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Finding this hard to implement, re: UP

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  • Finding this hard to implement, re: UP

    I've read Unconditional Parenting and I am gradually making the shift to being a UP. It makes so much sense to me and it was actually a very big relief for me to know that I don't have to fight my instincts anymore, (I've been a mum for over 7 years). I'm generally OK with it and obviously it will take time for us all to adapt to it, after all it won;t happen overnight.

    However I'm really finding it hard with one thing with my 7 year old. When she is constantly 'rude'. It is happening almost daily now and she'll just make rude comment to things I say for no apparent reason at all, not for things she might not like me saying, i.e. it's not because I've asked her to do something, or asked her not to do something, just at things in general like in a pleasant conversation. She will also do it to her sister who's not quite old enough to respond yet but will be soon. I can't really think of examples it's such small things on their own but it's constant. I.E. She might shout 'stop it mum' in a stroppy voice if i ask her her about what she's doing, or say anything for that matter. Not just that but all sorts.
    I'm finding it really hard to implement UP with this. I talk to her about why she may have said this or that or why it bothered her, in a non-pressure approach. I ask her how she thinks it makes me feel, She is genuinely sorry each time she does it and seems to understand but it doesn't stop and I don't feel I can ignore it. It gets to a point whereit's happening every 10 minutes and I do lose my patience. I know that's not the way to go though but I feel like I've hit a brick wall here. Before now I've been a 'typical' parent, with praise and rewards, occasional telling offs, and I realise this method could have contributed to this. I just don't know how to break the cycle. Any ideas?

  • #2
    i teach in a multi-age class of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders and have a 6 1/2 yr.old myself. in reading your post, my initial reaction was "oh, that sounds pretty typical". i read somewhere not too long ago that around age 6, children's brains go thru some pretty tremendous growth and it explains some of these behaviors we see. oftentimes we attribute growth spurts and developmental phases to babies and toddlers, but fail to continue to keep this in mind as children age.

    i don't mean to say that you should just accept the behavior, but it may provide some context for you. AP philosophy would have you look at your daughter thru your relationship. before you can address behavior, you must make sure that your relationship doesn't need attention. is she trying to tell you that something is missing in your attachment? does she feel connected to you? do you feel connected to her?

    after that, try to identify other triggers. is your daughter in school? is there something happening there that could be causing her emotional distress? could she have picked up on this behavior from her peers?

    what about diet? does she get a good balance of nutrition. i know when i eat junk i feel like junk. same w/sleep.

    just trying to generate ideas here. anything helpful?

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    • #3
      When you say you're finding to difficult to implement UP regarding your daughter's rudeness, is it because you feel like you want to punish her for being rude? Do you wish there was a consequence for rude behavior/ words so that you could respond consistently and also try to bring the behavior to an end?

      I actually think that NVC (Nonviolent Communication) might help you in this situation more. It's great to realize that punishment here is probably not going to work towards reducing the rudeness and strengthening your relationship. Then, similar to what you have been doing, I would use the NVC steps to find out how she might be feeling when she says rude things. I think it's impossible for young children to articulate WHY they said something rude or hurtful. In my work with children, I've found that kind of question is usually met with a shrug or, "I dunno." But maybe if you focused first on just identifying everyone's feelings, you might get further towards an understanding. Just general statements like, "Oh, you seem angry!" or, "You must be feeling hurt/ sad/ scared/ etc...to say that to your sister."

      And you could also focus on communicating your feelings (nonjudgmentally)in those moments. This is not asking her how she thinks you feel, but you telling her how you feel. "You are saying some unkind words to me. I feel hurt when you say those things. I need to be treated kindly. Would you be willing to express yourself with polite words?" Or something along those lines...That might not fit your example very well, but that's the basic idea of NVC.

      And yes, time! Everything about kids takes time! time to grow & mature & adjust to life's changes, growth spurts, emotional development, time to try & establish new routines, etc. So keep up the positive parenting, find support when you need it & hang in there!

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      • #4
        Thank you that does give me ideas to think about. School is what gets me the most. She is in the 4th year and she's started enjoying it less as time goes on. As far as I'm aware it's that it's boring and also typical playground things, not that she's being bullied or anything, she's always tired after school too. I'm seriously considering home educating in the near future.

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        • #5
          Unconditional Parenting and dealing with violence

          I'm also implementing Unconditional Parenting and experiencing a ramping up of behaviours from my 3 1/2 year old daughter. Since starting on this path--it's only been a few days mind you--she's been acting more and more violently towards me and her one-year-old brother. I think it's a matter of a) adjusting to her brother's growing personhood, as well as b) the new regime and lack of punishments. Apparently she reported to her Nana that "Mom didn't punish me" after her acting out.

          I really felt at my wits' end today after the episode, and I confess I broke down in tears in front of my daughter. I want to find a way of dealing with this that is in line with Unconditional Parenting, but which allows me to protect myself and my little guy.

          Any parents out there who have gone through something similar and come out the other side? Any thoughts on what worked? Should I call in a child psychologist??? I will check out the Nonviolent Communication resources mentioned.

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          • #6
            Check out "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves" by Naomi Aldort. I felt that it started where Alfie Cohen left of in "Unconditional Parenting". She gives real life examples of how to treat your children with love and respect, even when their actions may cause you to want to act differently. She also addresses the sibling rivalry issue, as well as what to do and say if you suddenly go from discipline... to unconditional parenting. I believe it is a must read for anyone who believes in Unconditional Parenting.

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            • #7
              Three weeks in

              We're still trying our best here, but today I used a time-out. But I later used it as an opportunity to apologize to my daughter. Sigh.

              I will certainly check out the book you suggest. We need some more guidance! If there are any Unconditional Parenting support groups out there, I need to find them!

              After reading the book, I really believe it's the best for my kids, but for some reason, improving our relationship is hard. I hear about these people who have magically close relationships with their kids and wonder, is it me? Am I doing something terribly wrong? Is it my kid? Is she one of these "spirited" individuals I hear about? Most days are pretty good, but there's a distance I find worrying.

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              • #8
                Three weeks in

                Wow--just looked that book up on Amazon and it has amazing reviews! I'm going to order it right away!
                Last edited by frugalurban; 11-12-2010, 09:10 PM. Reason: error

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by frugalurban View Post
                  Since starting on this path--it's only been a few days mind you--she's been acting more and more violently towards me and her one-year-old brother. I think it's a matter of a) adjusting to her brother's growing personhood, as well as b) the new regime and lack of punishments. Apparently she reported to her Nana that "Mom didn't punish me" after her acting out. I want to find a way of dealing with this that is in line with Unconditional Parenting, but which allows me to protect myself and my little guy.
                  When starting down a new path of discipline, things often get worse before they get better...it's like you're in a dance with your child and everyone knows the moves--the actions and reactions. Now suddenly you're changing your dance steps, but she's still continuing with her same counter-moves, trying to rein you back into the dance she's familiar with...perhaps doing her moves even harder than usual as she tries to get things back to "normal".

                  With time and practice, you will establish a new "normal". It does get better! I recommend the Positive Discipline books by Jane Nelsen for some very practical techniques that are based on unconditional parenting; non-punitive, no rewards, focused on problem solving and emotional connection. I would recommend trying Positive Discipline for Preschoolers. There are others if you like that one, like Positive Discipline A-Z.

                  You're right that improving relationships is so hard. It does take time, but your daughter is so young! I love that you found a way to connect after a time-out...very PD! Here is a recent article from The Attached Family Magazine on creating positive time-outs.

                  Hang in there, things will change!

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