Manipulation...am I missing something? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums
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#121 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
The focus should be "I'm doing this because I am a responsible person, and this is what responsible people do. If I don't do this, I make more work for others. That doesn't feel good. It feels bad to know my animals are waiting. But it feels good to know I've done the right thing. It feels good to do my share. It feels good to be part of a family team".
I LOVE THIS! how do you get there?
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#122 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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When it comes to chores, I don't really think that young children see obligation in the same way that older kids or parents do. My 2yo just wants to be included in everything. She LIKES the idea of spraying vinegar on the floor while I'm mopping and knowing where shoes go. Now, I'm not saying she does these things 'correctly' or consistently, but she does love to help and I'm hoping that by continuing to include her as she gains competency, she will not see joy and obligation as being at odds with each other.

There IS joy in obligations met and work well done!
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#123 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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I LOVE THIS! how do you get there?
Well, I think a key is what I mentioned here:

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Now, this is process--I'm not looking for perfection every day. But we should be making progress, and there should be a sense of fairness in the exchange. There will be bad days. So my initial response you posted, was addressing those 'bad attitude days'. There are even days when ds is really genuinely too tired or upset or whatever, and I do his chores without telling him, just to surprise him. Sometimes I do his chores as a surprise on a good day, so he learns how nice it is to surprise someone that way. This is all so important. You have to play every role, to be a really good teacher. You can't just "be the teacher". You have to get inside the process, you have to think about every way in which your child is not "getting it" and then ask yourself "What can I do that will ignite a feeling in them of "getting it". It is about getting them to that point of feeling responsible, of feeling good about that responsibility, of having internalized and owned the process as their own. That is the whole point. Not just that they do what they are told--but that their heart is in the right place towards their own actions.
The process is going to look different depending on your child. What does *your* child need to improve their attitude towards personal responsibility?

An example: Ds is hypotonic (congenitally low muscle tone), which wasn't diagnosed for years. But it was clear that he lacked something in terms of physical competence. I recently read a description of life for the hypotonic child, and it said essentially that with hypotonia the child feels the force of gravity weighing upon their movements. A bit like running underwater. They have a greater awareness of resistance when they move, and it takes the fun out of work. Work is not fun for ds in the way it is for some children. Making chores a game by racing or hopping or skipping, it doesn't motivate him. It makes it worse. So it's especially important for me to build up his psychological satisfaction from doing work. Ds likes to prove he is important, competent, and valuable to the family, because he does struggle physically, especially compared to both his parents. So there is great verbal discussion/acknowledgement and praise for ds' work. I try to never miss an opportunity to point out when I am tired, or overwhelmed, and NEED ds' help. As in, really, truly need it. Kids know when they are doing something YOU could do better than them, vs. when they are doing something because a parent truly is unable to get it done. Ds really likes to be asked to step up and do extra because a parent is really tired. He just loves that, because it speaks to his heart, on a level that is personally important for him.

Finding things like that, working together in that way, seems to make the process mutually rewarding.

We also talk a great deal about the connections between "this and that". I point out (with pets) the way they have needs just like he (ds) has, in terms of being fed, cleaned up, feeling safe. Obviously ds knows this at age 12, but it still works well as a reminder if he needs one. People don't stop needing some level of engagement with others. Even adults have to work out problems, and sometimes have people say "Do you realize how that makes the other person feel?" etc.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#124 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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Wow I LOVE this statement, too. I haven't read this entire thread and I haven't posted in GD for a while but this is a very inspiring statement
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#125 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
It seems to me, that it all equals out in the end. People can, and will affect other people. That's just living.
yes. in the sense of our understanding behavior and the emotions they bring up in other people, of course, "that's just living". acquiring empathy and compassion and understanding and cause and effect are a lot different than handing the power of our emotion over to others though.
there is a big difference between "you make me so mad when you pour paint on the rug..." (out of control) vs. "when you pour paints all over the rug, i get very angry". (in control)

this is a whole other thread though so i'll leave it at that.

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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
I'm totally down with joy. :

That doesn't mean that my day-to-day isn't filled with obligations that have nothing to do with joy, and everything to do with being a grown-up.
but being a grown-up isn't just about "obligations". if it is then i must not be very grown up.

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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I'm not sure I think "wrong" is the right word.

For me, going to the park doesn't relate -- at 3-5 years old -- to cleaning up, is all. Actually going out to play and run around is a need I would prioritize before the toys being cleaned up (the times that he doesn't... most days, he does and it's simply not an issue). That's kind of how I relate it to what my mum did with us - the not considering the play/downtime as a need.


To me it's not that helpful to make a link between the two at this age (cleaning up vs. going out), and it creates a dynamic I personally am uncomfortable with.
For me With an older child I would feel differently. Or I might. We'll see.

Picking up on another post - there's the question of "do young children need training in how to meet obligations." Well, I think they do over their entire lives, but I personally am not sure that it is so all-fired important as we parents make it into especially in the younger years.

For one thing, responsibilities are complex things. I think the example was making dinner... yes parents have a responsibility to feed their children nutritious meals. But which is more responsible on a day when things are just not clicking: to cook a traditional North American Standard hot meal, perhaps resentfully, involving pots and pans, or to say "hey today is a hard day, let's eat veggies, fruit, cheese, and bread." Or cereal and fruit. Or order in. Or delegate to the other parent.

An adult has the choice. And in fact balancing different obligations against each other (an obligation to society vs. an obligation to keep quiet for a company, for example, or to protect coworkers' jobs) is really complicated and very much NOT about blindly following the obligation.

But frequently this is the kind of choice or decision we remove from our children. Is that really training them for actual decision making, or is this "children have to meet obligations" really a short hand for "do as you're told." It's fine to decide kids in one's family should do as they're told, but let's not pretend it's moral training of some kind other than that.

Also, delayed gratification is a complex set of skills and young kids don't necessarily have the emotional or moral development going on yet. What they are learning is "do what mum says." Which is fine, but quite naturally happens in children's moral development (and then they become rule based, and then around puberty they start to be able to negotiate more complex questions like "is it okay to steal food from a dumpster if otherwise your children would starve.")

So in brief when you say "what's wrong with obligations for our kids?" my answer is - I just don't think this particular kind is all that useful at the preschool age. I think the invitation to clean up, the routine of cleaning up, and family harmony is useful. But standing my ground the 10% of the time my son opts out to me is not that useful.

excellent excellent post!

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Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post
It was me who made the "dinner-making obligation" argument. The reference I made was not so much a *today* I don't feel like making dinner issue. It was more of a *pretty much everyday* i consider this something i don't really want to do. the point is, it's an obligation no matter how you look at it - whether you make a huge from-scratch meal, order take-out, or serve cheese and crackers. i as the adult am still obligated to feed the family. i cannot delegate if i'm the only adult in the house. so, how did i learn that *this* is what i do? i don't think it's a given that every parent in the world sees something like this an their obligation - so how did those of us who do learn it?

You say an adult has a choice, but what is it? they don't have the choice to just ignore it and hope somebody else will do it (in the case of serving a meal). An adult doesn't have a choice in completing a project for work if they need the job to support their family. I do have choices in life as does my son, but we can't always have a multiple choice including d)none of the above for every single issue we face on a daily basis - whether we're 3 or 93.

And I agree that standing my ground and getting into power struggles with a preschooler is not the best approach to handling anything. Sometimes, it's just not worth a battle. But that doesn't mean that I (just me, IMO - not speaking for anyone else here) think it's wrong to have any expectations of my child until he reaches puberty.

one always has a choice. as an adult we have many many choices. more so than a child.

we don't have an obligation to go work somewhere we don't want to just to provide for our families.

i never have had a dog because i knew along with a dog comes the responsibility of walking and feeding and vet bills and training and the trade off of a having a dog wasn't worth it to me. so i got a cat.

i didn't have a child merely out of some made up idea of what a responsible adult looks like. i had a child because i enjoy children and i wanted to experience that. part of the privilege (because that's how it see it) of having a child is providing the basics for him but how i go about that is still within my realm of power.


i think maybe children practice obligation/responsibility when they are at the age to be given and practice having privileges- a pet, driving, a paying job. i also believe they observe and absorb our attitudes about obligations. are we emotionally derailed or stressed out every time the car has to get the oil changed or is it just a fact of life? we model for our kids and share with them how things work... when you have a car (privilege) you have to get the oil changed every 3,000 miles (obligation). simple.

obligations in my mind don't equal "suffering". they just are. c'est la vie. that is life.

personally, i find obligations usually go hand in hand with joy. if i find i'm fulfilling more obligations than enjoying the privileges then my life is way out of balance and it's time for me to do something about it.
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#126 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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This reminds me of the NVC concept that others' actions can be a stimulus for our feelings, but never the cause. The cause of your feelings is you, what your inside thoughts are, how you interpret others' actions, etc etc.

NVC is big on not doing anything that doesn't bring you joy. I may not get joy out of cooking per se, but I do get joy out of my family eating 90% of our meals strict vegetarian, meals that they REALLY like, and mostly really healthy foods. It would be nearly impossible for us to eat that way if I didn't spend a bit of time cooking.

That also reminds me of something in NVC- a mom was in a workshop and said she HAD to cook, and she hated doing it. She went through the NVC steps and eventually decided that she wasn't going to spend so much time doign something she hated. Some time later, the workshop leader had a chance to talk to her (teenage, I think) son, who ended up being SUPER happy that mom stopped cooking, because now they could have family meals where everyone was happy.

Not saying that anyone else could, or should, do that. This thread just reminded me of it, and it was quite an amazing story for me to read. The mom felt obligated to cook, but really, a lot of people's needs were going unmet *because* of that feeling of obligation.

I really like what the pp says about adults having choice regarding our obligations. I think that makes a big difference to me.

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

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#127 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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When it comes to chores, I don't really think that young children see obligation in the same way that older kids or parents do. My 2yo just wants to be included in everything.
I totally agree. Little kids are living in the 'now', they don't learn from talk of past choices or future decisions. My main thing with little kids, is to avoid anything that seems to cause resistance towards working together. The minute they resist, I stop and go in another direction, because they won't remember anything but their own feeling that work is hateful and they dislike it. Older kids can engage in real discussion and appreciate other points of view. Anyway, I said before, I wasn't as patient as I might have been about including little ds, because his 'help' was mostly boisterous play in the midst of whatever I was doing. But I was always working in front of him, talking about how something was done, putting things where they should go.

I also said at the beginning of the thread, that age really matters with this issue. You can't assume you will start one way and then never change your approach. It makes sense to avoid frustrating a toddler with limited verbal ability and no concept of the future. It doesn't make sense to tiptoe around a 7 year old who *needs* to have his powers of self expression, rational thinking, and problem solving seriously engaged. Kids change dramatically as they grow up. They have such different needs at different ages...

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#128 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
one always has a choice. as an adult we have many many choices. more so than a child.

we don't have an obligation to go work somewhere we don't want to just to provide for our families.


obligations in my mind don't equal "suffering". they just are. c'est la vie. that is life.

personally, i find obligations usually go hand in hand with joy. if i find i'm fulfilling more obligations than enjoying the privileges then my life is way out of balance and it's time for me to do something about it.

yes, we do have more choices that inherently come with being an adult. but i know people who daily go off to work somewhere where they don't want to just to provide for their families - be it location, pay, benefits - whatever.

i agree! obligations don't have to equal suffering. they just are part of life. so that's why i'm confused when we start talking to our children in a way that seems to make "obligations" seem like suffering - to imply that we don't want them to do anything they don't really WANT to do at that given time and that there is always a choice and that we don't want them to do anything they aren't joyful and happy about seems to say that what we are asking/telling them to do could very well be construed as suffering when it's something as simple as picking up your wet bathtowel off the floor when you have finished bathing. or when it's a situation such as "you can't eat your snack until you wash your hands". the whole sequence makes sense to me and it's not making my child "suffer" to wash his hands - even though he'd actually rather just get straight to the snacking and bypass the handwashing. for those opposed to "sequencing" like this, is the idea to not say anything at all? to request handwashing before snack but don't say anything if the child elects otherwise? to assume that some day, with our modeling that WE wash our hands before eating, our children will do the same and that in the mean time, there's nothing on their hands that will kill them? my head is spinning and i'm starting to feel like this is coming down to a question about "rules" - do we give our children rules to follow or let them go with their own flow indefinitely?

and i also agree that if you are finding no joy in your daily life then something is out of balance - BUT - i still stand by the fact that not everything we do is always going to be something we're over the moon about. i can mop joyfully as i am mindful of the fact that i'm happy to have a floor/a mop/a family and dog that's made the floor dirty, etc....but i can also dread the thought of mopping all the while knowing it has to be done NOW because otherwise the baby is going to be eating something that's just been lying in cat poop drug in on the dog's feet and tracked all over the dining room. this is seriously making me feel like i really can't say anything to my children that would even remotely sound like a "rule" for fear of turning them into someone who is afraid that if they don't comply that i don't love them or respect them or something. my head is spinning!

thank you heartmama - i really like what you're saying and appreciate your explanations!
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#129 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post
yes, we do have more choices that inherently come with being an adult. but i know people who daily go off to work somewhere where they don't want to just to provide for their families - be it location, pay, benefits - whatever.

i agree! obligations don't have to equal suffering. they just are part of life. so that's why i'm confused when we start talking to our children in a way that seems to make "obligations" seem like suffering - to imply that we don't want them to do anything they don't really WANT to do at that given time and that there is always a choice and that we don't want them to do anything they aren't joyful and happy about seems to say that what we are asking/telling them to do could very well be construed as suffering when it's something as simple as picking up your wet bathtowel off the floor when you have finished bathing. or when it's a situation such as "you can't eat your snack until you wash your hands". the whole sequence makes sense to me and it's not making my child "suffer" to wash his hands - even though he'd actually rather just get straight to the snacking and bypass the handwashing. for those opposed to "sequencing" like this, is the idea to not say anything at all? to request handwashing before snack but don't say anything if the child elects otherwise? to assume that some day, with our modeling that WE wash our hands before eating, our children will do the same and that in the mean time, there's nothing on their hands that will kill them? my head is spinning and i'm starting to feel like this is coming down to a question about "rules" - do we give our children rules to follow or let them go with their own flow indefinitely?

and i also agree that if you are finding no joy in your daily life then something is out of balance - BUT - i still stand by the fact that not everything we do is always going to be something we're over the moon about. i can mop joyfully as i am mindful of the fact that i'm happy to have a floor/a mop/a family and dog that's made the floor dirty, etc....but i can also dread the thought of mopping all the while knowing it has to be done NOW because otherwise the baby is going to be eating something that's just been lying in cat poop drug in on the dog's feet and tracked all over the dining room. this is seriously making me feel like i really can't say anything to my children that would even remotely sound like a "rule" for fear of turning them into someone who is afraid that if they don't comply that i don't love them or respect them or something. my head is spinning!

thank you heartmama - i really like what you're saying and appreciate your explanations!
first, give up the idea that you can't say anything to your kids because you might ruin them!

i said in the very beginning of this thread i will probably manipulate, bribe, reward, punish and say "because i said so!" to my kid. i am human. but i try to pay attention to my words and my intent. i don't think it's a bad idea to examine our motivations or be conscious of how manipulation works- for our own selves and for helping our kids become more conscious.

back to the basics here-

"you can't eat snacks before washing hands" is a bold faced lie. i do it all the time! so, na na na.

withholding the snack is how you are manipulating your kids into washing their hands.

a more positive and HONEST way of saying your "rule" would perhaps be- "in our house we wash hands before eating."

obligations feel like suffering to me when they are used punitively- "feed the dog or i'll give him away"
or when the weight of the obligation outweighs the privilege -
an employer who expects you to work 70+ hours a week - but they consistently are only paying you for the 40 hours you signed up for.

believe me when i say i had a job like this and it was really hard for me to quit because i did have a strong sense of obligation to my employer and i was also worried about feeding my family and providing. there was a huge "a-ha" moment there as far as me being in control of my own life when i did say good-bye to them and found a job where the obligation was in-line with the benefits.

my hope for my child is that he never finds himself in a job (or relationship) where his soul is suffering from the obligation and he is merely sticking it out for the benefits, paycheck, location. i hope that by teaching him/modeling for him how to have clear boundaries and follow "joy" he will be able to have a balanced life.

one more thing- i don't think you have to mop "joyfully" either. personally i like mopping, making the bed, house cleaning etc. but that's me. what i detest is emptying the cat box but if i make a fuss over it- going around stomping and complaining about it that would be silly! so i just get on with it and do it.
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#130 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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stickywicket - my biggest fear is "ruining" my children. i am CONSTANTLY wondering if everything i do is right/wrong. tonight, my oldest son banged his head on the wall when he was situating himself in bed. i gasped (out of fear b/c it's a log wall and it was a loud thud) - he turned around and quickly APOLOGIZED to me. Whaaaaaaaaaat? i immediately had mixed feelings of "aww - he's concerned that i was obviously freaked for him", that quickly melted into "oh crap - he's saying he's sorry because maybe he thinks i'm mad at him for banging his head?!?!?" this is just too hard sometimes!
anyways, he said like 4 times today "i like helping you mommy!" he's said it on occasion before, but today was a marathon of help from dishes to groceries to ironing (his iron was cold) to doing some caulking in the bathroom. so, i don't know if someone read him all my posts or what, but he's really chipping in on his own accord! LOL!
____________________________________________
stickywicket said (i'm bad at the quoting function)
back to the basics here-

"you can't eat snacks before washing hands" is a bold faced lie. i do it all the time! so, na na na.

withholding the snack is how you are manipulating your kids into washing their hands.

a more positive and HONEST way of saying your "rule" would perhaps be- "in our house we wash hands before eating."

__________________________________________________ __

so you are still manipulating the child into handwashing, you are just being more positive about it?

__________________________________________________ __

stickywicket: "obligations feel like suffering to me when they are used punitively- "feed the dog or i'll give him away"
or when the weight of the obligation outweighs the privilege -
an employer who expects you to work 70+ hours a week - but they consistently are only paying you for the 40 hours you signed up for."
__________________________________________________ __

ABSOLUTELY - but i didn't think that's what we were talking about here unless you believe it's punitive to have to wait to go outside and play until the toys have been picked up, for example. i'm not talking about throwing away the toys forever - i'm talking about taking a moment to clean up before we move onto something else. yes, he's having to delay which i guess is difficult for that age, but i didn't consider it punitive i guess. hmmmm...
__________________________________________________ ___

stickywicket:
"believe me when i say i had a job like this and it was really hard for me to quit because i did have a strong sense of obligation to my employer and i was also worried about feeding my family and providing. there was a huge "a-ha" moment there as far as me being in control of my own life when i did say good-bye to them and found a job where the obligation was in-line with the benefits.
my hope for my child is that he never finds himself in a job (or relationship) where his soul is suffering from the obligation and he is merely sticking it out for the benefits, paycheck, location. i hope that by teaching him/modeling for him how to have clear boundaries and follow "joy" he will be able to have a balanced life."
__________________________________________________ ___

i'll just throw my dh in for example of what i'm saying here. he is a police officer who has risen quite quickly in his dept and makes a pretty remarkable salary for a LEO. he is "at work" as soon as he gets in his car. he has a take home car. he has considerable rank. problem is the agency is not his "dream agency". he'd rather work in a different agency but with two children and a wife to support, he knows that he is *obligated* to stick with the job that's paying him astronomically even though he'd like another agency better.
plus, dthe other agency is a 1.5 hour commute from our house making his workday approximately 15 hours.
i'm just saying that not everyone can just move to a new job when they have people counting on their paycheck - esp. in this economy. so while it's off the direct subject of children, it's really something i consider when taking into account the fact that i'm growing adults. i would hope that someday my sons will be in very happy relationships and have happy jobs. i too hope my children never find themselves in jobs (or relationships) where their souls are suffering from the obligation and they are merely sticking it out for the benefits, paycheck, location. i hope that by teaching them/modeling for them how to have clear boundaries and follow "joy" they will be able to have balanced lives. BUT i would also want sons who would sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of their children. i think there are times when obligations take precedence over our personal joys.

__________________________________________________ _____

stickywicket:"one more thing- i don't think you have to mop "joyfully" either. personally i like mopping, making the bed, house cleaning etc. but that's me. what i detest is emptying the cat box but if i make a fuss over it- going around stomping and complaining about it that would be silly! so i just get on with it and do it."
__________________________________________________ ______

well, i actually like cleaning too...i'm just using various examples. but, if it's silly for you to stomp and complain about emptying the catbox - at what point is it NOT OK for our children to do this, b/c i'm getting the feeling that it IS OK. what am i missing here? it seems that several posters would be fine with a child refusing/stomping/complaining about any given "chore" or whatever as long as that's what the child is feeling. we validate it and then do the chore ourselves b/c we're the ones who wanted it done in the first place. so, at what point is it not ok for our kids to make a fuss over something? and if there does come a point, it seems to me that the kid would be confused - as in "hmmm i used to be able to say no and my mom would be like 'that's cool...if you don't want to do it, i'll do it myself' with a smile on her face. now, she's telling me to stop being silly and making a fuss and just 'get on with it'. i know we use different language and methods (for lack of a better word) with different ages, but to me it seems that we don't do anything until some magical age and then we start having expectations of responsible driving and petcare?????
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#131 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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You can't MAKE someone feel a certain way. We can impact other people's feelings, but we're not responsible for them
Right, which is why I don't over analyze every word that comes out my mouth. At the end of the day, I give my child enough credit to understand that mommy isn't an evil manipulator out to cause deep lasting emotional wounds. I don't think that credit is given enough, sadly.

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#132 of 187 Old 10-07-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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what this teaches our children is to only be obligated to joy. if my day is only filled with obligations, i'm not living anywhere near where i could be. if my day isn't filled with joy, whether i'm doing chores, working for pay, or spending time with my friends, i don't want to be living. it's just not worth it. i'm no longer of the mindset that kids have to be quickly indoctrinated that the world is dark and hard. if my son's not afraid to be himself, to be joyful, his world will always be a good place.
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Hm, maybe I'm just a pessimistic hard ass, but I think this is such a poetic over simplification of life. And I don't think I've ever met a person who didn't in some way seek out joy and happiness in their life, but dude, not everything in life causes joy and happiness. It certainly is a worth while goal, but at the same time, I'm also not raising a kid to see the world through rose coloured glasses.

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#133 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 08:26 AM
 
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Hm, maybe I'm just a pessimistic hard ass, but I think this is such a poetic over simplification of life. And I don't think I've ever met a person who didn't in some way seek out joy and happiness in their life, but dude, not everything in life causes joy and happiness. It certainly is a worth while goal, but at the same time, I'm also not raising a kid to see the world through rose coloured glasses.
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#134 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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yes, we do have more choices that inherently come with being an adult. but i know people who daily go off to work somewhere where they don't want to just to provide for their families - be it location, pay, benefits - whatever.

i agree! obligations don't have to equal suffering. they just are part of life. so that's why i'm confused when we start talking to our children in a way that seems to make "obligations" seem like suffering - to imply that we don't want them to do anything they don't really WANT to do at that given time and that there is always a choice and that we don't want them to do anything they aren't joyful and happy about seems to say that what we are asking/telling them to do could very well be construed as suffering when it's something as simple as picking up your wet bathtowel off the floor when you have finished bathing. or when it's a situation such as "you can't eat your snack until you wash your hands". the whole sequence makes sense to me and it's not making my child "suffer" to wash his hands - even though he'd actually rather just get straight to the snacking and bypass the handwashing. for those opposed to "sequencing" like this, is the idea to not say anything at all? to request handwashing before snack but don't say anything if the child elects otherwise? to assume that some day, with our modeling that WE wash our hands before eating, our children will do the same and that in the mean time, there's nothing on their hands that will kill them? my head is spinning and i'm starting to feel like this is coming down to a question about "rules" - do we give our children rules to follow or let them go with their own flow indefinitely?

and i also agree that if you are finding no joy in your daily life then something is out of balance - BUT - i still stand by the fact that not everything we do is always going to be something we're over the moon about. i can mop joyfully as i am mindful of the fact that i'm happy to have a floor/a mop/a family and dog that's made the floor dirty, etc....but i can also dread the thought of mopping all the while knowing it has to be done NOW because otherwise the baby is going to be eating something that's just been lying in cat poop drug in on the dog's feet and tracked all over the dining room. this is seriously making me feel like i really can't say anything to my children that would even remotely sound like a "rule" for fear of turning them into someone who is afraid that if they don't comply that i don't love them or respect them or something. my head is spinning!

thank you heartmama - i really like what you're saying and appreciate your explanations!
I saw your post later on that you worry about ruining your kids and I just wanted to say that I do not think you are ruining your kids. I find discussions like this helpful for fine tuning, but I feel pretty sure that with the vast majority of mums here their relationships with their kids are fine.

I think with the handwashing-snack connection to me anyway there is more causality there. It's a pretty easy explanation (not that the child will comply) that our hands have germs we don't want in our mouths.

For me that's different than taking a stand on the tidying up before going out to play. It might not be for other people and that's fine, but I see the second as more punitive because the correlation between "tidy house" and "outdoor time" is not the same as "germs can make us sick." If that makes sense.

FOR ME (not saying other families have to agree!) the second feels punitive at this age (3). It does feel manipulative to me to withhold the going out over the tidying up. I agree with heartmama in that my personal belief is that taking a stand on chores (no going outside unless we clean up first) at this young age is more likely to leave a feeling of chores=unhappiness than chores=responsibility I have taken on.

As adults we will know that there are things we have to do when we don't want to do them, but we also come to that understanding through years of experience with actual results. I'm not sure I clean the cat box because my mother made me do things. I think I clean it because in my life I have not cleaned it for two weeks and it got incredibly gross and disgusting.

I don't personally think that it will be all that confusing to most kids later on when they are given more responsibility, in the same way that kids learn to drive despite being in car seats when they are little, etc. I actually believe that increasing amounts of responsibility are really good.

I just think that if the responsibility is at an appropriate level, most of the consequences take care of themselves. (For example when a child's old enough to do his/her own laundry, not having clean clothes is the result. I don't at that point have to say they can't go anywhere if their laundry is not done.)

I also think that work ethics come from different places – a sense of self-worth and pride in one's legitimate accomplishments, a sense of caring for those around us, as well as models around us, and yes, habit. I don't personally believe it's even close to one hundred percent about training. Yes we all know the apocryphal stories of people who never had to do any chores as kids and are slobs as adults. But I am not convinced that is a whole story – I think there are also adults who had to do lots of chores and don't do them, and adults who do them from all kinds of families.

For the joyfulness and chores – I come at this with a lot of baggage myself. But the fact is that in my family we have a family history going back generations of chores being incredibly tense and unhappy affairs. It has been a huge retraining task for me to approach cleaning without dread. But it is possible. A lot of it has been to learn to respect my own limits and not try to clean the whole house in one night when I'm tired.

Does that mean I sing for joy when I have to clean the cat box? Ugh, no. But I also don't do it at 11:30 pm, because despite the consequences I know that will make me tense and I won't sleep well. Then at 8 am I know I can tackle it. I don't leave it forever. There's room for balance. I would like to give my son that room too.

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GuildJenn- i like what you have posted in this thread. you are very in tune to this subject.

i agree with what you've said about the the blocks/outside being more punitive and that the handwash/snacks is more causality.

but i think the way it is phrased needn't be so adversarial. how about just "let's get washed up kids it's time for snacks" nor does it need to be so "universal truth" sounding. "you can't eat snacks without washing your hands..." is simply not true. people do it all the time. i'm being nitpicky as hell here i know but, ykwim?

i think when we are teaching our kids about rules/causality it's fine to say "i believe x therefore in this house we do y." own it or explain it. not make it sound like a universal rule if it isn't. be honest. that is my one request for my interactions with others. even saying "because i said so" is more honest than using bribes or manipulation or tricky talk!

i grew up with a mother who made these very matter of fact, universal pronouncements over things and when i got older i tested them out or i would repeat a pronouncement to a friend and they would say "really? well that's not true for me". calling me out on my belief system. many proved to be simply my mother's opinion that i'd taken for "the truth" and it left me feeling like her credibility was suspect. it was actually very difficult for me to reconcile because i trusted her judgment and then it was like 'hmmmm, maybe not'.

as far as rose colored glasses and seeking joy and happiness- you don't have to teach a child how to seek out joy and happiness if you don't want to. however, the default state of the world is un-happiness so why wouldn't i want to give my kid the tools to go out into the world being, at the very least, conscious of their own state of mind within that mindset? ultimately, your own state of mind is the only thing you have any real control over.

i want my child to have the inner tools to accept peacefully what he can't change (responsibility/obligation) and 'do' the rest of his life with enjoyment and enthusiasm.

maybe that is idealistic. personally, i'd rather see more idealism in the world than pessimism.
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#136 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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Right, which is why I don't over analyze every word that comes out my mouth. At the end of the day, I give my child enough credit to understand that mommy isn't an evil manipulator out to cause deep lasting emotional wounds. I don't think that credit is given enough, sadly.
I think the value in anaylzing our words is more for ourselves than our children, honestly. I do believe that intent (usually) comes through regardless of wording. But I find it really helpful for me to look at how I'm saying things and what that reveals about my unconscious motivations. Am I trying to authentically share how I feel, or am I trying to blame him for the way I feel? Thinking carefully about what I'm saying- not so much in the moment, but in retrospect- makes me more aware of why I'm saying it, if that makes sense.
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#137 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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lol add me to the list of hating to cook every single day AND clean.

but i found a happy medium here. somedays i cook and somedays i dont (we also both hate left overs so its most days cook from scratch). even while i DONT like the process of cooking everyday (i LOVE cooking - just not everyday) i find joy in the fact that i am meeting the nutritious needs of my family. so now that i dont have to cook everyday (i do raw foods and snacky foods on certain days) the days i have to i enjoy it. to me i find if i am happy inside - my world is a 'happy' place too. makes me a happy parent too coz i am not so frustrated.

like last night. we talked about yelling. how my dd feels i am still yelling a lot. and so we both came up with a brilliant idea of making a chart for me. i get a star on the days i dont yell. i get a sad face for lots of yelling, a shrug for moderate yelling and a straight lips one for little yelling. its a great way for me getting in touch with what my dd feels about yelling and a check of watching myself AND at the end of a good week i get a no complaining back scratch - not a 2 minute one. and if its sad faces teh whole week - dd gets an icecream. i mean yeah we came up with 'rewards' but for us its more about how the day went rather than the rewards. it has brought a lot of fun in our lives i tell u. just a 5 min period during bedtime and my dd is nearly jumping off the bed in excitement AND enjoying the fact that she is 'in control'.

soooo when i do make mistakes they are not so big. so jackson's mama i make mistakes all the time.

for me though its not even the words you use - not so much what you say - but how you say it. again it all depends on your relationship as pp had said a few pages back. i find i use command words a lot but as my dd's K teacher pointed out 'she doesnt listen to you either'. which made me happy. because she questions why i am asking her or anyone else. its coz she wants to know why (sometimes, not always) seh is being asked to do that. i think that helps her find joy in what she is doing. if we look at our lives we do a lot of hateful tasks joyfully coz it feels good to help another person. for instance i love cleaning others houses. not mine.

aaaaaah stickey you say so much of what i want to say so beautifully.

i am an idealist. and i feel v. deeply for my dd and her kind of personality. for her mostly the world is not a v. happy place to live. since she was 3 she has been calling herself an alien, wierd. so if she can learn to seek out the joys in life - the world wont be such a dark tormented place as her dad and uncles find it.

like the buddhists say if we can find something enjoyable (sometimes it just means changing how we view) about every hateful thing then life is not such a pain. (i am totally using my own words here).

north of 60 you said your child is comfortable with just a few words. few words are just fine. again its what and how u say that matters. not the amount of words. for instance i hate the term 'i love you'. it has been toooo 'hallmarkicized'. that is just me. its become too shallow for me. but i say so much by just 'understanding' my dd. empathising with her. my dad and i never used those words but the silence or the unspoken language shouted those words out more loudly than i could ever say it.

even with an 18 month old you can make them feel that we co-exist. that we help each other to get the work done. it isnt an autocraty - where one commands and the other one follows. it isnt a democracy either where the voice of the some matter and the voice of some dont. in my world everyone matters and you keep negotiating till you meet all needs. i mean many times its the effort that makes the difference. not the solution.

DevaMajka - yup. i came across NVC about a year ago. this last week i just discovered their views on parenting. it has completely changed me and my life forever. it helped that they totally matched my philosphy and so it gave me tools to figure out stuff i couldnt do. i cant tell you how joyful it had made my life. and the few things i have to do that is not joyful - it certainly has taken the edge of the pain of doing it. it has sooo improved my relationship with my exh. he hasnt changed. what has changed is me. and that has had an effect on him.

the way i parent is the way i try to live my life. i have hope if i can guide my child to be who she wants to be and to learn to coexist with her (or the world) in a meaningful way then someday there wont have to be another iraq.

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#138 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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I think with the handwashing-snack connection to me anyway there is more causality there. It's a pretty easy explanation (not that the child will comply) that our hands have germs we don't want in our mouths.

For me that's different than taking a stand on the tidying up before going out to play. It might not be for other people and that's fine, but I see the second as more punitive because the correlation between "tidy house" and "outdoor time" is not the same as "germs can make us sick." If that makes sense.
makes sense!

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but i think the way it is phrased needn't be so adversarial. how about just "let's get washed up kids it's time for snacks" nor does it need to be so "universal truth" sounding. "you can't eat snacks without washing your hands..." is simply not true. people do it all the time. i'm being nitpicky as hell here i know but, ykwim?

as far as rose colored glasses and seeking joy and happiness- you don't have to teach a child how to seek out joy and happiness if you don't want to. however, the default state of the world is un-happiness so why wouldn't i want to give my kid the tools to go out into the world being, at the very least, conscious of their own state of mind within that mindset? ultimately, your own state of mind is the only thing you have any real control over.

i want my child to have the inner tools to accept peacefully what he can't change (responsibility/obligation) and 'do' the rest of his life with enjoyment and enthusiasm.

maybe that is idealistic. personally, i'd rather see more idealism in the world than pessimism.
agreed. re: rose colored glasses = that's been my point all along with this. i'm not saying i don't want to promote the seeking of joy and happiness. i was more responding to poster(s) who seemed to couch every request they made with a "but only if you really want to attitude" that i wasn't really understanding. to me it was an implication that we ALWAYS have a choice and that we shouldn't be doing anything that we weren't happy doing. i TOTALLY agree that i want my children to be able to accept what they can't change and to do the rest with joy and enthusiasm. i just didn't want to go so far as to imply to my children they never had to do anything they didn't want to do b/c it didn't seem realistic.
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#139 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 03:05 PM
 
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jackson's mama, please read your signature quote very slowly, then relate it to what i wrote. you say you don't want your kid to see the world through rose colored glasses. would you rather they were dark and dreary? because i don't think that's what pam leo had in mind when she wrote that.

north, no offense but you do sound pretty pessimistic. i'm really wondering why you bothered to weigh in on this topic at all since everything you've posted has been not just negative but often hostile as well.

i'm not some flaky idiot and i hope i don't encourage my kid to become one. he already knows way more than most 5 year olds about the sh*t parts of life. (how could he not when there's been a war going on the whole time he's been alive? ) mostly, though, i try to help him see how society harms itself by operating from a place of FEAR. teaching him that life is a series of obligations he must uphold only feeds the fear. when can we find joy in all our daily tasks we can spread LOVE to others by our joyful example. giving more= getting more. it sounds simple (or simple-minded ) but it's actually really hard in the face of sometimes overwhelming negativity. like i said before, though, i do it because it's the only way. a scared, joyless life isn't worth living.
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#140 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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i'm not saying i don't want to promote the seeking of joy and happiness. i was more responding to poster(s) who seemed to couch every request they made with a "but only if you really want to attitude" that i wasn't really understanding. to me it was an implication that we ALWAYS have a choice and that we shouldn't be doing anything that we weren't happy doing. i TOTALLY agree that i want my children to be able to accept what they can't change and to do the rest with joy and enthusiasm. i just didn't want to go so far as to imply to my children they never had to do anything they didn't want to do b/c it didn't seem realistic.
i guess that would be me

i use those words because my dd is old. and she likes words.

before we had those words it was my action that was done instead of those words. when i would join my dd and make clean up fun. i do it to myself too. when i have to do dishes i put on my favourite music and both my dd and i dance and sing to make the task more 'joyful'. we all ARE doing things we dont want to do. what i am trying to do here is to somehow make even the not fun things funner. for instance my dd hates doing homework. she found a way to add cartoons to her homework. it not only cracks her up but also cracks up her teacher. somedays she tells me she is willing to do it but doesnt really want to do it. i see there that she is asking me to help to make is more fun. so i find something that works for us - pantomime or music or something more fun to do later on.

how john lennon wrote about his mother was one of the great influences of who i wanted to be as a mother. he loved how she did all those funny things and how he was totally enchanted by her.

i feel my greatest task as a mother is to guide my dd how to find the joy. how it is in one's hand to do it. and how to do it. if she can bounce back from all that life gets you down with as an adult then i have acheived what i wanted to do.

at 5 my dd reaslised how big the world was. and how she had to coexist in it. and create her own joy.

here is one of my favourite examples from NVC.

the 'creator' of NVC talked about how for teh first time his son had to go to a public school when he was 10 or 12 years old. the son was v. anxious. he had long hair. and the first thing that happened was a teacher met him in the hall as he was going to his first class and said something really mean about his long hair and how he should cut it. i dont remember the exact words. and so the father asked what his son felt. his son shrugged and said 'i guess he didnt like long hair'. and his dad was just floored. he asked his son if he felt angry or frustrated or judged. but his son said he just felt sorry for the teacher. 'he was bald dad.'

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#141 of 187 Old 10-08-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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I think the value in anaylzing our words is more for ourselves than our children, honestly. I do believe that intent (usually) comes through regardless of wording.
That's probably the most logical thing I've read in this whole thread (besides what I've written, of course ). I can TOTALLY related to thinking about my own actions as a way of understanding MY part in the relationship. Very seldom do I put that much thought into it in terms of whether or not I'm creating a manipulated praise junky, or some such. We have a great, open, genuine, freely communicative relationship, and worrying about how she takes things is not as important as how I reflect upon myself as a person and a parent. I think if I do that, the rest will fall into place. If that makes sense.

But, like I said, I'm manipulative and coercive (by MDC GD standards), and I don't think shame or embarrassment is always bad, and I do use the word no, so take that for what it's worth.

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#142 of 187 Old 10-09-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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Yeah. I have expectations for my kids. They know what they are, and they are 'age-appropriate'. I guess I am not a GD parent because I do impose consequenses when expectations are not met.

I don't think that the way I parent is manipulative, though, because I don't mince words with my kids. It may be coersive, but I'm honest.

I totally agree with N.O. 60 regarding manipulation and GD philosophy.
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#143 of 187 Old 10-09-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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We have a great, open, genuine, freely communicative relationship, and worrying about how she takes things is not as important as how I reflect upon myself as a person and a parent. I think if I do that, the rest will fall into place. If that makes sense.
I caught and skimmed through a lot of this, but couldn't really get some of this out of my head. First, let me say that I'm glad that North of 60 brought these issues up, because I think it is worth discussing and learning from the dialogue, even if there are disagrements.

I've been wondering if you could explain the statment a bit more.... the reflecting upon yourself being greater than how your child takes things....
I had to read it MANY times before it sunk in, and I just want to know more before I assume my conclusion is correct, for one.... and just fwiw, I think what you are saying about personal reflection is something that is brilliant and very much a part of gd.

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#144 of 187 Old 10-10-2008, 03:28 AM
 
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I've been wondering if you could explain the statment a bit more.... the reflecting upon yourself being greater than how your child takes things....
It boils down to intent. I think the intent behind my words/actions will dictate what kind of person I'm raising more than how I intricately phrase a question or statement. And the thing with intent is that it comes from within. If I'm not intending to be maliciously manipulative, and that I sincerely just want to get the toys picked up so our day runs that much smoother, I think that's going to shine through in the interaction regardless of how I word it.

So when I say I'm really not that concerned with how she takes things, and that I reflect personally upon myself more than I think about how to phrase things, it's because I think we're all human, we make mistakes, we learn from them, and we can't to foster open communication if we start off constantly conscious of the things were NOT supposed to say (don't say "please", don't say "no", don't give praise, don't say "good", don't call them "pretty", etc).

I just think that if a person genuinely strives to be caring, empathetic, respectful, loving, etc, then they will be. Stop over analyzing everything. If you're a caring, loving parent, your kids will know it!

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#145 of 187 Old 10-11-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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jackson's mama, please read your signature quote very slowly, then relate it to what i wrote. you say you don't want your kid to see the world through rose colored glasses. would you rather they were dark and dreary? because i don't think that's what pam leo had in mind when she wrote that. .
first, i guess i have to clear up what i'm saying here. i want my child to be happy and seek joy and i do NOT want him to view the word as a dark dreary place full of drudgery and obligations ONLY. however, do you believe it was Pam Leo's intent for us to make our children believe that they'd eternally be the center of the universe? I don't feel that the things we're talking about are mutually exclusive. i think we can model and teach the seeking of joy while ALSO teaching our children that sometimes, life isn't always fun but that we still have to live those parts too. i don't want to make my childrens' life suck so that they'll be "ready" for the "real world" when they turn 18. i also don't want to miss the opportunity to teach them along the way in age appropriate manner how to function alone, in the family, with friends, with coworkers, etc...it seems that if you are NEVER requiring a child to go against his or her desire to do something they fully want to do that you are priming them for extreme self-centeredness. i think real life has to be a bit more balanced than that. maybe you are saying that if we teach "joy-seeking" that the "stuff you don't want to do" suddenly becomes joyful?

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north, no offense but you do sound pretty pessimistic. i'm really wondering why you bothered to weigh in on this topic at all since everything you've posted has been not just negative but often hostile as well.
i'm glad she weighed in. doesn't seem like we'd have much of a discussion if everyone were agreeing on this topic. it's nice to hear from both sides and fwiw, i haven't found anything hostile in her posts. obviously some things some might disagree with, but not hostile.

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Originally Posted by caspian's mama View Post
i'm not some flaky idiot and i hope i don't encourage my kid to become one. he already knows way more than most 5 year olds about the sh*t parts of life. (how could he not when there's been a war going on the whole time he's been alive? ) mostly, though, i try to help him see how society harms itself by operating from a place of FEAR. teaching him that life is a series of obligations he must uphold only feeds the fear. when can we find joy in all our daily tasks we can spread LOVE to others by our joyful example. giving more= getting more. it sounds simple (or simple-minded ) but it's actually really hard in the face of sometimes overwhelming negativity. like i said before, though, i do it because it's the only way. a scared, joyless life isn't worth living.
i totally agree with this. but again, if we are constantly telling our children that they only have to do what THEY want to do, at what point do they have responsibility? i still say that teaching our children to seek joy does not preclude expecting them to be responsible - even when it's not fun.

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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
i feel my greatest task as a mother is to guide my dd how to find the joy. how it is in one's hand to do it. and how to do it. if she can bounce back from all that life gets you down with as an adult then i have acheived what i wanted to do.
this is wonderful and i agree. but i personally don't feel that doing this means we can't also foster responsibility in an age-appropriate manner.

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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
the 'creator' of NVC talked about how for teh first time his son had to go to a public school when he was 10 or 12 years old. the son was v. anxious. he had long hair. and the first thing that happened was a teacher met him in the hall as he was going to his first class and said something really mean about his long hair and how he should cut it. i dont remember the exact words. and so the father asked what his son felt. his son shrugged and said 'i guess he didnt like long hair'. and his dad was just floored. he asked his son if he felt angry or frustrated or judged. but his son said he just felt sorry for the teacher. 'he was bald dad.'
i would hope for the same response from my sons, but i fail to see how being asked to help around the house is going to lead my sons down a path of anger, frustration, and feeling judged.

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Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
It boils down to intent. I think the intent behind my words/actions will dictate what kind of person I'm raising more than how I intricately phrase a question or statement. And the thing with intent is that it comes from within. If I'm not intending to be maliciously manipulative, and that I sincerely just want to get the toys picked up so our day runs that much smoother, I think that's going to shine through in the interaction regardless of how I word it.

So when I say I'm really not that concerned with how she takes things, and that I reflect personally upon myself more than I think about how to phrase things, it's because I think we're all human, we make mistakes, we learn from them, and we can't to foster open communication if we start off constantly conscious of the things were NOT supposed to say (don't say "please", don't say "no", don't give praise, don't say "good", don't call them "pretty", etc).

I just think that if a person genuinely strives to be caring, empathetic, respectful, loving, etc, then they will be. Stop over analyzing everything. If you're a caring, loving parent, your kids will know it!


i believe the original posting had to do with "manipulation" - how we word things to our children to get something accomplished and it's grown to whether or not we should even bother because if what we're wanting to happen is a) for our benefit or b) not something the child is going to enjoy, then we should just forget about it. so we are discussing whether we have to tiptoe around how we speak AND whether we can have any expectations of our childrens' behavior.
have i got this right? i need to stop b/c my head is hurting.
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#146 of 187 Old 10-11-2008, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post



i believe the original posting had to do with "manipulation" - how we word things to our children to get something accomplished and it's grown to whether or not we should even bother because if what we're wanting to happen is a) for our benefit or b) not something the child is going to enjoy, then we should just forget about it. so we are discussing whether we have to tiptoe around how we speak AND whether we can have any expectations of our childrens' behavior.
have i got this right? i need to stop b/c my head is hurting.
Hi! OP here, thanks for summing that up for me. I have been reading everyone's post, but I had difficulty with responding...so I've just been trying to keep up.
Someone mentioned intent. This is why I have difficulty with hearing the word 'manipulation' when I am trying to teach my dd to take care of X first and then we can do Y. My intent is not to punish and my heart toward her is lovingly helping her to understand that sometimes we have to do X before we do Y. The word manipulation makes it sound like I am an evil momma contriving in a dishonest way to make her do something unbeknownst to her.

I believe there is order in this universe. Things are not random. Yes, there is authority in this universe. I have to admit that I will never be able to just let my dd decide if she wants to do something or not. I will treat her with the utmost respect, but she will learn about obligation and responsibility in a loving way.
What I call teaching, others are calling manipulation and it kind of stings to hear that because my INTENT is not dishonest. I respectfully disagree with the EXTREME consensual living philosophy. I agree with having conversations to understand one another's needs and doing our best to meet needs. I agree with trying to come to a consensus. I agree with being flexible helping each other out. But if I need to teach dd something by being firm, yet loving, and exercising my authority as her parent because it will benefit HER, and not because I am on some kind of power trip, then so be it. If my intent is to benefit her and my heart is honest and loving toward her, then the word 'manipulation' is being misused.

I'm really tired...sorry about the wording. I hope I made some sense.

DH, and Me plus baby girl (10/07)
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#147 of 187 Old 10-12-2008, 01:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shami View Post
If my intent is to benefit her and my heart is honest and loving toward her, then the word 'manipulation' is being misused.
Absolutely!

Just because someone is not 100% in favor of doing something, or a task is not 100% fun, or because there is a reward (either arbitrary or natural), or because there is a consequence (either arbitrary or natural), and the person does it anyway, it doesn't make them "manipulated".

Manipulate:

Quote:
to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people's feelings.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/manipulate

Quote:
to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/manipulate

Quote:
To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously: He manipulated public opinion in his favor. To tamper with or falsify for personal gain
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/manipulate

You are not being skillfully artful or shrewd to gain control of someone for your own purposes. It's pretty straight forward - "please pick up your toys, or we can't go to the park." If anything, I see a bribe there. Not manipulation. I'm not really implying that the child should feel one way or another about it, or trying to "artfully" push toward a decision, it's pretty clear - don't pick up the toys, don't go to the park.

Motives people, motives! When you are UPFRONT about a task that you want to get done, and you are upfront about what happens when it gets done, or doesn't get done, that is not by definition manipulative. If anything, it could be considered bribery. But not manipulative.

If the intent is such that you simply can't be bothered to do something for yourself and you use an important bartering tool to get someone to comply for your own selfish reasons, then yeah, that could be manipulative. But is anyone talking about doing that? I don't think so. We're all loving parents who are busy - working, go to school, or taking care of a home and/or other children. We want/need help. Receiving said help makes our day go smoother for everyone. While she's picking up blocks I'm making snacks, or folding laundry, or studying, or making dinner, etc. My motives are not to make her comply for my own selfish reasons, so how can it be manipulative?

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i see the statement "please pick up your toys or we can't go to the park" as a bribe which, imo, is manipulation.

the advantage of picking up toys are purely for the parent's benefit. withholding the park is how you are going about achieving your benefit.
you as a parent are controlling or playing upon your children 'by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage'.
it may not be insidious but it may be unfair (kid can't go to park alone) and it is definitely an artful way of getting the blocks picked up. a non "artful" way would be to pick them up yourself.

i just don't understand what is so wrong in saying "i have a need for a clean house before going out. you have a need to go to the park. let's figure out how we can both get our needs met." not every time going back to this explanation but from the get-go simply framing our interactions in a more respectful way.

there are just so many other ways to say what your needs are and go about getting them met without withholding or bribing. that doesn't mean that consequences don't exist or we don't say 'no' but we say it in honesty and from a position of 'this is my boundary', or 'this is my need' or by explaining truly logical (not "artful" ) consequences.

if you have practiced how to appropriately articulate needs from the get-go and been honest in your motivations and upfront in soliciting the help then there doesn't have to be a power struggle. it is a relationship built on mutual respect. child has a need to go to park, you have a need for clean house so we work together to get needs met.

when the child is old enough to walk to the park himself (or go to a movie or do whatever it is he wants to do) "you can't do x until you do y" doesn't work anymore. it ceases to be an effective tool. he can say 'screw you, i'm out of here!' or 'you can't make me' or 'i don't want to go to the park anyway'.

it is the wording of 'you can't do x unless you do y' that makes it ripe for a power struggle and has shut down negotiation.


i like the house tidy and i totally resent cleaning by myself but i am willing to work out a plan that meets everyone's needs. i plan to be totally upfront about that with my child. i'm already that way with the dh -somehow we manage, without the use of bribery, withholding, and manipulation, to get both our needs met and keep the house pretty clean.

i guess i am thinking big picture- beyond having an obedient child. i'm not saying that i'm ok with a child who is selfish, un-disciplined and has never heard "no'. not at all!

i just think there are more effective way to go about teaching children logical consequences and negotiation. if those 'personally advantageous' type interactions with my child are based in a framework of bribery or withholding (which i see as 2 forms of manipulation) when does a child actually learn

1) about real choices and personal boundaries?
2) how to communicate their own needs and their wants without using withholding and bribery?



eventually, i want my child to become a self- disciplined, honest, adult with their own set of values. i want my child to be emotionally intelligent.

how many parents consider their baby as manipulative because he cries when he is put down? sadly, many- and what is missing? "language". language is the way we communicate intent.

as far as intent- intention implies deliberate thought.

for me personally, i know what i am capable of and i'm willing to put in the effort to listen to my own *language* and so why not do it? i'm not afraid i'm going to screw my kid up if i phrase something 'wrong' or say "no" but why not push myself a little bit? why not make clear my intent with my language if i can do it? why not question how one talks to a child the same way one questions how a child is birthed, fed, and put to bed? i don't think it is simply a matter of doing what *works* but wanting to do our best for our kids and our relationship with them.
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Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
i see the statement "please pick up your toys or we can't go to the park" as a bribe which, imo, is manipulation.

the advantage of picking up toys are purely for the parent's benefit. withholding the park is how you are going about achieving your benefit.
you as a parent are controlling or playing upon your children 'by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage'.
it may not be insidious but it may be unfair (kid can't go to park alone) and it is definitely an artful way of getting the blocks picked up. a non "artful" way would be to pick them up yourself.
Well it certainly has the potential to be as underhanded as you're making out to seem, which is where the whole intent thing comes in. But the vast majority of people are talking about needing help and requesting it for a variety of legitimate reasons that go far beyond "your toys annoy mommy so please pick them up so I don't have to". It's more about having everyone pitch in so everyone's needs are important and addressed. You're twisting intent around to suit your point, which I think is "artful". Ironic, since you're trying to make a point about manipulation.

If I was sitting on the sofa watching Maury and drinking shirley temples while talking on the phone long distance to my girl friend back home and wanted my kid to stop blabbing at me while I tried to get my home town gossip and decided to bribe her into picking up her toys in the next room with a trip to the park that I didn't intend on fulfuling... then yeah, it would be underhanded, artful, insidious, twisted, unfair, and to my own advantage. But is anyone really coming into this discussion from that angle?

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#150 of 187 Old 10-12-2008, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
the advantage of picking up toys are purely for the parent's benefit. withholding the park is how you are going about achieving your benefit.
It is not purely for the parent's benefit. It is for the family's benefit and eventually for the child's benefit and ultimately for society's benefit. Raising a kid who sees a need to pick up after him/herself is a benefit to everyone including the child.

From my perspective, (we may just have to agree to disagree) I am teaching them to do X before we can go do Y. I do not view this as bribery. Like North of 60 I think that you are twisting it into a bribe. Every day I face situations where I have to do X before I can do Y. I don't see this as bribing my kiddo. Rather, I am teaching her, by example as well, about real life.

I just want to clarify that the statement, 'Please pick up toys before we go to the park', is not the only statement that I would make. Like most of you I would offer to help or make it into a game. I would even be flexible on when the toys get picked up. Or even leaving one favorite toy out. I don't think any of us just make a blanket statement and become a hard nose about it.

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