How do you "enforce" the non-negotiables? (spinoff of pushing thread) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 08-02-2006, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really want to be gd. I don't know if I am, but I want to be. I was not raised gd and I'm an only child so I didn't get to see anybody else raised.
The one thing that has always gotten me is something being non-negotiable. "Hitting should NOT be allowed." So,I feel that I told him and he still does it so now what? If something is non-negotiable, how is that expressed to the child and enforced, and still being gd?
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#2 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 07:40 AM
 
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It depends on the "non-negotiable." For me, if its not something that involves risk of harm to another's person or property, than I "enforce" it by pointing out that the rule has been violated and that I expect it to be met in the future.

For example, in our family sitting at the table at meal times is not negotiable (though there are set exceptions). But since there is no harm that will come from not adhering to it, I am not going to use much of consequence to enforce it.

So let's say my dd leaves the table during the meal. I would tell her to come back. If she said "no" I'd wait til after and say. "in our family we sit til all our finished. You left the table today before we were all done. Next time I expect you to sit, til we are all done."

The same might appply to a chore that is non-negotiable. "It was your job to pick up your beads when you are done. They can not be left lying around because the baby could get them. I had to pick them up. Next time I expect you to clean up as soon as you are done beading."

As for hitting, well as for siblings my main rule is you can't do so in a manner that could cause harm to your siblings. So if might be "You can NOT hit you sister with the metal baton, you could really hurt her." and if ANY move was made torward hitting, I would take away the baton "I am going to take the baton until you feel you can be safe with it."

Around others (non-siblings) I would remove the child from the situation. "We have to go home if you hit again..." (actually this never came up for us. My girls just never hit anyone but each other ). If that went on for more than a minute though I would sepearte them without blaming on or the other. "Your girls are not getting along right now. You may not hit each other (said even if only ONE was doing the hitting). DD1 take your book on the rug, dd 2 let's move your puzzle to the table)
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#3 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 10:19 AM
 
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We only have 3 non-negotioable things in our home. 1- NO hitting. If they hit and cannot be calmed or aren't willing to stop they will be physically restrained. I don't care what got you so riled, you will NOT hurt someone else over it. 2- You WILL ride in a car seat. If you won't hop in I will put you in. 3- You will brush your teeth. Never had an issue with non compliance regarding this but if I did I would gently restrain them & brush.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#4 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 11:03 AM
 
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I'm curious about this too. I had a thread somewhere, maybe not in gd so may not be relevant, but a few posters said that "going to the bathroom before bed is non-negotiable". Well, I feel that way, too; but my 3.5 yo sometimes absolutely refuses to use the bathroom before bed (and then she'll make a fuss about 1/2 hour after she is in bed saying that she has to get up and go pee : ). While I may wish for that to be non-negotiable, I can hardly physically set her on the potty and force her to eliminate. How do others handle things like that when they are "non-negotiable"?
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#5 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44
So let's say my dd leaves the table during the meal. I would tell her to come back. If she said "no" I'd wait til after and say. "in our family we sit til all our finished. You left the table today before we were all done. Next time I expect you to sit, til we are all done."

The same might appply to a chore that is non-negotiable. "It was your job to pick up your beads when you are done. They can not be left lying around because the baby could get them. I had to pick them up. Next time I expect you to clean up as soon as you are done beading."
So what would happen if she *doesn't* sit until you're done next time, and *doesn't* put away the beads? How do you enforce this?

I struggle with this. I don't want to use "or else" statements but feel a deep need for them. I don't want to punish or threaten to punish but feel like we end up in situations where I don't know what else to do. I feel like I spend so much time thinking about parenting and trying to parent proactively, but sometimes you just get your back against a wall, you know? And what then?

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#6 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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I am not certain if it is logical to say that something is "non-negotiable" AND that there is no consequence or enforcement?

If it truly non-negotiable and it is not followed and there is no consequence or no enforcement than how is it non-negotiable???

We only have a couple of non-negotiables in our house:

(1) no hitting
(2) must be buckled/in carseat in car
(3) no eating messy foods on the carpet [we are in a rental house. if it was my own house I would be more flexible.]
(4) holding hands in parking lots/roads

These are enforced. Meaning: if you hit you will be removed from situation until you are calmer and can take responsibility for your action. If you will not get into your carseat yourself, I will put you in it. etc...

There are not *punishments* for breaking these rules. But I will coerce compliance if need be.

I think if one is not willing to coerce compliance than it isn't truly non-negotiable. Rather it is just a *very* stronge preference or request on the parents' parts. I, of course, make requests of my children that I expect that they will comply with during the day. That I expect them to "obey" [though I hate that word]. But they don't count as non-negotiables, because the reality is that at any point if they articulate a good reason or passionate feeling why they can't comply at the moment, I am more than willing to compromise with them. So it isn't non-negotiable.

Does this make sense?
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#7 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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Well, our non-negotiables would mostly be that it can't cause harm to someone or something. I'll enforce holding hands near cars. And staying near me in public.
But there's no punishment, no removal from the situation, and no punitive removal of toys, etc. And actually there is rarely any need for coersion. With car rides, it doesn't take long of letting ds "drive" before he's willing to get in the seat.
But I will coerce as a last resort. For example, I will physically stop ds from hitting me or a dog, if he doesn't stop himself (but again, that hasn't happened since he was 18 mos old or younger). If we're in a store and he won't stay near me, I will pick him up, and give him a few choices of how he will be near me. I do whatever I can to make it ok for him, but he HAS to stay near me.
I don't find that my willingness to use coersion *as a last resort* causes me to try much less hard to find an agreeable solution.

I guess, I could be described as being anti-behaviorism. Not anti-coersion. But I do find that ds deals best with a situation, and gets more out of it (learns more) when there is no coersion.

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#8 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 04:08 PM
 
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You can't MAKE someone go to the bathroom. You could enforce "you have to SIT on the potty before bed" (we changed our rule to the sit on the potty version instead of the go potty version before going out so my DS at least tries to go).
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#9 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 04:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
I don't find that my willingness to use coersion *as a last resort* causes me to try much less hard to find an agreeable solution.
I agree with this. It reflects my experience as well.
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#10 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 05:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibex67
I am not certain if it is logical to say that something is "non-negotiable" AND that there is no consequence or enforcement?

If it truly non-negotiable and it is not followed and there is no consequence or no enforcement than how is it non-negotiable???
Well, I would say that something is negotiable if there could be a changing of the rule. For example, the car seat for us is actually negotiable, as when we go to the very rural valley where I grew up, I let dd sit on my lap and drive on the dirt road. But I can't think of a time when she could argue for hitting, and then talk me into it. So that's a definite non-negotiable.

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#11 of 20 Old 08-03-2006, 06:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ibex67
I am not certain if it is logical to say that something is "non-negotiable" AND that there is no consequence or enforcement?
The rule is non-negotiable, even if it is not enforced through punishment or consequences becasuse IT NEVER GOES AWAY. It remains in place, even when not complied with.

With most children in the real world knowing that they have failed to comply with a rule, is consequence ennough.

They have an unmet expecation hanging over their heads and IME 95 percent of the time, that alone is ennough to get compliance with the rule the next time.

And of course I will enforce a rule that involves any potential danger to my child or danger or damage to the person or property of another.
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#12 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 01:27 PM
 
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I'm following this thread with interest and had to post since DS just hit me. We were talking about getting his hair cut and he doesn't want to. He agreed to cut a tiny amount and drew a picture of how much. I didn't understand, he got frustrated, whacked me on the hand with the pencil (it still hurts), threw the pencil at me and stormed into his room.

What now? I've talked to him ad nauseum about how frustration, anger etc is ok but not ok to hit yet he continues to hit or throw things at me when frustrated. He only seems to respond when there is a consequence. "I expect ____ next time" just doesn't work with him.
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#13 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I started this thread because I am stumped with many things. I, too, tell my son that there is no hitting. If he hits, I hold his hands and tell him to stop hitting, that it hurts, and it is not ok. He freaks out that I am holding his hands and tries to free himself but I wont let go, because he wil lhit again. It becomes a scene, even if I try not to let it become a scene. I've tried just using words, and having not met the expectation doesn't seem to hang over his head. If I remove him and walk away he runs after me and hits me again. I have tried time-outs and they don't work, but when I've tried every other tactic and he continues, sometimes I feel like he needs to be restrained somewhere (which I know will make him freak out more). I usually end up raising my voice or something like that 'cause at this point, I am at a total loss of what to do. He is a very persisten kid and tries to make everything a power struggle. I try to stay out of it but when he keeps coming at me with the misbehavior, I end up going son that road with him.
Please help me gd this 'cause a lot of the suggestions just don't work. Unless doing all the suggestions and having it end with him chasing after me and hitting me one more time and me ignoring it is the way to end it and he got the point then let me know.
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#14 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 02:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kindacrunchy
The one thing that has always gotten me is something being non-negotiable. "Hitting should NOT be allowed." So,I feel that I told him and he still does it so now what? If something is non-negotiable, how is that expressed to the child and enforced, and still being gd?
The things that are truly nonnegotiable at my house are the safety of self and others.

I read something on a PD list one time that really made sense to me. With a young child that hits, you usually know that they are going to try to hit. If they hit once, they should never get a second chance to do so. A child that is allowed to hit over and over again, and then told "hitting is not okay" could feel shamed, and start to think of themselves negatively, as someone who hurts others. So I stop those hands and feet when they are coming at me. "I will not let you hit/kick me". Then later when calm, explain (and yes I have had to do this many times over) that it is okay to be upset, sad, irritated, angry, whatever. First give empathy so they feel heard--"you were frustrated because xyz? You were wanting ____?" Then go into Hitting hurts others and is not the best way to handle anger. What could we do (or could child have done) instead to express frustration, and get need met?

It does take longer for kids to get this, because all of the while that we are teaching skills, we are also waiting for them to mature developmentally to the point where they have developed more impulse control. I can see it in my son now (4 yo) that when he feels angry, he raises his hand to hit, and will stop himself and take a step back. I still need to step in and help him and remind him of other strategies. But I can see there is a big change from 6 months ago.

I can think of another safety example. A while ago, ds1 went through a phase where he would scream in the car, at 3 yo. After looking at reasons, it was clear he was screaming to get a reaction and when I asked him to be quiet for his sleeping baby brother. It was so distracting that it was unsafe for me to drive. So I said that there will be no screaming while driving in the car--crying, okay, no outright screaming. When he screamed, I would pull over, and we would all sit there quietly parked by the side of the road. He didn't like this very much. I had to do this 2-3 times. The last time I had to stop 3 times on a 10 minute ride home. But, he doesn't do it anymore. No yelling or threatening, no privileges taken away, just explaining the way it is when we ride in the car.
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#15 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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I think with the little ones the key is, in addition to repeating the rule ("no hitting" or whatever), to help them learn the skill they need in order to abide by that rule. KWIM? WRT the hitting, why is he hitting? What's he trying to do/say? What other ways could he do/say that? Kids not only need to know what not to do, they need to know what to do. I think that when a young one is repeatedly "not complying" with the rule, they're likely lacking a skill they need in order to comply. So..maybe it's like "no hitting. Be gentle. I see you want....you can say..." or something along that line.

That said, it's also important to keep in mind that kids will not always follow our rules no matter what we do and that's just part of being a human person. And also, sometimes the more we react to something the more it happens for whatever reason.

So, sometimes it's good to just take a step back and observe without rushing into a response or trying so hard to find the response that will work-pause long enough to see with fresh eyes what your child is doing/feeling/needing and how your responses affect the situation and how your expectations/assumptions affect your responses. I don't mean hyper-analyze, but take a step back to breathe and just be aware.
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#16 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To sledg and sightly crunchy.
I do prevent him from hitting me the first time unless he takes me by surprise but if I let go he will keep doing it. I've done the empathy, i'ved doen the what we can do instead, etc. He's hitting because he is mad at me. It is a mjor button pusher for me. He tries to get a rise out of me, he is trying to bait me. I have been trying to stay calm so as not to give him what he is expecting.
It still happens when he is not getting what he wants. He has upped the anty lately 'cause his baby brother is crawling and he is having major issues with taking toys away and pushing his brohter. Jealousy.
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#17 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 02:58 PM
 
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One thing I've worked on with my kids is helping them learn how to express their anger more appropriately. It's a lot of "It's okay to be angry, it's not okay to hit." Helping them learn to identify and name their feelings. And it's really hard, but it's been important for me to not let their behavior bother me so much. I tend to be very uncomfortable with their displays of anger, but I don't want them to be uncomfortable with anger. Anger is a normal and acceptable feeling-there are just more and less acceptable ways of expressing it. Very often young children simply lack the skills to express their anger more appropriately. So I try to be calm and loving when it happens-sort of a "calm but neutral". Sometimes the heat of the moment is a time to talk about expressing feelings appropriately and sometimes it isn't.

For one of my kids in particular, an increase in aggressive behavior or a re-appearance of aggressive behavior is usually associated with stress or a lack of connection or a need for more focused attention-a need for reassurance and security. In addition to the fact that she seems to be lacking some skills that one needs to manage anger more appropriately-which is so very common in young children (not to mention many adults). So a big first step for us when we're in a cycle we can't seem to get out of is to spend time reconnecting, giving plenty of attention all around, and helping her relax.

And you know, I've had my share of times when I just keep walking away while being followed by a child who's trying to hit me. Often in a non-redirectable situation like that the best thing I can do is just not give any reaction to the hitting and just keep moving out of reach (and if necessary protect anyone else). This is one of those times when it's just not helpful to talk about it-when my child is very upset, not able to think or listen or learn, and non-redirectable. We can address the problem later when said child is calm.

It also just takes time and repetition and patience.

eta that Raising a Thinking Child is a book about helping preschoolers and young children learn problem-solving skills. I liked it and found it helpful.
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#18 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you sledg! How do you suggest I handle the pushing his 7 mo baby brother? And the snatching toys away from his baby brother?
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#19 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 05:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I think with the little ones the key is, in addition to repeating the rule ("no hitting" or whatever), to help them learn the skill they need in order to abide by that rule. KWIM? WRT the hitting, why is he hitting? What's he trying to do/say? What other ways could he do/say that? Kids not only need to know what not to do, they need to know what to do. I think that when a young one is repeatedly "not complying" with the rule, they're likely lacking a skill they need in order to comply. So..maybe it's like "no hitting. Be gentle. I see you want....you can say..." or something along that line.
Yes. They are meeting their needs and expressing their impulses in the best way they know how. They need to be taught better ways to express those impulses. Saying "Be gentle" is good, but doesn't tell them how to express that they are angry/want someone to move/etc. That impulse won't just go away, they will continue to need to express it, and they will do so the best way they know how.
Give acceptable alternatives that honor the impulse.

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#20 of 20 Old 08-04-2006, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kindacrunchy
How do you suggest I handle the pushing his 7 mo baby brother? And the snatching toys away from his baby brother?
My oldest was aggressive with her baby brother. In the interest of full disclosure, she is still aggressive at age 6.5 but I think what we're dealing with wrt her is a little bit outside the realm of "normal" (and we're headed for some professional help. What I'm about to suggest helps with her anyway, and it works for my other kids.). When she was 2.5 or so and he began moving around was when her jealousy ramped up and when we began having problems. As I recall, to deal with hitting basically we never left her alone with the baby, and baby was always within arms reach or in a sling/backpack. Whenever aggression begins to rear it's head around here, the name of the game is stay close and keep them separate-as creatively and without criticism as possible. It's so very important to also address whatever underlying issues there are rather than focusing so much on the hitting itself. My oldest was the only one to hit/push a baby. After her I learned better how to deal with a child getting a new baby sibling-I highly suggest the usual new-baby things like lots of attention, talking about your older child's negative feelings toward the baby and how that's normal, talking about how it's sometimes hard to share, etc.-IMO this can be a huge part of the solution.

WRT snatching toys from babies, we've had our fill of that too (still do on the days I babysit our nephew). For grabbing it's lots of reminders ("he was using that, how might you feel if he grabbed your toy?") and requests ("please give it back" + waiting)-usually then the grabber gives the toy back to the grabbee. We do a lot of "what's a different way you could work it (wanting the toy the other has) out?" and brainstorming together (we come up with things like finding a toy the other child would like and trading, asking nicely, waiting for the other child to be done, finding something else to do...). Again, this is where that book Raising a Thinking Child had great ideas-lots of word games and thinking games to promote this kind of process.

HTH.
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