Observations of traditional discipline - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 188 Old 01-24-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I don't want my kids to learn that they have to do things they don't want to. I want them to be 100% in charge of their bodies and minds and not do anything they are not willing to do just b/c someone else tells them "they have to."

I think "have to" is sort of "victim speak." When I say "I have to do xzy..." I've taken my responsibility, choice, and free will out of the matter.

(snip)

Choices are good. Better than "have to" I think. "Have to" seems like a burden I don't want my kids to "have to" have.

(snip)

There are ways to "hear" a child and make her discomfort more comfortable that don't necessarily involve bailing on the errand.
Exactly!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#62 of 188 Old 01-24-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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Yes, shopping is over-stimulating and confusing sometimes, even for adults! But that's how we gather food and supplies for our day to day lives, and children need to learn how to function in our world. Or, if they're not interested in learning about shopping, errands, etc, that day, they need to learn how to cope with things that are tedious or boring.

I find it odd that some folk think that children should be sheltered from every single thing that they aren't thrilled about. How are they going to learn patience and adjusting to things that aren't immediatly thrilling, etc??

I can't count the number of times I waited in line at the BANK with my Mom. How boring!!!

Did I scream and kick and flail and demand that I be entertained? No. Did Mom wait at home until a neighbour could watch us before she could leave the house and go to the bank? NO.

Mom just said to us: "We're going into the bank and it will probably be boring, but you MUST be quiet and not run around." So, I took some of the deposit slips and drew on them, making my own money and cheques and such. In other words, I dealt with it, as my parent EXPECTED me to. Jeez, and this was with a five year old and THREE two year olds, with no spanking!

I think there's such a thing as expecting too LITTLE of children. Life is not always going to be perfect and tailored to their whims and preferences, they live as part of a functioning family, not little Kings and Queens, and shopping and errands need to be done!
A really big :
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#63 of 188 Old 01-24-2008, 11:23 PM
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Wow, I had no idea this was such a sexy thread. My girls *love* to go grocery shopping, so I guess that means that I kick all of y'all's butts as a parent, huh? Free samples and great big toy cars to ride in; what's not to love?

Honestly, they're very hit-or-miss with shopping. They love bookstores. Like Target well enough but they tend to drive ME a bit crazy when we go there together. I'd rather stick pencils in my eyes than go clothes shopping with them. And if they were tired and/or hungry they wouldn't even want to be at FAO Schwartz with Barbie and the Disney Princesses and the American Girls all holding one big honking tea party.

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It seems like this thread split into two camps - those who thought that the mother and child should therefore leave the store, and those who thought the mother and child should complete the errand.
I disagree--it seemed to me like it was split between those who thought that the child needed to go home as soon as possible, and those who thought he shouldn't have been there in the first place. That shopping is too "overstimulating" for toddlers. And I think a lot of people bristled at the latter idea. Lots of people, as has been observed, have no choice but to take their kids shopping, and many others of us shop with our kids regularly (though God knows not always) with pleasure and harmony.
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#64 of 188 Old 01-24-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

As monkey's mom has mentioned, we sometimes choose to do things we don't feel like doing -- not because we're forced but because we like the results of having them done.
I have to disagree. My 3 and 4 year old are not old enough to make certain choices, based on results, yet. If I left those choices up to them, My 3 year old would have been dead from being hit by too many cars to count (because after all, he swore he absolutely wanted to be hit by a car) both kids would have rotted teeth from lack of brushing and dental visits, and probably some sort of parasitic disease from begging and screaming for me to stop and let them pick up roadkill while driving down busy roads.

Do you see where I am coming from? My kids do not yet have the maturity, or rational thought processes to make decisions for themselves, whether the results are good or bad. That's why I either help them make the decisions, or I make the decisions for them. In the above examples, I had to make the decision to not let my 3 year old run into an oncoming car, to hold them down to brush teeth every night, and to explain to them why it is not healthy to pick up animal carcasses.

So I suppose we do choose to do things based on the results. I choose to make decisions for my childs well-being that they are not mature enough to make yet.
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#65 of 188 Old 01-24-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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"Mommy, let's pick-up the dead skunk!!"

I can't wait until I get these suggestions. That's going to be the entertaining part of being a parent!

Trin.
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#66 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

if we have the view that "parents shouldn't bend to children's every whim," or that "children need to sacrifice for us sometimes, because we do so much for them"



In contrast, the idea that it's good for people to get what they want is conducive to a view that we can find ways to achieve this. We may be momentarily too tired or stressed to keep looking at the situation from different angles until the best solution is found: we're only human. But since we see it as a good thing to help our children be happy, we're naturally going to be more open to thinking about other options -- which tends to result in a reality where our options are continually increasing and no one's having to "bite the bullet."

I don't understand how you can equate what I said with wanting children to "sacrifice" because of some parental feeling of entitlement. I don't see the connection.

The underlined is the main difference in how I view things. I refuse to hold myself responsible for helping my DS feel happy every time he gets upset. He chooses his reaction to situations, not me. I don't try to control his emotions. If he has a valid reason for being upset, I will definately talk with him, sympathize and comfort him. If I feel it's an overreaction, or if he's simply being selfish, I'll say so. For example, I'm not one to try to compromise and give out hugs when my DS is bemoaning the terrible injustice of not owning the entire Lego catalogue. To do so would be enabling greed. My goal is to raise an unselfish and mature adult, not to have a constantly contented child.
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#67 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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L&Ismama...you quote mammal_mama where she talks about we as adults get to choose and you say you disagree, then go on to talk about how your children don't have the ability to make choices.

I am not sure I understand what you mean.

Maybe you could explain it again. I am not sure how adults having the choice to do things they don't want to do and how that relates to the rest of the paragraph about children not having the maturity to make those choices.

I might just be reading it all wrong...going back to review.
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#68 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:27 AM
 
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I had to make the decision to not let my 3 year old run into an oncoming car, to hold them down to brush teeth every night, and to explain to them why it is not healthy to pick up animal carcasses.

So I suppose we do choose to do things based on the results. I choose to make decisions for my childs well-being that they are not mature enough to make yet.
I agree with the second part and disagree with the first--just because of the "had to"/choice difference.

You didn't *have* to hold your kids down to brush their teeth. You *chose* to do that based on a variety of things--all well intentioned, I'm *certain.* Lots of people CHOOSE not to do that. Maybe it's b/c they don't care about dental health, or they're inattentive parents, or they're willing to sing to make it more agreeable (NOT that you haven't tried that...just an example), or any number of other things that may or may not result in rotted teeth.

But it's a slippery slope, I think, when we get into that, "Well, it HAD to be done," when we're discussing a child getting the short end of a stick.

I know many of us were treated, as children, in ways that were "for our own good." But the relationship betw. us and our parents was damaged in the process.

For me, when I'm entering that "have to" or "for their own good" state of mind, I'm not focused on the moment and the way my child and I are connected in that moment. I'm looking past them and our relationship and focusing on a mindset or an outcome that may never materialize.

Responding to, and meeting, my child's needs is paramount to me. If, for whatever reason, my kids are not coping well in a situation, then I'm going to do something about that. Not just approach it from a perspective that they need to deal with it and consider it a lesson in getting used to life or hardship or whatever. If I took my elderly father to a store and his legs wore out and he was unable to cope with the situation I would do something about that, too.

It doesn't mean that I never take them out. It doesn't mean that they can't or don't handle being in a store the vast majority of the time. But there are times, where I know we have reached the limit and they are expressing that and my *goal* is to respond to them in a way that acknowledges their situation and change it up. And most of the time now, with my 6 and 2.5 yr. olds, it's to ask them to hang with me for another little bit and would they like a drink or to sit in the cart or something like that. They are most accomodating when I ask them for a little bit more. And I'm starting to think it's b/c they're sure that when it's their turn to ask, it's going to come back around. Modelling consideration goes a long way, I've found. "Suck it up" comes around just as easy, I've also found, in some of my not so finer moments.
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#69 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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It seems like this thread split into two camps - those who thought that the mother and child should therefore leave the store, and those who thought the mother and child should complete the errand.
I am quite possibly in my own camp. I don't thing the thread was about the other mother at all. I think the OP was sharing the amazing feeling one gets when one realizes that that one is now free of one's previously held beliefs that one's children's behavior must be controlled and conformed to a place where children's behavior is viewed as communication that it is possible to understand and respond to. (My goodness that's a long sentence.)

That what I got out of it. I think the OP identified with the mom...that in her previous way of thinking she would have been there.

My kids go shopping. They like it usually. They pick out what they want to eat for the week. They look for bargains. They discuss which cheese sample is better. They are 3 and 7.

But they both went through periods when they were younger where it was just to difficult for them to shop. So we worked something else out.

They've also both been through periods when they couldn't really eat out. The 3 year old is only loving it at particular restaurants right now. So we don't often take her out to eat. Am I worried that she'll never learn to behave in a restaurant. No, the 7 year old went through the same thing.

Giving young children some space to go through phases works better than I would have imagined. And no particularly dire consequences have ensured so far.
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#70 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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I'm not one to try to compromise and give out hugs when my DS is bemoaning the terrible injustice of not owning the entire Lego catalogue. To do so would be enabling greed.
I think I see the difference in our persepective. My kids can have a hugs 24/7 if they want one or dozens. From where I sit, hugs never made anybody greedy.

If they want the whole Lego catalogue, I will sit down with them and do the math on how many allowances it would take to get the whole thing. And figure out how long it is to the next gift-getting events. And talk about how much fun legos are. And think about maybe if two friends brought over their legos and we had a big lego gathering that would be almost like owning the whole catalogue. And figure out how many days it is until the planetarium is going to put on Lego-palooza. And.....

And then I would offer to dump all the legos on a big sheet and build with them. And tell them that I just love it that she enjoys legos so much.

Then I get a contented kid who is likely to grow up to be a pretty cool grownup. It's not an either or.
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#71 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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chfriend..I think we are in the same camp. I agree that the OP wasn't about the other mom, but about the OP and her observations and feelings.

My kids also like shopping. All 4 of them. Personally, when it all comes right down to it, I don't like shopping much. But it has to be done. So I work really hard to set it up for success.

My kids also went through stages of being more cooperative and less cooperative..wanting to run around etc.

I don't like shopping but I work hard at making it enjoyable, by making it about enjoying each others company rather than about the "chore" that it is.

So those times when the kids let me know with their response that they are less than happy with what's happening I listen. Depending on the situation I help them through.

I don't think in black and white though..I am a very much about compromise and flexibility. With everybody including my children.
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#72 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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I think I see the difference in our persepective. My kids can have a hugs 24/7 if they want one or dozens. From where I sit, hugs never made anybody greedy.

If they want the whole Lego catalogue, I will sit down with them and do the math on how many allowances it would take to get the whole thing. And figure out how long it is to the next gift-getting events. And talk about how much fun legos are. And think about maybe if two friends brought over their legos and we had a big lego gathering that would be almost like owning the whole catalogue. And figure out how many days it is until the planetarium is going to put on Lego-palooza. And.....

And then I would offer to dump all the legos on a big sheet and build with them. And tell them that I just love it that she enjoys legos so much.

Then I get a contented kid who is likely to grow up to be a pretty cool grownup. It's not an either or.
:

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I'm with the chfriend and allgirls camp! In fact, I figured something must have gotten edited out of the thread b/c it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me that folks thought it was anything else.

I hope drooling over the LL Bean catalog doesn't make me greedy. I don't buy it. But it sure is fun to fantasize and browse.
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#74 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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I'm with the chfriend and allgirls camp! In fact, I figured something must have gotten edited out of the thread b/c it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me that folks thought it was anything else.

I hope drooling over the LL Bean catalog doesn't make me greedy. I don't buy it. But it sure is fun to fantasize and browse.
that's the kind of shopping I like. Catalogues and online...no lines
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#75 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't tried the delivery thing, but I know folks who swear by it. One grocery store here will shop for you for $5 and you can pick it up at the door. Haven't done that either, but I can see it working. One person has said the $5it costs, she saves because the store shoppers stick to her list and don't impulse buy!!
I dream of having my groceries delivered. Alas, no one will deliver to my zip code. DH even called several stores that deliver to neighboring zip codes and asked if he could pay double to have his delivered. No dice. :

They do have that order-and-pick-up option, which I've considered, but we have to shop around food allergies and that makes it really hard, especially if they are out of an item, choose the wrong type of an item, or if I am looking for something along the lines of "a loaf of whole wheat bread that doesn't contain milk or traces of it." They don't have that option to "check off" on the website order form.

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#76 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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I think I see the difference in our persepective. My kids can have a hugs 24/7 if they want one or dozens. From where I sit, hugs never made anybody greedy.

If they want the whole Lego catalogue, I will sit down with them and do the math on how many allowances it would take to get the whole thing. And figure out how long it is to the next gift-getting events. And talk about how much fun legos are. And think about maybe if two friends brought over their legos and we had a big lego gathering that would be almost like owning the whole catalogue. And figure out how many days it is until the planetarium is going to put on Lego-palooza. And.....

And then I would offer to dump all the legos on a big sheet and build with them. And tell them that I just love it that she enjoys legos so much.

Then I get a contented kid who is likely to grow up to be a pretty cool grownup. It's not an either or.

Well, that's how things usually go here too. And I have never in my life refused my DS a hug if he asked, just to be clear.

But I do have a low tolerance for whining for "stuff."

Especially in stores, talking about each and every thing DS decides he wants and what would have to be done to attain it would be to me and would take way more time than I have. Like lots of kids, my DS wants wants wants and sometimes you just have to say "No, you don't need that. period. I think it's good for kids to hear that once in awhile. Am I wrong?
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#77 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And, interestingly, I had the second shift in views that you did too, I now (being pregnant) try to be compassionate towards the parent in the situation too, rather than making snap judgements. It's all about personal growth, and I think it's really neat that you brought it up in a thread!


Actually, this thread is kind of making me smile because just this morning I was telling DH that I'd decided to give up judgmentalism for Lent this year. Not to be perfect at it, but to rephrase judgmental comments in a more empathetic light, and to stop my thought trains and put them in reverse when I'm thinking judgmental lines of thought.

[This morning, a good friend and I were talking about how one of the most difficult things in AP circles is avoiding building up your own confidence in choosing non-mainstream parenting practices by denigrating parents who make different decisions. And how it's difficult to raise empathetic children if they frequently hear harsh assessments of others' intentions coming from our lips. That got me thinking about making an active project of it, for the Lenten season.]

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#78 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:38 AM
 
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As an example, I recall Jean Liedloff talked in The Continuum Concept about how the South American Indians she lived among let the little girls join in with the manioc-grating as they got the urge, going off to play when they tired of it, without any repercussions from the adult women, or any insistence that they finish what they started. Yet at some point, all the girls grew to fully participate in adult society. By choice.
Right. And their other choice would have been what? Law school? A job at McDonald's?

I'm sorry, I just don't think that equates. Of course they joined in grating the manioc. It was that or starve to death.

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#79 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Right. And their other choice would have been what? Law school? A job at McDonald's?

I'm sorry, I just don't think that equates. Of course they joined in grating the manioc. It was that or starve to death.
But is choosing to participate in adult society really so different, in our culture?

You pretty much have to work to live today, as well. I would guess that you can choose to be a lazy manioc grater just as easily as a lazy employee elsewhere, and your end result is likely to be either a life where others resent you, or a hand-to-mouth existence...

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#80 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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Right. And their other choice would have been what? Law school? A job at McDonald's? I'm sorry, I just don't think that equates. Of course they joined in grating the manioc. It was that or starve to death.


I think the choice was to participate in society and become a part of it or not. Different societies have different choices.

Ours has the MacDonald's and Law school choice, theirs was simpler.

The point that is trying to be made here is that they became functioning members of their society and the adults of the SA Indians had the confidence that it would happen so they didn't push them when they were little, never encouraged them to finish things etc yet they STILL matured into capable adults.

I think it does equate.

And as children it wasn't "grate the manoic or starve" they were fed even if they only helped a bit. They just developed a sense of responsibility as they matured just by being with the adults around them who modelled that sense of responsibility.

It's interesting that's for sure.

Thanks for sharing that Mammal_mama
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#81 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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But I do have a low tolerance for whining for "stuff."

Especially in stores, talking about each and every thing DS decides he wants and what would have to be done to attain it would be to me and would take way more time than I have. Like lots of kids, my DS wants wants wants and sometimes you just have to say "No, you don't need that. period. I think it's good for kids to hear that once in awhile. Am I wrong?
My kids know they don't need everything. They are aware that the house can only hold so much. And that if there is too much stuff in it, it's hard to find the thing you want to play with.

I'm not the faucet they turn on and off to get stuff, so they rarely whine about it. If they want something, I will talk to them about how to get it. Or explain why I think it's not a great idea to get that. (Stuff that offends me. Great opportunity to discuss my values. )Or about how they seem kind of young for that.

And I listen to them. My parents were very big into that need/want distinction. Honestly, one needs very very little, as I know from growing up in a family with one income and 6 closely-spaced children. You need a couple of sets of play clothes, 5-7 pairs of underwear, 5-7 pairs of socks, one or two pairs of shoes, 2 dresses for church, 1 school jumper and two shirts, a bed with a set of linens, a desk, a light, a trashcan, 3 small meals, 1 or 2 snacks, trips to the library, blocks, books and balls. Maybe a doll if you were a girl.

My mom grew up without everything she needed, so thought we were greedy to want things. It made it complicated for me to want things and feel I deserved them as an adult.

I got some of what I wanted around birthdays and holidays. But expressing want in a store completely stressed my mom out. I got a very very tiny allowance. My kids get a virtual kid fortune.

So, I've moved away from the want/need dicotomy. I want my kids to get what they want and am willing to help them figure out which things they want enough to do something to get. So my 7 year old knows if they get *this* thing, then later when they want *that* thing, they might have already spent their allowance and have to start over again or have a yard sale or think about selling on ebay (so far all talk) or trade a friend or share or ......
My 3 year old is not there yet. She mostly wants stuff that belongs to her sister. They developed a system of "checking things out" of each others rooms, complete with due dates and renewals, with no intervention or suggestion from us. All they get from us is "When we share, there's a lot more interesting stuff to do."

The power is in their hands. I don't say to my kids, "You don't need that." They often say to me, "I don't need that."

Maybe they are just generous hearted by nature. They really are nice people. But I have found that , like monkey mom, both the generous messages and the "suck it up" messages I've given my kid have come back around on occasion!
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#82 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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Re. "you don't need that."

I think there are many different ways to say that, you know.

I've heard parents in the toy aisle say that in a shaming, scolding way that seems to say, "How dare you even ASK for that."

I don't think kids need to hear THAT. Eeek.

I think there might be a much gentler delivery that wouldn't make me cringe, but I'm still not sure there isn't an even better way to handle it. I'm leery of telling people what they want and need. How would I know?

Maybe the kid has a plan in his head to build something, and that toy would be the necessary part to carry it off. Yet, I say, "You don't need that." I'm clearly wrong. And I'm shutting down, rather than building up, dialogue and a cooperative spirit between us.

If a friend came into my house and started telling me that I didn't need my computer, or my microwave, or my houseplants, or my crafting stuff....and behind that message there was a thought that I was greedy for looking over catalogs and wanting more craft supplies......well, that probably wouldn't make for a very comfortable, bonding afternoon for us. And I'd likely feel judged and hurt and shamed. I imagine kids might react the same.

I don't think scarcity creates generosity. Quite the opposite. I think scarcity creates feelings of "not enough" and "need more" and "better hold onto to this tight!" Hence the generation of Depression era folks who hold onto everything generations later b/c one day "they might need it."

So does that mean I advocate buying everything your kids ask for? No. Not at all.

But I do think it's just as easy to say, "Hmmm...that DOES look cool!" with a smile, as it is to say, "You don't need that."

And it takes you out of the equation as the roadblock to the kid getting the thing, or as the arbitrator of what other people need or not.

When I've got the money, I do buy my kids lots of things. When I don't have the money, I don't. And they understand that. ANd when it comes time to sort through the toys and give to others they fill bag after bag--happily, while talking about how nice it will be for another child to play with these things. As we speak there is a huge pile of toys they've picked out to sell, and another huge box of toys to leave at the local dumpster where families routinely sift through the trash.

My kids are generous. (Shoot, the 6 yr. old just offered to give us the $44 in his piggy bank rather than buy video games b/c he knows we are in a lean period, financially.) They've been given lots and lots. And they're still generous and not greedy. So, you know, it is possible to not deny them and not tell them that they don't need stuff and *still* have them be generous and not greedy.

Doesn't mean you have to do it my way, obviously, but it's there to prove that "oldschool" parenting paradigm has some exceptions.
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#83 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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I refuse to hold myself responsible for helping my DS feel happy every time he gets upset. He chooses his reaction to situations, not me. I don't try to control his emotions. If he has a valid reason for being upset, I will definately talk with him, sympathize and comfort him. If I feel it's an overreaction, or if he's simply being selfish, I'll say so. For example, I'm not one to try to compromise and give out hugs when my DS is bemoaning the terrible injustice of not owning the entire Lego catalogue. To do so would be enabling greed. My goal is to raise an unselfish and mature adult, not to have a constantly contented child.
But who decides for another person whether or not their feelings are valid?? I would be so upset if someone decided my reason for being upset wasn't valid, and told me I was overreacting or "just being selfish." I wouldn't enjoy experiencing such a dismissal of my concerns and feelings. I think most adults would feel the same way. Why would it be different for kids? Why is it okay to tell kids their reasons for feeling a certain way aren't valid, that they're feelings aren't valid or okay? I don't think empathizing about not being able to get all the Legos enables greed. I think it enables connection and compassion, and opens the door to talking about how realistic the idea of buying all the Legos is.

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You didn't *have* to hold your kids down to brush their teeth. You *chose* to do that based on a variety of things--all well intentioned, I'm *certain.* Lots of people CHOOSE not to do that. Maybe it's b/c they don't care about dental health, or they're inattentive parents, or they're willing to sing to make it more agreeable (NOT that you haven't tried that...just an example), or any number of other things that may or may not result in rotted teeth.

But it's a slippery slope, I think, when we get into that, "Well, it HAD to be done," when we're discussing a child getting the short end of a stick.

I know many of us were treated, as children, in ways that were "for our own good." But the relationship betw. us and our parents was damaged in the process.

For me, when I'm entering that "have to" or "for their own good" state of mind, I'm not focused on the moment and the way my child and I are connected in that moment. I'm looking past them and our relationship and focusing on a mindset or an outcome that may never materialize.
Well said.

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Re. "you don't need that."

I think there are many different ways to say that, you know.

I've heard parents in the toy aisle say that in a shaming, scolding way that seems to say, "How dare you even ASK for that."

I don't think kids need to hear THAT. Eeek.

I think there might be a much gentler delivery that wouldn't make me cringe, but I'm still not sure there isn't an even better way to handle it. I'm leery of telling people what they want and need. How would I know?

Maybe the kid has a plan in his head to build something, and that toy would be the necessary part to carry it off. Yet, I say, "You don't need that." I'm clearly wrong. And I'm shutting down, rather than building up, dialogue and a cooperative spirit between us.

If a friend came into my house and started telling me that I didn't need my computer, or my microwave, or my houseplants, or my crafting stuff....and behind that message there was a thought that I was greedy for looking over catalogs and wanting more craft supplies......well, that probably wouldn't make for a very comfortable, bonding afternoon for us. And I'd likely feel judged and hurt and shamed. I imagine kids might react the same.

I don't think scarcity creates generosity. Quite the opposite. I think scarcity creates feelings of "not enough" and "need more" and "better hold onto to this tight!" Hence the generation of Depression era folks who hold onto everything generations later b/c one day "they might need it."

So does that mean I advocate buying everything your kids ask for? No. Not at all.

But I do think it's just as easy to say, "Hmmm...that DOES look cool!" with a smile, as it is to say, "You don't need that."

And it takes you out of the equation as the roadblock to the kid getting the thing, or as the arbitrator of what other people need or not.
Again, well said. My kids have asked for things, and we've talked about how fun those things look, and how it would be neat to buy it. Then we've talked about whether it's realistic, financially, for us to buy it. Or, what do you imagine doing with that? Or we've talked about whether or not this thing would really be used much, or pointed out how many of this type of thing we already have and is it really a good idea to buy more? What do you think, kids? Or maybe we'd have to make room, we have so much stuff, would you be willing to clean out your toys and give some away before we buy new stuff? Because I'm really uncomfortable bringing even more stuff home right now, with all the stuff we already have because.... And sometimes I've just said "That does look fun, doesn't it?" and moved on, talking about all the stuff I might like to buy too, how fun it would be to buy the whole store full of stuff-that usually turns into a fun conversation (and the child lets go of talking about that toy, having had their desire acknowledged and having that connection we're now enjoying).

And you know, it might seem so much more efficient (in that moment when you're in the store) to just say "you don't need it," but I've found that in the long term it matters a lot to have these conversations with the children, with empathy, that take a little more time. After having these conversations, we have many times experienced our kids saying independently says "that's so cool! I wish I could buy it! But maybe I don't really need it, I don't know if I'll really use it, and I already have something like it." We just don't have struggles or tears or tantrums over not being able to buy things, it's just so rare for us, and I don't think it's because we have particularly unusual kids.
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#84 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 11:57 AM
 
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For me it's about discussion. We talk about everything. My kids never ask for stuff in the checkout aisle. Because I have never ever bought anything from there.(and I said I was flexible) I have explained that it is there, set up in that exact spot for the express reason of getting you to spend money on something you don't want. If my kids get a treat in the store it's generally planned(we put it on the list before we go) and while it might be just as crappy as the stuff in the checkout at least it's not an impulse shop.

and my kids don't kick up the fuss. Sometimes they will still look at stuff with BIG eyes and seem sad but I say "I know, but remember we don't buy stuff" and after that we move on.

Both Sledg and Monkey's mom have expressed things really well

In our family we are working with a budget and try to seriously think about what we purchase. The kids know this. We also talk a lot about the earth and how what we buy impacts our environment.

My kids spent a lot of time with the Sears Wish Book before Christmas. We made a whole lot of wishes with that thing. We didn't order a single item. We made them a puppet theatre and bought them puppets etc.

I have to say, my kids aren't greedy. They don't generally whine for things and usually accept when they can't have certain things etc.

I value their imput and don't ridicule when they want something. I don't always buy it but I do listen to them. And sometimes they make a valid point and we do get it .
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#85 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:39 PM
 
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And I listen to them. My parents were very big into that need/want distinction. Honestly, one needs very very little, as I know from growing up in a family with one income and 6 closely-spaced children. You need a couple of sets of play clothes, 5-7 pairs of underwear, 5-7 pairs of socks, one or two pairs of shoes, 2 dresses for church, 1 school jumper and two shirts, a bed with a set of linens, a desk, a light, a trashcan, 3 small meals, 1 or 2 snacks, trips to the library, blocks, books and balls. Maybe a doll if you were a girl.

My mom grew up without everything she needed, so thought we were greedy to want things. It made it complicated for me to want things and feel I deserved them as an adult.
Wow, that is exactly how I grew up, right down to the mother who thought we were greedy for wanting things. She'd get mad and say "You're always wanting wanting wanting..." even now I feel guilty when I want stuff. My sister became very materialistic as a result, she needs to buy a lot to feel she deserves stuff, goes into debt etc. I am the opposite, I don't really spend that much because I feel greedy when I do.
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#86 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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I've really enjoyed reading this thread - I'm not posting because I have any strategies to contribute, since dd just turned 1 year old. But reading this has really helped me think about how I want to handle these kinds of situations in the future and what my philosophies are about the validity of children's feelings and the idea that they also need to become part of the community which means sometimes doing unpleasant things. I feel like my parents did a really good job about this kind of thing, but I can't remember exactly what they did or how they explained things. I like the idea of talking about the Legos...when I really, really, really wanted a horse, my parents were very good about it, even though they definitely didn't want a horse. They helped me calculate all the things that we would need, how much it would cost, and they also had me research all the things that I would have to do to take care of a horse. In other words, they took me seriously, even though I was probably about 9-10, when they could have just said no, too expensive, too much work. I'd like to be to do things like that. Of course, that kind of thinking is more difficult to apply in situations like the checkout line...
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#87 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:07 PM
 
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I don't understand how you can equate what I said with wanting children to "sacrifice" because of some parental feeling of entitlement. I don't see the connection.
When I talked about the attitude that "We do so much for our children, and sometimes it's their turn to sacrifice for us" -- I was referring to at least one or two posts here where I'd read things like, "I do lots of things for my child that are really boring to me -- so, by gum, he can endure a little boredom for me sometimes."

I don't specifically remember if you said anything like that, and I wasn't directing my post to any one person in particular: I was just addressing that whole attitude (which is actually a pretty prevalent one in our society), and sharing how I think these kinds of beliefs can affect parents' willingness to even try for a mutually agreeable solution.

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The underlined is the main difference in how I view things. I refuse to hold myself responsible for helping my DS feel happy every time he gets upset. He chooses his reaction to situations, not me. I don't try to control his emotions.
The difference between me and my children is that they're way more dependent on me and dh for their circumstances, than I am on them or any adult for my own circumstances.

As an analogy, I choose to be in an intimate relationship with my dh, such that our happiness/unhappiness is very much intertwined. But if dh were continually disregarding my feelings -- for instance, telling me whether or not he thought I had a "valid reason" to be upset, I'd have a wide array of choices: Even if I chose to keep our home intact (which is what I'd do), I could begin setting more boundaries and building more of a support system whereby I could get my needs met through other relationships.

Our children simply don't have our adult ability to revamp their lives, or form more positive relationships if their current ones are dysfunctional (I'm not labeling anyone on this thread as "dysfunctional" -- I'm just highlighting the differences between adults and children in unsatisfactory situations).

It's not that I hold myself responsible if one of my children ever feels unhappy, and I certainly don't believe in "controlling" anyone's emotions: I just believe in calling a spade a spade, and if I believe there are adjustments I can make to create a more happy situation for my children, I should try it rather than pretending to myself that doing so would be an attempt to "control" my children's emotions, and would interfere with their autonomous right to be unhappy if they so chose.

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If he has a valid reason for being upset, I will definately talk with him, sympathize and comfort him. If I feel it's an overreaction, or if he's simply being selfish, I'll say so.
Maybe that's how you like to be treated by your husband, significant other, or friends. I like to be listened to, and don't appreciate anyone else deciding for me whether I have a valid reason to feel the way I do. And I believe in treating others (including my dear children) the way that I like to be treated.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#88 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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The point that is trying to be made here is that they became functioning members of their society and the adults of the SA Indians had the confidence that it would happen so they didn't push them when they were little, never encouraged them to finish things etc yet they STILL matured into capable adults.
Yes, that was the point.

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And as children it wasn't "grate the manoic or starve" they were fed even if they only helped a bit. They just developed a sense of responsibility as they matured just by being with the adults around them who modelled that sense of responsibility.
Yes, exactly! There was no decision, made by adults, that at a certain age it was "time" for a person to begin taking responsibility and contributing. Each person decided to as s/he was ready. And got fed/cared for in the meantime. This is interesting to me because it's so different from our society's belief that children have to be made to follow through, or they'll never grow into responsible adults.

Liedloff only seemed to know of one case where an adult in this Indian society didn't want to fully participate -- and this was an adult who'd been adopted into Western society as a child, then come back to his people as a grown man. At first he wanted to do nothing but hunt and fish, which didn't adequately provide for his family. A friend and neighbor shared food from his garden to meet the needs of this man and his family -- then one day, the man got the urge to start his own garden.

His friend was glad to help him get started, and was amused that his friend had wanted to work all along -- but just didn't know it 'til that point!

In view of this story, I tend to think the children didn't view their alternatives as "grate the manioc or starve." It was just more appealing to them to be a part of the action, than not.

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Thanks for sharing that Mammal_mama
You're welcome! And thanks to you for the excellent points you've made!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#89 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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I am quite possibly in my own camp. I don't thing the thread was about the other mother at all. I think the OP was sharing the amazing feeling one gets when one realizes that that one is now free of one's previously held beliefs that one's children's behavior must be controlled and conformed to a place where children's behavior is viewed as communication that it is possible to understand and respond to.
I agree. I'm puzzled that anyone thinks it's a debate about whether parents should take their children shopping, or whether the mom in question should have just instantaneously left.

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Giving young children some space to go through phases works better than I would have imagined. And no particularly dire consequences have ensured so far.
I'm finding the same thing. Our girls usually enjoy shopping, too -- but maybe that's because they normally have the option of staying home with the other parent (usually me): (Edited to Add the word "normally") they usually want to go. If the parent going shopping (usually dh: he loves shopping) knows this trip is going to be longer than usual (and/or is likely to be boring), he explains this ahead of time ... if it turns into a bigger project than initially foreseen, he's likely to take kids home before moving on to the next store.

Edited to Add: And before someone comes and says, "How nice for you that your life is so perfect" -- no, it's not perfect ... and I think parents in any situation can find some way to work out these issues in a child-responsive way (and child-responsive doesn't necessarily mean the exact. same. way that dh and I work it out) ... I realize this is going to be harder in some situations than others ...

But again, I think one needs a mindset that it's worthwhile even trying to do this, before one is going to be willing to try. And if one never tries, the impossible just stays impossible.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#90 of 188 Old 01-25-2008, 10:18 PM
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I've really enjoyed reading this thread - I'm not posting because I have any strategies to contribute, since dd just turned 1 year old. But reading this has really helped me think about how I want to handle these kinds of situations in the future and what my philosophies are about the validity of children's feelings and the idea that they also need to become part of the community which means sometimes doing unpleasant things. I feel like my parents did a really good job about this kind of thing, but I can't remember exactly what they did or how they explained things. I like the idea of talking about the Legos...when I really, really, really wanted a horse, my parents were very good about it, even though they definitely didn't want a horse. They helped me calculate all the things that we would need, how much it would cost, and they also had me research all the things that I would have to do to take care of a horse. In other words, they took me seriously, even though I was probably about 9-10, when they could have just said no, too expensive, too much work. I'd like to be to do things like that. Of course, that kind of thinking is more difficult to apply in situations like the checkout line...

This is all very well and good, but lets be honest--we're really talking about giving kids the illusion of choice. And I agree that it's a perfectly valid parenting too, but it's really not about letting them choose, it's about letting them think they're choosing.

In my household, getting a pony is not a valid choice. It's an untenable position. And as parents, DH and I can either be honest about that at the outset, or we can use our rhetorical skills to persuade our daughter to come to that conclusion before we have to speak it aloud. She cannot choose to get a pony. See what I'm saying? Honestly, I'd probably choose the rhetorical route myself, but I can't say for sure that it's the more honest and attachment-promoting method.

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If he has a valid reason for being upset, I will definately talk with him, sympathize and comfort him. If I feel it's an overreaction, or if he's simply being selfish, I'll say so.
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama
Maybe that's how you like to be treated by your husband, significant other, or friends. I like to be listened to, and don't appreciate anyone else deciding for me whether I have a valid reason to feel the way I do. And I believe in treating others (including my dear children) the way that I like to be treated.
Well, I don't think anyone likes to be told that they are being inconsiderate, but sometimes it needs to be said, don't you think so? I know that I am sometimes inconsiderate, and while I may bristle when DH calls me on it, I am ultimately glad that he does. I think that's the sign of a healthy relationship and interpersonal dynamic that we listen to each other even when it's not all sunshine and roses. And it's the same with the kids. Sometimes DD1 tells us that we're being unfair, and she's right--and it goes the other way, too. That's just life, life when you live in the world with other people. That's the way I see it, anyway.
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