Need to vent about my almost 3 yo...NVC, CL, UP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 71 Old 06-15-2014, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Need to vent about my almost 3 yo...NVC, CL, UP

Hey Mamas...I'm coming back to this board to just try and work out some things I'm going through with my almost 3 year old DS. He is very rambunctious, and I feel like we've been going through this hitting/biting/kicking/throwing stuff around phase for some time now. I am so ready for him to move past this!

I've just finished reading Non-Violet Communication and P.E.T., have given lots of thought to consensual living, unconditional parenting etc, and all of this makes so much sense to me. It is how I want to raise my kids, structure my family life etc. I don't know any other families in my small town who raise their kids this way. I see a lot of time outs, bribes, threats like "1...2...3" counts...methods that just aren't for me. So I don't know where else to go for support.

Lately I am just so tired of explaining AGAIN about how biting/hitting/kicking hurts people's bodies...how I value peace and the safety of everyone in our home...trying to show appropriate ways to play, especially with our dogs (at this point I'd rather just find a new home for the dogs. He terrorizes them with "love" and one of them no longer hesitates to nip at him). Some days I feel like I have zero control...while realizing control is an illusion and I can't control another person...I just feel like I'm in the center of a raging storm with no cover. I struggle with my temper, and it's not always a battle I win. It's like I'm talking to myself though. I'll finish expressing my own feelings and needs and he starts talking about dinosaurs! It's so frustrating! Some days I just throw my hands up, make sure the baby is safe, and let him run wild, I'm just so tired of hearing my own voice and useless words.

I keep telling myself this will pass. He won't be like this forever...I just feel so ineffective, so powerless, and so overwhelmed by this little person! I'm starting to think it's also a clash of personalities...I guess I'd expected my kids would be quiet and bookish like me. Ha!

Anyway, I guess that is all, thank you for reading and any encouragement or commiseration you might have. I'm pretty sure I made a similar post a few months ago, and it sure gives me a boost to know I'm not alone!
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#2 of 71 Old 06-18-2014, 06:42 PM
 
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I'll be super honest and say that I think CL works for a toddler as a philosophy but not in daily practice. Three is HARD. First, I suggest that you add one of Louise Bates Aimes (or another child development book) to your reading list. Sometimes the best knowledge about how to parent comes from a good understanding of our child's developmental stage and reasonable expectations. A three year old is entirely egocentric. That is where they are developmentally. The're not supposed to care about your feelings exactly. At least not in the way adults care about other people's feelings. Talking dinosaurs in the middle of your story is what thee year olds do.

The dogs... I don't have dogs. We have cats and our cats take care of themselves. If there was anyone or any animal around an aggressive toddler I think I would "just" (ha!) take a 100% supervision rule. It totally SUCKS but I do think that's the best course of action for this age. I am also going to have to admit that both of my kids were pretty mild mannered when it came to acting out physically but, when they did, I would go into "emergency mode" and watch like a hawk and prevent the unwanted behavior until they seemed to forget how interesting it was. I don't know if that would work for a child who had a super high interest in that.

I started reading about CL and all of that when my DC was about 3. Unlike you, I thought it was kind of nuts when I first heard about it. But it started to sink in and is a foundation of my parenting. But, it's never become more than a foundation - a set of goals - an ideal. When things work and we're in the groove we can pull it off. A lot of the time, though, we fall way short. And, that's OK. Another beauty of all this gentle parenting is that along the way we learn to be gentle with ourselves.
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#3 of 71 Old 06-20-2014, 05:21 AM
 
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A parent who reacts to to hitting/kicking/biting by with explaining, face-time, attention is engaging in inadvertent conditional parenting. For some reason, parents who read the UP book come away with the message that praise is the only reinforcer. Praise is not the only reinforcer. Attention, explaining, facetime are reinforcers. You get more of what you pay attention to.

The timing is the issue. What you do immediately after an unwanted behavior is important. Face-time, explaining, attention immediately after an unwanted behavior conditions the kid to engage in more of that behavior.

It's OK to talk about how how biting/hitting/kicking hurts people's bodies and how you value peace and the safety of everyone in your home. Just don't do this as an immediate reaction to the unwanted behavior.

Showing what you value is much, much more effective than talking about what you value. If you catch you DS being kind to the dog, even the tiniest act of kindness, react to that by showing him that you value kindness to the dog.

The most effective immediate response unwanted behavior is to ignore it (and take the baby or dog away to safety if need be). And, react to the opposite behavior by showing him what you value, expressing how much you value that behavior. If you consistently do this for two weeks you will see a big improvement. The kid's behavior might get worse for a day or two when you start ignoring, but it will be noticeably improved a few days later.

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#4 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IdentityCrisisMama, I've read Lousie Bates Ames' book on two year olds...I think it's time to get the one on three year olds, though! Thanks for reminding me. I'm realizing rather quickly that CL doesn't work too well with toddlers...even though I keep reading "it works great at any age!" I've yet to see it in my home. Maybe I'm not consistent enough, maybe my kid just isn't there yet...I don't know. It's not working now! I can see it being wonderful when he's a bit older though. I definitely go into supervise mode...am in it most of the time. I look forward to the day where I can watch him play without feeling tense! I sometimes wonder if he senses that tension...is he fufilling my unspoken expectations?

tadasmar...I understand what you're saying and I think it's good advice...but from a philospophical standpoint, doesn't ignoring a child who is acting out send a message that "I don't love you when you're being aggressive?" Though I guess it's not the same as a time out, but isn't it still manipulative, to dole out attention only when the child is behaving as we'd like them to? Philosophical musings aside, I'm going to try timing my discussions of how hitting hurts people differently.

Our dog (a small dog...if she was larger I'm pretty sure we would have had to give her away by now) will not hesitate to nip him. She does it frequently now, and it really worries me. I feel like that should be a decent natural consequence, though. Do I really need to add my praise when he's being gentle and he doesn't get bitten? Shouldn't that be reward enough? I like the idea of natural consequences, and this seems like a situation where I don't need to add anything further. However, I do not like having a dog who bites little kids. In this respect, I feel like I'm failing as a parent and a pet owner. That's a whole other post, though.
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#5 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:04 AM
 
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A parent who reacts to to hitting/kicking/biting by with explaining, face-time, attention is engaging in inadvertent conditional parenting. For some reason, parents who read the UP book come away with the message that praise is the only reinforcer. Praise is not the only reinforcer. Attention, explaining, facetime are reinforcers. You get more of what you pay attention to.

The timing is the issue. What you do immediately after an unwanted behavior is important. Face-time, explaining, attention immediately after an unwanted behavior conditions the kid to engage in more of that behavior.
I disagree with this. It's very behavioristic. Children are young humans who are acquiring language. If you "ignore" them in the way you're describing, it's a form of punishment. It's basically a form of time-out that people who like Unconditional Parenting are trying to avoid. Removing your attention to not reinforce a bad behavior is--punishment.

Which might be fine for parents who find this method of withdrawing reinforcement effective to stop the behavior, and who don't mind punishments that are non-violent. I do not think it's consonant with Alfie Kohn's book, though.

I also disagree with this because I think all interactions with children at this age should involve some talking. This is when he's acquiring the habits of language acquisition.

When my son was three, he was not very rambunctious, but he did have a tendency to bite us when he got really excited. (He did not bite or in any way hurt the cat, because the cat we had back then wouldn't have tolerated that.) We did get up in the kid's face and very quietly tell him not to do the thing. I believe we used phrases like, "There's no biting," and "We use our teeth for eating food, not biting." That worked very well. It's probably not the ultimate best method, but it does have the advantage of demonstrating that parents can use their words. For other, less painful behaviors (!) we did much more talking than that.

It's not just the language acquisition issue. You want him to use words, so you use words. Be brief. Yes, three-year-olds are self-centered, but a phrase like, "In our family, we're gentle with animals," can be really effective, because you know that you're going to hear it back from him.

It's very difficult for a three-year-old to control himself. Whatever strategy you adopt, you will have to keep doing it, because he's not going to stop doing whatever it is after one iteration. (Even if you punish him!) He will outgrow being three.
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#6 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:11 AM
 
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I look forward to the day where I can watch him play without feeling tense! I sometimes wonder if he senses that tension...is he fufilling my unspoken expectations?
This is HUGE, and tremendously complex and difficult to convey through words. There was a CL philosophy popular here many years ago called "Taking Children Seriously". I never quite gelled with the philosophy but a wonderful take-away I got from talking to people who embraced it was the idea of positive expectations. It has a lot to do with the head-space of the parent. It's also a bit metaphysical, I think, so hard to swallow if you're not into all of that.

I have found that (for whatever reason) my kids do tend to respond to my expectations so if I can go into things just magically knowing that they will do well, they just will. Likewise, if I enter a situation where I am anxious about their behavior (or safety) they seem to respond to that.

Regarding the use of praise as behavior modification -- be mindful that not everyone has had success with that or feels it is appropriate or authentic for their family.

I don't have dogs but our cats will hiss and even scratch lightly if they don't like what my DC is doing. I absolutely think that is a reasonable natural consequence. A logical consequence would be (in the case of dogs) that the child has to leave the space - not the dog (IMO). "When you are not gentle with the dogs, you may not play with the dogs."

I do agree that with a dog taken to nipping and a toddler having trouble with gentleness, that an entire post just on that issue is probably a great idea. We even had a dog-trainer mom who used to post in GD. Does anyone remember who that was? She would be a great help...

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#7 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:17 AM
 
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CO, my three year old does pretty well with the "talk less" type philosophy. She will put her teeth on a member of the family maybe once/month. It seems to be an urge, maybe related to nursing. She isn't rough but I do worry that excessive attention to this would maybe reinforce the behavior. I do "ignore it" but I don't "ignore her", if that makes sense. I may say something if I feel it's warranted but I make it super subtle and then just try to give her the type of affection I think she's looking for when she does that.

I absolutely DO feel this is mildly behaviorist. It feels calculated. But, it also seems like the best way to avoid a behavior that I worry will get worse and may end up needing a sort of discipline that I would feel even more conflicted about.

Ah, the complexity.

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#8 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:20 AM
 
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Our dog (a small dog...if she was larger I'm pretty sure we would have had to give her away by now) will not hesitate to nip him. She does it frequently now, and it really worries me. I feel like that should be a decent natural consequence, though. Do I really need to add my praise when he's being gentle and he doesn't get bitten? Shouldn't that be reward enough? I like the idea of natural consequences, and this seems like a situation where I don't need to add anything further. However, I do not like having a dog who bites little kids. In this respect, I feel like I'm failing as a parent and a pet owner. That's a whole other post, though.
Sounds like the idea of that natural consequence worries you. But are you using that natural consequence to the extent that you are already willing to? If you are already doing it and it is not working, then not getting bitten is not reward enough according to the evidence that you are providing. (BTW, I am not meaning to encourage you to experiment more with letting the dog bite the kid. Like you, I think it might be too dangerous.)

But I was just using the dog thing as an example of one of his unwanted behaviors. Using natural consequences is a good idea in general.
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#9 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:21 AM
 
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Be brief. Yes, three-year-olds are self-centered, but a phrase like, "In our family, we're gentle with animals," can be really effective, because you know that you're going to hear it back from him.
I agree and I like the phrasing you gave.

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#10 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:30 AM
 
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I disagree with this. It's very behavioristic. Children are young humans who are acquiring language. If you "ignore" them in the way you're describing, it's a form of punishment. It's basically a form of time-out that people who like Unconditional Parenting are trying to avoid. Removing your attention to not reinforce a bad behavior is--punishment.
Do you give your kids face-time every waking second? How many hours per day are you punishing your own kids in this manner, giving them no face-time? Think about it, it's not punishment.
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#11 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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tadasmar...I understand what you're saying and I think it's good advice...but from a philospophical standpoint, doesn't ignoring a child who is acting out send a message that "I don't love you when you're being aggressive?" Though I guess it's not the same as a time out, but isn't it still manipulative, to dole out attention only when the child is behaving as we'd like them to? Philosophical musings aside, I'm going to try timing my discussions of how hitting hurts people differently.
I am sure you will find a way to express your unconditional love for your child without reinforcing his unwanted behavior.
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#12 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the use of praise as behavior modification -- be mindful that not everyone has had success with that or feels it is appropriate or authentic for their family.

I don't have dogs but our cats will hiss and even scratch lightly if they don't like what my DC is doing. I absolutely think that is a reasonable natural consequence. A logical consequence would be (in the case of dogs) that the child has to leave the space - not the dog (IMO). "When you are not gentle with the dogs, you may not play with the dogs."

I do agree that with a dog taken to nipping and a toddler having trouble with gentleness, that an entire post just on that issue is probably a great idea. We even had a dog-trainer mom who used to post in GD. Does anyone remember who that was? She would be a great help...
In regards to praise as behaviour modification, I'm definitely not into that. I see in myself the long-term effects of this...I realize now that I am more motivated by getting praise or recognition for something than I am by the joy of learning something new or creating something (for example). I want my kids to be intrinsically motivated.

I do need to start removing DS from the space, rather than the dog. This is a tough one, though, because we basically live in a one room cabin with a loft sleeping space. Would you physically pick up the child and move them? I think I've read something about that in past threads about toddlers and dogs.

tadasmar, it is clear to me now that the natural consequences with the dog are not working. He shows no fear of the dog and actually seems to think it's a game.
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#13 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:39 AM
 
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CO, my three year old does pretty well with the "talk less" type philosophy. She will put her teeth on a member of the family maybe once/month. It seems to be an urge, maybe related to nursing. She isn't rough but I do worry that excessive attention to this would maybe reinforce the behavior. I do "ignore it" but I don't "ignore her", if that makes sense. I may say something if I feel it's warranted but I make it super subtle and then just try to give her the type of affection I think she's looking for when she does that.

I absolutely DO feel this is mildly behaviorist. It feels calculated. But, it also seems like the best way to avoid a behavior that I worry will get worse and may end up needing a sort of discipline that I would feel even more conflicted about.

Ah, the complexity.
Hey, if it's not broken, don't fix it! I look at the two moms of three-year-olds I see regularly and I think, "Holy cow, that was a hard age," and also, "Wow, they learn a lot at that age!" If she seems to be learning the right thing from how you're managing the biting, that's what matters.

I'm not an absolutist about the behaviorism thing. I just disagree that ignoring bad behavior in an attempt to gain compliance is somehow part of the philosophy of Unconditional Parenting. I don't follow Alfie Kohn to the ends of the earth, but I do think that when someone actively deplores an idea, we shouldn't then attribute that idea to him.
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#14 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:51 AM
 
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Do you give your kids face-time every waking second? How many hours per day are you punishing your own kids in this manner, giving them no face-time? Think about it, it's not punishment.
That is not what you described in your post. You didn't describe leaving the child to play by himself as part of an age-appropriate building of his inner resources. You said to stop reinforcing bad behavior by walking out of the room and ignoring the kid. The part I disagreed with was when you attributed this strategy to Unconditional Parenting. (Though I also don't like it for my own reasons, not Kohn's, as I said.)

Anyway, my kid is eleven, as you can see in my sig, so I'm at a different stage with him than the OP is with her three-year-old. Still, if I don't want him to do something, I say, out loud, "Don't do that," and then tell him why not. If I want him to do something, I ask him, either out loud or in writing, and tell him why. I wouldn't walk out of the room and give him the silent treatment if he did something I thought was wrong.

As far as in the in-the-face-intense-quiet-voice thing--in an emergency, I'd still use it. You just don't have those kinds of behavioral emergencies with an 11-year-old, so you know, it's pretty hypothetical. Part of the reason for the quiet voice is to give the child privacy and not humiliate him in front of other people.
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#15 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 08:59 AM
 
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I disagree with this. It's very behavioristic. Children are young humans who are acquiring language. If you "ignore" them in the way you're describing, it's a form of punishment. It's basically a form of time-out that people who like Unconditional Parenting are trying to avoid. Removing your attention to not reinforce a bad behavior is--punishment.

Which might be fine for parents who find this method of withdrawing reinforcement effective to stop the behavior, and who don't mind punishments that are non-violent. I do not think it's consonant with Alfie Kohn's book, though.

I also disagree with this because I think all interactions with children at this age should involve some talking. This is when he's acquiring the habits of language acquisition.

When my son was three, he was not very rambunctious, but he did have a tendency to bite us when he got really excited. (He did not bite or in any way hurt the cat, because the cat we had back then wouldn't have tolerated that.) We did get up in the kid's face and very quietly tell him not to do the thing. I believe we used phrases like, "There's no biting," and "We use our teeth for eating food, not biting." That worked very well. It's probably not the ultimate best method, but it does have the advantage of demonstrating that parents can use their words. For other, less painful behaviors (!) we did much more talking than that.

It's not just the language acquisition issue. You want him to use words, so you use words. Be brief. Yes, three-year-olds are self-centered, but a phrase like, "In our family, we're gentle with animals," can be really effective, because you know that you're going to hear it back from him.

It's very difficult for a three-year-old to control himself. Whatever strategy you adopt, you will have to keep doing it, because he's not going to stop doing whatever it is after one iteration. (Even if you punish him!) He will outgrow being three.
The method does not require that you to not say something you intended to say. You just say it later. So, the kid gets the same amount of exposure to language.

The parent's behavior has a big impact on whether a three-year old can control himself.

I did not say it would work in one iteration.

Be careful about assuming that a kid will outgrow this or that. For instance, there are a lot of adults who became unhealthy picky eaters at age 3 and never outgrew it. And, if the parent persists in reinforcing a behavior with attention then it can keep going for years in some cases.

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#16 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 09:17 AM
 
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I'm not an absolutist about the behaviorism thing. I just disagree that ignoring bad behavior in an attempt to gain compliance is somehow part of the philosophy of Unconditional Parenting. I don't follow Alfie Kohn to the ends of the earth, but I do think that when someone actively deplores an idea, we shouldn't then attribute that idea to him.
I did not say that ignoring bad behavior was part of UP. All I said was that UP seems to give parents the impression that praise is the only reinforcer.
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#17 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 09:25 AM
 
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I do need to start removing DS from the space, rather than the dog. This is a tough one, though, because we basically live in a one room cabin with a loft sleeping space. Would you physically pick up the child and move them? I think I've read something about that in past threads about toddlers and dogs.
Yes, I think so. I have a three year old right now so I can picture well what I think I would do. One of the things that "works" well if reserved for aggressive behavior is a sort of audible shock. Sometimes I wonder if super gentle parents aren't being a bit too passive about aggression and, therefor, sending sort of mixed messages. Although I am a fan of telling kids what we DO do, I'll be honest and say that in the case of aggression, I would probably be really "shocked" and get up fast and swoop the child up while saying, "We do NOT hit the dog." Another thing that I think has a lot of impact is if the child can see the caregiver check in with the receiver of aggression. Not in a forced apology way but to further drive home the point that what we are worried about is someone/some animal getting hurt.

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#18 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 09:27 AM
 
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I did not say that ignoring bad behavior was part of UP. All I said was that UP seems to give parents the impression that praise is the only reinforcer.
That was not my take-away from UP at all. It has been years since I read it but my main take way on the subject of praise is that it is processed similarly to criticism. Just as rewards are processed similarly to punishment. Both of these things seem to be very true and transparent for my kids.

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#19 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 10:33 AM
 
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Bushmama my boy is just over two and I've been going through similar things. We tried to go camping and he kept running into the road and laughing thinking it was hilarious and no matter how many times I explains to him about getting hit by a car he still did it thinking it was funny. Then yesterday dh wanted to BBQ (I don't normally eat that as a vegetarian and for health reasons, so it has been like a decade since the last), and ds kept running up and touching the lid that would soon be very hot and no matter how much I explained to him about getting hurt he wouldn't listen.

For me I don't want to use more aggressive forms of behaviour control like time outs or 1-2-3 but I think I'm going to start doing more planned ignoring. With the running into the road that would mean explaining it to him once and when he did it again carrying him back without saying a word. Same with the BBQ lid. Yes it's manipulative but holy crap the things he does (or wants to do) scare me and it's too stressful to just embrace an ineffectual method for the next couple of years and watching him repeatedly put himself in harms way. I'm going to try more planned ignoring!
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#20 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 11:19 AM
 
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...but isn't it still manipulative, to dole out attention only when the child is behaving as we'd like them to?
Here is Alfie Kohn himself recommending doling out non-evaluative attention in response to a child behaving as we'd like them to:

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And what can we say when kids just do something impressive? Consider three possible responses:

* Say nothing. Some people insist a helpful act must be "reinforced" because, secretly or unconsciously, they believe it was a fluke. If children are basically evil, then they have to be given an artificial reason for being nice (namely, to get a verbal reward). But if that cynicism is unfounded – and a lot of research suggests that it is – then praise may not be necessary.

* Say what you saw. A simple, evaluation-free statement ("You put your shoes on by yourself" or even just "You did it") tells your child that you noticed. It also lets her take pride in what she did. In other cases, a more elaborate description may make sense. If your child draws a picture, you might provide feedback – not judgment – about what you noticed: "This mountain is huge!" "Boy, you sure used a lot of purple today!"

If a child does something caring or generous, you might gently draw his attention to the effect of his action on the other person: "Look at Abigail’s face! She seems pretty happy now that you gave her some of your snack." This is completely different from praise, where the emphasis is on how you feel about her sharing

* Talk less, ask more. Even better than descriptions are questions. Why tell him what part of his drawing impressed you when you can ask him what he likes best about it? Asking "What was the hardest part to draw?" or "How did you figure out how to make the feet the right size?" is likely to nourish his interest in drawing. Saying "Good job!", as we’ve seen, may have exactly the opposite effect.
Just as asking questions about drawing "is likely to nourish interest in drawing", asking questions about any behavior that makes a good impression on you is likely to nourish interest in that behavior.

So, use "say what you saw" or ask questions.

Doing this as a reaction to the positive opposite of an unwanted behavior will boost the effect of planned ignoring of the unwanted behavior. The unwanted behavior tends to go away more quickly and there tends to be less testing.

Last edited by tadamsmar; 06-23-2014 at 05:50 PM.
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#21 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 11:53 AM
 
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Yes, AK is pretty great, I think! In addition to the above quote, I am also reminded to acknowledge whatever fun or learning experience we observe in our kids when they do things. I think acknowledging that it's SUPER fun to run into the road with mama chasing behind can go a long way to finding a consensual solution to the problem. Likewise, the dog. Maybe there is some need for rough-and-tumble play that can be addressed in a different way.

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#22 of 71 Old 06-22-2014, 06:24 PM
 
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Bushmama84 - what are you doing for yourself? do you get a break? do you treat yourself? do you get to do things YOU want to do - without your child. i am asking this of you as an adult - not as a mama. what do you do for YOURSELF.

what you need to do is take care of yourself. there really is no other way out. the best thing for your son is you getting some space between him and you. sounds horrible, but so true. you have to find some space to recuperate. i hope you have someone to give you some breathing time. even if it means a couple of hours on the weekend as the other parent steps in.

secondly you really need to read up on what is expected behaviour. the bates book should be a big help there. you'll be surprised how ill informed we usually are about what is age appropriate behaviour.

did you just read NVC or did you attend a class with a teacher adn practise it? it is VERY VERY hard to pick that up on ones own without the workbook and without a teacher. it sounds easy to do but it is NOT. let me tell you i have practised it with teachers and groups for YEARS and its only now that i am truly getting it. so dont expect to practise it perfectly without help.

how much do you follow the golden rules? enough excercise, make sure there's always enough food and they are not hungry and enough rest.

3 is hard. somedays you'll succeed but mostly you'll fail. that's just life with a 3 year old.

remember as a parent your job is to repeat. repeat. repeat. repeat. they'll get some by the time they turn 9/10, they'll get some more in their teens but really they wont get it till they become parents themselves. they'll understand then. i really didnt understand parenting or appreciate my parents till i became one myself. also action is important. does he know what gentle means? he might think he is being gentle when he doesnt really know it.

in our playgroup there was a little girl who had sensory issues adn didnt know how to give simple hugs. she'd give these tight bear hugs that'd throw people on the floor. she was uber strong so she'd even get some of us adults. we all worked on her to show her what gentle was ... and you know after many years ... she did get it.

find out what tickles your child. most days you'll succeed. but 3 is about things not working. what worked for us was pantomime. bombastic actions. joking. being silly. but i had a stubborn one. if SHE Didnt want to get dressed nothing worked. 3 was also the age of being independent. 3 was the age of me putting my heart in my mouth and allowing dd to do something challenging even though it might mean a huge mess for me to clean. 3 was the age of imaginary play. dd wouldnt take commands from mom. but hey if i was the dinosaur, or a cloud or a storm, she'd happily listen to her. 3 is about trying all these different ways to work - and discovering some work, some dont, what worked yesterday does not work today AND today is a day when nothing works.

the greatest thing i took from NVC was that everything i said was not a command. even today taht's true. dd has the choice of saying no. but there were moments when it was a command and i made sure dd knew. i started on that since dd was 2. so she'd get into the habit of hearing it and understanding the choices.

but really the best parent is a happy parent. i know it sounds cliched but its so true.

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#23 of 71 Old 06-23-2014, 04:47 AM
 
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the greatest thing i took from NVC was that everything i said was not a command. even today taht's true. dd has the choice of saying no. but there were moments when it was a command and i made sure dd knew. i started on that since dd was 2. so she'd get into the habit of hearing it and understanding the choices.
This is so interesting to me, Meemee, because I just participated in a big thread about feedback. This really clicked for me. Over praise (even super detailed feedback), I do prefer to just be very direct if what I am asking is specific and/or does not have any options.

I have a teen now and there are often calls that I feel I have to make that are very much open to different ways of thinking about things. I don't believe it's beneficial to be falsely confident or consistent for the sake of it BUT I do think it's important as a parent to take a "I'm the one you've got and I'm doing the best I can" stance.

It's a pretty nice place to be as a parent but, OP, I was not there when my first was 3. This is the hard work you're doing now but in some ways it's easier. There is no grey in whether your 3 year old should hit the dog.

Don't get me wrong - I think the age of 3-5 was the hardest so far but on your side you do have that you can be 100% confident in what you are asking for matters of aggression. Perhaps you have another area in life where you can model consensual living?

I do think that when we have a good arrangement after employing the principals of CL (meaning that rather than everyone compromising you end up with everyone getting what they need/want and sometimes even more!) that it would be good to point that out. "You wanted an icecream and I needed to get some work done - so we realized that a playdate at the park while I read was the perfect solution. I'm so happy we figured this out!".

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#24 of 71 Old 06-23-2014, 04:51 AM
 
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I do think that when we have a good arrangement after employing the principals of CL (meaning that rather than everyone compromising you end up with everyone getting what they need/want and sometimes even more!) that it would be good to point that out. "
I think this is the biggest value of CL (and things similar - I don't actually practice anything specific). Your kids see you modeling these creative problem solving techniques. They also see you value their needs/wants AND (and!) your needs/wants. Eventually you will have a teen who says, "Hey, mom, I notice you've been driving me around a lot over the last couple of days. Is that ok with you? Is there anything I can do to help make that easier for you?"

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#25 of 71 Old 06-23-2014, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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meemee, I am pretty bad with self-care, but getting better. I get out once a week for dinner wth my girlfriends, but the baby won't take a bottle so I've always got a little one with me. DH is very flexible at work. If I'm having a rough day, I send him a message and if he's able to get away, he can be home within an hour. However, we live on the other side of the country from our family. I know that I've got some mental/emotional issues of my own that I am trying to work through. This definitely makes it extra challenging.

I've only read the NVC book. It does seem very hard to get the hang of it on my own. I'd love to attend a workshop but I've never seen one advertised in my area. I didn't know there was a workbook, maybe I'll pick that up.

I do understand that this is all developmentally normal for my child. I'm not expecting a perfectly behaved 3 yo...I was at my wit's end when I made the original post. I say my husband is flexible at his job (he owns his own business) but I am still alone with our kids 75% of the time. On top of that we live 40 km out of town. I think not seeing other people most days also really gets to me.

Your reply has really made me think about my own well-being in all of this. There is so much to balance!
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#26 of 71 Old 06-23-2014, 03:52 PM
 
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bushmama our circumstances were different but i know what you mean about being alone with your kids.

i was a single mom with a father who visited once in a while.

but i only had one.

i was ever grateful to my mother and mother in law both miles and miles and oceans away. i learnt self care from them. everyday they would ask - what did you do for youself today. no dont tell me what you did for your child or with your child - but what you did just for yourself. it took me a while to understand what selfcare meant. sometimes it was a midnight shower, sometimes just sitting down with a glass of cold water - just little things - taking pleasure in life around you, in the little thing that did not involve your child. mind you i loved my daughter and enjoyed every minute with her. but i also enjoyed waiting to see the hummingbird make it to the hibiscus flower every morning at 7:30. the wise women helped me keep me my needs in focus too.

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#27 of 71 Old 06-24-2014, 12:26 AM
 
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If you "ignore" them in the way you're describing, it's a form of punishment.
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...but isn't it still manipulative, to dole out attention only when the child is behaving as we'd like them to?
Is there really a parenting philosophy that leads parents to believe that ignoring unwanted behavior is punishment while ignoring wanted behavior is not punishment? Is there really a parenting philosophy that leads parents to believe that reacting with attention to wanted behavior is manipulative while reacting with attention to unwanted behavior is not, in effect, just as manipulative?

There are plenty of scientific research findings showing that parents get more of what they pay attention to. This principle was by discovered in the early 1960's by scientists using experiments that showed a caregiver could ramp up and down specific behaviors in two weeks by a factor of 40-fold by just redirecting their attention (not praise, just attention). But I think it's likely some mothers discovered it before that.

How can a parenting philosophy be a good idea if it leads to 40 times more unwanted behavior and 40 time less wanted behavior?

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#28 of 71 Old 06-24-2014, 04:28 AM
 
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Seeing both sides (I DO think that using attention to influence behavior is manipulative), I think that maybe what we have is that Tadasmar is, perhaps, more upfront with the ways in which parents adapt their interaction with their kids with the intent to manage behavior. I think that comes off (initially) to CL folks and lots of GD folks as behaviorist, which I think many of us like to avoid where possible.

I think that is because behaviorist approaches often "ignore" the whole picture. What are we trying to do here? Manage a single behavior? No, right? Ultimately we want our kids to understand how to physically interact with the dog in a way that makes the dog feel safe and loved and creates a life-long bond between the boy and his dog.

I think Tadasmar is trying to caution us to not inadvertently create a situation where we are adding value to behavior that we don't want to see. Right? I mean, it's frustrating enough that our kids are experimenting with things like hitting the dog. We sometimes struggle to understand what they are getting out of that sort of behavior. I do agree that we should take caution to not add a whole other layer of complexity to behaviors like this by reacting in ways that our kids may find confusing, interesting, or entertaining. They are learning about he world, afterall.

My DH is not the world's most natural disciplinarian so I have seen situations in our own home where he or my 12 year old have added a layer if interest (or even pleasure) onto unwanted behaviors. This is actually how I have interpreted "playful parenting" oftentimes and why I don't love that philosophy.

ALL of that said, I think that really thoughtful parents are probably not in the demographic of parents who are unintentionally giving heaps of negative attention. And, hopefully not parents who are not giving enough attention during the rest of the time. I have ABSOLUTELY seen that dynamic (and it is frustrating to witness) but I wonder if the OP is really struggling with this. I'm guessing not.
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#29 of 71 Old 06-24-2014, 05:09 AM
 
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Is there really a parenting philosophy that leads parents to believe that ignoring unwanted behavior is punishment while ignoring wanted behavior is not punishment? Is there really a parenting philosophy that leads parents to believe that paying attention to wanted behavior is manipulative while paying attention to unwanted behavior is not, in effect, just as manipulative?

There are plenty of scientific research findings showing that parents get more of what they pay attention to. This principle was by discovered in the early 1960's by scientists using experiments that showed a caregiver could ramp up and down specific behaviors in two weeks by a factor of 40-fold by just redirecting their attention (not praise, just attention). But I think it's likely some mothers discovered it before that.

How can a parenting philosophy be a good idea if it leads to 40 times more unwanted behavior and 40 time less wanted behavior?
Yes, there is a parenting philosophy that says not to manipulate the child's behavior with reward and punishment. It is the one espoused by Alfie Kohn in his book Unconditional Parenting. Kohn goes into detail about his objection to time-outs and withdrawing attention.

You are not required to like Alfie Kohn's philosophy, but it is not intellectually honest to pretend that it is consonant with his philosophy to deal with the child abusing the dogs by picking up the dog and flouncing out of the room without saying anything.

I know you think that Kohn is doing something behaviorist by telling the parent to praise specific things about a child's behavior rather than saying "Good job!" Perhaps you're right, but if he is, it's an inconsistency in his argument which overall is against manipulating behavior and against time-outs and the withdrawal of attention.

The research on which I based my parenting when my son was three was the Hart and Risley research into language acquisition. It is summarized on this webpage.

It did not lead to 40 times more unwanted behavior. Anyway, how do you quantify how many times more unwanted behavior you get in one kid? When he's THREE? Geez. That seems like a fallacious argument.

Anyway, I personally did say something in the moment after the biting happened and it worked well for me. Explicit teaching around behavior has always been an effective strategy for my son. I've never yet found it to backfire in the way you're saying it can, by reinforcing the behavior through negative attention. That hasn't been an issue for us, as far as I can tell. I always assume that my son wants to learn what I have to teach him, and that's how he acts with me.

When he was three, I made sure that this teaching about behavior came in the context of a calming routine that met his needs for food and sleep and play as much as possible. It taught me a lot about myself and what I need to maximize my own learning and good behavior. One parenting book that is good for the overlap of teaching ethical values and dealing with toddler and pre-school stuff is Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.
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#30 of 71 Old 06-24-2014, 05:26 AM
 
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I think that is because behaviorist approaches often "ignore" the whole picture. What are we trying to do here? Manage a single behavior? No, right? Ultimately we want our kids to understand how to physically interact with the dog in a way that makes the dog feel safe and loved and creates a life-long bond between the boy and his dog.

I think Tadasmar is trying to caution us to not inadvertently create a situation where we are adding value to behavior that we don't want to see. Right?
But to me, this is basically the same thing is worrying that you are rewarding bad behavior if you give a kid a hug to end a tantrum. The child is not a puppy. You don't train him by reinforcing good behavior and ignoring (or otherwise punishing) bad behavior. You teach children using words and examples.

For all I know, I have stupid stereotypes of puppies, too, so forgive me if I don't know enough about dog training to make this comparison! Obviously the OP knows about puppies.

Even very young children learn from what you say to them. Some of what is happening here is instruction. In fact, the OP does know about puppies. She can teach what she knows to her son.

(But this was the model that helped me the most. YMMV. i was raised with hitting, yelling and reactivity and I really feared autopiloting into the same pattern. Remembering that I was teaching something--a value, a piece of information about the world, a skill--helped me keep my cool.)

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