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My concept on saying Please...

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  • #16
    As I read more posts here, I am getting a feeling that this board is more UP/NCP than gentle discipline or positive discipline. While I feel, personally, that UP/NCP is not right for my family, I respect everyone for using the parenting style that works best for their family. I just wonder if this is the right board for me.
    Yes, I do practice unconditional parenting. Meaning that I do not change the way I interact with my child based on her behavior. I think most parents love their children unconditionally, but that's not always the impression a child will get based on how others react to his behavior. Here's how I would handle the situations you mentioned (since some people asked for clarification on subtle differences):

    Originally posted by Petie View Post
    I completely understand that. And for many, MANY things I do make it a request, when time is not an issue, when I intend on helping, etc. But for things like hitting, or hurting others, well, I just don't agree. I don't feel that is a request at all.
    If it's not a request, it means the child doesn't have any role in the solution - they have to do what you're telling them. Which I don't believe is really possible, because they are a part of it. Anytime you want someone else to do something, I think it's a request, whether it's phrased that way or not.

    And I agree, I cannot control whether my child hits, but I can control my reaction to it. Meaning, I can walk away, I can remove myself and not allow them to hit me. I am modeling for them that I want them to have enough self respect not to allow anyone to harm them. That if they are ever hit, they need to state firmly, "You may not hit me" or just plain "Stop" and get away from the situation. I don't feel that a request at that point is appropriate, whether it's an adult at work, a spouse, or a child. Does that make sense?
    To me, this approach doesn't allow you to address the underlying need in your child. Leaving or telling them what not to do doesn't guide them. It leaves them there feeling badly (which they probably feel regardless of your response), but without an idea of what to do. Rather, I'd try to find out why they hit and help them work through whatever led to it. And, I may end it with the request you mentioned at the beginning "Please don't hit" although that part wouldn't be my main focus.

    The same goes for injuring other people or pets. To me, that is not at all a request. I have more than just a duty to protect my child, but to protect others that my child may hurt. I cannot make my child stop hitting, but I can inform them that it is unacceptable and then remove them from the situation.
    I agree to that I can help protect others from physical acts from my child. But I will protect my child's needs at the same time. So, if she is hurting the dog, I will also get her to stop, but I will not do it by physically pulling her away and telling her "Don't do that." I might do something like pick her up joyfully and in a playful way distract her from the situation, if I think she's just looking for something entertaining to do. And when she's ok later, I would explain to her that we want everyone in our house to be treated with kindness and respect, including our dog.

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    • #17
      [QUOTE=AwakenedMama;26738]Yes, I do practice unconditional parenting. Meaning that I do not change the way I interact with my child based on her behavior. I think most parents love their children unconditionally, but that's not always the impression a child will get based on how others react to his behavior. Here's how I would handle the situations you mentioned (since some people asked for clarification on subtle differences):[QUOTE]

      I like how you state this.


      If it's not a request, it means the child doesn't have any role in the solution - they have to do what you're telling them. Which I don't believe is really possible, because they are a part of it. Anytime you want someone else to do something, I think it's a request, whether it's phrased that way or not.
      This is where I differ. If my child is hurting me, then no, they don't have a role in the solution. The ONLY role they can take is to stop hurting me. Otherwise, it is MY responsibility to protect myself. They do not have to agree, or like the fact that I will not allow them to harm me. I am making the decision to walk away, just as they made the decision to hit.

      To me, this approach doesn't allow you to address the underlying need in your child. Leaving or telling them what not to do doesn't guide them. It leaves them there feeling badly (which they probably feel regardless of your response), but without an idea of what to do. Rather, I'd try to find out why they hit and help them work through whatever led to it. And, I may end it with the request you mentioned at the beginning "Please don't hit" although that part wouldn't be my main focus.
      This is a concern, but to us, we believe that when our child is so overwhelmed that they resort to hitting, then they are not in the right frame of mind to learn new methods. We use calm times, after the incident, to teach and explain. And as long as they have not harmed anyone, we will sit there and teach them how to calm down, if they want us to. As soon as they lash out, then they are beyond the point of listening and learning. This is what I have found with my children, so please don't assume I am saying all children fall into this category.

      I agree to that I can help protect others from physical acts from my child. But I will protect my child's needs at the same time. So, if she is hurting the dog, I will also get her to stop, but I will not do it by physically pulling her away and telling her "Don't do that." I might do something like pick her up joyfully and in a playful way distract her from the situation, if I think she's just looking for something entertaining to do. And when she's ok later, I would explain to her that we want everyone in our house to be treated with kindness and respect, including our dog.
      I have to protect the ones being injured first. That is my priority. THEN, the aggressor will have their needs met. Now, I do not do this blindly. I have a daughter with asperger's and many times her needs outweigh those of the injured party, simply because if she lashes out, chances are that if I remove that which she can lash out against, she will start self injuring. I also have to ensure that the child that lashed was not injured themselves. I see the playful parenting as something I do with my younger children, when they were up to about 4 that would work. After that, I see the need to address the behavior, not just distract. And I don't physically remove them from the dog, I remove the dog from them.

      I don't know, I have a different outlook on these things. If I am scratching up a neighbors car, they are not going to say, "would you please stop, that is not nice, that is my car". No, they are going to come out tell me to stop and call the police. Same with hitting. If I walk up to a person and slap them because they upset me, they aren't going to politely ask me to stop. They will tell me to back off and then probably call the police. Since I see my ultimate job as a parent, as teaching my children to live in this world, I feel that I need to prepare them for the fact that many things are not acceptable, and many things will not be requests when we misbehave.

      I think it is a careful balancing act for us. I have to be diligent in making sure they understand what is right and wrong in clear terms, yet not leave them without the proper coping skills in those situations. For me, often times, the most logical response is to state requests as requests and anything that isn't a request leave out the please. Mind you, this is only for misbehavior.

      I can honestly say that I still don't fully understand how you all manage your methods, but I imagine you don't understand mine either. But I LOVE reading and learning about them. It is amazing how we all find what works best with our children.

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      • #18
        i see the varying viewpoints here as being really a lot closer together than farther apart. we all have a tremendous amount in common. we're all working so hard to help our children develop morally, not just behaviorally. and our relationships are the driving force behind everything we do.

        as a moderator, i just want to also thank everyone for how respectful this discussion has been. it's so important to share our ideas and learn from everyone, even if we don't wholeheartedly agree. i can see that is truly happening here.

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        • #19
          I am loving the perspectives in this thread. This conversation has pulled me in and I am loving the knowledge I am gaining from it. So many varied ways of doing things and all of them from such a loving peaceful place.

          I am so thankful to be part of API.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by EcoMaMa View Post
            I am loving the perspectives in this thread. This conversation has pulled me in and I am loving the knowledge I am gaining from it. So many varied ways of doing things and all of them from such a loving peaceful place.

            I am so thankful to be part of API.
            I just want to say that as a somewhat 'newbie' to this forum and a new mom (ds is 11 months old) and relatively new to AP (discovered while pg) - I wholeheartedly agree with you. We have not yet formed our "methods" so to speak and are learning each and everyday with our lo.

            Much of what has been discussed here I have not yet encountered with ds or very little - yet...... it is wonderful to read others perspectives and start thinking about what I would do in similar situations so I'm not dumbfounded for answers when the time comes.

            Thank you all for sharing. I am very happy to be part of API as well and so grateful to have discovered it while ds is still so young and know that I will not regret my parenting decisions down the road.

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            • #21
              I can honestly say that I still don't fully understand how you all manage your methods, but I imagine you don't understand mine either. But I LOVE reading and learning about them. It is amazing how we all find what works best with our children.
              Yes, we are all doing the best we can with what makes sense to us. Our goals are the same--it's our underlying philosophies and ideas about how to reach those goals that are different.

              Really, back to the original question, I think the real reason I say please is simply because it feels right to me. I feel respectful when I say it, and I feel angry when I don't. Sometimes for me it's easier to put all philosophies aside and just do what feels right, with no explanations needed.

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              • #22
                We say please for the same reasons that have been stated above. I think its just as important to be respectful and polite to the littlest person in the household as it is for us to expect him to be respectful and polite to us.

                When it is in reference to harm being done such as DS hitting someone we will usually say something along the lines of "We do not hit in this family, hitting hurts. Please remove your hands" I think that the word please has many different uses.

                I would never dream of asking say a cleaner at the office to do something without saying please.... technically you know that the cleaner doesnt really have a choice, unless they want to loose their job. But by saying please you are showing that you respect them as a person and the job that they are doing. I feel the same way with my little boy. While I may be asking him to stop doing something that I will EXPECT him to stop doing (such as hitting), I am still going to ask in a respectful way. In saying that if DS chooses to ignore my request then I as the parent also feel that there are further steps that need to be taken as it is my job to help him through this world and to learn things like empathy and respect... I believe that by showing respect we teach how to respect. Then if the hitting does not stop then it is my job to protect both him and the person who he is hurting. I do this by removing him and then explaining again why we do not hit. Its so hard to say definitively how we deal with these situations as they all come with different circumstances that need to be taken into consideration.

                I agree that this is an interesting thread. And that it is lovely that everyone is remaining respectful of each others different way of doing things.
                Last edited by mumtoone; 05-22-2009, 12:39 AM. Reason: Read back and didnt sound like I meant it too.

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                • #23
                  I understand exactly what you mean. I've thought about this before, and come to the conclusion that by saying please I am modelling the kind of speech I want my children to practice. Although for 'NO' things, such as no pulling mummy's hair, I don't think it is needed, but I would use it with an instruction, such as 'please pick up the toy you just threw on floor'. To me, please isn't necessarily giving a choice it's more for politeness. Although I do sometimes struggle to avoid say 'Can you..............' or stating instructions as a question, because then that is clear that's giving an opportunity to say no.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Petie View Post
                    "Please don't pull mommy's hair"
                    "Please don't pull the doggy's tail"
                    "Please put your shoes on"
                    Why is he pulling mommy's hair? Is he angry at her? Does he not realize that this hurts her, or even that he's doing it? Is it a ploy to get attention (which would mean he's not getting enough)?

                    Why is he pulling the dog's tail? Is it a desperate last resort to get whatever attention he can, because he's not getting the attention he needs? Is he just interested and not realize that he's hurting the dog?

                    Why doesn't he want to put his shoes on? Is it that he doesn't want to go to wherever you're going? Is it that they're too small and feel uncomfortable?

                    Look past the behavior. What is he feeling?

                    Originally posted by Petie View Post
                    Other days, on bad days, sometimes I have to use a heavier hand, so to speak.
                    What a disturbing metaphor.

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                    • #25
                      The word "please"

                      Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the word please. It is short for "if you please," but none of us actually mean "could you get me a drink -- if you want to?" so why are we forcing our children to parrot what, deep down, is just a fake response that's taken on the connotation of politeness?

                      I encourage my daughter to say please in public situations where it is common courtesy, just to instill the habit so that she will have it as an adult. However, I don't require her to use it with me, and I certainly wouldn't use it with her if I was telling her not to do something. I am far from an authoritarian parent, but there are some rules of the family that we all follow, like no hitting. If I tell her not to hit, I don't mean "if you please" so I wouldn't say it that way.

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                      • #26
                        I am genuinely asking when I say it, and if the answer is no, it is no.

                        I wouldn't force my child to do something for me that he didn't want to. The same is reverse. There are times he will say please and I will say I am unable to. Even down to a drink, and then he goes and gets one himself.

                        Example:
                        Sometimes I will ask him could he please open the back door to let the dogs out and if he is busy, he will say, mommy, I am playing blocks right now or whatever he is doing and I will go do it, but because we have the option to say no in our house nothing we say is fake or forced.

                        It is different for me to hear " but none of us actually mean", but again it shows where cultures and attitudes can vary from person to person and family to family.

                        I can see where you may feel that way if that is how you have learned to use it or are guiding another to use it, only as public courtesy and I do know many people who do similar.

                        Peace & Blessings,

                        Jo

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