How do I deal with the defiance?? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
So I've been googling and reading heaps of articles but everything seems so vague and I really need specific strategies to deal with this.

My 3.75yo is incredibly defiant. She will not do even the simplest thing I ask her to do. She either laughs and runs away or says "No! You do it!" in an extremely rude tone. I don't know what to do and I usually end up screaming at her by the end of the day. Which I hate doing and I've spent so many nights just sobbing after she's asleep because I hate the way I am behaving but I don't seem to be able to stop myself fr getting so angry with her.

Here is an example from tonight. After her bath she wandered out into the lounge room and dropped her towel on the floor...
Me: Towel back in the bathroom please.
Her: [laugh] No!
Me: towel in the bathroom please
Her: NO! You do it! [runs off]

I physically brought her back, used my hands over here to pick up the towel and walked her to the bathroom with it. But I was angry with her (this was at the end of a long day of similar exchanges) and I snapped at her that I wished she could just once do what I asked.

If anyone has some specific suggestions for what to do here (and in similar circumstances) i would be extremely grateful. I've read the ahaparenting website and many other articles but everything seems so vague. I need "you say this..." If she does X, you do Y if she does A, you do B.

Thanks in advance
Kate

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#2 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 04:21 AM
 
fisherfamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a lot of thoughts but a very busy morning. When I can get to my laptop, I'll reply better.
fisherfamily is offline  
#3 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 08:47 AM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,131
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

You need a consequence.  In the example you gave, there isn't an obvious naturally occurring consequence, but you can come up with one that's reasonable, like this:

 

Mom: Towel back in the bathroom please.
Child: [laugh] No!

Mom: When you hang up your towel, then I will read a story.
Child: NO! You do it! [runs off]

[Mom hangs up the towel, then sits quietly reading her own book.  Child comes back with a book.]

Child: I want this story!

Mom: You did not hang up your towel.  I had to hang it up.  Now I am having a story by myself instead of reading to you.

[Child goes into the bathroom, comes back with the towel, and throws it on the floor.]

Mom: That will not get you a story. [calmly turns a page]

Child: But now I'm hanging it up!  See?  [Child takes the towel and hangs it up.]  Come see how I hung it up!

Mom: I'm glad that your towel is hanging up now.  I don't like how you threw it on the floor.  I don't like that I had to pick it up the first time.

Child: Now I hung it up!  Now can I have a story?

Mom: You want a second chance to hang up your towel and have a story.  Because you took extra time to hang up the towel, now we only have time for a SHORT story before bed.  We can read one Frog and Toad story.

Child: NO!  I want THIS story!

Mom: Tomorrow you can choose to hang up your towel right away, and then we will have time for that story.  Tonight, we can read Frog and Toad, or go right to bed.

Child: NO! NO! NO!

Mom: We are running out of time for Frog and Toad.

Child: Oh all right.  But I won't like it!!

Mom: That's too bad.  I like Frog and Toad very much.  [Reads the story.]

 

This worked for me when my son was that age, and the same basic approach still works.  It is really, REALLY difficult to keep using my Calm Firm Voice and not let his behavior unhinge me!  But it's worth it.

 

Quote:
I snapped at her that I wished she could just once do what I asked.

I understand completely why you said that, and I've sometimes said it myself.  But when my partner snaps this at our child and I'm seeing the interaction from the outside, I can see how it only makes things worse:

  1. "I wish" = "I don't think it's really going to happen."
  2. "I wish you could" = "You can't.  I don't believe you can."
  3. "just once" = "Once would be enough for me.  I don't expect you to cooperate on a regular basis."
  4. The whole thing = "I don't care about the times you DID do what I asked.  It's pretty much pointless for you to cooperate, since I don't notice or remember that you did."

:( When I have snapped like this, I try to find a time later, after things have calmed down, when I can mention a time my child did what I asked the first time and how much I liked that.  Sometimes things are going wrong so frequently that it seems we never HAVE a calm time for this!  In that case, this approach might work:

 

Mom: Towel back in the bathroom please.
Child: [laugh] No!

Mom: When you hang up your towel, then I will read a story.
Child: NO! You do it! [runs off]

Mom: [follows child, grabs her, gets down to look her in the eyes] Hey.  Remember after lunch, when you put away the ketchup and mustard?

Child: Yeah...

Mom: Thank you.  I like when you help.  Now that you are big enough to put some things away, I like you to put things back in their right place after you use them, like you did the ketchup and mustard.

Child: I put them in the refrigerator door.  I know where they go!

Mom: Yes, you do!  And you know where your towel goes.

 

She may or may not cooperate at that point.  It's worth a try!

 

Good luck!!  I find defiance very upsetting, and I don't know of any way to make a kid stop trying it, but with strategies at least I can keep myself calmer and have some chance of getting him to cooperate.


Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

EnviroBecca is offline  
#4 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 09:10 AM
 
llwr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 341
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Ugh...  I hate this kind of stuff. 

 

I'm more here to get advice than to give it.

 

We've done something like the example below -- something fun when it's finished and if we run out of time -- too bad.

 

Sometimes I just do it myself and then it gets put out of reach.   "No towels in the bathroom!  That sure stinks!"

 

How to get respect has really been on my mind lately.  It's not something we can demand.  At least not real respect.  I want compliance, but I think compliance out of respect is different than compliance out of fear. 

llwr is offline  
#5 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 09:22 AM
 
JamieCatheryn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SW Pa
Posts: 5,121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)

Avoiding a situation where they say no is ideal. Sometimes if you engage with them, play a little, and say ok now we're going to clean up together, I'll do this part you do that part, they'll do well. If they end up being completely defiant I find I have to make sure they don't get anything they want or get to do anything they want to until they do what's been asked.

Catholic Mama likes this.
JamieCatheryn is online now  
#6 of 43 Old 02-14-2014, 07:38 PM
 
fisherfamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I typed a super long reply, but I don't think this is quite the place to do that kind of deep work. I spend a lot of time counseling mothers on moving away from physical correction, and to understanding the relationship with their children, and how to get to a place of mutual respect. But, upon further reflection, the internet isn't a good way to convey the deep and hard work (mostly in the mind of the mother) that has to happen. It is too easy to get focused on what to do with the children, and that is beyond the point. So I deleted my original post.

In a, hopefully more clear, nutshell:

1.) Be sure you are being who you want her to be.

2.) Require respectful communication from yourself (both verbally and physically, including body language), and teach her to do the same. It's ok for her to refuse, she is her own person. Instead of fighting her over her thoughts and desires, start fighting over how she speaks to you, and learn to respect her as well. That might mean your house rules have to go for a time. Learning to talk to each other nicely is the type of thing that will endure through her adulthood...not whether or not you can make her put her towel back.

3.) Stop looking at things as individual defiance, and start seeing them as interconnected issues. Look to the heart of the problem (in this case, I believe, mutual respect), and focus on that.

4.) Make sure you set her up for success. Don't ask too much of her when she is hungry or tired. Slowly build her maturity to handle more difficult conflict. Someday, her husband will thank you. ;-)
Yaliina likes this.
fisherfamily is offline  
#7 of 43 Old 02-15-2014, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Thanks everyone. Lots to think about.

So, do you think it's ok to just stop asking her to do things for now? I can cope with picking up the towels, I just don't want her to turn into a person who assumes she can drop her towel and keep walking and someone else will pick it up. But if it would be better to work on communication now and let the actual tasks go then I can do that.

Thank you again for all the relies and ideas, I really appreciate it.

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#8 of 43 Old 02-15-2014, 05:53 AM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,131
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
I think you should ask her (really, tell her--politely, but not with "would you" inflection or question marks) to do only the things that are really important to ypur feeling respected and loved. If wet towels on the floor are a pet peeve that just hits you hard with the "I have to do everything around here; nobody loves me" feeling, then it is important to work on getting her to respect your need for towels to be hung up. But if it is no big deal, let it go!

Fisher Family has some good points. I just want to elaborate on some of them:

1. Speak to her with the tone and phrasing you want her to use when speaking to you, especially when responding to requests.

2. "start fighting over how she speaks to you"--but beware, oh, BEWARE of derailing many conversations into arguing over who was yelling and what is a nice or mean word!!! My partner has done this so much that it seems he never acknowledges the content of what our son is saying, only taking offense at the way he says it! The poor kid walks on eggshells trying to express his needs and thoughts without bruising Daddy's ego. He also has learned to respond to being asked to do anything he does not feel like doing by accusing the asker of asking the wrong way. I think there are a lot of details of my partner's and son's personalities that have made this worse, but it is something to be careful of. Use positive language like, "Try that again in a nice voice," instead of attacking her for daring to speak to you.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

EnviroBecca is offline  
#9 of 43 Old 02-15-2014, 06:08 AM
 
fisherfamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Totally agree with Becca. The idea is to teach AND model respectful communication.
fisherfamily is offline  
#10 of 43 Old 02-15-2014, 06:15 AM
 
Catholic Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 742
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)

An authority I respect told me recently to not say please to my children, except for when they are doing me a favor, like fetching a tool. So for a command, it would be "Close the fridge door" (when they're the ones who were just in the fridge and about to go off and leave it open), and for something they don't have to do but it would be helpful for them to do for you, say please. That way you're still commanding them as their parent, and you're not saying "if it pleases you, do this" - you're telling them to do it.

 

Something I often do when my children don't say "please" to me is cup my hand to my ear, pretending that I couldn't hear them because they didn't ask politely. If they don't understand, an older sibling clues them in, or I rephrase it for them so they can repeat it to me politely and then I usually do what they ask. That's not so much defiance as courtesy, but I hope it still helps.

mamapigeon likes this.

May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

Catholic Mama is online now  
#11 of 43 Old 02-16-2014, 04:48 AM
 
Nightwish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Agree with Becca. I would not stop asking her to do things. It's the best age to start having some responsibilities.
The "reading my book" strategy worked here too. I would be tempted to leave the towel wherever she left it, and as soon as she needed my help with putting her pyjamas on or whatever, I would tell her : sure, as soon as you put the towel where it should be.

ds 9 kid.gif and dd 4 biggrinbounce.gif
Nightwish is offline  
#12 of 43 Old 02-18-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Grover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

FisherFamily,

 

I think your post with points above is inspiring. I have similar issues with my 3.5 year old. Defiance, plus also much shouting and emotional distress. She also seems to be SO focused on having things EXACTLY so, that she gets in a giant stew over many many 'little' things throughout the day. Though, as you  say....we are tending to believe that something bigger is happening...that she is not at her happiest right now for reasons we can't quite work out. Trying to talk to her when she's feeling okay, is not working at the moment though...so I'm struggling to get to the bottom of it.

 

We have this discussion all the time about whether we need to throw 'discipline' or 'love' at her. I often think LOVE will do it...but then I fear we are letting her get away with five hundred shades of murder...and not teaching her the right way of going about things. It's such a hard, hard, balance. We find ourselves lost.

 

Anyway - my partner and I will be practicing some of the above, role-modeling, respectful communication etc....'

I'm even going to print out your post. Thanks.

 

But I did want to ask a specific question too:

What if....there is something you don't want the child to have - like the piece of chocolate (or, heaven forbid the third piece of chocolate) or whatever? How can one say NO respectfully...be there for them during the ensuing, seemingly inevitable meltdown (which, for ours, lasts a very long time it seems, and can taint the rest of the afternoon or morning)....?

 

I'm fluffling my question - what I'm getting at is, how to role-model respectful communication in a situation of HUGE emotions? In our case I find that the more I say, even if gentle/whispered and supportive....the more abjectly and hysterically I'm opposed (e.g. "I'm NOT ANGRY....!!!" "I'm NOT sad....!" "I DON'T want a cuddle!! etc), and the more upset she becomes. I often resort to silence, whilst staying near her....but I feel maybe there might be a better way to handle such times that I'm just not understanding yet.

 

As well as general defiance, we are having new problems with not eating anything put before her....and bedtime...and these things have always seemed so critical to me, for her well-being, that I don't know if I should let it slide (it's a phase?) or if we need to be quite set on the 'rules'. But....well, you can't force kids to eat.....etc...

 

Excuse thread hijack.

 

G

x

Grover is offline  
#13 of 43 Old 02-18-2014, 06:13 PM
 
fisherfamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wouldn't ask her to do much right now. I would scale WAY WAY back on what you ask of her. Her extreme responses to you are showing you that she isn't ready. I wouldn't want to insert conflict at a higher level when she hasn't learned to manage it at a lower level. Change your environment if you have to. Put stuff away (totally inaccessible), lock doors and cabinets, whatever you have to do to return to the "yes" environment of the crawling stage. Make her world totally safe for her to do whatever she would like. Now, the only conflicts you have are the ones of your choosing. Now, you can choose to work on good communication when the stakes are low. When you know she can do it, add another variable. I would be working NOT to correct her, but rather to redefine how she expects an interaction to precede. I would stop fighting with her about EVERYTHING. I don't want an adversarial relationship with my children.

Then, purposefully, make ALL your conversations cheerful and respectful. As she begins to trust that she isn't going to have to fight with you anymore, you can begin to ask harder and harder things of her. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. But it is worth it.

I'm going to start a new thread about parental control and punitive parenting. I think a discussion about these things could be interesting and helpful.
fisherfamily is offline  
#14 of 43 Old 02-18-2014, 06:31 PM
 
Grover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi there,

 

Really appreciate your reply - and look forward to the thread/discussion. I find it a terribly difficult concept generally, as she is my first and only....and on her part, she is a very strong willed little critter as well. Self-doubts are rampant in both her parents....and daily I question myself, what I'm doing...and not doing. I have the best intentions...but am easily tipped away from them by extreme behaviour. It occurs to me often that it perhaps shouldn't be this hard - that, in spite of thinking that somehow she is making it hard....it is us, inadvertently making things hard and complex.

 

On the yes environment....that is a great way of thinking about it (and actioning things). I'm still not sure how that fits in with - 'here's your dinner....here's what you're having....oh, you don't want it? oh...you're throwing it on the floor....?' etc - but appreciate you're answering me in someone else's thread and going to start you're own, so don't worry about replying if you don't have time. Will await more tips...and thoughts in your thread.

 

Thanks again.

 

G

x

Grover is offline  
#15 of 43 Old 02-21-2014, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Thought I would pop in and update. Things have been a lot better. I have been focusing heavily on loving her and respectful communication and requiring very little of her aside from safety and respect issues. Ive also been trying to remember to pray each day for patience with her.

She has been very responsive. One of the really positive things about her is her generosity of spirit and willingness to forgive. It is a great character trait but I also feel sad that she wants so little from me and I haven't even been able to give that to her.

I don't think the instinct for defiance has changed though. I think I am just providing fewer opportunities to exercise it. I guess age may help. I hope so.

One a slightly different matter, when can I expect the destructiveness, for want of a better word, to stop? Just today she 1. Found a travel pack of tissues in the nappy bag and had pulled a huge trail of them out before I realised what she was doing. 2. Took the packet of wipes of her sister's change table and pulled 10 or so out and dropped them on the playroom floor, with the packet, then wandered off. 3. Poured out a whole tube of bubble mix onto the ground within 20 seconds of being given it. Then was upset when we wouldn't give her another one.
And yesterday she unrolled half a roll of toilet paper onto the floor while she was going to the toilet. She's 3.75 years old. Should she be growing out of this sort of thing by now?

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#16 of 43 Old 02-21-2014, 09:15 AM
 
JamieCatheryn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SW Pa
Posts: 5,121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)

They never grow out of spilling bubble solution, I never trust them with that stuff at any age unless I don't care if it gets dumped and the immense disappointment which follows. Pouring a little at a time into a more stable bowl helps. Those other things seem like random curiosity, delight with how you pull one out and the next pops up, and lack of self control to know that's wrong and choose to stop. Correct her, childproof where you can, watch when you can, but keep it in perspective - these are disposable things, yes a mess and a waste but only a small one so don't let it get to you.

 

Grover, when mine get huge emotions over things that can't be helped they don't want to talk or be touched, they need time to cool off. I keep them in sight and ask them to calm down before we find a solution, let the rage burn out instead of fueling it. Then we work out what to do instead or when later on they can get what they wanted.

JamieCatheryn is online now  
#17 of 43 Old 02-24-2014, 06:00 AM
 
operasinger95's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Spinning off this one, what about when you look at them and say something and they completely ignore you. 

operasinger95 is offline  
#18 of 43 Old 02-24-2014, 06:59 AM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,131
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Quote:
 what about when you look at them and say something and they completely ignore you.

Say child's name.  If possible, gently turn child toward you and get on his level so you can look right into his eyes.  Use your Calm Firm Voice and speak a little more slowly as you repeat what you said.  (If child's reaction is an eye-rolling, "I KNOOOWWW!" say, "Gosh, I thought you hadn't heard me, because you weren't doing it.")  Expect a response like, "Okay, I will," or obvious compliance.  Get on with what you were doing as if you expect child to comply.  If it's still not happening, use a brief, to-the-point reminder: "Brush teeth.  Now."

 

My son often has elaborate explanations of why he hasn't done it yet or what he has to do first.  Sometimes these are reasonable and can be taken into account: "Oh, I see.  When you finish sorting the crayons, then you'll brush your teeth."  Other times he's just making stuff up and delaying, or he's going on and on when we truly do not have time for it.  This is hard to handle without hurting his feelings.  I try to use a "pause" gesture like putting my palms up, before I verbally interrupt him.  (After all, we're trying to teach him not to interrupt while people are talking--if WE interrupt HIM, he's got a valid point in complaining about it!)  Then I say, "It's time to brush teeth and leave for school right now.  I know you have a lot to do, but it's going to have to wait until after school."  Sometimes it helps, as he's going on complaining while grudgingly doing the thing (this is his most common response), to say something like, "Yeah, it's annoying when we run out of time.  I really wanted to wear my other pants, but I didn't have time to get them off the clothesline, so I have to wear these."  Now we're suffering together, instead of just him....  Maybe not all personalities appreciate that, but my kid does.


Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

EnviroBecca is offline  
#19 of 43 Old 03-04-2014, 06:22 PM
 
therosyapple's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was wondering about a similar issue. I have a 2.5 yo and she can be very defiant. For instance, for several nights in a row she has refused to eat dinner saying that it is yucky. Then she says she is done and gets up from the table. I want her to have a healthy relationship with food so I don't push the issue. I might say 'are you sure? Ok then.' But sometimes when I ask something of her she says 'no. I can't.' She has been using 'I can't' a lot lately. And I think what she really means is that she doesn't want to. For instance, tonight I asked her to pull the plug on bath tub, something she has done perfectly fine before. But tonight she said 'no! I can't!' I read that it can be helpful to firmly kindly insist even if you sound like a broken record. So I kept calmly insisting 'lyla pulls the plug.' But it just snowballed into screaming and crying even though I asked her why, how I could help, offered to do it with her. She insisted no. And I didn't know what to do. Do I see it through and insist she pulls the plug or do I just do it and fight another battle another day? Was it worth it? I ended up taking her hand and helping her physically do it. It didn't feel right, but then I didn't know what other course of action was left.
therosyapple is offline  
#20 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 04:08 AM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,065
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Is the pulling of the tub plug a big deal? I'd save the "broken record" for things that really matter. I would have either pulled the plug myself, or left the tub full of water until later.
Polliwog is online now  
#21 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 04:47 AM
 
therosyapple's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
No, it wasn't that big of a deal. But the constant saying no to what I ask of her is. It just happened to be about the bath plug this time. But your comment does reveal to me the triviality of the moment.
therosyapple is offline  
#22 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 05:21 AM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,065
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
She's two. Saying no is part of her job description.
KellyGlenn likes this.
Polliwog is online now  
#23 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 06:15 AM
 
fisherfamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our child live in the environment we create for them. They have to figure out how to express their thoughts, feelings, and desires within what we allow. Usually, parents create an environment of adversary and control without realizing it. Often, they are being over protective, or simply responding and reacting to situation, missing that the goal is to help our children mature to adulthood. Maturity isn't a switch. It's not something you don't have and then suddenly, one day, you do.

Things like the plug in the bathtub are a good example of this. There are a few options for why she is telling you no all the time, but it doesn't matter overmuch which it is. The takeaway for the parent is that she is not ready for that request. (Or any of the others that have been a problem lately.) What to do? (And, yes, I know she has pulled the plug before, but she isn't ready to handle this level of conflict resolution with you. You have a desire, she has a desire, she defies you. It is normal for children to handle it this way because they lack the skills to do it in any other. Your choices are to 1.) wait for her to "grow out of it." Personally, I believe the behaviors just morph into more acceptable socially, yet equally selfish manifestations. 2.) Carefully, slowly teach her HOW to handle these problems. Who cares about the plug, or eating food, or brushing teeth, or putting the towel away, or dumping the bubbles, or the toilet paper, or whatever else? What does a short term refusal of these things have to do with long term anything. I'd rather preserve a relationship of trust and respect with my child than fight over a toothbrush. It won't last long, if I don't blow it out of proportion.)

So, I would advocate stopping these requests that are exploding. If you were training a person at work, and they kept dropping all 4 plates as they took them to the table, you would take them back to only carrying 2 plates at a time. At other, non critical times, and in other ways, you would work on the skills to carry all 4 plates. Why should we do any less for our children? Why should we expect them to respond correctly just because we were nice to them or because we have their best interests in mind? They don't know those two things, and they don't know how to solve conflict in a healthy way UNLESS we TEACH them.

How?

1.) Stop asking things that aren't working.
2.) Work hard at creating an environment of trust and honesty. Do not allow emotional manipulation, from yourself or your child.
3.) Decide how you want these interactions to go, and then work backwards. Pick very simple requests, at very ideal times, always when you are within arms reach to cause them to happen immediately. If things don't go how you like, do it again. The exact scenario, again, until you get the response you want. The goal isn't to *win*, but to have healthy conflict. You should be able to be conversational with your child, each of your exchanging requests and help like you would with a friend. Not you issuing commands and your child refusing them like a bad servant. Which is the long term relationship you want? (Slowly, increase the difficulty of request, and difficulty of timing. Remember, though, if your partner had a long day at work, or was tired or hungry, you would approach him differently than you would if he were fresh. We often don't give that consideration to our children. By the way, even if he were tired, it isn't ok for him to snap at you, and neither is it ok for your children.)

You can fight about "defiance" or brushing teeth or whatever you deem a "non-negotiable", OR, you can fight to get respectful communication going, then the need for defiance disappears, and you have a child who views you as a peer they can trust and respect.

I hesitate to say there are times when someone has to be in charge, and I'm not advocating constant negotiation. I'm advocating the same relationship you have with your best friend. No one is strong arming the other in any way, just free to express what they need to without issue. At times, the parent card has to be played. When it's time to go, and I say, "Hey, guys, get in the van please," they had better get in the van. What happens if they don't? I remind them that we are team here, and a team makes life easier for the rest of the team. (Be sure you apply that lesson in their favor frequently.) THEN, I do not yell, berate, or otherwise punish them for being slow. Instead, they all get back out of the van and go back in the house. I'm super calm, and could care less (outwardly) if we are late. From the kids' perspective, I have all day. I tell them to go do various things, and then I tell them to go get in the van. I use the same calm, conversational tone. They all know (because I gently reminded them) they are to stop what they are doing and get in the van immediately without backtalk about it. A "hey, Mama, can I grab my whatever" is fine, usually, but not right now. Right now we are focused on the needs of the team, and not on someone's selfish ploy to do it their way regardless. So, if it doesn't go EXACTLY how I'd like, no room for error because they are tired and didn't understand or something, because I am creating a habit here, we do it AGAIN. Back in the house, another request. Over and over and over again. This is NOT about getting in the van. This is about our TEAM CULTURE as a family. This ATTITUDE is ALWAYS worth MAKING ISSUE over. Not much else matters to me, but ATTITUDE always does.

As far as not wanting a child to do certain things or have certain things? Basically, I protect them from them until they are ready for it. Remember that I am not reacting to what my child does, and seeking to control future behavior by punishment, lecture, convincing, or otherwise. I am approaching things from the other side. My child simply doesn't know those things or options exist until they are ready to handle it. No, my children aren't kept in a bubble. Actually, because they are deliberately taught ahead of time, with the focus being on their response to me (NOT in doing it MY way), they trust me. They feel free to have concerns or ask questions, yet they know what I say is truth. If it is time to go, it's time to go. Their habitual state is trust and compliance to me, and my habitual state is respect and fairness to them. Again, it's a relationship, many ways, like a best friend. We just do what the other needs, not from coercion, but from love and bond.

I am constantly watching my children, and teaching this way of communication from the time they are born. By 3 or 4 years of age, I have no worries about my children being pretty much anywhere. They won't be getting into things, or being destructive, or throwing tantrums, or being difficult. I trust them as much or more than I do many adults. All this adversarial stuff and defiance people deal with or view as normal just isn't a part of our reality. I understand my way of doing things is very time consuming for the parent, but it's peaceful and calm, and pays big dividends.
fisherfamily is offline  
#24 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 11:32 AM
 
therosyapple's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It also seems magical! I say that because I am not good at imagining how this is even possible. When my kids don't do what is asked of them, I feel so out of control and so frustrated. I feel like there is little respect for my word, because when it really matters like crossing the street, I need them to listen. How will they listen then if they don't listen when I ask them ever so calmly and gently, but firmly, to sit down in their chair? Most of our day is unstructured. There are regular meal times, nap times, bed time routines. But other than that, they live freely, and I don't ask much from them. We might make cookies together and everyone helps. If my older daughter decides she doesn't want to nap, I'm okay with that but she has to pitch in with what happens normally during nap time, like cleaning up toys and quietly reading. When someone is upset or crying, we always try to acknowledge exactly what that child is feeling - oh! You are so angry that' you cannot go to the store with mama. I see you are upset. You are crying and kicking your feet! - and then, lots of hugs and understanding all around.... But still, no going to the store.

So when these moments of 'defiance' come up, I am at a lost as to what the appropriate direction to take is. If she says no, and it's really no big deal like the bath plug,should I just shrug it off knowing that eventually when I ask she will listen? Or, if I don't establish those boundaries now, will I be setting us up for a lack of respect later on? I care very little about the bath plug. I care more about the marathon than the sprint. I want our interactions to come from a place of respect and love. But perhaps it is old fashioned, I can't help feeling like I should be the authority. Is this unevolved? Should I radically open my heart to something more? Because like the original thread here, I was spanked as a kid, wrestled with when anger was high. So I learned physicality not words. I don't want be physical with my kids and I am not. But I didn't learn the gentle way to guide. So I am grasping at straws now that my kids are at an age where real guidance is needed.
therosyapple is offline  
#25 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 12:14 PM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,131
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

Therosyapple wrote:

Quote:
For instance, tonight I asked her to pull the plug on bath tub, something she has done perfectly fine before. But tonight she said 'no! I can't!' I read that it can be helpful to firmly kindly insist even if you sound like a broken record. So I kept calmly insisting 'lyla pulls the plug.' But it just snowballed into screaming and crying even though I asked her why, how I could help, offered to do it with her. She insisted no. And I didn't know what to do. Do I see it through and insist she pulls the plug or do I just do it and fight another battle another day? Was it worth it? I ended up taking her hand and helping her physically do it.

I agree with Polliwog to save the "broken record" for things you really need her to do, and I would save physically helping for those things, too.  With little things, let it go: "You don't feel like pulling the plug tonight," in a matter-of-fact tone, and then you pull it.  Next time, it's fine to ask her to do it, because she might feel like it next time--in fact, she might be expecting to do it and get mad if you do!  Maybe this time she was just tired or something.


Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

EnviroBecca is offline  
#26 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 12:38 PM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,065
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post

Therosyapple wrote:
I agree with Polliwog to save the "broken record" for things you really need her to do, and I would save physically helping for those things, too.  With little things, let it go: "You don't feel like pulling the plug tonight," in a matter-of-fact tone, and then you pull it.  Next time, it's fine to ask her to do it, because she might feel like it next time--in fact, she might be expecting to do it and get mad if you do!  Maybe this time she was just tired or something.
Exactly. In fact, my just turned seven-year-old wouldn't remove the drain cover after her bath, just the other day. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the drain cover. Something else was likely bothering her.
Polliwog is online now  
#27 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 01:25 PM
 
therosyapple's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
So the consensus is that I should ask, and if she doesn't want to then I shouldn't push, the same as if I didn't want to do something? Save bigger tactics for another day. And when that moment arrives... Then what?
therosyapple is offline  
#28 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 02:57 PM
 
KellyGlenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: South Carolina, US
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi Katelove,

 

I teach Positive Discipline parenting workshops.

 

My favorite tool for preschoolers who seem to want all the power is "Limited Choices."

 

Here's an article that explains the tool: Limited Choices

 

Giving limited choices can be done in a really fun way that invites cooperation. For example, you might ask, "Are you going to hop like a bunny or gallop like a horse to pick up the towel?" So getting into their world of play helped a lot when my kids were that age. 

 

My second favorite tool is to schedule regular special time for kids. We spend so much time with our kids, we can't imagine that they feel like they would need any attention, but I wonder if your child is maybe asking for attention in one of the few ways she knows how. Here's an article about this: How Spending Quality Time with Kids Improves Behavior.

 

Kelly Pfeiffer

KellyGlenn is offline  
#29 of 43 Old 03-05-2014, 03:59 PM
 
Nightwish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by therosyapple View Post

So the consensus is that I should ask, and if she doesn't want to then I shouldn't push, the same as if I didn't want to do something? Save bigger tactics for another day. And when that moment arrives... Then what?
My experience is that if you save it for situations that DO matter, they will be more likely to be cooperative. with proper boundaries and guidance, they will outgrow the defiant stage.
There is no point in arguing with a 2 yo. But if a 4 yo would refuse to do it, I might still do it for her, but explain later that I need her help with some tasks, and it would have been a lot easier for her to pull the plug. (This situation actually took place in our house, and my 4 yo apologized. I don't think she could have understood at 2.) If my 9 yo did this, before tucking him in for the night, I would just tell him "ds, you forgot to pull the plug", but I wouldn't do it for him.

ds 9 kid.gif and dd 4 biggrinbounce.gif
Nightwish is offline  
#30 of 43 Old 03-06-2014, 12:35 PM
 
Nikki258's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Summerville, SC
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


I have learned that picking the battles you have to fight is something that we have to weigh out. I have had a very similar situation with my youngest son at one point and what I did was the next night he was ready for his favorite time of the day 'splashing in the tub' I ran a shower. Man if you could have seen the look on his face. It went like this..,

Mom why is the shower running

Well you didn't want to let the water out last night after your bath so I figured you didn't like taking baths anymore so from today on you don't ever have to pull the stopper out just turned the shower off.

Mom I really want to take a bath I can't play with my 'men' (his wrestling figures) if there is no water to splash them in.

Well you should have thought about that when you refused to let the water out last night, please get in the shower it's close to bed time

This is not fair and starts to cry

Mom sets the timer (these things works miracles) and walks away

Jon comes out the shower soaking wet and wants to pinky promise that he will always let out the water when he's finished with is bath and apologize for not listening

Mom takes the promise and accepts the apology but still stick to her guns about the shower tonight and said  'we'll give the bath another shot tomorrow'

Next night bath was ran Jon played and when it was time to come out- stopper was out.

On a personal insight I think me sticking to my guns and keeping in control of the situation by being calm and treating the situation nonchalantly really helped to get the point across. Believe me it doesn't work all the time but it sure works most of the times. I have been in screaming and shouting matches with my boys and it never helps. The reverse phycology seems to do the trick every time.

EnviroBecca and Catholic Mama like this.
Nikki258 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off