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  • ignoring me - what do I do?

    I'm trying to implement Positive Discipline in our home, as we have grown so frustrated with other strategies. My daugher is almost 4 and very spirited. One problem I'm having is that she just flat out ignores me. Sometimes when I ask her to do something she will sit there doing whatever she's doing, obviously ignoring me because she's smirking and laughing without looking at me, or she will get riled up and run away from me. One example is when it's time to get her pj's on, but this happens with lots of things. I get very frustrated having to repeat my request multiple times.

    How do I handle this situation using Positive Discipline?

  • #2
    Power struggles are SO common for this age! And that is what's happening, although it's a passive one. Children are learning about their developing sense of autonomy and initiative...what they can do and what they will do. Hang in there...she will grow out of this! There are a few things you can try to get through this age with kindness and firmness...

    Give a time warning--This is the classic 5-minute or 1-minute warning, just so she has time to wrap her mind around what you're telling her and make transitions smoother.

    Give choices--This is about less telling and more asking. It may be helpful if you find you're often telling her what to do, what's happening, why you're doing things, etc. "What is the first thing we should do now?" "Would you like 2 more minutes or 3 more minutes?" Or just ask curiosity questions to engage her: "I wonder how you're feeling when I tell you what to do?" You might throw in some silly choices; ones that would get her attention and add some fun to the task: "Would you like to sleep naked or sleep in your clothes?"

    Have a routine chart--these are great for clarifying certain times of day when there's always lots to do, like getting ready in the morning, meal times, or getting ready for bed. Children can be involved in helping to make the chart which helps give them a sense of ownership. Then, it's easier to let the chart be the boss. "What does the routine chart say we should be doing right now?" "What comes next?" Again, one more thing you can ask her instead of tell her.

    Act without talking--Disengage from the power struggle by simply taking her hand and leading upstairs to get ready.

    Decide what you will do--you can decide what you will do and leave the rest up to her. You can give the 5-minute warning, you can ask her for pj preferences, you can turn the task into something fun, you can ask her what should be happening according to the routine chart...but if she's still not acknowledging you, just let her know what you'll be doing. "Your bedtime story will begin in 5 minutes. I'll meet you in your room."

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reassurance that this is just another phase. And thank you for all the great suggestions! I do give her time warnings, but I could be better about giving her more choices. And I'll get us started with a chart too.

      I have a question regarding the hand-holding suggestion. I can definitely do that, but what do I do if I take her hand and she starts throwing a fit? Do I pick her up, kicking and screaming, to continue our journey or have a time-in?

      And also, if I've done all these things and she is still standing there refusing to cooperate with getting her clothes changed, do I pick her up silently and change them myself? Would that be appropriate PD?

      Thanks again for the help!

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      • #4
        It's up to you what to do if she has a fit...I know I've carried my son before, when he's not cooperating and we don't have any other options. But there might be some other things you could try first, like asking, would you like me to carry you upstairs or would you like to walk? My husband always has some good choices to offer for carrying. He'll say, would you like me to carry you like a football or a sack of potatoes? Or, another one the kids like is when he pretends to be some kind of vehicle and he'll say, woukd you like to ride a motorcycle or a monster truck? And he'll turn the carry into a fun game. By giving her a choice of how she wants to get upstairs, you're also letting her know that not going upstairs is not an option. But at least it can be fun!

        And as for the changing, if she's not doing it herself, that's her choice (as long as she is old enough and capable of doing it if she wants to). You could always continue with your part of the bedtime routine, give her the opportunity to change in to her pjs, and if it's time for the bedtime story and she's still not in her pjs, read it anyway. You could either say something like, I see you're sleeping in your clothes tonight. Or don't say anything and see what she says/does as you continue with the routine like normal.

        It's tough because at this age, it can be a fine line between helping and enabling. You definitely want to offer her support, ancouragement and help when she needs it, without doing something for her that she was expected to do for herself.

        I love the Positive Discipline books by Jane Nelsen, and I recommend them all the time! I think you would get a lot out of Positive Discipline for Preschoolers.

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        • #5
          Thanks! I'm definitely encouraged because I DO give her the choice to walk or be carried quite often and I'm reading Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline right now I'll see if I can get her preschool book from my library as well!

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          • #6
            Have you tried the ASK, TELL, ACT method?

            It's just as it sounds. You ASK once in a normal tone. You wait 10 seconds (to see if she's going to do as told). You then move into her space and TELL her what you want in a firm tone. You wait 10 seconds. Then you ACT by moving her gently, but firmly on to a chair or against a wall. She can ONLY come out of that space to do what is asked of her.

            During the ACT stage, once she's in position, don't watch her..in fact it will work much quicker if you pretend you are looking the other way - even change your stance so that your body is facing away from her and where she needs to go... this tells her that you expect her to do as she is told. If you watch her, you are telling her you expect to have to ask again.

            This way she has to decide to do what she is told. She takes responsibility and you just wait. If she comes out and doesn't do as told...gently but firmly put her back in the action spot. You might have to do so several times the first few weeks.

            Good luck, the spirited ones are...spirited!

            kloppenmum.wordpress.com
            Last edited by kloppenmum; 12-16-2010, 02:01 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kloppenmum View Post
              Then you ACT by moving her gently, but firmly on to a chair or against a wall. She can ONLY come out of that space to do what is asked of her...During the ACT stage, once she's in position, don't watch her..in fact it will work much quicker if you pretend you are looking the other way - even change your stance so that your body is facing away from her and where she needs to go... this tells her that you expect her to do as she is told...This way she has to decide to do what she is told. She takes responsibility and you just wait. If she comes out and doesn't do as told...gently but firmly put her back in the action spot. You might have to do so several times the first few weeks.
              You didn't specifically say this, but this scenario reminds me of a time-out. While positive time-outs are great for calming down and feeling better when upset, using punitive time-outs is not recommended by API.

              This is an exerpt from "The Case Against Time Outs," by Peter Haiman:

              "When time-out is used, parents first firmly demand that their child stop misbehaving and be quiet. The child is then usually required to go and sit alone in a room, away from parents, and admonished not to come out of the room until they are sure that they can control their behavior. Being placed in time-out prolongs the time that a child must endure the frustrated need that caused their misbehavior. Thus, unmet normal needs become increasingly uncomfortable as the time-out continues. Young children depend upon, want to be with, love, and need their parents."

              It can be difficult to switch mindsets litke this, but there is some great reading material this is helpful. I recommend "Positive Discipline," by Jane Nelsen, as well as "Unconditional Parenting." by Alfie Kohn. They are excellent for understanding the essence of positive parenting!

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              • #8
                The point of ASK TELL ACT is that the child is in charge. They get to choose to comply. Or wait. There is no adult timing or punitive action other than they have asked for something to be done, and expect it to be done.

                I completely agree - Time Outs are not helpful or positive.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by kloppenmum View Post
                  There is no adult timing or punitive action other than they have asked for something to be done, and expect it to be done.
                  Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but it seems to me the timing is indefinite (as opposed to a predetermined 1-min, 2-min, etc. time out). The child stays there until s/he "chooses" to obey, however long that takes.

                  And the punishment is in the form of "Go sit in this chair/ stand against the wall." It's a consequence that is unrelated to the initial behavior. To me, any kind of imposed consequence like that is punitive.

                  Genuinely positive discipline is a "working with" approach, rather than a "doing to" approach to helping children with their behavior.

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                  • #10
                    I think we have crossed wires.
                    However, in the best interests of the forum I am happy to end the discussion here.

                    Thanks for your input, Kelly.
                    Karyn

                    http://kloppenmum,wordpress.com

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                    • #11
                      No problem. I agree. I'd be happy to chat offline, too!

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                      • #12
                        My eldest used to do this with me at that age. Boy, that wa a struggle. I took a different approach that he quickly learned ignoring would trigger. I would pretend to sneak out of the room quietly. Then I would go into thier bedroom and replace his blanket with this really scratchy one he absolutely hated. There were a few tears initially, but the ignoring quickly stopped after 2-3 nights with a scratchy blanket.

                        Lesson number 1: Don't ignore dad or he will act like you cant see him messing with your bedsheets!

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                        • #13
                          Again, in the interest of clarity for anyone who might be reading this thread and is interested in understanding positive discipline, I need to respectfully point out that this is also punitive. It's a "doing to" approach...as in, "What can I do to you to teach you a lesson?"

                          Positive discipline can be a very different way of thinking about disciplining kids...I totally get that! For most of us, it goes against our natural instincts for teaching kids appropriate behavior...until we fully understand the concept of what makes positive discipline "positive" and can develop new instincts.

                          I strongly recommend Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, as well as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.
                          Last edited by Kelly; 12-21-2010, 09:43 AM.

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