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Do you think putting a child in their room (and holding the door shut) is compatible with unconditional parenting?

(53 Posts)
ScarlettCrossbones Wed 26-Aug-09 17:33:21

It's not, is it?? Because I find myself doing it more and more these days, when DS (4) gets into "the zone" of behaving badly and I can't think of anything else to do. When he's looking around for things to throw off any surface ... trying to escape out of the front door to the extent that I have to sellotape it shut ...

I just feel I have to withdraw all attention from him – all the fuel that is fanning the flames, if you like – but I suppose that could be interpreted by him as love withdrawal, yep?


moondog Wed 26-Aug-09 17:36:45

Well I think UP is a ridiculous philosophy but equally feel closing the door on a child forcefully is quite worrying.

You can withdraw attention without doing this.

ScarlettCrossbones Wed 26-Aug-09 17:39:56

I don't close the door forcefully, moondog – where did I say that? No slamming involved.

And if I withdraw attention while still allowing him to stay ie in the kitchen or living room, food will get flung, water spilled, couch cushions chucked, chairs knocked over, sisters will get hit, etc etc etc etc.

In his room, he melts down for a few minutes, chucks less vital things around there, then realises he might as well behave.

moondog Wed 26-Aug-09 17:43:01

You close the door on him, right?
That is what I mean by forcefully, in that you force him to stay in his room. I wasn't thinking you slammed it.

If he is doing the things you say he is, do you not think that is a sign that UP is not an effective strategy?

LibrasBiscuitsOfFortune Wed 26-Aug-09 17:43:39

Naughty corner (guess who watched SuperNanny last night)....

ScarlettCrossbones Wed 26-Aug-09 18:13:44

"If he is doing the things you say he is, do you not think that is a sign that UP is not an effective strategy?"

Not necessarily at all, moondog. Is the main goal of parenting simply to get your child to behave as you want them to?

moondog Wed 26-Aug-09 18:18:00

No, I would say it is to reach a consensus where both parties are happy.
However, children need to understand that adults know best.
Wise adults know that by being in control of things their children want, they are able to maintain a harmonious relationship in which everyone is happy.

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:26:33

I find my children misbehave the more I ignore them. The best way to deal with attention seeking is to give attention and lots of it. Children need attention - they're not being manipulative, it's just the only way they have of telling you they need more of you.

Bloody frustrating though! And not always practical - but usually a good long period of lots of Mummy-time seems to top them up so they have a period of independence and maturity afterwards. Two steps forward, two steps back.

I disagree that children need to know that adutls know best because, very often, adults don't know best. I would not want my children growing up automatically trusting someone just because they're older than they are!

OP - can I suggest you read Winning Parent, Winning Child by Jan Fortune-Wood - I found it enormously helpful.

Overmydeadbody Wed 26-Aug-09 18:27:06

When my DS gets into the zone, I find the most effective strategy is to get down and embrace him in a big hug, then just stay there with my arms wrapped tightly around him until he calms down, stroking his back and making soothing noises.

This might work just as effectiverly as keeping him in his room while also helping calm you both down?

franklymydear Wed 26-Aug-09 18:31:16

No it's not compatible - but agree with moondog that UP is ridiculous parenting

I wouldn't use holding door shut frequently. I used it once with eldest to get him to sleep in his bed when he was around 2 but never with any of the others. All mine have been able to stay in one place on their own

franklymydear Wed 26-Aug-09 18:31:50

ridiculous parenting philosophy - not ridiculous parenting - no parenting is ridiculous

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:33:18

Over - my DD2 (4.5) will not be held when she's melting down. She and I have discussed her meltdowns and come to an agreement together that the best way to deal with them is for me to put her in her room on her bed and to close the door and hold it for a few seconds until she's given up being angry and has laid down on the bed to cry until she's calm enough for a cuddle.

It's bloody horrible and she and I hate it, but if she's going through a high-stress period and having lots of meltdowns, dealing with them like this as soon as we realise it's not just your regular temper-loss and is a full-blown meltdown does seem to mean fewer meltdowns. She just gets beside herself with rage sad.

However, that doesn't sound like what the OP's DS is doing, which sounds like just being a bit of a monkey! DD will do that too, but we usually end up trying to work out why she's playing up and it's usually because we've been really, really busy lately and she's not had enough mummy-time. She doesn't outwardly seem to want it ie. she's the one choosing to be off playing with other people etc., but she still seems to really suffer emotionally from not spending enough time with me.

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:33:53

Frankly - why do you think it's ridiculous?

panicpants Wed 26-Aug-09 18:37:50

The best thing I have found so far, when ds is in this 'zone' is to walk away to another room (ds will follow) whilst saying to ds "I will talk to you once I can understand you, I can't hear you when you are shouting or crying"

I then 'potter' and ignore ds until he has calmed right down. Whilst repeating the "I'm afraid I can't understand/hear you darling" every now and again.

The first time took about half an hour (and yes things where thrown and he hit out at me,) but subsequent times have been a lot less and he is calming down much quicker now.

I think it's the fact that I am saying I can't talk to him because i can't hear/understand him..not becasue he is being naughty that works iyswim

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 26-Aug-09 18:39:07

What is UP?

panicpants Wed 26-Aug-09 18:40:20

So he is forced to calm down in order to talk/cuddle/play with me. Does that make sense?!

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:41:25

Unconditional Parenting as coined by Alfie Kohn, Fab.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 26-Aug-09 18:43:19

I know that FB. Just not sure what it means in reality.

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 26-Aug-09 18:43:56

When my dc's did this, I would tell them that I would soon be ignoring them. Much the same as you give a warning "in 5 minutes we're going home from the park" in order to minimise upset.

So I would say "if you can't calm down and tell me what's up then I'm afraid I'm just going to have to ignore you because I can't seem to do anything to make it better."

And then ignore ignore ignore.

But be fully available as soon as its possible to communicate again.

Oh, and if damage is done during the tantrum then the damage needs to be cleared up by the damager. Not negotiable.

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:44:32

Oh, sorry. It'm not very good at explaining it! Read the book? Or there are a few threads on here about it that might give you a flavour for it - try searching? smile

FlamingoBingo Wed 26-Aug-09 18:46:28

I wouldn't do that if you're trying to UP, though bibbity.

I would get down close to them and ask them nicely what they need/want and insist they ask me/tell me nicely rather than unpleasantly. And I'd use it as a cue to get on and do something together with them.

wonderingwondering Wed 26-Aug-09 18:48:13

I think if you have to hold a door closed you've lost the battle. Parenting is a battle of wills: you have to get your child to respect what you say.

Holding a door closed is just a form of physical restraint. I don't mean to be too critical, but I think you need to find an alternative way of controlling/chastising your child. I would prefer to put them back in their room twenty times than hold the door shut.

ScarlettCrossbones Wed 26-Aug-09 18:55:55

Thanks, some of these tips are really helpful - woah, Flamingo, I think you and I really are on the same wavelength! I remember you from other UP threads actually – are you the resident Kohn-ophile on MN? grin

I'll seek out that book – the title sounds a bit American overachieving pushy parent but I'm sure it won't be like that in reality! Thanks.

franklymydear Wed 26-Aug-09 18:56:57

I think it's ridiculous because the world is not unconditional, school is not unconditional and peers are not unconditional (neither is the local shopkeeper, the grandparent, the friend, the parent of the friend)

I think it is unrealistic and does not provide a child with an understanding of their place in the world

life is conditional

and Alfie Kohn, for example, is a twat

ScarlettCrossbones Wed 26-Aug-09 19:01:05

Frankly, I don't understand your post. Are you saying that because life is tough and at times disappointing, and there will be periods when we suffer, we should bring our kids up to experience a little bit of all that, just to "toughen them up"?

Of course children will experience people who do not like, love or are not interested in them. Doesn't that make it all the more important to have 2 people (for argument's sake am talking the "standard" mummy and daddy!) who they can count on, who will always love them no matter what?

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