Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Speaking Softly, But Where Is My Big Stick?

All this speaking softly and respecting your child stuff. It does work in some situations. Like when a tantrum has run its course, or is getting close, nicely asking Nutmeg child how she feels can get her talking and end the crying.

But what about when you are trying to strap your child into the car seat and she's kicking you in the face? And what if you can't do a time out at that moment because you're late for something? What about when your kid is kicking the back of your seat with all her might from her car seat?

(In mommy's nice voice) "I really don't like what you're doing. I'm getting angry."

(Mommy's trying to be nice voice) You seem really angry. Tell me why you feel so angry.

Not only does it have no effect, it makes me feel awful because I feel like she is getting away with it. Makes me want to spank her. And we have spanked her, sometimes. But not only has it not been effective, it's given rise to the same behavior reflected back at me. I see her shake with rage and raise her hand at me. Once she even said, "I want to hit the heck out of you!"

I need a new book. Any suggestions?


Moxie Mom said...

When I think I can redirect her feelings, I try speaking nicely and asking her about her feelings.

However, like you said, it's not always affective. That's when I lower my voice and tell her exactly what I want from her—to stop kicking, or screaming.

Follow-up with consequence—timeout, I'll turn the car around, we will leave the playground.


Rinse and repeat. It's empty threats that my child will see right through. So I learned that somethings works sometimes, and some things work other times.

But honestly, our biggest trouble age was the Nut's age. It's a very hard stage. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen her scold her dolls the way I scold her, or talk back to me in "that tone."

Hang in there

Kendra said...

I agree with the comment about redirecting her attention. However, I have a 2 year old and know how difficult and frustrating situations can get. There are days I am extremely frustrated and angry, but other days I can let things roll off my back. The days I feel easy going are the days my daughter behaves.

True Mama said...

"The Happiest Toddler on the Block." It's geared toward ages 1-4. From Amazon: "Parents may find the toddler years so frustrating, Karp suggests, because they don't speak their child's language. To deal effectively with the undeveloped brains of toddlers, one must understand 'Toddler-ese,' he says, a method of talking to youngsters that employs short phrases, repetition, a dramatic tone of voice and the use of body language." It's a pretty quick, skim-able read.