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To hate all 'Parenting Strategies'

(318 Posts)
christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:07

I probably ABU but I absolutely loathe parenting strategy books. Friends recommend them, I foolishly think 'maybe this one will be different' and give it a go.

They all seem to make you want to talk to your child like you're a robot. Does any parent actually say things like this example quote...

You (cheery): It's bath time!
Child: I don’t want a bath. I hate baths. Go away!
You (breathe): It sounds like you’re really mad. You look really frustrated. What’s bothering you most? Can you help me understand?
Child: It’s not fair. You’re always bossing me.
You: So if I’m hearing you right, you’d like to make more decisions for yourself. You feel like you’re ready for more responsibility. Is that right?
Child: Yes!
You: Well, I’m so glad you told me. I had no idea you were feeling babied. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution.

If I spoke to my DD/DS like this they'd look at me like I had two heads and STILL wouldn't get in the bath.

I get the techniques, fine. Listen, reflect, don't lose your temper and thrown them in the bath headfirst. But is it realistic? Does anyone actually manage to sound like this with their kids after a long day when you just need them to get in the bloody bath and go to bed so mummy can drink gin?

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 10:43:52

I gate those sorta of books. My son would give me a wtf face if I spoke like that to him.

it goes like this here:

Me: Bath time
Son: Don't want to
Me: Tough
Son has tantrum
Me: 1,2
Son: Fine!

And its done!

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 10:44:15

I hate those.sort of books*

weirdthing Mon 17-Mar-14 10:44:47

Here's mine (from Oscar Wilde) 'If you want your children to be good, first make them happy.' Within reason I guess (ie no sniffing glue etc) but this has worked for me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Mar-14 10:47:18

YANBU I don't think these authors actually have kids tbh. An example of my parenting language From DS's younger, stroppier days...

Me. Put your coat on it's freezing outside.
DS. No
Me. Put your coat on.
Me. You know best.
<Walk outside>
<short pause>
DS. I want my coat on!!

Ithinkwerealonenow Mon 17-Mar-14 10:49:23

EatShitDerek I think that strategy is in the book '1,2,3, magic' grin

You name it, there's a parenting book for it

TheFantasticFixit Mon 17-Mar-14 10:49:24

Me too.

I actually think they are a bit harmful as well as absolutely ridiculous. The times I have heard friends 'quote' absolute crap from these books, especially the baby 'manual' type is unbelievable. What happened to good old fashioned instinct? I think these books have made us doubt ourselves totally and want it refer to an 'expert'.

However, if someone has the answer as to how I can get my two year old to put on her bloody clothes and stop insisting she's a naked Princess today I would be immensely grateful!

Flicktheswitch Mon 17-Mar-14 10:49:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Slothful Mon 17-Mar-14 10:50:28

Heh Cogito and Derek, a few more of those and you have a useful parenting strategy book.

christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:51:05

I suspect the authors of these books have not met my children.

Or possibly ANY children.

I'd be amazed if any young child knew what half of those words meant...

Weegiemum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:51

The problem is usually that the baby/child hasn't read the book!

FloozeyLoozey Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:53

When DS was a baby, I remember reading a book about attachment parenting (can't remember the name, quite a famous one) and one from Gina Ford. Some of both theories made sense, but I decided to things my own way, that felt right for me and DS.

christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:56:19

ScarletLady - exactly. If they are still refusing to get in the bath by the time they are old enough to understand what that mother is saying, then I class that 'parenting strategy' as a total fail.

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 10:58:10

Just tried the quote from the OP on my son. He wont get dressed when I asked him to.

His reply?

"mum, you need to talk properly, you make no sense"

I do the 1,,2,3 thing. He hasn't called my bluff yet.

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Mar-14 10:58:24

Well I bow to no-one in my love for how to talk so children will listen and it has transformed communication in our house so ner-ner.

But in the situation you describe I wouldn't use it. It would go

You (cheery): It's bath time!
Child: I don’t want a bath. I hate baths. Go away!
Me: sorry to hear that cos no-one likes a stinker. Now bath, please.
Child: gets in bath <with big sighs and possibly some muttering>

Not everything has to be a palaver.

QueenofKelsingra Mon 17-Mar-14 10:58:37

I am merrily making it up as I go along, and pulling techniques from my own childhood - 1, 2, 3 being the main example. only to be told by smug people that actually that was from some parenting book so I obviously was reading them., i just did what came naturally! if some idiot has written common sense down and conned you into buying their book then more fool you!!

i do not need any form of book to tell me how to parent my child thanks.

FloozeyLoozey Mon 17-Mar-14 11:00:29

I also think as parents, we beat ourselves too much over life choices, such as whether we work or no, such as all the hand wringing over after school care in the other thread. Children function as part of a family unit, and while their needs should be paramount, decisions have to be taken so the whole family can function. In my case, I am a single parent, so I've always had to work full time to provide food and a roof over DS's head. I do feel some guilt at him being in after school club four days a week, but DS understands why I work, and I'm not going to cry myself to sleep wondering if the after school club provides nurturing/educational/yadayada care. As long as DS has fun, and they are kind to him, and look after him adequately, that's good enough for me. Some other families are too poor to provide a timetable of varied education after-school activities. Is that ideal? No? Will they grow up happy and stable if their parents look after them correctly and provide for their needs? Most likely yes! Our society is way too child-centred sometimes.

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:01:51

There's a few parenting books in the charity shop I work in. No one buys them bit loads get donated grin

KatoPotato Mon 17-Mar-14 11:03:33

'It's bath time'

DS aged 4 at top volume... 'No! I am never having a bath, ever again ever!'

'Get upstairs, or the Thomas Shark Exhibit is going in the garage'

Huff puff, upstairs he goes.

Is there a strategy that involves take and play Thomas yet?

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:06:07

Bribery also works here grin

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 17-Mar-14 11:08:17

I hate all parenting books, I love reading here about the methods that parents use to get children to do what they need to.

There's no correlation between the book-twaddle and the heartfelt urging that I can see. When people spout 'I'm an academic, listen to meee' stuff probably lifted from a largely unread journal, I scroll quickly past and search for the next true, tried and tested nuggets from the mums.

YANBU. Also, I can't stand those methods where you constantly explain things in details to 2 yrs old children, as if it was a university lecture!

christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 11:18:05

I read in this book today that bribery was terrible and the child will never focus on the action but only on the reward. I thought - yes, but they do it, right?

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:19:21

Well isn't that the point of bribery. The reward makes them do it?

If they were focused on the action they wouldn't need to be bribed

QueenofKelsingra Mon 17-Mar-14 11:26:32

I admit I'm a little against bribery - mainly because of my lifelong issues with food having grown up with 'if you are good you can have chocolate' etc.

i do expect good behaviour from my DC so wouldn't bribe them, but would reward them at the end if they had been particularly good.

i wouldn't judge another parent for using this method though.

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 11:28:02

The other day I was at work (private area of public venue) and came across a small boy who'd escaped his mum and was messing around in an unsafe manner. The conversation went.

Me: Get down from there, please.
Him: (Screams) No, I don't want to. (More screams)
Me: I don't care. Get down.
Him: (Shuts up, gets down without killing himself)

I've a feeling this is a technique recommended by absolutely no parenting books (and certainly is not official line at work), but it worked absolutely great this time.

JennyBendy Mon 17-Mar-14 11:28:33

What's the French one like, bringing up Bebe or something?

I honestly think that all these "strategies" and fancy names for things is just what everyone was doing all along. Until someone decided to label it and make some money out of it grin

Counting to 3 is something my mum did with us and I did when my DCs were little. It didnt have a "name" then or a book about it.

everything has to have a label now. Like "baby led weaning"
We all did that you know. But back then it was just chucking a bit of finger food in the tray of the high chair grin

Now it's an actual "thing"

And "tummy time" and god knows how many other things that I read and think "oh I must have been way ahead of time when my DCs were little. Because I did that. Everyone did that. We just didnt call it anything other than being a parent grin

I honestly think that all these "strategies" and fancy names for things is just what everyone was doing all along. Until someone decided to label it and make some money out of it grin

Counting to 3 is something my mum did with us and I did when my DCs were little. It didnt have a "name" then or a book about it.

everything has to have a label now. Like "baby led weaning"
We all did that you know. But back then it was just chucking a bit of finger food in the tray of the high chair grin

Now it's an actual "thing"

And "tummy time" and god knows how many other things that I read and think "oh I must have been way ahead of time when my DCs were little. Because I did that. Everyone did that. We just didnt call it anything other than being a parent grin

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:38:17

Grendals I don't care is also a response I use grin

Everything is labelled these days. You cant just be a parent. You have to be a parent who is doing this or that.

QueenofKelsingra Mon 17-Mar-14 11:41:00

Everything is labelled these days. You cant just be a parent. You have to be a parent who is doing this or that.

^^ this, exactly!

deakymom Mon 17-Mar-14 11:45:40

so far ive put one of my children into the bath still dressed and put him outside with no shoes on both because he refused to get dressed/undressed ive done triple p twice with him all the rewards in the world will not get this child to school/out the house/in the bath

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 11:49:48

EatShitDerek - shall we market it as a strategy, then?

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:52:37

Lets call it:

Don't Care So Children Will


It depends on the bribery. If it's a short-term goal then I think it's fine, but if it's something long-term that you need them to keep doing and you don't intend to keep paying out bribes for the whole of their childhood then they are going to need to learn to do it without the bribe sooner or later, and sooner is probably good for several reasons.

I do have "I didn't ask if you wanted to; I told you to do it." on autorepeat, but I also found "How To Talk..." helpful. You can't do that for every conversation, but if something is becoming a flashpoint and you'd like it not to be (and there's not an obvious physical cause like the DC being hungry or overtired) then it provides a useful approach. You have to translate it into your own language, though, not book-parentese.

LondonForTheWeekend Mon 17-Mar-14 11:59:18

Bringing up Bebe is mostly awful.
I quite like parenting books in much the same way as I like cook books- it expands rather than limits my repetoire for want of a better word. No one is compelled to use any technique or even agree with the author.

Cogito's example up above would be quite Unconditional Parenting which normally gets an absolute drubbing here.

I just think that parenting is a very long job and that parenting for the long game is better.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 12:01:32

The worst ones are 'unconditional parents' which is a book written by a man who doesn't have children.

I hate it, I hate that it is okay to label the rest of the world 'conditional parents'


The most brilliant thing was when the 'alternative parent' guru Naomi something-or-other who wrote 'raising our children, raising ourselves (barf) was discovered to have bought her PHD on the internet and actually didnt have any qualifications in child psychology that she hadn't bought offline

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 12:02:19

I might give it a go then.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 17-Mar-14 12:04:18

I have read a few of those books and they never work. You cannot reason with a small child, it just doesn't work.

Counting to 3 is far more effective, as are threatening and bribing wink

The unconditional parenting chap does have at least one child. But at the time it was written he only appeared to have one (so no need to balance the interests of multiple children), and not one who actually needed to be anywhere at any particular time (so if, say, she didn't fancy getting into her carseat, that was fine and they could hang around at home for days waiting for her to be in the mood). So there was very little of any practical import in there, I thought. (For those of a naturally UP bent but looking for a practical approach, Smart Love by Martha and William Pieper was a book broadly in the same vein but sounded like it had been written with the voice of experience).

I agree with LondonForTheWeekend -- I browse parenting books like cookbooks and pick up little bits here and there that I wouldn't have thought of for myself, while feeling free to ignore huge chunks that I can't see working for us.

Sootica, Tanya Byron's book attributes most modern parenting problems to parents trying to reason with children at a level above that which the child is cognitively equipped to handle. So clearly you are "doing" TB grin.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 12:11:57

Certainly when 'unconditional parenting' came out, Adolf Kohn had no children

Stinklebell Mon 17-Mar-14 12:12:26

My parenting techniques seem to consist of bellowing "do as your flipping' well told" several times a day, not sure which strategy that falls into grin

I bought a few books when my children were younger, only to discover I was doing bits and bobs of their strategies without knowing it/realising it had a special name - ie throwing chopped veg and toast at my daughter in her high chair was actually "baby led weaning", when she went through a phase of screaming when she was put down for 5 minutes and I put her in a sling while I did the hoovering was actually "baby wearing"

Stokey Mon 17-Mar-14 12:14:53

Am going against the grain here, but I do think the odd strategy works.

We've been trying out Calmer, Happier Easier Parenting and it has made our mornings a lot easier. We made a chart together with DD1 (4) showing her what she had to do each morning to get ready, and since then we've cut about 20 mins off dawdling time.

In that book she also recommends descriptive praise, saying "I noticed you did x, y, z .. well done", which makes you feel like a tool but does seem to work. Now when DD dose something good, she says "Did you notice I did this?"

Still haven't quite mastered descriptive praising instead of yelling when they're doing something properly naughty though hmm

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 17-Mar-14 12:19:34

I'm from the school of muddling along parenting. It worked for me, ds is 18 and is pretty fab.
I never read any parenting books or even mumsnet when he was growing up. It wasn't till I came on to MN (not for parenting advice) that I realised that there was so much conflicting advice out there.
What works for one doesn't work for others.

NotaDragonsEgg Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:00

Parenting books are really useful if you have had a crap childhood.

My instincts are awful because DM brought up us with lashings of manipulation, sulking and tantrums. We didn't have much contact with other families due to her mental health issues. I don't really know how to set fair boundaries or talk respectfully to a child who is being a PITA.

Ive actually heard parents speak to their kids like this! In the playground mainly! They stand there reasoning and compromising with their 3 year old on why they dont want to go home, what would they like to do? Are they sure they want to do that? Do they not want to do something else? How about if they do something else first then they can do that later? Honestly its like a game of 20 questions. No idea who their trying to kid either. YOUR the parent, you tell them whats what.
I do it 2 ways- firstly 1,2,3 , secondly firmly. Always worked for me.

CorusKate Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:49

Maybe society should change so a child's natural inclination to be a naked princess today is respected, Fixit. grin

"Certainly when 'unconditional parenting' came out, Adolf Kohn had no children"

Yes, he did. There are anecdotes about them in the book (at least about his daughter; apparently there are some about his son, although I don't remember those and I'm not going to reread it just to look for them even if I could remember where my copy has gone) and in interviews to promote it he mentioned having two children.

He didn't have any, AFAIK, when he started to develop his theory in Punished by Rewards. But at that point he was looking more at educational theory, with parenting more of a tangential interest.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Mar-14 12:30:00

I miss the days when 'parent' was a noun and not a verb..... <sigh>

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 12:42:19

I stand corrected! Thanks Debbie

BornFreeButinChains Mon 17-Mar-14 13:02:15

Very funny this has made me chuckle. However I do find recognising the child is upset and has a valid reason to be, does take the wind out of their sails.

runningonwillpower Mon 17-Mar-14 13:11:57

My husband happened to be in the room when some parenting programme was on. They were recommending negotiating strategies.

He said, 'Don't you just tell them?'.

I know, telling doesn't always work. But neither does constant negotiation.

Sometimes - just sometimes - children need to be reminded that the adult in charge has been on the planet for a whole lot longer and does in fact know a bit more.

IamRechargingthankYou Mon 17-Mar-14 13:18:23

YANBU - I just hate the use of the word 'strategy' when it comes to children full stop. It conjures images of robotic parents with no minds or instincts.

Thetallesttower Mon 17-Mar-14 13:24:28

I am only half with you on this one. I love 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk' because I found that I was committing every single one of the parenting crimes in the first chapter (lecturing, minimising, not listening). I think it has helped me no end reading that book when I was really stuck with one of mine. That doesn't mean I do everything by the book, I can't even remember most of the book, but when I am about to leap in when my dd is kicking off, I stop and remember the book and it really has lessened the tantrums enormously.

In general, I don't parent by the book but just go with the flow, but if I am getting stuck or going through a really bad patch with one of mine, I have found the odd book helpful (mainly that one, I didn't use any books since GF!) or talking with friends usually helps too.

Megrim Mon 17-Mar-14 13:34:17

Don't think these stupid books stop at parenting either. I was recently invited to a training course entitled "Fifty Ways to Say Well Done." Erm ... what's wrong with just saying well done?

thinking101 Mon 17-Mar-14 13:35:24

here here floozey a lot of sense

Thetallesttower Mon 17-Mar-14 13:35:52

Megrim that's so funny!

Housemum Mon 17-Mar-14 13:38:24

At the end of my tether with DD2 (10yo) we went to a 6 week parenting course at our school (not PPP but similar). It was very fluffy. Another year 6 parent and I challenged the leader who said - "when the child won't listen to reason, you ask them to leave the room and go to reflect". Yeah, right, what about when you have in our case a shouty girl who refuses to move, and in their case a boy who lashed out. Apparently you just walk away so they have their quiet time. And if they follow you still mouthing off? Erm..... Book didn't have an answer for that. It was assumed that you'd ask them to go to their quiet place they would. If they were capable of that much common sense and reason we wouldn't be at a stand-off in the first place!

Thetallesttower Mon 17-Mar-14 13:42:13

Housemum that reminds me of the HV who told me that my dd's tantrums would melt away if only I would ignore here, and that by intervening, I was 'paying her attention'. Little did she know that my dd could keep them up for two hours straight, even if no-one was watching, and things only got better when I started intervening immediately instead of trying ineffective distraction and ignoring techniques (which might work on some children but didn't on my very challenging one).

Sillylass79 Mon 17-Mar-14 13:44:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 17-Mar-14 13:45:50

I also love the "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" book. It's the only parenting book you need. But clearly you need some common sense when it comes to applying it in situations and in age-appropriate ways... Use your book and use your loaf, as they say. grin

lainiekazan Mon 17-Mar-14 13:45:57

I had all this with dcs, and now exactly the same for trying to train the dog!

Imo all parenting (and dog) gurus assume absolute success after one attempt with their strategy. As if. You wouldn't be reading their bleedin' book if you were sailing along with no trouble.

I did like the Dr Christopher Green Toddler Taming book. I'm sure it's all now discredited, but he wrote amusingly and in an understanding manner about dealing with the challenges of two-year-olds.

CheeseStrawWars Mon 17-Mar-14 13:45:59

When my "parenting instinct" is telling me to use intimidation such as screaming in my child's face or physically overpowering him to force him to comply, then I don't trust that instinct as the best thing for the long-term. Or maybe it is my 'instinct' telling me this is not a good way to parent that sends me to the parenting strategy books for help.

Parenting strategies just give you ideas, there are good ones and bad ones. Take the bits that work for you, ignore the ones that don't, or don't use any of them if you don't need them and parenting is a breeze for you you lucky sod. Get the books from the library if you don't want to pay for them.

It's all down to personal choice and the situation the individual parent finds him or herself in. YANBU to say parenting strategy books don't work for you, but YABU to sneer at parents who do find them useful.

OpalQuartz Mon 17-Mar-14 13:53:45

I'm trying to deal with my children in a different way from the way I was dealt with, as I think the way my mum spoke to me was quite destructive and negative. That does mean that I do have to think about how I speak to my children and get ideas and new ways of dealing with things. It isn't second nature to me as it might be for someone who was spoken to in a positive way growing up. If I followed my instincts I'd probably end up just doing what my mother did. (Shouting/criticising/hitting etc.) I've found How to Talk and also Divas and Dictators useful and I've put the ideas into practice. I think they have made my children's lives a lot better than they would have been.

DiddlePlays Mon 17-Mar-14 13:53:47

Well I can think about one book that would go like this, the 'How to talk to children' and tbh I have found it quite efficient.

I wouldn't use that method all the time but when are getting 'stuck' ie child is always Refusing to go in the bath then it works quite well.
I have also done the 'go in your room until you have calmed down' and again I found it does work. Incl with a child with AS and prone to huge meltdowns and/or angry outbursts.

Now it does feel weird if you try and do things exactly like this. I found that talking like that isn't me. But the idea that there might be a good reason for the child to say NO and they it's worth listening to it certainly rings true to me.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 13:55:31

I don't think my parenting instinct has ever told me to scream in my children's faces. I do think there is something to be said for teaching my children that things stress people out and what stress looks like!

DiddlePlays Mon 17-Mar-14 13:57:27

And tbh it's when you just want to out them in the bath and get to sit down to drink a gin that your dcs are likely to play up anyway...

Oneaddoneisthree Mon 17-Mar-14 14:37:50

I think it all depends on your personality, your child's personality and how they match. If I had only ever had dd I would have got along just fine parenting by instinct as she is an easy-going, affable kind of kid, much like the way I was.

In attempting to not screw up my ds, I admit I have turned to parenting books at times. I feel I need to consider all possible strategies available so that I don't scream at him on a regular basis! He's a rather extreme child, bless his heart.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 17-Mar-14 14:46:20

Personality comes into it when DD was at nursery the staff thought she was going to become a criminal barrister she argues her point so well that she got 99.6th centile for verbal reasoning. You do not negotiate with this child as you will loose.
My strategy is ' because I am the Mummy and I say so'.

lainiekazan Mon 17-Mar-14 14:51:24

Quite. I could have written a book after having ds. He was (and still is) eager to please and nearly always cheerful.

Dd, however, can be appalling . The thing is that any child over the age of, well, six - will see all too well that you're trying to use some sort of strategy and will not play ball.

funnyfarms Mon 17-Mar-14 15:20:45

I recently watched a woman control a group of twenty rowdy children simply by not reacintg. she asked them to be quiet, they were for a bit then started chatting. and then she simply stopped talking. sat there and let them get on with it. after about five minutes they twigged that someone odd was going on - and after a few mumbles etc shut up.
i was SO impressed.

Thetallesttower Mon 17-Mar-14 15:28:08

Funnyfarms this works really well with my students, I use it all the time, but it doesn't work with your own children at the dinner table. They don't feel peer pressure and they don't give a monkeys if you look disapprovingly (or mine don't anyway).

I always wanted to have a child like me where if my mum looked disapproving I felt bad immediately and never wanted to get into trouble. Where did I go wrong?!

Oneaddoneisthree Mon 17-Mar-14 15:34:49

I also use the waiting quietly strategy when teaching. I find it works better than anything else with the age group I teach - 7-10 year olds. At home, it might work with dd who wants to please. With ds - ha! - he couldn't give a monkeys.

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 15:35:12

fucking hate them op, agree.

especially the bloody endless negotiations and whittering of some parents.

we ran a totalitarian state but as benign dictators.

worked for us. grin

Oneaddoneisthree Mon 17-Mar-14 15:38:00

Me too, TheBody. I tell my kids we are Singapore. Although sometimes I wonder if I say these things only for my own benefit....

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 15:39:23

at a push the only one with any sense is toddler taming by Christopher green.

still he didn't really tell us anything any sensible adult couldn't sort anyway.

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 15:42:46

Oneadd grin has to boil down to whose in charge in your house really doesn't it.

is it sensible or fair that it's a child or the adult? job done.

we are more Germany than North Korea though! Angela Merkel would make a wonderful super nanny.

DiddlePlays Mon 17-Mar-14 15:42:58

I actually think that these parenting books Are GOOD. I might not follow them it think that they are just rubbish. But the good ones will make me wonder about how I do things. Sometimes I will change what I do, sometimes I won't. But my interest is in the variety of pov, from the AK view if no punishments or rewards to the 'near totalitarian' approach of 'do what I say'.
I also found that some points of views actually reinforce the idea that I am doing well for my dcs because they feel so out of line.

Housemum Mon 17-Mar-14 16:12:21

Love the comment above about wishing parent was still just a noun not a verb!

I could have written a wonderful manual about how to have non-fussy eaters that will try anything after DDs 1 and 2. You give them samples of lots of food when weaning, encourage them to feed themselves by offering a variety of suitable sized finger foods to choose from etc. Pah! DD3 resolutely refused any new taste, would only feed herself bread. She is now 6 and small and still fussy. If she doesn't like dinner she'll happily pick at a few veg then go to bed without anything else. Doing the "try a new food 6 times/17 times (depending what book you read)" thing has no effect - she will lick/bite and say yuck. My strategy? Hoping she'll grow out of it!

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 16:26:58

Housemum yes had one like that too and he literally lived in bread and milk. all the books were useless so I decided to stop reading and stop worrying.

he's now 6'2'' going into the navy and eats bloody anything.

my older dd is 15 and bloody pikki now but so what!

food should not be a battle.

superstarheartbreaker Mon 17-Mar-14 16:46:40

Do it NOW seems to do the trick!

Stinklebell Mon 17-Mar-14 16:51:07

Doing the "try a new food 6 times/17 times (depending what book you read)" thing has no effect

No, same here 12 bloody years later and it still has no effect.

silverten Mon 17-Mar-14 16:55:28


So far I've employed the 'do as you are told or I will withdraw something you want, and absolutely will not get off your case until you do it' strategy. So far it's worked on most children I've encountered.

Does this have a name?

Dancergirl Mon 17-Mar-14 17:01:22

After being a parent for nearly 13 years I have come to realise that parenting books are a BAD THING.

They make you doubt your own instincts how to deal with a situation. Even asking questions on MN and reading all the replies how you're doing it all wrong affects your own ability as a parent.

Oh, and the 'try 20 times before you like something'...?? Complete tosh. Some things my dc like the FIRST time they eat them, others they'd try 100 times and still not like them.

The advice I like best about fussy eaters comes from a friend's mum in her 60s who has raised 4 children. It's this 'just give them what they like to eat, they'll grow out of when they're ready'.

obviouslyneedsupernanny Mon 17-Mar-14 17:03:07

Haha it's laughable to imagine myself (or anyone I know) having that sort of conversation with my child!

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 17-Mar-14 17:20:29

We negotiate all the time, a la the "how to talk" book, about what needs to happen by when, and homework/minecraft/bath/tidying up etc etc more or less get done without too much trouble. I stand by that book. Bloody good advice about how to get your own way while giving other people the illusion of getting their way so everyone is happy. grin

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 17:34:21

Silverten might be common sense?

TheBody Mon 17-Mar-14 17:36:29

but if you negotiate all the time what happens when your child goes to school/work and just gets told to

well just do it!

merrymouse Mon 17-Mar-14 17:40:44

No, no, no, no, no.

You have it all wrong.

You (cheery): It's bath time!
Child: I don’t want a bath. I hate baths. Go away!
You (breathe): It sounds like you’re really mad. You look really frustrated. What’s bothering you most? Can you help me understand? moves child to bathroom
Child: It’s not fair. You’re always bossing me.
throws child in bath
You: So if I’m hearing you right, you’d like to make more decisions for yourself. You feel like you’re ready for more responsibility. Is that right?
throws water over child's head
Child: Yes!
You: Well, I’m so glad you told me. I had no idea you were feeling babied. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution.

It's all about misdirection. Like Derren Brown.

pot39 Mon 17-Mar-14 17:43:20

The parenting books I read in 1990's were something by Miriam Stoppard and Stephen Bidulph's bringing up boys. the former was blissfully liberal and the latter was eminently sensible and v useful as I was one of 4 girls and hadn't any idea what it was like to live with boys (was at co-ed school all through so I knew that I liked boys). From what I gather the ones people write these days are much stricter.
We did establish a bedtime routine from the outset and rigidly got them to bed by 8 until they left primary school and that's all we managed.
We still have dinner together every school night too.
THEN about 7 years ago Outnumbered started and we realised that our general bewilderment combined with endless negotiation was normal. Our boys exactly the same ages as theirs so we felt reassured!

I do know that we love our children beyond anything in the world and make it very obvious that we do.

They are not academic miracles but everyone says they are delightful and charming even though they can be perfect s***s at home.
So no I wouldn't read them now.

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 17-Mar-14 17:43:28

TheBody We talk about why we need to "just do it" under some circumstances and what those circumstances might be. wink

I remember having arbitrary rules imposed (happy school days) and I remember the contempt I felt for all those so-called authority figures. But I've always respected my parents because they never did this to us.

Fusedog Mon 17-Mar-14 17:48:54

Me to and the thing that makes be giggle the most some of these people font actually have children tbh

Every time if see a child hitting there parent at soft play and the parent pleading with the child to stop I think Ahhh wonder which parenting book you been reading

grants1000 Mon 17-Mar-14 17:54:44

ChristmasMum I am sensing you are not being heard and I really want to understand how you feel, perhaps we could start with some intial role play to help your express yourself more clearly so we can formulate an outcome that would be beneficial to the both of us, we can start with a freindship circle to help us get connected and more deeply rooted with the issue, how does that sound? Namaste (other chants and greetings are available)

christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 18:51:36

Grants1000 grin

christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 19:25:00

I was thinking about all this at school pick up. It seems that these strategists can make their ideas work with any child. Then I thought... Hang on, I can make other people's children behave too... Just not my own. How can you be so perfect all the time when you have to not only do discipline, but be teacher of manners, chief cuddler, cook, cleaner, homework assistant, nose wiper and general drudge. It's a bit different when you can do an hour of being scarily effective then go home

(Is it wrong to feel excited about making conversations of the day on the sidebar thingy??)

specialmagiclady Mon 17-Mar-14 21:06:01

When my "parenting instinct" is telling me to use intimidation such as screaming in my child's face or physically overpowering him to force him to comply, then I don't trust that instinct as the best thing for the long-term. Or maybe it is my 'instinct' telling me this is not a good way to parent that sends me to the parenting strategy books for help.

This, absolutely this.

vladthedisorganised Mon 17-Mar-14 21:36:57

I was too "by the book" with DD for a while.
Me: It's bath time!
DD: But I don't want a bath!
Me: (consults book) I can see you don't want to and I know that in a perfect world I could wave a magic wand and Presto! your hair would be magically clean.
DD: So why don't you do that? I don't want a bath!
Me: (consults book) I see that having a bath makes you sad..
DD: And now I'm really sad because you know it makes me sad and you're making me have a bath anyway and it's not nice!

I resorted to the 1,2,3 and following through with the threat (going in the bath fully clothed) in the end. All children are different so the one-size-fits-all approach won't work for all of them, any more than one management technique works for all 180 of my department..

TheCunkOfPhilomena Mon 17-Mar-14 21:42:52

merrymouse grin

The day that Derren Brown brings out a parenting book I shall be first in the queue. Until that day I shall adhere to my 'make-it-up-as-you-go-along' approach.

NancyinCali Mon 17-Mar-14 21:55:12

I quite like the books blush but I take it all with a pinch of salt and figure out what works for us. And that changes with age I think. I've heard good things about the 1,2,3 method working and may employ that later. In general I don't think there's anything my not-quite 2 year old has done that warrants a whole load of "strategy". The twos may be different…

I think we should be able to parent in our own way without the need to label it.

Delphiniumsblue Mon 17-Mar-14 22:07:46

My pet hate is people telling me they know how I feel so I can't see why children should be different. The dialogue in OP is very irritating, you feel very sorry for the child if they have to put up with a lot similar.

Laquitar Mon 17-Mar-14 22:09:18

I think that these books just manage to divide parents.

Also we get used to need a book for everything. I 've heard people asking 'do you know any books on preparing dcs for the holidays, how to explain that we will go on a flight'. I mean we need a book for everything: 'how to explain to dcs that we are going to visit auntie', 'how to put shoes on your dc', 'how to tell dcs that uncle got divorced', 'how to explain that M #S is closed', 'how to tell them why we need to brush our teeth'. It is getting silly imo. We can use our imagination.

Delphiniumsblue Mon 17-Mar-14 22:13:01

They seem to assume that no one has common sense any more!
The one that really irks me is the parents who say that they are consensual parents or they live consensually, a most dreadful modern term. I can only think that they had a very poor childhood themselves to have to read a book and then give a name to common sense, as if it is a new invention.

rhetorician Mon 17-Mar-14 23:03:37

The poster who made the point about the usefulness of these books and strategies for those of us who have been less than perfectly parented ourselves I think is really important. I've read some crap ones, but liked Easier, Calmer, happier parenting. I have a very wilful dd who kind of panics if you place her under too much stress (shouting, especially). She just shuts down if the explanation is too lengthy, so I found descriptive praise very helpful (am a naturally negative person, so it doesn't come naturally to me to praise children, and my mother almost never said anything positive to or about me!) and lo and behold, dd was a different child. She didn't immediately get the happy cues (possibly because I look stern and scowly even when happy) and needed the fact that I was pleased with her made blatantly obvious. But you do feel like a twat doing it. "Instinct" I think is no such thing, it's observed and learned behaviours, and not all of us have good ones to draw on. So I think that for some people, these books are a waste of time, and there's also a lot of crap out there too.

tortoisesarefab Mon 17-Mar-14 23:16:37

gina ford had me believing that my newborn will sleep through from 2 months old and my toddler will potty train in a week. she is a big, fat liar grin

aquashiv Mon 17-Mar-14 23:20:54

That magic 123 does work. Infact the children remind me to use it sometimes. Only problem himself counts really quickly then shouts anyway.

AskBasil Mon 17-Mar-14 23:22:13

I never had the problem of kids not wanting a bath.

Quite the opposite. They would be quite happy to spend all day in the bath.

Get the fuck out of the bath already.

I agree with those who are saying that for those who had shit parents - and there are a lot of us - parenting books/ programmes/ courses etc. are brilliant. They have shit examples though, like a child not wanting a bath which I literally NEVER experienced and wish I would. My water bill is immense.

I also think there are a lot of people around who think they're brilliant parents and they sound a bit shit to me tbh. Some woman at work the other day was telling us about how she'd handled a child not eating his dinner scenario really incredibly badly and I was sitting there cringing because she obviously thought she'd handled it brilliantly and been the authoritative parent, when in fact she'd just been a bullying, eating-disorder-inducing arse (yes I'm hyperbolising). People could do with reading more parenting books, not fewer. You don't have to accept everything in them. I personally thought both Christopher Green and Steve Biddulph were a load of toss but How to Talk was great.

MoJangled Tue 18-Mar-14 00:34:31

Any book that undermines you and makes you feel sad, failing or disengages you from your child is BAD (Gina Ford I'm looking at you)

But plenty of good ideas and supportive explanations out there too. A book which helps you understand your child and gives you tips to supplement your instincts gis GOOD

Big vote here for What Every Parent Needs to Know by Margot Sunderland - it's not a parenting strategy but a child development book, done really accessibly, and covers how they develop, what their needs are, and what you can expect/do.

Isindesidecar Tue 18-Mar-14 00:51:01

When DP was expecting twins we went to a TAMBA (teins abd multiple birth association) workshop where some recommended the "bible" book for twins.....we read the first chapter together and I vividly remember that "with twins or multiples you must run your household like a military operation" we looked at each other and laughed as our household was more along the lines of fawlty towers meets tiswas.
Thankfully a real live mother of twins who had gotten hers to their 20s without major mishap dropped by one day when our DTs were about 6 weeks old. She bounced them both on her knees (together!; She showed us how to do it) calmed them whilst we ate the first hot meal of erm...well 6 weeks; read the chapter of the "bible" we showed her then laughed out loud. I asked her "how did you manage them both?" And she said "I didn't manage them, I just enjoyed them."
Frankly the most useful piece of advice we ever received.

Isindesidecar Tue 18-Mar-14 00:52:00

Actually agree on the Margot Sutherland book. That was helpful.

AllDirections Tue 18-Mar-14 01:22:33

Not everything has to be a palaver.

Depends what kind of child you've got hmm

tiggyhop Tue 18-Mar-14 03:19:24

Somebody wrote a book about counting to three? Seriously? Is it a short book?

nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 05:45:51

I used Toddler Taming with ds, and whilst it was reassuring to hear that he was quite normal some of the techniques didn't work for us at all (the day I spent hours hanging on to the other side of the door in an attempt to keep in his room was really not a great one! I should probably say that none of the other commonly used techniques worked either (1,2,3 naughty step, negotiation, bribery). The only response to a tantrum that worked for us was ignoring it, waiting till he'd screamed himself to exhaustion, lots of cuddles and essentially waiting until he grew out of it.

Likewise with dd's fussiness. No way was she going to be fooled by hidden stuff (sauces made her scream) or tricked by pretty patterns. No trying stuff, however small the speck (contaminated plates made her scream too) She ate what she wanted to eat and that was it. Growing up helped there too.

My parenting strategy: wait for them to grow up (TM)

woodrunner Tue 18-Mar-14 07:46:24

OP your post made me laugh out loud. That is exactly how those books script the conversations and they do sound really wooden. Weird thing is, they work. I got through two toddlers - one of whom is extremely strong willed, with less than five tantrums between them. They just never had meltdowns and it was because of that sort of phoney sounding agreement. It sounds awful to us because it's not what we want to say, but it is what they want to hear ime.

tiggyhop LOL!

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:51:37

as l

Featherbag Tue 18-Mar-14 07:52:48

I have a parenting strategy. It's called 'Whatever Works Best For Us, Today'. Maybe I should write a book...

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:55:00


these books arnt around to help parents though, they are to make money for the author.

just like any product children are a fantastic money spinner in clothes, toys, parenting books, diet books, behavioural books, AP, tiger mother blah blah blah.

somebody somewhere is laughing all the way to the bank.

much better to do what you feel works for your family and as we are all different the approaches will be different too.

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:56:14

Fearherbag grin x post.

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 08:15:29

I used to have a great deal of contempt for parenting books, because I thought, like other posters, "what's wrong with common sense and instinct?"

Until the day a MNer made me understand that what I call "instinct" is in fact a hunch about what is likely to work well for my children because a similar approach worked well for me during my own happy childhood. What I call "common sense" is the kind of behaviour modelled for me from birth by people who were undeniably sensible.

Which is fine because I had that well cared for childhood, with thoughtful parents who were able to build on the instict they had acquired as the well cared-for children of their thoughtful parents.

But if I hadn't, if I had been brought up by abusive or badly neglectful parents, then I might well be glad to be able to pick somebody else's brains for the "instinct" and "common sense" that hadn't been part of my own childhood.

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 08:19:14

Cory good point, probably those people may not be the sort who buy and read the books in the first place.

for some parents I think parenting classes are great.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 08:25:04

I think that parenting classes are better then books because you have the chance to talk to people and discuss what works for them.
It is a good point that some people need them if they have no role models. Consensual parenting irritates me because all it boils down to is good communication and treating everyone with respect, which is what I would call normal and then think 'who are these people who need a label?', but I guess it wasn't normal in their family as they were growing up.

Haven't read the whole thread but, from page 1, I think bribery has actually got too much of a bad name. If I had my time of parenting littlees again I think I might use it more!
Actually, come to think of it, it's something lots of grandparents use quite liberally isn't it ? grin

I think consistency is overly stressed as being essential too. If one thing isn't working you need to try something else, and get creative and flexible with your strategies!

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 08:36:01

juggling yes book called try bribery it always works grin

silverten Tue 18-Mar-14 08:40:19

Thing is, there is a point to discussing consequences and feelings over stuff children don't want to do.

It's just that it is rarely worth doing this when you're in the thick of trying to get them to do whatever it is they don't want. It takes so bloody long for the child to articulate what the problem is, and for the parent to work out what they actually mean (because what the child says isn't often exactly what they mean in these cases...) that you are just wasting your time. Coupled with the fact that these point often coincide with tiredness or hunger and you might as well not bother. Wait until the moment has passed, your child is calm, happy and undistracted and then have a go.

I love some of these proposed book titles smile

Loving "Whatever Works Best For Us, Today"

On similar lines I'm thinking I could put together one with a chapter on each useful strategy, perhaps call it "The parenting box of tricks"? smile

(I get sooo bored with a book with only one strategy, ideas repeated ^ad nauseum^)

Any co-writers out there?!

OpalQuartz Tue 18-Mar-14 09:31:23

If everything is going swimmingly with parenting, then people don't need books. If people are finding an aspect of parenting hard then they can be quite useful as they help you think of ways of approaching things in a different way.

I think parenting is used as a verb now because previously there was "mothering" or "fathering." Mothering tends to indicate "nurturing" a child, whereas fathering a child tends to mean "getting the mother pregnant" rather than actually looking after the child.

rhetorician Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:09

There's an awful lot of good sense and excellent advice on this thread. I think parenting books fail to acknowledge that we are human, that the combination of my desire for order does not sit well with my DDs profound d messiness. So I have to work out a way that we can manage this incompatibility of character (we get on great in every other way) in a way that is not c source of undue conflict, or spirals into other aspects of our lives.

BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:38

I've never read a parenting book. The Oscar Wilde quote is about where I am at. It's worked really well with DD1.

HOWEVER DD2 is nearly 3. She is the stubbornest child - even my CM and her co CM's tell me she is the stubbornest child they have ever met. She can be exceedlingly stubborn.

Counting to 5 is NOTHING to her. Nothing at all. It is merely a challenge for her to see how scornfully she can glare at me. Sticker chart is having mild success.

Still I will start a thread on MN asking for help before I go down the lines of the example in the OP.

Thetallesttower Tue 18-Mar-14 09:56:07

BeCool my first was like that. When I had my second and I started counting and got to 2 before she did as asked I was just astonished and realised why some parents find it easy! My first would shout 'you can count to a million for all I care, I'm not doing XYZ' and if put on the naughty step and asked to say sorry would sit there for a couple of hours (only once did I do this!)

I did use time out though with her (in her bedroom), and what I found most effective was to get in there very very early with a warning and a follow-through. None of this ignoring, distracting- if she was heading towards bad behaviour (e.g. hitting her sister/pulling over the CD's/drawing on the walls) then I stepped in immediately with an immediate warning then sanction. It only took about two time outs for her to get that this was no messing mummy (not like the ineffective mummy who had tried to ignore these things, distract, reason etc as the HV had suggested). It took me a while to work it out, and for a sensitive child, this would be a disaster leaping in on any minor infraction, but my dd seemed to find it much easier to cope with if things didn't escalate to where she was beyond reason and in full stubborn mode.

I'm not saying it worked forever, she's still a bit challenging even now, but what she seems to need is a very strong reassertion of the boundaries, whereas this doesn't come naturally to me and my second dd needs much more subtle, emotionally responsive handling if she's upset/stressed.

It is trying though, I remember!

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 10:05:13

The thing is though that some Americans, especially Californians, do actually talk like that. It just sounds weird to our British ears because it's not normal to us. I do tend to avoid the sugary Walton speak but I do find it helpful to acknowledge feelings and try to see what's behind a behaviour and/or get DS to help work out a solution so there grin

BTW every example of "I don't use a strategy, I just say this!" is, er, a strategy grin Unless you say totally random things every time you're using some kind of strategy.

Plus it's nice for those of us whose instinct is some combination of "Do you want to have a bath?" "No" "Er..... please??" or "Get in the bath right now you little ungrateful sod" <literally throw them in> - clearly neither of those work or are helpful. Sometimes it's nice to have some ideas of different strategies you can use.

The one I did hate though is the one where the ultimate final resort is supposed to be to gently take your child by the hand, say "Thank you for showing me that you need help with this!" and then help them to do whatever it is you want them to do. Meanwhile in the real world, millions of children escalate their tantrums "MY - DON'T - WANT - HELP!!!!"

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 10:08:39

DS' American friend at kindergarten cracks me up, he's just 4 and he literally talks like the kids in these books. He once left something at our house and I didn't notice to bring it in on Monday and he had this really hurt expression and said "But you guys... I left that with you. It's mine." I felt really bad! He is very very sweet, and far more expressive than most British 3 or 4 year olds I know.

Clutterbugsmum Tue 18-Mar-14 10:14:50

My dh used to talk to dd2 like this, i use mumble under my stop talking to like that she's 2 may talk like she's swallowed the dictionary but she two. In louder voice get in the bath now!. In she got.

Preciousbane Tue 18-Mar-14 10:20:14

I have never read a parenting book in my life though SIL gave me one when DS was born, I didn't read a single page. DH was a Benjamin Spock baby and The Gina Ford book was in vogue when DS was born.

I just muddled through. Till I came on here I hadn't even heard of stuff like BLW.

The first book I read after DS was born was Cranford, which as he was such a little bugger and never slept I read to him in his bouncy chair. I really need to read again as I read huge chunks in a cooing baby voice.

steppingintothecanineunknown Tue 18-Mar-14 10:25:27

I am going to fess up to being involved in the business of parenting books...not going to reveal how. There are very few that sell in any number these days. The few that do are the likes of GF, How to Talk and then one or two others where a media storm is created. French Children don't etc. is a good example of that. Why don't they sell...maybe because of the likes of mumsnet and information overload?

I agree that the types of people who need parenting books most, most probably won't buy them and classes can be more effective there.

It is a fine line for a parenting author to tread between showing confidence in their approach and acknowledging that some children won't fit the pattern. My favourite book has a mix of strategies to give parents ideas to pick from, rather than a one-size-fits-all way but then that is less definitive.

As a parent I would read a handful of books and pick and choose ideas from each, although hat relies on having spare time to do so. Hard for any single book to do it all for all children imho.

BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 10:26:03

TheTallestTower that makes good sense - thank you for sharing.
DD1 is very sensitive. DD2 needs much stronger boundaries. Distraction can work to a point but only is she is ready IYKWIM.

I have been using time out but it's not great - she just won't stay put & it ends up in a head on challenge. Again it worked well for DD1 to "take some time to gather herself together". I'm still trying it with DD2 - I've not abandoned it completely.

Thankfully she is usually the most charming and lovely child when she isn't kicking off - this morning it was because when I brushed her very curly hair she then looked in the mirror and was shocked/outraged that I didn't "brush it long" - WTF??

LaQueenOfTheSpring Tue 18-Mar-14 10:45:55

Oh God, yes I hate them...and the cutsey sounding, psycho-babble bullshit contained therein...

I have a friend who must have upwards of 2 dozen parenting books on her bookshelf. She is endlessly explaining and negotiating with her DCs using this faux soothing voice and empathetic head-tilts...

Yet, both her DCs are dyed-in-the-wool brats whose own grandparents are highly reluctant to take care of them, because they considered them 'spoilt' and 'far too naughty'.

I have never read a single parenting book in my life, yet our DDs are very well behaved, not remotely brattish and their GPs compete as to who can babysit (we have to let them take turns).

I credit this is because I have never stood for any nonsense, and they very quickly learned it was in their best interests to do as they were told, and the repurcussions of any bad behaviour were not very pleasant.

BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 11:03:10

I have a friend who must have upwards of 2 dozen parenting books on her bookshelf. She is endlessly explaining and negotiating with her DCs using this faux soothing voice and empathetic head-tilts... Yet, both her DCs are dyed-in-the-wool brats

Oh do we have the same friend? grin

I fear this is an all to common scenario. I end up fairly quickly distancing myself from such people - they are excruciating to spend too much time around.

BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 11:08:10

And this (now ex) friend would never take her kids anywhere or do anything with them as she was in fear of what horrid behaviour they would indulge in while she nodded and faux-soothed away in the background.

I'm proud I can take my 2 pretty much anywhere and not only have lots of fun together doing all kinds of things, but feel we can go back afterwards or we will get invited back (yes even the dreadfully stubborn 2yo).

LaQueenOfTheSpring Tue 18-Mar-14 11:12:29

Possibly beco grin - whenever we go out in a group of friends she is the one left 'negotiating' endlessly with her 6 & 5 year olds over the 74th trivial bit of angst they are suffering from that day...while the rest of us have long since cleared off to the park, or the swimming baths.

And when she finally arrives, she endlessly frets about 'how well she handled the situation' and 'what positives her and her children can draw from it'

Life. Is. Too. Fucking. Short.

BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 11:26:48


DiddlePlays Tue 18-Mar-14 12:34:16

But the problem isn't with the books. It's with the parent and the way they are using the tools. There are times for negotiation and time to just get going.
There are times when you want to listen to your child worries and there are times to show them that there is nothing to worry about but just doing things.

Trying to negotiate all the time us as wrong as never negotiating with your child.

It's not the books that are wrong. It's the way some peoe interpretate them.

As for 'I've always follow my intuition and I am always right'. Boasting much grin

LondonForTheWeekend Tue 18-Mar-14 13:05:01

Can I just say that I think dumping a fully clothed child into a bath is pretty monstrous and quite cruel. You wouldn't do it to any other vulnerable person.

It is mean spirited and I'm shocked that anyone is proud of themselves for doing it.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 13:17:16

I think that dumping them clothes in the bath is wrong, as is taking them out without clothes, just to prove you are right. You are the adult and you are responsible for getting them appropriately dressed etc. You can't get away with it for most people, so I can't see why it is right just because they are little.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 13:23:16

To the person who said they have such perfect parenting instincts that they have never had an urge to scream in their child's face, lucky you.

To the person who was brave enough to share those instincts (which, I might add, might never show their face until you have a 1/2/3 year old by which point it's a bit late to decide not to have children) thanks thank you for being brave and know that you are not alone.

I also just like reading theory. I may not apply it perfectly all the time, I may not agree with all of it but it's interesting to me.

I used to read parenting books before I had children blush

bruffin Tue 18-Mar-14 13:24:08

I'm from the school of muddling along parenting. It worked for me, ds is 18 and is pretty fab.
Me too and also have a dd 16 who is lovely as well.

I did like the Christopher Green books, because they were just plain common sense and made me laugh out loud

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 13:24:29

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 08:19:14
"Cory good point, probably those people may not be the sort who buy and read the books in the first place."

TheBody, plenty of Mumsnetters have been brought up by abusive or neglectful parents: you can easily find that by reading old threads. They are on here because they desperately want to break that vicious circle and do something better for the next generation. And I have no doubt many of them manage it.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 13:28:33

I think it depends on the situation. Of course it would be wrong to do so out of a sense of "Ha, I'm right, you're wrong, I'm big, you're little, I'm smart, you're dumb"

But, I have let DS go out in the back garden without clothes/coat/shoes on at various times - and possibly out the front for shoes because it was paved whereas the back isn't - to "check" how cold it is and whether he thinks he really needs them or not. Likewise, when he wanted to get in the bath with clothes on I explained that his clothes would get wet and then gave him the choice to try it or not. I wouldn't have dumped him in there against his will but it didn't really make a difference to me if he got his clothes wet in the bath to see what it felt like. (He decided to take my advice when it was explained why, so it didn't come to that)

And a couple of times when we were late in the morning due to him refusing to get dressed I put him in the pushchair under a footmuff in PJs and dressed him when we got to the childminder's. Sometimes needs must!

ercolercol Tue 18-Mar-14 13:29:57

I LOVE Alfie Cohen, as the daughter of very controlling parents, he has probably rescued my relationship with my children. Now I understand that I don't have to control them but I can help them learn to control themselves. (they are not brats - proof: repeat invitations to parties and playdates).

And Bonnie Harris "when your kids push your buttons'. Again a life changing book.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 13:31:56

Wow I hadn't picked up on that. Yeah, not all adult children from abusive homes are uneducated chavs confused

I was not brought up in an abusive home but my parenting instincts if left to it are off. The only thing I can think is that I had DS too young, I was still in sibling mode when relating to him rather than adult, parent mode. He does remind me of my little sister at times, less so now he's getting older and coming more into his own personality.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 13:32:20

When Your Kids Push Your Buttons seriously is life changing.

vladthedisorganised Tue 18-Mar-14 13:41:08

I think we've all done things we're ashamed of when at the end of our tether. I wouldn't call myself proud of doing it at all, but I wouldn't (personally) say it's as bad as smacking, dousing in cold water or even forcibly confining to a room -all of which I've seen in a few parenting books, as it happens.

Possibly more for the parenting threads, but what do people do when they get to 3 and the child hasn't responded?

rhetorician Tue 18-Mar-14 14:18:17

despite an awful lot of strategies (some home made, some cobbled together from others' suggestions) DD1 is still impulsive and a bit naughty, although she is a billion times better than she was. She's the kind of kid who will touch things, mess with her food etc etc no matter how many times you discipline her about it. She is an awkward combination of stubborn and sensitive and needs clearly articulated boundaries. These days I mostly only have to start counting for her to comply…but it has taken an awful lot of hard work to get to this point. I suppose the books give you HOPE that something might work!

I think it's fine to go out with a child refusing to put their coat on though delphinium, let them see/feel how cold it is, and then put it on outside the door. This was quite common with us and it worked OK for me!
- I think someone else already mentioned it.
Children aren't great at thinking ahead are they ?

WilsonFrickett Tue 18-Mar-14 15:15:03

I'm a shouter, I was brought up by two shouters, I have a DS who is petrified of shouting. As evidenced yesterday when I was ill and he wasn't listening, so guess what? I shouted. And DS did what I wanted him to do, but because he was afraid of me.

Now, I was ill, so I recognise I got to my trigger point far, far earlier than I should have or normally would, so I'm not beating myself up for that. But reading parenting books have taught me lots of different techniques.

Not all of which work, but none of which involve shouting.

So hey, I thought that made me a great parent, but apparently I should just sack all that off because strategies aren't cool hmm

(I do realise the majority of this thread is good natured, but some of the 'they just do what I say' posts are verging on smuggeriness. Some of us aren't natural parents. And even natural parents get it wrong sometimes)

Did anyone say they'd taken them out without clothes?

Taking them out without their wearing a coat, yes, that seems perfectly normal. If they are sure they are warm enough then fair play to them; if we're going out for a while I'll bring the coat along, or if we're just popping out for a bit then they can get cold and wish they'd brought a coat (or they can be right, and they were indeed fine without a coat. It does happen).

And when DS was in Reception we did check with the school secretary in front of him that it would be fine to deliver him to school in his pyjamas if he wouldn't put his uniform on in the morning (she said yes, of course grin). Strangely enough it was much easier to get him dressed in the mornings after that...

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 15:23:52

Ooh I don't think our receptionist would have played along, she was a snotty cow! grin

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 15:25:02

Although to be fair for the amount of people saying it's terrible it's funny that it's the first advice you get on any dressing-refusing small child thread. "Oh threaten to take them in their pyjamas. And do it!!"

Maybe it works better if you have a car. When you walk to school and it's January it doesn't seem such a fair choice then...

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 15:28:15

I have to say the singularly most troubled children I have ever met were the offspring of 2 child psychiatrists.

the older one was a naughty nightmare, the second was mute and the third was cruel to animals and other kids.

quite frightening really.

however these parents were only too eager to share their superior parenting skills with the rest of us. Barmy.

LondonForTheWeekend Tue 18-Mar-14 15:45:17

Bertie, I personally think there is a world of difference between letting a child go out underdressed/naked plus bringing clothes for them to change into and putting a fully clothed child into a bath to teach them they better obey wash them

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 15:54:05

Is the first not what most people do though? I only saw one person saying that they put a child in the bath fully clothed and they didn't give the context. I agree it sounds horrible but I can see how a parent might get to the end of their tether and then later feel that it wasn't their finest hour.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 15:57:52

If you were referring to my post, I haven't actually done that, or had the urge to do so, it was an example. The closest actual urge I've had was to physically throw my child into bed, which I controlled because I recognised that it could really hurt and frighten him to throw him. And then I sought advice and "strategies", because my anger was getting in the way of my best intentions and my less-extreme instincts weren't getting me anywhere.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 16:16:54

Did anyone say they'd taken them out without clothes?

No but it turns up in parenting strategies. Even taking the coat means that mother has to carry extra. Why not just tell them they need a coat and if they don't want to wear it that is OK but they are the one to carry it.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 16:18:46

I have to say the singularly most troubled children I have ever met were the offspring of 2 child psychiatrists

I have found the same and it makes me very cynical, I would like to see the children of the 'experts' who write the books before deciding if they are worth reading!

exhaustedmummymoo Tue 18-Mar-14 16:27:32

I haven't read all this thread, but I have found some strategies in super nanny work, my problem is I can't always remember what she says especially in the heat of the moment...and I can't seem to read and retain it all. I would be interested to know how well families fair 2 and 3 years after being on super nanny. I also think most books are far to boring and long to go through the authors forget that the luxury of reading is pretty much a thing of the past...certainly whilst I have small children! I also think living in such a judgmental society is helpful. I have often read on here, sorry mums netters, that people post about shouting parents and unruley children, but what hasn't been witnessed is the whole family dynamic, eg lack of sleep, worry about Ill health, worry about finances, worry about DP being unfaithful ect, then add in a misbehaving toddler and its not surprising parents sometimes get shouty or arsey with their children. (And yes I am one of those shouty parents...I hate myself at doing it, but sometimes I am so knackered the last thing I need is an arguing tot... ,
It also depends on child in my case DD is just a nightmare, she literally will have me in tears! Thankfully DS is really easy, and truth DS is very easy to parent. DD is incredibly hard to parent as she argues / ignores and refuses at every possible turn!

exhaustedmummymoo Tue 18-Mar-14 16:34:17

Oh heck not helpful that should read, living in a judgemental society is NOT helpful!!

DiddlePlays Tue 18-Mar-14 16:48:32

Some of us aren't natural parents
Yes and also you might be in a different situation than the one you were brought up.
Eg I am an only child. I have 2 dcs. It sounded logical to me to read about siblings and raising 2+ children as I had no personnal experience of it.

Or people have a big extended family so have been looking after young cousins etc before having their own dcs. So they have seen, as adults, what can be done, good or bad. And others have just their own experience to by, not always good. Or they want to do it another way (eg no shouting).

It's all well and good to say 'I knew it already' but not everyone does. 'I never shout' really???? Never ever? Say that the writers are just smugg and unreliable ... Just to do exactly the same thing by saying that 'by following their instinct as a parent, they already know what to do, just like this so no one should ever need a parenting book' hmm

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 16:48:59

I think that's fair Delphinium for older children say 5+, but young ones really can't usually make the connection between it being cold outside when they are nice and warm inside. And what do you do when they refuse to wear or carry it? That's what DS used to do. Now he's older I have more success getting him to carry things himself but he would quite happily leave the coat at home if I gave him the choice, which I don't think it's fair to do if we're going to be out for a long time because he doesn't have the forward thinking yet to reason that he might want it later. When he's older if he wants to leave it at home then I might let him make that discovery for himself but not at 5.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 17:27:48

I think the coat is OK, it is when it goes further than that and you take them out in mid winter without being properly dressed, so that they decide for themselves that you were right!

nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 18:38:26

But if you need to go out and the alternative is to forcibly dress them and the scenario happens repeatedly is it really the worst choice?

ds had real issues with understanding consequences, right through into junior school so this sort of scenario was for us an everyday one. The standard 'strategies' often didn't work for us not bribery, threats, reward charts, 1,2,3, 'just do it', shouting, explaining etc. If he didn't want to do something then he wasn't going to do it, and if you pushed it too far the outcome might well be an hour of full blown tantrum.

I opted for forcible dressing rather than natural consequences, but maybe taking him out in the cold might have been more effective. Who knows, and if I had only had to do that once then that would have been a result really. What I suspect we really needed were the sort of strategies that help children with AS as it was AS type traits that were an issue for us (so things like wall charts showing the steps that needed to be done in order to go out, advance warning of change etc).

If I had just had compliant dd then I would have been one smug mother of a toddler.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 18:46:34

If they have SN you may need different tactics. I just think there are better ways with very small children than taking them out in vest and pants and bare feet and saying 'told you so!'

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 19:09:04

I don't think anybody has said they have done that though. I think this is a bit of a straw man to be honest.

nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 19:09:16

Oh he is mostly NT, just was a bit of a late developer on some fronts. Plus with very small children how do you know if they have SN or not? Most diagnosis aren't made until they are a fair bit past toddler age.

Is it the end of the world to walk down the road in your pants and vest? I'm not so sure. Certainly parenting approaches seemed a bit more 'robust' in the past. Things like walking away from your tantruming toddler (in public spaces) seemed to be more acceptable a generation ago, but would now be considered very dimly.

nb I'm assuming that the clothes are easily on hand and that the child puts them on fairly swiftly.

nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 19:11:23

and yes it probably is a straw man. I just sometimes think that we've gone a bit too far down the child centredness approach. Like when our nursery told us that they carefully held ds's head when he tantrummed in case he hurt himself. Of course I wanted to know that he couldn't cause himself serious harm, but I do think that they were being slightly ridiculous.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 19:13:02

I really don't want to get bogged down in what was a throw away remark. I personally wouldn't do with a very small child what I wouldn't with an older child, just because they are little and I can, but other people might feel differently. It is up to you.

exhaustedmummymoo Tue 18-Mar-14 21:59:44

Oops I didn't know it wasn't acceptable to walk away from a tantruming toddler done that before too I must be a really shockingly bad parent!

poopadoop Tue 18-Mar-14 22:09:02

best parenting strategy I've found is the threat to hoover up the lego. Oh and empathy patience and hugs.

Badgerwife Wed 19-Mar-14 07:26:27

I like reading all the books. Once I've done that, I feel I'm more able to follow my instinct, having hopefully taken from the books all the things that I thought were going to reasonably work with my particular child, and rejecting the rest of the crap (although I did know from the start that me and Gina Ford were never going to see eye to eye so I never read her). It's not for everyone but I'm a bookworm and a more cerebral than instinctive person so I feel more prepared having done some research.
e.g. Like the fact that I didn't want to smack, but having been smacked as a child, I didn't actually know exactly what my alternative strategy was going to be, and I needed a bit of a mind shift in how I approached discipline. So reading up on it for me was absolutely necessary.

DD1 is still only 2.8 so counting to 5 and ignoring tantrums is still my best strategy so far!

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 08:19:41

I do think some people are too easily swayed by their children, and have an inherent inability to actually put their foot down, and be the Boss when necessary. I honestly don't know why this?

But I have witnessed time and time again, parents unable to actually say no to their children, and they have a genuine worry that by being firm and yes (gasp) possibly even allowing their child to see them quite terse/annoyed will somehow damage their child.

And it's so sad that what they genuinely can't see, is that by pussy-footing endlessly around their child, they are doing just as much damage.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 08:38:13

I think they are afraid that they won't be loved,or even liked, if they put their foot down. There are posters who are in tears if their child says they don't love them any more or they love granny or daddy better! They take it seriously.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 08:42:14

Yes, I think you're probably right Delphinium - and it's so sad, because by always pussy footing around your child (especially as they get older) they going to end up having no respect for you, and often treating you with contempt.

I have witnessed this myself, first hand with my DH's family. My MIL pussy foots around everyone, and instantly gives in over everything, always has - because she can't bear confrontation, and just wants to please everyone...I'd like to say her family really appreciate her, but they don't...they walk all over her, and treat her with a sort of fond contempt sad

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 08:46:42

A lot of these strategies involve mother putting herself out, mother being the pack horse etc and it makes for a very poor role model.
My favourite line was 'you will thank me when you are older'.

lainiekazan Wed 19-Mar-14 09:30:28

I think the pussy-footing and giving in isn't always in order to be liked. In some cases the child has a personality that is plain difficult and they will ruin things for everybody else if they don't get their way. My sister was like that. If things weren't to her liking, then sulking, tantrumming, huffs ensued so that a day out would be completely spoiled. Hence my mother danced around her in order to preserve a good atmosphere. This persisted through adulthood.

Now, I always vowed I would never do this with my dcs. But with dd, I catch myself doing the very same thing. It is so difficult not to fall into the "if that dc is happy, then everyone's happy; if that dc is cross, then noone is happy."

specialmagiclady Wed 19-Mar-14 09:33:05

I think what parenting strategies - both from books and courses - taught me is "choose your battles" and also a bit about children's developing brains. Basically, my expectations of rational behaviour and empathy were waaaaayy too high. (DS1 has ASD but lots of NT children are similar at 2 and 3). Parenting strategies gave me the realisation that my 3 year old was still very tiny and that expecting him to understand about the coat thing was too much. If we put on coats on the top step rather than in the house, for example, does it matter?

Also - parenting books taught me that my children are not robots and expecting mindless obedience over everything is going to make me unhappy, and them. So now rather than bellowing "you. Will. Obeeeeeeey" I find out what is stopping them and work around it. This involves more negotiation than I expected to be doing, but it also involves less tantrumming and - ultimately - the children doing as they are told more often.

Before "how to talk so children ..." I was on the verge of becoming a abusive parent. My strategy was "get a little bit cross, get crosser still... Get terrifying... Still not happening..."

LondonForTheWeekend Wed 19-Mar-14 09:50:06

LaQueen- is it possible that you are being rather unfair on your MIL.

People pleasers are made... Usually by overbearing, hard to please parents who want instant obedience and who do not permit any discussion beyond "I said do it, now" repeated ad nauseum.

HeyNonny Wed 19-Mar-14 10:07:38

I'm prepared to walk away from a tantruming 4yo in a public place, I really don't give a shit if other people look on it dimly. When the only thing feeding the tantrum is attention, and the only thing to stop it is to remove the attention, you do what you have to do. I just stand further away towards the exit/slightly behind something if possible (so that I can still see her but she's not sure she's still got my attention) and wait.

Obviously this tactic only works if it's a public space with only one exit!

What else to do? I could try negotiating with her but if it's a tantrum, it's because she's tired and doesn't want to listen so it fuels the tantrum further; I could pick her up and carry her out kicking and screaming, but then I wouldn't have a hand free for the 2yo, who's not often in the buggy any more.

The main problem with the parenting books is that they all assume that you are looking after only one child at any one time. Siblings mentioned in the books are either considerably older (”try enlisting their help in a mentor role") or newborn babies (”put the baby in a sling to leave your hands free to deal with the tantruming child, and to give them as much attention as possible”). None of them acknowledge the possibility that you're dealing with two children between the ages of 18m and 5, both able to run away, both able to argue back, and both wanting a LOT of attention - as well as being intelligent enough to collude/react to each other.

Meanwhile the biggest cause of the problems is school - too much, too young. DD is 4.7, in YR, and is totally shattered. Even her friends 10 or 11 months older than her are coming out of the classroom and having meltdowns. The school's great, the teacher's fantastic (and understanding/sympathetic - has already suggested that any problems getting ready for school should be dealt with by bringing the DC in pjs and handing over a bag of clothes); there are just too many of them in not enough space with too much to try to achieve each day/week/term.

And YY to hoovering up Lego/Playmobil/whatever!

That's what I don't get about some of these "strategies"
Like the one that suggests you "wait until the child is ready" to get dressed or get in the car.

Really? When you have another child to get to school, yourself to work etc you are supposed to wait 46 minutes for that DC to "decide"?

I've honestly never heard anything so ridiculous

My strategy was "get in the car. Now. Don't argue. Just do it"

My most used phrase to my teenagers at the moment is "that was not a request or an invitation to debate. It was an instruction. So go and do it. Now"

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 10:19:47


I think you have nailed it really.

Haven't read whole thread as on phone. All the things I've read either assume the kids to stupid to see what your actually doing. Or are impossible to actually do in that thing called real life.

My dd sees through everything. She doesn't care what she looses and can hold a grudge alllllll day and more.

The things that would help the most? More sleep, fresh air, ability to just drop what you are doing go home and sit in jammies eating crap.

But life gets in the way of that. Work, school, home work, shopping and life in general. Stuff that can't wait, or just be dropped.

aquashiv Wed 19-Mar-14 10:23:52

100% agree with Hey too.

LondonForTheWeekend Wed 19-Mar-14 10:57:43

I agree withHeyNonny that the vast majority of tantrums are caused by tiredness, and that de-escalating ASAP is the simplest, best solution. I disagree though, that all parenting books assume there are no other children. I think it assumes you will hold their hand beside you quietly whilst waiting for the other one to stop.

I think talk of "seeing through everything" is really unhelpful, and seeks to paint children as conniving and manipulative. As parents we are modelling hopefully the behaviour we should expect to see.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 11:04:30

Kids can be manipulative I don't think underestimating them helps either.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 11:19:18

And as for the waiting quietly beside you while their sibling stops. Pah!!

Kids can tantrum for hours!!!


Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 11:23:34

I disagree that the majority of tantrums are caused by tiredness. Some are, when dc are little. I know a few people who always trot out "oh, he/she is really tired" when their kids i whining or screaming. Er, no, he/she is manipulating you because he/she is not getting what he/she wants because you always give in to avoid confrontation! Dd's best friend does this all the time for her mum - she is 8! And always lovely for me.

An 8yo still doing that will turn into a 12yo (another friend's dc) using more subtle but equally manipulative techniques to get what she wants.

I like both of these mums very much, but find it difficult to be around them with dcs for any length of time. It has always puzzled me that nice, intelligent women would let themselves be ruled by a child. They are not interested in reading any parenting books but instinct is not really working from what I can see.

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 11:27:27

I never thought my dcs were manipulative... or had tantrums.
dc2 had AS meltdowns (not the same). Both have had angry outbursts (just as adults do).

But I don't think that thinking about them in such a negative way is helpful at all. Thinking that someone is manipulating me makes me want to retaliate or just say no regardless of the circumstances. Thinking that I have a dc who is trying hard to get X, maybe using ways that aren't that appropriate makes want to teach him/her and think if the request was actually acceptable.
As a parent, I want to be there to teach my dcs.

Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 11:32:51

Of course they are manipulative! And who can blame them - we are selfish beings after all, and have to learn to fit in with others and compromise. My dcs certainly have trouble with that and have to be firmly reminded that it's not all about them. It's not negative, just realistic.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 11:35:04

It's not thinking about them in a negative way though. It's not "who they are" it's an aspect of their behaviour at that particular time. You don't have to think of them negatively to realise that they are manipulating you.

Using inappropriate behaviour regardless of cost for personal gain is pretty much the definition of manipulation. I don't see how not using one word changes how you deal with the same behaviour

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 11:36:12

One actually I think you are right in some ways for older children like the ones you are talking about. At 8 or 12yo, its a different kettle of fish.

At 3yo? No they aren't manipulative. They will start by having an angry outbursts. Some might have more of them than others grin.

The issue, you are right, is that, if the parent gives in each time, then they have taught the child that tis is the right way to get X or Y. And then the parent has helpfully taught them to be manipulative. As a child, I want to hope that being manipulative isn't part of their temperament as such iyswim.

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 11:38:04

x posts one...

I would stand by my 'you are using a technique that isn't appropriate and I am going to teach you a better way to do things' rather than 'you are just being manipulative and I am going to clamp on that behaviour'

Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 11:41:36

Well yes temperament is something you can't do anything about. But the 8yo I'm talking about actually has a lovely, kind, happy nature and her mum is the only one she manipulates with whining and crying. She has learned it through 8 years of that particular technique working on her mum, who superficially comes across as confident but actually has massive insecurities. I can see how all of this has come about obviously, but still don't get why she lets it continue.

Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 11:42:21

cross posts again grin

Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 11:43:18

or maybe crossed not cross - I am not cross grin

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 11:44:05

I usually go by "I can see what your doing, it won't work I said no. I mean no"

KatnipEvergreen Wed 19-Mar-14 11:54:55

One strategy I always use is to make sure I praise them when they behave particularly well, remember to do something I am told them to, improve on something they've been bad at before, or remember to do something for themselves.

I think if good behaviour doesn't get reinforced then they might use bad behaviour to get your attention.

nickdrakeslovechild Wed 19-Mar-14 11:56:33

Read a few and would agree they are crap. We do use the naughty corner which works well, but so does always having biscuits or chocolate buttons to hand

It's funny, though. I got advice from and American mum, which she and gleaned from an American parenting book. And it works soooo well!

Basically, you bounce back what they say, so they feel understood and less frustrated.

me: "Come and do your homework"
DS :" Noooooo, it's not fair, I hate homework" wobble wobble "I'm TIRED!"
me: " I see, you think it is unfair to do homework as you are tired?"
DS: "yes!"
Me: "Well, you will have to do it, but as you are tired, how about we start with just 20 minutes, I will set the kitchen timer"
DS: "…oh, all right then"

Same with bed time, or doing anything they don't want to do. I pretend I listen and take their concern seriously, to then steer them back to what I wanted them to do.

It just diffuses the situation IMO, and you get them to do what you want them to do without confrontation and aggro.

Just saying: "I understand you are cross/tired/upset, poor you" calms them down so much.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 12:01:14

I disagree that most/all tantrums are caused by tiredness. Maybe initially...but very quickly, the child realises that by tantruming, they get what they want whether that be sweets, or their Mum's undivided attention for the duration of the tantrum.

Our friends have a 6 year old who still tantrums, if things don't go exactly their way. And our friends still pander to it, and basically drop everything in order to focus on their child. And, they have done this since their child was 2.

Children can be incredibly manipulative, and they often can't differentiate between good/bad attention from their parents - and actually probably don't even care which it is, just so long as they eventually get what they want.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 12:09:50

See they all remind me of that scene in ER. Where luka and Sam are fighting .

She turns round and said something along the lines of "are you really trying to tell me that I'm not mad about what I'm really mad about??!"

I have had pretty much the exact style of conversation when trying these "understanding and empathising and asking why they are upset etc style approaches.

I get hmm <--- this face grin

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 12:09:50

"I'm prepared to walk away from a tantruming 4yo in a public place, I really don't give a shit if other people look on it dimly. When the only thing feeding the tantrum is attention, and the only thing to stop it is to remove the attention, you do what you have to do."

Hell yes, this ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

DD2 tried her hand at throwing tantrums a few times when she turned 3. DH and I adopted a zero telorance policy, and essentially walked away, removing her audience.

I recall, the 2nd time she tried a tantrum in a restaurant - she was swiftly removed from the table, taken to our car, strapped into her car-seat (still pantomiming) and I hid behind the next car - so she couldn't see me, but I could see her.

Within 15 seconds, she virtually stopped mid-yell and looked around for her audience. Silence for several seconds and look of confusion on her I went back to the car, and gave her the option of coming back inside with me and being 'nice' or staying on her own in the car.

She was always a smart little girl, and she chose wisely wink

Same with my nephews - I have frog marched them out of Pizza Hut, when they refused to behave. Yes, they were older (6 & 8) but I gave them fair warning twice...and they were STUNNED when I cooly asked for the bill and for our pizzas to be boxed up (they'd barely had a mouthful), and I marched them out of there.

They have never played me up since, because they know I say what I mean, and I mean exactly what I say.

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 12:50:23

laqueen yes you need to mean what you say but I would have never done what you did with your 2yo. Because dc2 would have started by screaming for much longer than 2 seconds, wore himself out then realised he was alone in the car and freaked out! Not what the result I wanted.
I would do that with 6&8yo if they were misbehaving. Different ages and therefore different approach.

I also found that if you can address the real reason behind the tantrum before it does into anger mode then you don't need to do that anyway. With a 2~3yo, they are more likely to be bored, hungry at the restaurant for example (assuming they have shown before they have been taught to sit nicely at the able, which isn't always the case with children that age). For slightly older children, listening to them works best. And for even older ones, leaving them a lot if responsibility is even better. (Over to when to the homework for example). Now that they are 8&10yo it's when we step in and tell them what and when to do things that it results in an argument. Left to their own devices they just get on with it (for most things anyway)

sherbetpips Wed 19-Mar-14 13:37:28

FiscalCliffRocksThisTown I agree the best tip I ever got from these books is too listen. My DS goes nuts if he feels we are not listening to what he shouting about - a lot of the time it is nonsense but just the action of us stopping listening and intepreting helps.
I also read a tip about boys tantrums and making sure you take time to cuddle and give close contact in the aftermath. Snuggling up on the couch with DS is one of my favourite things and really does work well to repair things when we have both been unreasonable.
I think the main thing these books highlight are the common areas where we go wrong with parenting. I dont recognise it all the time but I am more aware of what I am doing/saying because of them. I cannot abide hearing any parent calling there child 'stupid' as a result of reading a lot about how insulting your children can really affect them.

LondonForTheWeekend Wed 19-Mar-14 13:40:22

Our friends have a 6 year old who still tantrums, if things don't go exactly their way. And our friends still pander to it, and basically drop everything in order to focus on their child. And, they have done this since their child was 2.

You see- I wouldn't label that manipulative. I would Say it is a perfectly expected response from her upbringing. Labeling her manipulative is almost like victim blaming- it deflects attention from the root cause being the adults.

cory Wed 19-Mar-14 14:02:13

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 12:01:14
"I disagree that most/all tantrums are caused by tiredness. Maybe initially...but very quickly, the child realises that by tantruming, they get what they want whether that be sweets, or their Mum's undivided attention for the duration of the tantrum.

Our friends have a 6 year old who still tantrums, if things don't go exactly their way"

LaQueen, this may well be a sign of parents giving in in the case of your friends (whose parenting methods you presumably know) but it doesn't have to be the case for every single child.

I have never given in to one of dd's tantrums. Never, ever. And she was still having meltdowns well beyond the age of 6.

Combination of naturally high anxiety levels and some past trauma.

I don't suppose giving in would really have helped either, not that it ever occurred to me to try. She just wasn't reachable. When we have talked it over later she has told me that at those points she would be so completely in her own world that she didn't recognise the people around her. I had to restrict myself to restraining her, to protect life and property (no way I could safely have walked away and left her).

She is a pleasant and well behaved teenager with very polite manners, doesn't strop, doesn't shout.

My db had similar problems, in his case probably the result of adoption trauma (dd otoh is not adopted). Again, I don't think he ever got as much as a biscuit through tantrumming- he did it because he couldn't help himself. He is an NT adult with no aggression problems. But it took time and patience.

So don't judge every parent.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 14:07:53

Diddle DD2 was 3, I think when she did this. Perfectly capable of stringing full sentences together, and applying ^ a bit^ of reasoning.

But, you see we differ because I don't over think, all that much, the deeper ramifications of the effects on their psyche...I just want them to stop doing it, and to stop doing it quickly.

I'm also not that big on negotiating or justifying with young children. I don't see the need, to be honest. What I did when our DDs were small, I always did for their best interests, even if it meant short term pain for long term gain.

As our DDs have got older, I am more prepared to negotiate and work through things to achieve a resolution that suits everyone. But they're always aware that I am the CEO of the house, and ultimately have the final casting vote.

Not a popular view on Mumsnet, but there you go [shrugs]

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 14:10:15

Cory I have witnessed this child turn on the tantrums, on and off like a tap.

Obviously, my opinion doesn't dictate to every child, ever. It's just a fairly broad brush stroke of behaviour I have witnessed over the years, which obviously can't pertain to every child.

Oneaddoneisthree Wed 19-Mar-14 14:54:36

Agree with Cory - some dcs do have meltdowns until they are quite old. My ds would simply lose control of himself in anger - he is 11 now and hasn't done it for a good while, but I can't confidently say he couldn't still. I don't give in or dance around him or anything, and I just have to assume that if I had, he would be even worse! He does not, however, whine and nag to get what he wants, as he knows that won't work on me.

Blimunda7Moons Wed 19-Mar-14 14:57:34

Please mums, share more of your "parental strategies"! I love to see how others deal with the same issues as us. :-)
I have been reading a lot from known or less known authors as my little boy has been growing, most advices are simple common sense (which luckily we do not lack), some are indeed as ridiculous as the example here given (Dear Lord...who on earth have even the reflex of saying such things when your child is screaming, kicking or trying to scratch your eyes out when you are trying to undress him for bath?!) and a few are actually helpful.
Here in our home we are huge fans of Super Nanny (Jo Frost) and her no-nonsense approach. We found some of her "techniques" quite useful for a number of situations with our 3 years old.
We talk to our mothers and fathers and sisters, to share the load and try whatever we can think of when we are really in trouble. And we use our common sense, we try not to second guess ourselves too much and trust that we are doing the right thing. The best advice we ever received is: love your kid and show it as much as you can, that way they'll know it's solid even when you are pissed off at them and happen to scream or punish.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 14:59:06

Oh my dd can kick off big time too. Gets ignored completely and never gets what she was after anyway.

She sees past any "trick" to distract her or talk to her or explain anything.

merrymouse Wed 19-Mar-14 15:03:12

DS's tantrums are like those very heavy spring hail storms - they are very noisy but if you just wait a bit they drift off by themselves leaving sunshine.

Blimunda7Moons Wed 19-Mar-14 15:10:46

FiscalCliffRocksThisTown : I do the same and it works quite well with my little bandit (about 95% of the time)

LaQueenOfTheSpring : hats off!!! I must do that as well in restaurants, have not had the guts yet as when we go to one it's such a treat for me as well and most of the time we are with family and/or friends. But I should next time. Thanks for inspiring :-)
I had the same technique in supermarkets, always properly warned beforehand my DS about consequences of misbehaviour and what would qualify as misbehaviour of course, living the basket there and taking the kid back to the car, no scenes or screams (mine. He was screaming and kicking all the way). I did this twice and since then it has been quite ok to go grocery shopping with him.

It also depends on your own personality as a parent..

I have learned, through having kids, that I am non-confrontational and hate conflict, but that I also have inflexible boundaries regarding behaviour and what is acceptable. So maybe not the easiest combination (a soft style but a hard core?)

Much as I like the sound of LaQ parenting, that is not a style that would work for me, sadly.

A thing that works for us (kids a bit older now at 9 and 11) is to ask them: Do you really think that your behaviour is reasonable? or "What do YOU think would be fair?" Also allowing them to make mistakes (Forgetting PE bag and having to sit out the lesson) and then dealing with it themselves.

Ah, I know nothing really. But these books contain an occasional pearl of wisdom, much like recipe books from which I typically only ever use one recipe!

BertieBotts Wed 19-Mar-14 15:40:34

DS had a monster tantrum today on the way back from kindergarten. He's 5, so he should have grown out of them by now, but to be fair to him (not excusing it, just explaining) we moved country 8 months ago (with a month back in the UK for Christmas) and he's just got over Scarlet fever and I think three maximum-length days back at kindergarten where he is still very much learning the language and it all got a bit overwhelming. He's knackered.

It was pretty embarrassing though, one of the other mums was sufficiently sympathetic to break into English (never happens) and say "It's just a phase!" and then a 3 year old girl laughed at him which provoked more rage, I whisked him out of the way before he could hit her, which he looked like he might be gearing up to do(!!) which meant it was unleashed on me instead. Took about 10 minutes to calm him down enough to cross the road safely.

My strategy with tantrums is pretty much carry on as normal, restrain/move if necessary and try really really really really hard not to let him see that I'm laughing blush Unfortunately I just find it so hilarious when he is angry, which is probably really unfair, but I can't help it.

It was an issue when he decided to take his shoes off as some kind of protest. I ended up waiting on a bench and reading a book but it did make some strangers look around in alarm because they couldn't tell that this ball of rage was with me blush I am lucky though, in that he will run off in the opposite direction but doesn't have the balls/insanity to actually run out of sight. We end up in a sort of stand off which always reminds me of the scene in His Dark Materials where Lyra and her daemon are testing how far they can go from each other. Or I sit it out and wait. Not sure what I would do if I had another child in this situation, though.

MsHoolie Wed 19-Mar-14 16:00:57

I just fear the day when he calls my bluff and I actually get to 3! Not happened yet! smile

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 16:02:30

fiscal you're absolutely right, in that it often comes down to the parent's personality.

If you aren't especially strident by nature, and hate confrontation then that's not going to change just because you've had a baby.

Same with myself. I really don't especially relish confrontation, but I have been told that I am naturally authoratative which I think is just a nice way of saying I don't tolerate any crap, I'm not easily intimidated, and I'm not that bothered about pleasing others - but I do it with a smile smile

I have worked as a TA in some pretty challenging schools and can't ever remember feeling intimidated by even the most arsey of 6ft tall teenagers.

My personality didn't alter either, just because I had a baby.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 16:06:59

Thank you *blimunda8 - it's worth a try, at least. The way I looked at it, was that my nephews kicking off was spoiling the occasion for myself, and other people in the restuarant, so they were hauled out of there quick sharp.

I think what stunned them wasn't just that I actually marched them out of there...but that I didn't shout, or show I was angry or upset, or make any kind of scene.

It was all done very calmly, and with a vague smile. They'd be warned twice. They didn't listen. So we left. No need for any drama [shrugs]

I'm actually rather lazy, so don't get myself all worked up and fret too much. But I absolutely will follow through on a warning, every time.

lainiekazan Wed 19-Mar-14 16:11:10

Tantrums sound easy compared with dd's game. She goes silent. Utterly silent. Cue me or dh going, "What's wrong?" and we get the pursed lips, the world-weary sighing, the far-away look. I just can't deal with it and have never come across any parenting strategy for this!

MsHoolie Wed 19-Mar-14 16:12:50

We had a Mexican standoff once in late Nov2012.
Walking into town for Christmas 'Festivities' evening, my 9 year old decided this was the night to test me, and he refused to put his coat on.
I was late meeting up with a group of friends and was not going to lose a fight when it was minus 3!
A whole load of attitude and very angry mum later, and he was in his coat.
But I actually felt like I'd lost the fight, and we had a crappy evening.

So, I decided to try another tack. Next time he said he didn't want to wear his coat I said 'OK, but it's cold out. You may get cold.' but left it at that.
He got in the car thinking he'd won... then I took 10 mins to get in and start the car, after which he said (teeth chattering) 'Actually, I'll just run in and grab my coat'.

We haven't had that battle since.

I can recommend reverse psychology!!!

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 16:13:21

Oh God laine that would drive me up the wall. Cannot bear sulking or moodiness.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Mar-14 16:18:09

I hate sulking too. My attitude to sulking is to pretend I haven't noticed and just act as normal. Drives sulkers mad grin

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 16:21:57

I have a sulker too . Best of both worlds grin

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 17:04:00

Sulkers make me laugh when they have to keep having sideways glances to see if anyone has noticed, and even funnier when they have to change position so they think they will be noticed.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 17:18:06

Unfortunately mine has a stubborn steak a mile long. Think rather go to bed hungry than follow an instruction given an hour before dinner. grin

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 17:37:59

See laqueen I prefer to try and understand my dcs like I would for any other adult/human being. I am not talking psychology stuff. I'm not good at that. But just listening, being compationate and trying to see things from their pov.

It doesn't mean I'm soft btw. I am far from that. In y house a NO is a NO and when they were toddlers I was actually expecting from them much much more than most parents do.
But listening to my 'tantruming' dc telling me he couldn't MOT hit his dsibling when in rage, trying to understand why he had some many angry outbursts made me realise that actually they weren't tantrums. They were meltdowns, a very different thing that need a different answer. That told me about his sadness about it, that told me about his anxiety. I would have never learnt any if that if I had taken the approach 'my way and nothing else'

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 17:41:26

It's not about being popular btw.
Popular approaches aren't always the best. Gina Fird was popular at some point, don't know now, but I would call her approach the best one!
It's about finding what works best for you and your dcs in such a way that you will teach them the values that the most important to you.
Compassion and respect are important to me so they are a big part in my approach.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 19-Mar-14 17:42:46

I think we're very different diddle. I understand my DDs very well, and I know them very well...and some allowances are made, and they allowed limited choice and limited decision making rights...but that's it.

Sulkers need aconbination of being ignored and... Tickled/gently mocked, then ignored again.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Mar-14 17:51:10

I understand my dd too. I understand that all she wants is a reaction and I bloody don't give it grin

She ten gets herself severely angry that it's not working and continues to step up the game. However talking to her makes her more angry as that isn't what she wants either. And she's so busy being a pain in the arse she forgets what it is she wants anyway. But it's over quicker ie before three hours if it's if ignored and no ones listening to the fifty thousand reasons she's throwing at you as to why your wrong.

BeyondRepair Wed 19-Mar-14 18:09:34

They have never played me up since, because they know I say what I mean, and I mean exactly what I say

I also have zero policy on playing up in public and I too have taken dc out of situations where they have played up or ignored me twice.

I just go.

Mums that threaten but dont follow through only create a rod for their own backs and as the child gets older, see's the discipline as useless.

mumatwork999 Wed 19-Mar-14 18:13:15

I've tried a few 'parenting strategies' on my rather willful 3YO - including the old fashioned "1, 2, 3..." (to which said toddler continued "4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10" looking very pleased), and the naughty step (which led to "mummy shall we sit on the naughty step now?"). Two that usually work in different situations are letting him do what he thinks he wants to and then he'll change his mind and do what he should (wear shoes, hat, have drink), and giving a consequence to still behaving in the way you don't want (if you don't clean teeth now there won't be time for bedtime story, if you draw on the wall again Mummy will take the pen off you for the afternoon). I try not to end up with 'no bedtime story' scenario by offering a redemption - "being as you've helped tidy up your toys / got your pyjamas on nicely why don't you choose a story now?". No idea if this is 'good parenting' technique but helps a bit in our family smile

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Wed 19-Mar-14 18:16:25

Oh yes, this!!! And the jargonising of everything! And this new load of tripe, Peaceful Parenting- or is it Calm Parenting? As if no other form of parenting is. when all it basically is, is let the kids run riot and keep pleading with them and maybe some day they'll listen to you

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Wed 19-Mar-14 18:16:54

Gentle Parenting! That's the one! As if no other parenting style can be frickin gentle!!

BeyondRepair Wed 19-Mar-14 18:31:24

People pleasers are made... Usually by overbearing, hard to please parents who want instant obedience and who do not permit any discussion beyond "I said do it, now" repeated ad nauseum

Good point London

DiddlePlays Wed 19-Mar-14 18:47:55

YY london

When I looked at parenting, I took the long term approach. Not what us going to make my child do X just right now. But what sort of individual do I want my dcs to grow up to be.
I also believe that 'monkey sees, monkey does'

So I want children who are independent, have learnt to look after themselves, are compassionate, able to take someone else pov into account.
So I have given them a lot of independence right from the word go, the good bits (ican choose what to wear) and the bad bits (I am responsible of my own time keeping in the morning). And I am trying to actually act with the same compassion, looking at their pov etc.
and you know what all that doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. The limits are still there and the expectations clear (and met). But not from a 'you will do do because I am telling you to' pov.

AskBasil Wed 19-Mar-14 19:09:49

Yes Diddle. It's that thing of wanting your kids to do it because it's the right thing to do, not because you've told them to do it, isn't it.

This cartoon is one of my faves: When you grow up

LondonForTheWeekend Wed 19-Mar-14 19:44:50

AskBasil yes

BornFreeButinChains Wed 19-Mar-14 20:10:47

Its about balance as usual, allowing children to make their own decisions and asking their opinion helps to foster confidence, independence and so on.

As long as you give them a voice and let them be in charge of some areas its OK to be tough on others.

London your comment struck a chord with me, as my DH is a people pleaser and his parents were as you describe, but this was in every single area of his life there was no freedom anywhere.

mothermirth Wed 19-Mar-14 20:16:52

Apologies if I'm off topic, but this thread has really made me think.

My main problem as a mum has always been that I wasn't confident enough to follow my gut instincts and do what I felt was right, partly because my difficult and now ex- partner and his mum were more sure of their ground. When I look back, I wish I'd read more parenting books, just to get some ideas about different ways to approach motherhood.

Now my children are teenagers and the damage is done I'm finally getting my act together. I've even consulted the odd book: this one has some useful insights. But when I look back, I wish I'd been more assertive much, much earlier. sad

innisglas Wed 19-Mar-14 20:18:50

The baby manuals were quite good in my day, as someone who had a baby and didn't know how to operate it, but they all had something ridiculous in them, like one that said that potty-training wasn't natural, duh?

Your sulker changing position to see if anyone notices her/him made me smile delphinium smile

Unfortunately my DH is the worst for this around here. I wish he'd learn to use his words as a nursery colleague would always say to the children grin

SinisterSal Wed 19-Mar-14 21:04:53

Taking any of those books too seriously builds a bit of a wall between parent and child. Makes the relationship inauthentic and rather forced. Surely the relationship should be two personalities responding and bouncing off each other.

But of course, that only works if the parent has the perspective to be a parent - very interesting points made upthread about people who never had effective parenting modelled to them in their own childhoods.

somethingwillturnup Wed 19-Mar-14 21:23:14

Aw crap, there are parenting strategies...?

BertieBotts Wed 19-Mar-14 21:28:10

My DH vvvvvvv occasionally sulks, and pretending I haven't noticed totally works on him too. It renders the sulk totally powerless so they basically have to choose between giving it up or just actually having a think and deciding whatever it is isn't that bad after all.

I have a theory that it doesn't matter what strategy you use, you just have to be confident in it - if you're not then it doesn't work. That's the main problem of the pleaders, by the time you get to pleading you're showing that you've totally lost faith in your own power and right to be heard, and you're just sort of vaguely appealing to their sense of this. Result = total non compliance, reduction in respect for the parent and in some cases confusion/panic in the kids below the surface because they aren't actually mature enough to cope with being in charge.

I was not confident in everything when DS was younger but it took me a hell of a long time to notice that the only parts I was doing well at were the ones I was totally confident in my ability to do in the first place.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 22:37:54

I agree that it has a lot to do with confidence. Children read so much into body language and what you don't say. If you are worried , treading on egg shells and think it won't work, you can be sure it won't work.

aaaaaaa Wed 19-Mar-14 23:27:22

how up your own arse do you you think you need to be, to write a parenting strategy book???

WHO on Earth would do that?

aaaaaaa Wed 19-Mar-14 23:28:53

delph i think using the books is due to a lack of confidence..

but I am very confident; its still quite likely that dd2 will ignore what i say and fall down in the street having a hissy fit

OpalQuartz Thu 20-Mar-14 01:14:29

aaaaaaa Dr tanya byron is a consultant clinical psychologist specialising in child and adolescent mental health. Charlie Taylor is head of a school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. I've found their tips quite useful at various times. I don't really understand why people get so annoyed about them writing books with their ideas for dealing with problem behaviours. They aren't forcing anyone to read them.

Freckletoes Thu 20-Mar-14 04:09:36

Haven't read the whole post but am going to have a good chuckle when I do! My best strategy fail was using reward charts (not quite sure I can see the difference between bribery and reward even now....).
Wonderful reward charts for jobs and behaviours required from 3 young DCs. Idea was great-earn stars and then at the end of the week stars mean treat/trip out etc. Works well for the first few days. Then

Me-pick your coat up please
DCs-how many stars do I get for that?
Me-none, please pick it up
DCs-if it's not on my chart I don't have to do it
Me-yes you do....pick up your coat
DCs-how many stars.....

Etc etc for any tiny task asked to do-close cupboard, pick up things, fetch things. Same response for everything-no action without a reward!

Result-charts in bin. Back to normal parenting. confused

Freckletoes Thu 20-Mar-14 04:30:30

Just got as far as the "dumping kids in clothes in the bath is cruel" comments. WTF? My kids would have found it fantastic! In the bath fully clothed! And then the laughs they would get out of remembering it growing up!

nooka Thu 20-Mar-14 05:16:42

Lots of smuggery in this thread. dh and I were assertive and confident parents, but that didn't stop ds having tantrums, they weren't to do with getting his way, they were to do with not getting his way and not being able to cope with that. I suspect the only way to have avoided them would have been to let him do whatever it was he wanted/not making him do whatever he didn't want to do, and even then they might have occurred regardless. He had tantrums at nursery and school too. Oh and he was always very sorry afterward! They were pretty horrible for him I imagine, I don't think that anyone really enjoys being out of control.

As with many aspects of parenting, there are many factors, and it's really not just to do with the skills or attributes of the parents but the personality of the children too. Approaches that work for one child may backfire terribly for another (like ds falling apart at not getting stars, but still not being motivated to follow the rule, despite agreeing that he would and that a star would be nice).

merrymouse Thu 20-Mar-14 06:18:40

Surely the relationship should be two personalities responding and bouncing off each other.

I think this is always going to be true whatever parenting strategy you use - nobody is ever going to follow it all the time. However, when you are in a stressful situation I think it is helpful to have thought out your response before hand, not have to come up with something on the spur of the moment. As an adult there are many instances where you have to remain calm and have perspective, even though your knee jerk response may be a little more volcanic.

Something that Charlie Taylor (among others) points out is that it is easy to go through your day criticising your children and keep quiet when they are doing something positive, therefore it is a good idea to keep an eye on your ratio of positive to negative comments. This doesn't mean always keeping a tally (unless things are really difficult), but it's good to have this in your mind before you make some random comment about spilling milk - am I being helpful or is this part of a string of wingeing and nagging on my part?

I think that many effective techniques in parenting books are also those that work on people of all ages - they are the same stuff that e.g. supermarkets use to persuade people to buy things - setting up the environment to make a particular kind of behaviour easier than another.

cory Thu 20-Mar-14 06:21:21

I think a lot of it is about playing the long game.

I am naturally authoritative (have been a supply teacher in some rather rough schools and done well). Dd still had massive meltdowns. I stayed (mostly) calm and stuck to my guns year after year. End result: dd is now a polite and well behaved teenager who understands the importance of considering other people and has a good deal of respect for me.

It was just that you couldn't have taken a snapshot of dd aged say 4, or 8 or even 9, and seen that this was eventually going to happen. I had to believe that it was going to happen and keep acting as if it was going to happen.

Of course life would have been easier if she had been one of those children of whom you said "I didn't give into her/took her home straight away/administered x sanction and she never did it again^". Dd had to be taken home ^every time and she would still do it again.

She just needed an awful lot of reinforcement before she would allow herself beaten. I have been told I was the same as a child. The positive side, I suppose, is that I didn't easily give in and allow myself beaten by parenting either.

Reward charts didn't work with dd and wouldn't have worked with me, because we both cared more about getting our own way than about any reward that could be devised. And in dd's case because her anxiety levels were just too high.

Delphiniumsblue Thu 20-Mar-14 07:49:37

I'm not at all sure that nature isn't the more important. Since mine are now adults I see plenty of 'the end game' and some that were difficult children, with parents that I have felt handled it badly, have turned out to be perfectly reasonable as adults.

lainiekazan Thu 20-Mar-14 09:22:31


Ds's niece was a nightmare. Nightmare . From day one there were tantrums, backtalk, a million different parenting strategies all down the drain. She is now a lovely young woman at a ("the" even) top university.

I was Mrs Smug (well, in truth I hope I wasn't) about ds. Just one word from me and bingo! he complied. Obviously I have excellent authority and quite a marvellous way with children. Yeah, right. Along came dd. I am defeated.

Oneaddoneisthree Thu 20-Mar-14 09:28:53

cory can I just say that I always like to read your posts. You consistently come across as sensible and balanced! Also, it sounds like my ds is very similar to how your dd was. Like you, I have been a wall for him to push against all these years and now he mostly sticks to boundaries. I have another child who is the complete opposite - taking her home once from a restaurant would have stopped the tantrums, not that she really had any. If I had had her first, I would have been very smug about my capabilities as a parent. Ha!

OpalQuartz Thu 20-Mar-14 10:27:52

My first dd was always very biddable too. Second dd - oh dear! If they had been different sexes I would probably been have telling everyone that first child's sex is so much easier than second child's, based on my sample of two children. grin

merrymouse Thu 20-Mar-14 10:37:08

Also, don't we all have those occasional days when out of nowhere our children perform magically well (perhaps quietly having a discussion about something educational, or sitting drawing on their napkins with that biro they found on the floor, charmingly engaging old ladies in polite conversation) and you leave the restaurant/cafe half expecting your fellow diners to give you a round of applause and then invite you back for an encore, and then other days where you expect them to call social services?

BertieBotts Thu 20-Mar-14 13:48:40

Tantrums aren't a behaviour issue though, they are just a normal developmental stage. I don't think any kind of parenting, other than extreme punitive parenting can prevent tantrums, if your child doesn't tantrum naturally you're just lucky. (I do find it odd when people say their child never ever had a single one but I suppose some children must just be really laid back)

Being confident isn't going to prevent a tantrum but it can help you deal with it better than someone who panics or worries that people are judging them when their child has a tantrum. Which doesn't really seem fair because fear of being judged isn't really something you can help. But there it is - I have only very rarely been embarrassed by tantrums and hence I never felt out of control (except for those rare times) when DS was having one so it passed without incident.

nooka Thu 20-Mar-14 14:35:07

I think that's very true Bertie, I ended up being very laid back with my two, lots of letting the petty stuff slide, and we stood by and waited for a fair few tantrums to pass in public places over the years. I'm sure that there was some judging going on at times, although I hope that some people wanted to assume me that 'this too will pass' which is what I want to say to some of the harassed parents I see from time to time. I also have two (mostly) lovely teenagers, one of whom still has pretty much zero interest in how the world wants him to behave (we had a big debate about marketing lats night and he just could not see why dd and I felt the sexism of adverts was dangerous as he couldn't understand how marketers could possibly influence people).

BeCool Thu 20-Mar-14 15:00:00

DD1 had about 3 tantrums pre-5 (and a few more since).
DD2 has had 100's and she's not 3 yet!! Boy was I shock at the difference between them.

The best advice on tantrums was something a MN'er shared on a behaviour thread - to treat each tantrum as a panic attack. It may well have come from a 'parenting guru' I don't know and I don't care - it just made sense to me and it works.

If I can remember this in time, (not always) that is what I do now - and it really really works. Once the child has calmed herself down and is soothed, we go back to where we were pre-tantrum - so if it is getting DD2 to pick up a plate/food she has thrown on the floor then we go back there. And usually she will do what she needs to do. Calmly and even with a smile.

Sometimes I will ignore a tantrum esp the minor "I want" tantrums, but even DD2 doesn't have many of those (yet). She is more of an "I don't want .... to get dressed/brush teeth/eat crumpets/eat dinner/wear shoes etc" kind of girl.

Going head to head/engaging with a tantrum leads to DISASTER all round - sometimes I sadly still get sucked into this before I am aware properly of what is happening. <amateur>

BeCool Thu 20-Mar-14 15:03:00

nooka DD2 had a full on floor writhing wailing tantrum on the floor of the London Eye! I just had to watch as intervening would have made her louder/worse. When she calmed down we had a big cuddle.

The other passengers were very sympathetic and luckily amused rather than annoyed.

BertieBotts Thu 20-Mar-14 15:38:03

Yes BeCool that makes a lot of sense smile About taking the tantrum as a separate thing and then going back to the issue when they are calm.

RandomInternetStranger Thu 20-Mar-14 21:47:28

I actually do talk to DD like that and always have and I can count on 1 hand with fingers to spare how many times I've ended up raising my voice to her or using time out. It really does work & is far easier than the usual tantrums & battles of wills & very easy once you get the hang of it.

looselegs Thu 20-Mar-14 22:34:33

..think I must be very cruel to my kids....

At teatime (faced with a plate of food that they like)
Child; "I don't like this"
Me; "you have 2 choices-you eat it or you don't.But if you don't,you have nothing else to eat till breakfast tomorrow"
Plate is cleared.

Whinging and moaning about homework
Child "I don't want to do my homework"
Me; "Ok.Tell that to your teacher tomorrow then"
Homework gets done.

When I happen to mention that they need a shower..
Child;"But I don't want a shower!"
Me; "Ok.But if the kids at school say you smell, then I don't want to know"

It may sound harsh but it's not.I could reason with my kids till I'm blue in the face,but I really can't be bothered with all the ....."I understand that you don't want to blah blah blah" and I still wouldn't get anywhere.The responses I give get the problem out of the way very quickly and we both get the desired result-food gets eaten,homework gets done etc etc

nooka Thu 20-Mar-14 23:52:03

There are other scenarios though.

At teatime (faced with a plate of food that they like)
Child; "I don't like this"
Parent; "you have 2 choices-you eat it or you don't.But if you don't,you have nothing else to eat till breakfast tomorrow"
No food eaten. Child cries, and then doesn't sleep.

Whinging and moaning about homework
Child "I don't want to do my homework"
Parent "Ok.Tell that to your teacher tomorrow then"
Child does not do homework. Parent gets told off by teacher.

When I happen to mention that they need a shower..
Child: "But I don't want a shower!"
Parent: "Ok. But if the kids at school say you smell, then I don't want to know"
Child claims that none of his friends would care, and that if they did complain, that would be their problem not his. Shower doesn't happen.

All have happened at one time or another in my household, although only the last scenario is still a regular one (ds really doesn't care about other people's opinions very much). Having escaped homework for a few years my two are pretty good at getting their work done with very little intervention, and have grown out of being fussy too (thank goodness as that one really got me down).

RandomInternetStranger Fri 21-Mar-14 00:07:50

In the scenario mentioned I do this (for little ones at least!):

Child: I don't like this dinner.
Me: Well you liked it yesterday and anyway it is healthy for you! See these green vegetables? Do you know what makes them green? Sunshine! The sun shines on the veg while it grows and the veg takes that sunshine deep into its leaves and turns it into green! So when you eat the green you are actually eating sunshine and then it shines out through your skin & hair and in your eyes and makes you so beautiful/handsome! Don't you want to be beautiful/handsome? And this pasta? It has eggs in it, and eggs have brain food in them. So when you eat it you're feeding your brain and it makes you even cleverer than you already are so you can read and write and play games and clever tricks. And this meat? It goes right into your muscles and makes them really strong so you can run faster and win all the races! And who loves you? Mummy does! And Mummy wants you to be as strong, beautiful and clever as possible so why don't we trust Mummy to feed you good food so you can be the best you can be and eat it all up and if you do, you'll get another sticker for your chart, only 3 more till you get a trip to the swimming pool!

Usually works. I prefer to get them to understand why they are having that dinner and want to eat it rather than me nagging or threatening or forcing them. It changes as they get older. I only really cook food DD likes now anyway at nearly 8 and only occasionally introduce something she's not had before, in which case if she doesn't like it then fair enough, she doesn't have to like everything, but she does have to try everything. Of course if she were a grotty bratty miserable teenager then it would be a case of eat it or starve. grin

Oneaddoneisthree Fri 21-Mar-14 02:59:26

I'm sorry, Random but if I talked like that my dcs would look at me like I had lost the plot.

Reminds me of that Far Side cartoon with the "what people say to dogs" vs "what dogs hear".

I swear my ds thinks all I say is blah blah blah blah blah.....

BertieBotts Fri 21-Mar-14 05:42:25

Looselegs, that is reasoning - you're explaining the reason why they should make the choice you want and then leaving the decision up to them. Reasoning only becomes endless when you're depending on it for a result and they're not playing along!

007licencetospill Fri 21-Mar-14 06:51:48

Op, I don't talk like your conversation in your original post. However a bit of empathy goes far. I usually empathise and then work out when he can do/get something. I'd probably say something like 'I know you don't like having your hair washed but we can do it quickly and play a game after'

Delphiniumsblue Fri 21-Mar-14 06:52:25

I think that you have to go with your personality and I couldn't possibly do the spiel about green vegetables and sunshine etc and my children would definitely think I had gone batty!

looselegs Fri 21-Mar-14 07:31:12

It is reasoning-and ultimately they make the choice so they decide what the consequence will be.I just won't be drawn into huge explanations of why they need to eat their food/do their homework etc etc just to try and get the same result.If I started doing that,my kids would think I'd completely lost my marbles lol!

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 09:05:56

My two respond completely differently. I learnt a long time ago with ds 18 that he might groan and grumble and say no , but he will go away and think about things and always do what's right.
DD 16 (as a teenager) is someone you don't fuel the fire, there is no point in arguing with her as it escalates and it is better to discuss when she calms down.
I find what works best for us is pick you battles and they then know that if you are asking them to do something you are being serious and it needs to be done.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 21-Mar-14 10:14:43

Which is why parenting books don't work-you have to tailor them to your child. There is no way. What worked with one of mine was the worst possible thing for the other.

LondonForTheWeekend Fri 21-Mar-14 11:21:38

Yes Delphiniumsblue, they aren't a Haynes Manual... But lots of people have already explained to you why they find them useful- some of them in very difficult circumstances.

When you dismiss all parenting ooks with "Don't work" you are belittling the experience, and intellect of those people.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 21-Mar-14 11:24:46

I didn't dismiss them all, I am just saying that you need to be critical and take out the bits that suit you and your children.

LondonForTheWeekend Fri 21-Mar-14 11:39:44

Nope: you said "Parenting books don't work" but oddly that classes do considering that Faber&Maslish (from the OP) are books based on their parenting courses. But Hey ho on that!

It is utterly patronising to assume that other people are unable to exercise their intellect to use the books as guides, or things to think about to see if they agree with and not as Bibles to be used with a literal interpretation.

OpalQuartz Fri 21-Mar-14 11:43:24

I didn't dismiss them all, I am just saying that you need to be critical and take out the bits that suit you and your children.

Well that's what you are supposed to do with them anyway.

AskBasil Fri 21-Mar-14 11:46:28

Except for Gina Ford.

She says you have to follow the whole thing or it won't work.

Although the new editions might be a bit more flexible, I'm blissfully unaware.

Shrinkgrowskids Fri 21-Mar-14 11:50:29

Funny, I was thinking the same and I AM an expert! I have a degree in medicine and psychology, worked as a Consultant Child Psychiatrist, published research in the field of child psychiatry and psychology, and now have two kids. Do I have a clue? Hell no! See my blog:

OpalQuartz Fri 21-Mar-14 12:55:41

The bits that suited me and my child in Gina Ford were none of it, so I ditched it. smile

OpalQuartz Fri 21-Mar-14 12:57:30

Actually I tell a lie, I think there were some bits about weaning onto solids that I liked in Gina Ford, so I used it later on. Can't remember what they were though as it was ages ago.

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 13:15:27

Brilliant for everyone on this thread who is happy with their parenting.
Some of us - ie me - want to get better at parenting - I have PND and anger issues, and a tendency to slip into authoritarian ways if I don't watch myself. Gentle parenting strategies do work for me. Why should this bother anyone else?

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 13:16:53

Also I think people are confusing gentle and permissive parenting. We say no to ds all the time, and he knows that there are boundaries and rules. Its just that they are not handed down, they are explained.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 21-Mar-14 15:59:14

I was writing in a hurry, I didn't mean they don't work full stop, I meant they don't work in a universal way. They can't because what is brilliant for one child or a family isn't brilliant for another. It fails with another. Life would be simple if there was a 'way' to bring up children that was good for all children and all parents.

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 16:48:44

Of course Delphinium, but how can you know that they don't work unless you try them? Some of that might be instinct, some might be about unlearning what you think you know. Like the whole idea of praise and rewards, for example. Like that it might not be so great to raise compliant and obedient children, because they will turn into obedient adults, and who wants that?

The biggest thing I have learned from the parenting books I've read is to manage my own emotions, which I find useful in all my relationships, not just with DS.

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 17:00:08

Like that it might not be so great to raise compliant and obedient children, because they will turn into obedient adults, and who wants that?
Me for one! I dont like the idea of adults who think laws don't apply to them. You can raise obedient children who can think for themselves. My dcs learnt a long time ago being nice, obedient children got them a lot farther in life.

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:03:31

REALLY Bruffin? The kind of people who are walked over by others because they can't stand up for themselves? I'm not talking about people who break the law, but people who see that something is wrong and challenge it.

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:09:40

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:09:57

sorry this time as a link

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:10:07
verdiletta Fri 21-Mar-14 17:20:27

No strategy works with all kids. Like other posters, my DC couldn't have been more different as 2 year olds. Naughty step, time out, sticker charts, threats, bribes...nothing worked with DC1. DC2 loved to please, and I was suddenly able to be the calm, rational and NICE parent I had always wanted to be.

I think it's really helpful to get suggestions of what might work, as long as it is acknowledged that no strategy works magic.

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 17:24:33

That blog is nonsense, but i find parenting blogs pointless and self gratifying anyway.

my children are obedient but they have managed to get to 16 and 18 without being any of the children described.

My 16 has not had a boyfriend because she told me she was too "fussy" She is the last person to pushed into anything she doesn't want to do, but she is a obedient as any teenager is. She can spot the "mean girls" a mile off.
Why would a 6 year old who is behaving themselves be screamed at by a coach confused what sort of parents put their 6 year old in that sort of club

BertieBotts Fri 21-Mar-14 17:27:15

Hang on Gherkins, I like ahaparenting usually, but I hadn't seen that article before. It's really nothing to do with obedience when a child is sexually abused. In the vast majority of cases the abuser doesn't say "Do this or else" they win over the child's trust, groom them, make them feel like they're playing a game, may even start off with acts which don't cause discomfort for the child (sorry, horrible thing to think about). The threats come later when they do want to do something that the child might not like, and that's when they keep them quiet with threats of "I'll tell that you did XYZ, that was really naughty, you'll get into trouble" or whatever will frighten the child most, like "I'll hurt your parents/sister/dog"

Nothing to do with obedience at all. And not nice to think about.

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 18:27:27

And how can an "obedient " child be pressured into buying drugs if they know its illegal

Sparklyboots Fri 21-Mar-14 18:30:39

My DP got into a car with a stranger when he was little, he knew he shouldn't but didn't feel he could say no because the person was an adult and his mum wasn't there to back him up.

I read the books with interest and because I feel it's important to be reflective about parenting. I'm not convinced that "gentle" parenting requires lengthy explanations; it simply requires kindness when you're setting boundaries. So you are sympathetic rather than unmoved by the distress your child feels when they can't have whatever it is, even if you consider them irrational in their desires. I have a 3 yrs, so his desires are often irrational, but that doesn't mean he feels disappointment or frustration any less keenly.

WRT to that long sunshine and vegetables explanation, "don't you want to be beautiful/ handsome?" What sort of value system is that? That you are actively promoting? Can't help wondering about how sensible it is to link food consumption with beauty...

LondonForTheWeekend Fri 21-Mar-14 19:41:44

An adult who has had "obedience" pummelled into them is at risk of being afraid to make their own decisions and of second guessing "What does Mother want me to do?".

They really struggle to make and stick to any decision, any decision, that they know or believe the obedience enforcer will not be happy with.

Obedience, for it's own sake, is not a goal I have for my children.

Agree with Sparkly and London.

Though some "obedience" is unavoidable IMO

LaQueenOfTheSpring Sat 22-Mar-14 12:43:49

Oh, by raising your child to be well mannered and to (pretty much) do as they're told will simply make them easy prey to local drug dealers, gangsters etc...right?

Only on Mumsnet... only on Mumsnet grin

Philoslothy Sat 22-Mar-14 14:52:44

My children are mostly well behaved, perfect children seem to only exist on MN. However I think that is mainly because I have been lucky enough to give birth to a series of compliant children.

I have read quite few parenting books in my time, we have a middle daughter who went through quite a difficult phase, I found them quite used to help her get back on the right track. I didn't do that by being heavily authoritarian with her, different children suit different things. I also don't quite have the confidence/ arrogance to think that I always have the right answer, sometimes I seek advice. I think that is quite a sensible thing to do.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 16:13:50

No LaQueen raising their children to do whatever the parent says or the consequences will not be very pleasant raise adults afraid and unable to make any decision they know the parent won't like. Which I think is the recipe for a miserable adulthood... But if you feel that obedience to You and Your Will is more important then who am I to disagree.

BertieBotts Sat 22-Mar-14 16:21:50

I do agree I don't think obedience for the sake of it is particularly helpful, it seems more appropriate to dogs than children. I just thought that article was pants.

cory Sat 22-Mar-14 17:32:47

Obedience is like any other virtue: if taken to excess it will turn into its corresponding vice. This does not negate the fact that it was a virtue in the first place.

I want children who are obedient enough to respect the law, be polite to other people and respectful to those in authority, but who would not go against their own conscience just because they were told.

And who would not let others mistreat them for the sake of obedience either.

Dd funnily enough, despite her tantrums, was always very obedient to anybody outside the family. I was not happy when I found out that she had consented to crawling on her hands and knees into the school toilet because the HT did not want to open up the disabled toilet (she was in a wheelchair but he wanted to keep the disabled toilet for visitors). She did not complain because she thought if the teachers said so then it had to be right. angry

We had a talk after that where I explained the difference between good obedience and bad obedience.

In the same school, she also accepted that because she couldn't make it up the stairs when it came to the lessons where her set were taught upstairs they just wandered off and left her sitting alone in the classroom. The teacher was too nervous of the head to ask if the sets could be moved round and she didn't want dd to move down a set. I only found out when the teacher mentioned on her end of the year report that her maths mark would have been better if she had been able to accewss tuition. Dd sat quietly and obediently and did worksheets because what the teacher told her had to be right. angry

Dd still has a tendency to let other people walk all over her because she is so afraid of not being polite. Thought at least these days she knows in theory that obedience that results in somebody being hurt or badly treated is not good obedience.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 17:41:36

I am now wondering what type of parenting the Peru girls had.

I think LaQueen meant following rules and if so i agree with her. We like it or not life is full of rules. Your employer wont tell you lovely stories every morning, she will just tell you what it needs to be done and what time you need to start. The police wont empathize with you if you break the law. Your teeth will rot if you dont brush them. Your friends will get tired of you if you are pain on the arse etc.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 17:44:28

X - post cory. My post was not in response to yours.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 18:23:34

...[they] very quickly learned it was in their best interests to do as they were told, and the repurcussions of any bad behaviour were not very pleasant

This is what LaQueen wrote wrt to her own children and obedience in laquitar. They had to obey her.

Delphiniumsblue Sat 22-Mar-14 18:38:00

The blog is a nonsense. I don't know why parents feel the need to write them. You want an obedient child who thinks for themselves.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 19:31:23

I dont see what is wrong with that paragraph. Unless she holds a belt or she orders them every second.
Thats the problem with this discussion, we don't know how often something is done or how is done.
Generally speaking i think that as a parent you can expect the dcs to obey a set of rules without having to explain why every single time.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 20:20:20

The difficulty I see is that children growing up under that regime don't get to practice exercising their own will (i.e. Be an adult) in a loving and controlled way.
They get sent out into the world unable to make decisions and anxious about what their parent thinks when they want to make a different decision for themselves.

BeCool Mon 24-Mar-14 15:01:39

My main dilemma as a parent I guess is the equation between being controlling and facilitating freedom and free choice. No one likes the feeling of being controlled, but there is a big element of parenting children that involves asserting control over them & their environment completely. In lots of ways that is a natural thing to reject and rebel against - I know (as an adult) I do. I aim to do it where necessary and allow freedoms where possible. My job is to get them to a point where my control can be completely relinquished and they are equipped not only to care for themselves physically but to make well thought-out/reasoned decisions for themselves.

I've found things improved with my moody/stubborn 6 yo when we had a chat about what was essentially "We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I prefer the easy way and it means we can get on with having lots of lovely adventures and times together. But if you want to make a big fuss about everything we/you do, we can do it the hard way. Your choice".

I explained that she was 6, old enough to know and do bedtime and morning routines etc without objecting or deviating too far from them. There was no point in objecting to these essentials/acting up at these times and to do so would only result in delays and unhappiness and a stressed out exhausted Mummy.

Well you could have knocked me down with a feather - it has worked!!! We have had a turn around in behaviour for about a month now <touches some wood>. I think that emphasizing that SHE had a choice in how things go was really important.

BertieBotts Mon 24-Mar-14 16:44:39

Yes BeCool, me too. I find it hard to strike that balance.

I also think that not expecting obedience doesn't mean that every everyday interaction is a discussion, because there will be an accepted way of doing things which isn't generally questioned. You can call this rules/obedience if you like, but if you think about (for example) the way things work in a marriage, you wouldn't think of a wife/husband being "obedient" but generally they will try to keep to the other's wishes as long as they are reasonable, and things will happen in an accepted way (like the dishes being kept in one cupboard and the tins in another) without someone having to express their independence all the time. That's just about being co-operative and kind and also about living in a family.

Plus at times when you know your DC will have to listen and obey immediately, in my experience, you can tell them beforehand, they understand it's different from a normal situation, and they do it.

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