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Old 04-01-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
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creative discipline??

DD (the three and 1/2 year old) has a terrible habit of getting into things.. mostly but not limited to food.. also personal care products cleaning products.. my closet.. you name it she's done it.. I feel like i've exhausted my options and I"m not doing enough to get her not to do it again. Today literally she must've done like 10 different things without asking first or done it after I already told her no I get so angry at feeling like the discipline I give her isn't even making a difference if she turns around and does the same thing.

I"ve tried
sitting in time out
taking toys/privileges away..
explaining to her how I feel saying she'd be mad if I just played with her toys/took them without asking

what do I need to do to "hurt" her in a way that she thinks next time to not do it???

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Old 04-01-2008, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: creative discipline??

I'd give her more freedom. Limited, but more freedom. "you would like to look at this? Okay, let's go look" The key is to explore safely, not to ban completely. Our rule was that as long as an adult was there it was fine. By doing this, we pretty much eliminated (not totally, but mostly) the need to be sneaky and do it behind one's back........which was the issue I had with it. Not that my things were gotten into, but that there was a form of lying going on.

If something could not be gotten into, due to being dangerous, it was my responsibility to put it up. A 3yo has only had 3 years living on this planet to learn millions of different tasks. As an adult, I should be the more responsible one and not rely on the flighty mind of a preschooler to take care of the issue.

And in the case of doing it anyway.........well, the reaction has to fit the action. For me, discipline means to teach. I'd be appalled if a Kindergarten teacher used time outs to teach math. It doesn't fit. It doesn't make sense, and it doesn't teach math! So that leaves me with three options: teach how to correct a mistake, teach how to prevent it the next time, and teach how to ask for help. If something is mussed, the appropriate reaction would be to clean it up. That is the child's job. The parent's job is to hand over the towel/sponge/hangers...preventing it next time requires going over the rule again and then the parent telling the child what he/she will do to prevent it until the child has more self control. And teaching how to ask for help means coming at the problem as though there's a problem that needs to be fixed, not a bad child who's doing it AGAIN. If there's fear of punishment, the goodness is not goodness but cowardice. And there's less of a chance that the child will learn the parents are always there to help - a foundation that is desperately needed to keep communication open in later years, when the issues get bigger.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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Re: creative discipline??

My 2.5YO is like that. Very frustrating, especially since her older sister had always did what's she was told to do at that age. The older DD only just now doing started things like this, because it never occurred to her to do otherwise until she saw little sis doing it consistently. There are days they both drive me batty!

I tell you one thing that does help. I make them ask properly if they want to get into something. "May I (do whatever) please?" Then they can do a brief, modified, supervised version of whatever it is they are trying to do/get into. If they get caught doing the same thing without asking, they are put in time out and told they have to ask properly, which usually they do after timeout. This has helped tremendously in several ways. First, many new things they just need to get out of their system, and this provides them a safe opportunity to explore the new thing until the novelty wears off. Second, they learn to respect things that aren't theirs and ask for permission. Third, they learn manners - many people are amazed when my children ask them for things politely, especially the 2.5YO.

Obviously this doesn't work for things they should never do - like play with the stove knobs or whatever. Then you have to explain why and provide alternatives, usually many times before they get the hint. But it does work for the small stuff.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:29 AM   #4
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Re: creative discipline??

My 3 yo is like that! I think he likes to explore and if things are available he will get into it! The more you say no, the more interesting it can get. I have found that I need to keep him busy. Sometimes they get "out of control" it seems out of boredom. To me creative parenting is more about redirection. An example of creative discipline for me would be - once we were at a restaurant and my DS was taking out all the sugar packets and climbed out of the high chair while we waited for the food. I took him for a walk to the bench outside and told him I know it is hard to sit still and wait. So I told him he needed to shake the "sillies" out. We sat on the bench being silly and kicking our legs and waving our arms. Then, I told him when he found a red car driving by we could go in, and so he was so excited about that, when we went back in, his behavior was alot better. At three they are like little sponges waiting to absorb whatever you teach them. If you are angry and upset and show it.. they will reflect that, IMO. My best advice to you is to not take anything personal she does as frustrating as it may be, lol, keep your sense of humor... you will need it! Especially when she is a tween!
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:25 AM   #5
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Re: creative discipline??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardandolaluna View Post
My 3 yo is like that! I think he likes to explore and if things are available he will get into it! The more you say no, the more interesting it can get. I have found that I need to keep him busy. Sometimes they get "out of control" it seems out of boredom. To me creative parenting is more about redirection. An example of creative discipline for me would be - once we were at a restaurant and my DS was taking out all the sugar packets and climbed out of the high chair while we waited for the food. I took him for a walk to the bench outside and told him I know it is hard to sit still and wait. So I told him he needed to shake the "sillies" out. We sat on the bench being silly and kicking our legs and waving our arms. Then, I told him when he found a red car driving by we could go in, and so he was so excited about that, when we went back in, his behavior was alot better. At three they are like little sponges waiting to absorb whatever you teach them. If you are angry and upset and show it.. they will reflect that, IMO. My best advice to you is to not take anything personal she does as frustrating as it may be, lol, keep your sense of humor... you will need it! Especially when she is a tween!
you are so right about the attention thing/needing stuff to do. I usually babysit dd's best friend so they are ALWAYS playing together. Yesterday she wasn't here so I'm sure it contributed to the problem as well as I was trying to actually have a clean house!! (only funny b/c it almost never happens!!!)
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: creative discipline??

We just make sure that if he can get into it that it isn't dangerous . . .they do always do the most damage when you're cleaning, don't they?
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Re: creative discipline??

This is what has worked for me...

My children know not to play with electrical sockets (for example) but sometimes they like test their limits. When I know we are having a week that they children are being naughty, I will wait for them to be caught in the act and then I will do something to "scare" them. For example, if Olivia thinks she is alone and decides she wants to color on the walls, I will sneak up behind her and start "yelling" (not at her) to jolt her. Then, I will tell her "no" and give her paper to color on. Small things like that. Of course I only do this after I have exhausted other options.

I've had many people tell me this is mean or is going to scar them but it has worked and I have seen no lasting effects of it.
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