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#1 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughters are so, so difficult to handle. Believe me I am doing beyond my best. But every single - no matter how small - request is met with a no. Brush teeth, get dressed, come have dinner, please do your homework... anything. I always remind them respectfully of what needs to be done. I am gentle in my tone of voice. But the answer is either no, or running away laughing. To this, at times, I turn the request into a little game so we can have fun doing what we need to do. Other times, I remain firm and let them storm their rage at my request and eventually - after much crying, breaking things, hitting dh and me and their sibling, stomping and protesting - they comply. I put a brave face on it, comfort them through their rages, help them pick up the broken stuff or just pick it up on my own. At other times, we strike a deal of something we can do before or after x is done. They never never keep their word. When they have what they want, they forget whatever it was that they promised to do.
This all takes a quantity of patience that I really think very few people in the world possess. I also try to find ways to connect with them, play their favorite games and all of that on top of it all. Most days, at the end of the day, I wind up yelling, because I am so, so frustrated. I never yell bad names and such, mostly I yell "I can't take this anymore" (which is true). I do have meltdowns also at that time of the day, it just becomes too much. I have read a ton of books, and when I look at how I handle each of the zillion problems that we face on an ordinary day it seems to me, I am not sure how I can do better than this. Of course, I should not yell in the evening, but honestly, this is not supposed to be a martyrdom. I feel like I am bottling oceans of unshed tears everyday for issues that are totally, totally insignificant and not worth it. We have a fairly structured life (I work, the kids are in school) so we do not have the liberty of taking an hour to sit down for dinner, 3 hours for brushing teeth and so on. We do family meetings, we agree to rules, but they never respect the rules, everything needs to be followed up. I am obviously missing something, quite big something.
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#2 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 09:34 AM
 
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That would drive anyone nuts.

What are the family meetings like? Do they get to have input? Or is it just laying down new rules? Have you stated how all this makes you feel?

Do you talk to them about how they're feeling? Like, "what were you feeling when I asked you to brush your teeth?" You might get some insight there.

Have you used I statements, like "When I ask you to brush your teeth and you around and protest and stomp your feet it makes me so frustrated! When I feel frustrated I feel like I want to yell. Yelling makes me feel yucky, so I don't want to do that. Do you have any ideas about what I can do when I start to feel frustrated?"

Have you tried, "Now it's time to brush your teeth." "Now it's time to do your homework." No more requests. Maybe gently push them towards the sink or the desk.

I dunno. You're in a tough spot and I totally believe that you're doing your best.
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#3 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamaouthere thanks, I do need a hug today. Last night I had to go to a meeting, and so I left the girls with my MIL. Before leaving, I played a few games with each of them and they promised that if I read a story to them then they would stay in bed with MIL when I left. So, I read the chapter book and then left - although as a result I got to the meeting half an hour late - and of course they did not keep their word. As soon as I was out of the door they started a circus, laughing and jumping and making MIL miserable and at 11 when I came home they were still at it.

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What are the family meetings like? Do they get to have input? Or is it just laying down new rules?
At the family meetings, we state what the problem is, then everyone says what solution they would prefer and we strive to reach a compromise -- which is not always possible but we try. It is really frustrating that we keep our end of the deal and they do not keep theirs. Which was also the case last night.

I tried to talk about it this morning, they said, it was not true, we did not have a deal. I asked them why they did not lay in bed quietly for MIL and they said she was mean which I really do not think is true, and honestly, if she did lose her patience, I do not know because I was not there, after an hour of that absurdity, I can totally understand that also.

I like your idea of "It is time to...". Discussing feelings never seemed to lead us very far - but I like your way of broaching the subject, also.

On the other hand, the whole thing seems to have to do with an intense, all-consuming jealosy. When for any reason we have one, or the other, but not the two, which is very rare, they are so sweet. It is true that most evenings I am home by myself, and I come home at 6 pm and they get to share their mommy - which they have been craving to spend time with since the morning - and each of them would like to have me all for herself. I do manage some one on one time, but I can see very obviously that they would need a whole lot more.
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#4 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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This is tough. I totally feel for you. Your family meetings sound like the right thing. Could they need visuals? Like a big dry-erase board? I wonder if they need visuals or actual physical guidance (the gentle pushing or taking the hand and putting it on the toothbrush). Words don't seem to be working, so I might just give up on all that (including the family meetings).

I'm going to bow out, I think, 'cause this is quite a mind-bender.
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#5 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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what sort of consequences do you have for non-compliance? It doesn't sound as though they are motivated;.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#6 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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I apologize for how long this got, I found it easier to make my point with examples.

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
At the family meetings, we state what the problem is, then everyone says what solution they would prefer and we strive to reach a compromise -- which is not always possible but we try. It is really frustrating that we keep our end of the deal and they do not keep theirs. Which was also the case last night.
So I'm going to say what jumped out at me when I read this part. I have found that this approach, as I understand it from your description, is really, mind-bendingly, agonizingly hard. And it took me a long time to understand why, at least for our family, it is so hard. When there's a problem, each party brings a concern to the table. It is possible to reconcile two concerns. The problem is, most of the time people bring solutions to the table rather than concerns. Like, we might bring to the table things like "I want you to brush your teeth when I ask you to, because it's so frustrating when I ask you to do it several times and you ignore me. How can we make that happen?" Or the kids bring to the table "I don't want to brush my teeth." Also, we often only bring one concern to the table (usually ours, the parents'). So: the kids are refusing to get dressed and brush teeth, which causes mom to be late for work. If this is how we phrase the problem, only one concern is on the table and that's mom's (not saying this is exactly how you phrase it, just trying to illustrate what I mean). Mom's concern is that she'll be late for work. Now, if you're like we tend to be you jump right from stating mom's concern to generating solutions (maybe with some perfunctory empathy like "we know you don't like to get dressed, but..."). But at this point, only one concern is on the table. Likewise, even if you put on the table that the girls "don't want to get dressed," that too isn't so much a concern as a solution.

We've had to learn to get concerns on the table, each person's concern, rather than solutions. That's been hard for us, though it doesn't seem like it should be. We find that we're more successful if the interaction goes more like this:

us: "We've noticed that lately getting dressed and out the door in the morning has been kind of tough for you. What's up?"

child: "I don't know. I just don't like to get dressed."

us: "You don't like to get dressed. Can you say more about that?"

child: "I don't know. I just don't like it."

us: "Okay, you don't like to get dressed. Do you not like your clothes?"

child: "no."

us: "Do you feel tired in the morning?" "Do you feel rushed in the morning?" keep guessing/talking until the child's concern is clear-maybe it's hard to get going in the morning, maybe it's something to do with leaving/missing mom, maybe it's something about school, maybe...who knows?

us: "So, you don't like to get dressed in the morning. You're tired. Is that right?"

child: "yes."

us: "You don't like to get dressed in the morning, you're tired. My concern is that I don't want to be late for work. I wonder if there's a way for us to work this out so that leaving in the morning isn't so hard for you and I get to work on time. Do you have any ideas?" And think kind of outside the box. Maybe getting dressed the night before is a possible solution (some people do this), maybe there's some solution having to do with helping them get more sleep, maybe if it's that they miss mom there's a way to address that issue, maybe if they're wanting to exert control in order to have more autonomy or security there's a way to meet that need in another area/way. I have found that usually we can come up with some realistic, creative ideas. (Some ideas we actually came up with when our then-7 year old dd was having trouble getting up and out the door on time for school, using this process, were: go to bed earlier, have a lamp that simulates sunrise to make waking in the winter easier, an alarm clock (part of her lamp, it turned out) so birds wake her instead of mom--apparently, I'm unpleasant to wake up to , get up early enough to have time to cuddle with dad before getting dressed.)

And the thing is, sometimes when we first talk and arrive at a solution the solution turns out to not work. That could be because we didn't get to the actual relevant concern (either ours or the child's), because we agreed to a solution that didn't really work for either us or the child (or wasn't realistic), or because we only had one concern on the table.

I know this sounds unwieldy, I thought it was too at first. But it has really simplified our lives a lot. Because as long as we're not getting at everyone's concernsabout the situation, as long as we're pretty much only putting solutions on the table (or not getting to the real concerns), we're going to have difficulty and power struggles rather than durable solutions. (I'm not saying we go through this for every single thing that comes up in life. But for ongoing problems, or problems/situations that are likely to recur, it's essential for us and makes a big difference in how life feels.)

It's the difference between negotiating as we tend to think of it (where two sides sit down with their competing ideas of what solutions they want then (in a way that feels tough and like a struggle) each giving up a little of what they want in order to reach a compromise) and being on the same side working together to find solutions that really do work to satisfactorily address both our concerns (so, we're not really giving up something in compromise-but rather, finding creative ways to address our concerns without that sense of having had to give up on something. So mom and dad feel that their concerns have been satisfactorily addressed, and so do the kids). And the more proactively we address a problem, the better. I have been engaging in this process with my 4 year old for awhile already, so it can be done with young children.

Real example (but not a proactive one, as the problem had already arisen): dd asks for cake at 10 am. Reflexively, I want to say no. Instead I say "you want cake. What's up?" (because really, she could want cake because she's hungry, because it just sounds good, because she's bored...) She says "I don't know. I want some cake." I say "you want cake. Are you hungry?" She says "I don't know. Not really. Maybe a little." I say "You want cake, you're not very hungry. Do you want it because you saw it and it looked good?" She says "yes. It looks delicious." I say "That cake looks delicious and you'd like to eat some. I'm not saying you can't have cake. My concern is that you haven't eaten since breakfast, which was a long time ago, and if you eat cake now you probably won't be hungry for lunch. When you go a long time without eating something healthy, you get cranky. I wonder if we can find a way for you to have cake and not go so long without healthy food that you get cranky." She thought for awhile, then said "what if I eat half a peanut butter sandwich, then have a piece of cake?" I thought, had no concerns about that, and said "that works for me, does it work for you?" She said yes.

Also, I can't say enough about the value of one-on-one time. Even 15 minutes for each child a couple of times a week can make such a huge difference. The more connection my kids get, the easier they are to work with.

Parenting is a tough gig.
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#7 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 05:44 PM
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I do think you need some consequences. Not just for the chore or task that doesn't get done, but for the failure to keep a promise. That's a level of dishonesty that I don't think it's good for kids (anyone) to get used to.

Some logical consequences might be things like, no toothbrushing one night, no sweets the next day (if a dessert is part of your usual routine; I wouldn't start implementing it as a "reward" for toothbrushing). No television until homework is done (again, only if TV is part of your normal world). Come to dinner now or get your own dinner later.

Good luck. That kind of stress every day would make me nuts too.
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#8 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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Wow great post!

I agree with the attack of talking it out. It's hard and takes patience, but I think it pays off, especially with your older child.

For your younger - can you do the old stand by:

You: We are going to bruch our teeth. Would you like to brush befor eor after bath?

Her: NO! NO teeth.

You: No teeth? Not now? Okay after bath.

Her: No no teeth brushing I don't want to.

You: You don't want to brush yet. Would you like to pick the toothpaste and then brush after the bath?

Her: No. No brush.

You: Okay, just toothpaste now.

etc...etc...

You: Okay, one tooth now, one tooth next...one at a time. Which one first? Okay let's do that tooth.

Just keep giving options, and you know, it could just be a growwth-spurt-phase-frustration-cycle- argh! With your littler dc I think it will pass...and then relapse, but just hang in there, be as kind and consistent as you can.

Another thing we like to emphasize as a catch all is respect.

We need to get dressed. And it is important for Mommy to not be late for work. Please respect Mommy's work time. So let's choose: get dressed now or get dressed in the car before daycare.

Please respect your teeth. It is important to keep them clean, and show respect for them etc etc.

Kate: fumbling through the best years with W, L, F & V...newest arrival coming Jan '11
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#9 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming.

As for consequences. We watch half an hour TV after homework, teeth, pajamas. The longer it takes to do these three things she shorter the half an hour becomes. Now, you would think, if we do this every day, then it will sink in but no, they start pleading, why can I not do homework after the TV show why can't I brush teeth in front of the TV, and so on. Every day, it seems to me, they come up with a fresh idea. Could it be that they have gotten used to a high level of drama and seek drama for drama's sake?

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I do think you need some consequences. Not just for the chore or task that doesn't get done, but for the failure to keep a promise. That's a level of dishonesty that I don't think it's good for kids (anyone) to get used to.
I totally agree but I am not able to find appropriate consequences for lying. Like, take last night. They lied. They said "Please read Tashi, then we'll go to sleep with MIL" Now what am I to do? The dishonesty is just revolting, totally. Another example. Right now MIL is here with us for a few days because the babysitter is away. They are taking advantage of her in a way that is not admissible. She used to spank her children and knows no other discipline method than that. She would never spank other children, and I have no concern that she spanks mine. But it is like, for her, deciding not to spank = letting them do what they want. I would like them to be polite, to respect her, I hate the way these girls behave they are SOOO RUDE.

I also think the TV works (to some extent at least) because it is so predictable. Inventing consequences on the go, if you see what I mean, would not have the same impact. What are some of the consequences you do, Jescafa and D_McG? For lying? For being disrespectful?

As for the playful approach, Misseks, I agree, it works, and I am all for playful parenting, but it is so, so time consuming and it is completely and totally wearing me out

Sledge, I like the idea of talking things really through. To address concerns. Not imposing solutions. Like, for example, they used to like having breakfast before getting dressed. It had its own advantages, like for example the fact that they were motivated to get up at least. On the other hand, they would basically sleep at the breakfast table still in their pajamas, for like half an hour and then it would be a big rush to get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, put coat on and get out. Dividing it into chuncks: get dressed, then pleasant activity (breakfast) then unpleasant (teeth, hair, coat) then pleasant (scooter to school) seemed a better idea. To be honest, we stated our concern, which was being late for school, and they said, but we like having breakfast in our jammies, we tried fiddling with these ideas a little but then we kind of came up with our idea. Well, they fight it every morning. So perhaps we could try and rediscuss this... Same goes with dd2 and going to sleep. DD2 will sleep really quickly if her room is very dark, she is in her bed, and I am beside her but on the floor, putting an arm around her. Now, what she wants is to keep a night light on, for me to lay on the bed, etc etc Now that totally does not work. But every night she tries and fight my approach, which works.

I am sorry I wrote a novel. I feel so overwhelmed.
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#10 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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hey mama!
first, I recommend Raising or Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort. her approach is compassionate to both children and parents, though I will warn you that culturally, what she has to say is quite radical, but right, IMO, nonetheless. We in the west have an unconscious belief that relationships are inherently adversarial. Part of this results from an emphasis on individualism, and a fear of collectivism. The media, through TV, news and other venues, perpetuates this myth for many reasons I won't go into here. Another challenge for us is that we rarely see appropriate parenting modeled, and what is modeled on TV gets results that do not really happen IRL. Children do not magically become better when punished, as many shows portray. One very unfortunate result is that we as a culture are woefully unprepared for the reality of actually parenting children. So of course it is not very fulfilling, at best, and a disaster, at worst. All this is just to say - you are not alone! Parenting can be very difficult, but it is NOT inherently so. It is when we as parents create a culture of crime and punishment/'goodness' and rewards that things get really difficult. These are concepts children cannot understand, as they are too abstract, and more importantly, do not give a rat's patootie about.
When we as parents develop the maturity to accept responsibilty for our own behavior (especially our decision to have children in the first place and feelings, and model the outcomes we want, then our chidren can be free to choose. It is only then that authentic "good" behavior is seen. So if YOU want something cleaned up, do it cheerfully. (Naomi explains this much more eloquently than I do, but also do a search on Pat, whose screen name is WuWei, she is an experienced mama with a wonderful approach to consentual living. Oooh, and Sledge, who posted above, rocks, as well.)
Any hint of resentment or irritation gives the message that cleaning up is an odious task to be avoided. Of course, one of the lessons that children can learn if we can leave our negative emotions out of it, is that when mama is kept busy clearing up very often, she has less time to spend with children, doing things they like. But this CANNOT be done in a punitive way because that totally misses the point.
As Naomi points out, it is our thoughts about our childrens' behavior that are the problem. When we believe they shouldn't do something, we cannot meet them on their playng field. We need to devlop the ability to conceptualize that they, in their minds, shoould be doing what they are doing. Only then can we address the underlying need the child is expressing.
I personally had to completely change my perspective and paradigm in order to connect with my kids. I also had (have) to get the heck over myslf and realize that life is a team effort and *I* am not the CEO of the universe. Everyody know that posiion is held by all the 2 year olds. And 3s, and 4s.....LOL!!!!
HTH!
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#11 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't read the book and it sounds interesting. It is totally true I was unprepared to be a parent. It is true also that we are surrounded by examples of bad parenting. I cannot agree more about the fact that I am finding this very unfulfilling. Yet, I wonder how much of that I can really change at a deep level. I think the way dh and I live our lives is just not the best environment, in many ways. The cleaning example is very telling:

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Of course, one of the lessons that children can learn if we can leave our negative emotions out of it, is that when mama is kept busy clearing up very often, she has less time to spend with children, doing things they like. But this CANNOT be done in a punitive way because that totally misses the point.
The reality here is that because I am alone with the kids 4.5 days out of 7 and work full time, the babysitter comes when the girls are still in school, and does most of the cleaning for us. Of course, if when she comes she finds the house in order, she will actually clean, else, she spends most of the time picking up. Now I see the difference (in terms of the house becoming gradually more dirty) but they - to use your words - do not give a rat's patootie about that and do not even actually see all the dust. I agree we live in a completely artificial reality that does not teach anyone anything at all. There are no true natural consequences -- none. Now, firing the babysitter and taking the job of cleaning on top of my two other jobs of going to work and caring for the kids would positively make me explode.

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As Naomi points out, it is our thoughts about our childrens' behavior that are the problem. When we believe they shouldn't do something, we cannot meet them on their playng field. We need to devlop the ability to conceptualize that they, in their minds, shoould be doing what they are doing. Only then can we address the underlying need the child is expressing.
I am really not following you. Can you explain to me? I understand about giving a good example, and I agree about cleaning happily, etc. But, I am not lying to my kids, yet they are lying, they are not keeping their word, etc. Should I not try to teach them lying is wrong? I am not sure what needs they are expressing, through lying, other than that they want to have all the freedom, not contribute anything at all, and let us be their slaves.
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#12 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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I just posted this elsewhere. Hope it helps.

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Ds, 6.5, has no concept of a "lie". He will express things 'as he wishes them to be', or the way he understands that *I* wish them to be. I find it an aspect of developing empathy and consideration for my feelings. I don't perceive or experience the expression as a deceit, rather as a desire to *please* me, and to meet his perception of my expectation. In other words, he doesn't want to disappoint me. Since we have no punishments or "getting into trouble", I truly believe he is attempting to respond with awareness of my feelings. There is no "reward" in "lying", in our home, so that seems the only explanation that I can discern. Or, he'll play with reality as an effort to be clever/funny. He'll say things which are obviously not "usual", or like he thinks "they are supposed to be".

Mostly, the few instances have revolved around something that I wanted him to do, which he doesn't want to do. So, he'll "comfort" me with the information that xyz was done, without having done it. I just validate that he "doesn't want to do xyz", and we discuss 'how about we do abc, instead?', or some other alternative which meets both of our needs. Generally, I believe that children/people have no need to "lie" unless there is something which they are trying to avoid. Whenever ds has stated something differently than reality, I understand it as "wishful", and we address his desire to mutual satisfaction.

Basically, I believe that "lying" is either an attempt to express 'how I wish it were' (ie. mourning that it happened or wanting it to be different'), or an attempt to avoid "getting into trouble" for telling the facts when the intent (or underlying need) is not considered important.

We haven't experienced any sort of 'need' for our son to lie. He doesn't "get in trouble" for behaviors or actions. We work to understand (and address) the reasons behind his behavior rather than focus on the behavior. So, what is the child trying to accomplish with giving information which isn't what occurred?

My suggestion is that the child needs more unconditional positive regard and facilitation to address his underlying needs, his fears, his shame, his remorse. There are self-fulfilling prophesies to labeling children too. Please consider reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" or "How to Talk so Kids will Listen" for more information about how we think about our children and how they perceive their role in relationships.

Our son has never been introduced to the idea of "lying". Perhaps, you all have made it an issue. I would just assume that the information is meant to convey something that they don't have another way of effectively communicating; and try to discover the intent of their words, rather than focus on a "Truth". Their perception may well be that their words are conveying a "truth" that they wish for. The whole concept of wishes, imaginary play and reality are overlapping concepts at this age.

I am amazed that people believe (and project) malicious intent upon others (especially children). Our son has no concept of lying, or honesty. He just tells me things because they happen and we work together to resolve them. There is no 'teach him a lesson' or 'impose a consequence' Fear associated with his actions. He seeks me out when things happen and just says "I did it" spontaneously, when I ask 'what happened?' for clarification. But there is no scolding or logical consequence imposed by me. We just work together to find a solution. And then we discuss ways to prevent the problem from recurring, or ways to accomplish his goals without 'things happening'. I find the whole "lying", "sneaking", "hiding things" idea to be *created* by the fear of sharing the truth. I don't want our son to feel that the truth is conditional upon not 'getting into trouble' or not 'getting caught', or 'not being found out'. I don't want him to Fear the truth.

Similarly, when our son says things that are inaccurate, we don't *create* the construct of "lying" either. We just say 'I didn't know that', or 'I don't think so', or 'Oh, is that what happened?, I never saw it that way'. He does understand what is real and what is pretend. I don't assign any negative connotation of "lying" to his expressions of 'wishful thinking'. Neither do we dismiss his statements as "That is Not True". He can discern what is and isn't happening from his perspective, as well as I can, without me projecting a negative connotation to his desires for reality to be different. More often, we make up some wishful way for the desires to become silly and extreme together; or we find a way to make the desires a reality in smaller realistic ways. Meeting the underlying need is not conditional upon his 'wishful thinking' being exactly real and true.

I am passionate about *not* making an issue of "lying", because I remember as a child of about 5, being accused of lying when *my* perception and representation of what happened wasn't believed. Although, I had told the truth as I understood it. I was punished for the event, and for "lying". So, I have a lot of baggage around honesty. I am honest to a fault. But, I don't create a paradigm where lying has benefit.

An article you might find helpful is Jane Nelsen's desire to switch the terminology from "logical consequences" to "Solutions". I found this article clearly articulates a shift toward *helping* to create solutions!!
I loved Sledg's post.


We all make choices. We are empowered to choose our own priorities. I saw a quote recently about 'don't let the insignificant have more priority than the significant'.


Pat

I have a blog.
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#13 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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I totally agree but I am not able to find appropriate consequences for lying. Like, take last night. They lied. They said "Please read Tashi, then we'll go to sleep with MIL" Now what am I to do? The dishonesty is just revolting, totally.
I think what you're saying is that the lying was in their agreeing to go to sleep if you read to them and then not actually laying in bed with MIL and going to sleep. Personally, I don't perceive this as lying. Yes, they agreed and then didn't follow through with what they agreed to do. However, my perception is that at their ages 1) they were probably more focused on what they wanted (you reading Tashi to them) at the moment than they were on thinking about what they would actually do later--so they agreed readily, mostly with your reading to them in mind and very little thought to actually going to bed with MIL) and 2) impulse control is still an issue here--when the time to go to bed came it may have been that even if reminded that they did agree to stay in bed, the impulse to do whatever else they did was more powerful than their commitment to the agreement. Impulse control is still an issue with my 6 year old, for certain. He can agree to do something, and then I turn around and he's distracted and playing rather than doing what he agreed to do. It isn't that he lied when he agreed to do it, intending to not live up to his agreement, it's that he has some age-appropriate difficulty with focus and impulse control. And for certain if I'm make a deal with my 4 or 6 year old that I'll do this if they later do that, they are almost exclusively focused on what I'll do now and barely thinking about what they're agreeing to do later. And I think that's pretty normal. Kids live in the present moment.

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Originally Posted by laoxinat
As Naomi points out, it is our thoughts about our childrens' behavior that are the problem. When we believe they shouldn't do something, we cannot meet them on their playng field. We need to devlop the ability to conceptualize that they, in their minds, shoould be doing what they are doing. Only then can we address the underlying need the child is expressing.
I don't know exactly what Naomi Aldort means (and I didn't really like her book, honestly). However I do think that how we perceive our children and how we think about our children and their behavior does make a *huge* difference. If, for example, I think my kids are lying when they don't hold up their end of an agreement, I respond one way. If instead I attribute positive intent, and more specifically if I perceive them, for example, as possibly either not really thinking about the agreement in the same way I do or not having the impulse control to follow through with what they agreed to--then I respond another way. How we perceive our kids and how we think about them and their behavior really does lead to our response, and IME making effective and positive changes very often involves changing how I think about and perceive my kids.
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#14 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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When I read your post, I wondered if this article might help http://www.christianitytoday.com/cpt/2002/002/1.24.html

(I'm not Christian, but liked the ideas in the article)

If it's not helpful, sorry I can't be of more help!

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

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#15 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Pat. It is an interesting idea to think about solutions rather than consequences. I think also that the article defines solutions in a way that resonates with what Sledg refers to as the result of family meetings that address real concerns. I have to be really clear about mine because what I feel right now is that I am paying the price for others' poor choices... As for lying, at what age do you think that they develop an adult's like concept of wishes, imaginary play and reality? ( I cross posted with Deva and Sledg and I would like to respond but need to tend to dd2 right now, it is 1:30 am here and she peed her bed) see you tomorrow....
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#16 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 10:45 PM
 
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I have to be really clear about mine because what I feel right now is that I am paying the price for others' poor choices...
This sounds spent, disempowered, helpless, exhausted, tapped out, drained, teary, hopeless, beat???

When I am spent, I don't have the patience for playful connection. I WANT MY WAY NOW! However, when I am at the point of MY NEEDS NOW, due to postponing or not recognizing/acknowledging them, I feel defensive for *my* personal boundaries. AND I fall back to hearing my parent's habitual reaction to "back talk" and am apt to "try on" their reaction, which was "Don't you talk to me like that, young man." And boy, that escalates ds like stepping on a thorn. LOL We start the parent/child dance that I remember as a child.

All of this escalation is triggered by the construct that our needs are in conflict. Which they aren't. :-) But, that is how I grew up and how I default when my Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired needs are overlooked (by me). I try to remember to HALT and pause and Trust that my needs will be met. Not dismissed, like I was accustomed to as a child.

So, saying "yes" to myself has been the big hurdle. Yes, I will meet my own underlying needs so that I am a healthy and happy resource for my family. Yes, I will meet my own underlying needs because I feel better when I do. Yes, it is important to my ability to negotiate and pause and have patience. Yes, these are priorities to our peaceful home.

When ds is voicing this Autonomy Tone, he is mirroring my own Autonomy Voice. I just have to keep relearning to say *Yes* to me too.

In what ways are you recharging?
I have found the saying "you can't serve soup from an empty pot" reminds me that I need to replenish myself in order to have more to give. What are you doing to get 'down time', and time to pamper yourself? When I take care of myself, I have more patience and tolerance, and creativity and playfulness. And joy.

I do so many things! I eat protein in the morning. I take a mega vitamin, Evening Primrose oil capsule, and Magnesium for hormonal/mood balance. Dh can tell if I forget to take them!

I have Tuesday night "off". Dh comes home early, I go to the chiro and sometimes have a massage. He cooks dinner!

Wednesday, dh and I have "date night" together. Ds visits at my sister's for about 3hours.

Saturday is "Dada Day". Dh and ds spend the day together while I run errands with my close mama friend. Sometimes we go to the grocery store together as a 'girls date' during the week.

Sunday, I have a couple of hours when dh and ds go out to the park for a bit. So, I get that time at home alone.

Any of these are subject to dh traveling, sister not being available, any other changes. But, by having multiple outings planned regularly, when something doesn't work out, I know another break is coming soon.

I also try to implement a regular bedtime for myself. Which helps, when I stick to it. Having these few times for "me time" set in place, provides a release valve to the pressures of our week.


Quote:
As for lying, at what age do you think that they develop an adult's like concept of wishes, imaginary play and reality?
Is this a goal? When we live in the moment with joy, does it matter? Children teach us what we most need to learn...


Pat

I have a blog.
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#17 of 37 Old 01-09-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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At other times I remain firm and let them storm their rage at my request and eventually - after much crying, breaking things, hitting dh and me and their sibling, stomping and protesting - they comply. I put a brave face on it, comfort them through their rages, help them pick up the broken stuff or just pick it up on my own.
This really jumped out at me. Are you seriously saying that these girls can hit you and each other and break items and then YOU comfort them and YOU pick up the broken pieces????

If I read your sig correctly, these aren't toddlers right? These are school-age girls? Are you fundamentally opposed to consequences? If you believe that consequences = punishment and punishment is wrong, then just skip the rest of this. But if not...

There are consequences the world for hurting people, for having inappropriate temper-tantrums, and for breaking things. In our house, if you are in a rage, you need to remove yourself from other people who will be inpacted by your anger. You can be angry, you can rage, you can yell to your hearts content. I don't even care if you break your toys. But you can't do it where it will hurt (physically or figuratively) others. Honestly, anything like what you describe would earn either of my kids an invitation to go their rooms until they are calm. No drama on my part, just a straightforward request. No time limits. No judgement. Refusal would probably be met with "help", as gentle as possible but help none the less.

Things get broken? Not my job to clean them up -- its the person who broke it. Not happening? No problem, but of course we can't go on with our day or plans until things are clean. And certainly intentionally broken things are never replaced.

Overall, I think you need to agree on both the rules and the (hopefully logical or natural) consequences for breaking the rules. Pick one or two things at a time. Post them. And then follow-through. Every. single. time. No matter how frustrating, difficult, inconvenient or exhausting it is.

The bad news? once you start doing that, it will get worse before it gets better. This is the ugly truth that no one tells you. Changing discipline, especially to be more consistent and to include consequences, is never a quick easy solution. My best friend likens it to a Coke machine. You put your money in and don't get a Coke. Do you just shrug and walk away? No, you shake the machine. Still no Coke, so you kick it. Only after you are truly convinced there will be no Coke will you walk away. And it might take several days of that before you stop trying to use that machine at all. So know when you start that it takes perseverance to see any sort of result.
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#18 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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This really jumped out at me. Are you seriously saying that these girls can hit you and each other and break items and then YOU comfort them and YOU pick up the broken pieces????

If I read your sig correctly, these aren't toddlers right? These are school-age girls? Are you fundamentally opposed to consequences? If you believe that consequences = punishment and punishment is wrong, then just skip the rest of this. But if not...

There are consequences the world for hurting people, for having inappropriate temper-tantrums, and for breaking things. In our house, if you are in a rage, you need to remove yourself from other people who will be inpacted by your anger. You can be angry, you can rage, you can yell to your hearts content. I don't even care if you break your toys. But you can't do it where it will hurt (physically or figuratively) others. Honestly, anything like what you describe would earn either of my kids an invitation to go their rooms until they are calm. No drama on my part, just a straightforward request. No time limits. No judgement. Refusal would probably be met with "help", as gentle as possible but help none the less.

Things get broken? Not my job to clean them up -- its the person who broke it. Not happening? No problem, but of course we can't go on with our day or plans until things are clean. And certainly intentionally broken things are never replaced.

Overall, I think you need to agree on both the rules and the (hopefully logical or natural) consequences for breaking the rules. Pick one or two things at a time. Post them. And then follow-through. Every. single. time. No matter how frustrating, difficult, inconvenient or exhausting it is.

The bad news? once you start doing that, it will get worse before it gets better. This is the ugly truth that no one tells you. Changing discipline, especially to be more consistent and to include consequences, is never a quick easy solution. My best friend likens it to a Coke machine. You put your money in and don't get a Coke. Do you just shrug and walk away? No, you shake the machine. Still no Coke, so you kick it. Only after you are truly convinced there will be no Coke will you walk away. And it might take several days of that before you stop trying to use that machine at all. So know when you start that it takes perseverance to see any sort of result.

This is the most sensible thing I have read all day. Thank you.
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#19 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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I am going to go with Evan and Anna's mom on this too. Many of the things I see that you are doing when they rage and hit you and break things are the way I deal with toddlers.

But as my children have matured and grown I have changed my responses. Once they are somewhat more logical and less emotionally reactive I increase my expectations.

I set boundaries of expectations of what our home will be like. We will not hit each other, we will not yell and scream at each other, we will not abuse each other or property in anyway. Doing so will bring consequences. This applies to all of us.

So even if I lose my temper I go to my room to cool off. I am teaching my children and have taught my children to do the same(I have older and younger children).

It's not a punishment, it's not a time-out in the imposed consequence sense and it applies to all family members.

and of course when we mess up, which everyone does, we make things right.

and I am firm and steadfast in these things...and flexible and loving in everything else.

It's not too late though. You need to teach them.

If they break things..start getting them to help you clean it up, thank them for getting it done but don't praise them for it.
As to the lying thing..well they sound pretty impulsive. Promises are hard to keep at that age. I would give them that one. I think maybe next time just don't give them the story and let grandma take care of things.

I have never been in your situation but I really think you will have to decide what your limits are, what your boundaries are and never ever let them cross them again.

I can sense you are trying so hard. It's really tough to be a mom.

I recommend several books..How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids can talk" and "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me" because I think I read a hint of some sibling rivalry in there as well.

Good luck
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#20 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Thanks Pat. It is an interesting idea to think about solutions rather than consequences. I think also that the article defines solutions in a way that resonates with what Sledg refers to as the result of family meetings that address real concerns. I have to be really clear about mine because what I feel right now is that I am paying the price for others' poor choices... As for lying, at what age do you think that they develop an adult's like concept of wishes, imaginary play and reality? ( I cross posted with Deva and Sledg and I would like to respond but need to tend to dd2 right now, it is 1:30 am here and she peed her bed) see you tomorrow....

Gaialice, I've been following your GD issues for a couple of years here, and gotten some great advice from you. I've often admired your ideas for playful parenting and been envious of how well you know what your dds like and how you stay connected with them. I'm sorry you feel spent. I think you're doing a good job, and that your children will grow up emotionally healthy in spite of the fact that you aren't necessarily enjoying parenting them as much as you might.

You got some good posts here. I have to say, I agree with EvanandAnna's mom about consequences and hitting. Are you comforting them even when they hit dh? What does dh do when they hit him? Do you find it to be hard to firmly tell them not to hit you? I've occasionally felt like this, but mostly I just try to imagine that I am teaching them how to act when someone tries to hit them and modeling self-defense.

I liked Sledg's post, but I would never be able to do all of that. I don't know if you would, but it would make me far, far more frustrated to try and tease out that kind of information. When I first read Jane Nelson's "Positive Parenting" I thought I would love family meetings, but in reality I think our family is moving towards more of a top-down traditional authority structure. Maybe when they get older this will change, but for now, I'm finding it necessary to keep myself sane. And, believe it or not, I'm also finding that it minimizes sibling rivalry. I think they feel united against me Maybe you and dh could try being slightly more authoritarian, but in a gentle way of course

Regarding lying, I have two things to say. One, I think that your kids are old enough to know the difference between truth and a lie. My dd does, and she's not quite five. However, saying you're going to do something in the future is a little different, don't you think? I wouldn't really consider that a lie. That's keeping your word, and it's requires a lot more than just saying you're going to. Like Sledg said, they probably planned to go right to sleep, so they weren't really lying.

So, in that vein, I would try to stop setting them up for failure. Don't bargain with them! Don't strike deals! Disengage! You can do this either with consequences, or in the Anthony Wolf way, with simple expectations. So you could just set up standing rules and punishments, like the TV and tooth brushing thing, and then once you were sure they knew, you wouldn't have to keep reiterating what the deal was. If they want to continue to try to argue with you, you could simply go on about your work.

Sorry if that's not helpful at all and that it got so long.

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#21 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 04:17 AM
 
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You sound overwhelmed and in major need of some time to refresh and rejuvenate yourself before tackling the issues with your kids.

I also wonder if picking one thing that's really driving you nuts and working on that, rather than trying to overhaul everything might help you feel like you're making progress!

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I liked Sledg's post, but I would never be able to do all of that. I don't know if you would, but it would make me far, far more frustrated to try and tease out that kind of information. When I first read Jane Nelson's "Positive Parenting" I thought I would love family meetings, but in reality I think our family is moving towards more of a top-down traditional authority structure. Maybe when they get older this will change, but for now, I'm finding it necessary to keep myself sane. And, believe it or not, I'm also finding that it minimizes sibling rivalry. I think they feel united against me Maybe you and dh could try being slightly more authoritarian, but in a gentle way of course
:

I spent quite a bit of time this summer trying out and pondering a more consentual living type approach to parenting. It turns out it doesn't work for me. I am intrigued by the ideas, I like the theory. But I don't like the practice. It feels false to me. I'm sure it's not false for people who are comfortable doing it, but since it doesn't feel genuine to me, I can't do it. thus, while I love the ideas from sledg and WuWei (Pat), it ain't happening in our family!

I will confess to not even trying family meetings, so I'm really impressed that you do those! Maybe it's because my kids are 3 and 6, and we're more or less a family of introverts (with dd being the exception, poor child). I'll consider it in the future, but now, it's not a concept that appeals to me. We have dinner together every night, we have together time. My kids are masters at incorporating into their games the issues that are bothering them -- so I'd prefer to do it through play for now.

Like natensarah, I am more authoritarian than some parents here. Part of it is time, like you said. I too WOH, and my kids are in school/daycare. We have a bit more flexibility in that dh works from home and dd is home with him 2 days a week, but there are times when I cannot be flexible. I cannot leave 40 students waiting for me because dd didn't want to get dressed that morning.

I do consequences for a few select behaviors (hitting, throwing things are the two big ones) -- the consequence for hitting (now that they're old enough to have a minimal amount of impulse control) is to be sent to your room until you calm down enough to be civil again. Throwing things may be that or may be that the toy takes a trip out to the garage until we all calm down. If my kids scream/yell at me, I will leave the room until I can muster the deep breaths needed to deal with it. My kids absolutely hate this, and they react as if I'm abandoning them to the wolves. I'm trying to model good cooling off behavior, but it sure doesn't feel like it in the moment, so I sort of file this under 'punishment'.

I don't have any real answers for you - I struggle with a lot of the same issues. Dd is going through a very, very trying time in terms of demanding yelling, screaming, whining, etc. either when things don't go according to her plan (no we don't have time to watch TV, we're eating dinner in 5 minutes, you can watch TV after dinner).

Having said that, here are some random thoughts:

-Have you considered rotating the evening/bedtime 'duties' between you and your dh? The most exhausting part of parenting to me is when I feel like I'm riding herd on my kids constantly -- and bedtime is a lot of reminding, keeping the kids on task (are you done with your snack yet? finish up please. where are your reading books? it's time to clean up -- come help me put away this game. Are you putting anything away? Keep the broom on the floor...OK, it's time to brush your teeth, where are your bedtime stories? no, it's time to turn out the light...) It's exhausting! So, dh and I rotate. He's responsible for 2 nights, then I get two nights.

-Getting home at 6 pm is late. What time to you leave in the AM? Is there any way for you to adjust your work so you're home at 5 or 5:30? It's tough, I know. I'm lucky to have a job where I can do that most days. The downside is that I work most evenings/weekends too (from home). But, we do a lot better when I can get home just a half hour earlier. things aren't so rushed/stressed.

-Is the TV time in the evening? Have you considered just letting them do TV for 1/2 hr before everything? would that remove a bone of contention? Eliminating it altogether? TV isn't like books where you can read a short book if time is short.

-The Secret of Parenting type waiting/not engaging works pretty well for me. Partly because it keeps me calm. And then we don't feed off each other's strong emotions.

-I am also fairly firm about my limits. If they're not coming to dinner, we sit down to eat without them. If my kids don't get dressed, they leave the house as they are. (dd very nearly rode in the car naked from the waist down today because she wasn't getting dressed.) If they refuse to brush their teeth, then they don't get to eat anything with sugar the next day because we need to keep their teeth healthy. (At 5 and 6, your kids are old enough for this kind of delayed consequence).

-What's your dh's take on this? Does he have any suggestions? Ways to lessen the burden on you? It sounds like you're worrying for the whole family!

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#22 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I feel very much loved, reading all these nice posts. I woke up this morning looking forward to reading all these "letters from faraway friends" and I am feeling a lot more energy right now. Thank you for spending time thinking about me, and about my kids. Natensarah, thank you for your words of hope. I like your posts too.

It is true I am really tired and I am working very long hours these days, and it is not an option to be home earlier than 6. Six is already a major effort. I was never very good at taking care of me. I start taking a supplement, I drop that. I start going to the gym, I drop that too. I know I need to make more of an effort!!!

It would be paradise if someone could take bedtime off of my shoulders half of the time. But dh works in another town and he comes home Thursday night after the kids are asleep. He is then here until Monday. That way, our week has a funny structure to it, there is never a sound routine in place. Plus, much as I would like to go home and play with the kids, in fact, the evening is made up almost exclusively of dril sergent (sp) requests.

As for discipline, you've given me quite a lot of good ideas and I need to talk to dh again this weekend to make some changes. Lynn, you are right about addressing first the issue which is making us nuts the most, and that's the "lying" or not keeping deals. That should be relatively easy to implement, in terms of not giving them opportunities for lying and breaking deals. Like "dd did you wash your teeth?" 90% of the time, if I am asking I know what the answer is. Bargaining seems also a major opportunity for broken deals and I believe that we should try to have an even stricter schedule, and say matter of factly "time to do x". No deals. We need to introduce a flexible schedule but with limits for the weekend also, because when there is no schedule to the day the girls become even less manageable.

As for consequences, I do not want to introduce a zillion consequences, but I agree that we should be more consistent with those we do have. Hitting and breaking, especially. I like the approach of "whoever lose his/her temper goes to his/her room" including parents, but my dh will not like it. However, we need to be stricter about the hitting and the truly disrespectful behaviour.

I often do send dd1 to her room to cool off, or sit across the room from dd2 to help her calm down. The hitting (of myself and dh) mostly occurs when we are trying to help them calm down, not as direct and intentional hitting but as part of a general meltdown. When they meltdown that way they truly have no control over what they do or very little, so I do not react to that the way I would if it was a direct and purposeful hit. But anyway, there is too much hitting, and you are right, we should now stop "helping to calm down" and implement the send to "cool off" place before things escalate in a meltdown, so we at least do not get hit anymore.

I like the teeth consequence, and, I think I will definetely keep the "pajamas+teeth+homework"=TV because with books (what we had before) it was worse. The TV program just ends. The book is always there and potentially one could read it, just a few pages, how many pages, one more page..

Sledg's idea of negotiating solution is feasible, if we keep it down to a few things. For example, the wake up routine and the go to sleep routine are things we need to rediscuss, and I will try and see what their real concerns are in those areas, if there are ways we can address them.

About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.

And. I am not Christian but I really like the article you posted Deva. I am not sure I will be able to implement it. But it is a great, great approach. I think I should also talk to my kids and my husband using those words. I understand you want to play. I have a problem with that because I need to make dinner. Can we please play afterwards? It does not sound false. I will try to teach them this. The idea of obeying then discussing, I wonder. I really doubt I will ever be able to implement it. In truth, all my life, I have not been able to comply with requests, even stupid ones, especially stupid ones, and it has caused a lot of havoc. It is very true that kids will teach you what you need to learn the most! So, I will think about this, perhaps it could be used for specific situations, like getting ready to go out, for example. It is a great skill to have, to be able to trust authority for limited amounts of time, and in a critical manner of course. If you give it some thought, we give mandate to a government, it does its thing, then when the elections come again, we may change but in the meantime someone has to be in charge to an extent. Worth thinking through.
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#23 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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I spent quite a bit of time this summer trying out and pondering a more consentual living type approach to parenting. It turns out it doesn't work for me. I am intrigued by the ideas, I like the theory. But I don't like the practice. It feels false to me. I'm sure it's not false for people who are comfortable doing it, but since it doesn't feel genuine to me, I can't do it. thus, while I love the ideas from sledg and WuWei (Pat), it ain't happening in our family!
(eta I'm chuckling not because there's anything wrong with consensual living-I love the idea-but because that's just not how I see myself.) We're really not a consensual living family. What we do, and we don't do it all the time over every single thing, is just the collaborative problem solving approach from The Explosive Child. Collaboration is our ideal (mostly), but we are open to imposing our will at times (and not just when it's a safety issue). There was a time, though, when we were very much all about the idea of top-down, more traditional, authoritative parenting. That kind of parenting didn't work for our oldest, though, which is how we came to collaborative problem solving (which is wonderful for our family and has helped us so much, and which we're still learning and not always very good at).

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
As for discipline, you've given me quite a lot of good ideas and I need to talk to dh again this weekend to make some changes. Lynn, you are right about addressing first the issue which is making us nuts the most, and that's the "lying" or not keeping deals. That should be relatively easy to implement, in terms of not giving them opportunities for lying and breaking deals. Like "dd did you wash your teeth?" 90% of the time, if I am asking I know what the answer is. Bargaining seems also a major opportunity for broken deals and I believe that we should try to have an even stricter schedule, and say matter of factly "time to do x". No deals. We need to introduce a flexible schedule but with limits for the weekend also, because when there is no schedule to the day the girls become even less manageable.
I agree that giving fewer opportunities to break deals and lie is an excellent strategy. And I, too, find that having a predictable structure to our day really helps us all. We do a lot of "it's time to do 'x'" here too, and I think the key to being able to do this is to make it routine, consistent day in and day out. IME, it can be kind of hard when we're just starting to make it routine but that it does get easier as it just becomes the way we do things. KWIM? Weekends with no structure make life here crazy too, so it's good for us to have a plan even if it's a different plan for every day. If we go into the day with a general plan and the kids are busy doing stuff (fun stuff and chore-type stuff both) then things go much more smoothly.

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
As for consequences, I do not want to introduce a zillion consequences, but I agree that we should be more consistent with those we do have. Hitting and breaking, especially. I like the approach of "whoever lose his/her temper goes to his/her room" including parents, but my dh will not like it. However, we need to be stricter about the hitting and the truly disrespectful behaviour.
At our house, whoever has hit someone sits in the same room with us until they're calmed down and ready to be safe (this is kind of a newer thing for us). And that's just how we say it: "Come sit and calm down. When I know you're ready to be safe, you can go back to what you were doing" or "It's time to sit and calm down. When you're feeling more calm we can talk." We try say it as neutrally and calmly as possible, kind of casually in fact. And you know, my oldest is one who I swore until a few weeks ago would never, ever stay in a time out---but this works for her (as long as she's not actually having a meltdown). It's something we are just presenting as "when you get angry enough to want to hit someone, it's important to take some time to calm down so that you can solve the problem. Hitting doesn't solve problems."


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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
The hitting (of myself and dh) mostly occurs when we are trying to help them calm down, not as direct and intentional hitting but as part of a general meltdown. When they meltdown that way they truly have no control over what they do or very little, so I do not react to that the way I would if it was a direct and purposeful hit. But anyway, there is too much hitting, and you are right, we should now stop "helping to calm down" and implement the send to "cool off" place before things escalate in a meltdown, so we at least do not get hit anymore.
What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
Sledg's idea of negotiating solution is feasible, if we keep it down to a few things. For example, the wake up routine and the go to sleep routine are things we need to rediscuss, and I will try and see what their real concerns are in those areas, if there are ways we can address them.
This is actually what I meant. Pick what's currently the biggest problem (or two) to work on collaboratively with the kids, and give it some time. Try not to get discouraged if the first solution or couple of solutions you all come up with don't work. And remember this is work not to be done during the wake up routine or the got to sleep routine--these problem-solving sessions happen at some calm time when you aren't feeling rushed or pressured. Sometimes solving a tough problem takes a few tries. And I want to emphasize that this process as we see it really does involve setting limits and maintaining boundaries. So if the kids come up with some solution that really isn't addressing your concern as well as theirs and won't work for you, that solution comes off the table. And as parents we have to be willing to do the same, if our solution doesn't address the kids' concern(s) it comes off the table. Also, an important part of the process sometimes is evaluating potential solutions-will it really address your/my concern? is it really realistic? is it really unrealistic? what might happen? how might it go?

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
I think this is a great idea. I find it very helpful to create opportunities to show appreciation for my kids and to create opportunities to feel warm fuzzies toward them. Particularly when we're going through a very hard time with dd, I can find it very difficult to feel warm toward her and very difficult to be positive with her or even see what's wonderful about her. It's easy to get focused on the negative. It's good to deliberately choose to see the positive and to create opportunities to connect positively and express genuine appreciation.

gaialice, you are a thoughtful, dedicated mom. And I've always admired your playful parenting approach (I find being playful and playing to be very difficult). You will find an approach that works for your family, and things will get better. I do hope that you can find a way to be able to take care of and nurture yourself more, that's so important-we can't give what we don't have. When our cup is empty, it's really hard to care for others.
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#24 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.
This works really well with my 2 yo who has regular meltdowns about not doing something herself -- God forbid I get distracted for a moment and take her hat off for her.

The other day she had a total meltdown over me trying to carry her fork while she carried a plate of bananas. She got so upset she ran into the kitchen and threw her bowl of bananas on the floor. I stayed with her, at a distance, while she kicked and screamed on the floor. Eventually, she came to me for a hug. When I suggested she go to the living room and wait a while before having some banana, she said, "No, V angry over there (pointing to the kitchen). I go pick up." And she did -- and missed only one slice!

Hmm, did I post that just to tell a cute story?
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#25 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamaoutthere it is a cute story
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#26 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg View Post

What we do when our dd is melting down, not able to think, has less control over what she does (I think it's less intentional behavior, and more of a fight-or-flight reaction over which she does have very little control): We try to stay calm, get her to a safe place if needed (or remove other children to a safe place), talk less, refrain from attempting to solve whatever problem prompted the meltdown, move out of range or block to prevent being hit while saying "I will not let you hit me," and just be a compassionate presence. This is not a time to be very reactive, very emotional, or to try to teach or problem-solve.
I posted about this recently on a meltdown thread - that got moved to special needs? Anyway - this is very true for us. During a meltdown, all attempts at collaborative process, negotiation, or even playful parenting are just off the table. For my DS, they all make it worse. He just had his first meltdown in a long time this weekend - after a day of too many video games and a neighborhood friend who just pushes all his buttons, he got stuck on wanting the TV on - which DH and I knew would just make the situation worse. So DH distracted DD (who loves to come get into the middle of her brother's freakouts) and I just sat with him, repeating, "I know you really want that, but right now you can't do that. I'm sorry." until he was first able to crawl into my lap and get a big squeeze, which helped, and then start to talk about it. But talking, at first, would have whipped him up into a kicking hitting ball of overstimulation. For us, coming down comes first and then we can talk about it.

Which actually reminds me - do the two of them do this together? I know that in our house, the sibling can make it worse accidentally, or she can make it worse on purpose, and it is best, if you can, to either remove the sibling ("Honey why don't you and daddy go color?") or if possible remove the tantrummer to another room, and ban the sib from joining the tantrummer.

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#27 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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I set boundaries of expectations of what our home will be like. We will not hit each other, we will not yell and scream at each other, we will not abuse each other or property in anyway. Doing so will bring consequences. This applies to all of us.
I think there are several really important keys here:
* The rules apply to everyone (not just kids)
* Appropriate response to strong emotions are modeled by the adults
* Expectations are high and explicit. I am a really firm believer that people (including children) will live up to expectations, so if you expect them to have temper tantrums, then they will. If you expect them to control the expression of their anger, then they will (eventually) do that too.
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#28 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
-The Secret of Parenting type waiting/not engaging works pretty well for me. Partly because it keeps me calm. And then we don't feed off each other's strong emotions.
Yeah that, except in my case, it think it works *mostly* because it keeps me calm.

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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
About my perception of my children, it is a fact that right now I do not very often feel proud of them. I am looking hard every day at some opportunities to express appreciation for what they do and there are evenings where I do not see any. I think one thing that we need to think through is creating opportunties for them to be appreciated, and to appreciate themselves. I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
That really spoke to me. I've always much preferred doing chores where you could really SEE the results. Like, I hated sweeping a cleanish floor. But a floor that was really dirty- now THAT was fun to sweep. lol.

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At our house, whoever has hit someone sits in the same room with us until they're calmed down and ready to be safe (this is kind of a newer thing for us). And that's just how we say it: "Come sit and calm down. When I know you're ready to be safe, you can go back to what you were doing" or "It's time to sit and calm down. When you're feeling more calm we can talk." We try say it as neutrally and calmly as possible, kind of casually in fact. And you know, my oldest is one who I swore until a few weeks ago would never, ever stay in a time out---but this works for her (as long as she's not actually having a meltdown). It's something we are just presenting as "when you get angry enough to want to hit someone, it's important to take some time to calm down so that you can solve the problem. Hitting doesn't solve problems."
Sorry, this will be a bit OT...Do you mind if I email this (crediting you) to a friend who's ds is hitting?

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

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#29 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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Deva, that's fine.
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#30 of 37 Old 01-10-2008, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gaialice View Post
I know dd1 would like to be in charge of some chore. She does not like the idea of helping, because she wants to visualize
what she has accomplished. I need to find at least a couple chores that she can be proud of. Big achievements, you know, but things she could manage.
Things that my kids love to do:
  • Mopping the floor (or anything else with water!)
  • Vacuuming (for ds, dd is still to freaked out by the sound).
  • Recycling (OK, that's a hold over from ds' garbage truck obsession days, and might not be applicable to anyone but my quirky son).
  • Cooking -- scrambled eggs for dinner are quick, easy and even my 3 year old can do it!
  • Laundry - sorting, putting in the machine, putting in the dryer and cleaning the lint trap. They hate putting it away.

Whatever 'chore' you work with her on, make sure it's a real, grown-up chore, not something kid related like picking up toys.

Suggestions for dinner time -- can you spend 15-20 minutes interacting with your kids before you make dinner? I know it's hard, and it delays the whole evening routine. But, I find that when my kids are needy, whiny and just plain hard to get along with, my coming home from work and saying "I can't play Kids on Stage with you, I've got to make dinner" makes things doubly hard. If I can (and I can't always) say "I can play for 20 minutes, then I have to start dinner", life is much, much easier. I set the timer, and when the timer beeps, I'm done. Now, they don't always respond with grace and equanimity, but over time, it helps.

Can you cook some frozen things (lasagna? meatballs?) over the weekends with dh so you can have the nanny or yourself just pop something in the oven? Prepare a salad for the whole week and add dressing? Have breakfast for dinner one night a week (cereal, milk, fruit).

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Originally Posted by sledg View Post
(eta I'm chuckling not because there's anything wrong with consensual living-I love the idea-but because that's just not how I see myself.) We're really not a consensual living family. What we do, and we don't do it all the time over every single thing, is just the collaborative problem solving approach from The Explosive Child. Collaboration is our ideal (mostly), but we are open to imposing our will at times (and not just when it's a safety issue).
Ah, but you seem so much more "with it" and collaborative than I feel at the moment! Sorry for the mischaracterization. I'll have to read the Explosive Child -- maybe I'll find it useful even if my kids aren't really explosive. (Just like the only truly Spirited Child in our house is me!)

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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
I think there are several really important keys here:
* The rules apply to everyone (not just kids)
* Appropriate response to strong emotions are modeled by the adults
* Expectations are high and explicit. I am a really firm believer that people (including children) will live up to expectations, so if you expect them to have temper tantrums, then they will. If you expect them to control the expression of their anger, then they will (eventually) do that too.
I agree, mostly. Though as a former tantrumer myself and the parent of a current tantrumer, I'd say tantrums are a reflection of being overwhelmed. So what really helps is to work on skills for calming down. And that's very, very individual. What works for dd to help calm her down (holding her) is exactly what doesn't work for ds (he needs to be on his own).

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