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DH and I have come to the realization that we are not the kind of parents we want to be and we need help! Where do we start learning to help ourselves help our DD? Right now we just feel that DD is always testing and we are always yelling (we don't want to yell, it just seems to happen in the moment). For example, we have a X-Mas tree and DD keeps chewing on the lights. We ask her not to. Then DD will look at us and do it again so we tell her that she may get hurt. Then she will watch us and do it again so we end up yelling at her to stop.

Another incident happened yesterday that really upset DH. DD and DH went to church and during the children's pagent, DD ran up to the front of the church, disrupting the play, and sat down with the kids that were trying to say their lines. The kids were so distracted by DD they had to stop the play and ask for help. Another adult got DD off the stage and DH got her. Needless to say he was embarrassed, but also felt bad for the kids in the play. What should we have done about this?

Anyway, where is a good place to start learning about gentle discipline? How can we become better parents? We do already use active communication--but are wondering how effective that is with a three year old.
 

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There is a sticky at the top of this forum with a list of books about gd. I noticed your thread title right away, because so far my favorite book is Becoming the Parent You Want to Be! Funny, huh?

It does sound like she is testing you! I bet some parents of three year olds and former three year olds have BTDT advice. My guess is that you have to figure out another way of setting the limit without yelling, a way that shows you are paying attention (because that's what she wants, I guess) and yet doesn't involve yelling.

I don't have an X-mas tree (or a three year old, yet) but it does occur to me that you could restring the lights so that they are too high for her to reach. The lights must be so incredibly special to her that she can't resist them. My son has a lot of these "mysterious objects of desire"--we used to just call them M.O.D.s for short. The older he gets, the more intense he is about not letting go of them! Pretty twinkly things made out of smooth glass--and you get all excited and yell--how can she resist that! Maybe you can put other, safer ornaments within her reach. Maybe you and she can make other safer ornaments and hang them in her reach together? Even nice paper ornaments that you cut and she colors would be special, and then you don't have to worry about the mouthing.

About the walking up on stage at church: well, here's the Jewish perspective again! At my MIL's synagogue, ambulatory babies and toddlers just saunter jaunty-jolly all over the bimah (the platform where all the action happens in the synagogue). It's normal. You have to decide what you and your community can tolerate. If you can't tolerate the attention-seeking or curiosity-satisfying wanderings, then plan ahead to redirect by bringing books and toys, leaving the sanctuary for the library or children's room or lobby, that kind of thing.
 

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At age 3 she's defintiely old ennough to understand your words, but not nec. old ennough to be controlled by them.

Your problem is that you are expecting your words to control her actions. So yes, explain to her what you want her to and why, but you must use gentle physical intervention.

When she STARTS to make a move torwards that tree or towards that group of kids, tell her to stop ONCE and then immediately move her away. Explanations are good and should follow, but don't expect compliance yet.
 
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