Parenting Catch-all

I've spanked my kids a couple of times each (twice, maybe?) largely as an attention-getter. As in, they were way over the line, had stopped communicating in any way and continued with the negative behaviour; a stinging swat - after a LOT of warnings - cut them off mid-outburst. Don't get me wrong; they cried after I did it, but more out of surprise than pain. Only had to do it a handful of times between both kids.

I do still use physicality to get their attention on occasion; I'll flick my 7-year-old in the head to put the e-brake on his behaviour (usually mouthing off at this point... ain't school grand?), and I'll hold my 4-year-olds face so that he looks at me when he's in trouble, but nothing to cause pain.

LarryC wrote:

"Bringing Up Bebe" has an interesting way of enforcing food behavior - starvation. Basically, food is only ever served at meal times. You can always opt not to eat as a child, but no one eats anything between. No exceptions. If you skipped your lunch and you're hungry? Suck it.

Couldn't do it, no way, no how. I graze constantly; restricting food to only mealtimes would kill me.

I'm on board with that, complexmath. That's the problem though, we're having communication issues. My eldest barely speaks at all now and when we sit him down to try and explain why a certain action is dangerous or whatever, he avoids our gaze as if he knows he's slipped up. It can get pretty frustrating, this lack of communication. I'm going to look into baby sign language for number two, for sure.

Regarding teaching violence, I think it's more that when kids are young you're trying to teach them to react appropriately to their emotions and that hitting or biting is not acceptable. Hitting your kids as punishment just undermines this. Though when we were working through a biting phase here, I did make an exception where anything goes: if a big person is hurting them or tries to take them somewhere and they can't get away.

I think that giving the kids a situation where their behavior was okay helped them learn when it wasn't. Then when I caught them hurting each other I could say "is your sister / brother a bad person? No? Then why are you biting them?" And they responded better to that than a straight up "no."

That particular phase was a rough one all around though. We almost had to take a kid to the doctor at one point. It's weird how it spreads. Our youngest daughter was the biter and she got all of them doing it, I guess in retaliation. Never to other kids at least--just each other. That was also the only time I felt that corporal punishment was actually appropriate, and when I tried it in an attempt to find some way to get them to stop.

Kids emotions rule them to the point that when they're worked up, I don't think it matters what the punishment is for something. That just never even crosses their minds before they act. I suspect that the only thing that fixes this is time, and then parents latch onto however they responded to the misbehavior as the thing that "taught" them to behave, when in reality what did it was just a bit more maturity.

complexmath wrote:

There was one meal where I had her at the table and made the mistake of issuing an ultimatum I didn't want to carry out, with the demand that she eat one bit of her dinner before saying she was done. She screamed herself hoarse and two hours later was still at the table and hadn't eaten anything.

How long did you keep her there?

LarryC wrote:

"Bringing Up Bebe" has an interesting way of enforcing food behavior - starvation. Basically, food is only ever served at meal times. You can always opt not to eat as a child, but no one eats anything between. No exceptions. If you skipped your lunch and you're hungry? Suck it.

We had so much trouble getting our oldest daughter to eat at all, ever, that withholding food just wasn't an option. We let her run and were glad that she had four bites instead of none. There was one meal where I had her at the table and made the mistake of issuing an ultimatum I didn't want to carry out, with the demand that she eat one bit of her dinner before saying she was done. She screamed herself hoarse and two hours later was still at the table and hadn't eaten anything. Though this is the same kid that sleep training didn't work on. She'd scream until she threw up and then scream some more. She was also the one with colic--as a newborn she's tense up so much when she screamed that I could stand her up on her feet, just holding her tiny hands for balance. I used to call her my little berserker. Good times.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

I'll hold my 4-year-olds face so that he looks at me when he's in trouble, but nothing to cause pain.

I still do this with our daughter. There have been times when I'll hold her head and her eyes will be rolling around trying to look at other things and she's just unable to make eye contact with us. I think some of it is that she's super high-energy and maybe tends towards the ADD end of the spectrum, but food allergies and sensitivities seem to be most of it. The artificial sweetener aspartame definitely has this effect on her, for example.

My wife and I don't spank, but that being said, there are several times where I've been pushed too far and I've grabbed my son/daughter a bit too forcefully or picked them up too aggressively. So, I can't say I am any more enlightened then a parent that spanks every now and them. I really do think that every kid is different, but I don't think it would be much of a deterrent for either of my kids.

We've struggled with mealtimes quite a bit. I've had an especially hard time accepting the way the kids eat, because I'm somebody who really wants/likes a routine. It is very rare that both my children are eating without it being a chore. We've read that at their age (2/3) kids graze, so we don't restrict that much, though we don't allow it for a while before meals. Other then that it's become a "eat it or don't" policy, and we don't get into an argument with them, but if you don't eat your dinner you don't get dessert.

LarryC wrote:

"Bringing Up Bebe" has an interesting way of enforcing food behavior - starvation. Basically, food is only ever served at meal times. You can always opt not to eat as a child, but no one eats anything between. No exceptions. If you skipped your lunch and you're hungry? Suck it.

I don't get it. What useful lesson does that teach your kid? After all, as an adult you can choose to eat whenever you like; even as an older child you have access to snacks in vending machines, school snacks, poolside snack stands, after sports practices, at friends' houses, etc. So wouldn't forbidding food outside meals when they're young only raise the chances that your kid would go nuts around food, once left to his/her own devices? Plus, wouldn't it teach them to ignore their own body cues (hunger) and exacerbate mood/behavior problems due to low blood sugar? What's the benefit?

Are there Goodjer parenting awards? I'd like to nominate myself for yesterday, when my 4 month old got twerking tips from a stripper.

Hehe. There was this one time. I had to stay up all night with the younger kid for the same reason - I issued an ultimatum without thinking, and she was sticking to her guns. I think many, many, many times over before I do that, now. Learning moment for us both.

You can't back down from a challenge. Doing that even once signals that you're unreliable, and changeable. The kids gotta know that when you say something, that's the way it's going to be. So you keep your mouth shut most of the time, grit your teeth, and save your ammunition for when they're trying to blow the house up.

KaterinLHC wrote:
LarryC wrote:

"Bringing Up Bebe" has an interesting way of enforcing food behavior - starvation. Basically, food is only ever served at meal times. You can always opt not to eat as a child, but no one eats anything between. No exceptions. If you skipped your lunch and you're hungry? Suck it.

I don't get it. What useful lesson does that teach your kid? After all, as an adult you can choose to eat whenever you like; even as an older child you have access to snacks in vending machines, school snacks, poolside snack stands, after sports practices, at friends' houses, etc. So wouldn't forbidding food outside meals when they're young only raise the chances that your kid would go nuts around food, once left to his/her own devices? Plus, wouldn't it teach them to ignore their own body cues (hunger) and exacerbate mood/behavior problems due to low blood sugar? What's the benefit?

I agree with Katerin. Restricting access to food was definitely a factor in my disordered eating today.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
complexmath wrote:

There was one meal where I had her at the table and made the mistake of issuing an ultimatum I didn't want to carry out, with the demand that she eat one bit of her dinner before saying she was done. She screamed herself hoarse and two hours later was still at the table and hadn't eaten anything.

How long did you keep her there?

About 2 hours. I finally got out some applesauce or something I knew she'd take a bite of to get myself off the hook for whatever punishment I'd threatened her with.

The other thing we learned when she was young is that you can't count calories per meal because kids are really inconsistent in how much they eat. You have to keep track of everything they eat for an entire week and calculate an average. Once we did this we found that she was actually doing pretty okay and it was easier to accept her simply not eating sometimes. These days (at almost 6) she eats as much as an adult if you give her something she really likes though.

KaterinLHC wrote:
LarryC wrote:

"Bringing Up Bebe" has an interesting way of enforcing food behavior - starvation. Basically, food is only ever served at meal times. You can always opt not to eat as a child, but no one eats anything between. No exceptions. If you skipped your lunch and you're hungry? Suck it.

I don't get it. What useful lesson does that teach your kid? After all, as an adult you can choose to eat whenever you like; even as an older child you have access to snacks in vending machines, school snacks, poolside snack stands, after sports practices, at friends' houses, etc. So wouldn't forbidding food outside meals when they're young only raise the chances that your kid would go nuts around food, once left to his/her own devices? Plus, wouldn't it teach them to ignore their own body cues (hunger) and exacerbate mood/behavior problems due to low blood sugar? What's the benefit?

It seems to do the opposite. You don't force them to eat when they're not hungry, so they only eat when they are, and feeling actual, gnawing hunger tells them what it feels like to be hungry and go without. Food isn't a given, constant, thing that you do for pleasure. It's a ritual that you engage in for when you feel a very specific thing and only then - and that thing is hunger.

Also, it makes meals a significant, very regular, ritual. Gives structure to the day. Kids really like that, in general.

EDIT:

The food is also not withheld as a special punishment nor given as a special reward. It's just that it appears and is eaten by everyone at a certain time, and not at other times. It's up to them whether or not to eat and how much at any given time, knowing when the next meal will be. The book explains the process better.

LarryC wrote:

Hehe. There was this one time. I had to stay up all night with the younger kid for the same reason - I issued an ultimatum without thinking, and she was sticking to her guns. I think many, many, many times over before I do that, now. Learning moment for us both.

You can't back down from a challenge. Doing that even once signals that you're unreliable, and changeable. The kids gotta know that when you say something, that's the way it's going to be. So you keep your mouth shut most of the time, grit your teeth, and save your ammunition for when they're trying to blow the house up.

They walk all over my wife for this very reason.

I keep the consequences small, and relative to the task. No use threatening them with wholesale armageddon, just because they don't put there pens and pencils away after a drawing session.

"Put your pens away, or you won't be able to use them next time."

"If you don't behave in the shops, and listen, how can you behave, and listen, at the party we are buying the present for?"

When my wife tells them to 'put away their pens, otherwise they won't be going to the beach to have breakfast in the morning' they completely ignore her because they know breakfast near the ocean is something Mummy wants to do too. I go with the threat of withholding a visit to Baskin and Robbins on the boardwalk if they don't complete the task. Disqualify a component of the outing, rather than the whole event.

For the record, I'm the stay at home Dad, and the wife goes off to work. I get a LOT more exposure to their individual idiosyncrasies, while she's making a few rookie mistakes. To be fair to her, they are both very different people to the ones she entrusted to me almost 3 years ago, and sometimes, they change daily. She just doesn't get the hours in to know when to roll with the punches, and when to make a stand.

On the topic of food... Good grief, I'm trying to teach him how to eat balanced meals, same as we do, but it's not always easy. Tonight, for example, he ate some baguette, a yogurt, and a teensy bit of mashed potatoes and carrots. Don't think I could keep him at the table if I tried. We'd have to physically restrain him, and I'm just not going to go there. Take our wins where we can, he'll eat better tomorrow. I count myself lucky that loves salmon, for example.

Also, tonight, he's decided to sleep beneath his toddler bed.

Gosh, I hope I dusted back there recently.

We had all kinds of food issues with our 4 year old--he didn't eat solid food until he was nearly two years old. After some OT for some sensory issues, things finally turned around. We have followed the approach (I think it comes from a blog that my wife found--Feeding Doctor maybe?) that parents control what food is offered and when the food is offered and the child gets to decide if they eat it and how much is consumed. Our requirement has changed somewhat now that he is older where he must at least take one bite of the food on his plate and we don't make special meals just for him. Since he cannot leave the table until we are all finished, usually this means that he will take another additional bites while he waits.

Our OT doc suggested that grazing isn't the best approach so generally, we have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Lately, he is trying to weasel another snack out of us after supper but otherwise, this approach has worked fairly well.

Bringing up Bebe is an interesting look at differences between French kids and American kids, and there's a lot in there that's useful, i think. It's more than regimenting meal times, there's an expectation that kids sit at the table during meals, that they aren't catered to. The American helicopter parent doesn't exist in France, playgrounds are a completely different experience there. Worth a read.

Eleima wrote:

Oh thank you so much for that. This is why I'm liking this catch all better than the self indulgent thread, because lately, I feel like I'm a bit of a failure in the parenting department, or at least that's what I dread hearing when visiting the relatives later this month.

We also have bouts of "I'm just gonna run around the dinning table now - what do you mean it's dinner time?" Also, any attempt to put a bib on him for meals results in screaming fits that are so bad I'm afraid the neighbors would call CPS on us. At this juncture, I've just resigned myself to doing more laundry.

And then there are the moments when he grabs my head and plants a big sloppy kiss on my lips and it makes it all worth it.

Wouldn't want to scare off the parents to be. ;)

As someone who's going to have a newborn in less than two weeks, I think this thread will be more beneficial than the self-indulgent one too.

Stengah wrote:

As someone who's going to have a newborn in less than two weeks, I think this thread will be more beneficial than the self-indulgent one too.

The self-indulgent thread is great for those SQUEE moments but it does also serve a practical purpose for me. During the rough times it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel so it's nice to have reminders of the good times to come.

Eleima wrote:

Wouldn't want to scare off the parents to be. ;)

We don't do nearly enough scaring off. We as parents tend to gloss over the bad parts and overemphasize the good parts. Unfortunately, that means many new parents think they're frakking up. We really need to be more honest about parenthood.

sometimesdee wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Wouldn't want to scare off the parents to be. ;)

We don't do nearly enough scaring off. We as parents tend to gloss over the bad parts and overemphasize the good parts. Unfortunately, that means many new parents think they're frakking up. We really need to be more honest about parenthood.

Interestingly my experience is that parents significantly over emphasize the bad parts. Everyone constantly warns us that it's going to get worse. "Just wait til she can crawl!" "Just wait til she can walk!" "Just wait til she's 2!" .. ..

Even before my daughter is born we mostly just heard warnings about how we'll never sleep again and kiss our social lives goodbye. We were legitimately wondering if our friends/family members actually enjoyed anything about having kids.

SixteenBlue wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Wouldn't want to scare off the parents to be. ;)

We don't do nearly enough scaring off. We as parents tend to gloss over the bad parts and overemphasize the good parts. Unfortunately, that means many new parents think they're frakking up. We really need to be more honest about parenthood.

Interestingly my experience is that parents significantly over emphasize the bad parts. Everyone constantly warns us that it's going to get worse. "Just wait til she can crawl!" "Just wait til she can walk!" "Just wait til she's 2!" .. ..

Even before my daughter is born we mostly just heard warnings about how we'll never sleep again and kiss our social lives goodbye. We were legitimately wondering if our friends/family members actually enjoyed anything about having kids.

Heh, perhaps it was different for me because I had to deal with being pregnant. Sleep deprivation started from the third trimester. I was too busy barfing through the other two trimesters to have a social life.

SixteenBlue wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Wouldn't want to scare off the parents to be. ;)

We don't do nearly enough scaring off. We as parents tend to gloss over the bad parts and overemphasize the good parts. Unfortunately, that means many new parents think they're frakking up. We really need to be more honest about parenthood.

Interestingly my experience is that parents significantly over emphasize the bad parts. Everyone constantly warns us that it's going to get worse. "Just wait til she can crawl!" "Just wait til she can walk!" "Just wait til she's 2!" .. ..

Even before my daughter is born we mostly just heard warnings about how we'll never sleep again and kiss our social lives goodbye. We were legitimately wondering if our friends/family members actually enjoyed anything about having kids.

Put it down to post purchase dissonance

Some days I hate the sh*t I go through, having a family. It can really be tough. But then, when you get a random kiss, or an unexpected squeeze on your hand as a noisy car goes by, or something else spooks them, it all dissolves. Or maybe that's Stockholm Syndrome kicking in.

From what I've read of Bringing up Bébé it's a great way of giving yourself loads of free time for drinking and smoking gitaines but it's a bloody awful way to parent. We've got the happiest little man on the block - despite having a miserable old git for a Dad - and he's social, empathic, and helpful to boot. He gets out of hand sometimes, sure, but rarely needs anything more than a stern word and a firm guiding hand away/towards the contentious thing.

Our rule of thumb is we define the boundaries and he gets to do what he wants within them.

I bought this book because of this thread and have been reading it. It is, indeed, excellent. Already helping me with my girlfriend's six-year-old daughter! Whereas before, I was always worried about how to deal with her so I don't cause and problems, I'm gaining confidence that I'll be able to be a suitable parent figure for her.

Farscry wrote:

I bought this book because of this thread and have been reading it. It is, indeed, excellent. Already helping me with my girlfriend's six-year-old daughter! Whereas before, I was always worried about how to deal with her so I don't cause and problems, I'm gaining confidence that I'll be able to be a suitable parent figure for her.

That's awesome:) Helped my confidence a lot too.

Maq wrote:

From what I've read of Bringing up Bébé it's a great way of giving yourself loads of free time for drinking and smoking gitaines but it's a bloody awful way to parent. We've got the happiest little man on the block - despite having a miserable old git for a Dad - and he's social, empathic, and helpful to boot. He gets out of hand sometimes, sure, but rarely needs anything more than a stern word and a firm guiding hand away/towards the contentious thing.

Our rule of thumb is we define the boundaries and he gets to do what he wants within them.

I'm still interested in reading it since I think American culture is the exact opposite - never let your kids out of your sight and make sure they're signed up for ballet/French lessons/soccer/ice hockey by the age of 3 1/2. It's exhausting and I'm desperate for a way to balance getting couple/me time without making my kid feel lonely or abandoned. I've been told on multiple occasions that parents shouldn't expect any free time and that the fact I still game a few hours a week is kind of selfish by several friends.

At any rate, I've decided to hold the course on no spanking and just hope he grows out of his little preschool [email protected]#t phase.

I have a feeling that, like most things, a balance is key.

Maq wrote:

From what I've read of Bringing up Bébé it's a great way of giving yourself loads of free time for drinking and smoking gitaines but it's a bloody awful way to parent. We've got the happiest little man on the block - despite having a miserable old git for a Dad - and he's social, empathic, and helpful to boot. He gets out of hand sometimes, sure, but rarely needs anything more than a stern word and a firm guiding hand away/towards the contentious thing.

Our rule of thumb is we define the boundaries and he gets to do what he wants within them.

I didn't read anything particularly objectionable in it. It's primarily journal-type, and anecdotal; that's probably the worst I can say and that's true of most self-help and parenting books. If anything, the anecdotes in the book talk about well-adjusted, empathetic kids and contented parents.

#NotAllAnecdotes

jdzappa wrote:

I'm still interested in reading it since I think American culture is the exact opposite - never let your kids out of your sight and make sure they're signed up for ballet/French lessons/soccer/ice hockey by the age of 3 1/2. It's exhausting and I'm desperate for a way to balance getting couple/me time without making my kid feel lonely or abandoned. I've been told on multiple occasions that parents shouldn't expect any free time and that the fact I still game a few hours a week is kind of selfish by several friends.

At any rate, I've decided to hold the course on no spanking and just hope he grows out of his little preschool [email protected]#t phase.

Real or imagined, it is not unusual to feel pressured to enroll your kid in everything. But you really don't have to. You should do what fits your family. So, if you love ice hockey, then yeah, sign your kid up for ice hockey and be prepared to practice skating with the kid, and go to all the games. If your thing is bonsai, then find a tree you can work on with him. But you're not like "everyone else", and your kid doesn't need to be either. So even if everybody you know seems to have their kids playing soccer or Little League, if it doesn't suit you, don't do it.

Sometimes I think it's probably a bad idea for me to be watching what the moms of my kids' friends / age-mates are posting of Facebook. Because even though I have happy, well adjusted kids, I still get that stab of feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent. Because my kids aren't the ones winning lacrosse tournaments, acting as junior umpires, forming their own band, or doing skateboard tricks. I try to remind myself that they probably feel the same way about the things we do as a family. (And Facebook distorts things anyway. People don't post about the unexceptional days.)

Couple/me time can be hard to get with a preschooler. Doubly hard when you're working, and trying to maximize family time when you are home. There are only so many hours between toddler bedtime and grownup bedtime. (And, I'm discovering, fewer hours between teenager bedtime and grownup bedtime.) I've tried to teach my kids (allow them to learn) how to keep themselves happy, at least part of the time. Mom is not the full-time entertainment committee