Physical v non-physical discipline dh and I disagree(14 Posts)
Dh and I have reached an impasse on this and I'm not sure who is right.
Basically we have two sons and our three year old cm be ver difficult to manage at times. He often ignores us, pushes boundaries, tries to do dangerous things etc. he is a gorgeous bright cheeky boy with buckets of energy.
Anyhow he has tantrums where he will refuse to, for example, be changed or get into his car seat.
My method is to try counting and say he may not get something if he oesnt comply or give him a reward of some sort if he does.
His nursery employ a reward chart technique and say he makes them sad if he does not do something.
Dh disagrees, says I'm not giving enough parental guidance. His method for sample would be to actually pick him up and lie him down to change him or put him into car seat and hold him whilst strapping him in.
Other than in dangerous situations or at my wits end doi resort to physically making him do something as he gets very upset.
We have kind of agreed to try counting before resorting to that but I'm still feeling uneasy. I would like to see a non physical regime except when absolutely necessary.
Am I being too soft? A his nursery they do sometimes pick them up to remove them from situations or hold thm back etc.
Sometimes physical restraint is necessary. But your son is 3 - for a start how about thinking about potty training (boys do train later than girls, but 3 is plenty old enough to be trying) so you don't have to have the changing battle. My 3yo is aware of her dignity and for any three year old to be pushed down and forced to have a nappy change is deeply humiliating.
The car seat is a different thing. It has to happen in order for the car journey to happen. I think a reward chart is the best way to go for this, or marbles in the jar (when the jar/chart is full then you get a treat/small present). Your son is plenty old enough to understand that some things just have to be done and if he does them without fuss then he can be rewarded. Next time you have to have the car seat question, give yourself plenty of extra time and explain it all. Count on having to explain it at least three times. And I mean explain everything - why adults have to wear seatbelts and what happens to an unrestrained thing if a car crashes. Demonstrate if you can by putting an egg in a Tupperware box and dropping it on the floor.
Overall, there are definitely ways of doing things without resorting to physical force. Making a rational child do something by dint of your superior physical strength isn't 'parental guidance' - it's straightforward bullying and you are teaching your son that if he can't get his own way then might makes right and force is an acceptable way to go about things.
The trouble is that neither of you are wrong. They are both valid ways of doing things. Personally I am with your DH, in that I don't see the harm in physically making a child do as they are told, if they can't be persuaded any other way. What do you do if you have used your method and he is still not doing what he is told? Are you happy to physically make him then, or would you carry on for as long as it takes?
Sorry, I don't think physically forcing a 3yo is a valid way of doing things unless it's truly an emergency (stopping them running into the road or whatever). If it's simply a case of getting them to do what you want then there are plenty of other ways to go before you simply bully them.
Can I suggest a middle ground. Believe you me, I have had plenty of 'battles' with my 2, so I know exactly what you are going through. But the fact is that your 3 year old is actually quite defiant.
I suggest that maybe he shouldn't need to be rewarded for being changed, or getting into his car seat.
He should just do it. What about having a serious talk to him, kind of along the lines of.... from now on, this is the way its going to be , type thing.
Then, you dh won't need to resort to putting him in. He should be doing it himself. And you won't need to resort to rewarding him. There's a time for rewards, and I 'm not sure this is it.
He just needs to undertand, that this is a must, has to be. Which it is.
What about that?
I would also suggest that you read about 'playful parenting' which approach can sometimes take the heat out of a situation although it doesn't encourage obedience but you can get the same end result without upsetting everyone in the process. Obviously if it's a safety situation then force has to be used. I know the carseat scenario is particularly infuriating!
I wouldn't give rewards for just doing as asked either - you don't want to get into a situation where he will only do things for rewards.
In situations like the car seat I would give a choice - do you want to do it yourself or I will do it for you. Personally I don't see the problem with physically putting him in the car seat if he chooses not to get in himself.
I think your DH is absolutely right. If your child doesn't like it he just needs to do what he is told.
Counting etc does work with my three year old.
I only physically get him to do something if I'm impatient. Even things like getting dressed I can do standing up. Car seat - sometimes I have to rush and put him, other times he's fine.
You need to find a method that works.
Why are you uneasy about physical stuff? Is it how your DH does it?
I think you want a middle ground.
There are some things you can wait out.
There are some things you can't.
Sometimes a bribery is appropriate.
Sometimes it is a slippery slope to needing more and more and more before obeying. (Have you ever heard a parent saying "If you tidy up before I count to ten then you can have a biscuit. 10.. 9... That's not working. If you do it before I get to 0 then I'll read you a story... okay not bothered by that... would you like...")
There are some times when it is appropriate to reason, and explain to a child. However there are times when you can explain your reason and the child can say (in their own way) that they completely understand your reasons-but still won't do it.
Heck, you can explain till you're blue in the face why chocolate is bad for me and that doesn't make me want it less. Adults don't always do what they know to be the best thing for themselves, so why should children?
There are times that they need to know that you are in charge and you won't compromise on. (Like going in the car seat).
Often when they know that it is a no compromise position they will do it without fussing (too much).
If I need to pick up dc2, and dc3 refuses to get into the car seat. If I spend 30 minutes reasoning, then dc2 will be left worrying I won't turn up.
I am open for discussion (eg. If I have the apple now, before dinner, then I will have it instead of pudding after dinner)
But some things I cannot wait for strops/discussions. So with eg dc3 getting in the car to fetch dc2, I give 5 minutes warning, then ask to get in.
If no movement, I say "you need to get in now" and start counting.
If I hit zero, then he is picked up and put in. Often he'll start moving as I start counting, and ask for something (toy/snack) to take in the car. If he gets into the car before I reach zero, then he can have it (within reason)
I don't think generally going straight to the physically putting them in is good. Has been done when I'm in a hurry, but generally giving a chance for them to do it on their own, to me, is best.
Wow this seems to be one of those subjects where there's a lot of divided opinion.
I do not want him to get the might makes right scenario zulikad mentioned but I don't want to pussy foot about it too much either as duwu says because sometimes there is no time!
Iggy I suppose I just don't like him getting upset and would rather he did it himself.
Will look up playful parenting.
I think on the whole will try reach middle ground so may give reward marbles in a jar approach a go, bit of reasoning,bit of warning and if all else fails make him do it?
Thanks v much for helpful input?
I struggle with the same thing OP - i much prefer to take a gentler approach than DH, but that only really works when you have time to do it. Sometimes DS kicks off when we just don't have the time to do anything other than gather him up (back arching and arms flailing) and make him go where we need him to. I also get fed up with DH steaming in when i'm dealing with DS and trying to take over. My view is if i am dealing with it he shouldn't undermine me and if he is then i shouldn't undermine him either. I think i've just got to the stage of accepting that our discipline styles are different and DS probaly benefits from having a bit of both. Thankfully the one thing we both agree on is no smacking. I also don't like being shouty, and reserve my harsh voice for things that are either hurtful or dangerous.
For me, the cut-off time between letting the child do it himself and exercising 'might is right' would usually be the realisation that my child (or rather that particular one of my children) was not the only person in the world and that waiting until my child had made her mind up to obey often meant that some other child (or adult) missed out.
If you go the reward way, try this: if it's a sticker chart give him the sticker for the chart, let him hold it ready to go on when you have climbed into your seat nicely. Or whatever. Means having it there, or keeping a marble jar in the car but it also acts as a reminder.
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