Am I doing this right? and a wwyd... - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 7 Old 03-11-2009, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm feeling really insecure in my parenting right now.

Dh and I have been arguing a lot over discipline issues recently. Ds is 28 months old and is *extremely* intense, persistent and sensitive. I try not to label but to be honest, I'm a bit overwelmed at the intensity that's emerging from our little guy. I choose my battles carefully because he will make everything into a power struggle - and he has a lot more energy than I do to see it through to the end! Everyone around us has a different way of parenting than we do and thinks we are being too permissive. (Funnily enough, it's dh that's more lenient when we are in public but he tries to be more strict at home often accusing me of letting him 'have his way' all the time and quoting things we've heard from family and friends - hence the arguing...)

I don't know whether I really am being too permissive or if I am just being too sensitive to the things everyone around me is saying. I'm also almost 7 months pregnant and that's not helping

Two things are sticking out in my mind.

First, a few weekends ago we has lunch with some friends who all have children. I was talking with my friend and I was sharing how ds is counting and tries to negotiate how many books to read before bed. If I say one book, he'll say two, if I say two books, he'll say four. Personally, I think it's nice that we can work it out together - some nights he really really has his heart set on four particular books and we do that; others, I'm just too tired and we pick two together. It rarely ends in a huge battle (unless he's overtired in which case less is more!). My friend smiled at me knowingly, shook her head and said, 'Yeah, like it's them that get to decide. I mean we're the parents, if we say something, they should listen!' I've also heard the exact same comment two or three times while talking to other moms at various places recently and I hear lots of related comments all the time Ds and I negotiate things A LOT - from what to wear to when to leave the park - and I try to respect his wishes as much as I can without overextending myself. Am I totally off base here?

Second, the WWYD. Dh and ds went to the bakery this morning and got a special pastry (pain au chocolat) for the afternoon snack. Dh gave it to ds and he started to eat it and got crumbs all over the table (normal). Ds started to push all the crumbs on the floor (he goes into overload and gets a little crazy sometimes when he's overtired - no nap today). Dh told him 4 times "Don't put crumbs on the floor!" (This is where dh and I start to differ.) Ds wouldn't look at him and just kept doing it. WWYD at this point?
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#2 of 7 Old 03-11-2009, 10:18 PM
 
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The first situation about the books I think falls into the catagory of being between you and your son as long as no one else is involved. Just don't talk to anyone about it. We never read before bed or did bedtime rituals. Don't let bedtime rituals take significant time away from your husband. You can always read to your son earlier in the day.

I think a two year old should be given small choices. "Would you like to wear the red shirt or the yellow shirt today." And stick to those being the only choices. You are the parent. That will help make it easier for your husband when he is parenting.

I'm not sure what's up with respecting his wishes and negotiating. This is a 2 year old! What magic powers are you going to give him when he is 16

If you are letting a 2 year old do whatever he wants now, what is it going to be like when he hurts the baby, if he is the school bully, when he is a teenager, ect. Now is the time to stop it. Tell him once to not push crumbs on the floor. The second time he pushes crumbs on the floor, pastry eating time is over. You are not doing your son any favors by not teaching him how to behave. One of the most important things to learn in the early years is how to behave and get along with others.

You want to be a good mother. He is only 2. It will be easy to make changes and everyone will be much happier including your son. A great book is Without Spanking or Spoiling by Elizabeth Crary.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#3 of 7 Old 03-11-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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The book thing? Not even on my radar - as long as you're both satisfied with how many books to read, who cares if he talks you into 3 or you talk him down to 2? I'm a pick your battles kind of mom too, and things like books at bedtime, or clothes, or leaving the playground (unless we have somewhere to be) aren't high on my list of "you have to listen to me"'s. I will say however that I wouldn't necessarily always default to him, because I believe that the parents' wishes and desires matter as much as the child's, especially when they get into the 2's and older. It's a balance, IMO. Sometiems he gets exactly what he wants, sometimes you get exactly what you want - sometiems you each give a little. It all evens out, and it's ongoing conversations about wants and needs and give and take. That is what I do re: issues where there is no danger, safety issues, and nothing is hurting or inconveniencing anyone else.

For things that do fall into the latter categories above, I do more of the following method:

For the crumbs (and other issues), I would advise telling him what TO do, instead of what not to do. So, "Don't put crumbs on the floor" becomes, "Ooh, wait, we need to keep these on the table so we don't make a mess for the workers here. Let's clean them up with a napkin and put them over here." Frame it in the positive, what he should do instead of what he is doing, and it usually gets a better response.

If he keeps pushing them after you say that, I personally would gently put my hand over his and more firmly say, "We need to keep these off the floor." and then cover them with a napkin and get them out of his reach. And then drop it. That's my basic modus operandi with toddlers - ask once, repeat once, then DO *with* them while repeating why. Then, drop it and move on to something else to distract away from whatever it was. I've found the bigger deal you make about things like this, the more "fun" they are and the longer they seem to last as phases. The more "Zen robot" you can be - firm, serious, but not mean - almost bored, matter of fact - the less fun your reaction is and the less incentive there is for them to keep doing it.

I think you're on the right track, for sure - it's difficult when you're surrounded by the 'kids need to obey' mindset, but there is a middle ground between letting your kids do whatever they want, and not letting them have any opinions or dissent at all.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#4 of 7 Old 03-11-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
I think you're on the right track, for sure - it's difficult when you're surrounded by the 'kids need to obey' mindset, but there is a middle ground between letting your kids do whatever they want, and not letting them have any opinions or dissent at all.
I agree! I'm around it with my nanny and my Au Pair and the public in general. My nanny is more open minded, but my Au Pair is not! Thankfully she will be leaving in a couple of weeks to go back to Italy! My nanny parents her children the total opposite than I do!

Mamma to identical twin girls (June, 2006 born at 30 weeks), new bundle of joy due August, 2011
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#5 of 7 Old 03-11-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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[QUOTE=The4OfUs;13348303]
That's my basic modus operandi with toddlers - ask once, repeat once, then DO *with* them while repeating why. Then, drop it and move on to something else to distract away from whatever it was. I've found the bigger deal you make about things like this, the more "fun" they are and the longer they seem to last as phases. The more "Zen robot" you can be - firm, serious, but not mean - almost bored, matter of fact - the less fun your reaction is and the less incentive there is for them to keep doing it.[QUOTE]

I agree with that. Zen robot, I like that. That is definitely what I do. My DH also gets upset with things like the crumbs. That's normal toddler stuff, no use getting worked up about it. Just tell him what he should do (rather than don't do x), when he doesn't do what you want, help him cooperate and move on. There are so many opportunities for power struggles with kids this age. By helping them to act appropriately rather than trying to make them do it, you can get the message across and still keep everyone more mellow.

I don't think you are creating a 16 year old monster by negotiating with a 2 year old from time to time. In my house if it is a situation of DD freaking out to get her way, must have 7 books when I said 3, I draw the line as I don't want to send the message that freaking out = mom gives in. But if I say one thing and she says another and her option makes sense, we can go with that.

I don't think you are off base.
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#6 of 7 Old 03-12-2009, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post
Don't let bedtime rituals take significant time away from your husband. You can always read to your son earlier in the day.

I'm not sure what's up with respecting his wishes and negotiating. This is a 2 year old! What magic powers are you going to give him when he is 16
Dh is often still at work when ds goes to bed.

Negotiating is one of the suggestions I really liked in Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's books and it seems to really work with ds. I'm just wondering how much is too much...

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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
I will say however that I wouldn't necessarily always default to him, because I believe that the parents' wishes and desires matter as much as the child's, especially when they get into the 2's and older. It's a balance, IMO. Sometiems he gets exactly what he wants, sometimes you get exactly what you want - sometiems you each give a little. It all evens out, and it's ongoing conversations about wants and needs and give and take. That is what I do re: issues where there is no danger, safety issues, and nothing is hurting or inconveniencing anyone else.
This is exactly what I'm having trouble with - finding that balance. Most people around me think that ANY conversation with a child is too much. It's easy for things like crossing the street - he must hold hands or else he will be carried, end of subject. But if I say it's time to leave the park and he wants to stay 5 more minutes on the swing and we have nowhere particular to be at that moment (and I WILL enforce the leaving after the added 5 minutes) - do I have to insist that he leave right away just because I'm the parent? And does trying to talk with him about that mean that I am being too permissive?

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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
For the crumbs (and other issues), I would advise telling him what TO do, instead of what not to do. So, "Don't put crumbs on the floor" becomes, "Ooh, wait, we need to keep these on the table so we don't make a mess for the workers here. Let's clean them up with a napkin and put them over here." Frame it in the positive, what he should do instead of what he is doing, and it usually gets a better response.

If he keeps pushing them after you say that, I personally would gently put my hand over his and more firmly say, "We need to keep these off the floor." and then cover them with a napkin and get them out of his reach. And then drop it. That's my basic modus operandi with toddlers - ask once, repeat once, then DO *with* them while repeating why. Then, drop it and move on to something else to distract away from whatever it was. I've found the bigger deal you make about things like this, the more "fun" they are and the longer they seem to last as phases. The more "Zen robot" you can be - firm, serious, but not mean - almost bored, matter of fact - the less fun your reaction is and the less incentive there is for them to keep doing it.
This sounds very similar to what I would do. Dh gets upset because a) ds doesn't just automatically stop doing whatever it is he told him not to do; and b) he doesn't feel I am MAKING ds listen and obey. I feel that the simple act of removing the crumbs (or other problem) and getting down from the table is enough.
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#7 of 7 Old 03-12-2009, 01:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by petitchou View Post
do I have to insist that he leave right away just because I'm the parent? And does trying to talk with him about that mean that I am being too permissive?
IMO, no. Some people believe that because you are the parent you should leave...and that talking things out is permissive, but I do not. Then again, I am raising 2 kids who now like to negotiate a LOT, because I negotiate with them a lot. This doesn't mean I never make my kids do something they don't want to, because I do. But a lot of the time, I don't.


Quote:
Originally Posted by petitchou View Post
This sounds very similar to what I would do. Dh gets upset because a) ds doesn't just automatically stop doing whatever it is he told him not to do; and b) he doesn't feel I am MAKING ds listen and obey. I feel that the simple act of removing the crumbs (or other problem) and getting down from the table is enough.
a) Remind your husband he's a kid, not a robot.

b) Remind your husband that everything else your child has learned, from sitting to walking to talking, is all a process that takes practice, practice, practice. He wouldn't expect him to learn to say ABCs one day, how to read the next, and how to write the next, right? Learning impulse control and discipline are the same exact way - they take time, and teaching, and repetition - and mostly, maturity. Sure you can punish a child into behaving, but to what end and at what cost? Most of the annoying things toddlers do they grow out of one way or another...working with them through the stages instead of against them usually makes them shorter lived and more tolerable.


And I am totally with you on your point about the removing and doing something else being enough. IMO, the lesson is in the stopping or starting of whatever behavior it is and discussing the *why*, NOT punishing them for it afterwards. If you focus on the lesson and actions themselves without mucking it up with punishments, it helps them develop that impulse control and self awareness, and ability to think outside themselves instead of just behaving to avoid a punishment (or consequence, or whatever other term is used).

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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