Just need a little GD support! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 03-11-2014, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Some days, I feel like I say "we don't bite/hit/scratch our brother/dog/mama" so many times that it loses all meaning. Much like "gentle". I try to keep the long term goals in mind, but my 2 and half year old really tests my patience! And then you get well meaning MIL's and ladies who work the desk at the doctor's office telling you "well, when my toddler bit the baby I just bit him/her back and said 'how do you like it?' and then they never ever bit ever again".

UGH!

Remind me why I'm doing this GD thing? Sometimes I'd love to bite or hit my toddler back and say "how do you like it?" but I think that probably wouldn't be much better than acting like a 2 year old...

It gets better, right?
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#2 of 13 Old 03-12-2014, 08:34 AM
 
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From the land of adult children, it gets better!  Interacting with my two as older children, teenagers, and beyond has been so much more gratifying because of GD.  It makes a huge difference to them to know we (DH and I) tried to respect them instead of taking a shorter and oh-so-tempting route.  There's a moral integrity to saying something like, "look, we're not letting you hit your brother; we don't hit because we think it's wrong, and we'll stop you from doing it too."  (Why, yes, we've gotten between them more than once, why do you ask?  :))  And by moral integrity, I don't mean a smug attitude, but a recognition of the struggle -- that a quick punishment is sometimes seductive, and that it's really hard to do something that requires more patience and a years-long wait for the payoff, but that the kids are worth it and the kind of world we're trying to make is worth it.


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#3 of 13 Old 03-12-2014, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your reply! It's nice to hear from the land of adult children!
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#4 of 13 Old 03-13-2014, 06:59 AM
 
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I agree completely with Mariamadly. Our parenting philosophy is based on respect., and it has worked out extremely well for us. Our twin sons are 19 years old, and they still like to hang out with us!

 

When they were toddlers, respecting them meant several things: respecting their feelings, respecting their personalities, and respecting their limitations. Having reasonable expectations goes a long way toward increasing patience with a 3-yr-old - some things they simply aren't ready to do. And in our house, the same rules applied to everyone. The boys can't hit each other, and we can't hit them. If they can't eat popsicles on the couch, neither can Dad. It's tempting to have "adult rules" and "kid rules", but that tends to backfire the minute the child believes he's grown-up enough to do something (which is way ahead of your schedule!)

 

The other hallmark of our parenting is simply the Golden Rule. Treat your children the way you want to be treated. If you want to be listened to and appreciated, you have to demonstrate those ideals. If you want polite replies, you have to ask polite questions.

 

We tried very hard to avoid "Because I said so!" Most rules are ultimately about safety, or have some logical basis. For example, for years our sons begged for a later bedtime. "But our friends get to stay up later!" I said that bedtime was dictated by how much sleep they needed (and what time school started). If they consistently got up before the alarm, they were obviously getting enough sleep,and could stay up later. If I had to wake them up every day, they needed all the sleep they were getting - and maybe should go to bed even earlier! It took years (not constant grousing, but occasional), but eventually it sunk in. By high school they were going to bed on their own at a reasonable time - and maintaining the same schedule on weekends, so Monday morning wasn't such a struggle.

 

Know what's age-appropriate for your child. Be aware of their specific limitations. One of my sons gets ugly-cranky when he's hungry. A well-timed snack, even if it's 20 minutes before dinner, can ward off a huge tantrum. I considered "The Terrible Twos" to be "The Age of Frustration". He wants to run and jump as fast and high as older kids - but doesn't have the gross-motor strength. He wants to pick up tiny things or draw pretty pictures, but doesn't have the fine-motor control. He has a million things to say, but doesn't have the language or speech skills to make himself understood. Who wouldn't be frustrated?

 

We had great success with "Do" statements instead of "Don't". If you say "Don't stand on the chair", the last thing the child hears is "Stand on the chair!", and he can't think of an alternative. If you say "Sit on your bottom", he knows what to do. It takes some training on our part, but learning to rephrase orders as positives instead of negatives works a lot better.

 

Remember to praise the action, not the child, and be specific. "I'm proud of how polite you were to the neighbor lady on our walk" is much better feedback than "You're such a good boy!" There's a big difference between "You told me a lie", and "You're a liar!" And don't forget to catch them being good! When your toddler is nice to the baby, even for a few minutes, let him know that you noticed. Sometimes we fall in to the trap of only paying attention to behavior we don't want to reinforce.

 

Hang in there! We found 3 to be a turning point, and 4 was like a whole new world! When our sons were 4, we took them on a 30-hour train trip to the pacific northwest, for a 10-day vacation. We went to the Seattle Zoo, a baseball game, hiked in the Olympic rain forest, visited friends, toured Mt St Helens, visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. We would not have dreamed of doing that a year earlier!

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#5 of 13 Old 03-15-2014, 06:21 PM
 
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Modeling is the strongest parenting tool we have. What would it teach your daughter for you to model a behavior you don't want to see?

 

My kids are 21 and 18 and I'm not sorry at all for not biting them back or hitting them back.

 

It is age appropriate behavior for toddlers and twos to bite and hit. They don't have conflict resolution skills! Of course it's not pleasant to watch, but biting and hitting are age appropriate behaviors.

 

We don't expect kids to tie their shoes at 2, so we can't expect a high level of conflict resolution skills.

 

Part of parenting in a positive way is to learn about typical development in children. Typical development is for toddlers and 2s to use their bodies instead of their words and negotiation skills to solve problems.

 

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#6 of 13 Old 03-16-2014, 10:13 PM
 
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 We don't expect kids to tie their shoes at 2, so we can't expect a high level of conflict resolution skills.
 

I love this.


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#7 of 13 Old 03-16-2014, 10:15 PM
 
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Oh and... I can safely say that my teenagers no longer bite each other, pull my hair, or sit on the dog. :wink


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#8 of 13 Old 03-17-2014, 04:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post
 

Hang in there! We found 3 to be a turning point, and 4 was like a whole new world! 

I'm going to chime in with the bad news first, which is that for us and a lot of people I know (and evidence by the forums here that are frequented by frustrated parents of 3 year olds) 3 can also be pretty challenging. So can 4. For me, it was 3-5 that was the hardest. I mention this because I think a lot of parents rest on this idea of the "terrible two's" only to be pretty freaked out that 3 can be hard as well. 

 

I will recommend first the Louise Bates Aimes books on child development. They're my fave. 

 

Next,  I will say that I think even in the hardest ages, kids flow in and out of synchronicity. My nearly 3 year old was challenging for a couple of months when she was around 2.5 but has been a real pleasure for the past couple of months.This too shall pass can be your mantra at this age, IMO.  

 

And, yea, that foundation of respect, communication, modeling pro-social behavior all pays off. My 12 year old is awesome. 


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#9 of 13 Old 03-19-2014, 02:26 PM
 
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:Hug Yes, it gets better!

 

You've gotten a lot of great advice here, but nobody has mentioned the phrasing you're using.  Maybe it would be more effective to say it a different way.  Suppose you're really angry and overwhelmed, so you slam the coffeepot really hard onto the counter, and I say to you in a gentle voice, "We don't bang our coffeepot."  How would you feel?  I would feel simultaneously misunderstood, ashamed, and defiant, and might well respond, "Well maybe YOU don't bang the coffeepot, but I DO!!!" and bang it even harder just to show I can.  This is often the reaction I see from kids, especially 2-3 year olds, when they hear this "we don't" language.  They are working out what it means to be a separate person with free will, and sometimes when they're angry they want to demonstrate that they aren't part of your "we", so there!

 

I respond to violence with shock and concern for the person/pet/object who might be hurt.  If it was me: "OWW!!  You BIT me!" and I'd look at him like I just couldn't believe he would do such a thing.  If it was another child: "Stop!  Jasmine, are you okay?  Oh, he hurt your arm." and I'd be all nice to the other kid for a minute before saying to my son, "You were mad that she knocked over your blocks, but hitting hurts."  If it was an object: "You tore the book!  Now we'll have to tape it back together, but it's never going to look as nice as it did.  Gosh, that makes me sad."

 

To me, it seems more effective to put the focus on how pain/destruction is harmful, rather than just saying "we don't" which is kind of vague.  Does that make sense?


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#10 of 13 Old 03-19-2014, 03:01 PM
 
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Great point, EB.  

 

There is a certain GD style and phrasing that I can do perfectly well as a parent but that has never felt good or resonated well with my kids and that's the sort of thing that I think you're describing. I don't especially love the comparison to adults when we're talking about discipline but in the case of your coffee pot, I think it works. If my DC was slamming the coffee pot, I certainly wouldn't chastise him. I'd probably ask him (and if we're being honest, with an irritated tone), "Is there something I can help you with?"  Sort of pointing out through my tone and gesture that I'd really rather he find another way to express irritation. 

 

I think that sort of thing can work well if tailored to a toddler. Banging, hitting, ect. these are sometimes responses to irritation, frustration. If we can help solve the problem, that just fixes the behavior - no need to even address it as a separate thing. 

 

And, yes, with hitting, I don't tend to remain calm. I think a bit of shock can be just what certain kids need when they behave like that. If you reserve shock, a leap out of the chair, and a sort of "emergency" disposition for those more serious things, I think it can be a good thing for certain kids. 


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#11 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies! For some reason, I've stopped getting email notifications, so I had no idea this thread had been so active!

We already do a lot of what has been suggested, and I've read Louise Bates Ames. I like Enviro Becca and IdentityCrisisMama's ideas of responding differently to things like hitting and biting, but my little guy seems to find the big "ow!"'s to be quite funny. I'll keep trying different things though, because like I mentioned before, "we don't hit/bite/throw toys" etc is becoming a bit rote. And as you say, EnviroBecca, it is a little vague. Something with more conviction might be just the thing!
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#12 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BushMama83 View Post

Thank you all for your replies! For some reason, I've stopped getting email notifications, so I had no idea this thread had been so active!

We already do a lot of what has been suggested, and I've read Louise Bates Ames. I like Enviro Becca and IdentityCrisisMama's ideas of responding differently to things like hitting and biting, but my little guy seems to find the big "ow!"'s to be quite funny. I'll keep trying different things though, because like I mentioned before, "we don't hit/bite/throw toys" etc is becoming a bit rote. And as you say, EnviroBecca, it is a little vague. Something with more conviction might be just the thing!

We had success with, "No, that /hurts/ people!!!"  Because with my two, if I said "We don't . . .," I'd likely get a "What, are you high? That's *exactly* what I'm doing!" look.  My sons are precise thinkers, and I had to consider all the contingencies when talking to them.  Cracked me up, when it wasn't making me want to run away and join the circus.

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#13 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 02:14 PM
 
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I'd likely get a "What, are you high? That's *exactly* what I'm doing!" look.   

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