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"NO!" ?????

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  • "NO!" ?????

    Both DH and I come from very 'traditional' upbringings, we are having trouble at the moment with family and how we are going to discipline DS. We are going down the nonviolent communication route and are both very excited about it. There really isnt any point in trying to explain it to our families as they simply wont get it. All they know (and care to know) is that we are not telling our son 'NO'. He is eight months old, (sorry I know I shouldn't be here... hope you don't mind! ) Which as far as I am concerned seems young for telling no even if we were going down that path!!! We do on occasion say "we don't play with wires" or something similar while we remove him from whatever situation. Most of the time we just redirect him though. I am really just wanting some reassurance that he isnt going to turn into a holy terror as both families keep warning us. We dont know anyone who is parenting like we are and we already notice the wonderful positives in his personality...... however we also notice the 'drawbacks' (although neither of us see it as negative, I am meaning from family's point of view) such as he is extremely strong willed and knows his own mind! I love that about him but all the doom sayers are warning us about what he will be like when he is a toddler and not a 'compliant' baby. I know, I know, I shouldn't worry about what other people say. I just want someone who has been there to tell me that it will all turn out! As a side note though I had my first run in with MIL the other day when she shouted NO at DS and really scared him. She is lovely really just has a totally different outlook on childrearing. Thats why I am now questioning myself. I attempted to tell her the reason we arent telling him no and she just looked at me like I was completely demented...... mind you that was after she got a telling off herself for yelling at my son! Poor wee man didnt know what had hit him!!!

  • #2
    Oh, I am so pleased to hear that you have found NVC so early in your parenting. I newer to it, but already see how wonderful it is to relationships. I have a 3 1/2 yr old it is very important to us in continuing a connection. It is a totally different mindset really, in a good way, so start using it with your MIL too!

    Let me practice (still new at this!)
    I hear that you feel worried about the path you have chosen in parenting. I hear you feel persecuted and misunderstood by your family. You have a need to feel supported. You have a need to protect your child from sudden fearful outbursts!You are requesting support here because your need for support is not met!

    Anyway, I think you should find some people near you are are into it, as that makes it MUCH easier!

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    • #3
      well, i guess there aren't any assurances that your child won't turn out to be a "holy terror". even if you used traditional methods and were fierce disciplinarians, this would still be true. what i'm saying is, there are no guarantees in parenting, or life, for that matter. we don't practice AP b/c it's the means to an ened, but b/c our children deserve it.

      it's about relationship, not behavior. both dh and i were raised in very traditional methods. i complied, he rebelled. but we both have TERRIBLE relationships w/our families.

      if your child is "strong-willed", there's a good chance that cracking down on him could cause him to rebel, even though your relatives think that's what he needs. however, oftentimes what these kiddos need is more experience using their wills in guided manners, allowing them the independence their personalities desire.

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      • #4
        It's hard with a strong willed child. A strong no is sometimes needed, but we keep that for the "your about to hurt yourself bad!" times so it doesn't loose it's effect.

        From your other post you son is 8 months old? I think it's early to expect them to "behave", they are still learning and exploring.

        Which part of the world are you in, I'm guessing the UK

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        • #5
          Thank you for your replies! It makes such a difference to hear from people who have been there!

          PoshMama - We are reserving the no for times when he could be hurt as well, if we didnt I think we would be saying it all the time and that isnt the type of parent we want to be! We live in NZ although I was born in the States... been here a long time though.

          PaxMamma - I agree that we practice AP because thats what our children deserve. Both DH and I are very close to our families now but were both rebellious when we were younger. I totally agree that coming down hard on a strong-willed child is asking for them to rebel..... I remember my childhood as being a battle of wills, especially with my mother. I dont want my son to see us as the enemy.

          naomifrederickmd - I am glad that we found NVC too! We are still very new and in the research stage. Of course DS is still too little to practice on but we have been giving it a go on eachother! Thank you for validating my feelings.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mumtoone View Post
            Thank you for your replies! It makes such a difference to hear from people who have been there!

            PoshMama - We are reserving the no for times when he could be hurt as well, if we didnt I think we would be saying it all the time and that isnt the type of parent we want to be! We live in NZ although I was born in the States... been here a long time though.
            Something else you might try that we use with our DS that has worked great instead of saying no in dangerous situations using a key word or phrase to let them know your serious. We used danger. So like in your example where you typically said, "we don't play with wires". I would just say in an extremely serious voice "DANGER" if he were to come close to a wire or anything dangerous. He knows I reserve that word for serious issues and so far he's always listened really well!

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            • #7
              I really felt connected with a lot of what you said. I'd like to share a few thoughts.

              Regarding your fear (or your family members' fears) that your parenting techniques will not turn out a "good" child:

              My MIL recently told me that she was amazed that our 18-month-old can communicate so well with words and sign language; she was afraid that by us teaching her sign language, we were going to keep her language skills from developing. I will continue to use this example throughout our parenting to remind her that we do have an idea of what we are doing. Similarly, she worried tremendously that we didn't give our daughter jarred baby food. Now she eats like a champ; another example I will remind her of when she raises doubts.

              Regarding how to respond to your parents/in-laws when they try to discipline in a way you disagree with:

              I really struggled with this recently myself when we spent some time with my MIL, who stepped in to help us out and watch our daughter for a few days while I was at work. She embraces the way my husband and I "talk" to our daughter "like she is an adult", and she tried to do the same. But she missed the point a little and said things like "you're not going to cry today because it makes mommy sad." Totally not true, of course, and a guilt-based model that I want to avoid. I didn't say anything because I didn't know how to say it appropriately. (She didn't say it in my presence, but proudly recounted to me that she'd said it earlier in the day.) I realize that she was trying. Like me just a few months ago, she doesn't know about all of the logic behind this and deserves to be respected while she learns it.

              I've gone over this situation in my head many times and believe the best thing to do is use NVC, such as:

              "I need my daughter to know that it is okay to express her emotions in whatever safe way she chooses (and crying is a safe way)." I am still trying to find something in my MIL's approach that I am grateful for (what was her need? how can I acknowledge and express appreciation for that?). Once I figure this out, I would add to my above statement something about appreciating how she wants to experience joyful times with my daughter, too, or something similar. Then I would try to offer her an alternative that I am comfortable with.

              I would avoid saying that it is bad to tell the child not to cry, or to yell no at her, or whatever. I would state my need. "I appreciate your efforts to help me keep my daughter from harm. I need my daughter to feel safe. She feels scared when she hears someone yell. I need her to be able to understand why we do and don't do things. Telling her no alone doesn't give her the information I want her to have to be able to make decisions. We both prefer being spoken to gently and receiving explanations of why you would not like her to do the thing you are saying no to. If this is difficult for you to do, please share these thoughts with me, and I will communicate them to my daughter in a way that I know will work for her."

              I really try to remember that others are doing the best they know how and try to work through things in this frame of mind. I also really, really try to apply the same AP principles to my adult family members that I apply to my child. If my child said something I disagreed with, I certainly wouldn't yell at her. I would explain what my need was and some ways we could work around it. (Admittedly, this comes much easier when dealing with my daughter than with my adult family. It is definitely a work in progress.)

              Hope this makes sense. I am struggling very hard to understand my feelings and needs and to find new, heartfelt ways of communicating with our families that will not alienate them. It is really helpful for me to try to share this with you.

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              • #8
                AwakenedMama - I am great full for your incredibly thoughtful reply. Thanks!

                I like your idea of using the AP principles on everyone in the family. After I had got upset with MIL I realized that I hadn't thought it through before speaking. I wish I had stopped and thought about her intentions. I will get there eventually! I have since apologized which has opened a great dialog with MIL about what we are doing. She still doesn't get it and thinks we are a bunch of hippies! But she now knows that their is method to our madness and we arent just making it up as we go along.

                Thank you.

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                • #9
                  We struggled with this too. We avoided saying NO until it became very clear around 14 months that out lil man is very strong willed and just doesn't get it otherwise (we do avoid just saying NO though). So, from around 6 months until 14 months, we didn't use it. I do remember my ILs yelling no at him starting at 8 months. I told them we were trying to avoid using that word and told them what we were doing instead. They thought I was crazy. They did try our way, but it didn't work for them. I just let it go. I feel that the primary care givers are the biggest shapers so that these other influences don't make as much impact.

                  Sorry I don't have any advice to add. Sounds like some great points have been made.

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                  • #10
                    i'm reading "How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk" i read the following paragraph and thought it was extremely relevant to this conversation:

                    p.87 "People have asked us, "If i use these skills appropriately, will my children always respond?" Our answer is: We would hope not. Children aren't robots. Besides, our purpose is not to set forth a series of techniques to manipulate behavior so that children always respond.

                    Our purpose is to speak to what is best in our children--their intelligence, their initiative, their sense of responsibility their sense of humor, their ability to be sensitive to the needs of others.

                    We want to put an end to talk that wounds the spirit, and search out the language that nourishes self-esteem.

                    We want to create an emotional climate that encourages children to cooperate because they care about themselves, and because they care about us.

                    We want to demonstrate the kind of respectful communication that we hope our children will use with us--now, during their adolescent years, and ultimately as our adult friends."

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