And The Final Score Is: Parenting Advice=0, Kids=8,574

I read this post over at Authentic Parenting the other day and I just had to write about it.  I think this is all good advice actually and I do try to impliment it, but I have to say, my kids don't normally respond in the way that the author's kids do!  Anyway- I just HAD to do my own version.

Please don't think my kids are always bratty- they are really quite wonderful, MOST of the time.

Example 1- Give choices so your kids can make decisions without feeling cornered.  For instance:
Your child wants candy but that isn't acceptable right now.  

In the parenting advice:
Child:  "I want CANDY!"
 Mom:  "Oh honey, you can either have an apple or an orange.  Which would you like?"
 Child: "Umm- I want an orange!  Thanks!"
In my house:

Child: "I want CANDY!"
Me:  "Well sweetie, you can't have candy right now.  But you can have an apple or an orange.  Which would you like?" The child looks thoughtful.  Surely they are falling for my parenting wisdom.  BAM!
Child:  "I want CANDY!  What is all this apple/orange talk?!"
           Me:  "Well, you can't have candy, but you can have an apple or an orange."
Child: "CANDY!" 
           Repeat until I feel a headache coming on. 

Example 2:  Natural Consequences- Your child wants to go outside in shorts and a T-shirt when it is cold outside.  Let them try it out, they will make a good decision.

In the parenting advice:
Parent:  "Umm, it is 40 degrees out, you think a sweater and pants might be a good idea?
Child:  "No- I am warm enough."Child goes outside for 30 seconds and then returns to put on some warm clothes.  Mom is so smart!
In my house:

Me:  "Honey.  It is cold outside.  Don't you think a jacket might be a good idea?"
Child:  "No- I feel fine."

I go ahead with the natural consequences and they go outside in their shorts.  Of course they will be right back inside.  Apparently my children have abnormal internal thermometers.
They play happily for 2 hours in the cold.

I actually used to do these natural cold weather consequences.  Then one day my son went to the park and played for two hours in shorts and a t-shirt until it actually started hailing.  At that point I was like- "I don't care if you feel fine, you are wearing a jacket!"  He got so sick the next day.  That was the end of that.  I now put my foot down when it comes to jackets.

Example 3: Kindness and cooperation- do good deeds for your children and they will choose to work with you.

In the parenting advice:

Parent:  "Let's pick up these toys together!  I love it when you help me clean up."

Child:  The child sees how much fun you are having cleaning and decides to join in.  They won't want to miss out!

In my house:

Me:  "Let's pick up these toys together!  I will start. Don't you want to help?!"

The kids:  They happily watch as mom picks up all the toys alone.  How awesome is this!  They didn't have to do a thing!  Mom is so nice today!

(What was that?  Did I just witness  fist bump while I was getting toys from under the couch and joyfully singing some stupid song about cleaning up?  I think I did!)  Enter crazy mom from stage left...

Example 4:  Distraction can be a powerful tool when your kids want to do something that isn't acceptable.  

In the parenting advice:

Child:  "I want to go to Vivan's house!"

Mom:  "Not today.  But we can make cookies together!"

Child:  "Yummy! I love cookies."

Thus ensues a lovely hour of bonding and memories and organic cookies. 

In my real life:

Child:  I want to go to Vivian's house!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mom:  "We can't go today, I have lots to do at home.  Sorry.  We will see her soon at playgroup."

Child:  "But I want to see Vivian!!!!!!!!!!"

Mom:  "How about we make cookies together?"

Child:  "OK  (In whiny voice).  Can we go to Vivian's house yet?"

"When are we going to Vivian's?" 

"When does playgroup start?" 

"Can we call Vivian?"


Repeat again.

And again.

You get the picture.

(Note- I think the persistent whiner is actually the hardest to deal with.  And I have one.  Sometimes I just want her to throw something and get over it already.  She can whine for at least an hour and a half.) 

Somebody tell me I am not the only one whose children don't respond appropriately to fantastic parenting techniques.  Anyone?


chelle said…
My son (pictured above ;-)ty) is quite mean focused, really focused, that great distraction advice NEVER works. He will keep trying to get the cookies (or what ever ) for hours even after I totally hide them offer every kind of fruit, yogurt, cars, coloring, dinosaurs, juice, movie show, even after I put him in his room (after listening to him whine for hours and I'm starting to twitch on the brink of crazy) when he quiets down I go get him and he heads straight for the cookies again. I keep telling myself if/when we can get past this whiny whiny whiny stage such focus/determination could be awesome qualities
Pole Girl said…
My 4 year old responds exactly the same as what you just was as if I was reading my own life! Our older daughter (8) always went along with whatever I suggested, it was a shock having my stubborn one come along!! I am nervous as to what our third's personality will be like once she gets here in May!
Jo said…
hahaha my kids are like yours... i think it's called being "strong willed" and it insures they will be leaders... or in a lot of detention ;)
nikalee said…
I don't think any method is always going to work for every or any child, but I do find that the more consistently I practice approaching my relationship with my kids in manners like the first examples, the less often I get those undesired responses. Yes, I do have one that is particularly "strong-willed," selective, determined, and vocal about her opinions. I have a low tolerance for "whining," and would rather throw the cookies in the garbage, give a toy away, etc, and be done with it than listen to whining about it, and letting my kids know that seems to have helped (so far).
Mary Siever said…
This doesn't only apply to younger children. My 10 year old can be relentless in nagging nagging nagging until he gets what he wants. He's good at the emotional waterworks too. And no, I rarely give in, but that doesn't stop him from nagging nagging nagging. He's my worst actually. My 6 year old reacts over emotionally to being bugged by her brother, my oldest is much more amenable, but gets impatient (well she is almost 13) my almost 3 year old is pretty good, but she can be a bit domineering (which also sends her 6 yr old sister into a tizzy..middle child syndrome??). But it's true that it is better to be positive and patient. Mainly because overreacting doesn't work anyway, so you might as well be happy about it :P
Anonymous said…
I had five of them like yours. They were only like that with me. Especially the picking up the toys bit. During my divorce, we had a nasty custody battle. Each parent had to be evaluated in a playroom setting to see how we measured up as a parent. I tried the pick-up game and song to get the kids going, but as usual, they let me do all the work (I swear there was a fist bump, too). They psychologist was Not Impressed.

I never did the get hang of it, but I did get the kids. Now I just laugh when they complain about their kids not picking up the toys.
Roxy said…
Sounds like a day at my house. We should get our kids together!!! (insert maniacal laughter here). Ever heard of Dr Dobson's "Raising the Strong Willed Child"? I've moved on to his "Bringing Up Boys." I'm not really very hopeful.
Unknown said…
My toddler is both stubborn and incredibly intelligent. We eventually purchased a large gun safe (we don't have any guns) and use it to lock up all the cookies, candy, keys, batteries and everything else he repeatedly gets into mischief with. We had to lock the door to the room with the safe, and screw a board in front of the door jam because he was swiping his brother's wallet and using the student body card to jimmy the door latch, break into the room and randomly hit buttons on the safe...which unfortunately worked once. Talk about sugar rush.
Coupon Newbie said…
You just described my 5yo son. Are you sure you're not raising him too? ;)
Mama Birth said…
Thank you! Really- you crack me up!
...sarah. said…
You are very much not the only one. My son is very stubborn and independent... and does not respond to ANY of the gentle parenting techniques I have tried to use along the way. It's getting both easier and harder as he learns how to better communicate with me... at two years old, we can hold a fairly productive conversation with each other. It just doesn't always go the way I want it to.
~*~Candice~*~ said…
Hahaha ok I am SOOO unbelievably relieved that I am NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!
b2manatees said…
bwahaha - I think we might have the same children somehow with the only exception being that my youngest will help pick up toys and will even make messes just to clean them up - little weirdo!
The Colvins said…
This post made me laugh! You are a REAL mom, thank you for that! If you were my neighbor I know we would be friends.
Anonymous said…
My Dd is 18 months old and although we are just starting on some of these things the cleaning up hits the spot.. But in a different way.

Me: Emilee want to help pick up toys
(starts picking them up, hands emilee one)

Emilee: Throws toy at my head, laughs, picks up toy... Repeat

Me: Emilee that hurt mommys head, let's put our toys in the box so we can play with them tomorrow

Emilee: Puts toy in box verrry slowly.. grabs two handfuls of toys and throws them all over the place

Screaming then follows (sometimes by her, and sometimes by me)
Jessi said…
I really liked the original post. But yours made me chuckle. :)

My son refuses his jacket too, "But I LIKE being cold!"