"Daddy, we used to play together, and now you just hit me" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-04-2014, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"Daddy, we used to play together, and now you just hit me"

I come to you all, cap in hand, seeking guidance.

Those are the heartwrenching words of my daughter last night.

It was 8:30pm. It had been a long day, and I was very much looking forward to the highlight: some bedtime stories with my girls, and then turning in.

We had returned from the park, and they wanted to play more, but it was bedtime. I asked them to get ready. Younger daughter started to change into jammies, but older daughter sat on the side of her bed, and announced with a big smirk that "I'm not going to bed", and ran away.

I chased her, and attempted to reason with her. Told her she could stay up later when she was able to get up on her own in the morning. Told her that her bedtime was passed. No dice. She continued to run away, until I cornered here, and put her in an armlock, and marched her back to her room.

Resumed conversation there, and tried to rationalize. More overt defiance. She tried to run away again, and I twister her arm behind her back and manoevered her back to her bed.

She burst into tears : " We used to play together and now you just hit me"

WOW.

I was a stay at home dad for a spell, and me and her used to be quite tight. But then the girls went to school, and wife and I went back to work. I have a flexible working arrangement, but wife is a workaholic, and it puts a lot of pressure on the family. I look forward most of all to doing stories at the end of the day, and tucking my daughters in, and now this is lost to me.

I have a problem dealing with my daughter's defiance. Particularly when I'm tired. I never lose my temper, but if at a standoff, will resolve with strongarming my daughter into compliance.

Yes, it sucks.

How did I get here? I don't know. Never was that way for me at home. I guess it's just the fallback position when all else fails - As it so frequently done.

It's odd, as I've been exposed to a lot of mindful parenting practices via books Kohn, Markham, Coloroso. But still I end up in these situations... and according to my daughter, it's become the standard.

I need to find a better way to address/avoid these situations, so I don't end up reaching for the very blunt and ugly tool of violence.

Help.
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#2 of 18 Old 06-04-2014, 08:16 PM
 
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I suggest writing down the things the kids do that trigger you then planning what you will do. A reward chart may help set the stage for more cooperation. I found the Love and Logic books helped a lot when I was just reacting in the moment and I found getting counseling to help me deal with stress has also helped me stay calmer when triggered.

A lot of the books you listed are helpful but can also be damaging if you stop reacting until the situation is extreme and requires manhandling or caving completely. Getting rid of feeling guilty about imposing consequences when misbehavior starts helps me react effectively without losing it. If you are letting a lot of lilittle things go during the day only to find yourself acting too forcefully out of frustration in the evening I think you need to reevaluate your overall parenting style. I love Kohn's work but it is not useful as a style if following it makes you lose control in these harsh ways. I suggest blending it with Dr. Sears or something similar.
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#3 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 05:11 AM
 
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Use the methods in Everyday Parenting Toolkit

This is how you got there.
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#4 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 06:38 AM
 
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My biggest discipline challenges with my kids come when they have changed into a new developmental stages (new behaviors, new expectations, new abilities) and I have not adjusted my expectations. Another challenge is when they are on the cusp of a new ability but I have jumped ahead and have already starting expecting them to be able to do something.

Can you tell us what age your daughters are?

One of the many limitations of physical discipline are that they only work to the point that you can physically make your child do something, which we all know are limited both in subject and with time. We can not make our children sleep, or eat, or use the bathroom...or whatever.

The very first and most important think I think I do as a parent is avoid power struggles. Given a short temper and not enough good habits (I've been there!) I think I would have focused on getting the younger daughter in bed and told the older daughter that you know you can't make her sleep, remind her what time she has to get up, and requested that she not bother her younger sister.

My oldest is 12 and she still VERY much wants to be parented. Given the option to choose something that I do not think is a good choice, she will normally shift gears. But even if she doesn't, there is this great thing that comes from letting them have some space to choose -- LIFE! Your older daughter would have gotten tired. If she stayed up late she may have gotten tired at school and remembered how right you are. ;-) Or not...and in that case she may need a later bed time.

Tell us more -- you can totally break this habit!

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#5 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 06:39 AM
 
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BTW, on the subject of books - my favorite is "Parent Effectiveness Training". It's been around a long time and is available used online for like 5 bucks.

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#6 of 18 Old 06-16-2014, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
A lot of the books you listed are helpful but can also be damaging if you stop reacting until the situation is extreme and requires manhandling or caving completely. Getting rid of feeling guilty about imposing consequences when misbehavior starts helps me react effectively without losing it. If you are letting a lot of lilittle things go during the day only to find yourself acting too forcefully out of frustration in the evening I think you need to reevaluate your overall parenting style. I love Kohn's work but it is not useful as a style if following it makes you lose control in these harsh ways. I suggest blending it with Dr. Sears or something similar.
Thank you to everyone who replied - I am working my way through the suggestions. This one was the most immediately helpful. If they aren't complying, I threaten "No tv", or some other small punishment.... it gets compliance.

I've always hated the approach of getting compliance through threats like that, but see now that it is the lesser of evils and does prevent bigger blowups.

Thanks everyone. My situation is slowly stabilizing here, and I just want to thank those who offered assistance in a time of great need and distress.
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#7 of 18 Old 06-18-2014, 05:57 AM
 
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yeah,It's been around a long time and is available used online for like 5 bucks.thanks
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#8 of 18 Old 08-01-2014, 11:46 AM
 
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We have had a number of seasons with bedtime power struggles, always linked to one or more members of the family being very tired and stressed--and it's usually the parents! One of the most helpful things we have done is to call STOP on the bedtime routine and spend just a few minutes making a list of what each family member will do, and won't do, at bedtime. For example: Mama will read story and devotional, sing the bedtime song, and stay for 10 minutes. Mama will not yell, jump up and stomp out of the room, or slam the book on the table. Then post the list on the wall where it is easily seen during the bedtime routine, and refer to it: "Remember, the list says you will turn out the lamp after devotional." This worked well with my son even when he was too young to read the list; he seemed to like the authority of having it in writing.

There are several purposes to this exercise: It gets everyone on the same page (literally!) about what is and isn't supposed to be happening. It changes enforcement of the rules from something parents are doing TO the children into everyone obeying the paper. It helps each family member to be aware of her negative behaviors that trigger the others. It establishes which positive behaviors are important for a particular person to get to do himself (my son wanted to be the one to turn out the light; if a parent did it, the sudden darkness surprised and scared him). It gives you a reminder of the positive behaviors to redirect the kids to when they start the negative behaviors.

My own kids are far apart in age, but from my experience babysitting pairs of siblings: When one is cooperating with bedtime and the other is being defiant, give ONE reminder of the expected behavior and then turn all your attention to the compliant child. Susie is getting ready for bed, and you are all cozy with Susie, enjoying a story, tucking her in--while Missy is off doing whatever she's doing and missing out on the sweet bedtime. Ignore her unless she's actually damaging something. Odds are, she will come around.
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#9 of 18 Old 08-03-2014, 06:26 PM
 
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I never thought of deprivation of privileges as threats. To me they are natural responses of life.

If a person acts like a jerk, they won't be invited to the next party. If a person fouls the water, the fish relied upon for survival will die. In other words, we reap what we sow. I've never found this to be a harsh lesson or a threat in any sense. I think that we should teach our children to survive and thrive. There are limits. We don't invent them but we impose them to teach our children how to accommodate the order of life. Limits are like whetstones: we learn by responding to appropriate limitations. Limitations sharpen our sense of ourselves and our relationships with the natural world and the social realm.

To avoid imposing limitations is to neglect our responsibilities as parents, I think.

Instead of seeing this as a "love or punish" paradigm, see this as a guidance paradigm. Guide your children with authority, while loving them.

Last edited by pumabearclan; 08-04-2014 at 02:22 AM.
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#10 of 18 Old 08-05-2014, 11:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pumabearclan View Post
I never thought of deprivation of privileges as threats. To me they are natural responses of life.
The actual act of taking away a privilege is not a threat. But threatening to take away a privilege is, of course, a threat.
Mere threatening in response to a limit violation is not a punishment, and it can be a reinforcer since it involves giving attention and face-time and showing interest.

If you feel a need to do this sort of thing, then spell out the consequences in advance and act (don't threaten to act) when the limit is violated. Keep the consequences mild and short term and give few or no warnings.

But this approach has lots of drawbacks. It fosters avoidance and sneakiness. Better to become skilled at and use positive approaches as much as possible.

Quote:
If a person acts like a jerk, they won't be invited to the next party. If a person fouls the water, the fish relied upon for survival will die. In other words, we reap what we sow. I've never found this to be a harsh lesson or a threat in any sense. I think that we should teach our children to survive and thrive. There are limits. We don't invent them but we impose them to teach our children how to accommodate the order of life. Limits are like whetstones: we learn by responding to appropriate limitations. Limitations sharpen our sense of ourselves and our relationships with the natural world and the social realm.

To avoid imposing limitations is to neglect our responsibilities as parents, I think.

Instead of seeing this as a "love or punish" paradigm, see this as a guidance paradigm. Guide your children with authority, while loving them.
All true, but the task of the parent in these situations is guidance. Think of a limit as a boundary around a region of acceptable or desired behavior. Often, it's best to use a positive approach that draws the child toward that region or even toward an optimal point in that region that is far away from the limits. When possible, this is a better alternative than just reacting to the violation of a limit.
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#11 of 18 Old 08-06-2014, 12:08 PM
 
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I agree that threatening to take away their TV time is a threat (unpleasant for everyone) and that it's crucial if you DO make that sort of threat that you follow through with it. I don't agree that this strategy "fosters avoidance and sneakiness." What's really problematic about it is that there is little to no connection between cooperating with bedtime now and watching TV tomorrow--at best, you might be able to make a case that kids who've had no TV are more cooperative, so by taking away TV you're upping the odds of a smooth bedtime tomorrow, to make up for tonight. It's better to use a consequence that's directly connected to the misbehavior. One that's been very successful for me is telling my son (when he is finally in bed) that he is X minutes late tonight, so tomorrow we are going to end bedtime story X minutes early. Consequences that you can implement right away are even more educational: "Because you took so long to brush your teeth, now it's 9:00 and we have no time for story."

That said, we do take away screentime (TV/computer) pretty often as a consequence for persistent, outright disobedience. Because it is the one thing that consistently makes an impression on our kid. His dad and I hate seeing that--it makes us feel that his relationship with the screens is unhealthy, drug-like, and maybe we shouldn't let him have screentime ever...but how realistic is that in today's society?! So we allow a limited amount of screentime per day, which cannot be used before school in the morning or in the last hour before bed, and we sometimes take away half-hour increments as a consequence for misbehavior.

At least with my son, warning/threatening a consequence is less effective--both at ending the undesirable behavior quickly, and at enabling the parent to keep calm--than firmly imposing the consequence at the first point when the behavior becomes unacceptable. Then it may be possible to discuss the situation calmly (because we aren't all riled up by a prolonged struggle) and agree that the consequence will be lifted but the misbehavior must not resume, and there is only one more chance to get it right. I wrote more about that here:
http://articles.earthlingshandbook.o...second-chance/

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#12 of 18 Old 08-07-2014, 06:53 AM
 
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EnviroBecca,

It's a good idea to give them some positive feedback for cooperation even when you have to use restrictions get that cooperation. Give them positive feedback just as if they had freely cooperated, because it helps foster future cooperation and less need for restrictions.

Maybe you do this, or something like it, posts don't always give the full picture of what parents are doing.
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#13 of 18 Old 08-07-2014, 07:29 AM
 
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Oh, sure, we give positive feedback once we finally get the cooperation. But with time-limited things like going to bed, there may be no time for anything more than, "Thank you. Tomorrow you'll do better." Then I try to remember to be extra-positive if he cooperates the first time when doing the same thing next day--rather than acting like I take his cooperation for granted and it takes negative behavior to get my attention.

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#14 of 18 Old 08-09-2014, 01:49 PM
 
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Seems like the OP might be done with this thread, but I wanted to add that I realized around the time my DD turned 4 that I HAVE been using physical methods - albeit very gentle ones - to gain compliance for most of her life. I only really noticed it when she got big enough that the physical encouragement had to become an act of force to be effective. I actually think being physical with a toddler rather than talking and talking at them is really gentle and effective (and by being physical I mean taking their hand or picking them up or guiding them by the shoulders) AND can really help to avoid the frustrations that lead to spanking. I would ask my daughter to do stuff one time, then go right to her if she didn't comply right away. Somewhere in the 3's, I really should have transitioned to a non-physical method, but I didn't really see that until we hit some major 4-year-old defiance. Physical guidance became a physical battle, bordering on strong-arming on my end. I can totally see that if I still hadn't changed my methods, by age 5 we would have to be doing literal arm-twisting and whatnot like the OP described. We're still working out the best approach to deal with the defiance, but at least we're not getting physical beyond simple hand-holding anymore.
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#15 of 18 Old 08-09-2014, 02:34 PM
 
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I think that the various stages of childhood require different strategies, and I also went through what you are describing, newmamalizzy. There was a clear "no go" for me when physical realignment felt to me to be to be a transgression and it happened around the same age that you describe. I changed the experience into an invitation; since in the past there was a physical-ish reorientation I offered a reorientation as an invitation to join a world of self-direction, cooperation, interaction, and communication where the child can voluntarily join with those she/he cares for in a world of increasing experiences and opportunities. This worked well for us as my daughter did want to interact in increasingly enriching ways with those around her. I was eager and careful to expand her opportunities based on her coopertaion with the limits of the environments that she aspired to, such as an evening of conversation after dinner or at a reception, attending an afternoon tea, joining an evening bonfire, or accompanying us to dinner.

Even if the OP is done with this thread, it will read by many and every constructive contribution can be considered by the many readers who will see this thread in now and in the future!
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#16 of 18 Old 08-15-2014, 11:40 AM
 
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At our house we use a combo of 'Playful Parenting' by L. Cohen and the 'Hand in Hand Parenting' style. I think that your daughter was definitely seeking some one-on-one attention from you. We find that by doing just 10 min. of hide & seek or some other vigorous play where DD gets to lead the game goes a long way toward helping her feel connected and ready to settle down. If the younger is ready to settle down on her own, that's great, but if not, offer her a 10 minute turn in the morning, or sometime the next day. I'd say it's worth a try. Good luck!
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#17 of 18 Old 08-18-2014, 10:53 AM
 
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I think Bippity has a great point about one-on-one connection, but vigorous play isn't always an option when you're already tired.

My brother is close in age, so we always had our bedtime routine and story together, and I sometimes got irritated at having to share Daddy. When I was 9, my brother moved into his own bedroom, so we'd have our story on our parents' bed and then go to our own beds. My dad started a tradition of spending a few minutes talking with my brother alone, then coming in to spend a few minutes with me. I treasured that time. Even on the nights when he was really tired and would mumble a few responses to my chattering and then fall asleep in my bed for a while, I liked just having him there. When we'd had a struggle about bedtime (I didn't want to get ready on time, or I was brushing my teeth the silly way and he got mad) it was important to set it aside during story and then have that time in the dark either to talk about the conflict more calmly, or to talk about something completely different and enjoy being together.

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#18 of 18 Old 08-20-2014, 10:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by capinhand View Post
I come to you all, cap in hand, seeking guidance.

Those are the heartwrenching words of my daughter last night.

It was 8:30pm. It had been a long day, and I was very much looking forward to the highlight: some bedtime stories with my girls, and then turning in.

We had returned from the park, and they wanted to play more, but it was bedtime. I asked them to get ready. Younger daughter started to change into jammies, but older daughter sat on the side of her bed, and announced with a big smirk that "I'm not going to bed", and ran away.

I chased her, and attempted to reason with her. Told her she could stay up later when she was able to get up on her own in the morning. Told her that her bedtime was passed. No dice. She continued to run away, until I cornered here, and put her in an armlock, and marched her back to her room.

Resumed conversation there, and tried to rationalize. More overt defiance. She tried to run away again, and I twister her arm behind her back and manoevered her back to her bed.

She burst into tears : " We used to play together and now you just hit me"

WOW.

I was a stay at home dad for a spell, and me and her used to be quite tight. But then the girls went to school, and wife and I went back to work. I have a flexible working arrangement, but wife is a workaholic, and it puts a lot of pressure on the family. I look forward most of all to doing stories at the end of the day, and tucking my daughters in, and now this is lost to me.

I have a problem dealing with my daughter's defiance. Particularly when I'm tired. I never lose my temper, but if at a standoff, will resolve with strongarming my daughter into compliance.

Yes, it sucks.

How did I get here? I don't know. Never was that way for me at home. I guess it's just the fallback position when all else fails - As it so frequently done.

It's odd, as I've been exposed to a lot of mindful parenting practices via books Kohn, Markham, Coloroso. But still I end up in these situations... and according to my daughter, it's become the standard.

I need to find a better way to address/avoid these situations, so I don't end up reaching for the very blunt and ugly tool of violence.

Help.
You are the dad, so you need to act like one. Trying to rationalize(reason) with a child is time wasting, they know they are BS'ing you and will use that for their advantage.
She did that because at that moment she did not respect you.
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