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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for help and ideas here. I have to admit first off that I haven't read a lot about consensual living. I did check out a website about it and think I got the gist. Assuming I understand it, this is the way I have tried to live with my kids since my 2nd was conceived. Things have been very difficult lately. Ds2 has always been an easy going kid. Recently, though, things have become very difficult. He's demanding and he yells and orders and is relentless. He asks and I give what I think is a reasonable response but he doesn't like it so he goes on and on and on. I can't change the facts but he won't accept them and I don't know what to do. Today I totally lost it and I screamed at him. He just wouldn't let up and I just couldn't take it anymore.<br><br>
Part of the problem may be that I've been doing this on my own with a teenager and the introduction of a baby for about a year now. My teenage ds recently moved to his dad's, which has been difficult for me. So, on top of me taking care of a new baby, a 3 year old and a teenager by myself, in the last 2 weeks I've had to deal with my teenage ds moving out.<br><br>
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? What am I supposed to do when I explain to 4 year old ds for the umpteenth time that we don't have whatever it is that he wants and I can't make it appear but he still won't stop screaming at me about it?
 

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Maybe I am just telling myself this, but . . . I think a lot of what you are describing may be just about being 4.<br>
My own little angel morphed into a little tyrant at when she hit the 4yr mark (but she had also just gotten twin siblings which didn't help) and I have seen my friends kids go through the same unpleasant phases.<br>
I have no real advice for you, since we are still in the same situation, but at least know you are not alone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cpop</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10304116"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe I am just telling myself this, but . . . I think a lot of what you are describing may be just about being 4.<br>
My own little angel morphed into a little tyrant at when she hit the 4yr mark (but she had also just gotten twin siblings which didn't help) and I have seen my friends kids go through the same unpleasant phases.<br>
I have no real advice for you, since we are still in the same situation, but at least know you are not alone!</div>
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Yes, I absolutely totally agree. This is part and parcel of a 4 year old. I don't have a problem with his behavior. What I need is help with my behavior. I've hit the end of my road and don't know what to do next.
 

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Maybe if you could script the specific exchange someone wiser than I could give you some pointers.<br><br>
But it sounds like a situation that may have required superhuman grace. You're not superhuman, right?
 

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Well we've only been doing this for 2 weeks but it is working great for us so far. DD4 & I made up a chart with a thermometer on it. We divided it up into 7categories & then what we did is we drew a face in each box/category & then a corresponding color. For instance, at the bottom of the thermometer is the color blue with a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> face & the words sad & unhappy. Above this is gray with a mellow/tired face along with those words. Next is yellow with a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> & the words happy, excited, fun. At the very top is the word rage, the color red &<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/FIREdevil.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="devil"> (DD drew this face to look like Heat miser from the movie a year without a santa claus). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br><br>
What this has enabled us to do is when I'm feeling my stress level increase I let her & DS2 know that i'm going from a green( frustrated)to an orange (angry) & we need to find a way to cool things down so I don't get to red. DD will do the same thing & it gives us just enough time so that we can talk about our feelings rather than immediately acting on them & exploding.<br><br>
Just tonight DD (who is super tired but denying it) has been teasing DS & complaining that we have no more girls scout cookies. It was probably the 14th time I told her we didn't have any. I could feel myself starting to implode so I whispered to her, "when you ask me that question over & over & whine about it I go from green to an orange & now I feel myself getting to a red. I need you to help me not get there. How can we do that?"...She very quietly said, " I can stop asking you & I won't whine anymore."...To which I thanked her & said I'd get some cookies tomorrow.<br><br>
It really has helped us to stop & think before we act & it has given DD more words to describe her feelings. It's also allowed her to brainstorm on ways to relax ourselves & see that we all get upset but we can work through them if we talk about & not scream & yell.
 

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What a cool idea! I love this, and think it would be especially great with my ds who is slightly delayed verbally, and often has crazy meltdowns. I'm going to try this!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ZanZansMommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10304652"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well we've only been doing this for 2 weeks but it is working great for us so far. DD4 & I made up a chart with a thermometer on it. We divided it up into 7categories & then what we did is we drew a face in each box/category & then a corresponding color. For instance, at the bottom of the thermometer is the color blue with a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> face & the words sad & unhappy. Above this is gray with a mellow/tired face along with those words. Next is yellow with a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> & the words happy, excited, fun. At the very top is the word rage, the color red &<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/FIREdevil.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="devil"> (DD drew this face to look like Heat miser from the movie a year without a santa claus). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br><br>
What this has enabled us to do is when I'm feeling my stress level increase I let her & DS2 know that i'm going from a green( frustrated)to an orange (angry) & we need to find a way to cool things down so I don't get to red. DD will do the same thing & it gives us just enough time so that we can talk about our feelings rather than immediately acting on them & exploding.<br><br>
Just tonight DD (who is super tired but denying it) has been teasing DS & complaining that we have no more girls scout cookies. It was probably the 14th time I told her we didn't have any. I could feel myself starting to implode so I whispered to her, "when you ask me that question over & over & whine about it I go from green to an orange & now I feel myself getting to a red. I need you to help me not get there. How can we do that?"...She very quietly said, " I can stop asking you & I won't whine anymore."...To which I thanked her & said I'd get some cookies tomorrow.<br><br>
It really has helped us to stop & think before we act & it has given DD more words to describe her feelings. It's also allowed her to brainstorm on ways to relax ourselves & see that we all get upset but we can work through them if we talk about & not scream & yell.</div>
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this is wonderful, I love it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pigpokey</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10304488"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe if you could script the specific exchange someone wiser than I could give you some pointers.</div>
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I've finally got a moment to give a specific example. This is not going to be an actual exchange but a general example of what usually happens.<br><br>
DS: "I'm hungry."<br><br>
Me: "Do you know what you'd like to eat?"<br><br>
DS: "No. I need you to tell me." (which means he wants me to tell him what there is to eat, not what to eat)<br><br>
Me: "How about A?"<br><br>
DS: "No."<br><br>
Me: "B?"<br><br>
DS? "No."<br><br>
Me: "C?"<br><br>
DS: "No. I want D."<br><br>
Me: "We don't have D. We have A, B and C."<br><br>
DS: "I don't want that! I want D!"<br><br>
And, then here is where it gets out of hand. DS says again that he only wants D. I try to explain that we don't have D. I try to acknowledge how he feels and empathize. He continues to insist he wants D to the point that eventually he's screaming and sometimes even kicks me and just won't stop and, assumedly, can't understand that I can make what we don't have just appear. He is relentless and will go on and on and on until I just can't take it anymore. Finally, I tell him I'm done. I'm not going to continue the conversation. I'm tired of standing in the kitchen having a "discussion" that's going nowhere. I tell him I don't want to hear anymore about it and I walk away.<br><br>
I understand his frustration and feelings of helplessness. That's why I say it's me having trouble handling it. What can I do that will work for both of us?
 

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At 4 the "magic wand" or "magic wings" worked for us in those situations. Whne my son wanted D and there was none to be had I would start a fantasy and eventually he would run with it, calm down and eat something else. In our scenario it would go like this:<br><br><br>
DS: "I'm hungry."<br><br>
Me: "Do you know what you'd like to eat?"<br><br>
DS: "No. I need you to tell me." (which means he wants me to tell him what there is to eat, not what to eat)<br><br>
Me: "How about A?"<br><br>
DS: "No."<br><br>
Me: "B?"<br><br>
DS? "No."<br><br>
Me: "C?"<br><br>
DS: "No. I want D."<br><br>
Me: "We don't have D. We have A, B and C."<br><br>
DS: "I don't want that! I want D!"<br><br>
Me: Wow, you really want D, I can see how how angry and frustrated you are!<br><br>
DS: explodes with anger<br><br>
Me: You know what would be cool?? If I had a magic wand! Can you even imagine?? Do you know what I could do??<br><br>
DS: still angry but I can see interest<br><br>
Me: I could shake my wand and we would have tree that grows nothing but D!<br><br>
DS: a tree? D dosn't grow on trees (almost laughs but not quite.)<br><br>
Me: In my magic wand world it does! Oh wouldn't it be fun to have a D tree? What would make it grow?<br><br>
DS: I know!! Sprinkles! Lots and lots of Sprinkles!<br><br>
Me: oooh Sprinkles!!! What would you do with a Magic Wand??<br><br>
and off he would run creating a wonderful magic world. I would keep talking to him while make another snack. I woudn't say anything about the snack, just put it out and eventually he would sit and eat.<br><br>
Magic wings worked the same way except would use them to fly to the store that carries nothing but D in the middle of failry forest.<br><br>
Playfulness and fantasy are 2 sure fire ways to avoid the tantrums in our house<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>HollyBearsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10338300"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Playfulness and fantasy are 2 sure fire ways to avoid the tantrums in our house<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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I hear and read this over and over again. I think it's a great idea. I'm so bad at it, though. I mean, when I read your post, I think, "Oh, yeah. We could do that," but I'd never come up with it on my own. I know people hate to hear this but I just don't have that kind of creativity or imagination. That's something I'll need to post on my fridge as a reminder. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Sometimes I try showing my frustration in the same way that ds shows his...<br><br>
Ds: I want D!!<br><br>
Me: I wish we had D!!!<br><br>
DS: I want D RIGHT NOW!!!<br><br>
Me: me too! I wish we had some D right now!!<br><br>
DS: Aaaaargh!<br><br>
me: Aaaaargh!<br><br>
Ds: well, mama, we DO have A, B, or C... maybe we can get some D later.<br><br>
Seriously, it works really well, but it has to be sincere. If ds feels like I'm mocking him, that does NOT work out.<br>
I turn my frustration away from ds and towards the problem that is causing him frustration.
 

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i know this is very crude, but i wanted to kind of extend on the magic wand Idea.... usually what I say to my kids when they want something we dont have and cannot get is....<br><br>
"what do you want me to pull it out of my butt??"<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br><br>
and usually laughter and "no!!"'s ensue and that ends the discussion. like i said, I KNOW I KNOW, its kind of gross and crude, but it works!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>angela&avery</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10339294"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i know this is very crude, but i wanted to kind of extend on the magic wand Idea.... usually what I say to my kids when they want something we dont have and cannot get is....<br><br>
"what do you want me to pull it out of my butt??"<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br><br>
and usually laughter and "no!!"'s ensue and that ends the discussion. like i said, I KNOW I KNOW, its kind of gross and crude, but it works!!</div>
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Oh, this sounds like our house!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>HollyBearsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10338300"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Playfulness and fantasy are 2 sure fire ways to avoid the tantrums in our house<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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Yeah, this kind of stuff appeals to my 4yr old as well.<br><br>
I often also say "I know, I REALLY want x as well". Or just agree with him "yeah, I'm bummed too that there isn't any x". While I'm doing this stuff I might be thinking up another suggestion or he might just move on and be ok with it all. I do think getting onto their level with it can help them not turn it into an oppositional situation where it's you against them.
 

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The crude stuff usually works, especially for 4-year-olds --- they seem to be easily distracted and might actually crack a smile. Even in the midst of a tearful tantrum, any time the words butt, underwear, poopey, boogers, etc. are mentioned, kids usually will respond favorably.<br>
The other day my dd got hurt on the playground at school. Bunch of kids on top of the slide platform - some playing pirate, some just passing through -- anyway, her fingers got stepped on and she screamed bloody murder -- real tears, howling, the whole 9 yards. Of course, she wouldn't let me see her fingers to try and assess the damage --- just wailed like a banshee. I kept asking her politely and calmly to let me see them, can you wiggle them? --- Just got a bunch of NO's!!!! screamed in my face. Then I asked her if she thought she could still pick her nose -- which abruptly ended the crying, started the giggling and of course had her sticking her fingers up both nostrils and wiggling them non-stop for the next 5 minutes, --- but it worked!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I appreciate all of your suggestions. Here's another recurring issue.<br><br>
When we need to get dressed to go somewhere: It's cold outside so ds has to wear long pants, a shirt and a jacket. I try to give him plenty of warning that we will need to get dressed to go out. I let him pick out his own clothes as long as they are appropriate for the weather. He does not like to wear long pants or shirts under anything else. So, he'll want to put on shorts and just his fleece pullover. I explain to him that it's cold outside and he needs long pants. I take him outside so he can feel it. We will eventually compromise on a short sleeved shirt under his pullover but he still refuses to put long pants on. Sometimes I can say, "Ok. We won't go anywhere unless you want to get dressed." This is not a punishment just me understanding that he doesn't want to go. If it's not necessary, we won't go. However, there are sometimes when we have to go out, like when we've run out of food or I need to go to the cell phone store to reactivate dp's phone before he comes home. I can't do these things without ds because I don't have anyone else at home that he can stay with. It becomes a struggle with both of us getting very frustrated. What can I do in this situation?
 

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Personally I would let him wear what he wants. To me clothes are not worth a power struggle.<br><br>
I know it hard but is there any way you can let go of this issue?? I live in New England where it gets pretty darn cold. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">: I don't sweat the clothes issue and let him getting cold be a "natural consequence". I would also never change my plans due to "inappropriate" clothes.<br><br>
Do I let him freeze??? No of course not but I just bring along a sweatshirt, long pants, etc. Actually I usually have a set of clothes in the car anyway. When my son complains he is cold I just let him know where the clothes are with NO judgment, NO "See??? I told you you'd be cold", etc. I just comment that "yes, it really is cold out isn't it" and "I think there some warmer clothes in the bag"<br><br>
Another "trick" is that I pack away his summer clothes when I pack away mine so he really doesn't have tons of shorts, tanks, sandals etc to choose from though he does have a lot of short sleeve tees that he sleeps in. Some of those Tee's are pretty cool (gotta love mini-boden
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I originally wrote that I would be willing to let him wear shorts and just bring warmer clothes but I'm afraid of what some stranger might do (I deleted that part before posting). I've already had an investigation by CPS for a totally unsubstantiated claim made by an OB because I had a homebirth so I'm a bit paranoid about that sort of thing now. I know it may sound silly but it really scares me. The more you are reported, I think, the more they start to think there's something funny going on. KWIM? So, yes, I could let it go except for that.<br><br>
I wanted to add that normally I do pack up our out of season clothes, too. This year it was just too much with having a baby and my dh being gone so I didn't get that done.
 

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Okay, I don't know if this is consensual living, but I would try making a deal if ds had this issue (which he hasn't...). Something like: "If you put on your long pants, then we can listen to (insert favorite CD) in the car."
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10338525"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I hear and read this over and over again. I think it's a great idea. I'm so bad at it, though. I mean, when I read your post, I think, "Oh, yeah. We could do that," but I'd never come up with it on my own. I know people hate to hear this but I just don't have that kind of creativity or imagination. That's something I'll need to post on my fridge as a reminder. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"></div>
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Woman. YOU have survived for HOW long with your DH overseas? No creativity or imagination my butt! You would never have made it without your ingenuity.<br>
Now, having said that, I used to really loathe "silliness". I just.could.not.do.it. It felt fake and put on and, well, ew... However, I have made a huge effort in the last little while to just get over myself, and especially to stop worrying about what others (read other mamas) think about me, my kids or my students. It has improved my relationships enormously. Just having the capacity to be in the moment makes such a huge difference. Kiddos HATE when mama is distracted, so of course they act out, and THEN what do we do? Ignore them of course, for fear of encouraging "bad" behavior. Have you read Naomi Aldort? I know not everyone loves her, but her SALVE process is woth the price of admission, hands down.
 
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