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Old 05-20-2003, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, we had a major blowout. We had told my son he had to eat dinner before having cake and he was refusing. So we were frustrated. My husband was insisting and I said something to support him and my son hit me pretty hard (my dh says he had a malicious look). So dh told him not to hit mommy and to say "sorry". DS refused. So Dh held him on his lap--we've been doing this in response tohitting: we restrain him on our lap until he calms down--which is sometimes quite a while.
So this time, he didn't calm down much but dh asked him, "will you say sorry?"
DS said, "yes", but then wouldn't actually say "sorry" to me. This scenario repeated 3 times but I could see dh getting angry. Then dh got really mad an put ds in his crib and slammed the door. DS continued to cry, would say he would say sorry, then would refuse to say it.
It was a nightmare.
Finally we let him cry himself out and then DH put on his pajamas and put him to bed.
It was a miserable evening.
I am new to this forum, I know very little. Please tell me how we could have avoided this situation that made us all unhappy!

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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Old 05-20-2003, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally posted by mami2f3
Okay, we had a major blowout. We had told my son he had to eat dinner before having cake and he was refusing. So we were frustrated.
I think one of the issues here is that your scenario is rife with power struggles that can really be avoided - the above being the first. Why insist that he eat dinner? A simple, matter-of-fact statement that he may certainly have cake if he eats his dinner (some or all, whichever makes more sense to your family - some is generally enough for us here because ds is not a big eater) should suffice. If he says no, then it is his decision to not eat dinner and, as such, his decision to not eat cake. Sure, he will probably be upset that he can't have cake, but there has really been no power struggle, just family policy put into action and the consequences of a choice that was his to make.

Quote:
So dh told him not to hit mommy and to say "sorry". DS refused. So Dh held him on his lap--we've been doing this in response tohitting: we restrain him on our lap until he calms down--which is sometimes quite a while.
So this time, he didn't calm down much but dh asked him, "will you say sorry?"
DS said, "yes", but then wouldn't actually say "sorry" to me. This scenario repeated 3 times but I could see dh getting angry. Then dh got really mad an put ds in his crib and slammed the door. DS continued to cry, would say he would say sorry, then would refuse to say it.
I'm not sure I understand why it was so important that he say, "Sorry" - particularly as he was obviously not feeling it. He was angry, and expressing his anger in a way that he knows how and then being forced to apologize for his expression of anger. I don't force (or even cajole) ds to say he's sorry because I don't want him to misunderstand the purpose or source of an apology - in other words, I want him to say it only when he feels it so it is genuine and heartfelt and not simply an effort to excuse his behavior. What I've found helpful, instead, is to tell him that I understand he is angry, but it is not ever okay to hit me (or anyone else he might have hit) - that if he really feels the need to his something, there are plenty of pillows or bats and balls available. Sometimes (only if he is receptive), I'll explain to him that when he hits other people's feelings and bodies hurt and I will try to relate it to an experience he has had that I know has had an impact on him. I usually save this for after-the-fact when he has calmed down, though (he's only 2.5 so he is not very receptive to reason in the heat of a situation).

I would highly recommend reading "Kids, Parents & Power Struggles" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and "Kids Are Worth It!" by Barbara Coloroso. Both are very helpful and have been instrumental in reshaping my ideas of parenting (to our entire family's benefit)!

Good luck to you

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Old 05-20-2003, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your response.

with regard to the cake thing, it wasn't that he woudln't eat dinner that bugged us, it was his continued obsession with the cake. it's so hard to deal with his escalation when he wants something. how should i have enforced this first idea with a calmer outcome?

i really see what you mean about the "sorry" part. i guess i feel pressure to have him say sorry to other kids when he hits them and so it seems like we need to teach him to do it early, but i really agree with you that he should say it because he feels it and not as a quick fix for getting out of something. when are they ready to uderstand that?

thanks again for your advice!

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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Old 05-20-2003, 04:18 PM
 
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Erika,

I wanted to PM you, ( this is just up my street ). If you set up PM, I'll talk.

Off to bed now. Nearly 3:30!!!

Yikes.

a

The anti-Ezzo king
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Old 05-20-2003, 10:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by mami2f3
thanks for your response.

with regard to the cake thing, it wasn't that he woudln't eat dinner that bugged us, it was his continued obsession with the cake. it's so hard to deal with his escalation when he wants something. how should i have enforced this first idea with a calmer outcome?
I definitely understand this - ds gets completely obsessed about things like this, as well. I try to put a positive spin on it and consider that this sort of fixation/perseverance will likely serve him well later on It's a mind trick (because it irks me to no end - as do any of his "less than desirable" behaviors that I just happen to share : ) but it tends to work.

How do you put the situation to him? Is it in the form of, "No, you cannot have cake until you finish your dinner?" If so, I've found that a shift to more positive language has really helped us (as in, "Sure, you can have some cake right after you eat some dinner!"). Also, do you involve him in the dinner-making process? The selections and even perhaps the preparation? I think it will help to put some control back into his hands - with my own ds I find that the more I micromanage him the more resistant he becomes. If I let go and give him the opportunity to make his own decisions (within the boundaries of how we've defined acceptability, I mean - it's a pretty loose standard in our house, but we do have certain ground rules), he feels empowered (and, just as importantly, *is* empowered) and we all get along much better!

Quote:
i really see what you mean about the "sorry" part. i guess i feel pressure to have him say sorry to other kids when he hits them and so it seems like we need to teach him to do it early, but i really agree with you that he should say it because he feels it and not as a quick fix for getting out of something. when are they ready to uderstand that?
I think they just get it when they get it. Ds is pretty compassionate and so he has gotten it pretty early. But he's gotten it because we've modeled it - I think this is the most important element. If he would hit another child or grab something away we would tell the child (in front of him) that we were sorry that had happened (if we were - occasionally I really wasn't so I didn't - for instance, if the child had just grabbed the toy away from him). We've also just modeled sympathy and understanding toward him (both physically and verbally) and others and it seems to have taken hold over time. Occasionally he will now say he's sorry if he does something that has hurt me (physically or emotionally) - and sometimes he won't, which is fine, too....

I know there is a lot of pressure to have the perfect child who is always polite and gentle - but, IMO, it's more important to help guide a child to a true understanding of right and wrong and compassion than to pressure him/her to act a certain way under false pretenses just to keep in line with social niceties. I live in a city of adults who were likely raised as such - it's really no fun

I really would recommend those two books - and also "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk" by Faber and Mazlish. They are all fantastic and should be available at your local library - or check out half.com for cheaper prices (this is where I found mine). You're obviously an extremely loving, caring mama - I think these books can really help make your lives easier...
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Old 05-21-2003, 12:59 AM
 
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Wow I think we have the same sons. My youngest son Noah will be two next month and we are starting to deal with hitting A Lot.

What has worked for us at this stage is "When, then" statements
When you eat dinner then you can have cake. He knows what is required and when he meets the first requirement then he will get cake.
*When you put your shoes on then we can go to the park
*When you do X then we will do Y

As far as the apologizing I would say forget it, tit will come in time. I think the real point of discipline/punishment is to eventually teach the child what he needs to do to make reparations for his actions.

Just b/c your son might be able to say the word "sorry" doesn't mean he actually understands what it means, so forcing it could be bringing its own battles.

Wen Noah (23mo) hits me I sit him on the floor and walk away. (that is if he is on my lap or sitting with me) If he hits me I either just ignore the negative behavior and when he starts acting nice/no hitting I give lots fo praise and attention. This has been very effective to stop 75% of the hitting, I think the rest is just lots of energy, especially when we don't get to play outside.

Another dynamic I see here is you and your husband. I also saw in you signature you have a new baby. This could really be changing lots of things in your home. My two children are 14mo apart and this is CRAZY. Just remember that your son is likely still feeling displaced in the family, and I don't really think it has to do with anything you are or are not doing....he has to work through his feelings on his own. Trying to Speeding it up or Force it won't help anyone, least of all him.

Your husband sounds like mine, When our kids did something that normally I don't say anything about my dh is like..."we have such disobedient children." It seems like if our dc aren't obeying at that very instant they have already crossed the line. And my husband feels he must show "who is boss." My dh forgets ALL the time that correcting issues isn't something that will be won with one battle it is a consistent approach by both parents.
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Old 05-21-2003, 01:01 AM
 
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Sorry just had another thought. Do you have a good book that talks about child development for each month. I have the not so great but okay as a basic guide "What to expect the toddler years"

I find it very helpful to find out what is normal for each month/stage. I often find my expectations are WAY too high comapred to what most other toddlers of the same age are doing or learning.
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Old 05-21-2003, 01:11 AM
 
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BTW

1) Does he have to eat his "real food" before the cake.

2) If cake and stuff is such a problem, why is it even on the menu?

a

The anti-Ezzo king
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Old 05-21-2003, 11:15 AM
 
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I personally think it's fine to expect a child to eat his regular food before his cake. You could perhaps explain it to him more clearly in terms of the kinds of food his body needs to be strong, and that sweets are only "good" for him if he's eaten other foods. When we had food struggles with my oldest at that age, we actually made her a wipe-off food chart, and it was her responsibility to fill in the foods she'd eaten all day. Then she'd know if it was healthy for her to have a treat, and she was in control of it.

With our children, if they're old enough (>2 or so) to be screaming/kicking/hitting in order to get their way (and yes, they'll say that's what they're doing), we make a safe place for them to go when they're that angry. We explain that we need to keep the rest of the family safe, and that we love them, but when they are trying to hurt us, then they need some time to calm down. We usually use our OWN bed for this. Then it's not really time out. We never say it in that context, but in the context of safety.

Finally, on the apology. We actually "force" them here too, but with a different method. When you hurt someone in our family, it's your responsibility to do what you can to make it better, and to take responsibility for your actions. We talk about the things that can be done to fix things-- usually we come up with hugs, kisses, apologies, etc. And then give it to the child to responsibly take care of their misbehavior.

Kids really do rise to the occasion if you give them a bit of responsibility for their own behavior and actions!

Wendy
Dagny 5/3/99
Faith 9/13/00
Xander 5/3/01
And a new little someone due 11/03!
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Old 05-21-2003, 04:40 PM
 
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Just to chime in, I am having similar situations at home with DD (2 1/2) especially about her hitting me, DP telling her to say sorry/ putting her in timeout for both the hit and not saying sorry.

I *feel* the power struggle, don't want to get into it, but sometimes do (sigh) (I mean, to say, "stop getting angry, she is staying with me!" to DP)

Anyway, I'll read with intrest the suggestions you receive. Alexander, you are the same as always, I love your thought-provoking questions... I just wish I could put "ideals" in practice more easily. Good to have you around again!

Love, Monica+
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Old 05-21-2003, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alexander
BTW

1) Does he have to eat his "real food" before the cake.

2) If cake and stuff is such a problem, why is it even on the menu?

a
I'm not saying it's super logical, I just have a strong reaction to him not eating any food before cake. But I also feel like once I've said the rule, I have to stand by it or risk inconsistency that would lead to more meltdowns. Also, I don't want to set up a habit of cake as a substitute for dinner.

Cake isn't usually an option, but he just had his 2nd birthday last week and we had leftovers.

Also, you mentioned PM. What is that?

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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Old 05-21-2003, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, let me day that my dh was definitely in a power struggle here and does strongly feel he needs to show who is boss. They were beaten with sticks for giggling after bedtime, and he doesn't feel it was a negative experience, so it's hard to get him on board. He says hewill try very hard not to hit the kids because he knows I don't want it and he doesn't think it will feel good to hit them, but he's no GD guru!

Quote:
Originally posted by queen620
Sorry just had another thought. Do you have a good book that talks about child development for each month. I have the not so great but okay as a basic guide "What to expect the toddler years"

I find it very helpful to find out what is normal for each month/stage. I often find my expectations are WAY too high comapred to what most other toddlers of the same age are doing or learning.
I do have this book and have been frustrateed by it, actually. I sometimes get bummed that my son is nowhere near communicative enough to do the kinds of things that they recommend and then I am left with nothing (but disappointment). My doctor says ds is very clear communicator, so I blame the book But I do wish I had a list of what is normal or not.

Thanks for your support!

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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Old 05-21-2003, 05:37 PM
 
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Hi!
Some technical help for you
PM means Private Messaging - To set it up and use it and many other (fun) features of the board, go to the "User CP" button at the top right corner. I actually bookmarked that page and enter MDC through it. Just my way!

Well, welcome to MDC, I hope you find intresting, wise, stimulating ideas

I also have a not-too-keen-on-gentleness partner, and am trying to be each day a better person myself

Bye, Monica+
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Old 05-22-2003, 09:52 PM
 
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i would think letting him have a piece of cake first peacefully would have FAR fewer negative affects than the blow up that actually followed.

just last month we were going out to eat and my 2 1/2 year old asked to eat at the ice cream store (next door to the restaraunt) first. we did it! first we had a small sorbet cone, then we went next door and had our regular dinner. the kids got a big kick out of it. and since we didn't make a big issue out of it they don't often ask to eat desert first. life is short...eat desert first sometimes.

i seriously think making an issue out of ANY eating is a big mistake. if we're hungry we eat (and WHAT a BLESSING that is!) and if we're not we don't. sure, that means we're in the kitchen more often, but in the big picture that's just fine.

i would also reconsider your method of physically restraining your son---as in never ever do that.

we also never "force" our children to say anything. they learn by example. authentic is far more important than contrived. interestingly, so many parents who "teach" their kids to say sorry later follow it with "well, sorry's not good enough" or "you don't mean it." but that's beside the point.
best wishes and welcome to the board!
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:41 PM
 
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HI and Welcome!

We often have these conflicts with our daughter. We have had to change our methods several times as she matures. As background, she has been pretty underweight, so we have not had as much leeway as we would like when it comes to negotiating meals.

First Intervention: We gave her the dessert with the meal and let her pick and choose. For a while, she'd dive into the dessert and then go back and eat an appreciable amount of dinner afterwards.

Second Intervention: When she was just getting too much sugar before bedtime, we gave her smaller desserts with more fat than suagr when she ate a certain number of bites of food (she enjoyed counting at the time).

Third Intervention: When she got bored with the counting, we started giving larger desserts after smaller meals (figuring at least she would get the calories). She'd usually eat more at the next meal. She has always eaten more sugar than I would like, but it's been necessary for her weight gain.

As far as hitting, after the first hit, I try to move something soft inbetween us and quietly say I can't allow her to hurt her self or anyone else.

Most of all, when I see her charging up for a power struggle, I try to model calm, listening behavior no matter how loud and dramatic she gets. I try to restate her points, even if she's yelling them ("I hear you want the salt shaker honey but that's not a choice after you throw it") and just try to outlast her with calmness.
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Old 05-23-2003, 12:01 AM
 
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Here is another one of my recomendations for the book "Its not Fair, Jeremy's Parents let him stay up all Night." by Anthony Wolfe.

I alway recomend it when a poster says that their DH is tempted to hit or punish and wants to be in charge.

Wolfe is not completely AP. But he strongly believes that there is never a need to punish a child, let alone hit! He really appeals to those who feel that parents need to be in charge. Yet he is about as far as you can get from Ezzo in the non-AP world. And his books are fun to read!
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Old 05-23-2003, 02:43 AM
 
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On the saying sorry thing- the shortest way to have a child who says sorrys without meaning it, and/or refuses to say it if he doesn't have to, is to strongly force your child to say it when he isn't ready!
Model "sorrys" any time you feel like you are sorry (to *him* when you yell, or do something you are sorry for, as well as others).
They do indeed start saying it all on their own if given the space to do it in.
My dd will be 3 in September, and she often says she is sorry, even more than she needs to really!
I have also noticed other 2.5- 3 yr olds starting to voluntarily say they are sorry if they haven't been forced to say it in the past.
It sounds like you are a sensitive mother! Good luck, there are no easy answers, I think!
Sara
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Old 05-23-2003, 08:01 AM
 
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boohoo this makes me sad

A 2 yo needs alot of feelings of "rightness". Disciplining in any way that punishes is damaging and so unnecessary. God especially at 2!!

Parents attitudes usually really determine how a child will behave overall.

Enforcing apologies is coercive and frankly, for us and how I see things work with children, an insult and shameful.

Help him, make it successful, deal with nono's easily without the drama and move on to the good stuff.
Your hubby's past is a problem.

I wish you all luck!
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Old 05-24-2003, 11:28 PM
 
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mami2f3

Both of my ds were slow talkers so I don't really look at how many words the books says anymore. I do sometimes think the What to Expect is a bit off base, but I an only say just from the experience of my two sons. Anyway I have no more advice as we are still in the overall power struggle with both my 37mo and my 23mo so I feel like they are constantly trying to pull me in. Good luck with the hubby. HOw is it that men who were abused so often are willing to go on and use other forms just as long as not as harsh as what they were dealt....I just don't get my husband:
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:11 AM
 
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Hi - I haven't had a chance to read every post but just want to throw my 2c in - I know that sometimes I get so irritated when she won't eat her darn dinner (or whatever it is) because I know she's going to be so darn mad at me for not letting her have cake that she's going to ruin the entire evening. So I start to get all clenched up inside and start trying to reason with her (I used to be able to do this) and basically try to control the situation and wouldn't you know it - ruin the evening myself. So now I just realize that the evening will probably be ruined either way - but just for a little while longer. I try to let it go - and say not more than a few times - I see you want cake but haven't eaten dinner - we can't let you get sick! Or you need grow food to grow - grow food before sweets. She has heard it all before 10,000 times so I don't care if she interrupts me shouting NOOOO or whatever. If she hits she goes into the bedroom and comes out on her own time and we're happy to see her and just assume she is done hurting. If not she goes back in. I know it sounds like a lot of "work" but I've really come to the conclusion that parenting will be a lot of "work" for a long time. It's okay to lose it and make mistakes - at least you know what doesn't work!
Best luck!
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Old 05-27-2003, 02:06 PM
 
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I highly recommend the Gesell institute books on child development: http://www.parentsroom.org/gesell.htm.

A disclaimer though... While they are great books for getting an idea of what your child is ready for, do take their recommendations with a grain of salt. They are certainly not AP. Luckily these recommendations take a backseat to the developmental information.

I often find these in used bookstores, btw.
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