Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,892 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm really torn here. I know that most hardcore GDers don't believe in punishments or threats or bribes. I don't either, really, for the most part.<br><br>
But where do you draw the line between always letting your kids get away witht stuff and actually "disciplining" them?<br><br>
Case in point... today, I needed to wash my dd's hair. She'll be five next month. It was totally ratty looking and she hadn't had a bath in three days. I gave her the five-minute warning... told her after Sesame Street we needed to wash her hair. After her show was over, she refused. When I tried to discuss it with her, she freaked out and physically lashed out with her feet and hands.<br><br>
There are really *no* natural consequences I can think of in this situation. And it is something I felt really had to be done. We have a horrendous flea problem right now and I've actually found them in her hair <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> What do I do? Say "Okay, dear, tell me when it's convenient for you"? At what point do you, as a parent, get to do things when they work for YOU? Or is it about the kids doing what they want when they want to and you just have to suffer the consequences of that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,596 Posts
Oh geez. Thats horrible. I think 5 is old enough to be more reasonable about this. Also too hold to hold and do it quick like I might with a babe/toddler. Its tricky! Also, the natural consequence in this situation is one that affects the whole household, and thats not fair. Reasonably good hygeine is not too much to expect from someone in you live with. Add to that the fact that you are responsible to maintain her hygeine. Its part of your job to keep fleas out of her hair! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Depending on her presonality, it might go better to approach her verbally with the "problem" and ask her to please make a plan to fix the problem. Spell it out, ask her what should be done, and then consider her suggestions. Try anything she suggests! I distinctly remember my DH taking one of the kids outdoors and letting them take a bath in the wading pool -- off season. Crazy, but it killed the power struggle.<br><br>
If her response is a flat out refusal to think of any solution, then tell her that you will have to solve it then and she might really hate your solution. I don't know if this even applies -- my kids are free to choose between keeping their hair short or keeping it clean and combed. They generally choose regular haircuts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,892 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ya know what, if I would've been thinking more "clearly" (it's kind of hard after spending all your days trying to avoid power struggles :LOL), I could've had a fun option, like "Let's play hairdresser! I'll wash your hair over the sink! Won't that be fun?"<br><br>
But sometimes I'm soooo tired and cranky I just WANT TO GET IT DONE. I don't have the energy reserves to be creative and freeflowing, esp. when I'm in a time crunch.<br><br>
Maybe when something comes up like that, I can take several minutes to rest and regroup and than come back when I can deal with it constructively....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
You sound far more successful at GD than me! But you're right, there are some things you have to say no or yes to when it's not what they want. - You wouldn't let her run in the road when she was 2, she has to accept certain limits on her hair now she's 5. Making it fun is OK as an idea, but I don't think you can always be expected to do that. I don't think they learn limits that way. There comes a time when something is not fun or they can't be distracted.<br><br>
I think mamaduck's idea of choices is good. Either you offer alternatives or you get her to come up with some. It is easy to explain to her about fleas but it's true that "washing" is not the only option - aparently fleas can't live in hair if it's shorter than a centimetre (just less than half an inch?)! My ds's looked a bit like convicts for a while but it sure beat all that washing....<br><br>
Sometimes they can surprise you with their imagination for alternatives....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,596 Posts
Candiland -- I love your idea for making it fun, but I have to agree with arcenciel that you simply can't always do that. And you shouldn't always be expected too. Maybe part of the time, but when you have run out of resources and energy, then you can't do more than you can do. I guess I'm just saying, don't be so hard on yourself. And that your expectations of her are reasonable whether you are in "fun mode" or not.<br><br>
I had another thought though, for whatever its worth. Do you have a routine for hair washing? I find that a lot goes unchallenged if its written into the routine. For instance, my little guy gets his hair washed every other day. He'll ask, "Is it hair washing day?" All I have to do is refer to yesterday -- and he'll say, "Oh yeah... I guess so." He may be glum about it, but if its in the routine, and we've ben consistant about it... then he goes along with it. It is no longer about me bossing him around. It's about something outside us both -- "the way we do it." It might even help to give her some control in planning the routine.... let her decide which nights are for hairwashing. Then you can say, "Oh, but its Friday! We always wash hair on Fridays!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
We had this problem yesterday, she was in the tub adn refused to wash her hair. She got out of the tub so I pretended I was the washing machine monster and I tackled her.<br><br>
Then I held her by her legs and dipped her hair in the tub and agitated her by her legs (she is four and light). She thought this was hysterical. So I bring her back up, put some soap on and whisked her to the sink where we made a mountain out of her soapy hair. Then back to agitating by her ankles in the tub. I had to dump some water here and there to get the soap out. But pretty much, I just behaved so completely outrageously that she was in shock and thought i was funny. I would have been embarrassed if not in the company of children.<br><br>
I was pretty damp but it got the job done and it was not emotionally scarring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
My mom used the natural consequence (or somewhat natural...) with hair. If I whined or complained when she combed/washed it, etc...off to the hairdressers for a haircut. If I wanted long hair, I had to take care of it. Fair, and she will get to decide what is more important...of course, even short hair needs to be washed.<br><br>
Have you tried letting her wear goggles while you wash hair/ Keeps the water out of the eyes and is kinda fun too....just an idea i saw once and thought was cool.<br><br>
good luck,<br>
anno
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,380 Posts
I used the goggles idea - it was great. She looked so silly that i took a ton of pictures, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
Another thing that might help is play "beauty shop" and let her wash a doll's hair in the tub as you wash hers. Call her "miss" and put on a fake French accent and she'll probably love it. I do this when I cut my daughter's toenails. I'd be horrified if anyone actually overheard me, though! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
As far as GD, natural consequences and punishment go, you have to find a balance that works for you. If you can raise your child with no punishment at all, great. That's what I strive for, but on rare occasions my daughter will lose a privilege for serious misbehavior that has no real "natural" consequences. I do try to only do this with a warning first, so it is not a knee-jerk reaction - "That's it, no video this afternoon!" is not something I want to do. But these "punishments" are few and far between. Overall, we tend to use reasoning and natural consequences and problem solving with her, and she responds well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
can you combine the idea of a routine with the hairdresser/fun stuff? can you agree that every 5th time she gets the hairdresser version or something? so she'll have 4 regular washings and then a fun one...if she's resisting on the 3rd wash, just remind her that she only has two more times, etc...or is that too distant a reward for a 5 yo? i only have a 19mo so maybe i'm talking out of my butt. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43,705 Posts
In this situation, I think the "natural consequence" is that you "have to wash her hair like a baby" rather than being able to "wash her hair like a big girl."<br><br>
IMO, there does come a point where I'm the Mommy and I have to put my foot down, tears or no tears. I often find myself repeating "Keeping you safe and healthy is more important than keeping you happy."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,944 Posts
We have a few items that are non negotiable. I even tell her that. Sorry, but putting your feet on the table and not washing your hair are just things that can't be tolerated.<br><br>
We discuss things and I will sometimes wash hair very very quickly and use baby shampoo instead of kid shampoo (easier to rinse and leave in if needed).<br><br>
Sigh... I don't like to force things....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,938 Posts
I really like the idea of the haircut . . .if it were me, I'd probably have to rehearse saying it so that it was clear that a haircut would not be a punishment, just one of two good choices (for me to wash or for DD to get the haircut). If you go this route, I'd suggest doing it a time where an immediate haircut is possible (esp. if you don't typically cut her hair).<br><br>
I agree, too, that not everything should be "fun." I don't have the TCS background, so I do think some things in life are icky and the best thing to do is get it over with . . . so it's a good lesson! (One that's taken me years to learn!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
NAK<br><br>
Sometimes the natural consequences around here are that dd can not do anything else she wants until the "chore" or "requirement" is done. This sounds like, "Sure, you can play puter - after your bath." or "If we get the bath done quickly, we'll have time to play charades before bed" or "Yes, I already made the cookies by myself, you took too long getting in the bath and I couldn't wait any more."<br><br>
HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Sounds like you are doing great. I think we are raising my daughter very gently as well but do run into similar problems. Often we come up with a playful response but there are definately issues that show signs of being a power struggle at times. My response to these non-negotiable items is to let her know that it needs to be done and it is the top thing on our list of stuff to do. She is welcome to stomp off and refuse but as soon as she asks for a story, or snack or to go play etc we tell her we'ld love to do that with her but the next thing we have to do is (get dressed in real clothes (she'ld like to wear a too small swimsuit everywhere), clean-up the mess that was made earlier etc). She understands that *we* think something is really important but is not punished for not doing it on our schedule, she just needs to do it before we move on.<br><br>
Usually she comes up with some sort of deal though<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> She is the ultimate wheeler dealer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br>
Diane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,071 Posts
I don't think this is helpful at all, but seems to relate. My daughter hates having her hair brushed, and I hate the power struggle, so I asked her a few times a day "Can I brush your hair now? If we do it now, it won't be all knotty and painful." She just kept up with no thanks. This went on for almost three days, and she had dreds growing in there, and I said let me show you - and took her to the mirror and showed her the dread locks. I showed her how I have to pull the strands apart one by one now and it isn't as easy as putting a brush through her hair everyday.<br><br>
She sat and watched some TV while I brushed and worked on her hair and I repeated (nag nag) "You know, this isn't fun for anyone, can we please brush your hair more often to avoid this?" Now, she brings the brush to me every morning, living in fear of a half hour session. This to me was a natural consequence, she saw for herself the result. Unfortunately, often natural consequences for them are consequences for us also when they are young and still require our help. I find I am often living out the consequences of her actions with her :LOL.<br><br>
Like I said, not really helpful for your situation, but I know how you feel, it is a struggle finding a natural consequence sometimes, without too much hurt. One would hate for a consequence in your situation to be someone telling her she smells or looks ratty, but you never know, if it is the right person, it may just do the trick. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,628 Posts
Boy. I struggle with this a lot. I have a very spirited almost 3 yo and we have not been the best GDers since our youngest son was born over 3 months ago. We give our son a LOT of wiggle room on almost everything. We really only have safey & non-hurting rules. And I am trying to instill good manners in my son with reminding him to say his pleases and thank-yous, etc. But other than that, we give him a lot of "freedom".<br><br>
That said, I have part of my brain that would LOVE on occasion for my son to take what I say as the final word on things. And although I am tempted to say that mama's word should sometimes be what goes, it is near to impossible to have that be the reality in our house. I've tried it. It doesn't work. The only thing that works for my son is patience and time, and when I don't have it, hopefully my DH is around to step in. And hopefully we're both not at the end of our ropes at that moment.<br><br>
Yes, on some level I really do believe that a parent's word must be the end of the line with certain behaviors, and hygiene and safety issues, it is really impossible anyway unless you have a really pliant kid who would just "jump into line" so to speak with a certain word or look or statement from the parent.<br><br>
So, the moral to my rambling is yes, I do think there are times that your kids should do things on your timetable. But if you have a very spirited kid, those tactics don't usually work anyway. So why go there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,595 Posts
I agree Bearsmama. My dd's are spirited and a bit more<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> There are just too many things that happen that are out of control with these two little one's personalities. I have to set alot BIGGER boundaries than I have ever expected, but it hepls for us. Most of the natural consequences just don't help with us. But I am STILL trying<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,892 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks so much for all these responses!<br><br>
I do try to give her leeway and do things in her own time, to an extent... but it gets tricky when I have a time schedule, too, and can't wait the two or three hours for her to decide to do it. Do you think it's confusing for children to be able to "get their own way" a lot of the time but then turn around and tell them that this other thing is non-negotiable?<br><br>
When she was smaller, I let her get away with constant whining, tantruming, and screaming at me. Now it's become a habit. Everything turns into this huge deal... she'll even do it in public... she's fall down on the floor, sucking her thumb, screaming and crying and tantruming and I can't even TALK to her about anything because she's freaking out so bad. I'm kinda at a loss right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,532 Posts
This might not be helpfull at all to your situation, but this is what WE do:<br><br>
My son hates, hates, HATES to wash his hair. Luckily it`s pretty short, so that makes it a little easier.<br><br>
We go swimming (indoor waterpark) once a week. And the rules there is that in order to go in to the pools, you have to wash your body and hair. So, if he doesn`t wash, we can`t swim.<br><br>
This has completely solved our problem. After doing this for a few months, he now actually agrees to have me wash his hair at home sometimes, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,388 Posts
<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;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>candiland</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Do you think it's confusing for children to be able to "get their own way" a lot of the time but then turn around and tell them that this other thing is non-negotiable?<br>
(</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
This is a question that I struggle with too. I have finally decided, through observation and trial and error, that as long as the non-negotiable things are consistant, it is OK. Oh, and when we do deviate from the usual, I am sure to say "because of X special reason, just for today it is OK not to do Y". Because I've never been able to be 100% consistant on everything!<br><br>
For a while (like 2 years or so) my DS didn't like hair washing either. We had a regular hair day so it was part of the routine and it wasn't a surprise. He had a choice about shower or bath, and we had 2-3 different shampoos that he could chose from, so he had some control. He could also choose between Mommy & Daddy helping him. And we let him do as much as possible on his own.<br><br>
And that is probably my approach to most things that have to be done. We have a regular routine/schedule for them, but then build in several choices so there is control. I try never to surprise them with stuff they don't like at the last minute. And if the routine does change, I give a reason. (E.g Grandma is coming for a visit so we have to clean house today instead of tomorrow.)
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top