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Hello, I am often a lurker in this forum, and am looking for some ideas for how to handle some safety issues with my 2.5 yo DS. I discovered Unconditional Parenting on this forum, and DP and I are really embracing it whole-heartedly. It just feels right to us.<br>
That being said... I do not know how to handle some of the normal safety issues that are coming up with DS in an UP kind of way. For example:<br><br>
1) Walking outside our yard onto the sidewalk then darting into the street. This happened last night. I asked him to come inside the yard, and then when he wouldn't, walked out after him. This is when he darted into our rather busy residential street, and I chased him all the way across just to keep him safe. I then ended up dragging him back across the street to our yard, after which he did the exact same thing again the minute I let go of him. Finally, DP followed him and took him on a walk around the block, letting him walk on the sidewalk next to him without holding onto him. Which was great, and would work fine if DP was always at home, but when he is at work I have both DS and 14 week old DD to take care of.<br><br>
2)Speaking of DD, my DS has also started to manhandle her in a way that freaks me out, and leads me to think I can't leave them alone in the same room for even a few seconds. Most of it seems motivated by wanting to love on her or play with her, but every once in a while it turns darker. The most annoying thing to me is that he will walk up with I'm nursing DD and lift her head up away from the breast, which hurts me and causes her to cry, of course. I try talking to him about it, asking what he needs from me (because obviously he needs something) but he just continues to push on her, and sometimes escalates to a slap on her head if I'm trying to keep him from touching her.<br><br>
These are the two more immediate examples. I'd love any suggestions about how you've handled similar situations using UP. Love Alfie Kohn, but my behaviorist training as a childcare worker comes tearing out every time one of my children's safety is an issue. UP hasn't really helped me there, and I want a way to incorporate it into all my interactions with my kids.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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two things stand out for me from your post. and i will admit it doesnt make life any easy.<br><br>
i think your son wants more physical action - like a walk in the morning or a park date with dd in a sling. take care of that expression of physical energy and a lot of issues will be solved.<br><br>
also how much one on one time do you get where you devote time totally to him. i am hoping other mom's will speak up on this. perhaps when dd is taking a nap? perhaps a kind of routine that you do - like giving him a bath, or readign to him at bedtime - just something on a regular basis that the two of you do together.<br><br>
both the exaples really though i see as a result of perhaps not enough 'rough' time or outside playing time where he gets to run, climb, walk, etc.
 

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I would definitely not leave the 2/5 yo alone with the 14 week old...I know it's a pain, but really. Don't. I had kids that age apart and in the early days one of them was always with me if I had to go somewhere out of the room...either him or her. My kiddo was never aggressive towards his baby sister, honestly - we never had an incident where he wanted to hurt her becasue of jealousy....but he was overzealous in loving on her sometimes, and at that age they just don't get it. They're too little, so I just never chanced it. And as for him needing something, the unfortuante reality is that he's going to have to learn patience now...so he'll have ot learn that when you're nursing, you can do X, Y, or Z from the chair, but he'll have to wait a few minutes for anything else. And hitting sister is not OK - you can make that a safety thing, not a judgemental 'you're bad' thing but still be firm about it just as you would be firm about him hitting anyone else. Enforcing safety boundaries like that is well within the realm of every kind of GD parenting.<br><br>
as far as the running, it's totally normal for some kids, and some kids just don't get "stay here" or "red light green light". My son, I had to have his hand and could only let him out free in fenced in areas, until he was just about 3 years old. He was just a runner, and no games, no serious talks, nothing worked until it clicked in his head and he got it. So, it came down to prevention - always having his hand when we were near a road and not playing in the unfenced front yard. Fenced playgrounds, and our fenced backyard, he got plenty of runaround time. But otherwise, out front or out shopping or whatever? He always had my hand before his feet hit the pavement.<br><br>
Issues like these I find hard to relate to 'conditional' or not, because they are safety issues, and we're not judging the kid or their actions, we're just keeping them (and others) safe. Unconditional parenting does not mean your kid is never unhappy or never is stopped from doing something they want to do that's unsafe, it's the frame of mind of not being domineering or authoritarian, at least IME/understanding. It's explaining the action/outcome to them and setting boundaries without the judgement/shame with it.<br><br>
I also agree about trying to find some one on one time, and some rough play time for him to give him outlets, so that when you say no to him, or redirect him when you're on your own with both of them, you can remind him he's going to have time to get that stuff out later on.
 

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I second never leaving the 2.5 y.o. and babe alone together.<br><br>
As far as the running in the street thing - could it be that he's not mature enough to be in a place that isn't fenced or holding someone's hand? My ds1 (almost 3.5) wasn't trustworthy around streets until very recently.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, mamas for your input.<br>
We went on a long walk yesterday, working on street safety, and it seemed to make a big difference with the rest of the day. I let DS walk next to me on the sidewalk in our neighborhood, not holding hands, then gave him a warning as we neared intersections. He stopped and said "hold hands" and then crossed the street with me. That little bit of independence seemed to do wonders for him, and we had a great time.<br>
As far as a fenced yard, or holding hands, I totally agree. I would never assume a 2 1/2 yo could understand the boundaries of a front yard on a busy street without a fence. Our yard is fenced, but he knows how to open it. So, short of having him on a (shudder) leash, there is a good chance he can get out the gate before I can grab him. I'm just going to keep working on the rules with him, and in the meantime not hang out in the front yard with him and DD without help.<br>
Meemee, thanks for the question about one-on-one time, too. We have been doing our best to give each of our kids one-on-one time with both of us, but some of our planned schedules have gone awry since DP went back to work, and since DD has gotten a little more high-needs lately. I sat with DS for his bath last night, which was an epic 2 hours. Usually one of us does bath and the other does bed, but it has gotten sloppy lately. Our kids definitely tell us what they need, don't they?<br>
To The4OfUs, what would you suggest for stopping the hitting of sister, beyond preventative measures? I have been setting boundaries, he knows it's not ok. So, now what? I am down with what Alfie Kohn has to say about punishment, I have seen in action how it doesn't really work. But I still feel lost as to what to do when DS hits DD. Anyone?
 

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My oldest hit and bit his sister and he still hits and bites people but that's another issue entirely (and has to do with his special needs)!<br>
I separated them. I also kept a steady narration stream going so that I could describe the behavior and the effects of that behavior. Like: Baby sister is crying because her brother hit her. She is so sad. She doesn't like to be hit. She likes it when her brother gives her soft toys and hugs her gently.<br>
And then I would invite him to repair it by looking at her sadness and making sure she's not hurt and giving her a kiss.<br><br>
One thing I do when a child is showing undesirable behavior is to pull the child in closer. I even wore my 2.5 yr old in a sling on one side while I had the baby in a sling on the other side. Usually the older kid gets really bored of being my extension but I do involve the child in whatever I'm doing. It serves two purposes, keeps the child closer and easier to guide and also the child is getting some more time with mommy. We talk a lot about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it and I go about my daily routine which could involve doing laundry or washing dishes or reading books to the kids. You'd be amazed how quickly that child wants to run off and be more independent after that!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lairaja</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15378020"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">To The4OfUs, what would you suggest for stopping the hitting of sister, beyond preventative measures? I have been setting boundaries, he knows it's not ok. So, now what? I am down with what Alfie Kohn has to say about punishment, I have seen in action how it doesn't really work. But I still feel lost as to what to do when DS hits DD. Anyone?</div>
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My DS went through a brief period of hitting me (and only me) before DD was born, and I'd try to catch his hand (gently) mid swing before he actually hit me, make eye contact and say in a serious, but almost flat, bored tone, "Please DON'T hit me, I don't like it. If you're X, we can Y instead" (depending on whether it was mad, frustrated, bored, whatever) and if he tried to do it again I'd move out of his range and repeat what I said. He got it pretty quickly, within a couple months' time. DD was a different personality though and took a lot longer to get it when she went through her biting/hitting stage, and she often had to be separated because she wouldn't stop. It wasn't in a traditional time out go sit on the steps for 2 minutes kind of thing, but a "we all need to be safe so I have to move away to stay safe while you calm down, I do not like being hit" kind of way...I would tell her she needed to sit and calm down and I'd leave her proximity (staying in the room, but moving out of range), telling her I would not let her keep hitting me and if she was mad or needed something, she needed to tell me with words instead, or give her another option of how to express the frustration of anger, or to take some deep breaths to calm down. I always gave her the option of what to do instead and/or how to calm down, while at the same time moving away from her.<br><br>
I do recall one of the best things we ever did while DS was 2.5 to 3.5 and I was nursing DD frequently was play 'hide and seek'. He would climb into this little cabinet-like thing in her dresser, and I would guess out loud increasingly outrageous places he might be hiding (Me:"Are you in the toilet?" Him: "Noooooo!" (giggling hysterically)) - first off though I would ask him if he wanted me to find him or not, because sometimes he wanted to just jump out and surprise me after I guessed 5 or 6 silly wrong places, and sometimes he wanted me to guess the correct spot and 'win'. It would keep him busy and happy for 15-20 min, we'd play several rounds of it and then he'd turn the cabinet into a car and we'd go on a trip somewhere, etc. Getting him set up for that game before nursing was a great trick to keep him from getting bored and into mischief.<br><br>
Hope this helps more.
 
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