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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just realized the biggest fault I have in parenting is control. I struggle w/ it and want control! Then today, why did it take me this long to figure it out!, dd got the shower ready for all of us (even laid down the towels to step on!) and she wanted to use the guest towels to dry off. I had asked her to get her towels from her bathroom. She said she wanted the guest ones. I at first said no but then I realized what difference does it make! She helped get the shower ready and also helped clean up the kitchen. She deserves to make decisions for herself and so what if they are the "guest" towels.<br><br>
I'm liking my style more and more lately where I just let the little things go. I was wondering what other GD'ers do. Do you allow them to control things in moderation or how do release total control but still not loose your mind?
 

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No, it sounds honest & I admire you for saying it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I struggle with it, too...I was raised by Grandparents who were TOTALLY into control. (GOOD people, but still...) Each & every day, sometimes more than once, I make a consious decision to give up my need to be "in charge." They are people and, yes, I let them control their lives to the point they are not doing anything harmful. Of course, sometimes, ALL parents need to override but, for the most part, let them be. If I tried to control every last thing they do I'd surely need to be put away...sooner rather than later, too!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I try to release in myself the idea that control=sanity. Or control=safety, depending on the moment. I find that I have those ideas ingrained in me deeply, but I do not find that they are actually true. Well, occasionally they're true, but the vast majority of times it is actually <i>more</i> conducive to sanity and safety if I relax and remain flexible in my responses and wishes. Besides, I really don't want ds to learn that he has to cooperate with my wishes so that I won't go off the deep end. I want our relationship to be more cooperative than that, so I try to creatively cooperate with him as much as I can. Some days I do better than others, usually depending on how many things I have to do. Having a full "adult" agenda can really ruin a day over here, I find.<br><br>
So, I agree that the control issue is a major one in my psychological setup, too.
 

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It's been a pretty core part of my parenting really. Don't sweat the small stuff, and honestly quite a bit of the stuff is <i>small</i> when I really look at it. My important stuff is in helping kids stay safe (particularly when they are really little), and in how we treat others. I try not to set up uneccesary battles regarding stuff like clothes (or towels <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ), getting dirty outside at home, toys being dumped out (they can be picked up) etc.<br><br>
I hear ya, and I think it's great you are moving in a more peaceful direction.
 

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I was glad to read your post! Control seems to be one of the hardest things to release or even admit. I often see parents thinking "OK, I am not going to excersise my control by spanking, but I am going to come up with cleverer and less obvious ways and call it Gentle Discipline" (NOT saying that this GD board goers think that!)<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>acystay</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Do you allow them to control things in moderation or how do release total control but still not loose your mind?</div>
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Actually as much as I can safely can. They definately control things that concern their bodies for example. Stuff that affects others we discuss and come with mutually agreable solution (and no, I have not ALWAYS been that way <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Kinda so, almost so, but not consiously )
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's been kinda nice to just hear what you all are saying.<br><br>
Unschoolma, I really have been trying not to sweat the small stuff like when DS2 empties out their dishes cabinet for the 10nth time that day or my floor is litered w/ crumbs. I guess I've been letting my control of things go in some ways so they can choose things and they should have that right.<br><br>
Today as well DD picked the most unmatched clothes she could find. I told her she couldn't wear them b/c they didn't match. Well, her look and the reply oh, I just said what does it matter. Really does it?<br><br>
I used to allow (oh that sounds great doesn't!) DD to get her own drinks out and pour them etc. Well, DS1 (2 1/2) started but makes a complete mess. I cannot stand it. So, I came up w/ this system. I bought small drink items like naked juices and yogurt smoothies and water bottles. They are in 1 spot in the fridge. They can get 1 out and then if they are going away they leave it on the counter or in the fridge. What do you think? It seems to be working well but is that me putting limits on things? I think what I really want to strive for is what I read somewhere here some time back. That they should be able to choose to eat/drink etc. when they need to b/c I won't always be there to tell them no. If I do this, how do I avoid them wanting things like cookies, pretzels, or ice cream ALL THE TIME...short of not having it b/c honestly I like ice cream and cookies (rare in our house) and pretzels. It's about the only junk in my house.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>acystay</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">.....I used to allow (oh that sounds great doesn't!) DD to get her own drinks out and pour them etc. Well, DS1 (2 1/2) started but makes a complete mess. I cannot stand it. So, I came up w/ this system. I bought small drink items like naked juices and yogurt smoothies and water bottles. They are in 1 spot in the fridge. They can get 1 out and then if they are going away they leave it on the counter or in the fridge. What do you think? It seems to be working well but is that me putting limits on things? I think what I really want to strive for is what I read somewhere here some time back. That they should be able to choose to eat/drink etc. when they need to b/c I won't always be there to tell them no. If I do this, how do I avoid them wanting things like cookies, pretzels, or ice cream ALL THE TIME...short of not having it b/c honestly I like ice cream and cookies (rare in our house) and pretzels. It's about the only junk in my house.</div>
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I give my daughter a lot of freedom. I just sit back and watch what she does. Most of the time it's just fine. But I don't let her pour her own drinks or stick her fingers in the electrical outlets. Sorry if I'm not GD enough for some, but I do have limits.<br><br>
I think the solution you found for drinks sounds very, very reasonable, and easy to do. If your kids are happy with the solution, then I think it's good enough. In one of my Montesori books, there's an example of a boy pouring a drink from a small pitcher (like what you'd use for pancake syrup, but a bit larger) so that he can practice pouring drinks carefully. I've been on the lookout for that pitcher, as I'm sure my DD will insist on pouring her own drinks in the not too distant future! LOL! But if I don't find a mini pitcher, then I'll probably do what you're doing.<br><br>
However, when it comes to dinner, I really go by How to Get Your Child to Eat, But Not Too Much. It's not super low control, but I find it works. Food matters are boiled down to this: I provide a tasty and nutritional <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><i>variety</i></span> of foods at each meal. She gets to choose what she puts or does not put in her mouth. There's no force feeding on her end. But there's no short-order cooking on my end, either. I take care of the nutritional choices. She listens to what her own body says about hunger, fullness, and she controls her own food intake. She's skinny, and sure, I'd like to see her eat more, but that's not my choice. When we deal with meals in this manner, are both operating out of our own areas of expertise, but not trying to control what we can't actually control. It's a division of labor that makes sense to me.<br><br>
Still, if you let your kids eat all the sweets they want, you won't be alone. There are mothers who do this. One of my best friends has been feeding her 2 year old daughter a pop-tart each morning since she was a year old, as well as cookies, cake and candy every day. (And yet she worries that her DD is fat??? Sigh.) In our last phone call, she was concerned because her daughter doesn't seem to have a limit to her desire for cake and chocolates. I grew up with two kids who ate Dorritos, sugary snacks and soda for breakfast each morning, and last I heard they're still alive. One was actually slim, too. But I'm pretty sure those two look back at their childhoods and wonder why their parents weren't monitoring what they were eating a bit better. And how far do you want to go? Some seem to think you have to draw limits <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">somewhere</span></i>. Well, the truth is you don't ever have to draw any limits at all. The final choice is always yours. When I think of some of the things I saw growing up in New York, I think some of these mama's don't know what giving freedom to kids is until they move out and leave their kids with nothing but an apartment with the rent paid, and money to buy their own groceries! LOL! Now <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><i>THAT'S</i></span> freedom. (But it sure as heck wasn't happiness.)<br><br>
Faith
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>acystay</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I used to allow (oh that sounds great doesn't!) DD to get her own drinks out and pour them etc. Well, DS1 (2 1/2) started but makes a complete mess. I cannot stand it. So, I came up w/ this system. I bought small drink items like naked juices and yogurt smoothies and water bottles. They are in 1 spot in the fridge. They can get 1 out and then if they are going away they leave it on the counter or in the fridge. What do you think? It seems to be working well but is that me putting limits on things?</div>
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I think limits are ok. Genuine limits, not arbitrary limits just for the sake of control. kwim? EVERYONE in the house matters. So, if it is important to you that messes are kept to a minimum, and it is fine with them they have a limited number of options for drinks available to them, then it seems like a great mutually agreeable solution. If your solution were a problem for dc, I'd say to search for one that was agreeable. I've thought before that one of those sun tea pitchers would be a good solution for toddlers who wanted to pour their own drinks, but weren't coordinated enough quite yet. (the pitchers with the spouts at the bottom that you push a button and the drink comes out)<br>
That's kinda how things work here- I try hard to find mutually agreeable solutions. But I also "don't sweat the small stuff." If we need to take the dogs out, and ds doesn't want to wear shoes, that's fine. I carry him. Or if he wants to ride in the stroller (in our yard lol), that's fine too. Not a big deal. But then I guess that would be a mutually agreeable solution, because I'm ok with it too. The only thing I'm not ok with, is not taking the dogs out at all (and even then, I will wait for ds- they are never in a huge hurry).<br>
Say he wants to play in water, I put a towel down then let him go at it. I used to have buckets for him, but I recently got this cool coffee maker with no glass, and it has a lever type thing you push to get the coffee out. Well, he makes "coffee" by pouring water in then pushing the lever to put the coffee in his cup. He gets water all over, but its not hurting anything- he's on a towel, and I just have to wipe it up when he's done.<br><br>
I think the most important thing is that HIS needs/desires matter just as much as mine. Not more, not less. (although, as dp said last night, we have to give ds a little more consideration because he can't quite communicate those desires as well as we can. I'm so lucky to have him as a dp <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> ). There are some times that I do have the "final say." Especially on things that directly affect me. But those times are few and far between, and usually only when I'm not being patient enough to find a real solution.<br><br>
Sweets are a wierd thing for us. Though what we are doing seems to be working. If he asks for something that's in the house (or wherever we are visiting) i'll give it to him (except for soda. no soda ever). I let him have a reasonable amount, judged by me, and considering how satisfied he seems with what he has had (you know how they say the first bite is the most satisfying, etc). But, in the end, enough is enough. He is almost always ok with the limit, so I guess I'm pretty good at judging it. He has cavities already, so I should probably limit it more. But he has very little junk. We don't really keep it in the house, juice included. We'll see what the dentist says this week. We may have to go absolutely no sugar, which will be super hard for me lol.
 

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Releasing control can be a big issue in this house too. Sometimes I find myself saying no just because and my DS starts getting upset. Then I have to stop and think to myself "Does it really matter if he does X instead of Y?" If my internal answer is "no", I take back my original no and let him go at it. Sometimes, it does matter to me, but why bother getting into a fight if it really doesn't matter, KWIM?
 

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a lot of the head to head stuff with my dd has been about me having control over a lot of things - it is true that much of this is not at all important<br>
I still find it difficult sometimes to decide whether or not something needs to be directed by me - I know that this can also create a lot of security for her to know that I really AM in charge of things around here.........
 

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Oh, another thought on control (sparked by anarosa's post, with which by the way I agree in part)<br><br>
DH still (38, married for almost 20years) <b>expects</b> SOMEBODY to be in control. He says that this is how he was raised (and I know how MIL is <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">)<br><br>
He is absolutely lost and even somewhat scared when he himself (gasp) has to make a decision and he himself has to follow through and he himself has to limit himself (enough "himselves"?)<br><br>
He says it feels "safer" and "more secure" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">
 

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I can so totally relate. I was raised w/ pretty controlling parents (I don't mean that to sound really negative cause they were wonderful, but it was really their way or the highway, KWIM?).<br><br>
I catch myself being like that with my daughter and when I stop to think about it, I ask myself "why is this so imporant?" And 99% of the time, it's not that important.<br><br>
Example: Several months ago she learned how to climb on top of our coffee table. I spent the first few days struggling to get her to stop doing this. Then one day, I asked myself "why?" She's not hurting anything and she's only a foot and a 1/2 off the ground so not in any real harm. Why do I care? I stopped worrying about it and let her climb on top of the table whenever she wants. After about a week, she really stopped.<br><br>
It's all about removing the power struggle.
 
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