Modified time-out (I think) - is this GD or not? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-10-2006, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted a little while back about how my 2.5 year old is not listening to me, and is actively going out of her way to do things I tell her not to do. This has been very aggravating for me and has been causing a lot of stress.

I haven't really known what to do. I've childproofed to the extent I feel able, and I've decided to let the little things go (like the power struggle we were starting to have over her removing her sandals in the car).

And once that is done, the bottom line is there are some things that I cannot change, and that she simply cannot do. She can't push the button on the dryer over and over again - it will break. She can't be rough with her pet bunny - the bunny will be hurt. She can't chase the ten year old pit bull around - the dog is patient, but enough teasing will result in a bite.

So. What I've been doing is parent imposed consequences, often including a mini-time out. It tends to go like this:

Me: "Please stop pressing the dryer button. That can break the dryer."
Her: "I will press the dryer button."
Me: "You need to stop pressing the dryer button. If you press it again, I will put you on sofa."

Then if she presses it again, I put her on the sofa, and she is immediately allowed to get off, but just this action usually means she dissolves into hysterical tears. And I comfort her of course.

But then she doesn't press the dryer button again. And now often if I tell her I will put her on the sofa, she will stop doing whatever the thing is that I'm trying to stop.

I'm conflicted about this. I said I wouldn't do time out. But... it's working. And I am way calmer in my dealing with the not listening, because I know I have a tool that will work.

What do you all think?

If you're not cool with it, I really need practical solutions that will work. I would be open to doing something better for sure, I want to do the best I can here for my daughter. But I need something that works, yk?
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:59 PM
 
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Well, its certainly more GD than hitting her hand! I think that removing a small child from a situation that is too tempting for them to resist but could be harmful to them or property is OK. But then, I'm not the most gentle around here... However, I would be uncomfortable with the "threat" of the time-out part of your scenario. After a button push, and a "please don't do that", another button push would result in child being removed to another room and distracted. Not to a certain place and no threat involved. I think its relative. There are few perfect answers, probably because there are few perfect kids and perfect parents.

For me, the dryer wouldn't be worth the struggle because I don't think it will break if pushed repeatedly. But if you have evidence to the contrary or a particularly "last legs dryer", it might be different. And I wonder if there is a better way to keep her away from the button, if you are really concerned about it? That seems like an environment change would solve it.

The pets are a different story. I think the only way to really work with this one is to be right there any time they interact and to physically guide her hands, especially with the bunny. With the dog, you probably have less control over the situation, but I might isolate the dog and child from each other rather than do "time out".

The problem with timeouts alone is that they don't teach what a child should do, only what they shouldn't do. And left to their own thoughts, they can probably come up with some less-than-ideal alternatives. "Can't push the dryer button, maybe I should kick it instead?" So if you are going to do a "remove from the situation", then you need to include the positive "this is what you should do" at some other time. So, maybe something like "DD, please push the dryer button one time for me" while you are starting the dryer, and then moving on to some other activity. "Pet the bunny gently", then putting bunny back in the cage when you can't supervise anymore.

Timeouts can stop the situation, but they don't solve the underlying issue. We used them with my son to get him to stop hitting, but not in isolation. They have to be combined with lessons in what should be done is whatever situation is a problem.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:14 PM
 
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What I would do it TOTALLY ignore her when she is doing that. Leave the room. When she sees you don't care I bet ya anything it's no longer a fun thing to do!! Good luck!!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm. Thanks for the suggestion rmzbm, and for your thoughtful post, Evan&Anna's Mom.

True about the dryer, it is an old apartment-size dryer, and I just assumed pushing the button excessively would break it. But maybe it doesn't matter. It's also noisy and annoying, to be honest, to hear it buzz continuously.

On the dog and rabbit - folks suggested isolating the dog and supervising all interactions with the rabbit on my previous thread. But I can't see those things working here. We have a small apartment, there is really nowhere convenient to put the dog, plus it feels mean seperating her from the family. She is an old dog and enjoys laying curled up on the sofa.

And supervising the rabbit interactions constantly - I really don't have time for that. I do keep a close eye when my daughter is with the rabbit, and I often encourage and hooray when she is interacting appropriately. But I have other things I have to be doing, and by the time I've had my day at school, picked up my daughter from her caregiver, maybe had a mini-adventure outside of the house with her, and come home, I need to cook dinner, maybe tidy up, change clothes, do my reading, attempt a little homework. If I only let the rabbit out when I could be *right* there without focusing on anything else, it wouldn't get any exercise time.

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The problem with timeouts alone is that they don't teach what a child should do, only what they shouldn't do.
Yeah, this is a really good point. And I don't feel entirely comfortable with what I am doing currently, obviously.

But I am not perfect, and I am not super-energetic-engaged-all-the-time supermom, yk? I don't always have tonnes of attention to devote to a problem as it's occuring. It sounds awful, but it's true. When the dryer button thing happened this evening, I was dry-roasting rice, chopping mushrooms, and making a sandwich for my daughter. It's way more feasible to say, "If you press the button again I will put you on sofa," than it is to distract her and engage with her in another room.

The ignoring thing sounds about my speed tho.

I'm thinking the issues this brings up for me are about balance. My needs vs hers. And the needs of others in the household vs. hers. I need to be able to focus on other things, and not drop everything because she is harrassing a pet or using something in the household in a way that will break it. The bunny needs to be able to exercise without being harmed. The dog needs to be able to sleep in the middle of things without being harrassed.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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i often talk with other parents about the idea of a threat...i totally agree with using "if you do this, I will do that" as being a threat. so I try to change to using what the child can do but in some instances, I will tell my daughter when you hit me it hurts, I am going to hold your hand so you can not hurt me. my dd is 4 btw...usually a easy mannered kiddo, but she just hasn't been herself....
so, i agree with taking away the threats but it is hard to get out of doing...I find myself using threats more often than I would like these days *sigh*

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Old 05-10-2006, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it a threat, or is it information about what will happen?

I tend to think a threat is something that isn't followed through on, or something mean/violent.

What is wrong with telling her that if she does x, I will do y? I'm not getting it. I think it is more fair for her to have a chance to stop doing whatever it is before she gets a consequence imposed from me.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama

Then if she presses it again, I put her on the sofa, and she is immediately allowed to get off, but just this action usually means she dissolves into hysterical tears. And I comfort her of course.
Although I have very few memories of childhood, I do distinctly remember how affectionate my mother was after she spanked me. As the third child, with two siblings very close to my age, I didn't get much overt affection. I clearly remember thinking, "Hey, I can stand a little spanking if the payoff is all this loving." Be careful that the comforting isn't so desirable that she misbehaves just to get there.

I can't imagine a much more gentle "punishment" than sitting on the couch for a few seconds and then getting comforted by mommy. The fact that she dissolves into tears probably isn't so much because she's offended by the punishment, but because she was made to stop doing something she wanted to do. Damn that growing independence!

If the time outs are working, why would you worry about stopping them? It's working, and she's not getting hurt at all. The dryer, however, really could get hurt. My little laundry helper also loves to push all the buttons and spin all the knobs. Not only does he frequently change the water temperature and level and stop the dryer before the load is done, but he also pulled the whole front off the control panel. Now it falls off all the time and just hangs there dangling by tons of internal wires.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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My dd has learned to respond very well to 'if you do that again, we'll have to take x away', spoken pleasantly and matter-of-factly. She knows from experience that this is her final warning. If she does it again, oh well, there it goes, too bad. I wrote about how I used this at an early age to get her to stop banging her cup on the table at dinner, which turned out to be a controversial thread, but which was very helpful to me in terms of establishing some boundaries with her.

I'm not sure how that translates to the dryer. But with the dog and bunny it's pretty easy to remove them to another room. And with many other contrary behaviors as well. It seems like most annoying kid behavior does involve some sort of accessory.

I very rarely use this tactic, as I think it would lose it's impact if overused, but I agree with your methods. The absolute necessity is your consistency. It won't work if you're not completely consistent. If you SAY it then you must DO it.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heffernhyphen
Although I have very few memories of childhood, I do distinctly remember how affectionate my mother was after she spanked me. As the third child, with two siblings very close to my age, I didn't get much overt affection. I clearly remember thinking, "Hey, I can stand a little spanking if the payoff is all this loving." Be careful that the comforting isn't so desirable that she misbehaves just to get there.
I'm sorry to hear that your mama was not very affectionate apart from after a spanking.

Just to be clear, I am a very affectionate and overtly loving mama, so when I comfort her after putting her on the sofa, I do it just as I would if she were crying for any other reason.

Quote:
I can't imagine a much more gentle "punishment" than sitting on the couch for a few seconds and then getting comforted by mommy. The fact that she dissolves into tears probably isn't so much because she's offended by the punishment, but because she was made to stop doing something she wanted to do. Damn that growing independence!

If the time outs are working, why would you worry about stopping them? It's working, and she's not getting hurt at all. The dryer, however, really could get hurt.
Yeah, this is pretty much my line of thought. I don't really have much to go by, however, because my parents were abusive and cruel. I pretty much am clueless about parenting, and have to figure out each new hurdle as we come to it. I posted this thread because this is the closest thing I know to a haven of GD, and I want to know what the mamas here think of my current solution. It is really important to me to parent well, in a manner that is as loving and respectful of my daughter as possible. Without letting her run the place.

Quote:
My little laundry helper also loves to push all the buttons and spin all the knobs. Not only does he frequently change the water temperature and level and stop the dryer before the load is done, but he also pulled the whole front off the control panel. Now it falls off all the time and just hangs there dangling by tons of internal wires.
Oh, that sucks! They are little wrecking balls, aren't they? So much stuff gets broken around here, and my kid is relatively calm compared to some of the other more physical toddlers I know.
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Old 05-10-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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I would do away with the "if you do this I am going to do this." What about rephrasing it to something like this:

Please do not push the dryer button - it can break the dryer to push it when we are not using it.
*she pushes dryer button again*
If you keep pushing the dryer button you will have to find a new place to play
*she pushes the button again*

Then directly redirect her and move her somewhere else (the couch, wherever). That way its not about what you are going to do TO her. I actually don't know if that will help, it was just an idea, LOL. Honestly I would probably do this:

Please do not push the dryer button - it can break the dryer to push it when we are not using it.
*she pushes dryer button again*
Move her somewhere else and give her something else to play with.
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Old 05-10-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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Time outs are better than spanking and such. But I still think they become less effective with time, do not address what they *should* do, and can make some children feel a withdrawal of love. However, i know how frustrating a 2.5 yo can be. I have a 2.75 yo I really find calm discussion to be my best parenting tool. On the dryer, for instance...... We have had stuff like this. We have a last-legs TV that we really cannot afford to replace. Dd really liked pushing the power button on and off and on and off...... I tried ignoring the bahvior at first. Many many times, dd just needs to do it 50 or so times then never touched it again. But if she thinks I have any sort of stake in the annoyabce of it, she might persist just to see what happens. But after the 50 times, she either sensed it was getting to me or wa struly fascinated by it and could not stop. So we had a long discussion about how the TV was old, she likes to watch movies, and it might stop working if she kept pushing the button. That might have done the trick, but I did not give it the chance. I found something else really fun to turn on and off. In this case it was a cheapo solar powered calculator. I use it for bills. It is pretty much indestructable. I showed her that whenever she had the urge to push buttons, this was a really fun way to get the urge out....and she could take it anywhere! And look! Numbers! Yeehaw! She never touched the TV button again.

As for pets, I almost find punishment to be dangerous. If the only consequence for being mean to pets is the couch, dc might think it is OK to torment them as long as he/she does not get caught. We have two cats. One is elderly and cranky. It was simply not safe to allow dd to think she might be allowed to torment it. SO unfortuantely, until dd could without a doubt undertsand gentle pet handling, we had to always supervise 100%. As soon as dd got too rough, we stepped in a helped them through the process. it took A LOT of talks, but after a while she fully understood and could be trusted. Some things only have a slow solution.

However, really, most things can be helped quickly with calm, out-of-the-heat-of-the-monent discussion.
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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How long have you had the rabbit? I am usually opposed to the idea of giving up any pet that you have brought into your family. But in this case -- I wonder if I might chalk up the whole idea of a pet rabbit for a toddler as a disaster, and find a new (safer) home for the bunny. Perhaps in a classroom somewhere? I'm suggesting this really hesitantly though, because I don't want your dd to be traumatized. Its just that I cannot imagine *any* 2 yo. being able to play safely with a rabbit without a lot of intense supervision. And if you can't provide that, then I'm really fearful for the rabbit.

Can you tape over the button on the dryer? Or block it somehow? If not, then I think letting her play with it steadily until the novelty wears off would be the best approach. Let her exhaust the activity. She'll move on eventually.

I don't know about the dog. I had a puppy and a toddler at one point, and it was easier to crate the dog when things got out of hand. Or put the dog outside. And it was not a big deal to teach both toddler and dog how to behave with each other. But an old dog must be really different.
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
Is it a threat, or is it information about what will happen?

I tend to think a threat is something that isn't followed through on, or something mean/violent.

What is wrong with telling her that if she does x, I will do y? I'm not getting it. I think it is more fair for her to have a chance to stop doing whatever it is before she gets a consequence imposed from me.
If you don't stop misbehaving, we're going to leave the grocery store. If you continue to to throw toys, you may not play with them anymore. These situations are teaching children consequences. Yes, I agree that we should babyproof as much as possible. But it is also our responsibily as parents to teach children that they cannot do whatever they want, when ever they want. There are certain things, like teasing the dog or abusing expensive appliances, that we need to teach our children not to do. Then again...I'm not the most GD type person on these threads, and I still don't think timeouts are a bad idea as long as they are balanced with positive reinforcement.
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know. We got the rabbit recently, and she was really gentle at first. And she is gentle most of the time. She knows how to be gentle.

The dog I don't want to crate.

I really don't feel like it is unrealistic to teach my daughter that she needs to respect the beings and things around her. She is an intelligent child, and I don't believe she is incapable of learning that.

I don't want to create an overly entitled child, who lives in a household where everyone around bends over backwards to their own detriment, rather than setting limits with her. I don't think setting limits is a bad thing.

I also have to carve out some sanity and space for myself, yk? I am a single mama. Her father takes her 20 hours/week. With my current schedule, I only have 7 hours once every two weeks where I am not either parenting or in school. We need to function as a team, and to be honest a lot of the solutions suggested here sound like a LOT of work to accomplish basically the same thing as I am accomplishing with the time-out.
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Steve's Wife
If you don't stop misbehaving, we're going to leave the grocery store. If you continue to to throw toys, you may not play with them anymore. These situations are teaching children consequences. Yes, I agree that we should babyproof as much as possible. But it is also our responsibily as parents to teach children that they cannot do whatever they want, when ever they want. There are certain things, like teasing the dog or abusing expensive appliances, that we need to teach our children not to do.
ITA. In the world there are externally imposed consequences everywhere. If you speed, you get a ticket. If you do a crappy job at work, you get a warning letter (threat?), and then you get fired.

She is part of a larger social system (our family) and I think she needs to learn how to be within it.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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I wouldn't give her the 'chance" to repeat the offense. IF messing with the knob is an issue I'd tell her "no' and make it happen.

Please do not push the dryer button - it can break the dryer to push it when we are not using it.
IF she says no repeat the request and help her find something else.
Don't press the button it could break come help mommy take the towels inside and redirrect her to something else.

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This kind of thing - redirection, distraction, does not work with her. She is the sort of child where you say, "Do you want to wear the red shorts or the green dress today?" and she says, "I'm not getting dressed!" If I were to just ask her not to mess with the bunny/dryer/dog and attempt to interest her in another activity, she would just ignore me and keep doing what she is doing. If I physically remove her, she will have a tantrum, and get up and go back as soon as she can, or crumple in my arms in tears, as she has been doing over the whole sofa thing.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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I thought you said the time out thing was working.... I think the suggestions were to get around the threat, not the taking her out of the situation (at least mine were).
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, yeah, I know your suggestions were about getting around the threat. Which I'm not sure I want to do, that's why I posted asking what's so bad about the "threat?"

A lot of ppl's suggestions are about getting around the time out, and that's what I'm responding to as well. I'd love to get around the time out, but the animals and things need to be respected without being removed, and I need to not go freaking crazy dealing with this kid.
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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OK, here's my 2 dollars' worth (cause we all know I'm never brief enough for 2 cents ). I don't think there's anything wrong with her being removed to the sofa, I would just try to find a different way to word it....cause there is something about your posted wording that makes me feel oogy, but I can't exactly say why. YES, as adults living in the real world, there are consequences to our actions, but I think that as an adult, consequences coming from our "age peers" (other adults) don't seem as potentially intimidating and domineering, and a traffic ticket or letter from my boss, well, I don't have a close loving relationship with a cop or my boss, so it's really not the same thing at all. Hey, I think I just figured out why it makes me feel oogy! I just don't know if I worded it well above.

So, ahem...back on topic. I don't think there's anything wrong with removing her to the couch, or wherever about the dryer. I'd probably just do as a PP suggested and change the wording a bit (I never thought I'd be so caught up in semantics as a parent, but I've found it really does make a difference). I try to set up the "rules" in our house as ones that we all follow so that it's less parents vs kids, and more of all of us respecting things together. So maybe instead of this,

Me: "Please stop pressing the dryer button. That can break the dryer."
Her: "I will press the dryer button."
Me: "You need to stop pressing the dryer button. If you press it again, I will put you on sofa."

try this?

Me: "Please stop pressing the dryer button. That can break the dryer."
Her: "I will press the dryer button."
Me: "Please leave the button alone and come X with me." (She presses the button) (You walk her to the couch, saying, "We need to not play with that button, it could break the dryer.") (You sit on the couch, and maybe say something short and sweet about how you need the dryer for drying clothes, and it's not a toy to play with.)

Same physical redirection and removal, same 'consequence', but it gets rid of the "I'm going to X to you", and still sends the same message that if she plays with the dryer button, she's gonna be removed from the room.

Also, if she's going to the dryer a lot when you're not even using it, I'd just close/lock the door, or find some other way (a gate?) to not even make it an opportunity. Again, she's 2.5, not 7, and I think modifying environments for a child under 4 is completely different than "bending to the whim" of a 6-yr-old. It's a continual process, not just one day everything is "proofed" and then one day it's all open and available. It evolves based on their development. We had our tupperware cabinet bungeed shut from 18 mos until a few weeks ago - now DS stays out of it even though the bungee cord isn't there; a prime example of proofing as need be, then modifying as the child develops.


I also understand your point about a child needing to learn to respect beigns around her; again, my issue is that she's only 2.5, and just beginning to really "get" the world at all.....and that's awfully young to be expected to be able to be unsupervised and empathetic to an animal, who can't verbalize to her (at least in English) that they don't like being hit, and redirect her, etc...., like we can. Since the rabbit is relatively new, I would really, really consider giving the rabbit to a place that has older children. Then, you would just have to worry about the dog interactions, and that would reduce one aspect right now. Years ago (pre DS), we were looking into getting a dog from a breeder, and one of the questions was, "do you have children under 5 years old, or are you planning on starting a family in the next few years?" and at first I didn't get it, but now that I have a toddler, I totally get it....to me it's not worth risking injury to the pet or the child...the empathy and respect will develop, on their own timeline by your example and modeling, but I don't feel it's right to push it before it's really developmentally appropriate. Our first pet was a fish when I was around 4, then a guinea pig at 5, and then a dog at 6....and by that time my empathy AND impulse control had naturally developed such that my parents didn't have to monitor us much.

I'm all for having expectations, but developmentally realistic ones. I think expecting a 2.5 yr old to have the impulse control and emapthy to be able to interact safely with household pets without constant supervision is asking to much. And as for, "they have to learn eventually", I agree. But we don't start learning math at 4 with algebra....you have to work up to things, and just because you don't understand algebra when you're 6 doesn't mean you won't understand it when you're 12. So just because your child isn't empathetic at 2.5, doesn't mean they won't be at 7...

I guess that's the whole jist of my post - just cause something is happening at 2, or 3, or 5, doesn't mean that it needs to be "corrected" for it to be grown out of...many, many things children do are natural developmental stages that will naturally be grown out of, whether we do anything or not. How we handle the situations as parents most assuredly will set the tone and guide the evolution of their growing out of it, but many issues resolve on their own anyway.

Hope this was helpful.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:12 AM
 
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Our first pet was a fish when I was around 4, then a guinea pig at 5, and then a dog at 6....and by that time my empathy AND impulse control had naturally developed such that my parents didn't have to monitor us much..
Gosh, our dogs and cats were integral members of our family. I can't imagine a kid growing up without a dog. I could see not having some tiny frail animal, or an animal prone to aggression.

The best thing is if you can get a puppy while the child is still very young. They play together naturally and bond much tighter than if the dog is older when baby arrives.

Our dd loves our two dogs tremendously, and they her.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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Well, in the case of my suggestions, I know they sound time consuming. But if it is a regular pattern in your house to always discuss and to try and find some other outlet for an experimental activity, then it really does save time. At least it does in our case. Quick fixes rarely work in the long run for us. I know about being time strapped. A small investment in initial time for dc to see that you want her to understand and can help her find other outlets can reap faster "compliance" int he long run. If she trusts that you care to help her get what she wants, she is more likely to listen when you need her to help you get what you want. At least that has been my experience. I do not think that is "bending over backwards" for a child.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:35 AM
 
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Just for the sake of balance, since you asked specifically about how gentle we thought this was... I would do something more along these lines.

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Originally Posted by Yooper
So we had a long discussion about how the TV was old, she likes to watch movies, and it might stop working if she kept pushing the button. That might have done the trick, but I did not give it the chance. I found something else really fun to turn on and off. In this case it was a cheapo solar powered calculator. I use it for bills. It is pretty much indestructable. I showed her that whenever she had the urge to push buttons, this was a really fun way to get the urge out....and she could take it anywhere! And look! Numbers! Yeehaw! She never touched the TV button again.
I agree that what you tell her is a threat. It doesn't have to be an empty threat to be a threat. And violence is really subjective. I'm not saying at all that you are being violent, but she may feel emotionally shamed or otherwise fearful, based on your response.

I haven't found that approach to be very useful. DS, who is extremely active and independent, needs to get his curiosity out. So we show him how to channel it in ways that we are all OK with.

I bet that even if your DD is not rebelling about the dryer, she is likely brewing something inside that will show itself later. Threats usually just serve to shame, and that doesn't teach very well - it only motivates little ones to avoid the bad feeling.

I'd personally prefer to help DS think/learn about helping keep our things working than thinking about how to avoid something bad.


Another example: Even just this AM, DH was working from home, and DS got really frustrated that he wasn't getting more attention from him. So he decided that the solution was to stomp on his computer until it broke into 100 pieces. (his words)

We knew what it was really about and tried putting the puter away for a while, I drew a laptop out of 2 sheets of paper stapled together for him to smash, we looked for other things he could stomp on, and directly addressed his need for Daddy's attention. Nothing worked! He just stayed hyper-frustrated and had his mind set of shashing that computer.

It didn't change until I reiterated him exactly what he wanted to do, in his language, and told him that I wish I could help him smash that computer because it's so important to him, but that I just couldn't. I assured him that I wanted to help him. He wept a little more, melted into a hug and didn't talk about the computer again (which so far is still intact).

The point I'm trying to make is that even if it seems to be working, there may be a price that isn't obvious yet. I think you can't go wrong making sure the DC hears that you care about her desires, even when they can't do the thing that they think is just too cool. IME just that can erase the impulse for the specific thing.

HTH!
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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Yooper, I agree that in the end your approach is the least time-consumning. Has been for us!
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:08 PM
 
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I understand that, realistically, you really do need a quick fix, because when you're fixing dinner or whatever and you're in school full-time, you can't have a heart-to-heart, or what passes for one with a 2.5 year old, every 10 minutes...

I wonder though, if what feels 'off' about what you're doing right now is that it frames things in terms of a power struggle between the two of you. I agree with the previous poster that taking the "I will do X if you do Y" out of it is a good idea. If a situation develops that shouldn't e.g. her torturing the dog, I see nothing wrong with removing her from it if you have to, but avoiding that terminology, and, wherever possible, heading off a power struggle before it starts.

Also, a propos of time constraints, are you sure this method is really saving you time, if it ends with her in hysterics and you comforting her? That's got to cut into dinner-making time!

So, I wonder if maybe you can always try to give her a little job while your're making dinner. You're chopping mushrooms, give her a couple to 'wash,' or a couple of spoons and forks to put on the table, etc. Does the dog have a special spot it can go to where she can't get at it? I know our cat was very adept at climbing up somewhere high, or squeezing somewhere our daughter couldn't get. If the dog doesn't have a spot like this, can you create one?

I may agree on getting rid of the rabbit for now - a dog, a rabbit, and a 2 year old in a small apartment is pushing it...

Good luck!
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:43 PM
 
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I'm all for having expectations, but developmentally realistic ones. I think expecting a 2.5 yr old to have the impulse control and emapthy to be able to interact safely with household pets without constant supervision is asking to much. And as for, "they have to learn eventually", I agree. But we don't start learning math at 4 with algebra....you have to work up to things, and just because you don't understand algebra when you're 6 doesn't mean you won't understand it when you're 12. So just because your child isn't empathetic at 2.5, doesn't mean they won't be at 7...
I agree with this, and would take it a step further by saying that the way you actually teach a child to be gentle with an animal is to by being very involved whenever the animal is handled, and coaching her through it. And its too much to expect a toddler to learn more efficiently than this.

And I think this example relates very well to the more general topic in this thread -- whether a child needs to learn boundries by imposed consequences. And I would say that whatever the "real world" is like, 2.5 is very young and learning experiences need to be tailored to her level. The best way to prepare her for the way that people act is by shadowing and coaching her.

As far as empathy -- the vast majority of 2.5 year olds have not developed the cognitive ability to "put themselves in someone else's shoes." She simply cannot fully comprehend an idea like "what the rabbit must be feeling." She may be taking steps in that direction, but right now her own perceptions and her own experiences of life take center stage in her developing mind. Combine that with a lack of impulse control typical for a 2 yo. and what you end up with is a small, bright, inquisitive person who must be closely supervised while playing with rabbits.

Reflecting on my own exprience, I think that its too easy to have high expecations of first children.

Quote:
Gosh, our dogs and cats were integral members of our family. I can't imagine a kid growing up without a dog. I could see not having some tiny frail animal, or an animal prone to aggression.
Yeah, Blessed, I agree that a dog or a cat is a different situation than a rabbit. For one thing, even if they start out 'frail' they grow out of that phase very rapidly. They are tough creatures, and they also have the capacity to "get away" when they really need to. All our animals have places they know that they can escape to when the kids are too much for them. The cats go to the laundry room through a flap door, and the dog goes to her crate when she wants her own space.
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think there's anything wrong with her being removed to the sofa, I would just try to find a different way to word it....cause there is something about your posted wording that makes me feel oogy, but I can't exactly say why.
Yeah, there is something about it that makes me feel oogy too, and I can't say exactly why. I mean, obviously I'm controlling her. I really don't see it as a threat, or in any case as a bad thing to tell a child "if you do x, I will do y." Like I don't think it's going to mess up her self esteem, or shame her, inherently. But it is an overt expression of control, for sure. And I guess I'm uncomfortable with that.

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YES, as adults living in the real world, there are consequences to our actions, but I think that as an adult, consequences coming from our "age peers" (other adults) don't seem as potentially intimidating and domineering, and a traffic ticket or letter from my boss, well, I don't have a close loving relationship with a cop or my boss, so it's really not the same thing at all.
Yes, I see that. It's definitely about me, her mama, controlling her behaviour and doing something to her that she doesn't want done, namely physically moving her.

Quote:
So, ahem...back on topic. I don't think there's anything wrong with removing her to the couch, or wherever about the dryer. I'd probably just do as a PP suggested and change the wording a bit (I never thought I'd be so caught up in semantics as a parent, but I've found it really does make a difference). I try to set up the "rules" in our house as ones that we all follow so that it's less parents vs kids, and more of all of us respecting things together. So maybe instead of this,

Me: "Please stop pressing the dryer button. That can break the dryer."
Her: "I will press the dryer button."
Me: "You need to stop pressing the dryer button. If you press it again, I will put you on sofa."

try this?

Me: "Please stop pressing the dryer button. That can break the dryer."
Her: "I will press the dryer button."
Me: "Please leave the button alone and come X with me." (She presses the button) (You walk her to the couch, saying, "We need to not play with that button, it could break the dryer.") (You sit on the couch, and maybe say something short and sweet about how you need the dryer for drying clothes, and it's not a toy to play with).

Same physical redirection and removal, same 'consequence', but it gets rid of the "I'm going to X to you", and still sends the same message that if she plays with the dryer button, she's gonna be removed from the room.
Yeah, I think I will try this and see how it goes. She is pretty smart to power dynamics, and what I don't want to do is be passive-aggressively controlling her, like controlling her but prettying it up. But perhaps prettying it up will change her experience of it into something nicer, not simply serve as a mask for what is really going on, yk? I'm gonna try it.

Quote:
Also, if she's going to the dryer a lot when you're not even using it, I'd just close/lock the door, or find some other way (a gate?) to not even make it an opportunity. Again, she's 2.5, not 7, and I think modifying environments for a child under 4 is completely different than "bending to the whim" of a 6-yr-old.
Well I've definitely modified the environment to a degree. Like, suddenly she is going up the handmade staircase to the back window that we use for the dog to go out. This is dangerous, and also means she ends up in the backyard with no immediate way for me to get to her. Bad scene. So now there is a babygate on the door to the room with that staircase.

And the other week she grabbed the kitchen scissors, which I had been accustomed to leaving around, because she always used to listen to me when I said they were dangerous. Now the kitchen scissors are put away in the drawer whenever I'm done using them.

I don't feel like she needs to comply in every way, it's just that there are some things that would be really difficult to modify for her, and I feel like there ought to be a balance - some things I modify for her, other things she needs to learn to leave alone.

Quote:
I'm all for having expectations, but developmentally realistic ones. I think expecting a 2.5 yr old to have the impulse control and emapthy to be able to interact safely with household pets without constant supervision is asking to much.
To be clear, she is not unsupervised with the pets. I supervise and also do other things. I'm just not right there doing nothing but watching/helping every time she is with the pets. I keep a close eye and give verbal reminders, and also sometimes go over and assist with the interaction.

I guess I'm not seeing this as a developmental thing re: not knowing how to interact with pets. If that were my view, I would get rid of the bunny in a heartbeat, no doubt. But the bunny is great for her in many ways, 90% of the time her interactions with it are positive and appropriate, and she loves it.

And I see the problems we do have with the pets as a manifestation of another thing that IMO is happening developmentally right now. I believe she is testing at this point, looking to see where the limits are with me. Last night she took off running down the street (on the sidewalk), and wouldn't come back and hop in the car to get our friend despite my calling. I ran to get her, and when I caught her arm she went all noodly so it was hard to bring her back.

This to me is not about developmentally not knowing it's not cool to run down the street, or to grab the scissors, or chase the old dog. It's about deliberately pushing the boundaries and doing things that are not allowed, with intention, kwim?
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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I really agree with the wording stuff...its something I'm trying to remember to do with my sons. Instead of saying *I* will impose a consequence I try to say *you* will have to x,y,z....

Like..."You can't chase the dog. She is trying to rest. You will have to sit on the couch if the chasing doesn't stop." or "You can't chase the dog. Please sit on the couch until you feel like you can stop chasing the dog." Because really I think sometimes they actually CANNOT stop what they are doing...its just too good to stop. And it may help the meltdowns for her to know that its not *punishment* its just down time.

I can see that you don't want to crate the dog. We had the same dog problem and managed to some extent to redirect it to caring for the dogs while they are sleeping...make a big deal about "oh look, Nikki is sleeping...shhhhh" and tip toe around for a bit. DS1 (3.5) would even take a baby blanket and cover them...or come into the kitchen and tell me to keep it down "Tagg is trying to sleep!"...that way helping the dog sleep is the activity rather than waking the dog up. And really they sort of lost interest in the dogs at all after awhile...in waking them up anyway. Now if they would just lose interest in the cats...

Really I think what you are doing is fine...I agree that what you are giving are consequneces not threats...just tweak your wording and carry on.

Casey
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really agree with the wording stuff...its something I'm trying to remember to do with my sons. Instead of saying *I* will impose a consequence I try to say *you* will have to x,y,z....

Like..."You can't chase the dog. She is trying to rest. You will have to sit on the couch if the chasing doesn't stop." or "You can't chase the dog. Please sit on the couch until you feel like you can stop chasing the dog." Because really I think sometimes they actually CANNOT stop what they are doing...its just too good to stop. And it may help the meltdowns for her to know that its not *punishment* its just down time.
Wow, that for me would be totally doable. And would feel better.

Quote:
I can see that you don't want to crate the dog. We had the same dog problem and managed to some extent to redirect it to caring for the dogs while they are sleeping...make a big deal about "oh look, Nikki is sleeping...shhhhh" and tip toe around for a bit. DS1 (3.5) would even take a baby blanket and cover them...or come into the kitchen and tell me to keep it down "Tagg is trying to sleep!"...that way helping the dog sleep is the activity rather than waking the dog up. And really they sort of lost interest in the dogs at all after awhile...in waking them up anyway. Now if they would just lose interest in the cats...
Again, totally doable. She loves the pets, and loves to make games out of being sweet to them. With the bunny, she knows it is not okay to ever pick it up, because bunny will be scared. She knows that we try to sit still and wait for bunny to come to us. And she gets really excited, and says, "Mama! My bunny is smelling me!" And I say, "Awww, bunny loves you, doesn't she? When you sit still, bunny comes right over!"

I could do more positives, I guess. I think too often if it's going well I ignore it and use the opportunity to get my stuff done, and I only intervene when it goes sour. Which is a mistake.

I could also be more sure to make a contract with her before the activity. Like, if she wants bunny out of the cage, I could make sure to say, "We can have bunny out of the cage if you can be gentle with her. Can you be gentle?" Usually if she has agreed to something in advance she is likely to follow through. Or if she doesn't follow through, she is less likely to freak out when I do something like put the bunny away.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Some great suggestions so far, for sure. I agree with Donosmommy, and others, that just because "the real world" is a certains way, that doesn't meant that your house and your family have to be that way.
Could you try saying something like- "I don't want you to keep pushing that button. I'm worried that it will break. Perhaps we could cover it up to take away the temptation to touch it?" and have her help find something to cover it with. OR ask her for another solution. "Perhaps we could go play in the living room, to take away the temptation to touch it." Have her assist in that solution too.
I think its a lot to ask a young kid to just STOP doing something that they already have their mind set on doing. Find another activity for her to transition her thoughts to. One that's related, so it doesn't feel like "stopping" it feels more like "finding a mutually agreeable solution." It's helping HER find ways to help control her own impulses, too. Helping her to do the socially acceptable thing.
I'm big on "honoring the impulse." So, what's her impulse? Playing with buttons? It kinda seems like there is more to it than that.

As far as chasing the dog and bunny, tell her that "Dog doesn't like to be chased. Look, he's running away." Tell her other ways that she can play with the dog. Or find other things she can chase But I see nothing wrong with physically stopping her from bothering an animal, if nothing else helps.

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Originally Posted by thismama
I could also be more sure to make a contract with her before the activity. Like, if she wants bunny out of the cage, I could make sure to say, "We can have bunny out of the cage if you can be gentle with her. Can you be gentle?" Usually if she has agreed to something in advance she is likely to follow through. Or if she doesn't follow through, she is less likely to freak out when I do something like put the bunny away.
The only thing I'd be concerned about there, is that if you say that to her, she will know that you don't *expect* that she would be geltle with bunny, of her own volition. And even if you don't, I'd be wary of letting dc *know* that you expect she would be rough.
Perhaps "bunny wants to be played with gently. If anyone is accidentally too rough, he'll want to go back in his cage."
I dunno- that's not perfect, by a long shot. But you get the point. Something to say "i know you'll play gently if you can, but if its hard to stay gentle, we'll try again later." something like that.

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

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