rant about doc and plea for help with DS - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-07-2005, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me preface this by admitting I'm really upset right now.

Today I took DS (3.5) to the doctor for a check-up simply so we could get a referral to a surgeon (another story). We just moved cross-country a few months ago so this was a first time seeing this doctor. She's family practice and I saw her last week for my own check-up and really liked her.

I was pleasantly surprised that she did not push vaxing my DS, but he was misbehaving a lot while we were there (refusing to cooperate with me or the doctor, hiding under the chair, refusing to take off his shirt, refusing to talk to the doctor), so the subject of discipline came up. I had mentioned that I thought 3 was a more difficult age than 2 and she started asking if he tantrums (yes, but not that much), how he sleeps (still wakes up), etc. She asked me how we discipline him and I said we're struggling with it, that his personality seems naturally defiant. She asked if we use time out and I said that we had tried it a few times but that it makes him even more defiant (he just runs out of the room, screaming). Then -- get ready for this, mamas! -- she said, "I know this sounds harsh, but you might want to try locking him in the closet." :

And for some insane reason I just sat there and listened to her. I think I mumbled something like, "We would never do that," but I didn't stand up to her! For some reason I find it really hard to argue with doctors. (DH says, "I don't know why -- you argue with me easily enough.")

While DS was under the chair he reached out and started what felt like tapping my foot but saying "Punch. Punch." The doctor said, "You can't let him punch you. He doesn't punch his father, does he?" I said, "He doesn't really punch anyone." Her: "But I just saw him punch you." So DS, overhearing this, starts hitting my foot more and saying more loudly, "Punch. Punch." So I picked him up and held him and said, "I won't let you hit me." But I felt so self-conscious in front of this doctor who was obviously judging my (lack of) discipline.

So my first question is -- should I report this doctor to someone? If so, who?

And second -- I need help with my DS.

He really does seem out of control lots of time at home lately. (At preschool things seem to be fine.) We generally give him a lot of freedom but when we do try to stop him from doing this that are dangerous or not allowed, he is extremely defiant and will do them anyway, while yelling, "I won't listen to you" or things of that nature. It is a struggle to get him to do the most basic things like get dressed or put his shoes on or take a bath. Setting a timer or making a game of it helps some of the time, but not always. We try not to punish but sometimes when we're at the end of our rope we do threaten things (like leaving the room, not giving some expected treat, etc). Of course these threats never work, he always keeps doing whatever we're trying to get him not to and then if we follow through on the threat he cries and screams and begs for a second chance, promises to do better, etc.

Part of me feels like GD isn't working for us because we're not "getting the results" we would like to see in our DS. But I don't want to do anything that's not gentle, don't want to punish etc, and part of me thinks the goal of discipline should not be to change his behavior (at least not in the short term). Should I lower expectations of DS? Change how we practice GD?

Advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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The doctor shouldn't be handing out parenting advice: she is not a parenting expert. She is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Period. Don't let it get to you that you weren't "standing up for yourself". Some of us just aren't cut out to be confrontational, and her advice was there for you to take or leave. If you want to keep seeing her, I'd say to her the next time you are there that you have people to turn to for parenting advice so you won't be needing her input.

As for your son, well I always find it hard to tell people what they can do when the situation isn't specific, because GD really isn't so much a laundry list of things you do, it's more an attitude and the ability to lay down limits and have your child stay within those limits while still being respectful, gentle, and age-appropriate. This varies so much with children.

One suggestion that comes to mind is: how well prepared was he for this visit? I generally start telling my DD a few days ahead of time that we'll be going to the doc and prepare her for what is going to happen. She likes to hear it in the form of a story. I can see that, if she weren't prepared, she would probably be more "defiant" in the doc office, basically out of fear. My DD doesn't act the way your son does, so I'm not sure exactly how I would handle those things in the moment. I suspect this is more a preparational/context thing and not an issue with your child in that moment...if that makes any sense!

GD can work for every child. I truly believe that. But finding what works to help your child stay within limits of behaviour depends so much on their personality and what things work for them. It's all about trial and error, and gradually figuring out what your child responds well to. Some kids need to have chores made into games, others just want things to happen in a predictable routine, some need the parent to physically step in and guide them, others need to be given aids like timers because they want to do it themselves...there are just so many things.


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Old 12-07-2005, 12:50 AM
 
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hi, just thought i'd offer some support, don't really have answers. we have similar issues...a sort of naturally defiant kind of child. timeouts don't work well for us either and i go back and forth on the best way to deal with discipline. kid cooperation was a good book for giving me some suggestions on the child who balks at the idea of timeout and raising your spirited child has also helped me a little (sounds like we both have spirited ones!) but that doctor was definitely out of line. your child was just responding that way, it seems like, because he was in a new situation with a new doctor and then doing the punch, punch thing b/c she was talking about locking him in a closet! she was being way too judgmental. you didn't go there to seek her advice on discipline. i would maybe write a letter to the practice if she's in one. good luck!
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Old 12-07-2005, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Piglet68
The doctor shouldn't be handing out parenting advice: she is not a parenting expert. She is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Period.
That's what I wished I could have said to her! But I'm kind of used to doctors handing out undesired parenting advice; it was the extremity (and IMO, abusive nature) of what she suggested that I found so shocking.

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Originally Posted by Piglet68
GD really isn't so much a laundry list of things you do, it's more an attitude and the ability to lay down limits and have your child stay within those limits while still being respectful, gentle, and age-appropriate.
I can appreciate that there is nothing that works for all kids. I'm just frustrated that I've put so much time reading and GD and trying different approaches and nothing seems to be working during this difficult stage. We definitely have limits but DS ignores them or attempts to pass them and then I'm not sure how to respond. For example, we bought an advent calendar. DS demands the chocolates. We explain that he can eat one each day, after eating a healthy breakfast. He screams and begs for it. We explain again. He climbs up on a chair, dangerously, trying to get it off the wall. We put it up higher. He has a tantrum. He asks repeatedly all day to have the chocolate. Eventually we threaten that we'll get rid of it if he doesn't stop. He keeps it up. We don't follow through on our threat because a) that would lead to a worse tantrum; b) we don't really want to get rid of it because we spent money on it. We know now that we shouldn't bring this kind of thing into our home (prevention being more effective), but once the problem had started we're unsure how to proceed. And of course I realize that the threat was not a good thing to do, esp. without follow-through, but in a moment of frustration with being nagged that's what came out of DH's mouth (or mine, can't remember).

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Originally Posted by Piglet68
One suggestion that comes to mind is: how well prepared was he for this visit? I generally start telling my DD a few days ahead of time that we'll be going to the doc and prepare her for what is going to happen. She likes to hear it in the form of a story. I can see that, if she weren't prepared, she would probably be more "defiant" in the doc office, basically out of fear. My DD doesn't act the way your son does, so I'm not sure exactly how I would handle those things in the moment. I suspect this is more a preparational/context thing and not an issue with your child in that moment...if that makes any sense!
You may be right. I used to always prepare DS for this kind of thing. However lately he has been so negative about everything we plan to do that I thought it might be better not to bring it up in advance.

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Originally Posted by Piglet68
GD can work for every child. I truly believe that.
I hope you're right! Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2005, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i would maybe write a letter to the practice if she's in one. good luck!
I think I will. It's a big HMO.
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Old 12-07-2005, 01:40 AM
 
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I really recommend the books by Faber and Mazlish.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

Siblings Without Rivalry

Liberated Parents, Liberated Children

How to Talk So Kids Will Learn

They are very respectful of children as people. Their ideas work really well for us.

As for the dr., I would disregard her info., not go back, and report her.

Mom to Eoin (11/02), Eilis (09/04), Eamon (07/07), and Ellery (04/10)
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Old 12-07-2005, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really recommend the books by Faber and Mazlish.
Thanks, I have read How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, but I will check out the others, as well as those suggested by bellflower.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:10 AM
 
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We don't follow through on our threat because a) that would lead to a worse tantrum; b) we don't really want to get rid of it because we spent money on it. We know now that we shouldn't bring this kind of thing into our home (prevention being more effective), but once the problem had started we're unsure how to proceed. And of course I realize that the threat was not a good thing to do, esp. without follow-through, but in a moment of frustration with being nagged that's what came out of DH's mouth (or mine, can't remember).
This is the root of the problem, IMO. You are absolutely right that you should not say you are going to do something if you are not actually prepared to do it. Take time to think about what your response is going to be, try not to say things in the heat of the moment that you might regret later.

So, what are your options regarding the advent calendar? It has clearly become a source of stress for you all so I don't think moving it higher and arguing about it every day is working out. You could actually get rid of it. Personally, I am not crazy about your reasons for not getting rid of it, but I agree that it's probably not a great idea, because I think it will intensify the adversarial dynamic that appears to be getting set up. You could let him eat all the candy. This sounds crazy, but the theory behind it is that he'll eat it all and then be sorry it's gone the next day, yk? He'll experience first hand what happens when you eat all your advent candy the first day - that you don't have any more candy for the rest of advent. He might not get that, of course - he might just be glad he got to eat all the candy. But then you have to ask yourself, who did you buy the calendar for, and for what purpose? Is it your calendar, or his? Is it supposed to be fun, or a source of strife? What is the big deal if he eats it all in one day, really?

FWIW, here is my general rule of thumb in trying to figure out how to respond to a given situation - whenever possible, let DS find out for himself what happens when he does X. Don't make him put on his shoes, let him go outside and get cold feet. Bring his shoes so he can have them when he wants them. Of course you have to intervene in cases of safety, so if for some reason he went and stood in the snow barefoot for ten minutes and he was in danger of getting frostbite, you would have to do something like make him come inside, possibly see a doctor. But 999 out of 1000 kids will not stand barefoot in the snow, they'll say "hey, my feet are freezing" and they'll put on the shoes. I find that this approach really reduces the friction and power struggles.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, what are your options regarding the advent calendar? It has clearly become a source of stress for you all so I don't think moving it higher and arguing about it every day is working out. You could actually get rid of it. Personally, I am not crazy about your reasons for not getting rid of it, but I agree that it's probably not a great idea, because I think it will intensify the adversarial dynamic that appears to be getting set up. You could let him eat all the candy. This sounds crazy, but the theory behind it is that he'll eat it all and then be sorry it's gone the next day, yk? He'll experience first hand what happens when you eat all your advent candy the first day - that you don't have any more candy for the rest of advent. He might not get that, of course - he might just be glad he got to eat all the candy. But then you have to ask yourself, who did you buy the calendar for, and for what purpose? Is it your calendar, or his? Is it supposed to be fun, or a source of strife? What is the big deal if he eats it all in one day, really?
I guess I didn't make clear that the problem was really just one day -- he still asks sometimes for a second piece but seems to understand the rule now. I do think you're right, though, about better ways to handle similar situations in the future. DH and I can't agree, though, on whether we would allow DS to eat all that. I would, following your logic, but DH worries about the effect of so much sugar on DS and that we're sending the message that it's okay to eat as much junk food as you want, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by famousmockngbrd
FWIW, here is my general rule of thumb in trying to figure out how to respond to a given situation - whenever possible, let DS find out for himself what happens when he does X. Don't make him put on his shoes, let him go outside and get cold feet. Bring his shoes so he can have them when he wants them. Of course you have to intervene in cases of safety, so if for some reason he went and stood in the snow barefoot for ten minutes and he was in danger of getting frostbite, you would have to do something like make him come inside, possibly see a doctor. But 999 out of 1000 kids will not stand barefoot in the snow, they'll say "hey, my feet are freezing" and they'll put on the shoes. I find that this approach really reduces the friction and power struggles.
I really like this suggestion and can see how it would help with some of our struggles. I'm curious, though, how you would handle things like: needing to wear shoes to go to preschool (we walk there, it's close by, not safe to walk in Los Angeles without shoes, and shoes required by the school); or needing to put on a diaper at bedtime (still pees at night).
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:47 AM
 
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"I know this sounds harsh, but you might want to try locking him in the closet."




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She had to be JOKING OMG please tell me she was joking
that isnt discipline that is child abuse, that is what people do to kids they abduct and torture. I would never step foot in her office again and I would write her a letter along with any other dr she practices with and tell them what she said and exactly why I am no longer gonna visit that practice. Weather or not she should be giving parenting "advice" is totally beside the point. That she would say something like that just makes me :Puke

 
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:50 AM
 
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Yeah, it's those gray ones that get us, huh?

With the shoes, maybe you could find a pair that he'll wear, i.e. he might not like sneakers but he'll wear sandals. Or, you could take him to school in a wagon or a stroller and put his shoes on when he gets there. If he won't put them on, and his preschool won't let him in without them, I guess he'd have to miss preschool. But there are lots of things you can try to get him to put them on - silly songs, making his shoes "talk" and beg to get on his feet, pretending you don't know where the shoes are supposed to go and try to put them on his hands, etc. etc. But I know, sometimes they just say "no" and that's it. For me, it then becomes "how bad do we need to go to X?"

With the diaper, I guess I'd let him wear the underwear. Do you co-sleep? Maybe put an absorbent pad under him the first few times? I remember when DS wanted to skip the nighttime dipe for the first time, I was really nervous but he was fine. And, if he wakes up in a wet bed a few times he'll be more open to the dipe

sorry dd awake, nak now
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She had to be JOKING OMG please tell me she was joking
that isnt discipline that is child abuse, that is what people do to kids they abduct and torture. I would never step foot in her office again and I would write her a letter along with any other dr she practices with and tell them what she said and exactly why I am no longer gonna visit that practice. Weather or not she should be giving parenting "advice" is totally beside the point. That she would say something like that just makes me :Puke
Unfortunately, she was not joking. She went on to elaborate on how I should let him cry ("even for a couple of hours") when he wakes up, until I told her he doesn't have a crib so would just get out of bed, to which she asked, "And I guess you don't want to lock your door, either?" Then described in detail how if he were to lock him in the closet it should be the dutch door type ("because if it were closed all the way that would be dark and scary") but tall enough that he could not climb out.

I can't believe I liked her as my doctor. No way will I go see her again.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, it's those gray ones that get us, huh?

With the shoes, maybe you could find a pair that he'll wear, i.e. he might not like sneakers but he'll wear sandals. Or, you could take him to school in a wagon or a stroller and put his shoes on when he gets there. If he won't put them on, and his preschool won't let him in without them, I guess he'd have to miss preschool. But there are lots of things you can try to get him to put them on - silly songs, making his shoes "talk" and beg to get on his feet, pretending you don't know where the shoes are supposed to go and try to put them on his hands, etc. etc. But I know, sometimes they just say "no" and that's it. For me, it then becomes "how bad do we need to go to X?"

With the diaper, I guess I'd let him wear the underwear. Do you co-sleep? Maybe put an absorbent pad under him the first few times? I remember when DS wanted to skip the nighttime dipe for the first time, I was really nervous but he was fine. And, if he wakes up in a wet bed a few times he'll be more open to the dipe

sorry dd awake, nak now
More gray areas, then: what if he MUST go to preschool? (it is also daycare for us since we work FT) And what if a wet bed would mean I'm up in the middle of the night changing him and then for however long it takes him to get back to sleep? I love the idea of avoiding power struggles, but sometimes it seems like we can't give in to what DS wants (even if that might teach him something) because it causes too much inconvenience for other members of the family. (I do agree, though, that we should find ways to let him do things his way more than we do now.)
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:22 AM
 
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Also, you might want to read the book Playful Parenting, if you haven't already. I am not quite finished with it, but I love it. It is all about connecting to your kids emotionally, and staying connected so you can communicate and respect each other. It also has tons of ideas for turning everyday struggles and chores into games and fun learning experiences.

http://www.playfulparenting.com/

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:09 AM
 
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What I found with my older son is that he was easy enough to just compromise and do this or that and let things ride until he turned about 4. Then all heck broke loose. He started seeing loop holes that he hadn't seen before, and he figured out that temper tantruming in a certain way would set me off.

I just now, at 5.75 yrs old, so 1 3/4 years later, feel that I am regaining my handle on my original approach which was calm, firm direction.

I find that if I do not give direction, my son feels very out of control. The key is, I want to teach him to control himself, and in his case, he still needs direction.

Some situations, like the shoes, if they've gotten out of hand take time to resettle. We have the diaper issue too, so I'll give you an example of what I mean. I say, "We are going to brush your teeth, put a diaper on, read a book, and then go to sleep." Instant baby voice: "No dipey!" Me again, "We are going to brush your teeth, put a diaper on, read a book, and then go to sleep." "No dipey!" I'm just firm and calm. I repeat what I expect. I acknowledge briefly that he may not like it, but he still has to do it.

Now this has always worked with my son, BUT for a while, b/w ages 4-5.75, I felt like I was coercing him---and maybe some will say I am---which I didn't want to do, or trying to control him too much. But now I see that for him, without knowing what the rules are, the expectations, without him seeing that Mama is the guiding force behind the nighttime routine, for instance, he feels very out of control. He has too much power for such a little guy to handle. And that makes the other things that he should be able to handle, like getting an exam at the doctor, harder.

Baby waking....Gotta run....
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:17 PM
 
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With the shoes, coats, hat, clothes, I use the same approach as the OP.
I let him go out without a coat, shoes, etc and within seconds he wants them on, rarely makes it past the threshhold (it's dang cold here!)
If he doesn't want shoes on but you have to leave for preshool, then he needs to ride in the stroller until he puts the shoes on.
Or, even before it gets to that point, I tell my ds, "we are going to preschool in 5 minutes. You need shoes on. I let him pick between 2 pair. Any unacceptable shoe choices (wrong season etc) should be put away so he can't see them. I repeat "you need shoes to go to school, that's the rule at school, we're leaving now". When he chooses a pair he can put them on himself (velcro straps). If he won't put them on, I calmy start to do it myself. If he still resists, in the car he goes without the shoes. If he won't put them on before we go in the building to preschool, I carry him in with the shoes. Before I can put him down to play with the other kids, he must put them on. We've never gotten that far, though.

Another thing that worked with my ds was to distract him with a toy or book. I have him choose one to bring with him in the car for the ride. Once he gets it I talk to him about it while I quietly put his socks and shoes on. The act of running to choose a toy/book sometimes diffuses the struggle in other areas, like shoes. Sometimes.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, you might want to read the book Playful Parenting, if you haven't already. I am not quite finished with it, but I love it. It is all about connecting to your kids emotionally, and staying connected so you can communicate and respect each other. It also has tons of ideas for turning everyday struggles and chores into games and fun learning experiences.

http://www.playfulparenting.com/
I have read it, and love it. I love the ideas more than I can say I found them truly effective with my DS. But I will keept trying. I'm also trying to get DH to read it so we can work on it more together.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some situations, like the shoes, if they've gotten out of hand take time to resettle. We have the diaper issue too, so I'll give you an example of what I mean. I say, "We are going to brush your teeth, put a diaper on, read a book, and then go to sleep." Instant baby voice: "No dipey!" Me again, "We are going to brush your teeth, put a diaper on, read a book, and then go to sleep." "No dipey!" I'm just firm and calm. I repeat what I expect. I acknowledge briefly that he may not like it, but he still has to do it.
This sounds exactly like my DS. Except that it doesn't "work" for him, as it does for your DS. (What exactly do you mean that it works, anyway?) I remain firm and calm and he will perhaps lay down on the diaper but repeatedly kicks me while screaming. Lately I sometimes have to leave the room because I'm so upset that he's hurting me. However last night we made it into a game and that helps, but that technique is hit-or-miss. I definitely agree that things can take time to resettle. I've noticed that he gets into a pattern where he must act like a maniac every night at bedtime, or must object to the diaper, but once we've broken the pattern things will be better for a while. It's hard to figure out how to break it sometimes, though.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking more about the advent calendar example and famousmockingbird's suggestion about how to handle similar situations in the future. I have a question, for everyone. Let's say you you would like your child to just have the one chocolate each day, but are willing to let him have more to avoid power struggles. At what point do you "give in" to what your child wants? In other words, would you lay down the rule, "Just one per day," but then change your mind when the child asks for more? Or would you just never mention such a rule in the first place? I guess I'm concerned that DS not think all rules can be abandoned. Thinking out loud here, happy to get input.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:05 PM
 
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The doctor shouldn't be handing out parenting advice: she is not a parenting expert. She is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Period. Don't let it get to you that you weren't "standing up for yourself". Some of us just aren't cut out to be confrontational, and her advice was there for you to take or leave. If you want to keep seeing her, I'd say to her the next time you are there that you have people to turn to for parenting advice so you won't be needing her input.
Yes, exactly. My doctor is always dispensing parenting advice, sometimes I just smile, sometimes I say, "No, that's not going to work for our family," and then try and steer the conversation elsewhere. He told a friend of mine to lock her son in his room if he kept getting out of bed, and he told me once to spank my child if she ran out in the street. I just ignore it because he's a good doctor. He never gives antibiotics if they don't need them, he's up on the research, and he's well trained in medicine.

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Old 12-08-2005, 02:38 AM
 
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chiedza - I would explain the idea to him without presenting it as a "rule", per se. Just like, "here's this calendar, this is how it works." Then if he wanted to eat all the candy at once, I'd probably say something like "You can, but then you won't have any more candy tomorrow or the day after that or for the rest of advent, and the calendar will be over." Then the choice is his.
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Old 12-08-2005, 03:58 AM
 
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chiezda--some of what you describe with your son reminds me of my nephew. I will preface this by saying he is 10 now and a really wonderful person. But up until he was about 8, there were times he was a struggle. And my sister and her husband were not in agreement on how to handle him, and that's what I see between the lines in your posts. My sister was sure GD was the way, and my BIL just wanted to smack my nephew into liine and show him who was boss. I know my nephew was smart enough to understand there was conflict, and he was feeling his way around them, testing limits all the time. Here's the other thing-- my sister is the most loving, gentle person. She does get taken advantage of sometimes. I am much more direct--so, not as well liked but.... Her son would always behave for me when it was just he and I. But if it was my sister, him and me, then it was stuff exactly like what you described in the doctor's office ('punch. punch.') My nephew would do EXACTLY the same kind of thing--something provocative that he knew I wouldn't allow but my sister would tolerate out of embarassment. I think he understood we were different and wanted to see what would happen.

I remember my impression of my nephew was that he was 'fiery' for those years. Intensely smart, intensely high energy, intensely everything. In fact when I mentioned this to my husband once he said, "well, yeah, haven't you noticed that his clothes always have pictures of fire or flames on them." And he was right!

I remember we would all talk about how my sister was too easy on my nephew and he needed more discipline. He offended everyone at some point, and there were some very tense moments between my sister and I. He did hit her, and yell at her, and do exactly what he was told not to do. It was ugly sometimes. But I always loved my nephew and he knew that. One time he even told her he wanted me to 'discipline' him.

One day my sister just reached her limit. Maybe he hit her hard enought o hurt her, I'm not sure. But I know she reached a point where she realized that part of the problem was that she was not comfortable being in a role of authority. Part of her just wanted to believe my nephew would self regulate his behavior based on being loved. I think that was her misinterpreation of gentle discipline. Children do seek limits and guidance and the security of feeling that their parents are in charge. She had to get past being uncomfortable with being in charge --that a parent does have to set limits and then mean it--and she had to become very consistent on consequences. She never liked being in that role but she accepted that she had to be that. She and my BIL got in synch on how they would handle situations and they agreed to back each other up so my nephew did not see any uncertainty between them. She never stopped using GD but she was direct and attentive to everything in the moment that it was happening. She stopped letting things go for the sake of ease.

Agh, I'm rambling. I offer all this for perspective, since I don't know you or your son. But you have such good intentions and I hope you can find a way to help your son calm down without feeling like you have to abandon the principles of gentle discipline. It's been awhile but I remember Dr. Sears has a book about discipline that I liked at the time I looked at it.

Good luck.
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Old 12-08-2005, 04:09 AM
 
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PS -- She NEVER locked him in a closet! That doctor was WAY out of line and I would write her a letter and copy the rest of the practice. Even if 'nothing' happens as a result, they will be aware of her bizarre advice, which is a liability to them. Maybe in that way it can have a good outcome that she said it to you since you had the sense to question it and can therefore call her on it. It's possible she's given that 'advice' to others who haven't questioned it.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:48 AM
 
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[QUOTE=mamaverdi]I find that if I do not give direction, my son feels very out of control. The key is, I want to teach him to control himself, and in his case, he still needs direction.
But now I see that for him, without knowing what the rules are, the expectations, without him seeing that Mama is the guiding force behind the nighttime routine, for instance, he feels very out of control. He has too much power for such a little guy to handle. And that makes the other things that he should be able to handle, like getting an exam at the doctor, harder.
QUOTE]
What shw said. Discipline means teaching, not punishing, and you are teaching him things he doesn't know yet - too much candy is not good for him, he needs shoes to walk to school, etc. Keep in mind that at his age he is testing limits, and will push as far as you let him. It's normal development, but he needs to know there are boundaries. boundaries make kids feel more secure in their lives and gives them solid expectations.

Tantrums are normal and nothing to be afraid of. Every so often my son will go through a period of tantrums until I figure out how to handle them gently. I've gotten better at reading his signals, watching for triggers, etc., so it's gotten easier over time.

Gentle discipline does NOT mean a child does whatever they want. Like the pp said, that will lead to more and mroe defiance, power struggles, etc.

Christine, mama to Daniel & Abby, 9 and Patrick, 4. Wife to a rockin' train engineer. Gluten and nightshade-free. Multiple kiddie food sensitivities.

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Old 12-08-2005, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies, suggestions and support. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this.

I realized after thinking about this more that part of the struggle between me and DS is that he has a lot of behaviors I don't like but that I can't think of any appropriate consequence for, so I either ignore them, or -- if pushed to MY limits -- threaten something not appropriate or that I can't follow through on.

For example, he still wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into our bed. He wakes up earlier than I'd like and will lie there whispering to himself, playing quietly with a toy, etc. Part of me can see that he's actually trying to be quiet, which I appreciate, but I am such a light sleeper that there is no way I can sleep through this. I ask or tell him to be totally silent (unrealistic, I know), and he isn't. I give him a choice: you can play in your room by yourself or you can be here and sleep. He screams, "I want to sleep!" But stays and makes noise. And I have then sometimes threatened, "If you can't sleep here or play by yourself in your room, then you won't be allowed to sleep in here anymore." Which, although I would like that, I won't follow through on because it would mean me waking up in the middle of the night to try to get him back to sleep in his own bed.

This is just an example. My frustration is that (in this example) my attempts to gently discipline him are ignored, he just does whatever he wants. There are no consequences because I can't think of any that are appropriate. I think part of the problem is that even though I believe in GD, I still feel pressure from society, doctors, etc. for him to "behave" or "do what he's told." So when GD doesn't result in that, I feel frustrated (but not ready to give up GD, just looking for more ideas!).

And an update on the doctor situation: I filed a complaint with Kaiser Permanente, with the California Osteopathic Medicine Board, and (because she also forcibly retracted my son's foreskin) with a lawyer who does pro-bono work on (anti-)circumcision issues. In fact, I was so upset by my meeting with that doctor that I couldn't stop thinking about it all day yesterday. And the more I thought about it I realized that I was more upset about her retracting my son's foreskin than about her locking-him-in-the-closet-suggestion (since as many of you said, it's easy enough to ignore that advice), but that that my shock at that suggestion had made me unable to process what else was going on during the appointment, and therefore I failed prevent her from retracting him. I apologized to my DS for taking him to that doctor and he forgave me.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:50 PM
 
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i scanned through the replies to see if someone, anyone had suggetsed to report this doctor to the overseeing board in yoour state.

all doctors must display information in their offices about how to complain about a doctor. you need to do this ASAP!! i can't imagine how many other parents are abusing teir children because of her.

usually you have to do it in writing. i found the info i needed about NY state online. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE report this doctor ASAP. something very messed up is going on here. :

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 12-10-2005, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i scanned through the replies to see if someone, anyone had suggetsed to report this doctor to the overseeing board in yoour state.

all doctors must display information in their offices about how to complain about a doctor. you need to do this ASAP!! i can't imagine how many other parents are abusing teir children because of her.

usually you have to do it in writing. i found the info i needed about NY state online. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE report this doctor ASAP. something very messed up is going on here. :
honeybeedreams, in my post just above yours I gave an update that I had reported the doctor. I still haven't heard any response from the review board yet.
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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chiedza - I would explain the idea to him without presenting it as a "rule", per se. Just like, "here's this calendar, this is how it works." Then if he wanted to eat all the candy at once, I'd probably say something like "You can, but then you won't have any more candy tomorrow or the day after that or for the rest of advent, and the calendar will be over." Then the choice is his.
I really like this suggestion. I'm starting to see that I need to really rethink my approach to things to simply avoid struggles rather than always reacting to them after the fact. Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:28 PM
 
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And an update on the doctor situation: I filed a complaint with Kaiser Permanente, with the California Osteopathic Medicine Board, and (because she also forcibly retracted my son's foreskin) with a lawyer who does pro-bono work on (anti-)circumcision issues. In fact, I was so upset by my meeting with that doctor that I couldn't stop thinking about it all day yesterday. And the more I thought about it I realized that I was more upset about her retracting my son's foreskin than about her locking-him-in-the-closet-suggestion (since as many of you said, it's easy enough to ignore that advice), but that that my shock at that suggestion had made me unable to process what else was going on during the appointment, and therefore I failed prevent her from retracting him. I apologized to my DS for taking him to that doctor and he forgave me.

OOPS!!! sorry, somehow i missed the last post in the thread. goof for you for filing a complaint. you can also call the local LLL leaders and give them the docs name and tell them what happened. there may also be a local API group around and you could warn them too.

this doc sounds like a real loser and i hope you are very vocal in your complaints about her.



"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 12-10-2005, 05:02 PM
 
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Ok, first of all, I can't believe a doctor would say that!!! Good for you for reporting her. And actually, I think saying that "we would never do that" IS standing up for yourself. Especially if you're not a confrontational person by nature (which I am not). That's my reaction to people who advise cio. I think that conveys enough that you feel it's not a good thing to do.

Second, I think it might help to read the articles in this thread http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=377695
Has anyone recommended Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Laura Davis? I got it from the library and I loved it so much (the discipline section), I bought it. Also, Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon. There are some of his articles here: http://www.nospank.net/gordon4.htm

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Originally Posted by chiedza
We definitely have limits but DS ignores them or attempts to pass them and then I'm not sure how to respond. For example, we bought an advent calendar. DS demands the chocolates. We explain that he can eat one each day, after eating a healthy breakfast. He screams and begs for it. We explain again. He climbs up on a chair, dangerously, trying to get it off the wall. We put it up higher. He has a tantrum. He asks repeatedly all day to have the chocolate. Eventually we threaten that we'll get rid of it if he doesn't stop. He keeps it up. We don't follow through on our threat because a) that would lead to a worse tantrum; b) we don't really want to get rid of it because we spent money on it.
First, I'd determine exactly *why* that rule exists, and tell him (if you haven't already), and decide how important it is to you. I would personally be ok with ds having more than one piece of candy, but I would have a limit somewhere. I'd not tell it as a "rule," but rather as what YOU feel would be best.
There's a chance that its not as much about the candy as it is about a control or autonomy issue for him at this point. Especially sice its there, and you are kinda in charge of when it gets to be eaten. Perhaps if you let him have as much as he wants for a while, that issue would go away. Or, you could give him your reasons, and let him tell you his, and ask HIM what he thinks would be a good solution, that would make everyone happy. He might insist on eating all the candy, or he might surprise you.
If your limit is indeed one piece, or if he's hit the limit and still wants more, then just tell him. "You've eaten your candy for today, its not healthy for us to eat too much candy. There will be more candy to eat tomorrow. I know, you're really bummed out because you wanted more candy NOW" and that's it. Put it up high enough (or out of sight or whatever) that he can't get to it. If he throws a tantrum, be there, and be understanding, but don't try to make it stop. If he asks continuously all day, repeat what you'd said earlier.
And stop there. Don't threaten anything.
I think that kids to want parents to be "in control" in a way. Not in a coercive kind of way (including punishments and rewards), but in a "parents are authority figures" kind of way. They just ARE in charge- it doesn't have to be enforced by punishments. kwim? I think that when parents aren't in charge, it's confusing to kids, and gives them too much responsibility to handle. Also, I think when parents resort to punishments, it's a sign that they aren't totally "in charge". It seems to give the child the sense that the parents aren't really in control. Does that make sense?
I'm still working through my exact thoughts on this. But so far it's making total sense to me- I'm just not able to get it into words exactly.

As for sleeping, tell him WHY you need him to be either silent in your room, or playing in his own room. Just explain it to him "its really hard for me to sleep with any noise at all, and I'm still tired and want to sleep", then let him decide what to do. I bet that after a while it will sink in, and he'll be more understanding of your needs, and he'll try even harder to respect them. If you feel the need to add something, try "if you stay in here, and make noise, I can't sleep, and I'll be more grumpy today than normal" or something. Because THAT'S the truth. lol

Quote:
I've been thinking more about the advent calendar example and famousmockingbird's suggestion about how to handle similar situations in the future. I have a question, for everyone. Let's say you you would like your child to just have the one chocolate each day, but are willing to let him have more to avoid power struggles. At what point do you "give in" to what your child wants? In other words, would you lay down the rule, "Just one per day," but then change your mind when the child asks for more? Or would you just never mention such a rule in the first place? I guess I'm concerned that DS not think all rules can be abandoned. Thinking out loud here, happy to get input.
Try not to think in terms of "power struggles". Try to think in terms of differing desires. or whatever. You want one thing, he wants another. As far as "giving in" goes- I will "give in" (though I don't think of it as giving in) if I realize that something is more important to my ds than it is to me. And I try to say something to that effect- "I didn't realize it was that important to you. It's ok with me if you do x" IMO, its only "giving in" when you are doing something you don't WANT to do, and you're doing it to make your child stop crying, or to prevent a scene, or whathaveyou "ok fine. just do it."
Like I said, I wouldn't have the rule, but after a couple, I'd want him to stop eating candy. So, for example, I say "that's the last cookie for now. Too many cookies isn't healthy for us." (that's as far asit gets here, at this point)If it seemed to be a big deal to him to have another, I'd probably let him, to a point. After that, I'd try to be understanding, but just keep saying no (and a short explaination why), unapologetically.

The basic things I try to keep in mind- His feelings, opinions, and desires matter just as much as mine (not more, not less).
Kids are born to be social creatures. They WANT to do the "right" (socially acceptable) thing. If they don't, its most likely because they lack information (or they forgot), they don't have the tools (impulse control) or there's an underlying need- they're hungry, angry, tired, or lonely (that's ScubaMom's HALT theory). We have to help them be able to do the right thing.

Ok, I've blabbed enough. I really hope that some of this is helpful!

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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