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My dd is not quite two. She is a typical toddler which includes sometimes listening and sometimes doing her own thing. When it is important that she listen and do what I am asking in a timely manner I usually will ask and then count to 3. At the end of three I will help her to comply if she hasn't already done it on her own. I see the counting as giving her space to respond to my request and also it seems to help to focus her on my waiting for her. I will also use it when she is doing something she shouldn't (like climb on the table) to give her an opportunity to follow the rules before I redirect her to something else. It works pretty well for us.

I have read some things about counting being like a threat. We don't punish in our home. I haven't seen a need for punishments although I am still on the fence about it philosophically. Hopefully we will be able to address everything w/o punishments and I won't ever have to make up my mind about it.
I can see that the counting could be a type of threat but it also gives her the time to change what she is doing herself instead of expecting it right when I ask or my asking repeatedly. I ask once and then follow it with a count to three (slower or faster depending on how rushed for time I am and how much she needs to disengage and change her behavior) If she doesn't do what I am asking I will say something like do you need help. Sometimes she says yes and sometimes no but if she still won't comply I will tell her I am helping her and then do it. Usually it involves her going somewhere or not going somewhere so I pick her up at this point and bring her with me where I need her to go.

I just don't want my dd to hear that counting as a threat and so I'm analizing it to see if it is (and wondering what else I could do to give her that space to change instead).
 

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Quote:
I see the counting as giving her space to respond to my request and also it seems to help to focus her on my waiting for her. I will also use it when she is doing something she shouldn't (like climb on the table) to give her an opportunity to follow the rules before I redirect her to something else. It works pretty well for us.

I have read some things about counting being like a threat. We don't punish in our home. I haven't seen a need for punishments although I am still on the fence about it philosophically.
If your parenting paradigm is that the parent is in charge and you do not parent in a way that avoids coercion, I think what you are describing is respectful, kind and firm.


Personally, the action point between my words and follow up was usually more quick, but I had 3 closely spaced kids and a daycare. Your approach seems like a gentler verision of my GOYBP:

http://joanneaz_2.tripod.com/positiv...nter/id23.html

I didn't use "punishment" for my kids when they were 2. I began using related, logical consequences when they approached school age. If you break a window, you pay for it. If you talk to me inappopriately, one of us leaves. If you waste the food you prepare, you wait until the next meal.
 

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The "threat" is that you are going to enforce compliance. Basically, using your physical might to justify making her do something she doesn't want to do. This is coercion. So, if you are comfortable having a relationship with your child based upon using force to get your way and believe that you philosophically want to model the relationship dynamic of using force to get your way, counting allows her to have a (false) opportunity to comply willingly, imo. But, I am of the non-coercive, find a mutually agreeable alternative which meets both people's needs without using might to make me right, practice of relating with people.


And some people are comfortable using coercion to enforce safety compliance, with or without discussion and provision of information first. However, we haven't needed coercion to enforce safety compliance either. We have a consensual relationship based upon sharing information (which includes safety) and I share my authentic concerns and our son has not endangered himself. He has no need to rebelliously do things in spite of my information; so he generally considers it and chooses his actions based upon his best judgement. And I support him practicing using his judgement. I believe the most effective means of developing one's judgement is through practice using it when there is a 'safety net' of my support and presence. (This also nurtures a portable skill (his judgement rather than rules) that my son can use to protect himself when I am not present to enforce safety.)

I do believe that one can "state and wait" until a child is ready to move on to the next activity without pleading or threatening. But, without a (stated or unstated) threat of enforcement if a refusal to "obey" occurs. Obedience is the act of complying to another's judgement, without acting on one's own judgement. I would not like our child to learn to obey anyone except his own mind and his own judgement. This does not imply that other's *input* and *information* are not provided, nor that they will be ignored or disregarded. Our son has no reason (ie. enforced compulsion) to ignore or disregard information unless it contradicts his own mind and his own judgement.

Could you find something else to climb on that meets her need to climb? More physical outlets and opportunities to master this skill? Put whatever she is seeking out of sight, or within reach? (snacks, juice, toys, etc.) Is she seeking your engagement with this 'climbing game'? Are you occupied elsewhere and she could participate in some more useful, practical and constructive manner (measuring cups, stirring, other engagement while you are busy)?

As far as "listening", are you modeling listening to her body language that what she is currently doing is important to her. If my son ignored that I was on the computer and just handed me my coat and said "I need you to go with me now" without my agreement, I wouldn't much like it. Could what she is doing come along? Could you provide an explanation of what might be interesting that she is going *to* do? Are these transition frustrations (of yours) occuring when she is tired or hungry and less abled to tolerate changes and more demands placed on her? Are her needs for quiet, uninterrupted play being considered and met (according to her non-verbals)? Could you provide a snack or toy to redirect her attention to something portable and fun? Could more time be provided to allow for 'toddling' along, instead of hurrying at an adult's pace and schedule?

Sure, it is easier to just expect compliance and "listening" and use coercion though.

Pat
 

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I don't see how the use of enforced compliance can be euphemistically called anything other than force, imo. And I do not believe that there is anything "gentle" about using might (or threatening to use one's physical strength) to enforce compliance. I don't believe my representation of the approach of parenting by force to be inaccurate.

Pat
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by scubamama
Obedience is the act of complying to another's judgement, without acting on one's own judgement. I would not like our child to learn to obey anyone except his own mind and his own judgement.
Pat

Why not? Just wondering...don't you have to obey people/rules in your life?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by scubamama
So, if you are comfortable having a relationship with your child based upon using force to get your way and believe that you philosophically want to model the relationship dynamic of using force to get your way, counting allows her to have a (false) opportunity to comply willingly, imo. But, I am of the non-coercive, find a mutually agreeable alternative which meets both people's needs without using might to make me right, practice of relating with people.

You know - this sounded good to me, too, and I'm all about Alfie Kohn (Unconditional Parenting, Punished by Rewards), Jesper Juul (Your Competent Child), Neufeld and Mate (Hold on to Your Kids) and Rosenbergs Non-violent communication. I'm even on the NVC parenting listserv. But there is a gap between my knowledge and my implementation. Sometimes I simply LOSE IT and start yelling. I've now decided that the counting will give me the space I need when I'm short on time, patience or just sleep to feel like I'm still moving toward my goal (getting out of the house, getting lunch, getting to work on-time) without completely losing my temper. I've decided that's a trick I need in my tool box right now before my own anger seeps out. I agree with all of the above about it being coercive but I seem to need some alternatives before the yelling eeks out.

In a way, I feel like those kids who got abstinence-only sex education. My reading of the reports indicates that it works to delay sex - they seem to lose their virginity later, but once they lose it, they don't take protection. All of my uncoercive parenting reading hasn't left me with any tools for when I'm low on patience or ideas, so I wind up yelling. I'm instituting the 1-2-3 approach for when I'm short on other ideas.
 

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Actually, you don't have do do anything you don't want to in life. Suprisingly, that is completely true. You can eat what you like, dress how you like, go where you like, tell your boss to F- off if you like, speed if you like, even kill someone if you like (I am not condoning it).... Why people don't do all these things is for a few reasons. O)ne, is a code of "good" morals. Two, and probably bigger, is the fear of the known consequence of doing something that probably wouldn't be a wise choice, like telling your boss to F-off. You know if you do that, then you will likely be fired, and you need money to enjoy things you aren't willing to live without, such as a roof over your head.

In theory though, you could very well tell him/her to f-off, at the top of your lungs even, if you didn't want or need the reference, if you had another, better paying job lined up, if you had just won the lottery, or married someone willing to support you financially, or whatever.

We follow the rules because either we care about the feelings of the person we may be hurting if we don't ... or because we know the consequences of what would happen if we didn't. We certainly don't do anything because we "have" to.

There have been a few times on here where I wanted to curse someone out. I mean, I got so angry with a couple of people I wanted to tell them just what I thought of them. I totally could have, I don't "have" to follow any of the rules here, but because I want to be a member of the community here, it was not as important to tell someone off than it was to remain a member here, so I held my tongue or phrased my upset better.

I want my child to do things out of an inner sense of wanting to do the right thing, wanting to do the loving thing, the peaceful thing, the reasonable thing, the smart thing, the thing that most benefits her and her fellow (wo)man. I don't want her to just blindly comply because "sometimes we have to obey." What happens when someone in power is doing something wrong?

Anyway, back to the OP... I don't care for counting as a means of getting the child to do what you want them to do. I agree with what scubamama said basically. If you are going to make your child do something without a choice, just let that be known to her. Be honest. "I know you don't want to go to the store, but I need milk and there is no one to watch you." .. but I think it is really unfair to phrase something like a choice, when clearly the outcome will be the same-- which is you forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do.
 

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cc and pat-
you are talking logical consequence? I personally use logical consequence as my form of discipline in my home but I have often had a "consequence" painted by others as a "punishment" or in fact "forcing" for example if my son is screaming at me in a nasty way and I enforce him being in a different space from me because I don't choose to be around someone who screams. I do that by putting him in his crib or in his room and closing the door- he is forced to obey. He wouldn't just leave if I told him too...he would start screaming that he didn't want a time out. He is after all two.

I do feel I have things I have to obey to be a member of society. I hope for my children that they too become functioning members of society.

I have to pay taxes and obey laws.

I have to obey my boss or teachers.

My husband and I have rules we have agreed on that we both have to obey (such as not cheating).

I suppose that each of these are in fact "choices" but other than agreements with my husband you really can't be a functioning member of society without obeying these rules. And you can't be a functioning member of a partnership if you won't obey any of the partnership's mutually agreed to rules.

But that is just my thinking...maybe you agree and are just talking semantics?
 

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Hi~
My 2 cents worth:

-When I ask dd to do something i first make sure it's something that needs to be done not just me imposing my agenda on my child. If i do so and she dosn't respond to me, i will get down to her level and tell her why i really need "x" to happen and that i would really like her to understand that it is important to me that it is done.
-When i hear someone doing the counting thing it really makes my skin crawl. It seems like an unnessecary assertion of control. Your child is aware of the passage of time, why the need to count it out? If anyone did that to me i would be seriously peeved.
-I HATE the word obey!!!

Isis
 

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You are "obeying" these things though, because you choose to, not because you have to. There is nothing philosophical or metaphorical about it. You don't cheat on your husband because you don't want him to divorce you. You don't want to hurt him, you don't desire another man...whatever... but not because you "have" to be faithful. You are making a choice.

It is not my goal for my daughter to be a "functional member of society" ...shit, George Bush is the president and I wouldn't even call him functional in any sense of the word. My goal is for my daughter to be content with who she sees in the mirror every day. My goal is for my daughter to get a peaceful night sleep at the end of the day without tossing or turning or wondering, or crying, or doubting her choices.

Chances are, as most of us, my daughter will learn that there is a certain "code" of behaviors she should probably adhere to unless she wants to be shunned, or jailed, or whatever...and I trust that she will decide for herself whether certain principles she holds or doesn't hold will be worth fighting for or not.

We all must choose our battles.

I don't have to pay taxes or be faithful to my husband. I could screw another guy while evading my taxes. I don't do these things, but not because I am "obeying" anyone. The only person I am obeying is my own conscience, in not cheating on my husband, and with taxes, I choose my battles... right now I don't want the hassle that goes along with fighting the system on that instance. Many people though, have successfully argued against paying income tax and don't have to pay it.

Life is a choice. When you accept that you are the master of your own fate in almost all life's decisions...that is when we are truly empowered.
 

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The original question was is counting bad. Not theoretical issues associated with choice and law, etc. An excellent topic to discuss, but not what was originally intended.

My thoughts on the OP's question. I think it depends on how it's used. I have used it in two ways.

One that I no longer do as I didn't feel comfortable with it, it didn't work, and I feel it was too punitive. The whole if you don't do x, I'm going to start counting. It comes out as more punitive. Then I get compliance based on more of a fear response than a cooperation or respect response. The only reason dd would comply is because she did not want me to help or give some consequence. Instead now, I will state my request simply and make sure she heard me. Then if she does not comply, depending on what it is, I may ask if she needs help. If she says no, then I respond well I need you to do X, please do that or I can help you. This is not said in a punitive voice, but in a matter of fact we gotta get this done type voice. I only use this in truly, I need you to do this type situations. Caveat: Please any gentle discipline guru's (mamaduck, piglet68) I would welcome your thoughts on this, I am not 100% confident of this as a gentle discipline strategy.

Okay the second way I use counting. When we are preparing to leave something or do something. I don't use it as a "or else" kind of thing, but more a way to prepare dd to let her know we are leaving. And usually I do a 10 count and count super slow so that she is ready by the time I get to counting.
 

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If a parenting practice advocated gentle spanking, or a controlled physical discipline I would call it hitting.
Just like the parenting practice advocating enforced compliance is coercive use of force, imnsho. The issue is "gentle" force is still force. The (positive or negative) connotation that anyone attaches to coercive force appears to vary widely. James Dobson, John Rosemond, The Pearls, etc. all are quite comfortable advocating the use of coercion and force in parenting without any perceived negative connotation.

However, I am advocating consensual, non-coercive gentle parenting practices. And "permissiveness" connotations (positive or negative
) attached to it vary widely also. Also, "non-punitive" does have varying degrees of iterations as it seems to euphemistically include 'imposed consequences' in some coercive parenting paradigms also.
But, I am not so agreeable that *imposing* consequences, abet logical, natural or non-arbitrary are "non-punitive coercion" either.

Coercion and force rely on the implementation of physical, emotional, psychological restraint or imposition on another. Coercion is adversarial. Granted coercion can be imposed violently or "gently". But coercion is hardly as gentle as voluntary agreement to act, which is non-adversarial.
I believe most parents who practice gentle discipline desire a non-coercive and non-adversarial relationship.

Btw, consensual living is not an educational philosophy. It is a manner of relating to others, irrelevant of age, without coercion.


Pat
 

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I believe most parents who practice gentle discipline desire a non-coercive and non-adversarial relationship.
By your definition, perhaps. But it's evident in this forum that non everyone who embraces gentle as part of their parenting also claims non coercive. And many of those do not agree that they are in an adversarial relationship with their children.

I'm not debating the terms, semantics, approach of issues with you. I've discussed this issue for years; I'm done. I'm asking that if you believe in your approach to parenting, please post about it without multitudes of words that label another gentle approach with negative labels.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by captain crunchy

It is not my goal for my daughter to be a "functional member of society" ...shit, George Bush is the president and I wouldn't even call him functional in any sense of the word. My goal is for my daughter to be content with who she sees in the mirror every day. My goal is for my daughter to get a peaceful night sleep at the end of the day without tossing or turning or wondering, or crying, or doubting her choices.
Well it is not my ONLY goal that they be functioning members of society...just one of my goals- sort of my BASELINE (if I do nothing else!) And I think GW has other problems...

BTW I think it is an urban myth that anyone gets out of taxes by suing the govt but even if they did- obeying the law and using the legal system to get out of paying taxes would be "being a functioning member of society"

I guess fundamentally I don't think we do or that it is a good thing that we do- always follow our bliss. I see examples of children who did that as folks like Paris Hilton...and frankly my goal is for more grounded kids than that. I think by learning how to live in the system of rules we exist in I will help my child to have all the things you describe.

I don't make rules just to make them- in fact I aim to have less rules. But I do have rules. For example my first rule was "no touching outlets" and I hold fast to that rule. No matter how fufilled my little darlng things he would be if he licked one!
 

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Ok, similar to what Babybugmama said-
What about counting to three, and saying if it's not done by then, then *I* will do it. So, maybe ds wants to help pick out something to eat, but he's been standing with the fridge door open for a while now. He's not decided yet, but I just want something picked out, so I can close the door and fix some lunch. So I give him a little more time to pick it out himself (and count so he can understand the time limit) and if he hasn't picked something out, I pick it myself. (this is just an example, but similar to what I've done).
btw, ds is 15 mos, and not talking, but understands and communicates VERY well.

So what are the opinions on that type of thing? Counting, with the end result not being that dc HAS to do something, but the end result being that something has to be done within a certain time- whether by mom or dc.

eta- so far, it hasn't ever seemed to bother ds at all.
 

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I guess fundamentally I don't think we do or that it is a good thing that we do- always follow our bliss. I see examples of children who did that as folks like Paris Hilton...
Seriously? honestly? You think Paris Hilton is an example of someone following their bliss? Seriously? You honestly believe that starring in sex tapes, acting out like a maniac in public, dressing um, well..you know...(I could have lived my life without seeing her vagina, I know that much)....acting like a dumb blonde in every interveiw (whether she really is or not), making poor choices in men, putting all her self worth into her body and looks and material possessions... you define that as following your bliss?

Quite honestly, I think part of her behavior is having been raised in a very hands-off, nanny-having, material possessions to replace love, no figure of stability for understanding, love, acceptance, probably the LAST thing from an AP home ....certainly NOT a result of her "following her bliss".

Not knowing her personally, I can only speculate that she is far from "blissful" inside.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MommyMine
cc and pat-
you are talking logical consequence? I personally use logical consequence as my form of discipline in my home but I have often had a "consequence" painted by others as a "punishment" or in fact "forcing" for example if my son is screaming at me in a nasty way and I enforce him being in a different space from me because I don't choose to be around someone who screams. I do that by putting him in his crib or in his room and closing the door- he is forced to obey. He wouldn't just leave if I told him too...he would start screaming that he didn't want a time out. He is after all two.

I do feel I have things I have to obey to be a member of society. I hope for my children that they too become functioning members of society.

I have to pay taxes and obey laws.

I have to obey my boss or teachers.

My husband and I have rules we have agreed on that we both have to obey (such as not cheating).

I suppose that each of these are in fact "choices" but other than agreements with my husband you really can't be a functioning member of society without obeying these rules. And you can't be a functioning member of a partnership if you won't obey any of the partnership's mutually agreed to rules.

But that is just my thinking...maybe you agree and are just talking semantics?

You have just described better than I have been able to why non coercive parenting is simply not right for me. THank you for being so clear and concise.

I want to add that I do not count and I think that counting gives children an excuse not to listen.
I think that studies have shown that children whose parents count to wait for them to obey the children will almost always wait till they hear "3" .
But I do get that maybe you are really counting to give her a reasonable chance to respond. If that is the case I'd probably count to myself to keep myself from getting up and enforcing too quickly.

Oh and thank you HappyHSer for pointing out that NOT all GD parents desire a non coercive relationship with their children.
 
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