming=1 week loss of a toy for every time the door slams. Lost property? Allowance will have to pay for a new one. I've done the "waiting for a bus" and it does work, but I don't know if it would work without fairly strict rules otherwise. 

 

I don't think it's ever meant missing a meal, but they've missed sleepovers, parties, and playdates. I lift the five year old when needed. I would lift the eight year old if it was needed. On one recent defiant day, my daughter had to sit in a cafe and watch while her brother and I had a cupcake and she got none. She had to call a friend and explain that she had lost the right to a planned sleepover. She had to explain to her father that she couldn't have a bedtime story and why, and she went to bed quite early. She was miserable. She doesn't want to do that again. (She actually needed more sleep, so the early to bed was less of a punishment and more of a "you need to do this," but it wasn't her choice to go to bed early. I sent her there.)

 

It's not super gentle as it involves time outs and loss of privileges, but we do a ridiculous number of activities, and they are starting to understand the trade off there. Since one of the things that would happen in the real world is that if you're a snot to someone, they don't want to do things for you, I think it's reasonable that if they act like brats, I won't want to do things for them, and hence they won't get cupcakes and cool trips and special gifts. I explained this morning that if they wanted to do all the activities they wished for valentines tomorrow, today would be extremely busy and could NOT involve me dragging whining children around. Whine, and an activity for today is gone. They had a moment here or there, but considering that we accomplished 3 crafts, housecleaning, homeschooling, 6 errands, 2 extracurricular classes, and baths, they were impressively good. They were so well behaved that they were given 4 toys/tchotches for free in two different places, just because they were "so sweet."  

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#15 of 116 Old 02-13-2013, 09:56 PM
 
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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.  I tried being funny (hokey pokey), bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own clothes, telling her what a big girl she is and so good at getting dressed by herself, could she show me what a good job she does at getting dressed, etc.  No dice.  Eventually I said I had to go to work and she had to go to school and she was going to get dressed now.  Then we had a huge tantrum.  I physically dressed her (I am barely capable of this, she is big and strong), after which she removed all the clothing while continuing to scream. 

 

It's a power struggle. Don't even try being funny, bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own. Refuse to do it. Be bored of it. It will be easier to break with your husband available though. Tell her you're leaving at x o'clock and having breakfast in x minutes. "Get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." Give her the clothes you've chosen. Then go on with your own routine. Don't remind her. Don't nag her. Don't listen to any argument about different clothes. "Shrug. I'm not going to argue with you about what clothes." When she isn't ready, and she won't be on the first day, LEAVE. Tell her calmly that it's time for you to leave, and you're sad you didn't get to have breakfast with her or take her to school. She will probably throw a fit. Just leave. Immediately. Calmly. Let your husband deal with it. The next morning, say the same darn thing. Refuse to discuss it. Refuse to argue about it. Tell her you will be leaving at x and having breakfast at x. "I'd love for you to get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." 


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#16 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's a power struggle. Don't even try being funny, bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own. Refuse to do it. Be bored of it. It will be easier to break with your husband available though. Tell her you're leaving at x o'clock and having breakfast in x minutes. "Get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." Give her the clothes you've chosen. Then go on with your own routine. Don't remind her. Don't nag her. Don't listen to any argument about different clothes. "Shrug. I'm not going to argue with you about what clothes." When she isn't ready, and she won't be on the first day, LEAVE. Tell her calmly that it's time for you to leave, and you're sad you didn't get to have breakfast with her or take her to school. She will probably throw a fit. Just leave. Immediately. Calmly. Let your husband deal with it. The next morning, say the same darn thing. Refuse to discuss it. Refuse to argue about it. Tell her you will be leaving at x and having breakfast at x. "I'd love for you to get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." 

 

Well, I do leave if I need to leave.  She doesn't generally care.  Usually DH takes her to school in the AM, I was trying to do it yesterday because he had a meeting to get to on time - but since the situation deteriorated he ended up taking her anyway.  There have been occasions when she wanted me to take her to school (which I will do if my schedule allows and she requests it). On those occasions she gets dressed promptly to leave.  On days when she doesn't specifically want me to take her she doesn't have an issue with me leaving without her (since that's our usual routine anyway). 

 

Also there's an end-of-the-road to the leaving tactic.  If she refuses to get ready to school so DH and I both leave without her, then what?  She can't stay home all day with my ILs and DD2, she would drive my ILs insane and destroy DD2's nap schedule.  *I* don't want that outcome, but she would probably be fine with it, esp since MIL would just let her watch TV all day.

 

 

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I say it, they do it, or there are consequences. Those might be logical, or they might be punitive. But they are consequences, not choices that can be freely chosen between. The only reason it works is because they know that I will follow through. If they think I won't, then they don't bother. It completely sucks about 4 days out of a year when it's being challenged, but one of those days and then they know you mean business the rest of the year until they decide to challenge it again a few months later.

 

In the morning, I say "Do you have all your gear?" and make DD check and gather (she's nearly 9). For my son, who is 5, I have him help me check and gather stuff for his classes. Sure, they've "defied" me about it now and then, but I don't tolerate that either. Instant time out until it's done.

 

I like this approach and it is the way I would prefer to parent generally.  But I have a lot of trouble implementing.  I do follow through on any warnings but it is inevitably incredibly tiring and disruptive to do so.   And it isn't four days out of the year, it's more like one day in three or so.  (Also in order to do so I often have to argue with my husband who does not understand why consistency is important and is generally a bad combination of 90% indulgent pushover/10% random escalation.)

 

Eg timeouts: I use them after a count of three for irritating/inappropriate behavior, and without a count for any violence (hitting etc).  I'd say DD1 gets a timeout about once every three days.  The thing is that in order to make the timeout happen I have to drag her kicking and screaming to her room, and either sit there holding her on my lap while she struggles for the entire period of the timeout, or dump her in there and shut the door fast, then stand there holding the door until the timeout is over.  It is incredibly disruptive.  This has been going on for about a year now.  It's not getting better.  What can I do to 'set an expectation' that she comply with a timeout on her own?  I have the same question about some of your other consequences.  Eg if I told DD1 to explain to her dad why she wasn't getting a story, she would just throw a tantrum (or rather escalate the tantrum she was already throwing about being denied the story). 


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#17 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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I'm enjoying this conversation and will jump in. You are up against your need to get out the door for work.  This is a handicap, and one that cannot be changed.  You have no time for time outs, or much of anything else because of your time constraints.  As far as your specific difficulties, my kids dress in their street clothes for bed.  A bit rumpled?  Sure.  But it eliminates exactly half of all potential power struggles.

 

As far as your general question, I agree with katelove:

 

 

 

Quote:
I will be very interested to see the responses to this because my experience with "I just expect" and "I don't allow" so far have universally translated into "my child has never actually defied me on this one" :-P

 

I have always wondered this myself, and either it is as above, or it is a system of threats and punishments.  I am not entirely innocent of this as well.  We homeschool.  We have few obligations.  So, I get to say "we'll skip gymnastics then".  When I'm in the car and fighting starts, I pull over and sit until the fighting stops.  I have that luxury.  And I have been known, when the kids were portable, to carry them screaming from the house because I was going to explode with another day at home and I knew they were going to have FUN but, being that little, they couldn't get past the the fact that they were getting in the CAR.

 

As far as expectations go, they get continual reminders of my expectations.  These are ones like "don't call people stupid, no matter how angry you are", "trying to punch your sister but missing is still aggressive and against the rules."  This takes forever, but I have confidence that they will not, at 16 and 18, be almost-punching and calling each other "stupid head".  I expect them to not "throw their grumps around" when feeling angry.  Does that stop them?  Not yet.  Other times I simply state it as fact, and it works.  Go figure.  I have no idea why it works sometimes and not others.

 

In general, though, I still feel the above quote is quite true.  I asked a similar question in the recent thread on picky eating and didn't get many responses.  The one I did confirmed one suspicion-- she used rewards to get the kids to eat.  

 

This is especially true when the events of the day are--by design or necessity-- more focused on the needs of the parents than the child.  It is not her choice to leave when you need her to leave.  Both of you work.  This is not her choice.  This isn't necessarily your choice either--but it is most definitely not hers.  Whenever we are faced with a similar dynamic, there we will meet the most resistance.  So, to "expect" something without rewards or punishments, you need to talk with her.  At bedtime, you need to tell her what she needs to expect in the morning.  Let her know that you understand it upsets her not to be given a choice in the matter, but you can do whatever to make it easier to get out the door.  Ask her why she fights you so much--you might be surprised and she might tell you.  Or she might say "Did you know the Tooth Fairy rides a butterfly?"  And you say "I need you to listen.  You can wear tomorrow's clothes tonight ----wouldn't that be silly????  And I thought about eating breakfast at night, too, but that doesn't work very well. When we get in the car, would you like an second breakfast and have a granola bar?  What can we pack tonight for you to do in the car on the way?"  Etc.  Then, get her in the car, no matter what.  No shoes (pack'em) no breakfast (pack it, offer it in the car, beg the teacher to offer it at school) no coat (pack'em and let the teacher handle this) if need be.

 

Also, ask dh to let you get this, start to finish.  Maybe he can help you get her out the door with you, but don't let him swoop in to save you.  If nothing else, you need to gain the confidence that you can do this.  Because--and I'm sure of this--sometimes it really just is that presence that subconsciously soothes the whole situation.  If I had a clue as to when this was going to work and when it wasn't, I think I'd be rich.


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#18 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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Well, I do leave if I need to leave.  She doesn't generally care.  Usually DH takes her to school in the AM, I was trying to do it yesterday because he had a meeting to get to on time - but since the situation deteriorated he ended up taking her anyway.  There have been occasions when she wanted me to take her to school (which I will do if my schedule allows and she requests it). On those occasions she gets dressed promptly to leave.  On days when she doesn't specifically want me to take her she doesn't have an issue with me leaving without her (since that's our usual routine anyway). 

 

Also there's an end-of-the-road to the leaving tactic.  If she refuses to get ready to school so DH and I both leave without her, then what?  She can't stay home all day with my ILs and DD2, she would drive my ILs insane and destroy DD2's nap schedule.  *I* don't want that outcome, but she would probably be fine with it, esp since MIL would just let her watch TV all day.

 

Then just take her in whatever state of undress she's in, with her clothes in a bag. It should be embarrassing for her. If you stick to it 100%, it will decrease. If you stick to it 90%, she will keep doing it, worse and worse, and longer and longer, because she's being given intermittent rewards to do so, which are generally the most reinforcing. I don't follow Dr. Phil, but this article talks about the intermittent reinforcement and power struggle aspect: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/163


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#19 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mambera View Post

I like this approach and it is the way I would prefer to parent generally.  But I have a lot of trouble implementing.  I do follow through on any warnings but it is inevitably incredibly tiring and disruptive to do so.   And it isn't four days out of the year, it's more like one day in three or so.  (Also in order to do so I often have to argue with my husband who does not understand why consistency is important and is generally a bad combination of 90% indulgent pushover/10% random escalation.)

 

Eg timeouts: I use them after a count of three for irritating/inappropriate behavior, and without a count for any violence (hitting etc).  I'd say DD1 gets a timeout about once every three days.  The thing is that in order to make the timeout happen I have to drag her kicking and screaming to her room, and either sit there holding her on my lap while she struggles for the entire period of the timeout, or dump her in there and shut the door fast, then stand there holding the door until the timeout is over.  It is incredibly disruptive.  This has been going on for about a year now.  It's not getting better.  What can I do to 'set an expectation' that she comply with a timeout on her own?  I have the same question about some of your other consequences.  Eg if I told DD1 to explain to her dad why she wasn't getting a story, she would just throw a tantrum (or rather escalate the tantrum she was already throwing about being denied the story). 

 

I'd say the reason it's going on for a year is because it's so exhausting and you or your husband give in that 10% of the time. So she knows if she pushes hard enough, she'll win. I've held doors shut, but I don't hold it the whole time for time outs. In the room, door closed. I used the bathroom as a secondary time out spot until this year because the kid bedroom had no door. Won't go? Leave time out? Bathroom. More boring and less comfy. Made their screaming echo badly and hurt their own ears too. Conveniently, when they were 4-ish they couldn't unlock the door themselves, so that was easy to lock and then shut the door. 

 

The other thing is to just avoid power struggles as much as possible. Refuse to argue about what she wears. If it's horribly inappropriate, let her be cold/hot/get wet feet within reason. If it's really really inappropriate wear, pack a decent outfit or proper shoes for her to change into at school.

 

It's also age. It was worse at 4 for both my kids. They're 5.5 and nearly 9 now, so they know the routines of punishments and time out expectations. Some of it you just have to ride out. I told my son for a while that he couldn't eat dinner with us, because he always found something to throw a fit about--he didn't like the way the napkin was positioned, whatever. He had a number of dinners alone for a while. 

 

I don't mean to sound like it's all fine now, because we still have plenty of hard times and arguments. But I'd say the really really bad days are months apart now. 


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#20 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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If we are keeping responses within the philosophy of Gentle Discipline, I would say this doesn't sound all that Gentle to me.


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#21 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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My kids are only 1 and 3 and a half.

 

what works so far is trying to figure out why my Ds1 refuses to do something that I expect from him.

a lot of time,s it is because we don't have good connection at the moment.

either because he is tired, hungry, overexcited etc.... or because I have inappropriate expectation.

 

For example, if he is in the middle of having fun with his toys, and I want him to get dressed and leave the house with me rapidly because I am late, it's not appropriate for me to expect that he will do it happily.I know that he will be upset. If I take a second to see through his eyes, I can understand that what I am expecting from him is very upsetting. He has to stop the fun he is having right now. He has to start doing non fun things and he has to do them rapidly.

 

So here what works with him in this kind of situations (but might not work for another kid):

I tell him: '' We are leaving the house now, come with me please to put your shoes and coat on''

he will usually say: ''I don't want to leave, I don't want to put shoes on''

then I would come close to him, at his level and calmly say: ''I know you don't want, you are unhappy to stop your play'' and hug him.

the fact that I acknowledge his feelings helps a lot to stop a tantrum from starting.

But i don't justify or apologize in any way, just acknowledge his feelings. I don't say: ''we you ahve to stop playing because this and that'' or ''mommy is late, so you have to do this and that''

he is too young for that and it only opens a door for arguing.

By avoiding explanations, the focus of the interaction is not on the event, but on the child,s feelings and on our relationship (the fact that i know how he feels)

it avoids power struggles, because the discussion is not about power.

 

I try to avoid bribing (and I never needed to punish in any way yet....but they are still young, I might need to do it later).

But what I use often, is something similar to bribing, in a more positive way.

I remind or inform my DS1 about another activity we will be doing later.

 

.....ds2 is crying....will be back

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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.

 

 

Quote:
I say it, they do it, or there are consequences. Those might be logical, or they might be punitive. But they are consequences, not choices that can be freely chosen between. The only reason it works is because they know that I will follow through. If they think I won't, then they don't bother. It completely sucks about 4 days out of a year when it's being challenged, but one of those days and then they know you mean business the rest of the year until they decide to challenge it again a few months later.

 

In the morning, I say "Do you have all your gear?" and make DD check and gather (she's nearly 9). For my son, who is 5, I have him help me check and gather stuff for his classes. Sure, they've "defied" me about it now and then, but I don't tolerate that either. Instant time out until it's done. And if that means no breakfast, or lunch, or playground time, or bedtime story, so be it. I allot extra time to have a snack before classes. Always near the class itself, so we will be on time. If they dally getting ready, then no snack time remains. (Sometimes transit throws off snack and the kids haven't dallied. Then we do the snack after class instead.)

 

We also have rules for proper behavior when unhappy. Stomping=time out and loss of a toy for a day. Door slamming=1 week loss of a toy for every time the door slams. Lost property? Allowance will have to pay for a new one. I've done the "waiting for a bus" and it does work, but I don't know if it would work without fairly strict rules otherwise. 

 

I don't think it's ever meant missing a meal, but they've missed sleepovers, parties, and playdates. I lift the five year old when needed. I would lift the eight year old if it was needed. On one recent defiant day, my daughter had to sit in a cafe and watch while her brother and I had a cupcake and she got none. She had to call a friend and explain that she had lost the right to a planned sleepover. She had to explain to her father that she couldn't have a bedtime story and why, and she went to bed quite early. She was miserable. She doesn't want to do that again. (She actually needed more sleep, so the early to bed was less of a punishment and more of a "you need to do this," but it wasn't her choice to go to bed early. I sent her there.)

 

It's not super gentle as it involves time outs and loss of privileges, but we do a ridiculous number of activities, and they are starting to understand the trade off there. Since one of the things that would happen in the real world is that if you're a snot to someone, they don't want to do things for you, I think it's reasonable that if they act like brats, I won't want to do things for them, and hence they won't get cupcakes and cool trips and special gifts. I explained this morning that if they wanted to do all the activities they wished for valentines tomorrow, today would be extremely busy and could NOT involve me dragging whining children around. Whine, and an activity for today is gone. They had a moment here or there, but considering that we accomplished 3 crafts, housecleaning, homeschooling, 6 errands, 2 extracurricular classes, and baths, they were impressively good. They were so well behaved that they were given 4 toys/tchotches for free in two different places, just because they were "so sweet."  

 

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

 

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It's a power struggle. Don't even try being funny, bringing her clothes, encouraging her to choose her own. Refuse to do it. Be bored of it. It will be easier to break with your husband available though. Tell her you're leaving at x o'clock and having breakfast in x minutes. "Get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." Give her the clothes you've chosen. Then go on with your own routine. Don't remind her. Don't nag her. Don't listen to any argument about different clothes. "Shrug. I'm not going to argue with you about what clothes." When she isn't ready, and she won't be on the first day, LEAVE. Tell her calmly that it's time for you to leave, and you're sad you didn't get to have breakfast with her or take her to school. She will probably throw a fit. Just leave. Immediately. Calmly. Let your husband deal with it. The next morning, say the same darn thing. Refuse to discuss it. Refuse to argue about it. Tell her you will be leaving at x and having breakfast at x. "I'd love for you to get dressed and come have breakfast with me. Then I'll take you to school." 

 

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. 

 

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Originally Posted by mambera View Post
I like this approach and it is the way I would prefer to parent generally.  But I have a lot of trouble implementing.  I do follow through on any warnings but it is inevitably incredibly tiring and disruptive to do so.   And it isn't four days out of the year, it's more like one day in three or so.  (Also in order to do so I often have to argue with my husband who does not understand why consistency is important and is generally a bad combination of 90% indulgent pushover/10% random escalation.)

 

Eg timeouts: I use them after a count of three for irritating/inappropriate behavior, and without a count for any violence (hitting etc).  I'd say DD1 gets a timeout about once every three days.  The thing is that in order to make the timeout happen I have to drag her kicking and screaming to her room, and either sit there holding her on my lap while she struggles for the entire period of the timeout, or dump her in there and shut the door fast, then stand there holding the door until the timeout is over.  It is incredibly disruptive.  This has been going on for about a year now.  It's not getting better.  What can I do to 'set an expectation' that she comply with a timeout on her own?  I have the same question about some of your other consequences.  Eg if I told DD1 to explain to her dad why she wasn't getting a story, she would just throw a tantrum (or rather escalate the tantrum she was already throwing about being denied the story). 

 

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  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I'm enjoying this conversation and will jump in. You are up against your need to get out the door for work.  This is a handicap, and one that cannot be changed.  You have no time for time outs, or much of anything else because of your time constraints.  As far as your specific difficulties, my kids dress in their street clothes for bed.  A bit rumpled?  Sure.  But it eliminates exactly half of all potential power struggles.

 

As far as your general question, I agree with katelove:

 

I have always wondered this myself, and either it is as above, or it is a system of threats and punishments.  I am not entirely innocent of this as well.  We homeschool.  We have few obligations.  So, I get to say "we'll skip gymnastics then".  When I'm in the car and fighting starts, I pull over and sit until the fighting stops.  I have that luxury.  And I have been known, when the kids were portable, to carry them screaming from the house because I was going to explode with another day at home and I knew they were going to have FUN but, being that little, they couldn't get past the the fact that they were getting in the CAR.

 

As far as expectations go, they get continual reminders of my expectations.  These are ones like "don't call people stupid, no matter how angry you are", "trying to punch your sister but missing is still aggressive and against the rules."  This takes forever, but I have confidence that they will not, at 16 and 18, be almost-punching and calling each other "stupid head".  I expect them to not "throw their grumps around" when feeling angry.  Does that stop them?  Not yet.  Other times I simply state it as fact, and it works.  Go figure.  I have no idea why it works sometimes and not others.

 

In general, though, I still feel the above quote is quite true.  I asked a similar question in the recent thread on picky eating and didn't get many responses.  The one I did confirmed one suspicion-- she used rewards to get the kids to eat.  

 

This is especially true when the events of the day are--by design or necessity-- more focused on the needs of the parents than the child.  It is not her choice to leave when you need her to leave.  Both of you work.  This is not her choice.  This isn't necessarily your choice either--but it is most definitely not hers.  Whenever we are faced with a similar dynamic, there we will meet the most resistance.  So, to "expect" something without rewards or punishments, you need to talk with her.  At bedtime, you need to tell her what she needs to expect in the morning.  Let her know that you understand it upsets her not to be given a choice in the matter, but you can do whatever to make it easier to get out the door.  Ask her why she fights you so much--you might be surprised and she might tell you.  Or she might say "Did you know the Tooth Fairy rides a butterfly?"  And you say "I need you to listen.  You can wear tomorrow's clothes tonight ----wouldn't that be silly????  And I thought about eating breakfast at night, too, but that doesn't work very well. When we get in the car, would you like an second breakfast and have a granola bar?  What can we pack tonight for you to do in the car on the way?"  Etc.  Then, get her in the car, no matter what.  No shoes (pack'em) no breakfast (pack it, offer it in the car, beg the teacher to offer it at school) no coat (pack'em and let the teacher handle this) if need be.

 

Also, ask dh to let you get this, start to finish.  Maybe he can help you get her out the door with you, but don't let him swoop in to save you.  If nothing else, you need to gain the confidence that you can do this.  Because--and I'm sure of this--sometimes it really just is that presence that subconsciously soothes the whole situation.  If I had a clue as to when this was going to work and when it wasn't, I think I'd be rich.

 

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.

 

Quote:

Then just take her in whatever state of undress she's in, with her clothes in a bag. It should be embarrassing for her. If you stick to it 100%, it will decrease. If you stick to it 90%, she will keep doing it, worse and worse, and longer and longer, because she's being given intermittent rewards to do so, which are generally the most reinforcing. I don't follow Dr. Phil, but this article talks about the intermittent reinforcement and power struggle aspect: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/163

 

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.

 

Quote:

I'd say the reason it's going on for a year is because it's so exhausting and you or your husband give in that 10% of the time. So she knows if she pushes hard enough, she'll win. I've held doors shut, but I don't hold it the whole time for time outs. In the room, door closed. I used the bathroom as a secondary time out spot until this year because the kid bedroom had no door. Won't go? Leave time out? Bathroom. More boring and less comfy. Made their screaming echo badly and hurt their own ears too. Conveniently, when they were 4-ish they couldn't unlock the door themselves, so that was easy to lock and then shut the door. 

 

The other thing is to just avoid power struggles as much as possible. Refuse to argue about what she wears. If it's horribly inappropriate, let her be cold/hot/get wet feet within reason. If it's really really inappropriate wear, pack a decent outfit or proper shoes for her to change into at school.

 

It's also age. It was worse at 4 for both my kids. They're 5.5 and nearly 9 now, so they know the routines of punishments and time out expectations. Some of it you just have to ride out. I told my son for a while that he couldn't eat dinner with us, because he always found something to throw a fit about--he didn't like the way the napkin was positioned, whatever. He had a number of dinners alone for a while. 

 

I don't mean to sound like it's all fine now, because we still have plenty of hard times and arguments. But I'd say the really really bad days are months apart now. 

 

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?  

 

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If we are keeping responses within the philosophy of Gentle Discipline, I would say this doesn't sound all that Gentle to me.

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

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#23 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
Let her know that you understand it upsets her not to be given a choice in the matter, but you can do whatever to make it easier to get out the door.  Ask her why she fights you so much--you might be surprised and she might tell you.  Or she might say "Did you know the Tooth Fairy rides a butterfly?"  And you say "I need you to listen.  You can wear tomorrow's clothes tonight ----wouldn't that be silly????  And I thought about eating breakfast at night, too, but that doesn't work very well. When we get in the car, would you like an second breakfast and have a granola bar?  What can we pack tonight for you to do in the car on the way?"  Etc.  Then, get her in the car, no matter what.  No shoes (pack'em) no breakfast (pack it, offer it in the car, beg the teacher to offer it at school) no coat (pack'em and let the teacher handle this) if need be.

 

This is good advice but I don't see how to implement it for something that is an intermittent rather than a recurrent problem.  90% of the time she does get ready for school within a reasonable amount of time.  But then we may have a different power struggle over something else, at another time.  And at the time of the power struggle she is often not in a mood to respond to empathy, humor, or inquiry.

 

I should mention that breakfast in the car, going to school in PJs (no big deal actually hers are just soft pants and a tee so it was never super obvious they were her jammies), no coat/no shoes/packing appropriate clothes to go are all things we have done in the past at various times, as necessary. 

 

I'm not really asking how to get her to school.  It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.

 

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.

 

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Originally Posted by LitMom View Post

 

Then just take her in whatever state of undress she's in, with her clothes in a bag. It should be embarrassing for her. If you stick to it 100%, it will decrease. If you stick to it 90%, she will keep doing it, worse and worse, and longer and longer, because she's being given intermittent rewards to do so, which are generally the most reinforcing. I don't follow Dr. Phil, but this article talks about the intermittent reinforcement and power struggle aspect: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/163

 

As I mentioned I am consistent.  (I am well aware of the reinforcing effects of intermittent reward schedules.)  DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.  My impulse is to say, well, this has to happen, and make it happen.  DH would never strap a screaming child in the carseat, if he had to he would take an hour and talk it out and be late for work.  He has miles more patience than I do in general and sometimes his tactics work quite well, and I have picked up on some of them to good effect (several of the initial approaches I mentioned in my first post were picked up from DH and have worked at other times).  On the other hand he really does have a small % of the time when he spins completely out of control and starts yelling at her, and has also at times swatted her (not hard), which he initially maintained was OK and necessary.  (He was hit as a child, I was not.)  I never raise my voice - when DD and I get in a struggle it is more as I outlined above, I'm calm myself but if I need to make something happen physically I do it.  I have had long conversations with DH around the loss-of-control and he is getting better at that, has not been physical with her in a long time, and certainly has stopped trying to maintain that it is OK to hit her. 

 

So I think we do learn from each other.  But he is not going to be consistent with followup in the way that I am, and getting him to stop trying to undermine me when I am being consistent (admittedly with all the shrieking I can see how it is hard to take) is a work in progress.

 

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If we are keeping responses within the philosophy of Gentle Discipline, I would say this doesn't sound all that Gentle to me.

 

Yes, thank you for this, because this is one of my concerns here.  I really do not want to be having to inject so much negative physicality into my relationship with my child.  E.g. I feel timeout as a strategy in general is sufficiently gentle for my purposes, but the specifics of implementing it with DD1 are edging out of my comfort zone.  Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  


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#24 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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I think presenting something as an expectation can work, so it is worth trying, but yeah it doesn't always work except maybe with very compliant children. So for getting dressed "Time to get dressed!" and handing clothes to your child or helping them to get dressed (depending on age/ability) will work for most kids most of the time, so I think it is worth trying first as it starts the situation off positively, but I agree it doesn't work all the time except maybe with the most naturally compliant children.

Also, it is worth noting that my DD sometimes listens better to DH or I or her teachers at daycare and it has nothing to do with how consistent each of us is in our discipline. It used to drive me batty because I am more consistent than DH, but she would often listen to him immediately anyway and not always with me. Now that isn't always the case, sometimes I think it comes down to she was having an argument/power struggle with one of us, but when that one takes a break and the other parent intervenes, it sort of resets it in her head so she is suddenly willing to comply or at least willing to consider it again.

I don't think there is one thing to do in these situations, I think you need a wide range of tools, try them and if it comes down to it, sometimes you just have to pick them up and go. I try to be very sympathetic (I know it's hard to stop playing, but we have to go now... etc.) and gentle while I'm doing this and try to arrange my time so that I have some built in time to deal with situations, but it doesn't always work out.

Not sure how helpful that is, but it helped me to think about it anyway smile.gif

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This is good advice but I don't see how to implement it for something that is an intermittent rather than a recurrent problem.  90% of the time she does get ready for school within a reasonable amount of time.  But then we may have a different power struggle over something else, at another time.  And at the time of the power struggle she is often not in a mood to respond to empathy, humor, or inquiry.

 

I should mention that breakfast in the car, going to school in PJs (no big deal actually hers are just soft pants and a tee so it was never super obvious they were her jammies), no coat/no shoes/packing appropriate clothes to go are all things we have done in the past at various times, as necessary. 

 

I'm not really asking how to get her to school.  It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.

 

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.

 

 

As I mentioned I am consistent.  (I am well aware of the reinforcing effects of intermittent reward schedules.)  DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.  My impulse is to say, well, this has to happen, and make it happen.  DH would never strap a screaming child in the carseat, if he had to he would take an hour and talk it out and be late for work.  He has miles more patience than I do in general and sometimes his tactics work quite well, and I have picked up on some of them to good effect (several of the initial approaches I mentioned in my first post were picked up from DH and have worked at other times).  On the other hand he really does have a small % of the time when he spins completely out of control and starts yelling at her, and has also at times swatted her (not hard), which he initially maintained was OK and necessary.  (He was hit as a child, I was not.)  I never raise my voice - when DD and I get in a struggle it is more as I outlined above, I'm calm myself but if I need to make something happen physically I do it.  I have had long conversations with DH around the loss-of-control and he is getting better at that, has not been physical with her in a long time, and certainly has stopped trying to maintain that it is OK to hit her. 

 

So I think we do learn from each other.  But he is not going to be consistent with followup in the way that I am, and getting him to stop trying to undermine me when I am being consistent (admittedly with all the shrieking I can see how it is hard to take) is a work in progress.

 

 

Yes, thank you for this, because this is one of my concerns here.  I really do not want to be having to inject so much negative physicality into my relationship with my child.  E.g. I feel timeout as a strategy in general is sufficiently gentle for my purposes, but the specifics of implementing it with DD1 are edging out of my comfort zone.  Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  

I've been curious about all this myself, having one kid who is going to do the opposite of what I say, and the other who is beginning to work that way.  I have friends who insist their kids do what they say, but when I'm around them, I don't see that at all.  Maybe some of them are more compliant, but they react in other ways (for example by crying over very silly things that my kid would just shrug off - and I'm not saying that they shouldn't - just saying kids are harder in some ways and easier in other ways).  With my 2 year old, he sometimes has episodes of just not being able to be in the car any longer, and I will stop and walk around with him until he's calmed down and we can continue, but other times we really have to get somewhere and so I strap him in screaming and fighting and go.  It seems when he's figured out that it's really going to happen, he stops fighting physically, but cries a lot...and I try to distract him other ways in the car when I'm driving.  I can't really reason with him - I can say something, but he doesn't really get it, so sometimes, it just has to happen.  I do have friends that are very optimistic about their kids' behavior, and I'm more realistic, I think.  So sometimes I think when people say "I don't give them a choice" - well, maybe their perception of what's happening is different than what you would observer if you were there.  I don't think there's any magic way at all.  

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#26 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 02:07 PM
 
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I'm trying to work out how to be gentler with my 3.5 yo around a lot of these same issues.  Things were really turbulent for us with the brand new baby, DS1 was unsure where he stood in our newly changed family, and I had a less patience as I adjusted to having two children and healed from pregnancy and birth.  Time-outs involved me strapping him into his high chair while he struggled, which is definitely not as gentle as I would like to be :(  I'm in the middle of the Parent Effectiveness Training book linked above, and it does have some useful ideas. 

 

Acknowledging his feelings and disappointments mid or pre-tantrum works really well to calm him down.  "You really wanted to play on the computer more, didn't you?  It's sad that it's time for bed, isn't it?" etc.  When he hears that I understand what he's trying to communicate, the screaming stops and he says, yeah, and comes in for a hug usually.  Saying, "I know" or "I hear you" doesn't seem to work at all, it has to be more specific. 

 

I'm just starting to read the chapters in the book that deal with how to get your kids to listen to what you need, but the general idea seems to be that you describe the unacceptable behavior (without judging it) how you feel about it, and the tangible effect it has e.g. "When you refuse to get dressed I feel frustrated because it makes me and your dad late for work"  And then you stop and let them have the opportunity to right the situation.  Maybe she'll decide to just get dressed, maybe she'll ask you to just pack clothes in the car for later.  It's not likely to create a power struggle because you haven't ordered her to do anything or shamed her for bad behavior, she feels you trust her to find a solution and respect your needs.  A lot of the examples given in the book are with older children but it has seemed to help with my 3 yo thus far and I feel like it is helping him learn how his actions affect others a lot better than when I just yell at him to stop doing x or he'll have to go sit in his chair.

 

HTH


Mommy to DS1 bouncy.gifJuly '09 and DS2 baby.gif Oct '12

 

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#27 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic. This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing. Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not. 

 

 

I think you are setting up the expectations, it is just a long process, even if you have to wrestle your child into the car. Like I said before I've had to forcibly bend my child to get into the car seat when they were little., but for as long as they have been old enough to put on their own seat belts, I have never once seen them refuse to do it. It is an expectation and it is all  they have ever known car=seat belt. It is nice that your husband can be late for work and wait out a car seat tantrum. That never worked for me. 2 of my kids would probably never calm down enough to get in nicely until the next day when they forgot to be mad, nevermind the fact that I just cannot be late for work, or not pick up another child from school or lessons and have them panicking!. There would have to be some major excuse to show up for work late in my line of work and calling in late because I couldn't get my child into the car would not cut it!

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#28 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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I've read through some of these responses, and I remembered something I struggled with when my son was young.

Our bookstore had double doors, and my son always wanted to use the right hand door, so he had a door for going in and the other one for going out. Now some of the managers kept both doors unlocked, while a few locked the "out" door. So, when we were leaving, we would discover the problem. He went through a couple of years where that resulted in a major meltdown. I held him and waited, but it was embarrassing when strangers wanted to pay him a quarter to stop crying, or told me my parenting was wrong and he would insist on everything being his way all of his life.

One day, with no change, bribe or threat from me, he decided it no longer mattered which door he went out. Ironically, I asked him about that a couple months ago. He's 17, now, and I asked if he remembered *why* it was so important to him. What he said spoke volumes.

When he was young and had so much to learn and so much that was out of his control, it was *vital* that he could depend on certain things being a certain way. When he was older, and more responsible for himself, and therefore more in control, things like the door no longer mattered, because he could control other things himself!!

Maybe, since this seems to be a control issue, you can talk about it during the weekend, and find out *why* she has a problem on those days. Maybe it's as simple as this -- she depends on her dad taking her to school because she needs to know that she can count on that. Maybe you need to work out a different solution on those days. If he has to go in early, he still gets her ready, just earlier. Then you sit with her on the couch while she dozes until it's time to leave. Just an idea.
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#29 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 07:29 PM
 
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In our family, I have a philosophy that helps us avoid power struggles (if I can remember to stick to it). 

 

Never ask the child to do something that you know she won't do.  Never ask the child more than one time - make sure that you have her complete attention when you ask. 

 

Then, if you can do this, every task you request is something that gets done.  Once the child gets out of the habit of resisting, then she doesn't engage in power struggles.  She just realizes that she will do as she is expected.  It helps to start with small expectations and then to work up to greater responsibility.  Start by asking her to do something that she likes to do, like feeding the dog or spraying the table.  Ask the child to do the task every day.  Gradually, more and more responsibilities can be added to the list of things she can do.   

 

Now if you already are having power struggles, it helps to think ahead to avoid them.  For example, the OP might want to dress the child in a suit that she could sleep in, so she doesn't have to put on a special outfit for school.  If you can foresee a power struggle around eating breakfast at the table, don't even go there.  Just hand her a bagel in the car.    

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#30 of 116 Old 02-14-2013, 07:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

...He's 17, now, and I asked if he remembered *why* it was so important to him. What he said spoke volumes.

When he was young and had so much to learn and so much that was out of his control, it was *vital* that he could depend on certain things being a certain way. When he was older, and more responsible for himself, and therefore more in control, things like the door no longer mattered, because he could control other things himself!!

 

This is a wonderful posts. The need for routine and predictability is extremely high in preschoolers.

 

Quote:

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.

 

..... Holding the door shut while she screams and wrestling her out to the car are not improving our dynamic.  This is why I am trying to figure out if there is a secret to this 'expectations' thing.  Sadly I am beginning to suspect there is not.  

 

 

I think this post explains a lot more about what happened than your first post did. Your family had a plan she was fine with, and then you changed it at the last minute. Then she freaked out. That was completely age appropriate behavior on her part.

 

Back to your original question, part of how you get kids to do things by expecting them to is by expecting the exact same things from them over and over.  

 

It isn't reasonable to expect  a small child to just go with the flow. Some 3 year old are like that, but most aren't. I think a HUGE chunk of successful GD is setting kids up to be well behaved, and routines really helped both my kids. At that age, we had a picture chart for our morning and evening routines.

 

I am very cut and dry when it comes to teaching my children how to behave (partly because I think that making things sound like a choice when they are not is lying), and I do believe that doing an undesirable task first and a desired task after is a useful tool for pretty much ALL humans, but the core of GD is figuring out a way to live in harmony with our sweet little children, and that is a heck of a lot easier if they know what to expect from us and from their day.

 

 

<<It's more of a global question about how to get any needed discipline to be a calmer experience for everyone.>>

 

My experience both as a parent and as someone who now works with special needs children, is that there isn't some simple thing you can do that works in every situation. It's about trouble shooting and brain storming and trying to figure out what the triggers are and what works best in different situations. There isn't a short cut.  Its about reviewing how things went and what you did and how that worked out, and thinking about how you would like to respond the next time something similar happens. It's about being mindful in our parenting, and fully present with our kids. It's about realizing that raising a child is process, not a formula.

 

<<<<<DH is not, we have had many conversations about this, he doesn't really get it and I have decided that he and I are just going to have to continue to be individuals on this as we work towards a better consensus. 

 

I actually do think we have had good influences on each other over time.>>>

 

My DH and I are very different people and don't do everything the same with our kids. It was really never a problem. There are certain areas that are my domains (including mornings!) and other things that are his. He is not super consistent, so I've handled the parts of life that needed more consistency. His real strength as a dad over the years has been helping our kids find their inner strength, which is pretty awesome, and something that I really not very good at.

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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