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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen in "How to Talk" and very often on this board advocation for granting a child's wish in fantasy as a replacement for saying, "No." Example from another thread, child says: "I want candy." Parent responds with, "What kind of candy would you get?" or "Let's make a list of all the different candies you would get."<br><br>
I've really never understood this - it feels to me as if it sends the child's hopes even further up (because he's thinking about all these great candies he would get) and then crashing down (because he's still not getting the candy). This has certainly been my experience with ds - the kid has a wild imagination, but his wants seem to be separate from it. He also is not diverted easily, so he doesn't just go through the fantasy and get on to other things. Is he an anomaly, or have others had this experience? Am I just using this particular technique entirely wrong? How would you follow up this fantasy session if your child does not just work it out and get onto other things?
 

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Well this works very well with my boys. And since it sounds like you are wondering about my post I will try to explain.<br>
Conversations usually go something like this-<br><br>
Ds upset about pulling into the driveway when he wants to go to the trainstore.<br>
ds-i want the train store<br>
me- you would like to go to the train store<br>
ds- i want to go<br>
me- you wish you could go right now<br>
ds- i want to play with the crane and the green engine, and......<br>
me- you would play with all those<br>
ds-I really like the big mountain and that the track is all set up.<br>
me-Shall we go inside and set up your track?<br><br><br>
For us it is more of a way to get his feelings out. It really opens up our conversation. I am doing it to lead him on to talking more, I really want to know what he thinks about it, why it is important to him. Not as a distraction from this issue, but to really keep communicating about it not just cause a fight the way saying no so does. He is feeling really understood, all those confusing feelings are stated in words (you wish you could go right now), or with real physical lists (perhaps the same way an adult is comforted by a journal). How he is feeling is okay, and I can help him understand it.<br><br>
I think that many times we can still find a solution that is okay for everyone, as long as we keep talking. Maybe we can go home and make a train track or maybe he really wanted to see other boys and we can set up a play date or maybe we can set a date in the future to do it, or maybe I can see that this is important for him and we can go (perhaps with me having 15 minutes alone first, or if he will promise to leave easily when I am ready, or we will go look at books for me first so I can sit and read while he plays- when I try to understand and cooperate with him, I often see this feeling reciprocated). As long as we are still communicating we can almost always come to a solution that makes everyone happy.
 

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As with any parenting "technique," you have to know your own kid and adapt it to fit his temperament. So if talking about what kind of candy he would have in fantasy just fuels his disappointment that he can't have any real candy, then this technique just isn't for you! There's really no one-size-fits-all solution.<br><br>
I find that my dd does best with a bit of empathy and then a change of subject. We acknowledge her disappointment, but we don't get carried away and dwell on it, and then I ask her what fun thing we can do now to get her mind off the candy (or whatever it is). Works pretty well for us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LunaMom - That seems to be the best way for ds, as well - though we don't move on very quickly. The acknowledging bit takes quite a long time and sometimes we come back to it even after we've moved on. He's intense... but I love him for it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
Mallory - Thank you for elaborating! The idea makes more sense to me now... I was really hoping to find that I had made some fatal flaw in my employing of it. I really want it to work for us :LOL. When I was reading your scenario, though, I found our stopping point at the part where your ds begins to talk about everything he would like to do at the train store. That wouldn't happen here... maybe it's the age? (I'm assuming that this is the sort of interchange you'd have with your older son? Or does it apply to your younger, as well?) If the older, then I think maybe there is still hope for this in the future. Ds still isn't at the point, though, where he's good at expressing the "why" behind the need.<br><br>
Interesting <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">though, I found our stopping point at the part where your ds begins to talk about everything he would like to do at the train store.</td>
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In my example, he spoke rather clearly, it is usually something I have to decode more- like "and the track is so long, and even when the trains go so fast they don't crash" leaving me to decide that one of the real draws is that the track is set up and fixed. Or he might bring another child into our fantasy "and the other boy had the break down train" again leaving me to understand that having another boy there is part of the fun.<br><br>
I'll try to pay more attention to if it works with my 2 year old. But I think you are probably right that it just depends on your childs temperment, because it seems like it has worked with my 4 year old for a long time (and #2 will almost always do what #1 is doing).
 

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Funny, I don't do this too often but I just used this techinique today with lovely results and I thought I'd share.<br><br>
I picked dd up from kindergarten and we began walking home (a little less than half a mile), and dd days "I don't want to walk! I'm so tired" etc and really getting herself riled up. Instead of my normal pep-talk ("It's a beautiful day! Walking is healthy and fun!" etc) I said, "Hmm, you wish you had a limousine to pick you up, huh? And the limousine would have some snacks in the back- and we could rest and eat instead of this long, tiring walk." Well, dd's eyes lit up and she talked most of the way home about how neat it would be to have a limousine, the sparkly dress she would wear, what the other kids would say, etc etc. She wasn't complaining that she *didn't* have these things, she was just imagining and having fun. And she walked all the way home cheerfully!
 
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