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Thread: discipline conflict...

  1. #1
    paradise lost Guest

    Default discipline conflict...

    Hi,

    I kind of need to vent and i kind of need advice.

    Last night XP and I had one of our typical crossed-wires situations, this is a long one so get a cuppa now...

    A while ago i noticed DD's toy phone was not working right. It was sticking on one mode and the rotate button wasn't working. XP took it away and fixed it and he brought it back yesterday. DD played with it a while and at some point lifted it high in the air and threw it hard onto the (laminate floor). This broke it again though XP knocked on the front of it and managed to fix it more or less right away. He gave it back to her. She threw it again and he told her not to because she'd break it, but he said it in a kind of sing-song voice which i feel is unfair as it doesn't communicate his instructions well, iykwim, so i also said, more seriously, "No DD, don't throw the phone". So she threw it again, very hard, at which point i said, again in a low, serious voice "DD, do NOT throw your phone, you'll break it. If you do it again i will take it away". She did it again. I took it away. She cried. When she began to cry i opened my arms and she ran to me. I picked her up and said, "It's frustrating when mummy takes DD's toys, DD feels angry and sad." and then "You must take good care of your things DD, and not break them." and then i just cuddled her and read her a story while she calmed down.

    Now over all this happening, XP was saying, as she cried, "just give her it back Bec" (to which i shook my head and said, "then the message is "cry and get your own way" and "mummy makes empty threats") then, when i was reading to her and cuddling her "you must look after your phone DD" which made her cry harder (to which i shook my head and said "move on from the phone, she's got the message"). Now i KNOW us discussing tactics in front of her is a bad idea but he won't talk about it except in the moment and if i don't do it he just endlessly contradicts me.

    Anyway, about 10 minutes later when she was properly calmed down and onto reading with dadda, i offered the phone back, she ignored it for a bit and then played with it without throwing. In passing i stroked her hair and said "what a good girl playing like that" and got a smile.

    Now, it annoys me that XP thinks i am some sort of evil dragon who just likes making our baby cry, and would much rather never never have her cry than teach her anything about anything. Clearly i HATE the tears as much as he does, but i am not willing to let her break all her toys. I want to teach her to respect her things and by extension other people's things. Just as i don't let her hit me, and i never hit her, as i want her to respect herself and other people.



    She rarely gets to this stage (in fact this morning she threw the phone, i told her not to, she stopped) but it does happen sometimes and though i never dismiss her tears, i never "give in" either. I really feel like i'm on the right track for us - she's smart and funny and a delight and without his interjections such incidents happen maybe once a week and blow over in 5 minutes. But then, my mum used time outs (i can't remember having the standard ones used on me, i think by the time i was 4 i didn't need them anymore as i was conscientious and knew how to behave) and i just read some thing on a review site that implies they damage children terribly so perhaps i am WAY off track, and it is ME who is wrong and not XP. He thinks she should be allowed to do whatever she likes because she's a baby, and we should discipline her when she's older, but i think it's cruel to let her think bad behaviour is ok for 4 years and then suddenly expect her to act differently.

    Anyway this has been a big ramble. I just need reassurance i suppose. And DO timeouts cause emotional damage? I was actually planning on them as a last resort (when she's older of course, for bad behaviour, not undesirable behaviour) but now i'm worrying. Also i always think people who say "i was hit as a kid and it didn't harm me" miss the point that to ME if you think hitting little kids is ok then you WERE harmed, and i'm now dubious about my inner voice which says i was not damaged by it. My mothers timeout's by the time i could remember were either gross (being sent to bed early, which i can remember happening once ever) or very very subtle (no eye contact, limited communication) which went on for days sometimes and was awful - i would NEVER do that with DD.

    Sorry for my huge ramble - you deserve a prize for getting this far.

    bx
    Last edited by paradise lost; March 27th, 2008 at 11:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Enchanted Guest

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    Awwww *BIG HUGS* Bx.

    IMO I think you are doing the right thing, that is the way I was raised. But with that said, not everyone will agree and I think what you need to remember is to stay true to your heart and do what you think is right by your little angel. ALL kids can and will be naughty at sometimes and you have to find a way to discipline Esme in a way which she responds to... and I think you have found that!

    You are such a great Mum Bec so please don't let anyone make you doubt yourself. YOU know what is best for Esme so trust your heart xx

  3. #3

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    Hi Bx, IMO you are doing a fantastic job!

    I think consistency (not sending mixed messages) is so important for little ones. There is far less overall crying/distress for everyone if the child is given a clear loving and balanced framework to work within and knows what is expected of them. Of course there are times when you need to be flexible, like when they are sick or adapting to something new and I’m sure you would be.

    I really think you should stick to your guns on this one and try to explain to your XP why the approach you are using is important. I know communication about these sorts of things is very hard. My DH and I clash on things like this often and I find it really, really hard to communicate with him about it so I can only imagine with an XP it would be even more difficult (for so many reasons). I guess just take one step at a time with him and don’t overwhelm him with too much information/too many concepts at once.

  4. #4

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    Bec I parent exactly the same as you, don't worry. I get the evils and the poor them looks (not from marc often strangers or people I know) and I have learnt to ignore them, I know it must be harder when its XP. I wish I could show him the product of consistent parenting Then he might listen.

    The problem is with the discipline later style is that IMO its totally not fair on the kids. They are allowed to do as they please and then suddenly one day they are told its not cute anymore? How much of a blow do you think that would be on their self esteem. How much do you think it would rock their core? My 19 mth old is given boundaries, and he respects them. I have raised him exactly the same way I did Paris (with few alterations that are related to his personality obviously) and he has responded as well as she did, yet he is way more "busy", energetic and often more defiant than Paris ever was.

    You are doing a great job, I hope he can come to see things from your perspective, or at least respect your choices.

    ETA: Re. Timeouts, they do NOT cause emotional damage :P Not that I've seen and my nearly 6 y.o. has had many times to think it through in her time let me assure you! Seth has the thinking step (one of the alterations I was talking about) and this works better for him. Its not just about the time out. Its how you deal with it after and the fact that you (like me) talk about emotions, consequences and reassure after discipline is EXTREMELY important. If you put a child in Time Out and just go "Ok you can come out now and don't do that again" I think then you've got more to worry about than how we do it iykwim? As then they'll be going "Do what?" and perhaps question if you love them still (as kids do )
    Last edited by Rouge; October 31st, 2007 at 10:11 AM.

  5. #5
    paradise lost Guest

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    Thankyou so much ladies! You are wonderful!

    The thing is, later on he said he could see why i did what i did, but it's in the moment he just wants to do ANYTHING to prevent/stop tears. I think part of the problem is that though he sees her everyday, he only has her in his sole care for 24 hours a week, during which he puts his entire life on hold to deal with her. Whereas i am her full-time parent - if i did what he did i would never be able to cook (he does that in advance or when she's strapped in her highchair), clean, shop, LIVE. So i think mainly he just doesn't get why her behaving well makes any difference. He can literally be right down on the floor with her for the entire time she is with him. He is never busy or in a rush or having to juggle 5 tasks so he just doesn't get it. And he is, in all areas of his life, a very NOW person. He NEVER thinks about or plans for the future. Like he has no savings and often borrows money from me, he has no car, lives in a shared flat still, is in a nothing-job because he never plots an escape. It's one of the reasons i left - i DO have savings, even on welfare, i am constantly thinking about tomorrow and next week and next year. I have plans for the future. It's a different way of thinking/living. I guess we'll get there eventually....

    Bec

  6. #6

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    Bx,
    We are having a similar situation here atm, but the opposite role plays DH is the dragon and I am the softy. He frustrates me soooo much but I know deep down that picking battles that need to be inforced is important. I think you are doing a great job anyone that has a toddler deserves a medal of sanity.
    I am a big believer of timeout but DD is starting to figure out mummys buttons and sobs...I need a big cuddle whilst in it. MIL and FIL think I am nasty for not giving her one when she requests it...we have cuddles at the end when we talk about what she has done to be placed in time out

  7. #7

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    it sounds like you're doing a great job to me.
    I think that the use of time outs depends on how you use it. We use it occasionally and sometimes it's good because it gives everyone a chance to cool down.
    I mainly use it after he has done something to his brother that has hurt him after being asked not to. He has to sit down in a chair immediatly while Imran gets fussed over and cuddled. I think that withdrawing attention from him for those few minutes demonstrates that he doesn't gain anyhing by hitting/kicking/biting/pushing his brother.
    I usually use the timer on my phone and once the 3 minutes is up he has to say sorry to Imran and give him a cuddle and then we get on with the day and we don't refer to it again.
    Imran has recently taken to attacking Yasin when he gets angry with him so I suppose we have to introduce it for him too. I don't know how I'm going to get him to sit down for a minute.
    We don't have to use it often and I usually prefer methods that are more consequence based ie throw the car, lose the car but Yasin has already learnt that being mean to Imran has consequences that he doesn't like and that after you hurt someone you need to kiss them and say sorry.
    I don't think that time-outs used in moderation by a loving parent as part of a tool-box of methods will cause lasting emotional damage.
    I think it's important to remember that the full term is 'time-out from positive attention'. As originally concieved as a discipline method it assumed that the parent was loving and engaged and that it's not a punishment so much as a consequence. I think that used in a way like you described where a parent becomes cold for an extended period of time it could be quite traumatic.
    We give one minute for each year and we use the timer on the phone - once time's up then it's forgotten. I think it's important not to hold grudges and to have a cuddle afterwards to show that everything is ok and we can move forwards.

  8. #8
    paradise lost Guest

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    Yeah my mum's subtler grudge-bearing was not something i'd ever use. It was incredibly effective but it did put distance between us - i should clarify it was a tactic she used on us as teenagers, not as little kids. I think i was 11 the first time she did it. My "golden-boy" brother told a lie to her that i'd been bullying my cousin (who in fact i got on great with - my brother said it because i wouldn't lend him my walkman - he was "into" electronics and had already dismantled his own and he had no respect for me or my stuff anyway) and she screamed at me that she'd never been so disappointed in me in her life (i had no idea what she was on about) and then for 8 days only said "yes" or "no" to me and wouldn't look at me at all. I have to admit, that was one of the biggest traumas of my childhood and that clear-cut attitude that he was good and i was bad and any lie he told her about me must be the truth was one of the reasons i nver told her i was being abused until years after it stopped (though she just pretended it hadn't happened outwardly and phoned me often to tell me i needed to call my abuser and say i forgive him because "I'm worried about him! He's depressed!". I'd never do that to DD. I avert my eyes when i can see she's doing something slightly naughty to see if i'll react - i generally remove whatever it is from her without comment or engagement, then engage a moment later with a distraction. Mum undoubtedly took it far too far.

    Bx
    Last edited by paradise lost; March 28th, 2008 at 08:20 AM.

  9. #9

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    I think you are doing a great job and I have to say I agree with everything you have written.
    You are consistent, firm yet empathetic. Plus you are clear on why the consequences have happened. It is unfortunate that XP has different views and won't discuss them. It is that classic parents vs grandparents situation where the grandparents only see them a small amount of time so can spoil them but parents have to show proper guidence.
    Re: the timeouts - I think like all discipline, they can be used or misused. I think by following what you already do (clear, consistent, firm yet empathetic) then they would be fine.
    JMO.

  10. #10

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    Bec, distraction (as you do) when Smee is upset is a great option - one I already use with DS when he wants to chew on my mobile or drink my coffee.

    For older children for willfully naughty behaviour I don't think five-ten minutes with no stimulation harms them. An hour or so, not as good. Over a friggin' year (are we seperated at birth, btw?) is damaging. A punishment that is time-appropriate and explained is fantastic - and doable from birth (where 0 seconds is time appropriate imo). Things do not magically change at 1 year, 4 years or whenever, good for you for disciplining early. IMO, cruel parents do not discipline; children need boundaries and consequences.

    Also, it's great you recognise the behaviour as bad, not the child. I am forever telling DH and my parents that DS is not naughty/cheeky, he is a GOOD boy who hasn't learnt not to put a telephone in his mouth yet. I bleeping HATE people (ie my mother) saying DS is cheeky when all he has done is smile.

    BTW, my backchatting and sarcasm was adored at age 3, hated age 7. What changed? I will not encourage DS in behaviour I do not want later... even waking at night has never been "fun", just making him go back to sleep. It's too confusing to do otherwise.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryn View Post
    BTW, my backchatting and sarcasm was adored at age 3, hated age 7. What changed? I will not encourage DS in behaviour I do not want later... even waking at night has never been "fun", just making him go back to sleep. It's too confusing to do otherwise.
    I've seen that soooo many times. It sucks hey? This is why I try to be a big picture parent, rather than doing something because it makes me or my child feel good for that moment, I like to make sure what I am doing is going to make us both feel good (or be happy/secure etc) long term.

  12. #12
    paradise lost Guest

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    This is all so great - i feel MUCH less alone. DP is VERY supportive of how i parent because he knows i think ahead and love Smee so much (he always says he lopves watching us play together and how close we are) but she's not his, kwim? So though i know i have his backing, it's like, XP is her other parent. I think when DP and i live together and have some kidlets things will be easier as it'll just be more clear to XP and DD that we do things a certain way.

    But then, will she be damaged by him being so different to me? I worry about that too. How confusing it'll be... I'm kind of hoping he'll be more on board as she grows.

    Bx

  13. #13

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    I wouldn't worry, when there is big extended close family there is always uncles and aunties, grandparents who tend to be more lenient than others. I think its good for her to see there are all sorts of personalities. Like you say hopefully it won't be too long before he comes to agree with your style, but in the meantime I doubt there will be any long last effects (not on your relationship with her anyway )

  14. #14

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    Time outs can only damage if they are loaded with guilt and shame etc etc.
    The time generally goes according to age. 3 years = 3 minutes.

    I doesn't have to be locked in their rooms (think supernanny), or the nearest dungeon.

    Streamlining discipline between parents (or significant others) can be the hardest thing EVER. When the kids see a crack - the work right on it! Dp and I will let the other parent lead the discipline and back them up at the time, but if we don't agree we have an argument about it later when everyone is tucked in bed.....
    Last edited by Lulu; November 1st, 2007 at 08:03 AM.

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    I parent much the same, but have DH who is the biggest softy & as son as Indah puts on the tears he gives in, which she now uses at every opportunity for him... She is also a much different personality to Maddison whom was very mature & understanding & grown up... I think mainly because I was a single Mummy for the first 2 yrs of her life til DH & I met. I had more time to sit down & explain things & discuss why things were not acceptable etc, I have tried this with Indah but she is a very stubborn, more determined, feisty little girl... She doesnt wnat any help with anything unless she asks, but gets very frustrated she acnt do something & starts getting angry!
    I have started changing my tactic of constantly trying to tell her no in various ways & now this week have started just acknowledging her good behavious (no matter how small) but praising her for everything she does good, nicely, gently etc!
    So far so good! But I agree that disciplining them & setting rules early on make for a MUCH easier child as they grow up! I often get complimented on maddys'behaviour, manners etc..

    Ok grumpy baby needs me!!!!

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    I let DH read this and comment as we're not parents yet but he raised 2 of his kids.

    He says that boundaries are a good thing, that the kids need to learn acceptable behaviour and respect for things and themselves and time outs are a good thing (if used properly - we've both seen them used as a way for the parent to get some quiet not because the child has done something wrong).

  17. #17

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    Hoobley

    All I can say is that I hope when my little one is Esme's age that I'm as good a mum as you are.

    Fiona

  18. #18

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    Bec, you are doing a fantastic job!! Yes timeouts are ok when used in the right way, like you are doing (the taking the phone off her was a type of time-out).
    Kids don't have the ability to think about their feelings, thoughts, actions, consequences, etc and integrate them all and parents are supposed to help them do this. So...sending them to their room when they do something wrong and not explaining anything doesn't work and may be damaging. They don't really understand what they've done wrong coz there's been no explanation, they have all these emotions that they can't make sense of (when they're little), and they think you are angry at them, they are bad, and that you don't want to be around them when they are like this.

    On the other hand what you (and everyone else who described what they do in this thread) did is perfect!

    "Esme, do NOT throw your phone, you'll break it. If you do it again i will take it away". She did it again. I took it away.
    You gave her a warning and followed through, teaching her the consequences of her actions.
    She cried. When she began to cry i opened my arms and she ran to me. I picked her up and said, "It's frustrating when mummy takes esme's toys, esme feels angry and sad."
    You helped her understand all her feelings and frustration while still being with her showing her that what she did was naughty not that she was a bad child. So she understands what she's done, the consequences of it and how it makes her feel when she does the wrong thing.
    and then "You must take good care of your things Esme, and not break them."
    Then you explained what she needs to do so it doesn't happen again.
    and then i just cuddled her and read her a story while she calmed down.
    Then you helped her deal with her feelings about what happened and comforted her letting her know that no matter what she does you still love her and will help her understand it.

    Absolutely perfect!! Well done. This is what I try to teach clients who don't get the time out thing so congrats!

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