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My almost 3 year old is, generally speaking, exceptionally well behaved and listens to us very well. So far redirection and distraction has served us very well. But she's still, well, almost 3 and I'm beginning to face more challenging behavior.

Situation 1: I was taking an after-dinner walk with dd. She ran down the street, ignoring my shouts to stop. Giggling, she ran into the street. She didn't go far into the street, but far enough that it was not okay. I picked her up, said no very firmly, said that we do not run into the street. She was giggling. I put her down because she would actually prefer to be carried then to walk. We went home, but we were heading home anyway. How should/could I have responded stronger?

Situation 2: She was eating from a bag of almonds, then very deliberately turned the bag upside down and emptied it out. Then she ran away giggling, ignoring my requests to come help me clean it up. I just cleaned it up (it's not like she would have been particularly helpful). It was obvious she was directly challenging me, and I don't feel like I responded right. What should I do next time?
 

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1) We use the word "freeze" to mean that DD has to stop immediately. She puts her hands in front of her and stops moving. First I would have insisted on holding her hand. The logical consequence for not stopping when I say so is that she looses the privaledge to walk by herself. She hates holding hands, so I'm sure that pretty soon (a minute or two) she would have been really ready to listen. Then I would have practiced having her freeze. I also let her tell me to freeze. Somehow it seems to sink in more if she gets to see me freeze. We would have practiced freezing all/most of the way home.

2) In our family we clean up the messes that we make. If we're not willing/ready to do so, then we can't be in the communal areas until we do so. In short, I would have sent her to her room until she was ready to help me pick up the almonds. When she was ready to help I would have done most of it, but she would have done at least a token amount. There have been a few times where I've stopped and sent her back to her room "until she's ready to help clean up". But it normally doesn't take long. And there's no time limits, it's not a time-out or anything. It's just saying that she needs to take a break from how "fun" it was to dump out the stuff and be ready to help make it right. After we'd cleaned up I probably would offer to let her play with some beans or rice with some cups over a cookie sheet if she wanted to dump and pour.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahr View Post
Situation 1: I was taking an after-dinner walk with dd. She ran down the street, ignoring my shouts to stop. Giggling, she ran into the street. She didn't go far into the street, but far enough that it was not okay. I picked her up, said no very firmly, said that we do not run into the street. She was giggling. I put her down because she would actually prefer to be carried then to walk. We went home, but we were heading home anyway. How should/could I have responded stronger?

Situation 2: She was eating from a bag of almonds, then very deliberately turned the bag upside down and emptied it out. Then she ran away giggling, ignoring my requests to come help me clean it up. I just cleaned it up (it's not like she would have been particularly helpful). It was obvious she was directly challenging me, and I don't feel like I responded right. What should I do next time?
Hi Mama,

Hugs to you. Mine is 25 months and challenging me too. It is SO frustrating.

As for Situation 1, here are my thoughts (some of which you may have done). With mine, I've explained to her about how cars can hurt you really bad when they're moving, which is why we never go out into the road without holding a grown-up's hand. She's also not allowed on the sidewalk without holding hands. If she were to run out into the street, I would pick her up and tell her no, and also explain how scared it makes me because she could get really hurt, and I would be so sad if she got hurt. Also, I'm thinking of doing some practice drills
to teach her to stop and look at me when I call her name. She definitely ignores me when I call her name, which is dangerous.

For Situation 2, I learned from another mama that when kids don't want to clean something up, to say calmly "Let me show you what I want you to do," gently take their hands and guide them to do it. I sing a clean-up song while we do it, and it usually works. Before I know it, she's picking stuff up on her own. It has also helped us to play a game of it, like "Which one should Mommy pick up? Okay. Now which one should you pick up?" I have also left a mess for her to clean up later if she gets too upset to be of any help (or if I'm getting too frustrated). When we're calmed down and we go back to the mess, she's fine.

Good luck to you, mama!
 

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1 - I'd probably have yelled STOP loudly enough to get her attention, picked her up, and explained to her that it's dangerous to run into the street, because she could get hurt by a car.

2 - If she refused, I'd have asked her to help me, and if she still refused, I'd tell her I'm disappointed that she won't help, because people should clean up the messes they make. Then if she still refused, I'd clean it up and tell her I hope next time she'll help.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahr View Post
So far redirection and distraction has served us very well. But she's still, well, almost 3 and I'm beginning to face more challenging behavior.
OK. My little bug bear here... but for me, redirection and distraction should be kept for emergencies. They are forms of manipulation and very probably she is at the age where she is able to see past that, and recognise it for what it is. If that is the case, you'd best drop it (or reap the reward in the coming years) and replace it something else eg logic, benign dictatorship, crusty old cook or whatever.

That being said, parenting is 99% hilarity, 1% gravity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahr View Post
Situation 1: I was taking an after-dinner walk with dd. She ran down the street.... How should/could I have responded stronger?
(This is the 1% bit)

Right. This is not "life rules". This is "life and death rules", and very much imperative that you "wipe that grin off her face". This is serious! Especially avoiding the death part.

There are a number of degrees to deal with this (running into the road) case, but in this I think you did everything right, up to the point of leaving.

Picking her up is really normal (more needed by any parent than the child), putting her down was great!

Remember that at this age, kids are impusive and instinctive.

I'd say you need to have stared her in the face, loudly (anger and fear is ok) "that was dangerous!", turned her around, had her face the road with you behind her, holding her, forcing her to look forwards at the road, resist her wriggles, this is not a game, tell her to say 'sorry mummy', loudly (angry is ok) "the road is dangerous!", don't let her look at you till she is at 'sorry mummy'... pile it on if needed "bang bang, the car is hard, ouch ouch.."

Don't get angry inside. If you feel overwhelmed, stop talking but hold the child face away from you. Restrict her physical movements.

You have "got there" when she is upset, crying or said sorry without a smile. Quit right away.

Don't give in until you reach that point. Some kids are more determined than others, and you might have rest but hold the child face away from you.

At the end, pick her up, give her a cuddle, maybe even cry with her.

This is not OTT or overly harsh! You are building in a good decent fear. That is an instinct that will serve them a lifetime and this is how kids at this age accrue.

Toddlers can survive (and learn to fear) falling over, bites from dogs, cats and parrots, hot drinks and other angry kids, but not metal on wheels at 30mph. Too late. Fear cannot be learned when they are dead.

(deep breath) Sorry if this all sounds heavy. Cars are heavier!

Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahr View Post
Situation 2: She was eating from a bag of almonds, then very deliberately turned the bag upside down and emptied it out. ...What should I do next time?
hahaha (this is the 99% bit)
ok not life and death, but obviously connected to her behaviour before.

1) you can completely ignore it, then it has no power to challenge you, but the nuts will stay on the floor

this is the start of a complicated game. She'll find something else to bug you with, you will have to work out how to get her to agree to clear up, manipulation is unlikely to work blah blah blah, let's not go there...

2) you can hoover it up and say nothing

She'll still find something else!

3) you can rise to the challenge and confront her and "one way or another have her clear up" with you breathing down on her neck...

Hmm, does not live here on Gentle Discipline

4) you can rise to the challenge in the vein that it is presented. Humour. That is why she giggles. She is being 'naughty', not -"naughty"-.

You need to feign 'shock', 'horror', 'hands on hips haughty', and 'outraged school ma'am'... and go after her threatening to tickle her bottom and raspberry her armpits!

And do!

She's wanting to get caught!

This is the age where we can re-affirm boundaries and have fun and get achingly tired from laughter all at the same time. At the end of it all, comes 'the bribe'. "Come and help me, and I'll give you some apple slices when we are done!"

Prolly you will have her in your arms by now, heady towards the 'crime'.

She might decline. ok. don't get heavy. just tidy.
 
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