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Say what you mean vs. picking your battles

Forum: Attachment Parenting


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August 9th, 2013, 07:27 AM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Small Town, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5,639
Sometimes I feel like such an ineffective parent. This whole parenting thing is sure getting a lot more challenging as Avery approaches 2.

For me, it's really important to say what I mean, and mean what I say. Like- if I ask her to stop doing something and give her an alternative (please don't throw rocks at your friend, you can throw rocks at the tree instead, if you do it again we will have to leave the park), yet she still does it, then I really mean in fact that we are leaving the park. I want to have follow through.

But then there are times when she throws a tantrum, and it stops me in my tracks and I think "hmmm, is it really such a big deal?". Like, she wanted to take one of her books on the deck the other day, and I said "no honey, books are for inside" - for some reason I was afraid she would wreck it in her kiddie pool. But as she got upset I realized that a book on the deck is really not a big deal and gave it back to her. She stopped crying immediately.

Problem is that is NOT the kind of mommy I want to be. I want to be flexible, but if I say something I want to mean it.

Anyone else struggle with this?

Proud mama to:

Avery Elizabeth (08/27/2011) & Dawsyn Brielle (10/29/2013)
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August 9th, 2013, 12:20 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Posts: 6,905
I say both. The problem is being able to decide before you say something of its a battle you want to pick.

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August 9th, 2013, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by alittlelost View Post
I say both. The problem is being able to decide before you say something of its a battle you want to pick.

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It's hard when you get a knee jerk reaction to deny something or transition to some new thing RIGHT NOW, then you think "ooo, that really wasn't important actually..." and just hope it doesn't start WWIII, lol.

But in general I try to err on the side of following through. I try to calibrate it to how much certainty or authority I was trying to convey in my original statement, though. If I don't follow through, because it really wasn't important, I try to talk through how I am changing my mind about this, and why. It's okay to be flexible on certain things. I think kids are smart. M knows when I use the word "dangerous" that it means TOTALLY NOT OKAY, I say it with a certain emphasis and I always follow through, because this is stuff like running into the street.

It's hard to try to be authoritative enough to enforce important limits, but not authoritarian, i.e. not powertrip or act like your smallest word is eternal law. I'm sure I don't always get it right. And I might err on being authoritarian at times just because M is so willful and we run into safety concerns pretty often still (right now it's hurting the baby, I have zero tolerance for that obviously).

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August 9th, 2013, 03:33 PM
angelsailor288's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Location: Kingston, NY
Posts: 5,057
Its hard for me because I have zero patience for whining and crying so I will do whatever to avoid it... I'm trying really hard to follow through with what I say, even if it means dealing with a tantrum. He listens so much better to Nick than myself and I cant stand it.

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August 9th, 2013, 06:32 PM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,756
I also try really hard to follow through on things that I say, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Eleanor is in a pretty tantrum-y phase right now, and sometimes I feel like I am getting a little lazy on setting boundaries so that I can follow through on what I say without dealing with a lot of screaming. I feel like she is at an age where she can definitely understand when I say no to something because it's a safety issue (jumping on the rocking chair or pushing on the window screen) or because it hurts someone (hitting the dogs or throwing something hard) or because it's will make someone sick (eating too many snacks or feeding the dogs repeatedly). But I think it is much harder for her to understand things like manners (yes, it's not nice to make a mess, but it is hard for a 1 year old to understand why) or wasting stuff (cause I'm pretty sure that 1 year olds think that everything is unlimited and meant for playing with).

So I tend to have certain things that I just let her do, even though they kind of bug me, and I think that in another 6 or 12 months it will be easier to teach her these kinds of rules than it is right now. For example, it is not my favorite thing in the world, but sometimes I let her pull out all the stickers and she just peels the backs off and sticks them on paper or sticks them to each other or sticks them on her princesses or sprinkles them around the room. Yes, she is making a huge mess. No she is not using the stickers as they are meant to be used. Yes, she is 'wasting' the stickers and I have to throw them away when she's done. But can she really understand any of those things? I don't think so. So to me, it is better to let her play (and work at her fine motor skills ) than to fight her for reasons that really aren't that big of a deal and that she probably can't understand right now. I guess I would rather give in on issues like this and really mean it when I do say no. Although I know things like this bug the crap out of my DH.

So I think it is about setting your own limits that you think match Avery's age developmental stage and trying to be sure that when you say no, that it really matters. Not always easy! But you have to reach your own middle ground.
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