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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>OK, I'm reading Unconditional Parenting, and I'm only on chapter 4.  But I am trying to keep the general idea in my mind of not withholding love when my child misbehaves.  I'm hoping that soon there will be some real ideas in the book, but the concept is really affecting my outlook on how to handle day to day situations.  I am just trying to make sure my kids don't percieve me as putting a condition on my affection. </p>
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<p>With that said, this happened this weekend....</p>
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<p>We went to Tombstone and dd saw a carriage being pulled by horses.  She LOVES horses.  So she went insane.  We walked down there to see how much it cost and it was too expensive (we have 6 people in our family so a reasonable price adds up).  So, she got upset.  We went into one store and she was still crying, not loud but continuously whimpering.  So here is the deal...</p>
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<p>Any other time this would have been my reaction....</p>
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<p>DD, crying will not change that we can't afford it. </p>
<p>Then I would basically ignore the crying, and her, all the while waiting for her to gain control and building resentment in myself for her making a fun trip difficult.</p>
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<p>This day was different.  I was reading the book on the way there and I felt guilt ridden about some of my parenting practices.  So on this day, this is what I did.</p>
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<p>I bent down, put her hands in mine and said, "dd, I know that you want to ride the carriage, but honey, we just don't have the money this time.  Now you can make a choice.  You can choose to be upset, and that is OK.  OR (with a smile) you can choose to enjoy the rest of the fun things that we get to see here.  Which one would you like to choose?  If you want some more time to be upset, I understand, but I would enjoy it if you could have fun with us."</p>
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<p>She said she wanted to have fun but she was too sad, she wanted to ride with the horses.  So I said,"I understand that.  Mommy has a special book in her purse, come over here and see it"  We walked over to a bench and sat down and I took out a notepad and said, "We can write down all the things we want to do next time we come, and we'll write down how much they cost so that we can make sure that we plan enough money and time to do the things we really want to do".  So she got excited and we wrote down the carriage ride and a few other things she wanted to do.  Then she asked if she could be the photographer and I gave her my camera (something I would have previously seen as a "reward" for the behavior). </p>
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<p>OK so long to ask a simple question...</p>
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<p>I still feel like I "gave in" to the pouting in a sense.  But I also know that from that ONE incident, my relationship with my daughter has already been better.  But does this fit with UP?  I mean is this an effective method of discipline even though I paid alot of attention to her (actually it took less time than the pouting would have taken had I not done this but....)?  Basically, I feel like not withholding that attention will reinforce the tantrums.  HELP!</p>
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<p>I know the first comment everyone will make is "READ THE REST OF THE BOOK".  But honestly, I feel like I need to change my behavior immediately, not wait until I finish the book.  So PLEASE help me out.</p>
 

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I'm not sure how old your DD is, and my son is just 2.75 so I'm not sure how this will change when he get older, but I don't feel like you gave in at all. What did she really do wrong? She was just sad that she couldn't ride the carriage and cried about it a little. I don't consider that misbehaving. If it was my son, I would just sympathize and try to find something else we could do that would make him happy. IMHO your letting her play with your camera was fine. I let my DS be as sad as he wants to be for as long as it takes.<br><br>
I think that's great that one interaction has improved your relationship <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"> good luck!<br><br>
Bethany
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>I always forget to put ages, I'm sorry.  She is 7. </p>
 

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<p>I think people think of "giving in" in the wrong way when it comes to tantrums or a child being upset.  IMO giving in would be something like a child asks for candy, mom says after dinner, then child cries so mom gives him candy before dinner just to stop the crying.  When you're still showing them empathy for their feelings/connecting through the upset rather than "rejecting" them b/c of the behavior, you're not "giving in".  IMO hurt feelings/crying tend to not last as long when you do things like you did with your dd:)</p>
 

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<p>I think you handled it beautifully.</p>
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<p>You acknowledged her feelings, you explained that her reaction to the situation was something she could control, and you offered an alternative (and perfectly reasonable, inexpensive) activity - using the camera.</p>
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<p>Giving in would have been going on the carriage ride, even if only you and dd went (because you couldn't afford for everyone to go). You didn't reward her for being upset - you helped her move past it. Nice job!</p>
 
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<p>Think of it this way -- say you went someplace and saw that you might have a chance to do something you really wanted to do (see a ballet, ride a roller coaster, go on a whale watching tour), but when you investigated, you realized that it was far too expensive. What would you want your spouse to do? Tell you to get over it and walk away until you got over it, or to give you a hug and say "let's see if we can save some money to do this?" I think we often expect far more of our kids than we do of ourselves!</p>
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<p>For me, the tricky part comes when the pouting continues. Dd lost 2 of her chocolates from her advent calendar today (she decided not to eat any of them until Christmas but to save them all). She was distraught. I helped her pick up her room to look for it. I commiserated. But when she broke down in tears at the dinner table tonight (she lost them yesterday), my sympathy was worn out. Dh and I looked at her and said "this really isn't a big enough deal to have this amount of tears over". Probably not very UP, but I was done.</p>
 

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<p>I agree with the pp - what you did (and granted I have not read the book) was pretty great - Ignoring our children when they have  upsets conveys a message that strong feeling are not acceptable and we are not there for them when they need us - they want, more than anything to be understood! You conveyed that beautifully and used two common tools from the how to talk books -</p>
<p>acknowledge the feeling and then make it real by writing it down!</p>
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<p>Giving in would have been to let her tantrum change your mind and letting her get a carriage ride....you simply showed her that her feelings MATTER and you understood them :)</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">
<div>I still feel like I "gave in" to the pouting in a sense.  But I also know that from that ONE incident, my relationship with my daughter has already been better.  But does this fit with UP?  I mean is this an effective method of discipline even though I paid alot of attention to her (actually it took less time than the pouting would have taken had I not done this but....)?  Basically, I feel like not withholding that attention will reinforce the tantrums.  HELP!</div>
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<p>Well, according to your post, her behavior was...</p>
<p>--Crying when sad.</p>
<p>--Respectfully expressing her sadness, even though it was overwhelming to her.</p>
<p>--Quickly switching to constructive behavior when you led the way.</p>
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<p>Call me crazy, but other than the crying, isn't that behavior something you WANT to reinforce? (And the crying is a bodily function. Telling her she should never cry is like telling her she should never fart: it's unlikely she'll succeed and it'd be bad for her health if she did. Tears contain cortisol, and getting cortisol out of the body is GOOD thing.)</p>
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<p>It makes sense that you gave her a reward for good behavior (camera) because her behavior was good!</p>
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<p>If you want her to never cry, I guess it would make more sense to toss the UP book in the trash and start threatening corporal punishment every time she cries. (And if they cry harder after you spank them, make sure you spank them again for that too! <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif">) But I'm guessing that's not what you want. <img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif"> (And it's not guaranteed to work anyway.)</p>
 

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<p>I think you handled this w/ such patience and understanding!  Reading UP is going to throw you for a loop b/c all of the "parenting tapes" that you have been relying on in your head are going to come into question.  We tend to think that kids should act a certain way b/c that is the way we have been brought up to see the world (& it is the way society reinforces).  Once you step outside of that worldview, you begin to see that you can choose to respond to your child <em>any way that you please</em>.</p>
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<p>You were not "rewarding bad behaviour".  You were coming up w/ a constructive solution to the problem & then moving on to another pleasurable activity.  You will see, the more that you validate your child's feelings and work WITH her to find mutually agreeable solutions, the more exciting and FUN parenting becomes!!  Work from a center of grace, not a center of revenge.</p>
 
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<p>I've read the book completely but it's so big I need to read it a second time!  That said I think you responded great.  You helped her through her emotions.</p>
 

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<p>What you did was validate her feelings and come up with a creative solution to help her feel better, without giving the message that her sadness was not okay. Definitely better than ignoring her. 'Giving in' would've been if you'd have taken the sleigh ride despite not being able to afford it, just because she wanted to.</p>
 

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<p>I think you handled it beautifully and effectively....AND READ THE REST OF THE BOOK! ;)</p>
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<p>No really, I think it worked for you and your family well. UP is about not rewarding OR withholding, it's about letting your child BE who they are. So if they are crying or throwing a tantrum, that's what they need to be doing. It's not your job to stop the behavior, but to be a be present for them, despite what else might be going on around them, or who might be viewing you and judging how your handling the situation (a BIGGY in my DH's book). Be firm,but compassionate. Recognize they don't want to be having those feelings of overwhelming disappointment, and that is where the tantrum comes in. The tantrum is a way of expression, and UP, at least what it means to me, is 'even if you throw THIS BIG of a tantrum, I will still love you and show you compassion.' NOT it will get you what you want, but I'm here for you. And you did that by helping her work through the emotions with a plan for next time.</p>
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<p>The only thing I can say maybe next time too, is leave your wants out of it. Not telling her you would enjoy it if she had fun with you. You want her to make herself happy, not try to please you, yk?</p>
 

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<p>I think in order to become comfortable and happy with these sort of ideas, you will need to let go of the idea that crying is an inappropriate response to things. It is an outlet and a wonderful one at that. (So many adults cry... or much worse, get into rages.) While I think you handled the situation beautifully, you seemed to think (maybe I am wrong) that you needed to find a way for your child to stop crying and do what you wanted (act in a way that everyone would enjoy the day). There seemed to be a preference involved, even though you gave two options, in a way.</p>
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<p>I  think things will become easier for you when you can truly be present and totally ok with it, even if your dd needs to cry and the other option does nothing at all. I may be misinterpeting you... It is just that so often parents feel succesful if they can manipulate the child into forgetting the hurt or at least acting as if it did not matter. I think it is the greatest thing for connection when you can be there for the child without having a particular hoped for outcome in your head.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>P.J.</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286700/reading-up-and-wonder-if-this-fits#post_16148155"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>What you did was <strong>validate her feelings</strong> and come up with a creative solution to help her feel better, without giving the message that her sadness was not okay. Definitely better than ignoring her. 'Giving in' would've been if you'd have taken the sleigh ride despite not being able to afford it, just because she wanted to.</p>
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Totally agree!! Especially with teh bold. I think it's so important that kids know we sympathize and aren't brushing away their feelings.</p>
 

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<p>I think you handled it great. By resopnding like that, you'll probably minimize 'tantrums' by demonstrating constuctive ways to deal with disappoinment. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>LessTraveledBy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286700/reading-up-and-wonder-if-this-fits#post_16159557"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I think in order to become comfortable and happy with these sort of ideas, you will need to let go of the idea that crying is an inappropriate response to things. It is an outlet and a wonderful one at that. (So many adults cry... or much worse, get into rages.) While I think you handled the situation beautifully, you seemed to think (maybe I am wrong) that you needed to find a way for your child to stop crying and do what you wanted (act in a way that everyone would enjoy the day). There seemed to be a preference involved, even though you gave two options, in a way.</p>
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<p>I  think things will become easier for you when you can truly be present and totally ok with it, even if your dd needs to cry and the other option does nothing at all. I may be misinterpeting you... It is just that so often parents feel succesful if they can manipulate the child into forgetting the hurt or at least acting as if it did not matter. I think it is the greatest thing for connection when you can be there for the child without having a particular hoped for outcome in your head.</p>
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I don't honestly have an issue with crying, but dd doesn't just cry.  You know, in writing, assume that "wah wah wah" is normal, I'm upset crying. DD will spend 30 minutes or more going "WAAAAHHHH WAAAAHHHH".  That is the behavior that I would like to see stop.  But, what we have been doing obviously hasn't been working and when I read UP I realized that we may be the actual CAUSE of the exaggerated crying.  I mean, if she honestly feels like, "I'm upset, great, I can't go on the ride.  Oh no, I'm upset, that means mommy is going to be upset, that means mommy doesn't love me right now.  OH NO NOW I'M GETTING UPSET ABOUT THAT, WAIT, THAT MEANS MOMMY WILL GET MAD AND NOT LOVE ME ANYMORE, OH NO I'M GETTING MORE UPSET".  So I think she gets caught in a cycle of upset causing more upset causing more upset. </p>
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<p>She has been doing better, but today I lost it.  I must have sounded like a lunatic, but I really felt like I was out of control completely.  DS 1 and DD came home from school and I did the normal, "OK go get a snack and do your homework".  DS 2 asked if he could have a snack and I agreed.  Within the next 5 minutes, all three of them came out about 3 times asking, "can I have this?  Oh well maybe I'll have this.  Hey L just got this and I want that I don't want this anymore" etc etc etc.  Then ds came over while I was looking through dd's papers and wanted me to sign something for his class, then dd started crying because she didn't want to do reading, then the door rang and it was dd's friend and I explained that dd had to complete her homework.  THEN  the dog started barking at the frickin chuhuahas next door and then dd finished her homework and went outside.  About 2 minutes later I hear ds 1 telling dd "well you better not have let the dog out" and I go running.  DD is sneaking her friend (who didn't realize she was being snuck) into our backyard and the dog is trying to get out the side gate.  At that moment, I lost it.  I politely explained to the friend that dd did not have permission and that she could come back tomorrow and see if dd could do things properly.  At that point I went off on dd about her attitude and how dare she and why would she etc etc etc.  ending in "YOU ARE GROUNDED"  It was just too much at once, and all this happened within the first 1/2 hour they were home.  BUT, apparently a couple weeks of our relationship on the mend and she handled it well even if I fell apart.  She apologized, then looked at her brother as she walked in and offered to play with DS 2 while DS 1 finished his homework because, "I'm grounded because I didn't ask like I should have".  I still feel awful about the whole thing.  I've apologized, but I do still feel horrible.  That was my failing, I can't stand to feel like everything around me is happening and I have no control over any of it, and at times, with 4 kids running around (the oldest DSS was still at school for all this) I can't be in control.  I just have to figure out how to cope with that.</p>
 
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