Is some GD philosophy *too* gentle??? - Page 9 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-31-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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LoveBeads- I was offering up my opinion
Quoting myself here because I wanted to correct myself. I should have said I was offering up an opinion I believe is true and share with others. Deva is the momma I actually heard the phrase 'children want to do the socially acceptable thing' from and ITA with it and her. Btw Deva thanks for being such a wonderful influence!

I also wanted to say that I really look up to ALL the wonderful mommas here. Any mom who is trying not to include hitting, punishment, shaming, yelling, love withdrawal, etc in her family's daily life is doing a wonderful, beautiful thing! Its amazing how much more stressful the couple mommas' lives seem that I know irl who aren't gd mommas. I feel so blessed to have all you wonderful women to listen to, even if we don't all always agree, we all still have much in common.

ETA- the gentle dads and nannies and other care providers are great too! Didn't mean to exclude anyone!

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Old 07-31-2006, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy

That is only one example of many, many. It was the same with toothbrushing. Never have we put a toothbrush in her mouth, told her "we brush teeth", coerced or even made a point of encouraging it. She has seen us brushing our teeth and expressed desire to brush her teeth --
I've read the forum here often, but never replied. I find a lot of good techniques here, but don't consider myself a GD or CLer. I try to diffuse simple situations in this manner first, but I think I'm pretty authoritarian in the end.

My example would be the counterpoint to yours, CC. I know I'm late on this, but this is the perfect example of what I don't get about CL/GD- the extent it can go to.

First of all, what age was your daughter when she started seeming interested in brushing her teeth just like you were? Because I doubt it was at 8 or 9 months old, when most babies get their teeth.

And second, what IF she had never imitated this behavior? What if she never seemed to notice you were brushing? Would you then *coerce* her at all?
I ask because my son loves to brush his teeth and always has. But my daughter came along and hates it. But it's a dealbreaker for me, she's going to do it. We've tried doing it a million different ways, and some days it's not a fight, but most days it is. She doesn't care if she has stinky breath or gunk on her teeth. But this is where I feel like parents SHOULD be authoratative- it's simple bad hygiene, not to mention she doesn't understand the negative effects (gingivitis, gum disease, tooth decay) from not brushing. And she doesn't care- we've tried this common sense angle before.
So what would you do if you had another child who didn't imitate this behavior? Is there ever a line to draw?
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2jackie
But this is where I feel like parents SHOULD be authoratative- it's simple bad hygiene, not to mention she doesn't understand the negative effects (gingivitis, gum disease, tooth decay) from not brushing. And she doesn't care- we've tried this common sense angle before.
I knew a mama who practiced TCS with her 3 y.o. I have tried to understand TCS because I believe most parenting theories (not involving yelling, hitting, etc.) have something to offer and TCS is no exception (I still believe this). This very topic came up with her . . .she said she never forced her DS to brush his teeth. Sometimes she tried creative ways to do it, but never used "coercion." A year later she reported back that her DS would have to undergo surgery due to several cavities. Obviously it would have been insensitive of me to ask if she was going to start drawing the line at that point, so I don't know what happened.

I'm very curious about this, too . . .what do CL parents do?

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Old 08-01-2006, 01:12 AM
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Oh the toothbrushing arguement. This comes up so many times.

In short, no, I would not force my daughter to brush her teeth. I would provide information, model what I believe to be good dental habits, find creative ways to make it more interesting for her, let her pick out her own fun toothbrush/toothpaste whatever, let her brush standing on her head if she wanted --- I would not force though.

Yes, we have all heard the dreaded "I knew someone who didn't make their kid brush and all their teeth fell out by the age of 16" ... but the simple fact is, and almost every dental professional will tell you that the health of teeth depends largely on family history, diet, overall health, and straight up luck of the draw. I am not saying dental hygiene is not important, it is -- but not important enough imo to forcibly hold my daughter down against her will fighting and kicking and screaming and forcing a foreign object into her mouth against her will. That is SO completely degrading in my opinion. Less so, but still offensive, is forcing her to do it under the threat of punishment if she doesn't.

Fortunately we haven't had that particular issue but if we did or ever do, I still won't force it.
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:15 AM
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And keeping in mind, mama2jackie and Miz -- **sometimes we don't live up to our own ideals.**

I feel a need to repeat this because I am in this very position with our son. He loathes toothbrushing, and we do plenty of modeling and encouragement but still end up with a little bit of me overriding his choice in this matter, sometimes a lot. I do still consider myself a CL parent. A CL parent who has not figured out the way around this issue.

Yes, I do fall back on the "we do consent and sometimes I have responsibilities as the parent" argument. But in my heart I believe that one of my chief responsibilities as his mother is to be really really creative in situations like this -- so I keep looking for a way to make tooth cleaning acceptable to him.

I guess what I am saying is that I myself have choices here. I can abandon the label "consensual" and say Well, since I can't live up to my ideals I don't deserve to call myself a mutual-consent parent. OR -- I can admit that I, like my child, have plenty of learning still to do, and keep trying, and not be scared off my ideals by tales of rotten teeth and married 16-year-olds. For me, rather than saying to myself, "I fear that I will fail at mutual consent, or that it will harm my child," I tend to say (in my stronger moments!), "I'm pretty sure we can do this. And if I'm stumped or mess up, I'm pretty sure we can all still try again."
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:24 AM
 
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A note regarding toothbrushing. My DD happens to LOVE brushing her teeth but I fully expect she will go through a stage of not loving it so much, and I"ll have to get creative.

One thing I found that is an alternative to toothbrushing: www.spiffies.com - Spiffies toothwipes. They can be used for babies and they have fruit flavors. They are made with xylitol, which is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol that is harmless and kills cavity-causing bacteria. I try to chew xylitol-containing gum often to help prevent cavities for myself.

I think there are lots and lots of different strategies that could be used, including downright bribing, before I'd jam a toothbrush into an unwilling child's mouth. But I totally agree that some things sort of HAVE to be done. I wouldn't let toothbrushing go undone, but I can't imagine having to resort to force. But maybe I'm just naive.

Anyway, I know a lot of parents would think that bribing was just as bad as forcing. But for a "deal-breaker" I would probably outright promise DD something she wanted if it meant she would (consistently) brush her teeth. One night, obviously, would not be something to worry about. I'd only pull out the big guns if she refused to do it habitually and the normal "make it fun" techniques were not doing it for her.
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
almost every dental professional will tell you that the health of teeth depends largely on family history, diet, overall health, and straight up luck of the draw.
Do you have anything to back this up? Not trying to be snippy-- just confused here . . .it goes against everything I've heard from my dentists. For example, I assumed that losing one's teeth (eventually) was inevitable. My dentist said NO-- (spoken like Smokey the Bear here)-- only YOU can prevent gum disease. I know that my own teeth/gums are remarkably better now that I floss every day and brush . . .I had bad bleeding and the beginning of gum disease before I changed my habits (I brushed but did not floss often/rarely went to the dentist). Now my gum disease is improving a lot. I know that some people are predisposed to better or worse teeth (and that habits like smoking are just bad), but I believe we have a LOT of control over our dental hygiene . . .and dental hygiene is such an important part of one's overall health.

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I am not saying dental hygiene is not important, it is -- but not important enough imo to forcibly hold my daughter down against her will fighting and kicking and screaming and forcing a foreign object into her mouth against her will. That is SO completely degrading in my opinion. Less so, but still offensive, is forcing her to do it under the threat of punishment if she doesn't.
I hear what you are saying, but at the same time, I personally worried about this woman's son when he went into surgery. As a result of not brushing, he had to undergo an operation . . .why would I want to risk that for my child? I'd rather just find a way to get my DC to brush. At the age of 3 (IMO) the boy could not have understood the consequences of his choices . . .heck, it is hard for adults!

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Old 08-01-2006, 04:28 AM
 
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I feel like there is a time and place to say, "no." ITA that there are lots of other/often better strategies, and I see lots of good suggestions here for those.

But sometimes it seems like there is this prohibition here on ever exerting authority, ever telling a child "no, that is not okay."

I had a thread here awhile back that was super extra amazingly helpful and made all the difference in me changing a dynamic that had developed with my dd where I was power struggling with her.

But I keep thinking about an example I wrote about where we were at the beach, and it was time to go. We climbed the hill to the car and dd turned around and ran back down the hill to the water, despite me telling her no and urging her to come back. It was suggested that she must not have been ready to leave, and I should just resign myself to waiting, to helping her want to leave, time is not a big deal, sometimes part of parenting is being somewhere and wishing like crazy you were somewhere else, etc. One mama suggested she stays at the park even when she really has to pee, if her children are not ready to go yet.

Another time I was trying to get my daughter dressed, as we had to be somewhere. She refused to get dressed and was physically struggling. I tried to distract, convince, etc. Didn't work. Finally I picked her up, put her in my bedroom, told her I was putting her for a time out because she wasn't getting dressed, and walked away. She started to cry, followed me out of the room, and I got her dressed. But I'm sure many here would be horrified by that.

So my question is... is this constant giving, following children's agendas at the expense of our own, not saying "no," never giving a parent-driven consequence to a behaviour... is that mandatory for GD?

And is that necessarily good for children? What is that teaching them? Is it good for kids to get the message that their own needs and desires always come before their mama's/other people's? Is it good for them to never be told "no," or to give up their own desires because someone else's agenda (like mama's agenda to go pee) takes precedence?
I'm totally late for the party and have only read the OP yet, but I'll chime in: i do NOT want my kid to think the world revolves around her! i am super flexible with her, but sometimes I insist on my needs being taken into account. I think that this is where GD ccan be taken in a wrong direction, where it all becomes about playing up to your child. I think part of my job is to prepare dk for the world, which will not treat her as it's center, even if she is a cute l'il white kid.

Our family is a group, and in our group, every person's needs are considered. Dk is not very good at that yet, I'll admit, but I think learning to consider other people's needs and to sometimes not get your way (when there's a good reason not to) is a crucial survival skill and is important for the kids to grow into people anone wants to be around.

ok, off to read the thread and I'm sure all of my points were already made!!
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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I want to chime in about toothbrushing...

...but DS is calling.

I'll be back.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:07 PM
 
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I do not force dd to brush her teeth.

She does allow me to do so most of the time but some days she does not want her teeth brushed and I do not force it. I do offer water to swish with and/or carrots to munch on to help clean them right before bed. She almost always allows this.

I have no cited research to back up the pp's claim about genetics/diet but that is what our dentist said when I asked what I should do if dd will not allow tooth brushing. He said that most small children in our un-florinated water area do not brush their teeth and most have no dental problems. The ones that do have little correlation to frequency of tooth brushing. Yes, it is a good measure for prevention but not the most significant factor. And he has to be right because I did not brush my teeth until I was a teen and I have no cavities. Never have.

I will not force my child to brush her teeth. We model, discuss, read about, etc.... but I will not bribe or force a toothbrush into her mouth.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mizelenius
Do you have anything to back this up? Not trying to be snippy-- just confused here . . .it goes against everything I've heard from my dentists. For example, I assumed that losing one's teeth (eventually) was inevitable. My dentist said NO-- (spoken like Smokey the Bear here)-- only YOU can prevent gum disease. I know that my own teeth/gums are remarkably better now that I floss every day and brush . . .I had bad bleeding and the beginning of gum disease before I changed my habits (I brushed but did not floss often/rarely went to the dentist). Now my gum disease is improving a lot. I know that some people are predisposed to better or worse teeth (and that habits like smoking are just bad), but I believe we have a LOT of control over our dental hygiene . . .and dental hygiene is such an important part of one's overall health.

I hear what you are saying, but at the same time, I personally worried about this woman's son when he went into surgery. As a result of not brushing, he had to undergo an operation . . .why would I want to risk that for my child? I'd rather just find a way to get my DC to brush. At the age of 3 (IMO) the boy could not have understood the consequences of his choices . . .heck, it is hard for adults!
I think the person who stated there were a variety of contributors to good dental health and that some of them we have no control over is correct. I also think (yes I realize this is blasphemy) that toothbrushing can actually contribute to teeth decay. For unknown reasons I was blessed with extraordinarily healthy teeth and never had an issue until I was in my thirties, where all of a sudden my teeth began sprouting decay like weeds in a garden. I'm convinced its due to brushing, which slowly wore the enamel down over time. I rarely floss, and none of my cavities were between the teeth where only floss could reach. All my cavities were only on brushing surfaces.

My DH has terrible teeth and has had trouble with them since he was a child. He has always brushed his teeth and flossed a minimum of twice a day, plus used special mouthwash. He's looking at a full mouth extraction soon.

I don't trust the medical profession to know what is good for us. I'm convinced in a couple decades they will realize that the toothbrushes we've been using have caused more problems than they have prevented, and a new method for keeping teeth clean will be developed. Anyways, for what its worth, I think tooth decay has more to do with diet than anything else, since (I have been told by my dentist) animals that don't have any access to processed food and who are in the wild have little to no decay (although they can have injuries which result in infection and disease to their teeth).
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:21 PM
 
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I'm not CL, but pretty close I think. I'm consensual over most things- diapers, bedtime, baths, picking up (or not) toys lol. Most everything, really.
I guess the difference is that my criteria for being ok with coersion is different. I am comfortable coercing (as a last resort) in situations that are likely to involve harm to someone or something. Like hitting the dogs. But, honestly, I can't remember a time that I coerced for those reasons anyways. Other stuff (explaining, giving alternatives, etc) works wonderfully.
That, and toothbrushing. I coerce (used to) for toothbrushing. But, to be fair, it might not have ever come to that if we hadn't made a *big deal* out of toothbrushing in the first place. (Ds had 2 cavities at 18 mos)

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Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
I think there are lots and lots of different strategies that could be used, including downright bribing, before I'd jam a toothbrush into an unwilling child's mouth.
I tried bribery (which I am opposed to) before I actually held him down to brush. The bribery was WAY worse for him. It was REALLY upsetting to him. He refused to allow a toothbrush near his mouth for 3 days after I tried bribing once or twice. Not even with HIM brushing (no one else touching it). It affected him the rest of the day too.
Holding him down didn't affect him like that at all. We'd get done, and he'd want to take a turn brushing his own teeth, or go look in the mirror at his teeth. It didn't upset him outside of the 1 minute it took to do it (and then most of the time he was ok with that part anyways). I watched really closely, and it didn't ever affect the rest of his day. (it actually was less upsetting than us trying to get him to agree to let us brush his teeth- that was really stressful on all of us)
He has been willingly letting us brush his teeth well for the last month, since he's been able to understand the WHY's about teethbrushing. (He knows he has cavities, and he doesn't want more- he just got them filled)

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Old 08-01-2006, 12:26 PM
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"That is what our dentist said when I asked what I should do if dd will not allow tooth brushing. He said that most small children in our un-florinated water area do not brush their teeth and most have no dental problems. The ones that do have little correlation to frequency of tooth brushing. Yes, it is a good measure for prevention but not the most significant factor."

Our dentist has told us the same thing.

For the record, I'm happy to report that we are not holding our son down or forcing a toothbrush into a closed nonconsenting mouth. He does love his toothbrushes (yes he has picked out several and chooses which one we will start with). He consistently agrees to START the process (most of the time it is his idea) and happily chews away on the brush, "helps" us brush our teeth, even tries on some days to move the brush inside his mouth. His objection comes when I try to do a little more refined work in there, and I guess my reaction has almost 100% been suggesting and trying to help guide the brush, stopping when he resists. And up until the age of 13 months (he got his first teeth at 6 mo) he wouldn't let a brush in at all, and I never once did force it, though I suggested it daily.

Maybe I don't need to be so hard on myself about this. Now that I write it out I see that our strategy really has been consensual -- I'm just hyperaware of this situation because I know I really DO have an agenda about it!

PS: there is a German study, I'll find the link, showing that the most effective tooth-decay preventor for babies 6-18 months is the *mother* chewing xylitol gum daily. Trumped every other factor -- fluoride, brushing, heredity, etc. So I chew the gum still, figuring the protective effects will continue for at least a little while.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SneakyPie
"That is what our dentist said when I asked what I should do if dd will not allow tooth brushing. He said that most small children in our un-florinated water area do not brush their teeth and most have no dental problems. The ones that do have little correlation to frequency of tooth brushing. Yes, it is a good measure for prevention but not the most significant factor."

Our dentist has told us the same thing.
I read stuff like that
The Invisible Toothbrush
"Therefore, within the limits of these data, there appears to be a very real correlation between vitamin C state (as a possible nonmechanical contributor) and debris, irrespective of tooth cleansing habits."

http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=...detail&ref=412
"Toddlers who drank lots of juice or who ate candy more than once a week were nearly twice as likely as their peers to have a mouthful of cavities by kindergarten, according to a 2001 study published in Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. Interestingly, toddler tooth brushing habits were no different in the group that had cavities than in the group that was cavity-free."

I'll admit that I let my fear take over. But I couldn't shake it.

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Old 08-01-2006, 01:17 PM
 
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Please try to keep this thread on topic. Feel free to discuss toothbrushing as it pertains to GD. But, dental hygiene and the virtues of toothbrushing are better debated in the Dental sub-forum.
Thank You

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Old 08-01-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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Hi,
I have been following this thread with great interest. I haven't posted on GD before but have learned tons here since I have started reading about a year ago. So thanks to everyone who posts for that.
I am wondering how you CL moms decide what behaviours you ask your child to do and will 'help' them with if they consent and which behaviours you don't ask and let your child decide on their own to start doing?
For example several CL moms have said tooth brushing was only modeled and when your dc showed an interest, great.
Scubamom said a similar thing in regards to cleaning and putting things in the garbage.
I am wondering because although I consider our family as living very close as to how I see CL described on MDC, most things I just ask(ed) my son and if he didn't disagree (and yes he shared his disagreement strongly from a very young age) I would go ahead. Now he can verbally consent. But from his first teeth I would ask to brush and if he opened and 'agreed' I would go ahead. Mouth closed, turning away, no brushing. Now he asks to brush and we ususally brush at the same time. Also we talk about what is garbage and if he is holding something in his hand that could be throw away and he is ready to drop it on the floor, I sometimes ask him to throw it away or just tell him it is garbage and he will sometimes put it in the garbage can. If he just drops it and walks away, fine I go throw it away.
I am curious because for things like changing a diaper, getting into his car seat and getting dressed I used the same format, ie. Can we change your diaper now? and I am assuming you CL moms must too. So in the interest of learning more about CL what paramaters guide what behaviours you choose to ask about and which ones you just let happen if and when the child is interested?

Thanks!
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy

I tried bribery (which I am opposed to) before I actually held him down to brush. The bribery was WAY worse for him. It was REALLY upsetting to him. He refused to allow a toothbrush near his mouth for 3 days after I tried bribing once or twice. Not even with HIM brushing (no one else touching it). It affected him the rest of the day too.
Holding him down didn't affect him like that at all. We'd get done, and he'd want to take a turn brushing his own teeth, or go look in the mirror at his teeth. It didn't upset him outside of the 1 minute it took to do it (and then most of the time he was ok with that part anyways). I watched really closely, and it didn't ever affect the rest of his day. (it actually was less upsetting than us trying to get him to agree to let us brush his teeth- that was really stressful on all of us)
That's interesting! Every kid is different! I hope I didn't come across as judging how you are handling the situation. Just offering my (completely theoretical) thoughts. I'm glad your ds is old enough now to understand why we brush. I think it's a hard stage when they are old enough to understand WHAT is going on but too young to understand WHY.

As far as the mom chewing xylitol gum, yeah, I read about that, and that's what I do too! As well as not giving juice except on rare occasions. My DD is obviously way too young to have to worry about candy.

Hopefully DD will inherit my genes; I didn't get any cavities in my baby teeth although I had bottles until age 3 and drank a ton of juice.
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatoliam
Hi,
I have been following this thread with great interest. I haven't posted on GD before but have learned tons here since I have started reading about a year ago. So thanks to everyone who posts for that.
I am wondering how you CL moms decide what behaviours you ask your child to do and will 'help' them with if they consent and which behaviours you don't ask and let your child decide on their own to start doing?
For example several CL moms have said tooth brushing was only modeled and when your dc showed an interest, great.
Scubamom said a similar thing in regards to cleaning and putting things in the garbage.
I am wondering because although I consider our family as living very close as to how I see CL described on MDC, most things I just ask(ed) my son and if he didn't disagree (and yes he shared his disagreement strongly from a very young age) I would go ahead. Now he can verbally consent. But from his first teeth I would ask to brush and if he opened and 'agreed' I would go ahead. Mouth closed, turning away, no brushing. Now he asks to brush and we ususally brush at the same time. Also we talk about what is garbage and if he is holding something in his hand that could be throw away and he is ready to drop it on the floor, I sometimes ask him to throw it away or just tell him it is garbage and he will sometimes put it in the garbage can. If he just drops it and walks away, fine I go throw it away.
I am curious because for things like changing a diaper, getting into his car seat and getting dressed I used the same format, ie. Can we change your diaper now? and I am assuming you CL moms must too. So in the interest of learning more about CL what paramaters guide what behaviours you choose to ask about and which ones you just let happen if and when the child is interested?

Thanks!
mamatoliam, I'm not CL but have taken a lot of ideas from CL. I do what you describe. DD loves to "help" me. If I ask, "can you throw this in the trash?" she thinks it is fun to do so. Of course she is only 14 months old.

As far as diaper changes, sometimes she doesn't want to do them. If you do a search you'll find that there are a number of opinions on this issue, but for me, I change a poopy diaper whether DD wants me to or not. I sing, give a paci, let her hold the cell phone, do whatever to make her happy during a change, but even if she runs away from me and protests the diaper change I am not comfortable with letting her make that decision.
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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He has a need that is unmet. His need is very important to him. However, his need (to be swung in the hamper over and over, to bang his sister on the head with the serving spoon, to stay outside and play his whole life) will pass pretty easily. His health and overall happiness will not be impacted by the fact that his need can't be met at this time. He is too young to be drawn into the decision making process, and I am going to make the decision for him. I have empathy for him, I'm sorry he may have brief negative feelings while I redirect and distract him, but I know that he's capable of weathering this small disappointment, and that in time, he will learn that too..
I wanted to respond to this example. I would actually, in my better moments, not think of the wanting to be swung in the hamper or the banging sister on the head with a spoon or the staying outside to play as the needs. I would see those things more as the strategies to meet the needs. I guess I'd see being swung in the hamper as meeting a need for play or physical stimulation. I'd see the banging of sister on the head as a strategy for meeting another need-for learning, or any number of other "things" depending on circumstances. I'd see requesting to stay outside/refusing to come in as a strategy for meeting some more basic need-for physical activity that can't continue inside, for autonomy (to choose for oneself whether/when to go inside), for physical stimulation for example.

I once read this really interesting article (can't remember the author) that was (I think) about living consensually with kids. The author gave this example of a child wanting to play in the toilet bowl and the parent wanting to stop the child for health reasons (this was awhile ago, so I don't remember exactly what was written). Simply saying "no you can't play in the toilet" and moving the child physically doesn't meet that need or even acknowledge it. So a parent can instead observe to understand what is appealing to the child about playing in the toilet bowl, in order to understand which need(s) of the child is(are) met by this activity. The author said that this child's need might be to learn about the water or playing in the toilet bowl may in some way meet the sensory-stimulation needs of the child. A parent can work to meet the child's need(s), along with the parent's own need to protect the child's health/safety, by providing another opportunity to play with water. I wish I could remember better, because I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job explaining it. It sounds like simple redirection, but there's this added quality of becoming aware of what everyone's needs are vs. the strategies used to meet those needs.

When I think of my child's need as "she needs to play in the toilet" then we end up struggling more often. When I see my child wanting to play in the toilet, I can pause to consider what other need that action might be meeting and work to meet that need-so when I look at it as "my child wants to play in the toilet, she's satisfying her need for sensory stimulation" (or whatever) then other solutions become apparent. When my child hits a sibling, the need isn't to hit-hitting is the strategy. When I can understand, or work toward understanding, the difference between the needs and the strategies the possibilities for resolving a situation become numerous and apparent. Is it sometimes impossible to meet a particular need temporarily? Sure. Sometimes it's truly impossible (maybe), and sometimes I'm just not willing to try the other solutions of which I'm aware, and sometimes I'm having difficulty coming up with other solutions (probably because of my own fixed ideas, assumptions, perceptions, needs, feelings).

I think all this (seeing needs vs. strategies and working toward meeting the needs) is a small piece of the consensual living philosophy. I definitely would not label myself as a consensual liver, but I find this philosophy very interesting. As I understand it at this point, consensual living doesn't mean allowing the parents' needs to continue to go unmet in order to meet their children's needs and follow their child's every whim-the consensual living mothers here aren't martyrs. However they do recognize the greater ability of the parent to be flexible and to defer (for a time) the meeting of their own needs when necessary and possible. And likewise, meeting their child's needs and working toward mutually agreeable solutions is in no way in conflict with their child's best interests. I think part of the consensual living philosophy is that it is in children's best interest to be respected, to have autonomy, to have their needs met.

I think part of the problem with discussions like this is that we come to them with our own perceptions (which is all we have) and those perceptions color how we understand what others are saying. One mother is comfortable waiting a few more minutes at the park even though she has to pee, because it simply isn't all that uncomfortable for her and she'd prefer to wait while her kids play a few more minutes rather than enter into a struggle (and she knows they need that activity, and she knows that staying that few more minutes satisfies both their need for activity and their need for autonomy while it doesn't negatively affect her needs at all). Another mother is very physically uncomfortable when she has to wait that extra few minutes to pee, and her needs are such that ignoring them and waiting is not in any way agreeable so she finds a way to round up the kids and leave. Maybe the first mother has just noticed her full bladder and knows she can wait because she hasn't yet reached the point of urgency, or maybe she knows her body well enough to know she won't ever become very uncomfortable. Mabye the second mother noticed her full bladder awhile ago and waited and is now too uncomfortable to wait longer, or maybe her body is such that her need is always urgent. Who knows? Yet when we come here and read these things, we come here with our own knowledge of our own bladders and our own past experiences. And then those of us with small, impatient bladders see the mothers who are willing to wait as martyrs who deny themselves in order to follow all their children's whims. Those of us who think exploring outlets is extremely dangerous are shocked by those of us who think exploring outlets can be done safely with supervision-and rather than reconsider our ideas about what is safe we tend to leap to the conclusion that the mother who lets her child explore an outlet doesn't actually provides no guidance whatsoever. I think it's hard to understand the consensual living philosophy because it differs so much from what most of us have learned/absorbed from the culture around us.

I'm guessing it's a mistake to think that consensual living means a long process of negotiating every little minute thing in daily life, even at the expense of the child's safety/health. I'm sure if any of the consensual living mothers believed their child was in imminent danger of serious harm, they'd jump in and intervene immediately and talk later (scooping up the proverbial toddler running out into traffic). I'm guessing it's also a mistake to assume that because a parent is willing to be flexible, and willing at times to defer the meeting of their own needs, that they are doing so at the expense of their own needs. I'm thinking that perhaps it's more accurate to understand this way of life as striving always to meet the needs of everyone involved to the best of everyone's ability-and that this is a joyful process, and a process that helps kids learn a lot about thinking and problem-solving and relationships/social skills. I'm guessing it does take a lot of effort and involvement from parents-which is a good thing, no?

I want to add that I, too, believe that children do want to do the "right" thing. Children, and even babies, want to connect with others. Children, and babies, want to belong-even if they can't articulate it or conceive of it the way we do. We are social animals, and as such we strive to belong and connect. Thus, children do want to do what pleases those around them and to do what they observe those around them doing. Children also have their own needs and drives that must be met as well, and this is why (along with lack of skill) children (all people, really) sometimes do things others don't like. I think when people, all people regardless of age, do things that are not approved of by those around them they have a valid reason for doing so (not an excuse or justification, a reason). Children and babies are fully human, fully feeling human beings. They're just smaller and differ in their developmental abilities. They haven't yet learned all the skills they need to get their needs met and negotiate conflict and relationships (many of us adults are still learning these skills too).
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:18 PM
 
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Re: teeth health . . .cavities are the least of my worries. Example: DH has NO cavities. Never goes to the dentist, does not floss, only brushes once a day at most (used to brush only sometimes). However, he has terrible gum disease. I expect that he'll lose his teeth eventually.

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Old 08-01-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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That's interesting! Every kid is different! I hope I didn't come across as judging how you are handling the situation. Just offering my (completely theoretical) thoughts.
Nope. I meant to say something about just recounting our particular experience, too. Just that in our experience, the bribing was taken by ds as a type of punishment (because no matter how much he wanted "x" it wasn't enough to choose teethbrushing. So then he didn't get "x". I hated that) and he responded as I'd guess kids do to all types of punishment. I guess if it had "worked" and ds HAD decided that "x" was indeed worth teethbrushing (so no punishment by way of not getting "x"), then I'd be all for it. kwim?
I guess I do feel a bit defensive about the whole thing. lol. But that's my issue, not yours .

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Old 08-01-2006, 03:53 PM
 
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Becky, that totally makes sense. I hadn't thought about that particular consequence of "bribing", that the child might not be able to be bribed into doing something and then would additionally feel the loss of the treat they would have received.
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:57 PM
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I wanted to respond to this example. I would actually, in my better moments, not think of the wanting to be swung in the hamper or the banging sister on the head with a spoon or the staying outside to play as the needs. I would see those things more as the strategies to meet the needs. I guess I'd see being swung in the hamper as meeting a need for play or physical stimulation. I'd see the banging of sister on the head as a strategy for meeting another need-for learning, or any number of other "things" depending on circumstances. I'd see requesting to stay outside/refusing to come in as a strategy for meeting some more basic need-for physical activity that can't continue inside, for autonomy (to choose for oneself whether/when to go inside), for physical stimulation for example.

I once read this really interesting article (can't remember the author) that was (I think) about living consensually with kids. The author gave this example of a child wanting to play in the toilet bowl and the parent wanting to stop the child for health reasons (this was awhile ago, so I don't remember exactly what was written). Simply saying "no you can't play in the toilet" and moving the child physically doesn't meet that need or even acknowledge it. So a parent can instead observe to understand what is appealing to the child about playing in the toilet bowl, in order to understand which need(s) of the child is(are) met by this activity. The author said that this child's need might be to learn about the water or playing in the toilet bowl may in some way meet the sensory-stimulation needs of the child. A parent can work to meet the child's need(s), along with the parent's own need to protect the child's health/safety, by providing another opportunity to play with water. I wish I could remember better, because I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job explaining it. It sounds like simple redirection, but there's this added quality of becoming aware of what everyone's needs are vs. the strategies used to meet those needs.

When I think of my child's need as "she needs to play in the toilet" then we end up struggling more often. When I see my child wanting to play in the toilet, I can pause to consider what other need that action might be meeting and work to meet that need-so when I look at it as "my child wants to play in the toilet, she's satisfying her need for sensory stimulation" (or whatever) then other solutions become apparent. When my child hits a sibling, the need isn't to hit-hitting is the strategy. When I can understand, or work toward understanding, the difference between the needs and the strategies the possibilities for resolving a situation become numerous and apparent. Is it sometimes impossible to meet a particular need temporarily? Sure. Sometimes it's truly impossible (maybe), and sometimes I'm just not willing to try the other solutions of which I'm aware, and sometimes I'm having difficulty coming up with other solutions (probably because of my own fixed ideas, assumptions, perceptions, needs, feelings).

I think all this (seeing needs vs. strategies and working toward meeting the needs) is a small piece of the consensual living philosophy. I definitely would not label myself as a consensual liver, but I find this philosophy very interesting. As I understand it at this point, consensual living doesn't mean allowing the parents' needs to continue to go unmet in order to meet their children's needs and follow their child's every whim-the consensual living mothers here aren't martyrs. However they do recognize the greater ability of the parent to be flexible and to defer (for a time) the meeting of their own needs when necessary and possible. And likewise, meeting their child's needs and working toward mutually agreeable solutions is in no way in conflict with their child's best interests. I think part of the consensual living philosophy is that it is in children's best interest to be respected, to have autonomy, to have their needs met.

I think part of the problem with discussions like this is that we come to them with our own perceptions (which is all we have) and those perceptions color how we understand what others are saying. One mother is comfortable waiting a few more minutes at the park even though she has to pee, because it simply isn't all that uncomfortable for her and she'd prefer to wait while her kids play a few more minutes rather than enter into a struggle (and she knows they need that activity, and she knows that staying that few more minutes satisfies both their need for activity and their need for autonomy while it doesn't negatively affect her needs at all). Another mother is very physically uncomfortable when she has to wait that extra few minutes to pee, and her needs are such that ignoring them and waiting is not in any way agreeable so she finds a way to round up the kids and leave. Maybe the first mother has just noticed her full bladder and knows she can wait because she hasn't yet reached the point of urgency, or maybe she knows her body well enough to know she won't ever become very uncomfortable. Mabye the second mother noticed her full bladder awhile ago and waited and is now too uncomfortable to wait longer, or maybe her body is such that her need is always urgent. Who knows? Yet when we come here and read these things, we come here with our own knowledge of our own bladders and our own past experiences. And then those of us with small, impatient bladders see the mothers who are willing to wait as martyrs who deny themselves in order to follow all their children's whims. Those of us who think exploring outlets is extremely dangerous are shocked by those of us who think exploring outlets can be done safely with supervision-and rather than reconsider our ideas about what is safe we tend to leap to the conclusion that the mother who lets her child explore an outlet doesn't actually provides no guidance whatsoever. I think it's hard to understand the consensual living philosophy because it differs so much from what most of us have learned/absorbed from the culture around us.

I'm guessing it's a mistake to think that consensual living means a long process of negotiating every little minute thing in daily life, even at the expense of the child's safety/health. I'm sure if any of the consensual living mothers believed their child was in imminent danger of serious harm, they'd jump in and intervene immediately and talk later (scooping up the proverbial toddler running out into traffic). I'm guessing it's also a mistake to assume that because a parent is willing to be flexible, and willing at times to defer the meeting of their own needs, that they are doing so at the expense of their own needs. I'm thinking that perhaps it's more accurate to understand this way of life as striving always to meet the needs of everyone involved to the best of everyone's ability-and that this is a joyful process, and a process that helps kids learn a lot about thinking and problem-solving and relationships/social skills. I'm guessing it does take a lot of effort and involvement from parents-which is a good thing, no?

I want to add that I, too, believe that children do want to do the "right" thing. Children, and even babies, want to connect with others. Children, and babies, want to belong-even if they can't articulate it or conceive of it the way we do. We are social animals, and as such we strive to belong and connect. Thus, children do want to do what pleases those around them and to do what they observe those around them doing. Children also have their own needs and drives that must be met as well, and this is why (along with lack of skill) children (all people, really) sometimes do things others don't like. I think when people, all people regardless of age, do things that are not approved of by those around them they have a valid reason for doing so (not an excuse or justification, a reason). Children and babies are fully human, fully feeling human beings. They're just smaller and differ in their developmental abilities. They haven't yet learned all the skills they need to get their needs met and negotiate conflict and relationships (many of us adults are still learning these skills too).
sledg, I really love your posts! They are so articulate and well thought out and I agree with your sentiments above. Well said



On the dental issue (again), of course I am concerned about cavities, gum disease, all that -- it doesn't keep me up at night by any means, but of course as a loving mama, I want my daughter to have the personal/social/monetary/pain free benefit of healthy teeth and I will certainly encourage it through modeling, providing information, attempting to make it an enjoyable experience and so on and so forth.

At the end of the day though, our relationship is more important that a trip to the dentist. I am not saying it is ruining the child/parent relationship to force your kids to brush your teeth, but the thought makes me personally, feel icky.

*warning personal opinion ahead* I think it is a violation of someone's body to hold them down, while verbally and physically protesting, sometimes crying and begging (according to some posts in the past), and forcing a foreign object in their mouth. I refuse to do it. I refuse to threaten punishment or bribe or manipulate. I just don't see how forcing someone physically to accept a foreign object in their mouth while they spit and cry and fight and beg you to stop is in any way shape or form gentle.
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:18 PM
 
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I wanted to respond to this example. I would actually, in my better moments, not think of the wanting to be swung in the hamper or the banging sister on the head with a spoon or the staying outside to play as the needs. I would see those things more as the strategies to meet the needs. I guess I'd see being swung in the hamper as meeting a need for play or physical stimulation. I'd see the banging of sister on the head as a strategy for meeting another need-for learning, or any number of other "things" depending on circumstances. I'd see requesting to stay outside/refusing to come in as a strategy for meeting some more basic need-for physical activity that can't continue inside, for autonomy (to choose for oneself whether/when to go inside), for physical stimulation for example.

I once read this really interesting article (can't remember the author) that was (I think) about living consensually with kids. The author gave this example of a child wanting to play in the toilet bowl and the parent wanting to stop the child for health reasons (this was awhile ago, so I don't remember exactly what was written). Simply saying "no you can't play in the toilet" and moving the child physically doesn't meet that need or even acknowledge it. So a parent can instead observe to understand what is appealing to the child about playing in the toilet bowl, in order to understand which need(s) of the child is(are) met by this activity. The author said that this child's need might be to learn about the water or playing in the toilet bowl may in some way meet the sensory-stimulation needs of the child. A parent can work to meet the child's need(s), along with the parent's own need to protect the child's health/safety, by providing another opportunity to play with water. I wish I could remember better, because I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job explaining it. It sounds like simple redirection, but there's this added quality of becoming aware of what everyone's needs are vs. the strategies used to meet those needs.

When I think of my child's need as "she needs to play in the toilet" then we end up struggling more often. When I see my child wanting to play in the toilet, I can pause to consider what other need that action might be meeting and work to meet that need-so when I look at it as "my child wants to play in the toilet, she's satisfying her need for sensory stimulation" (or whatever) then other solutions become apparent. When my child hits a sibling, the need isn't to hit-hitting is the strategy. When I can understand, or work toward understanding, the difference between the needs and the strategies the possibilities for resolving a situation become numerous and apparent. Is it sometimes impossible to meet a particular need temporarily? Sure. Sometimes it's truly impossible (maybe), and sometimes I'm just not willing to try the other solutions of which I'm aware, and sometimes I'm having difficulty coming up with other solutions (probably because of my own fixed ideas, assumptions, perceptions, needs, feelings).
Sledg, thanks for this. Your posts often clarify things for me, and this one did again.

I think I was understanding the POV of CLers to be that it was a violation to redirect your child to the sink from the toilet. And I'm still not sure that technically, with my child, it wouldn't be. Because I know he would protest and cry and go all noodly on me until I got him set up at the sink. This happens quite frequently, unfortunately, because my dd always leaves the bathroom door open. I'm usually quick enough that he hasn't put his hand in the toilet, but I am not willing to let him play in the toilet until I talked him into playing at the sink.

I guess that's what I was trying to say in my original post. I do feel that I know what is best for him. I know what lurks in toilets, and I know that he will shortly be satisfied at the sink, and while I explain that to him, I'm not going to let him splash toilet water up on his face. Voila, the difference, I suppose.

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Old 08-01-2006, 06:20 PM
 
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*warning personal opinion ahead* I think it is a violation of someone's body to hold them down, while verbally and physically protesting, sometimes crying and begging (according to some posts in the past), and forcing a foreign object in their mouth. I refuse to do it. I refuse to threaten punishment or bribe or manipulate. I just don't see how forcing someone physically to accept a foreign object in their mouth while they spit and cry and fight and beg you to stop is in any way shape or form gentle.
ITA with this personal opinion. I think that would be very frightening. Furthermore, I think it would be very difficult. My ds had a terrible ear infection this winter, and it was the most traumatic thing I've ever done making him take the yucky antibiotics. I can't imagine if I was trying to brush his teeth, too. I don't think it would be possible.

That said, I am all for insisting that my dd brush her teeth and waiting with her until she does. Works pretty much every time with us. But she is 3, too.

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Old 08-01-2006, 06:54 PM
 
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I think I was understanding the POV of CLers to be that it was a violation to redirect your child to the sink from the toilet. And I'm still not sure that technically, with my child, it wouldn't be. Because I know he would protest and cry and go all noodly on me until I got him set up at the sink. This happens quite frequently, unfortunately, because my dd always leaves the bathroom door open. I'm usually quick enough that he hasn't put his hand in the toilet, but I am not willing to let him play in the toilet until I talked him into playing at the sink.
ahem...never actually having had this particular problem myself, I'm going to comment. Which may be unwise, but here goes. I'm thinking of the fact that there have been so many things which I have deemed to dangerous or unhealthy, and swooped in to save my child from only to find myself becoming way more relaxed about those same things now that my third child is 2.5 years old. So I'm thinking that for a CLer, there may be a huge piece of this process that involves really thinking about our assumptions as parents-is this really all that unsafe? Is dipping a hand in the toilet really so bad? (I'm thinking right now, probably for me it's not. With my firstborn I had a toilet lock.) And if it is something I can't tolerate because it really does not meet my very real need to protect my child/contribute to his well-being/keep him safe, what are the options for addressing it other than scooping up and carrying a screaming child against his will to the sink? I think you're right that while redirection may not go against CL, picking up a crying child and carrying him somewhere else (in a situation where serious harm is not imminent) probably does.

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I guess that's what I was trying to say in my original post. I do feel that I know what is best for him. I know what lurks in toilets, and I know that he will shortly be satisfied at the sink, and while I explain that to him, I'm not going to let him splash toilet water up on his face. Voila, the difference, I suppose.
I think you've hit upon the difference, in a nutshell-or at least a big part of it. I'm still quite fuzzy about CL in many ways myself. I certainly have more experience than my kids, and I think I know more about what's best for them. OTOH, my kids have on many occasions questioned me until I realized that I could be or am wrong. And I like that, it's good to think and question. I want to help my kids learn to do that. But for them to learn that, I have to get out of their way a little, trust them a lot, remain calm myself and be open.

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Old 08-01-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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I find myself questioning my ideas of what is "unacceptable". Before having a child, I would think the toilet was definately not something I would ever allow a child to play with. Luckily, it has never come up. But had it, I would have to question what my ideas were about that specific issue. Could dd stick her hand in if enclosed in a bread bag? A glove? What about right after I cleaned it? Maybe she would be happy to help me clean it with a brush? Then I read that most toilet bowls when swabbed have less concentrations of e coli than your average kitchen sink!!!!!! Maybe it is better to let her play in there then the kitchen sink which is where she spent a great deal of time playing while I cooked. Not that I am advocating toilet snorkeling...but you get my drift. Kids are washable. I would much rather spend 5 minutes cleaning up yuckies on my child then spend 30 minutes dealing with a frustrated tantrum.
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:46 PM
 
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I find myself questioning my ideas of what is "unacceptable". Before having a child, I would think the toilet was definately not something I would ever allow a child to play with. Luckily, it has never come up. But had it, I would have to question what my ideas were about that specific issue. Could dd stick her hand in if enclosed in a bread bag? A glove? What about right after I cleaned it? Maybe she would be happy to help me clean it with a brush? Then I read that most toilet bowls when swabbed have less concentrations of e coli than your average kitchen sink!!!!!! Maybe it is better to let her play in there then the kitchen sink which is where she spent a great deal of time playing while I cooked. Not that I am advocating toilet snorkeling...but you get my drift. Kids are washable. I would much rather spend 5 minutes cleaning up yuckies on my child then spend 30 minutes dealing with a frustrated tantrum.
These are good ideas, but again, let me reiterate that this is how I deal with this with a 14 month old. He's going to be no more happy if I ask him to wait to get a glove, bag, clean the toilet, etc., as if I just tell him, "Do you want to splash? Let's splash in the sink! Come on, let me pull the stool out!" Probably happier, actually, since it's about one foot to the sink, and he figures out what I'm doing in about 5 seconds, and he's just not really old enough for a prolonged frustrated tantrum. He's still at that angelic age where all his troubles melt away at the site of car keys or a sippy cup.

And, I do question a lot of what I thought was a requirement, in fact, I sometimes think, "Wow, I really let my kids run wild!" Not in a bad way, but just that they get to do all kinds of things that my more cautious friends won't allow, for example. But when the toilet hasn't been scrubbed in two days and I know how much poop has been flushed down there since it was, and he's splashing water on his face and putting his hands in his mouth, I just can't let that happen. I think there's a real chance of getting sick.

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Old 08-01-2006, 09:16 PM
 
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I'll try to say what I wanted to before about the toothbrushing thing. I'm living this problem right now, and I have some other thoughts about it. I don't know if I'll have the time or focus, but here goes...

1. As a counter example to the horror stories, my GF didn't have a toothbrush until he was 23 years old. He never had a cavity or gum disease in his long life. His teeth - every one he was borh with in his head - were pearly-white (even with years of pipe smoking and chewing tobacco) when he died.

2. I'm very concerned about my son's teeth and gums. (I'll get to the whys later.) But as a point of attention, I'm more focused on the sugar and refined junk that DS gets from the GMs and what those non-foods do to his mouth. Toothbrushing (or it's lack) is a close second, but I believe that the diet is more important to dental health even than brushing.

3. Ahh, the question of what works... Well, so far, it's been an interesting journey. Pleading, explaining, and other colors of the like backfire. Forcing sets us back months. Telling about what will happen with dirty teeth results in confrontation. Why?

Well, in the numerous discussion we and DS have had about this, it seems clear that his inordinately strong aversion to toothbrushing stems from some serious pain he experienced for the first several months of his life. (I kid you not, my son forgets nothing.) He had an injured jaw from a car accident in utero, when his head was already engaged in my pelvis. He took a big hit to the jaw when I was injured in the hip. We strugged with BFing forever.

He hurt. He's scared. Would I serve his needs better to blast through that fear and pain and force a brushing, "for his good"? Or try to convince him that it's not really the big deal to him that it is? Will he really think that stickers are so important to have that he'll intentionally go through fear of pain to get them? I don't know. But personally, I'd be pi$$ed at the offer.

So what I'm left with is trying to help him cope with his fear. It's daunting. It takes a very long time, and lots of patience and commitment. I really lose it sometimes (inside) because I know it would be so much easier (for me, anyway) if DS would just brush his damn teeth. I mean, it's not gonna kill him, right? And I'm tired of worrying about his dental health.

Well, he doesn't feel that way. He remembers the pain he used to feel and is very afraid of it coming back. So it really is a big deal. Pushing him is the opposite of helping. It sets him back in discovering for himself that he really can handle having a brush clean his teeth everyday, and that the old pain won't just come back.

Now, I have an appointment to get his first dental cleaning. God(dess) help us. I don't know what will happen. Either DS will decide it's really cool to see all those mechanical things, or he'll freak and we'll find ourselves at square one, and it will take another couple of years to calm him down. But I just have to try. I will not allow a dentist to force anything on him, though. But I will try every respectful thing I can think of to help DS agree to a cleaning. And to feel safe about it.

OK, I'm falling over from a headache, so I can't imagine this turned out understandable. But I hope it offers a little more perspective...
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:52 PM
 
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Toothbrushing aside (thankfully, it's been a non-issue here so far; both girls enjoy brushing their teeth) is it the belief, generally, that EVERY situation can be followed in terms of CL . . .that there are no absolutes, no time where a parent says "I draw the line at . . ." Are there ever instances where there isn't room for compromise? If there are times, what are those times for you (if you practice CL)?

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