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Thread: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

  1. #1

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    Default Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    Im doing the Magic 1-2-3 program at the moment. It is for children 2years +.
    For some reason that I cant quite identify it doesnt sit quite right with me. Maybe because its a punishment and rewards system, maybe because it centres around time out. Not sure. But last session got me patricularly offside when it came to the acts of defiance (cant remember the exact wording but that's essentially what they were).
    In particular "urinating and vomiting". Personally I dont see these as acts of defiance but signs of significant distress. I questioned the facilitator and she was a bit defensive and adament that some children do use these as tactics to get thier way.
    Urinating I can kind of see how they might, it is to an extent, controllable. But vomiting? I just cannot imagine a child intentionally making themselves sick.

    Does anyones children use urinating or vomiting to get thier own way?



    What is your take on this?

    Everyone Ive spoken to about it says how great this program is. I cant be the only one feeling uncomfortable with it...

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    That makes me so angry. I was that child. I used to wet myself when my father yelled. I would get an even bigger hiding. It wasn't out of defiance. And I did throw up a few times out of stress too. Knowing I would be belted for doing either of these things didn't stop me. It was a nervous reaction.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    Dd1 used to vomit if she really didn't want to eat something but we never thought of it as an act of defiance more stress that she would feel sick eating it as she had intolerances and the thought of eating it made her sick. Just the mention of new food used to cause this reaction.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    I feel sick that they are teaching people this. They are children, not animals! Though I wouldn't treat my dog that way either :/

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    Dd2 cries until she vomits when she chucks tantrums. She is only crying for a min or two especially when she doesnt get her way.

    She will run away and cry out massively loud and then make the vomitting noise.when i approach her she would run away somewhere else and cry out really loud again and make the vomitting sound.

    She does this over little things like me not wanting to open the fridge for her or making her change her shoes because they dont match.

    Sometimes only a but of spit comes out but we use to get really worried when she did that and try to calm her down and give in to her.

    But i am having my doubts about whether she is doing it on purpose or not.

    I question myself surely an 18 month old wouldnt know how to make herself vomit so i am not sure.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    When DD was a bit younger she vomited in situations like that but I agree, it was clearly a sign of extreme distress/stress and something she had no control over let alone manipulation. She is only two now so she would have been too young for that system/theory anyway but even at 18-22 months I've had people suggest it is a diversion tactic or similar. Even now at two or older were she to do that I would say it is a distress signal not one of defiance. They are still so little! They panic, they get overwhelmed, they cannot control their emotions or how their emotions affect their bodies at that level of stress. It's not the same level of stress were you say to give them dinner in a colour they dislike and they throw it everywhere shouting 'no!' and having a tanty. I think at that age they are starting to explore emotions and responses for sure but there is a massive difference between testing boundaries, exploring human emotional response and actually being in an overwhelming or stressful situation (whatever that might be for them personally, at that stage of their development) in which they feel out of control and really distressed.

    Hmm long post, sorry! Just made me feel annoyed and protective of our little ones.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    oh wow, yeah. That's really not cool.
    But people say this stuff about newborns - ignore them even if they cry till they vomit, they're just after your attention. (well, yes, of course they are! they need you)
    And if a kid is deliberately making themselves vomit or wee or whatever, there's a darn good reason for it. Just to **** you off? Well, maybe; maybe that's how they've learned from you how to get your attention. Maybe they're so distressed and alienated, or whatever, they've nothing else left to get what they need from their carers.
    I've only heard good things about 123 before, but it never appealed to me based on what I'd heard. I'm not big on punitive punishments.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    My dd2 used to cry to the point of vomiting. She didn't intentionally vomit, she got so upset her body got her to that point.
    It was never an act of defiance. Though I occasionally had others say it was... Or say she was making it up for attention. She stopped at around 3 or 4. If it was intentional I'm sure she'd still be doing it.

    I have had dd3 urinate in a way that seems to be out of spite though. Being fully toilet trained & weeing on the floor when she's just been told not to do something. Like drawing on the walls, or that she can't go to so & so's house. Dd3 is an interesting child. She likes to push the boundaries & see just how far she can go.
    She likes to stir & loves a good reaction from the other kids by disrupting anything that's entertaining them.
    She doesn't wee on the floor anymore, but she still knows how to drive me mad! Lol
    She's a challenge, but she's improving.

    I would be more worried that a child is urinating out of fear. It is a reaction for people of all ages, especially children, to lose bladder control when they think they're in danger. (I say think, because small children may not be, but the situation makes them think they are... Eg, my best friends male teacher touched her shoulder at 5. She wasn't in danger, but home experiences told her she was & she wet herself)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    I have had a situation where my DD1s general actions where firmly in the defiance realm and she calmly looked me dead in the eye and did a wee, and other times when TTing and I would put her onto the potty when she was doing a wee dance and she would hold on then (calmly) get up and wee next to the potty - this was when she knew very well about where wees go and could hold on well. My intuition is that there was an element of defiance in both situations and some stress in the first but at the end of the day it is a pretty grey area - how much was defiance and how much was stress and I would never take 'punishment' type action based on such a grey area. Having said, I know defiance is a huge part of my child's personality and it plays a part in almost everything thing she does. I have no hesitation in saying that the pay off for her in being 'right' or 'not doing what I'm told' is way bigger than the pay off of not being soaked in wee, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she does things like that out of defiance. Just saying 9 out of 10 kids wouldn't dream of weeing as being a 'win', then there is my DD who is the 1 in 10 who just sees and interprets things differently and it muddies the water a whole lot.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    Its the fight or flight response in all its glory. When cornered your bodies immediate reaction is to do one of those two things. If its flight, then that could mean that everything wants to take flight if you get my drift. Its why you can get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you face confrontation, its the flight aspect.

    In saying that, I was the child who would wee on my sisters floor out of spite. I was definitely old enough to know better and I remember me doing it. So does she bahahaha! I think context has a lot to do with these things.

    We have never done 123 magic, but have done a parenting the strong willed child course, which never even touched on kids doing these sorts of things as defiance and was all about choosing a response appropriate to the context of the issue at hand. There was no one solution to all problems and there was significantly more focus on positive parenting through attending rather than responsive parenting.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    I've known kids through childcare who would do it. Two urinators, one vomiter. One of the urinating kids would stand on top of something and wee everywhere. The other would get within eyesight of an adult, then say "I'm doing a wee" and then wee. Both were attention deprived at home.

    The vomiter was about two. Cried til she vomited once, and was sent home. Not sure if she figured it out or if she just escalated very quickly, but if she disagreed with something (like not being able to have another kid's drink) she would cry and vomit within a minute. She ate heaps of dairy too, so it was gross. It was the speed with which it escalated and he trivial nature of what she would do it over - didn't happen at drop off, for example, that made us think it was defiance. Or frustration, or whatever. We used to just clean it up and get on with life, and eventually she stopped.

    Someone told me about 123 Magic once. I tried counting to 3, or 5 or 10 before we did things, and my DD1 would get so excited about counting that she would just do whatever it was I asked. So that bit was kinda magic. Never had to go any further.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    Really interesting topic of conversation. I think it helps to remember that parenting programs like these are aimed at the whole continuum of families - from educated, responsive parents who are pretty much on top of things and just want a few more strategies, right though to families where there are multiple complicating issues, parents with poor attachment or no skills, parents who've never experienced what a functional family looks like, maybe they've been left to fend for themselves in a state of emotional neglect, or who've been brought up under an authoritarian rule of fear where they were spanked for all misbehaviour - but who are motivated to do better for their own kids than has been done for them. And that there is a whole continuum of behaviour in the community that most of us can't really fathom. Some kids have much lower levels of impulse control than what we think is normal. So maybe for some kids there is more of an element of defiance then for other kids.

    I personally don't think that urinating or vomiting is purely an act of defiance, it seems unlikely that a kid would act it out unless there was stress as well. If the stress is related to the ongoing circus of negative family interactions, then you can't address the stress without also addressing the heightened conflict. Parents need tools to place boundaries and manage escalated behaviour BUT - the main goal of parenting programs is not to wait until it gets that far. The goal is to intervene effectively so that the stress/conflict/defiance/whatever you want to call it doesn't escalate in the first place.

    I'm not familiar with the 1-2-3 Magic thing, I had seen it mentioned on BB a couple of times and wondered what it was about, and I borrowed the book at the library this week (haven't read it yet). On the front cover there is cheesy conservative-looking American family, and the subtitle is "Effective discipline for children 2-13" (my emphasis). In contrast, the parenting classes I attended in the past were called Triple P - Positive parenting program. Vast difference IMO between a focus on "discipline" and one of "parenting".

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Urinating and vomiting as acts of defiance.

    I think the problem with labelling something as 'defiance' is that it feeds into the stream of parenting ideology that seeks to pit parent against child based on the premise that children must obey their parents and that parents are doing something wrong if their kids don't (and so should punish them). I prefer a more consultative, cooperative approach that assumes that kids are people too and deserving of the same consideration as other members of the family. If they're doing something to push buttons, then there's a reason for it beyond merely 'being a ****' (and I will happily raise my hand as the imperfect parent who has thought this on more than one occasion).

    As an aside, discipline is often misused to mean punitive punishment, when it's actually supposed to mean teaching. The sense I get about 123 is that it's about controlling your child within certain parent-defined parameters.

    But MD makes a great point about the target audience for programs. We all have to start somewhere.

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