Should children just do as they are told ALL THE TIME? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is going to be 5 soon. He's always had a bit of a wandering mind and he's not always so quick to jump to attention when you ask him something or tell him to do something.
Anways - this is the one and only ongoing battle between me and DH. My husband feels that DS should ALWAYS do as he is told. My argument is that, "well you should pick your battles and decide what is worth a fight and what is not"....but he does not agree and we fight about it because I sometimes intervene when DH is verbally scolding DS for his inability to conform at that moment. Honestly, sometimes it's really lame things. Like DS might be playing with something and I'm calling him to sit for supper and he won't come. He'll acknowledge "coming" and doesn't move right away and DH gets upset and starts in on him about "listening". I might jump in and say "leave him alone already! You're just upset because you can't control him" This is a real sore spot with DH because he says I'm undermining his authority ..... which I probably am. But I'm tired of seeing DH getting upset with DS over little things KWIM? And then maybe tossing him into bed and telling him to stay there until he can learn to realize he HAS TO LISTEN. DH has stated that from now on, no matter what it is, if DS does not do as he is told - not matter what it is - then he has to be put in bed.
I AM DESPERATE! Although I understand my DH's point about the importance of listening, I feel its unreasonable to expect a child to listen ALL THE TIME, or even comply all the time. DH feels that if I don't be persistent with DS all the time, that DS is just going to take advantage of me. I don't feel that way at all about it. I'm trying to find a balance here and I'm really hoping that I can get some good points from all you wonderful ladies out there!

Thanks.

Mama to one very active DS (5.5) Loving wife to my wonderful DH and our baby girl arrived on December 10, 2009
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#2 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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I think you're right on, Mama! Kids are independent entities and deserve as much respect and consideration as "we adults!"

I'm sorry to hear that you and DH are on different pages with this. My DH and I are also still ironing out what exactly we value in terms of respect versus compliance. If you and he have time to read, I found the books Connection Parenting by Pam Leo and Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn to be immeasurably helpful for DH and me. They talk about not "replaying tapes" of our parents, which we definitely recognized ourselves doing.

Something I especially love in Unconditional Parenting is his discussion of the qualities we admire in children not being the qualities we admire in adults, especially in regards to compliance! We value independence in adults, but want our children to be docile. We want our teens to stand up to peer pressure regarding sex and drugs, but we want our kids to listen to us "because we said so." This book really helped me realize that you can't have it both ways! It related so much to my personal experience - I was a very compliant child because my family would always withdraw their love and sometimes hit me if I wasn't compliant. Unsurprisingly, during my adolescence all hell broke loose . I didn't respect my parents at all, I certainly didn't respect myself, and my choices regarding sex and drugs reflected that.

Now, do I wish you could have it both ways sometimes? ABSOLUTELY! I'm sure my life would be much easier if I had a child who came running at my beck and call, who did everything he was told immediately, and who never questioned my authority. I'm also sure that parenting wouldn't be helping me grow as a person, though, if I were raising a compliant child. Thinking about whether my requests are respectful, whether my motivation is actually selfish, whether my tone is kind, has done wonders for how I relate to not only my son but the world in general.

I hope any of this helped!

ETA: Kohn in UP also talks about our view of kids. Typically, people will view kids as entities who will "take advantage" and basically prescribe the worst possible motivations to them - greed, selfishness, etc. Kohn talks about changing this, and recognizing our children as inherently good rather than inherently evil, which I really like a lot. There's a great thread on Unconditional Parenting here on this board that you could check out, but it wasn't until reading the book that I really felt like I understood it.

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#3 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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IMO, children should not be taught "obedience" as a virtue. They need to learn trust and respect, for themselves and others. Children who trust their parents to keep them safe generally understand that "mommy yells "no" when I run too close to the street because she wants to keep me safe." Children who are respected will in turn learn how to be respectful- and keeping the family waiting when it's time for dinner is disrespectful.

There's a big difference in the kind of response required for different kinds of things. When it's time for dinner, it's fine to wait 2 or 3 minutes while he finished up his game. Respecting the child would be to give him 10 and then 5 minute warnings that dinner is almost ready, so he has time to finish up in time to join you.

With safety issues, you need a much more immediate response. But if you're yelling "no" all the time, they tend to tune you out. They won't learn the difference between "don't play in the street" and "don't put your shoes on the sofa" if you use the same tone of voice for both rules. If you hardly ever yell, they'll really listen if an actual emergency comes up!

So, most people on MDC share your basic philosophy towards discipline. However, your husband's idea of "children should be made to mind adults" is also very pervasive in some areas. It could be the only childrearing philosophy he's familiar with at all. It's hard to raise children when you and your partner don't agree on basic principals. It's incredibly confusing to a child if the rules suddenly change whenever Daddy comes home.

In the specific area of the dinner table, I'm sure a compromise can be reached. Give DS lots of warning, remind him that Daddy really HATES to wait for dinner when he's hungry and it's important to both of you to have a family meal. You can ask DH to be more gentle in his requests that DS join you (or take over the reminders yourself.) But there are much deeper issues here, and this will keep on coming up if you and DH can't agree.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#4 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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I do feel that if I tell my daughter she must do something, then she has to do it. Yes, every time. Otherwise, it's confusing -- do I really mean it, or is it optional? what happens when you've got something that he really, truly does need to do, and he decides that this time he doesn't feel like complying, because when you tell him to do something, half the time you don't really mean it and will happily let him ignore you?

BUT I try to keep the number of "you must do this" situations to a minimum. If it's something where I'd like her to do it but it's optional, I make that clear up front. I do my battle-picking before I ask her, not after.

For dinner, I agree that a ten-minute warning is a good idea. But you and your husband need to work out parenting differences with mutual respect in privacy, not challenging each other in front of your son. I sometimes think someone needs to write a book about Unconditional Spousing!
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#5 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama_2_Boy View Post
Like DS might be playing with something and I'm calling him to sit for supper and he won't come. He'll acknowledge "coming" and doesn't move right away
My husband will be 49 in a few months and he does this exact same thing! I can assure your husband he is a law-abiding citizen who can hold down a good job and treat other people respectfully. He just needs a few minutes to finish his task, email, article he's reading, or whatever he is doing; it seems respectful to allow him this.

Warnings are good, but a few minutes leeway shows the respect goes both ways. What's a game to us is very important work for a child and I wouldn't expect him to drop it instantly any more than I would expect my husband to drop whatever he's doing without time to bring it to a close. Is DS eventually coming, like within a few minutes? If not, that is disrespectful to the rest of the family and at five he should be able to get that. But if it is just a couple of minutes to finish up, maybe you could call him to dinner earlier than he really needs to be there.

Mom to DD 10 and DS 8.
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#6 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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It's completely developmentally appropriate for a four or five year old to take a few minutes to switch gears.

My son is in his late teens and he is still like this. And you know what? It's turned out to be one of his greatest skills. His ability to focus on the task at hand has served him very well. I would have hated to have "trained" that out of him.

I'll take a few minute delay between asking and action in exchange for the ability to get really absorbed in thought.

For safety reasons, and frankly because we cannot always wait, we added on the word "now" as a signal that this requires quick action. As in, "Stop now!" means to freeze.
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#7 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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My husband and ds both get a 5 minute warning before dinner, and when I then call them to dinner ds is the only one to come immediately. It's bizarre, because as a rule ds is non compliant but in a nice way- I'll tell him to do something, and he'll do something slightly different because he thinks it might be easier, more helpful, whatever (and there is always a reason. With a structured, logical, well organized argument to defend his point of view. I think we need to save up for law school).
I really struggle with this because I DO want ds to do what I say, and right away- if only to make my life easier. However, I don't want him to just do whatever everyone (peers, other adults, strangers...) else tells him to do, iykwim. I try to remind myself I'm glad he's questioning the reasoning behind demands made on him. I used to tell him why I was asking him to do something. Now if an argument springs up, I get HIM to tell me why he THINKS I want/need him to act a certain way. That way, he's arguing with himself instead of me.
I also still need to get up a lot, like one typically would with a toddler. If I'm very close, touch him gently on the shoulder before speaking, make sure I have his attention, it makes it easier for him to follow through right away.
We went through a period where we were reprimanding ds every time he didn't listen/comply. For my ds, things just got worse, but ymmv, mine is very argumentative in a nice way ( it's meaningful dialogue to him)

Kaya (29) + Laume (31) = ds Kanoa (8) and dd Zia (2)

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#8 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by onemomentatatime View Post
My husband will be 49 in a few months and he does this exact same thing! I can assure your husband he is a law-abiding citizen who can hold down a good job and treat other people respectfully. He just needs a few minutes to finish his task, email, article he's reading, or whatever he is doing; it seems respectful to allow him this.

Warnings are good, but a few minutes leeway shows the respect goes both ways. What's a game to us is very important work for a child and I wouldn't expect him to drop it instantly any more than I would expect my husband to drop whatever he's doing without time to bring it to a close. Is DS eventually coming, like within a few minutes? If not, that is disrespectful to the rest of the family and at five he should be able to get that. But if it is just a couple of minutes to finish up, maybe you could call him to dinner earlier than he really needs to be there.
It's interesting that you mention this because come to think of it - many times when I have requested something from my husband and he is going something else - you think he drops everything and comes running to me??? Hell no! I've pointed this out to him, but his retort is that "DS is a child and he has to learn to come when he is called period". I have pointed out to DH that DS is a person too and we should be teaching him respect, but he continues to stick the fact that he is a child and needs a different set of rules then adults do
I don't know if I have a hope in hell of trying to get my meaning across to him and there is another one on the way very very soon which is no doubt going to bring with it all sorts of "listening" challenges.

Mama to one very active DS (5.5) Loving wife to my wonderful DH and our baby girl arrived on December 10, 2009
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#9 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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I can see where both you and your husband are coming from. In my opinion, if a child is asked to come to the dinner table, they come. I don't think its asking too much of a child to do this. However, you can set your son up for success with the great ideas posted here about giving warnings. Nobody wants to be interupted while doing something fun (like posting on the internet ) to go do something 'less' fun. I always give my son warnings when we are about to change activities like getting out of the bath, coming to the dinner table, getting ready for school etc etc. I also make sure that he is listening to me completely and not while still engaged with something else. I'll go to the same room as he is, get down on his level, look at him and will say "Ok DS, dinner is in five minutes, please wrap up with what you are doing".

I don't think it really has to do anything with "obeying". For me, it comes down to respect. I have asked you to do something, so please do it. I try to show the same courtesy to my son. If he asks me for something, like help getting a toy, unless I'm engaged in something like cleaning the toilet, I help him right away. He's asked me to do something, we're a family and we listen to each other.
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#10 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 06:59 PM
 
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but he continues to stick the fact that he is a child and needs a different set of rules then adults do
He is absolutely correct. So why is he treating his child like a mini-grown up?

Have you shared with him that this is normal behavior? That reaction times vary widely when it comes to children and adults? That the rules for children are to allow for more time, not less?

Does you DH have issues with power and control in other areas of his life? In parenting? Or just on this issue?

Lastly, you are not undermining your DH's authority, you are protecting your DH from continuing to make the same mistake with his kid over and over and over again.
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#11 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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Lastly, you are not undermining your DH's authority, you are protecting your DH from continuing to make the same mistake with his kid over and over and over again.
If she is stopping her DH's behaviour in front of her son, she is undermining his authority. I believe that it is important that the parents need to discuss this WITHOUT the children present. Otherwise the child might come to believe that he does't have to listen to one parent, because the other parent will step in.

caveat - of course this doesn't apply to extreme situations like if the child is in physical danger
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#12 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Oh absolutely they should always obey adults -- especially ones they don't know who are offering them candy to get into the car and help them "find the lost puppy". Or the teacher who has a "special assignment" for them in an enclosed room alone. Or the slightly older friend who promises that the pill will make them feel good. Or even me when I say "we are leaving now" and they really need a bathroom first.

Seroiusly, I want my kids to stop and think before they blindly obey an adult. Any adult. Perhaps especially an adult with authority. And I figure they need to practice making decisions about obeying at home before they are faced with the really hard situations out in the world. Thus, I don't have a problem if it takes a minute for my kids to evaluate the situation. If they say "no" in the end, I expect them to be able to express that politely and have a reason, but I don't have a problem with them not instantly obeying.
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#13 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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My husbands swears I let our boys get away with murder, he has very little patience with them not doing exactly what they are told and he has high expectations.

The truth is, I pick my battles and during the day when I am home with them we have very little conflict or problems. It all seems to start when Dad comes home, or on a weekend when he is home.

I don't have an answer for you, just wanted to let you know that I go through the same things and you are not alone.

Katherine, SAHM to 2 little princes
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#14 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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I think what all of us parents hope for, really, is for our children to be cooperative with us. Our children will tend to be more cooperative with us when we have a strong bond and attachment with them. So, if I want my children to be more tuned in to me, and "listen" to me more, and *want* to help me, then I need to be respectful to them, be considerate of them, spend quality time with them, and actively work to build a mutually trusting and loving relationship.

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#15 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I don't think it really has to do anything with "obeying". For me, it comes down to respect. I have asked you to do something, so please do it. I try to show the same courtesy to my son. If he asks me for something, like help getting a toy, unless I'm engaged in something like cleaning the toilet, I help him right away. He's asked me to do something, we're a family and we listen to each other.
I LOVE this. When I was pregnant with my first child I told my husband that I never want my children to "obey" me. They're human beings, not robots. It is ALL about respect. Not just the respect they have for us, but the respect we have for them as well. In ALL the years experience I've had with kids, I've rarely had to ask for something twice. Even those who's mothers complained were difficult and didn't listen, I've never seemed to have a problem with. I FULLY believe that respect FOR EACH OTHER is the reason.

Thank you for posting this.
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#16 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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I think what all of us parents hope for, really, is for our children to be cooperative with us. Our children will tend to be more cooperative with us when we have a strong bond and attachment with them. So, if I want my children to be more tuned in to me, and "listen" to me more, and *want* to help me, then I need to be respectful to them, be considerate of them, spend quality time with them, and actively work to build a mutually trusting and loving relationship.
Yes, yes, yes! Well put.
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#17 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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I do want ds to obey me when it matters. But I also want him to know that his desires matter too, and sometimes *I* don't have all the information.
For example, if I tell him to pick up a toy, it's perfectly fine for him to say that he's still planning on playing with it. Now that I have all the information, I can make an informed decision on the matter. This just seems like a logical and rational thing to do, imo.

I have a slightly different tone when it comes to things that are not negotiable, though (this is not common at all). In those cases, he complies with me immediately and THEN is welcome to give me his input, which I will consider. Usually, this would be when I'm telling him to come over to me. He comes to me right away, but then we can talk about what's going to happen next. (It's important to me that he come to me without arguing, because it's often when he's with DP and DP has a guitar student. I don't want any discussion between ds and me to disrupt the lesson).

In your case of calling ds to dinner, now that ds has said "coming" it gives you more information- it tells you that he's heard you, and that he has something important that he'd like to take a moment to get to a stopping point. I see nothing wrong with giving him that time.

So, no. I don't think they should just do as they are told all the time. Especially at 5yo (which my ds is), they (some of them, anyway) can make some rational decisions about what is important about your request. When I tell my ds to pick up a toy, he knows that it's important to me not to have unnecessary clutter all over. So it makes sense that he would tell me that he's still going to play with x item, but he'll pick up the rest. Or it would make sense for him to say that he wants to leave stuff out, but he'll move it to the corner (so it's not in my way). He's still addressing what's important about my request, he's just finding a solution that works well for both of us.

When you call your ds to dinner, and he says "coming" he is probably aware that you want him to come to dinner (which he will) but that you won't mind him taking a minute to finish what he was working on. It's a solution that works for both of you.

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

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#18 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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Or even me when I say "we are leaving now" and they really need a bathroom first.
Perfect example of not having all the information!!

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Thus, I don't have a problem if it takes a minute for my kids to evaluate the situation. If they say "no" in the end, I expect them to be able to express that politely and have a reason, but I don't have a problem with them not instantly obeying.
Yes, that's a good point. I wouldn't be happy at all if my ds just completely ignored me, or if he screamed that he wasn't going to do what I said, etc. I do expect him to respond politely and talk to me about it.
In almost all situations, I'm more than happy to work with him to find a solution. (actually, a lot of the time HIS ideas are better than mine!).
I do want him to trust me enough to know that if I'm insisting on him obeying immediately that I have a reason that might not be apparent to him. I'm sure that it helps that most of the time, I welcome his input.

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#19 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 09:46 PM
 
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I might jump in and say "leave him alone already! You're just upset because you can't control him"
While I agree that we shouldn't have children expecting them to be our little slaves, you are setting a very bad precedent with this type of statement in front of your son. You may feel like you are jumping in to defend your ds, but it's not just undermining dh authority, it's undermining the relationship he has with his son. It may not be right, but I would expect a man who has child rearing philosophies like your dh to become quite resentful of you and your son, and he may become MORE authoritarian in response.

In your example of not coming to dinner, how would your dh have reacted if instead of you asking ds to come to dinner and allowing him to "disobey" (in dh's mind), you had told ds, "10 min to dinner" and then asked dh to help ds wrap up whatever activity he was doing? That way ds knows it's time to finish his project or game, and dh is involved in the process.

I understand that some momma's will say that you have every right to stand up for your child, and some will even say it's GOOD for your son to see that YOU will always defend him, even against his father, but I really think this will only serve to cause more problems later on.
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#20 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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I find it very unhelpful to think in terms of obedience or disobedience. If I say I want my child to 'obey', how can she or he then develop judgment and problem solving skills? But if I say it's OK if they disobey, then it sounds like I am condoning disrespect. So I try to avoid this dichotomy altogether.

Instead, I think in terms of 'what is really important here?' Once I can define that the techniques I want to use become clearer. If it is safety, then yes, I want my child to follow my instructions immediately, and will phrase what I say and how I position myself accordingly (My children are very young. If it is a safety issue I don't assume a verbal direction will suffice and am prepared to move them out of harm's way.) If it is getting a meal started on time, I will give enough notice so that DC can be at the table when needed.

Sometimes I think obedience is focused on because it is considered a sign of respect. Respect can be a tricky one because if it is demanded it isn't really respect, just fear of consequences (parental disapproval being the biggest consequence). It might appear OK in the short term, but once the fear of consequences diminishes, there's no underlying respect and boy do those teen years become tough! Respect is a natural human response, so allowing it to develop by modeling respectful behavior and showing respect for one another (as LionTigerBear so eloquently put it) is likely to be much more effective in the long run.

Mom to DD 10 and DS 8.
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#21 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shera971 View Post
If she is stopping her DH's behaviour in front of her son, she is undermining his authority. I believe that it is important that the parents need to discuss this WITHOUT the children present. Otherwise the child might come to believe that he does't have to listen to one parent, because the other parent will step in.

caveat - of course this doesn't apply to extreme situations like if the child is in physical danger
In the example given it sounds like the husband is undermining the OP. *She* called the son to dinner. Rather than respecting her way of interacting, the husband jumped in the "enforce" the OP request.

That's undermining.

Putting a kid to bed for not jumping up the second you call him is a complete overreaction. It sounds to me like the husband in this situation needs some help with anger.
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#22 of 41 Old 11-05-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gentle~Mommy :) View Post
My husbands swears I let our boys get away with murder, he has very little patience with them not doing exactly what they are told and he has high expectations.

The truth is, I pick my battles and during the day when I am home with them we have very little conflict or problems. It all seems to start when Dad comes home, or on a weekend when he is home.

I don't have an answer for you, just wanted to let you know that I go through the same things and you are not alone.
This sounds just like us.

I am hearing something familiar often....men can tend to be this way and while i think it is naturally the fathers than are more discipline minded and mamas who are more nurturing...I also think that our society has A LOT to do with this and that a lot of men can be this way....I think something is triggered in them because maybe they were treated this way and why should a kid get away with what they didn't and there can be all kinds of reasons for it...

My DP is and DD is not his Bio child so it can be realllly difficult.

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#23 of 41 Old 11-06-2009, 06:32 AM
 
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No, I absolutely do not think children should do what they are told all the time. Shudder! Imagine how that can set them up to be abused? To think they have to comply with adults 100% of the time?

RE: Dinner. I'd suggest you tell DH (ahead of time) that you want to try things in a new way-- an experiment, and that while he may not support you, you hope that he'll let you try w/o interference. Think of what boundaries you want to set for dinner . . .in other words, what would really inconvenience you about DS coming late? Would cleaning up be a lot harder or ??? Then, set your boundaries regarding that. (And maybe there'd be no inconvenience.)

Invite your son to dinner. If he doesn't come, LET IT GO. Don't say anything. Enjoy your dinner! When you are going to start cleaning, ask him if he's going to eat, because now is the time (since you will be putting food away-- explain this). Maybe he isn't hungry and won't eat . . .maybe he'll join you then. Either way, he'll learn to eat when he's hungry, he won't see the table as a battleground, and you will have a peaceful meal.

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#24 of 41 Old 11-09-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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Your husband is confusing authoritarian discipline with authoritative voice. I can't remember which parenting author speaks of this- I thought it was Jane Nelson but it really might be straight out of the Sears discipline book. The authoritarian parenting method (what we would call mean, obey me now) no longer works because kids don't see that extrapolate out in life (wives don't obey husbands, teachers don't cow to principals, etc.) It worked back when everyone feared dad. Now, you can establish an authoritative voice with your kids, especially when they witness you being a leader in other situations. My husband would rather it be like yours would. He is from Germany, and has awful parents, and that's how they were.
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#25 of 41 Old 11-09-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Kids simply don't do what they're told all of the time. "Should" is irrelevant. The question is, how do you want to handle it when they don't do what you'd like them to do?
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#26 of 41 Old 11-09-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Kids simply don't do what they're told all of the time. "Should" is irrelevant. The question is, how do you want to handle it when they don't do what you'd like them to do?
Good point. I read the book Infidel (highly recommend this!) and in that culture, children are supposed to obey at all times, as are the women (at least according to the author). The children were very harshly punished (abused) and you know what? They STILL didn't comply all the time. They still acted like . . .children! So, it wasn't the culture (people say that, in the US, we are raising children to be disrespectful as a whole) and it wasn't the lack of physical force and verbal abuse.

I think that book would be perfect for anyone who thinks spanking/hitting is a valid tool. It would show them that it is ineffective, even when used in an extreme form.

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#27 of 41 Old 11-09-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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oh mama2boy this is when i really miss the village.

the village elder who tells your dh - hey give your child a break - its ok.

i dont know what to do. but standing up for your son is not helping either.

your dh is just not getting it. is there a 3rd person whom you guys could use as mediation and talk to whom your dh would listen to?

also please know children are v. resilient. and v. smart. they can figure things out. they see two different parenting styles and can say i will tolerate that.

i can totally feel your frustration. and i totally feel your dh's too. he is in teh camp that you have to be v. strict otherwise your kids are not going to learn. he is soooo caught up with that, that he cant see anything else. i can see how important that is for him. and it is all coming out from love. he doesnt want his son to 'fail'.

so i would try and have a discussion with dh. and figure out the why he is so insistent. you might find out something happened in his childhood that left a deep impact on him. if you talk to him from a place of empathy rather than blame he might be willing to talk.

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#28 of 41 Old 11-09-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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My daughter was taught to do as I say all the time.

But, I only say what I mean, and I mean what I say. If it's optional, I say it in a way that she can say "yes" or "no". If it's not optional, I don't end a request with "Okaaaay?". If I did say it that way, and was turned down, it's my own fault.

You also have to expect ANYBODY to get distracted, not hear, not process the request... whatever the reason. If it's not actual defiance, you just repeat it. We all need to have things repeated.

I would never say something like "Go up and make your bed now!" when she was watching tv, or talking on the phone. I'd say "After this show, I need you to run up and make your bed". Then, I had to remind her when the show was over. (or she'd blow me off)

I gave her the same respect I wanted from anybody else. I don't want to drop what I am doing just to do something someone else wants me to. (Unless they need me right at that moment of course)
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#29 of 41 Old 12-10-2009, 03:47 AM
 
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I must say that I am a father, and I definitely tend to demand a high level of obedience. I've read many reasons why it's good to allow more freedom in children. What I want to know is, why is it bad to demand a high level of obedience, but only towards parents? Obviously, I don't want my daughter succumbing to peer pressure or other nefarious influences.

My wife and I argue over this all the time. So much so, that I would cry, if I cried! I think that many of our daughter's misbehaving activities could be curbed with the following format:
  1. Offense is committed
  2. Warning is issued
  3. If offense continues count to 3
  4. If offense still continues carry out punishment

I argue that if this format was followed for offenses everytime, eventually our daughter would behave optimally. My wife argues that I need to choose my battles. To me, if my three year old daughter ignores a directive, this needs to be addressed or she will grow up to be disrespectful.

So, I would appreciate comments on why my method is incorrect. And what are the negative consequences of my method?
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#30 of 41 Old 12-10-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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The negatives are that she's 3 (a toddler), and 3 year olds plain don't listen all the time. They're not made to, they're children who act on impulse with little control. They're still learning, and it's our job to teach them. I don't want to teach my child to be blindly obedient to all authority figures. I want to teach him WHY he needs to listen, to be respectful, and I want him to be able to make the decision on his own, and in order to do that I must show him. I see in my own three year old (I also give a warning, if it continues count to 3 BUT I also choose my battles-- I count "too slow" say some, but I feel it gives him the chance to stop and think, and make the decision on his own whether or not to stop) over the last couple of months that he's starting to gain some control over what he does! But I also know that he's still just a baby, and not an adult. *I* don't stop what I'm doing immediately, why on earth would I expect him to (reasonable situations now, not talking about where safety is an issue)? I recently read that children (toddlers at least) learn something like 90% of their behaviours from the parents. I've been having a very difficult time with my own 3 year old lately, and I know it's my fault, and not his. He's responding to me, who's responding to him inappropriately, and then he's picking up my not so gret behaviour and repeating it, then I get upset with him because of it. Um, not exactly fair. I've finally snapped out of that mode and the last two days have been so much better with minimal melt-downs & like 1 tantrum. Amazing! We can't behave one way and expect them to behave another way. I read quite a while ago an article on parenting toddlers and it said basically if you're telling your toddler to stop doing something, stop and think why. Why should they stop? Is it unsafe, or is it just annoying you? If it's just annoying you then it's your problem, not your toddlers, and you need to deal with it. My husband has a bad habit of telling our 3 year old in a negative tone to stop jumping around and being loud because he can't hear the TB, basically to stop being a 3 year old, and he is in the wrong, not our 3 year old. Before you decide to issue a warning, thinking about why you want her to stop. Is there another solution, like for my husband he could take the time to stop and think, and then suggest if ds wants to continue to jump around and be loud, could maybe he do it in the next room, or try to not be quite as loud? When asked, ds will pick one of these options, and then gets to continue to play rather then being barked at to stop.

I'm not sure if you read this entire thread, but I'd recommend it. Lots of good info.

To the OP, sorry to hijack. My husband is very much like yours, he thinks children should obey on command, every time. He gets angry and annoyed when our son doesn't and I am guilty of stepping in. I've made a conscious effort to stop, and my husband doesn't seem to notice or care, and when I talk to him quietly about the situation he insists still that he was right or ignores what I'm saying. There are times though, when he brings ds to tears that I say enough is enough, leave him alone (highly sensitive child who cries easily, possibly because he knows I will step in, so I do consider what the situation that's caused him to cry before I do-- if daddy is being mean to him because he wants to wear his boots that daddy thinks are ugly out of the house, I simply ask daddy if there's a good reason why he'd like ds to not wear them, and tell ds that if daddy has a good reason to tell him no about the boots then I support him). It's hard tough situation to be in. There are different rules when daddy is home vs when he's not. Ds cries more, because daddy is "meaner", and in an unnecessary "because I'm bigger then you" kind of way. My husband also says that I let him do whatever he wants, but that's because his perception is that children should always be obedient, and well, we've got a 3 & 1 year old and they're not supposed to be mini-adults!

Megan, momma to Colin and Ainsley
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