Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate the word "misbehave" but I can't think of anything else to describe what I'm talking about.

Tonight for example. I had just finished folding all the laundry. We are all sitting in the living room - dh and ds are watching baseball. I get up to get ds some pistachios and a glass of water. Ds goes over to the stack of shirts, and I ask him if he wants to help me carry them to the bedroom. He says no, and motions that he wants to push them over. I say "Please don't push those over, I just finished folding them." He walks back over towards dh. I go further into the kitchen. I hear dh say "Don't push those over, mommy just folded those. Let's watch the game." Ds looks over at us, and pushes the stack of shirts over. I tell him I'm upset that he did that, and ask him to help me pick them up. He says "No" and walks away. (He is 3yo by the way.)

So, what am I supposed to do? I feel like just letting him do this without punishment or consequence is letting him get away with being a brat. But what is the 'natural' consequence to this? I feel like at this point we should only have to go so far in making sure he doesn't have access to every little thing. He knew full well that he wasn't supposed to push the shirts over, and I don't think that I should have to run around putting them away a milisecond after they are folded just so the little terrorist doesn't get a hold of them, you know?

How do you handle these kinds of situations?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,538 Posts
Well, clearly you are not delivering enough raspberries to the tummy, or threats to tickle his bottom, or giving him a fun romp and laugh till he collapses in a cuddle.

This type of close relationship building makes "helping mummy" have more meaning. 3 year olds are not there watch sport or follow instructions, but are there to figure out what is what.

hope this helps

a
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,153 Posts
IME, parents are not allowed to watch TV in the evening with a 3 yo in the house. They have to actually play ball with the young one, not watch it on a flat screen.

Even my 12 yo gets me up off the couch to shoot hoops with him, rather than watch a full Red Sox game.

Never leave unprotected laundry at toddler level! LOL!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,123 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by oceanbaby
I feel like just letting him do this without punishment or consequence is letting him get away with being a brat.
This has been indoctorinated into you by society--"Nip it in the bud!". But this philosophy makes it really difficult to practice gd. Too adversarial. I've had to conciously reject this philosophy, and my relationship with dd has benefitted.

When my dd deliberately acts inappropriately, that is her way of telling me that something is wrong in her world. She has a need. An anxiety. She's bored. She's tired. She's hungry. Etc. When she feels right, she acts right. When she acts inappropriately, I become a detective. What is going on here?

Your honest reaction to him dumping the laundry sent the message that it was inappropriate (but he already knew that). If it is important to you that he helps clean up the mess, you could try meeting the need first and then return to the mess together "I see you need some attention. How about we read a book first, and then we clean up this mess?". I also role play with dd (in calm moments) how to get her needs met without acting inappropriately: "I need a hug" "I really need some attention right now" etc. Sometimes she actually uses them!


Also, I agree with prev posters re: tv. Dd usually acts out if the tv is on, because it sucks everyones attention right into the screen. A parent watching tv might as well not even be home. Dh and I don't watch tv until she is asleep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,550 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Never leave unprotected laundry at toddler level! LOL!
It's sometimes too hard for me to resist diving onto a pile of laundry. I can only imagine how it is for a 3-year-old - it's all so soft and the stacks look as though they just want to topple.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, just to clarify: We rarely watch tv in the evening. Ds was asking dh to watch baseball. They had just come back from being out at the park for almost 2 hours. Trust me, this kid is not attention deprived.

Quote:
Well, clearly you are not delivering enough raspberries to the tummy, or threats to tickle his bottom, or giving him a fun romp and laugh till he collapses in a cuddle.

This type of close relationship building makes "helping mummy" have more meaning. 3 year olds are not there watch sport or follow instructions, but are there to figure out what is what.
I'm trying hard not to get upset about this, even though I am pregnant and hormonal. This is practically all I do all day with ds. Seriously, I am not exaggerating. Physical play is his favorite, and even though I am 8.5 months pregnant, I chase him up and down the house, tickle and romp around on the couch and beds.

I have to admit that I'm a little shocked that what everyone got out of my post is that he shouldn't be watching tv, that we don't give him enough attention, or that I don't have a close enough relationship with him. The laundry incident was just the most recent example. There are many examples, but I think I will just go figure it out on my own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by oceanbaby
The laundry incident was just the most recent example. There are many examples, but I think I will just go figure it out on my own.
Don't go away, oceanbaby! I love your posts--your honesty and how you are trying so hard to figure this all out. It's all-too easy to get misunderstood in this medium, and it's touchy because you're talking about your heartfelt parenting struggles. It's happened to me, too. I find, too, that when I try to offer advice I inadvertently make simplifying assumptions about what the mom is already doing/thinking.
:

I mostly lurk so this may sound hollow, but I'd miss you if you stopped sharing your conundrums and insights. Hang in there, oceanbaby--we're all in this together.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
I think some of these responses are incredibly self-righteous and apalling; no wonder i don't ask questions in this forum
. You have all instantly jumped to the conclusion that she never plays with her child, etc.; ridiculous and shortsighted - you didn't even ask, just ASSumed. I think you all have been paying NO attention to any of oceanbaby's other posts, where it would be patently obvious what a hands-on, loving mother she is and just hwo much attention her boy gets! Get off your high horses, for crimeny's sake!

To the OP (and please don't go away, i love your posts
): if i felt i wanted him to be distracted by the TV while i watched (gasps from those so holier than thou that you would NEVER let your kid watch TV
), i would put something on that HE likes. If you opt for no TV, which probably IS best
, i would do one of two things, maybe even both: i would give him a pile of the stuff that was unfolded for him to romp in, and also let him 'help' me fold. Even make it educational and teach him how to fold properly; i mean, this is the way we make good husbands out of our sons
.

I might also tell him that the stacks, though you understand how inviting and fun for him to play in, are not for messing with, and offer him alternatives, maybe a few feet away from the folding area, that he can mess with - some paper to crunch up, rags or diapers to toss around and roll in.

HTH - don't pay attention to the meanies
.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,550 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by chemigogo
You have all instantly jumped to the conclusion that she never plays with her child, etc.; ridiculous and shortsighted - you didn't even ask, just ASSumed. I think you all have been paying NO attention to any of oceanbaby's other posts, where it would be patently obvious what a hands-on, loving mother she is and just hwo much attention her boy gets! Get off your high horses, for crimeny's sake![/b]
I think you're overusing "you all." That was one post, by Alexander (and it read to me to be a little TIC, though I don't know if he actually meant it that way and I can see how oceanbaby wouldn't take it that way). The rest of us were merely chuckling about toddlers and laundry. No one is being "mean." Perhaps you should think of this as an in-person conversation where oceanbaby would present her dilemma. It would most likely be followed by people empathizing and chuckling at their own experiences... that's the way people relate and diffuse situations in order to get to the core issue.

I know, simply from what I've read here, how much time oceanbaby spends thinking about parenting and think that she's a great mama.

And I didn't have any input initially because it's something I struggle with, as well. The toddler and laundry thing struck me as particularly funny because I was having the same "issue" with ds the other night and ended up in rolling in the laundry myself. (Of course, I'm not 8-1/2 months pregnant.)

Anyway, oceanbaby - what I do find is that many of these "intentionally misbehaving" incidents can be "fixed" by adjusting my expectations. The laundry example: It's too much for ds to handle if I leave laundry around. Being 3, his impulse tells him to jump on it and he doesn't really have enough impulse control yet to override. So, if I don't want it jumped on or knocked over, I need to put it out of his reach. To expect him to abstain is just too much. The other reasons he misbehaves (or gets ornery) are hunger and fatigue - and he'll rarely, even at 3, tell me when he's experiencing these. (He's better at admitting hunger, but he'd never cop to being tired. :LOL)

Quote:
I would do one of two things, maybe even both: i would give him a pile of the stuff that was unfolded for him to romp in, and also let him 'help' me fold. Even make it educational and teach him how to fold properly; i mean, this is the way we make good husbands out of our sons
.
This is a great idea. Maybe pull out the kitchen towels (since they're pretty quick to refold) and let him work on those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,454 Posts
Quote:
i would give him a pile of the stuff that was unfolded for him to romp in, and also let him 'help' me fold. Even make it educational and teach him how to fold properly; i mean, this is the way we make good husbands out of our sons .
Yup. That's about perfect. Even in the most mundane encounter with your child, like the example above, you're still aiming for the eventual outcome, a healthy, sensitive adult.

Quote:
But what is the 'natural' consequence to this?
Well, there are natural consequences and "logical" consequences. Children appreciate and benefit from both. I don't think there was a natural consequence to this situation. Other than, he pushed the pile over, the clothes fell down. Kids have an innate sense of fairness and if you implement some punitive consequence that is un laundry related, that will not be fair. (But I realize you're not likely to do that, this being a gd forum. )

But with a 3 y.o. you truely are limited as to what you can do. I've got a 9 y.o. and a 5 y.o. I've decided sometimes you don't actually "parent" your child out of any particular bad behavior when they're 3. You just wait it out. That is all you can do. They grow out of certain misbehaviors. Maybe have your ds help take a handful of clothes to be put away. Perhaps that, and your tone of voice is the only appropriate consequence now.

Kids come with different personalities and some simply like watching you get angry more than others do. My dd loved getting me angry doing impish things (did I just describe her that way??
) more than ds did. And remember that when you're here at mdc. Take everyone's advice remembering that their answers are colored by their experiences with their own children.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,888 Posts
Personally, I hate folding laundry so if it is already folded, I guard it with my life!

Anyway...

I'd probably have allowed myself to look and feel dissappointed - it is an honest reaction and the 3yo sees it. I'd also ask him to sit quietly while I re-folded the laundry. He could watch me or sit with DH, but he'd have to sit quietly and not run around/play during that time. He disobeyed and made a mess, and if he can't clean it, well, he'll just have to wait while I do before he can do anything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,596 Posts
Quote:
I think some of these responses are incredibly self-righteous and apalling; no wonder i don't ask questions in this forum . You have all instantly jumped to the conclusion that she never plays with her child, etc.; ridiculous and shortsighted - you didn't even ask, just ASSumed. I think you all have been paying NO attention to any of oceanbaby's other posts, where it would be patently obvious what a hands-on, loving mother she is and just hwo much attention her boy gets! Get off your high horses, for crimeny's sake!
Wow. That hurt my feelings incredibly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,959 Posts
I can totally understand why oceanbaby was upset at the responses. Even I found them a bit harsh. She was just using that situation as an example, and I think the issue of the TV, not enough play, etc was focussed on a bit too much given there was no mention of the particular circumstances. Like for all we know, it was a rare time when the child requested a show, or maybe the kid had been out playing all day. It's helpful to "suggest" these as causes, without dismissing TV - heck, we have the TV on every night and it certainly has never made DD a devil to deal with.

With that said, I don't agree with chemigogo that this constitutes a normal reaction from members of this board. I have been very active in this forum (since I'm thick in the middle of GD issues with my 2 year old) and the VAST majority of "help me figure this out" threads are met with respect, support, wonderful information. I don't even think the replies here were all that harsh, but I think they may have been worded a bit better, because I felt the sting in the words, too (and I'm usually not very sensitive to that).

So...oceanbaby <<hugs>>....I actually am not sure what to do. My 2 year old has gone and done things I've specifically not asked her to do, and I've come to conclude she isn't ready for the responsibility of just "obeying" me. I don't know if that applies to your 3 year old or not (ask me when I learn all about "3", lol). But my first reaction is to say that I would have 1) shown my displeasure quite clearly. NOT punitively, but so DD gets the message that what she did upset mama very much. and I might point out how much it sucks that I have to do more work now, espeically without a helper...then 2) I would have made a mental note not to leave laundry piles around, or whatever else DD can wreck.

But I still think there's a "3)" in there somewhere, and I'm hoping for some good replies!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,123 Posts
Oceanbaby,
I apologize if my post offended you. I honestly meant it in a helpful tone.

I know that you give your ds lots of attention, and I have no problem with kids watching limited tv (it is just dh and I that can not watch tv with her awake--makes her act out). My dd is watching a video right now
. And I know from your wonderful posts that you have a loving relationship with your son.

The intention of my post was to show how *I interpret misbehavior. I had hoped it would be reassuring--certainly didn't mean for it to be offensive.

Actually, since you mentioned that they had just been at the park for 2 hours, it makes even more sense that he might be acting out. Tired, hungry, overheated, dehydrated.....these are the natural results of hard play at the park. Also, the transition from active outdoor play to quiet indoor activity may have left him antsy.

But my main point is that it isn't a matter of: Punish behavior or have a brat. That is what my mother believes, and most of my irl mom friends. That is what I believed until about a year ago. Now I believe differently. And I believe that dd behaves better because I am no longer worried about that eventuality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,153 Posts
We watch TV. I love TV. I just wasn't able to focus on a whole show when my kids were 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Even if a 3 yo requests watching baseball, his att'n span is short. 3 mins of TV baseball may well have been enough. Sucks, huh? Just when an adult is getting into it! Baseball is slow-moving most of the time and he wouldn't get the announcers' jokes.

I hope I didn't imply you don't give your kid enough attention. I wouldn't presume to judge your life in general, just focus on the specific situation.

Now as for laundry, or even in other "dangerous" situations, this is what I learned from How to Talk So Kids will Listen. Don't tell kids what they can't do. Tell them what they can do. If he is aiming for the folded clothes, don't say Don't push those ever. Say: the laundry is not for dumping. Push over the books, or blocks or couch pillows, or whatever. So he knows what is acceptable.

Its like telling someone not to think of elephants. As soon as you do, all they can see in their mind is--elephants.

Alternatively just put your laundry into a basket as you fold it, and put it up when he is near. He is just 3 and not a terrorist.

Someone brought up another dumping situaion, crayons in an open box. "Crayons are not for dumping, crayons are for drawing with. We take them out of the box one at a time. Like this, see?" (model it).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by mamaduck
Wow. That hurt my feelings incredibly.
T Mamaduck... I'm a chronic lurker, so I don't know if my opinion carries much weight, but I have trouble imagining a poster much *less* self-righteous than you. I look forward to reading your responses in GD threads particularly.

For the OP... I think at least one person already said this, but it seems like kids often do this sort of stuff under a particular set of circumstances. If they're tired, or hungry, or ate something that doesn't agree with them (or that they're mildly allergic to,) or bothered by something you're doing/not doing, they act out, YK? You mentioned that he does stuff like this a lot. Is there maybe some common factor that could be setting him off?

I can totally believe that it's maddening for you in the moment. It sounds to me like you kept your cool really well, which I think is crucial in the long run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay, I'm back, and hopefully with quelled emotions this time. I appreciate that most of you were able to see that I'm not some neglectful mom who parks her kid in front of the tv all day and then wonders why they are acting up.

Let me restart my post, because I really don't think the specific circumstances had anything to do with what happened.

In general, how do you respond when your child deliberately does something that they KNOW they aren't supposed to do, even after you've done your best at explaining, distracting, etc.?

I didn't want to use the word brat in my OP, but I was rushed to type it and just didn't have time to think of a better way to get my point across. I think the reason this is hard for me is that I don't necessarily think that you have to punish your kids in order not to raise 'brats.' But there are times where I feel like ds is pushing me just to see what will happen, and if 'nothing' consistently happens, then he will just kind of get out of control you know? He already has a bossy streak in him that we are constantly working with, but he really needs to have limits set sometimes.

Overall he is a well behaved, very reasonable little kid. But these moments of deliberate 'disobedience' are starting to happen a bit more often, and I'm just not sure how, if at all, I should be responding to them. As I alluded to in my OP, things that have a logical or natural consequence are easy for us - if he won't stop hitting the window with the bat, the bat needs to go away. But the out of the blue, 'whatcha gonna do about it' moments are leaving me a bit stumped.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
I apologize sincerely for my overreaction. My strongest frustration was with the first poster, really, but i shouldn't have gone off like that, and i am sorry
:.

Mamaduck - I am also specifically sorry that i hurt YOUR feelings, i really did not mean to, but that does not mean that your feelings are not valid.

I guess i'm just frustrated with the whole Gentle Discipline thing, in general, and probably should not post here
. Sometimes it seems that you give and give and lavish attention upon love, and then when you have an issue of boundaries or what have you with your child, all anyone tells you is to love on him more! Nothing can be the least punitive, nothing can be corrective, you can't really expect a child less than ten to behave in a mannerly way, or do ANYTHING that teaches him how to live respectfully in his family unit.

I know that my perceptions are largely off base, but this is how i feel so often when i browse here, to be honest. I get terribly frustrated, but i should not take it out on you sweet people who are doing your best, just as i am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Sometimes I just yell.
: If I've got my brain turned on, though, I say something like, "Geez, now I have to put all this laundry away AGAIN, PLUS I'm mad cause you did something you knew I wouldn't like!"

Either that or a really neutral "Pick those up please." If he doesn't, I just ignore him until he asks me for something, and then tell him, "I can help you with that after you help me with the laundry. Here's a sock."
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top