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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering where the line is between giving IN to a toddler tantrum requests/demand verses trying to treat your kid with respect, listen to what it is they are wanting and disscussing why it can or cannot happen.<br><br>
My DH and I had a "discussion" about this the other day...<br><br>
He feels like we just give in to the boys when they start screaming for something, to keep them from screaming... but I can think of plenty of times I've had to say no, and try to explain it best I can and not give in and leave the store in screams (theirs not mine <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">)<br><br>
Things like:<br><br>
I hand out a bowl to each with cut up apples, well one freaks out cuz he wanted the red bowl, so I ask the other if its OK to switch... then we switch<br><br>
We fix some yogurt for the boys for dinner, one starts eating, the other is screaming about the spoon, we can't even understand what the problem is, I tell him to speak so we can understand him, I at least get that he doesn't like the spoon... so I go looking for a different kind (like one that matches his brother's), and offer another, still screaming, but reaching for it... then asks for the first one too... who knows, but now he's eating!<br><br>
The whole "do it myself" phase... I try hard to respect their need to do this and have the patience and time, but yeah, sometimes we are in a hurry, or whatever, and you need to say, "sorry, you can do it next time..."<br><br>
In the store the other day they both wanted to sit in the top part of the shopping cart (where kids are supposed to sit) - if I go by myself and the place doesn't have a double seater, I put one in the main section and they know they need to sit - anyway, DH and I were together but we just needed to run in and one of us was going to take both kids, and the other run to get something... well, they were both screaming no matter how we arranged it, trying to get one of them to sit in the main section... so I told DH to just go get another cart (I guess this is me giving in) and we did everything together (although they both wanted me to push them...)<br><br>
What do you all think? Is it a fine line between "giving in" and "listening to them" ???????? Do you all have other examples to show the difference here?<br><br>
Thanks so much!
 

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I think you might get more answers if you post this in the Gentle Discipline forum, just FYI. My dd2 is about your kids' age, so I'll give it a shot.<br><br>
Right off the bat, let me say that I believe over all in prevention. Preventing kid burn out, hunger, tiredness, etc, goes a long way to making my household harmonious.<br><br>
Right now little Miss is very particular about just about everything, so I ask her what her preference is before giving something. For example, we are getting ready for lunch. "A, do you want your food on this plate or this plate?" Many times she will say, "I want it in a bowl". No problem, who cares if she eats out of a bowl or uses a plate?<br><br>
Last night at dinner, she didn't want the fork sister set for her. She voiced her displeasure. So I said, "If you don't like that fork, you may put it in the sink and get another one."<br><br>
If she is just screaming for something and I can't understand her, I simply say to her, "I see that you are upset about something, but I can't understand what you are saying because you are screaming/crying. Would you like me to hold you and then you can try to ask again?"<br><br>
The other strategy I'm trying right now is to just repeat back what she states, but not answer it like it's a question. Example, "I want crackers!" to me is not a request for crackers, it's a statement about a desire. So, I simply answer, "you want crackers. If you'd like to ask for some, I'd be happy to get them for you (if indeed it's OK for her to have crackers right then)".<br><br>
I do feel that all of these responses are respectful and gentle, but also allow mama to be respected. If my dd is just losing it because something isn't going her way on top of being tired/hungry (which happens, but not often), I simply let her cry while offering comfort if she wants it, but I don't try to solve it for her. I'm not afraid of her crying. That was huge for me to figure out. If my kid cries, what am I afraid of? Will it scar her for life? Will others think I'm a bad mom? Will *I* think I'm a bad mom? Does it mean that my kid isn't happy? Asking myself these questions really helped me figure out my own fears and how I was feeding into her "tantrums".<br><br>
HTH.
 

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See, I view "giving in" as allowing your child to do something that you <i>truly</i> don't want him/her to do: something that's not healthy, or not safe, or that majorly inconveniences your family. For toddler preferences, I always try to get my daughter to tell me what she wants if she's upset, and we go from there. So honoring a preference would be DD crying and saying "No! No! Pink spoon!" and me saying "Oh, you want a pink spoon? Sure, you can have a pink spoon." "Giving in" is when DD starts begging for a cookie before she's eaten breakfast, I say no, cookies are treats, not meals, she cries, and so I give her the cookie to keep the peace (and yeah, um, I've done that a few times, though I know it's conterproductive).<br><br>
I guess my feeling is, you've got to pick your battles. Letting a kid cry because he wants a red bowl seems unnecessarily disruptive, whereas letting a kid cry because you won't let him run in the street is useful limit-setting.
 

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Totally agree with ktmama and subrosa!<br><br>
I've said this before, but my philosophy is to find ways to be able to say "yes" as much as possible while reserving "no" for important or safety things.<br><br>
I constantly ask myself why I want to say no to something and if I can't come up with a good reason, I say yes. With the red bowl example. . you found a mutually agreeable way to say "yes". That's not giving in. If you say "no" when there's an easy solution, it just seems like you're saying it arbitrarily. Plus, wouldn't be teaching your kids problem solving skills (i.e., ask to switch bowls or get a different fork from the drawer).<br><br>
"Giving in" to me is when you say yes to something you have a good reason for saying no to. In those circumstances, there's not a mutually agreeable solution and someone in the family would be suffering as a result.
 

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I agree with subrosa and that's how I am with DS. So no I don't think you're giving in. I don't say no to DS too often so when I do say no he knows I mean it.
 

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Giving in = giving a child something that you have told them they can not have b/c you want them to stop having a tantrum.<br><br>
Responding to their needs = giving your child what they need or desire as soon as you understand what it is.<br><br>
Not giving a <i>toddler</i> something that you have no reason to prohibit simple b/c they were upset and crying when they asked for it = <b>punishment</b><br><br><br><br>
Toddlers are not ready to moderate and control their emotions to the point where they can always express themselves quietly and calmly. They also often have emotions that are much stronger than expected over stuff that seems trivial to an adult.
 

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Oh, yes, yes, yes on saying "yes" rather than "no". Realizing this has helped me really think before I respond to a request and try to turn a "no" into a "yes" as in "yes, you can have a muffin later today" rather than saying "no". My mom keeps telling me that what toddlers desire most is just to be heard so currently I'm practicing repeating a request and then responding rather than just saying "no". So, now I'm trying to respond by saying, "you really want a cookie. I'm sorry, I don't have any cookies so you can't have one right now". Recently, my dd2 responded to this by saying, "How about Thursday?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eepster</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10768213"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Giving in = giving a child something that you have told them they can not have b/c you want them to stop having a tantrum.<br><br>
Responding to their needs = giving your child what they need or desire as soon as you understand what it is.<br><br>
Not giving a <i>toddler</i> something that you have no reason to prohibit simple b/c they were upset and crying when they asked for it = <b>punishment</b><br><br><br><br>
Toddlers are not ready to moderate and control their emotions to the point where they can always express themselves quietly and calmly. They also often have emotions that are much stronger than expected over stuff that seems trivial to an adult.</div>
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I guess I must punish my children often. While I agree with everyone else that giving in is when you tell them they can't have something and then give it to them because they have a tantrum, I also believe that giving a toddler something when they are throwing a fit is not okay (at least in my house). When my children are about 1 1/2yo I start telling them they need to calm down and say please before they get something. Even my 22mo hardly ever throws tantrums anymore. He just says water please (or milk or snack or whatever) and if I can't understand him i just say show me and take his hand and he shows me. Don't get me wrong, he does still get frustrated and scream sometimes. For example, today he said he wanted water. At least that is what I thought he said. I gave it to him and he started crying and screeching. I just said "when you calm down, you can show me what you want". He cried for less than 1 minute came up to me and said up. I picked him up, gave him a hug and asked if he wanted to show me what he wanted. He pointed to the pantry, so I opened it and he wanted raisens. I misunderstood him, which is why he was crying. I just think it is important to let children know from the time they can communicate with words that screaming to get what you want is not okay. I do agree that it is important to pick your battles, so when you say no they know you mean it, but I also think it is imprtant to teach them manners and the exceptable way to behave.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents...I hope this helps, and I hope I didn't offend anyone.
 

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Jen, I think I agree with you philosophically. While toddlers may not be able to regulate their overwhelming emotions, it's surely our job to guide them gently to a place of coping and mastery by teaching them some skills while honoring their emotions (rather than just shutting them down) at the same time.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jen+2monkeys</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10768500"><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 guess I must punish my children often. While I agree with everyone else that giving in is when you tell them they can't have something and then give it to them because they have a tantrum, I also believe that giving a toddler something when they are throwing a fit is not okay (at least in my house). When my children are about 1 1/2yo I start telling them they need to calm down and say please before they get something. Even my 22mo hardly ever throws tantrums anymore. He just says water please (or milk or snack or whatever) and if I can't understand him i just say show me and take his hand and he shows me. Don't get me wrong, he does still get frustrated and scream sometimes. For example, today he said he wanted water. At least that is what I thought he said. I gave it to him and he started crying and screeching. I just said "when you calm down, you can show me what you want". He cried for less than 1 minute came up to me and said up. I picked him up, gave him a hug and asked if he wanted to show me what he wanted. He pointed to the pantry, so I opened it and he wanted raisens. I misunderstood him, which is why he was crying. I just think it is important to let children know from the time they can communicate with words that screaming to get what you want is not okay. I do agree that it is important to pick your battles, so when you say no they know you mean it, but I also think it is imprtant to teach them manners and the exceptable way to behave.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents...I hope this helps, and I hope I didn't offend anyone.</div>
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I do things pretty much the same way over here - I don't prohibit her from having something just because she is crying for it, I just wait until she can calm down and help her gain her composure first - unless it is something like the computer or a movie when I know she is tired and both those mediums have a tendency to make her go crazy when she's already tired.
 

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Good advice mamas! My dd is 13 months, and just recently my mom and I had a discussion about this, she thought I was always giving in, I thought I was just meeting DD's needs. So now we have come to the decision that when she screams at us first, before any other sign of wanting something, we just hold her and talk to her until she calms down, and then figure out what she wants. I thought she was too young to realize or think about what she is doing, but she caught right on and rarely screams at us now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Hopefully she's not too young to expect this of her!
 

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Lots of awesome advice. I tried to remember to ask myself "why not?" when my kids wanted something. Also, many childrearing philosophies that advise against 'giving in' are based on animal studies on behavior modification and the like. Human beings are distinguished from animals primarily by our use of language. This is what is often missed by those who believe that if you 'reward' screaming or tantrumming, it will continue. This is definitely not true. As humans mature, they are able to integrate more and more complex skills, especially those of communication which will replace the not-so-great skills like screaming. After all, we as adults COULD have a fit to get what we want, but for the most part we don't because we have learned a better way. Well, some of us <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>laoxinat</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10775973"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">As humans mature, they are able to integrate more and more complex skills, especially those of communication which will replace the not-so-great skills like screaming. After all, we as adults COULD have a fit to get what we want, but for the most part we don't because we have learned a better way. Well, some of us <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"></div>
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I have watched parents have tantrums over their child's tantrum. When you watch them play out their little scenarios, you see the child is simply imitating the parent.
 

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Not a ton of time to write just now, but I wanted to say that I've learned to choose my battles and it sounds to me like you have, too. Some things are not negotiable; then, we gently explain and can be sympathetic but firm if a tantrum ensues. Other times, though, allowing them to have their preference is fine! Bowl or plate, who cares? And if it takes a little longer but in that time you get them to go along with something rather than forcing them, what's the harm in that?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ktmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10767032"><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'm not afraid of her crying. That was huge for me to figure out. If my kid cries, what am I afraid of? Will it scar her for life? Will others think I'm a bad mom? Will *I* think I'm a bad mom? Does it mean that my kid isn't happy?...</div>
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Thank you for this insight. I've been thinking about this for the past few months, but I couldn't really verbalize or understand exactly what I was feeling about it, but you said it perfectly. Now that I've realized this too, I feel a lot less anxious about everything - like I no longer have a time bomb strapped to me! <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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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks for the responses and insights!<br><br>
Here are another 2 scenarios I thought of:<br><br>
1) giving in to the "just one more" begging<br>
there are different times I would not do this (like desserts) and other times I sometimes do, but usually I am trying to get them to understand the concept of "just one more then we need to go" as I am not always sure they really "get it", so for example, DH reads stories to them at night, and we try to stick to bedtime, so they'll pick out a few books, then he'll say "ok, lets finish brushing teeth (they brush during story time)" and one will sometimes be really wanting a specific book that he didn't read to be read, and if he hesitates or say, "no more its time for bed" they'll start crying, etc, so we have said "ok, we will read this ONE more book, but then its time for bed"<br>
Is this setting up a bad cycle? In some senses, it seems harmless, to read ONE more book before going to sleep... and like I said, I try to use it to show them the meaning of the phrase. Now at rare moments when we have had desserts say, I have not givin in, like one ones MORE ICE CREAM! I will say "that was yummy wasn't it, but we all just had a little bit and that is enough for now" and don't give IN even if there is more screaming and fits.<br>
Is there a difference?<br><br>
2) what about if you change your mind? Do you need to stick to what you first said no matter what? Like if you think there isn't time to do something "I'm sorry, we can't do that right now, we need to go, we'll do it when we come back" screaming and tantrums... then you think about it, and realize there actually IS enough time... should you then try to explain that and offer it after they calm down?<br>
or, another way for this to occur, if you say "NO" before really thinking about why you are saying "NO" or if you really NEED to say it... like you just didn't feel like doing it yourself, then after saying "NO" you think... well, there really is no reason they can't do that/have that right now... what kind of message does this make?<br><br>
Sorry if these things seem to "planned out and logical" I'm mostly loving hearing from others how they think through these things, also I'd like to have a nice open discussion with DH as he and I weren't seeing things the same way on the matter (we are going to use this thread as a discussion starter)<br><br>
thanks again for your thoughts!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>seemfrog</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10787522"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">2) what about if you change your mind? Do you need to stick to what you first said no matter what?</div>
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I've had times when I reconsider my initial "no" response to DS. I don't feel like I am giving in, but I also will think out loud to him, hoping to plant the seeds by modeling reasoning/reevaluation and compromise. I also have no problem admitting in front of him when I have been wrong or unfair about something.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I've had times when I reconsider my initial "no" response to DS. I don't feel like I am giving in, but I also will think out loud to him, hoping to plant the seeds by modeling reasoning/reevaluation and compromise. I also have no problem admitting in front of him when I have been wrong or unfair about something.</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br>
I believe that it is good for children to see adults admit when they are wrong....It shows them that everyone makes mistakes and gives them the opportunity to see us (their biggest influence) work through and resolve these mistakes. It is a great way to teach problem solving in real life situations. I think the key is to do what the PP said and let them hear you work throught your train of thought, so they can see that the reason you are changing your mind is not because the threw a fit, but because you made a mistake.<br><br>
I think with all of the above scenarios the key is to not give your child something when they are whining, crying, having a tantrum, etc. This just plants the seeds that they get things they want when they act this way, instead of them learning to ask for it in a polite, calm manner. Now I know that everyone has probably at some point had a bad day and done this, but the key is to keep those moments to a bare minimum.
 
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