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What is the best response when a 3yo says this? Sometimes, it's in response to a request, that probably sounds to ds as more of a demand. (ex: my grandma is here, and she just said to ds "how about you go to the potty" he said, quite adamantly "No, I won't." Obviously, the response was "ok")<br>
And sometimes in situations where there is really not an option. Like the other day in the grocery store, he wanted some Thomas Trains (that they conveniently place RIGHT by the cash registers). I empathized, explained, gave him his wish in fantasy, tried to find other fun things for him to do, insisted, and eventually told him that I would just wait there until he was ready to put it back. He said "I won't!" (and he didn't. I could see it really wasn't going anywhere, and I ended up putting it back and carrying him out of the store SCREAMING. I had to wait for my grandma who was paying, because I wasn't sure if she could carry all the bags by herself, and she didn't have a quarter to get a cart. He screamed. We eventually got to the car, and he stopped screaming after 5-10 minutes in the car. Yeah, that was stressful...It will be a while before *I* go grocery shopping with a 3yo again lol)<br><br>
It seems to me that he is in the process of figuring out that he might actually have more control than he thought. lol. Obviously, developmentally appropriate.<br>
What can I do to give him that opportunity to be in control (while still saying no to the things that matter). At this age, is "giving choices" a good idea? I've never been a fan of the idea of "false choices" (as in, you have no choice about a bath, but I'm going to try to distract you by giving you a choice of washcloth color.)<br>
I've always tried to be "don't MAKE him make choices, but LET him make choices that he makes of his own volition" but perhaps that isn't age appropriate anymore? Maybe that was good and well for the agreeable 2yo I had oh so long ago, but not so good anymore...lol
 

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Very interested in responses to this. We get to the same point at times. I agree with you on the false choice thing, but I don't know, maybe something like that would be easier for a 3-4 y.o. to handle than just plain old enforcing our will by taking the toy away? But what would it be? "Would you like to put the train on the shelf or hand it to the cashier?" Or, "Would you like me to put it away or would it be easier for you if I do it?" But once we're in that state, that power struggle, I can't see either of those being met with anything more reasonable than screaming.<br><br>
I don't know. There's got to be some way to diffuse that power struggle, because at that point, I think that's what it is. If there's time, maybe allow a minute or two to take a break from the situation? Perhaps, "I know that is such a neat toy. Would you be willing to play with it for two more minutes right here next to the cashier while I check through these groceries?" Maybe ask grandma or the cashier to let us know when it's been 2 minutes?<br><br>
It's been a few months since I read Playful Parenting and I have a terrible memory so I need to go through it again sometime, but I can see some way of making a game out of it. Maybe pick up another toy nearby and act like you just couldn't possibly leave the store without it? Ask your son for advice, tell him you just don't know how you can put it down, does he have any suggestions?<br><br>
I am speaking from much experience doing exactly what you did, although I don't think I've had as much patience to go through all the steps of explaining and giving the wish in fantasy before I just insisted, but I can tell you one thing: the insisting has NEVER worked. As in, I've never gotten to that point where I said in my very serious, stern voice, "Sariah, put the toy down" and had her comply. I just realized that, typing this out and it makes me realize how dumb I am--why can't <i>I</i> learn? If it doesn't work, and it just makes her dig her heels in further so that the absolute only thing that will get her out of the situation is for me to physically force it and then deal with the mess of screaming hysterical emotional breakdown afterward, why, oh WHY do I continue to try it?<br><br>
I'm really glad you posted this, and that I took the time to respond because it's making me think and when I started posting, I really didn't have any answers, and was just hoping to sub and get some solutions, but now I think I have a plan.<br><br>
I will try one or more of the things you did, as well as the things I did, and then depending on how much time and patience I have at the moment, if it doesn't look like anything is going to happen willingly anytime soon, I will skip the part where I insist/demand she comply and try to remain either playful and cheerful OR regretful, apologetic, and empathetic (depending on how she handles the physical intervention), as I gently put the toy back and if need be pick her up or hold her hand and guide her out of the situation. And then compassionately help her heal from what will surely be an emotional backlash at having been thwarted in her choice.<br><br>
It's so tough. I'm still excited to hear other suggestions, so keep them coming!
 

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I wish I had a magic answer, too. It seems every technique we figure out only works for a while then we have to think of something else.<br><br>
For us, its mostly been (as much as possible) planning ahead. Checking out the checkout we use before getting in line (some stores have "family-friendly" checkouts).<br><br>
At the beginning of the shopping trip, I let her pick up something safe that she can hold and usually by the end she is ready to let it go if I don't make a big deal out of letting it go, and having it to hold onto sometimes keeps her from wanting other things. If she doesn't have something to hold that she has found in the store early and instead finds something at the checkout, it is usually a fight to get her to put it back. So its helpful to go straight to the toy aisle first thing to get her something to look at/hold/play with and by the end she is usually ready to part with it. I don't know how long this will last, though. I suspect as she gets older her attention span is going to get longer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Avoiding going stressful places when she's tired or not up to the task.<br><br>
Sometimes for reasons I don't understand, when I've gotten down on her level (e.g. knelt in front of her) and said, "Can I talk to you a sec?" then waited respectfully for her to calm down, then said something honest like, "Papa and I would really like to do X. I see that you really don't want to do X. Would you be willing to do X with us anyway?" Then very bizarrely she often shows me what she needs to make doing X tolerable for her... such as she goes and picks up a toy, brings it back, and climbs into the stroller when minutes ago she was in absolute refusal mode and in meltdown. I don't know why this sometimes works.<br><br>
And ultimately, when I haven't anticipated what's going to be a problem and she just has to do something that she is dead-set against, I explain, sympathize, and physically prompt her through it while she screams and rages. When she will allow a hug I give her one and tell her that I know that was awfully hard for her.
 

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I can relate to this, and boy those darn checkouts with candies & toys INFURIATE me. I think it's just cruel and such a focus of our consumer society.<br><br>
Anyway, in those situations where I have exhausted EVERY SINGLE ONE of my GD tools (making requests, playful parenting, validating feelings, redirection, expressing needs, alternate solutions, etc.) I do tend to still give choices, which I guess are really false choices. I would say something like, "We will be putting the toy back today even though I know you don't want to. I am sorry that you can't have it. You can choose to put the toy back now or you can choose for me to put it back." It's basically the last resort in letting him know what is going to happen and sometimes he does put it back himself. Sometimes he doesn't and it can lead to a meltdown.<br><br>
Then I try to follow up with empowerment. I let him choose his snacks or music to listen to in the car. I snuggle. I wait until the emotions have calmed down and then I talk about it. Because we've used GD so much, it's rare that it comes to that, but I do feel that sometimes it is necessary and I try to handle it in as gentle a way as possible.
 

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We just started giving ds an allowance (3 yo). So now when we are at the store and he throws a fit to get something, I remind him that he has a list of things he wants to buy with his money and he can put the item on his list. When we are at home, we go over his list and he decides what he wants to buy and saves his money for that. Usually it works. Of course, his list is way long, but it will help me with b.day and Christmas gifts!<br><br>
As for asking him things like going potty, I try to phrase it in a way that lets him know he has to do it, like "we have to go potty". If he wants a choice, it is more along the lines of "do you want to go upstairs or downstairs?" If it is something I don't care about, then the choice is his.
 

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So, I need to stop insisting, as the pp said. Insisting does sometimes "work" but I have to imagine that it just sets us up for future power struggles, in many cases.<br>
I also like the allowance idea. I thought briefly about that, then forgot about it. Sounds like an idea ds would enjoy.<br>
I also need to find ways to empower him when there is no power struggle. I try to be consensual as much as possible, but it's so easy for me to slip into the "what I say goes" place.<br><br>
On that trip, I did the list thing too. We are visiting my family on Thanksgiving, and doing Christmas gifts then. I told him we'd put it on his list, so his grandma knows what he wants. Didn't matter- he wanted it NOW.<br>
And with anything else, I bet giving him 2 more minutes would work. But not Thomas Trains.<br><br>
When dp goes shopping, he lets ds pick out one thing. But he lets that one thing change, as ds sees something new. Sometimes they end up with 4 things in the cart, and ds picks which one he wants. But that's with food! Not some $20 Thomas Trains that don't even fit on his track!<br><br>
The Secret of Parenting thing has worked like a charm, every single time before this. I'd tell him to put it back (along with explaining, and trying to find an alternative), I'd wait until he chose to do so, (false choice, I guess) then he'd put it back and happily move on.<br>
Earlier that day, he wanted a candy bar. I waited for him to put it back, he said "I won't put it back" but eventually did, and was quite ok with it.<br>
About the Thomas Train, he said "I won't put it back. Never." and evidently, he meant it. lol.<br><br>
You know what eventually got him to stop screaming like I was abducting him? I was exasperated and said that the only way that he was going to get more trains was if he sold the ones he had. (I was REALLY sure that would be met with an absolute "no" to selling his trains.) He stopped crying, and as soon as we got home, got out 10 trains to sell. He persisted for 2 days (and I was starting to really regret I said it), before he decided that he wanted to play with some of the trains he'd put out.<br>
(Thinking about it later, I should have told him he could sell the cheap plastic toys that I hate. lol. That's a deal I could get with)
 

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i think my DS is a few months younger than yours, but he's just been getting into problem-solving in the last few weeks. i thought he would be too young for it, but i tried it in desperation, and it's actually working. we do it a la How to Talk...<br><br>
when we reach a sticking point, i say "we have a problem" - making it about <b>us</b> needing to find a solution <b>together</b> rather than being in competition. and i state both our wishes without comment or judgement, even in my tone of voice "you want me to keep playing cards; i want to go get dinner started." then i ask him "what do you think we should do?" and i listen. often his idea is acceptable (play just a little bit more, then mama go make dinner), sometimes it isn't and i propose another idea and see what he thinks of that. it really helps him buy into what we're doing, and i think it's giving him problem-solving skills. the one thing i worry about is i don't want to turn it into pure bargaining... i want to stay oriented to the idea that we're working out a common problem together, rather than negotiating with each other in a zero-sum game.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mezzaluna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9338544"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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when we reach a sticking point, i say "we have a problem" - making it about <b>us</b> needing to find a solution <b>together</b> rather than being in competition. and i state both our wishes without comment or judgement, even in my tone of voice "you want me to keep playing cards; i want to go get dinner started." then i ask him "what do you think we should do?" and i listen.</div>
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I really like that! Thanks <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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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 want to stay oriented to the idea that we're working out a common problem together, rather than negotiating with each other in a zero-sum game.</td>
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This is something I was thinking about recently too. But how is it done? I found myself saying something today that wasn't exactly what I wanted. We were getting ready to go somewhere, and then kind of tested the waters by resisting a little. I wasn't in a hurry and thought it would be a good time to give her some power over when we left so I totally played along and told her we would go when she was ready this time, since last time (the other day at a store, it turned into a big ta-do), I decided. But that's not exactly what I want. It's turn taking, for one thing, and I'm sure it won't work out that we could really just take turns being the one to decide when we leave a place. But what do I say then? You can decide now because it's not a big deal to me this time? What about when it's a big deal for both of us? Obviously I have a long way to go!<br><br><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 say "we have a problem" - making it about us needing to find a solution together rather than being in competition. and i state both our wishes <b>without comment or judgment, even in my tone of voice</b> "you want me to keep playing cards; i want to go get dinner started." then i ask him "what do you think we should do?" and i listen.</td>
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Loved this too, especially what I bolded, because usually when I do this, my tone implies that what I <i>have</i> to do is OBVIOUSLY more important than what she <i>wants</i> to do. And of course it's met with resistance. I can see how leaving out the judgment would really help! Thank you for the way you worded that!<br><br>
And we've recently instituted the allowance thing too, for this very reason. You can see where I got my idea and some discussion that flowed from it on my blog, starting with <a href="http://ponderingparenting.com/2007/08/08/saying-yes/#comment-1302" target="_blank">this comment from me</a>.
 

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Nice blog (I'm only a bit though it so far). Ita with this:<br>
"I’ve recently been considering the idea that it isn’t saying yes to kids that spoils them. It isn’t even giving them what they want when they want it. It’s saying yes grudgingly."<br><br>
I read that in a book once, and thought it was fantastic! Not that I always act in accordance with it, but I still think it's spot on.<br><br>
I love the way you go on to explain it- I've never seen it explained quite that way, and it's really helpful.
 

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Thanks, Becky. I just reread my own post and re-resolved to say yes enthusiastically. Funny how we get these great insights, resolve to do things differently, and then forget them almost immediately when things get tough! If I could just remember everything I've read and learned (and written), IN THE MOMENT, I'd be an awesome mother!<br><br>
And I just posted the quote in your sig line to my blog. Love it!
 
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