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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First let me say that I am a FIRM believer in gentle discipline, in setting rhythms, in respecting my child's wants and needs etc.<br>
but what do i do when I can see no other way to stop the situation?<br>
I think one of the scariest things for a kid must be to have someone stronger than them using their physical strength on them so that they have no other option.<br>
ok here is an example. my dh has a bad back and is in pain most of the time. my dd1 is 4.5 and in a stage where she is really acting up, crying at every little thing, making everything difficult. in a situation where she is sitting on dh, refusing to move, while he is in pain and he is trying to calmly explain to her that he is in pain and needs her to move, when she really won't move he moves her, she starts screaming and runs to me saying 'papa pushed me'<br>
she needs to understand that it isn't ok to hurt other people, but when she feels like we are hurting her to make her stop hurting us, it doesn't solve anything.<br>
but i can truly not see any other way to make the situation stop.
 

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It is absolutely necessary to occasionally use physical force when raising and teaching children. Suppose you are by a busy street and you kid starts to run out into traffic. Of course you are going restrain them (physical force) and you would be considered a neglectful parent if you didn't.<br><br>
If your dh really did push her, that's a different issue; but assuming he removed her gently and she didn't like it, well your role as a parent is not to always make her happy, but rather to teach her. If the physical force is coming from someone the child trusts, and is gentle, I don't see why it would be frightening to the child. Frustrating, yes, because they didn't get what they want, but not frightening.
 

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I don't think it's hurting her to gently stop her from hurting your dh. I think it's perfectly ok to protect his back, and if she does not get off of him, to gently remove her and explain why.<br><br>
My DP recently had both feet operated on. My 4.5 year old also recently went through a difficult stage where he was doing just the exact opposite of what we asked him to do. There were several times where he was hurting DP's feet, and didn't move when asked. I moved him, and explained why.<br><br>
I think as long as it's gentle, with no anger or force, and it's explained, a 4.5 year old is plenty old enough to understand!
 

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I agree that it is sometimes necessary, and I think certainly the situation you described is one of those times.<br><br>
But I have been thinking about this a lot lately too. Since my daughter has been so little, I have felt okay with physically moving her, not regularly, but maybe too frequently, like if it seems to me she's taking too long putting down a dangerous object, or coming in the house when it's dinner time. I've always done it very gently and very sympathetically, understanding how hard it would be to have these giants always stopping the fun, making you do things you didn't really want to do, etc.<br><br>
But I felt it necessary, especially where safety was an issue.<br><br>
Now that she is getting older (3.75), I realize that I am using my greater strength to control her way too much. We never punish, but I think I go in and stop certain behaviors way more than I should, and really, more than I would need to.<br><br>
I just mentioned in a blog post about not punishing, that I think if I held out a punishment when she didn't obey me, she would most likely wait for the threat before she listened. But now I'm realizing that I could be doing the same thing with physically stepping in on a situation. I thought I was showing consistency, and follow through, by "helping" her do the right thing (say, come inside when it's time for dinner, or put down an object I don't want her playing with), but now I realize that I'm handicapping her, by not allowing her the freedom to choose to do the right thing. If she knows I will just come and do it if she doesn't, she will probably just hold out until I do. Exactly how a kid who is used to being threatened will hold out giving the toy back to his sister until mom says, "Give it back now or you'll be in time-out."<br><br>
So the past couple of days I've been trying to focus on letting her make the choice. It is really a hard thing to do--to let her think she can defy me--but it is turning out nicely, because when I do this, she almost always chooses to do the right thing, although often it takes a couple of minutes, and maybe a show of "defiance". But I think that will subside as she realizes that she really is in control of herself, and I'm not going to step in all the time and do it for her.<br><br>
Anyway, sorry, I don't know if that's even helpful, I was just thinking outloud! There surely will still be situations when I'll feel it's necessary to use physical force, like in your example, if she's hurting someone, it really does have to stop RIGHT THEN, and I can't wait for her to go through a little rebellion, test to make sure she's in control, and then finally decide to stop hurting the person! But hopefully lessening those times of actual physical intervention will also lessen the times I find it necessary!
 

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Would you be more comfortable if you said:<br><br>
"It looks like you are not moving, I am going to help you move now." and then moved her.<br><br>
Or you could offer her a choice.<br><br>
"Daddy needs more space and needs you to move. Would you like to get down or do you need help?" I count to 3 so that she has a chance to decide and can predict when she will be moved then I move her.<br><br>
With one little girl, she would at first scream "You're hurting me!", but I wasn't. She didn't want to be moved and was angry. Which I totally understand. We talked about it later when she wasn't upset and after about 3 times of this pattern she realized that I was going to stop or move her and she wasn't upset anymore when I would. Although, at first it was very disturbing to think I had hurt her. I had to double check everything I had done. It turns out that her mom was getting the same response, and I know her mom wasn't hurting her.<br><br>
As long as you aren't angry and you see it as helping her when she is unable to move herself, IMO you are still being gentle. I think that a lot has to do with the attitude of the parent/care taker.<br><br>
I don't see how you can get out of using physical force at some time or another. IMO it can also make them feel safer to know that you will keep them safe whether they are upset (temper tantrum) or providing self-control for them when they are unable to.
 

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you know I think that kids that are angry about what limits you make may be hurting- they feel the limit --- but I don't think it is HARMING them to feel limits- I have a house full of very strong willed children and everyone of them has felt hurt by not being able to do just exactly what they had an impulse to do- or even a design to do-- once my younger son painted my sister's dog with finger nail polish-- that I took the polish away from him and he could not paint the dog or anything else with it caused him to cry for a considerable time-- and he remembers that I made him so mad and he understands now that it was necessary but he also knows what his feelings were then...<br>
I would physically restrain a child who was harming anyone- I would also physically restrain an adult for that matter-- first use words- or sometimes it would be words and movement at the same time-- it is not something I will negotiate or tolerate. I have even said I am sorry you are so upset but it is not ok to hurt someone else.
 

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Good point about restraining an adult who is hurting someone. It helps to put things in the context of simply how we would respond to anyone who was doing this or that.<br><br>
I think children also feel unsafe or insecure if those limits aren't clear for them. Sometimes they lack the ability to make these kinds of decisions...particularly with empathy at this age. Your dd is still very egocentric at this age and it's perfectly normal. I think it takes a lot of teachable moments for that empathy muscle to kick in.<br><br>
I think there's nothing wrong with what you've done and I think the suggestions with how you can word it might help you and her in those tricky situations. You will feel that you've given her a choice and she will have a chance to move on her own.
 

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I agree if by "force" you mean gently but physically moving a child away from danger or preventing them from hurting someone, I think that's positive, necessary, and an important boundary for parents to set.<br><br>
I agree with the wording "You are hurting grandpa and need to get down. Would you like to climb down while I count 3, or do you want me to help you?". I add the 'count of 3' because it's a situation where she needs to decide fast if she wants to get down herself, so the time limit makes it clear to her. She has a choice, and IMO that is a respectful, gentle way to handle the situation.
 

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yes I found countdowns to be useful-- and I start at 3--2--1 because some how my kids just did not have the same anticipation of the end at 3 as they did when we would reach 1... maybe they were mathmaticians and knew about infinity <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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What is the underlying need? It sounds like she is seeking more connected engagement with both dh and you. And she is creating an opportunity to engage your reaction. In what ways could you meet the underlying need proactively? Perhaps, have special "papa" time planned each day when they are both feeling most receptive to interaction. Is there a time of day when your dh is feeling his best and could engage your daughter in some fun physical ways?<br><br>
We have some hand clapping games which we do while standing in line, or other close environments which help our son meet his need for physical activity without impacting others. For instance, jumping up high to reach my hands, or the pull the hands away quickly "give me ten" type game, or catch my hands while I hold them together and pull them away. Or create treasure hunts with hints such as "you are getting warm, warmer, no cold" or play some fun games together. Get outside in order to meet the needs for physical play, with dh along but available emotionally as a support.<br><br>
Basically, meet the underlying need in a way which is agreeable to you all. Suggest something fun TO DO, rather than telling her what Not to do.<br><br>
Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for your responses. Pat, you are right on target, but it is so hard. There just isn't enough time in the day and everybody needs something always. DH and I have been making it a point to separate the two girls more and give one on one attention when possible. We are hugging her and telling her how much we love her more. And I am having success with counting to three. about 80% of the time she cheerfully jumps off when I get to three. she likes it being her decision.<br>
I also feel much better about removing her if I am not speaking with anger at the same time. I think I have discovered that I feel worse about getting angry than i do about physically moving her. I am hoping these small changes will get her through this funny stage she's in, it is so stressful to have her falling apart and crying every other minute, i am constantly on gaurd just waiting for the meltdown!
 
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