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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read a couple of books that have advised disengaging from your child during a tense moment or temper tantrum and then readdressing the issue at a later, calmer time when you're feeling reconnected. (The Secret of Parenting by Anthony Wolf, The Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn Latham)

Soooo, my question is, how many of you do this? If so, do you ever feel like you're ruining a perfectly good time with your dc by bringing up problems from earlier? Or holding a grudge? How can this be handled tactfully?
 

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I like to do this but I only really wait a few minutes. I think if you wait too long, the attention span of a toddler is to short to really make the connection. So, if I let dd calm down a min, then explain in simple words, I think her brain is more likely to make the connection than if I wait, say til that night and try to get her attention and give a small lecture. I have alos read that with young kids, a common mistake is too many words. So, I try to use as few words as posssible to convey myself, so I know she will understand.HTH!
 

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I have not read the books you are talking about.

But my first response is that if a child is young enough to tantrum/meltdown, they are too young to "revisit" the specific issue much later.

Instead, I would focus on proactive discipline such as role playing, practicing managing energy, routine, etc.
 

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I think bringing it up later when a child is calmer is an awesome idea. Of course, this needs to be age appropriate, as a pp said -- toddlers and pre-schoolers don't have very vast attention spans, so I probably wouldn't bring it up 6 hours later
...but if your tantrums are lasting 6 hours, something isn't working! j/k ... I think a comfort corner is a wonderful idea in general, but I think it is great too for *bringing things up*....as in when a child is having a meltdown, escort them kindly to the comfort corner for a bit of quiet time, sit with them if they like, read a book, sing a song that comforts them whatever...when they calm down in a couple of minutes, I think it is a good idea to have some sort of age appropriate discussion -- but I wouldn't make it contingent on leaving...like they can't play again unless they talk to you -- I would just ease into it as they are calming down "boy, you sure were upset/frustrated/angy honey...do you think there is a way we can figure out how to do ___ or get __ or not ___ (whatever) so that next time maybe you won't get so upset?" You can use whatever words you like, but I think that is helpful, maybe your child will give you some insight as to how to handle the next similar situation so it will go smoother for both of you....
 

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My friend has a connecting at bedtime ritual where they discuss what they each felt happy about and what they felt sad or upset about that day. Her girls are older now; but they have been doing this since age 3-ish. She and the girls each discuss things that they were feeling and process some of it then, if it is something still bothering the girls or mama. The goal is connecting through sharing feelings; but it also helps to finish processing in a quiet and calm, low stimulation environment where there are no additional stressors added. And then they read stories and just talk and cuddle until each falls asleep.

But, I agree with the pp, that discussing it in the heat of the upset isn't as effective as processing it together in a calmer time. Sometimes, I wait hours if the issue is more complex. Usually, I empathize with the emotions and validate what I hear our son is wanting and experiencing and then we discuss options and alternative possibilities. But, jumping to suggest 'do it differently' while anyone is upset doesn't help anyone, from my repeated learning through error and error and error and error.


Pat
 

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I do this often with my children. I think when to start and how long to wait (how late is "later") depends on the age and maturity/abilities of your child. I've been doing it for so long I don't remember when I started, but at first I would talk to them as soon as they were calm (and still do in many situations). At this point I might wait and talk to them a few minutes later, I may talk to them as soon as they are calm, I may talk to them hours later at bedtime (which is often the time the kids want to talk about their day and are very relaxed and open to talking about a difficulty we faced earlier). If I'm bringing it a few minutes to hours later, I'll just say something like "Remember when.....? I'd like to talk about that. It seemed like you felt...and that's why....is that right?" or "Remember when..?I felt.....when.....because I need..... Next time I expect/want you to.....(or do you have any ideas about other ways to...?)" or some combination of the two, depends on the situation. So far I have not yet felt that waiting until later has ruined a good time, I actually find that it is an opportunity to really connect with my child by talking about our feelings when we're relaxed.

I'd like to point out that I'm not just talking about waiting until a full-blown tantrum is over, but waiting until a crying/angry/frustrated/etc. child's emotions have calmed-because it's difficult for a child, or even an adult, to listen and talk and learn and problem-solve when they're upset.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HappyHSer

But my first response is that if a child is young enough to tantrum/meltdown, they are too young to "revisit" the specific issue much later.


Really, I find that children of all ages still have times when they are very upset and its not a good time to go into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by sledg
If I'm bringing it a few minutes to hours later, I'll just say something like "Remember when.....? I'd like to talk about that. It seemed like you felt...and that's why....is that right?" or "Remember when..?I felt.....when.....because I need..... Next time I expect/want you to.....(or do you have any ideas about other ways to...?)" or some combination of the two, depends on the situation. So far I have not yet felt that waiting until later has ruined a good time, I actually find that it is an opportunity to really connect with my child by talking about our feelings when we're relaxed.
Sledg, this sounds great, and this is what I would like to do. I'm assuming that it doesn't make them feel guilty or like you are harping on them, probably because of the way you talk about it, right?

I think my issue is that I would have a hard time talking about it without sounding "mean". Like, "Now, listen here, you, remember earlier when you ..."

But that's why I chose GD, because of a tendency to be mean, so I guess it's just one more thing to work on. Restating my expectations without placing blame or judgement.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by natensarah
Sledg, this sounds great, and this is what I would like to do. I'm assuming that it doesn't make them feel guilty or like you are harping on them, probably because of the way you talk about it, right?

I think my issue is that I would have a hard time talking about it without sounding "mean". Like, "Now, listen here, you, remember earlier when you ..."

But that's why I chose GD, because of a tendency to be mean, so I guess it's just one more thing to work on. Restating my expectations without placing blame or judgement.
The Center for Non-violent Communications offers the process of NVC as follows:

1. State your observations
2. Express your feelings
3. State your needs
4. Make a request

For instance (hypothetical), 'you yelled for milk earlier while I was on the phone, I felt pressured, I need to be able to hear when I talk on the phone, would you please use a softer voice and ask 'excuse me mama, and then ask for milk gently?'

And she may indicate 'I needed milk, you were not listening to me, I wanted milk'. And you can hear her pov that she felt unheard. This leaves an opportunity to discuss how to agree to be interrupted with 'excuse me mama' and you agree to interrupt the phone conversation and listen to the child's need.

This process removes any 'you made me feel', 'you did this to me' type phrases by stating observations and listening to clarification if the other's perspective was the same and how their perspective impacted their actions. It isn't a one-way dialogue then. Behaviors are messages of underlying needs. By discussing the underlying needs, solutions that would work for both become clearer. Rather than discussing only the behaviors and their impact.

Pat
 

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I disagree that if they are young enough to tantrum they are too young to revisit later. Dd is only 3 but as long as I don't wait too long she can process later.

I do this. But I don't ruin a good time doing it. I keep it short and sweet. Brief, to the point, and non-punitive/shaming/etc. For example. After she's calmed. me: what happened that you got so upset? dd can sometimes tell me or not. When she can I ask if there were something else she could have done (she really can't answer this yet, but it begins the process). But then I may give some suggestions...you could let mommy know you were frustrated, you could take a break...etc. whatever fits. And then I let it go.

I like what Pat has to say too. I think it is, again as I always say, important to find out what is the motivator for the tantrum in the first place so that when you process you can do this accurately and effectively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by scubamama
It isn't a one-way dialogue then. Behaviors are messages of underlying needs. By discussing the underlying needs, solutions that would work for both become clearer. Rather than discussing only the behaviors and their impact.
OK, exactly! This is what I want to do! But when I read those books, it kinda seemed to me like it was just a delayed scolding. But this is better, and this is probably what the authors intended. And I wouldn't feel like we had a conflict or tantrum for nothing, without either of us figuring anything out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by babybugmama
I disagree that if they are young enough to tantrum they are too young to revisit later. Dd is only 3 but as long as I don't wait too long she can process later.

I do this. But I don't ruin a good time doing it. I keep it short and sweet. Brief, to the point, and non-punitive/shaming/etc. For example. After she's calmed. me: what happened that you got so upset? dd can sometimes tell me or not. When she can I ask if there were something else she could have done (she really can't answer this yet, but it begins the process). But then I may give some suggestions...you could let mommy know you were frustrated, you could take a break...etc. whatever fits. And then I let it go.
OK, I like this concrete example.

But what if it isn't a tantrum? For example, my MIL was here the other day and my dd was rude to her, yelling in her face, not telling her goodbye, not telling her thank you. So I wanted to address that after she had left, but didn't want to scold. I guess I could ask her why, too. Maybe I should change my motivation for these conversations to investigation, rather than indoctrination.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by natensarah
OK, exactly! This is what I want to do! But when I read those books, it kinda seemed to me like it was just a delayed scolding. But this is better, and this is probably what the authors intended. And I wouldn't feel like we had a conflict or tantrum for nothing, without either of us figuring anything out.
THIS IS IT! THIS IS IT! This is exactly the point. The "tantrum" (I prefer 'expression of emotions') is a *message*. It is intended to express distress. I want to know 'what is our son's distress about?' And what can we do together (differently) that meets our son's underlying needs (about which I need more information) AND my underlying needs (about which I need to communicate)! A "tantrum" is an *opportunity* for connectivity! For sharing our Selves, our wants, needs, desires, priorities, frustrations, sharing our humanity through connection and empathy, not correction or elimination (or ignoring) of the emotional distress/behavior. This connectivity occurs with discussion, a two way dialogue. Not just 'no, ain't gonna happen, knock it off' or 'do it differently'.

We had no "two way dialogue" when I was growing up. It is hard for me to practice. It was hard for me to learn to do. I swear the "How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids will Talk" book demonstrates communication tools of how to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk.


Pat
 

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My son hates when I try to "revisit it" right after he had a tantrum. It makes him feel even worse.

Instead, I bring up the topic whenever similar situations arise again. I suggest a way to make it better this time. "Remember yesterday when you cried because you couldn't find your shoe? Well that won't happen today because you are going to put your shoes in the closet where they belong." I don't say it in a scolding way and he thinks it is helpful.
 

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If dd doesn't temper tantrum, but it's more her behavior I do handle it differently. I'm much more in the moment.

For example, yesterday we went over to a friends house and she just totally shoved this girl down (who is 15 pounds heavier than her I might add!
). Anyway, I picked her up and moved away from the scene. I asked her what happened. She told me she shoved S (her friend). I asked if she knew why (no, she didn't and frankly I didn't expect her to). I then asked if she thought that was a nice thing to do (I guess some would consider this the indoctrination, but frankly I want her to be indoctrinated not to shove other kids). She said no. So then I asked what she should do (again she couldn't do this). So I then said, do you think it would be a good idea to say sorry? She agreed, she went and said sorry.

Now with MIL, something more may have been going on and then I think the task becomes figuring out why she was feeling so hostile about MIL. Dd won't have much to do with my parents, but that's because she doesn't see them much.

The yelling. When dd does that I just say, Dd please don't yell. Nothing more. If it continues I come closer to her and in a quiet voice repeat myself. I think others would handle this differently and that's the beauty of discipline, gentle or otherwise, you fit it to you and your child. I do it this way because it works best for us while still being respectful and gentle. I may talk with dd later if I noticed she was having a hard time with someone. When she's struggled with her interactions before, I might say something like, I noticed you had a hard time with Susie today. Usually that opens it right up and she'll say something like, Susie said mean things! And thus the discussion is started on how to handle when someone says mean things.

And Pat ! I love how you describe what a tantrum is about. Thank you! But I will say I think sometimes a tantrum is simply I have too much feeling to know what to do with. Sometimes I burst into tears. I guess that's an adult tantrum. But I've learned to control when and where and recognize that sometimes it's what I need, sometimes an adult tantrum (within reason) is okay. As long as no one is harmed in the process. I learnt that I must be respectful with my feelings. So, while I think sometimes a tantrum is truly just an outlet for excess emotion, he/she will still need to work on finding ways to control the expression, or express it without harming others. I hope that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by babybugmama
If dd doesn't temper tantrum, but it's more her behavior I do handle it differently. I'm much more in the moment.

For example, yesterday we went over to a friends house and she just totally shoved this girl down (who is 15 pounds heavier than her I might add!
). Anyway, I picked her up and moved away from the scene. I asked her what happened. She told me she shoved S (her friend). I asked if she knew why (no, she didn't and frankly I didn't expect her to). I then asked if she thought that was a nice thing to do (I guess some would consider this the indoctrination, but frankly I want her to be indoctrinated not to shove other kids). She said no. So then I asked what she should do (again she couldn't do this). So I then said, do you think it would be a good idea to say sorry? She agreed, she went and said sorry.
So then would you discuss it again, like when you got home? Or would you just let it drop?

And I agree, no shoving!

Quote:

Originally Posted by babybugmama
Now with MIL, something more may have been going on and then I think the task becomes figuring out why she was feeling so hostile about MIL. Dd won't have much to do with my parents, but that's because she doesn't see them much.
I don't know if there was more going on. She couldn't tell me and I couldn't figure it out. And while it's one thing to refuse to be hugged, it's another to go up to her and roar in her face. That was what I wanted to address, and I tried to a little in front of MIL, but my dd is also getting to a stage where she's embarrassed a lot easier, so I didn't want to embarrass her. Luckily, MIL has thick skin and didn't seem to take it personally!
 

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I let it drop. It was resolved in the moment. Even if it weren't I think I would still let it drop. Mostly because *I* wasn't sure what the motivator was. I don't know if it was jealousy, feeling threatened, or what and I think she likely would have been unable to determine that too. But she was able to resolve in the moment, so I feel no need to review later.

I think if there's a way to help your dd to move away from MIL and ask if she's upset or something that would be best. What does your gut tell you her motivator was? Was she trying to shock MIL, was she angry about something and MIL was the scapegoat, etc.? I think in your situation the burden lies more heavily on you. If it's an isolated incident I wouldn't waste too much time on it. If it happens a lot then I think some observation into her body language when MIL is around may help. I know (usually) exactly when someone is putting dd off. Sometimes it's that they are teasing too much, or invading her personal space (she has a huge personal space!), or some other reason. If that's the case I intervene and help her. There was this checkout lady at our grocery store, dd's absolute favorite checkout lady! She loves this woman. Well one day she was waiting in line behind us instead of checking us out. She kept touching dd, I knew immediately dd wasn't okay with it. So I told the lady, "she's scared." She quit touching her, but remained in her space making lots of loud noises. So, I say, "she's still scared." The woman looks a little surprised and so I add, you're in a different space being behind us. I think dd is a little scared and doesn't know how to handle it. The woman then finally gave her enough space and then dd was able to engage her somewhat. But, I guess moral of the story is that many would see what dd was doing as being rude. I saw it as trying to get this woman to back off. Even though it was someone she liked. Hope my rambling story made sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That makes a lot of sense, and I know what you're saying. I think I kind of know what it's about, MIL does tease her a little bit and also does kind of strange things like yell, "I love you, Ramona" in a sing-songy voice across the room. I think it kind of irritates her, BUT they spend a lot of time together and I know she mostly enjoys it and really loves her (my dd, that is), so I kind of hesitate to get in the middle of their relationship. So I kinda hoped that if I told dd what she was doing wasn't very polite, she'd stop, or at least know that it wasn't. But now that I think about it, she probably already knew that. Aargh!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by natensarah
But what if it isn't a tantrum? For example, my MIL was here the other day and my dd was rude to her, yelling in her face, not telling her goodbye, not telling her thank you. So I wanted to address that after she had left, but didn't want to scold. I guess I could ask her why, too. Maybe I should change my motivation for these conversations to investigation, rather than indoctrination.
Okay, my dd has done this too (way too often). It came down partly to some detective work on my part (figured out she tends to do this when she's tired or just tired of visiting, or not feeling well, or hasn't eaten), partly to talking with her about how others feel when we treat them this way, and partly to offering her the opportunity to talk about how she was feeling at the time ("can you tell me how you were feeling?/what was happening inside you?/what you were thinking about?"). We really had to talk about it when she was calm, and then we had to make a "plan" before every visit. One way to talk about it might be to say "I think grandma felt...when you yelled/wouldn't say goodbye...because she needs to feel respected. Next time I'd like you to speak to grandma politely" and then talk about what speaking politely means. Practice it. You could say something like "I felt angry when I heard you yelling at Grandma because it's important to me that people feel respected in our home." You could ask your dd "I wonder if you yelled because you felt....and you needed...am I right? What do you think you can tell me about it?"

Also, my FIL tends to tease the kids because that's how he thinks he's being funny. He means no harm, it's just how he relates to people. It does frustrate my kids, so we talk about how to handle it-how to say "I don't like when you do/say that. Stop." and how to ask me for help if they need it. We role play, we problem solve, and it helps. We talk about how they feel ("you seemed upset when grpa...can you tell me about how that made you feel? What did you want him to do instead?") And though I don't want to interfere (and most of the time I don't believe it's likely to cause harm, and the kids mostly don't seem to mind) and I want to help them learn how to handle it, sometimes the kids need help working it out with him-they need me to speak for them.

I love the Nonviolent Communication, now that I understand it better. It really is such a great way to talk with someone, and it clarifies for both me and my children what our feelings and needs are. I doubted it, but I've been trying it the last several days and it's really allowing my kids and I to talk about so many things and it's allowing all of us to feel heard and valued.
 
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