I am new in this forum and this is the first question I ask. I have a 4 y.o. daugther (turning 5 in a month) . I discovered the h&h approach when she was born, and i have been trying to apply since then ( some times more succesfully than others 🙂 )
when a good cry is tiggered after setting a limit, then it is quite OK for me to listen. However, sometimes my dougther gets rebeld, and takes a defiant attitude. For example, when I say that it is time to go to bed, she would say “no, I don’twant to sleep” and stand there looking at me strongly. In this situation, I lose my nerves easily. I feel so impotent.
I have tried to do special time before going to bed, but during the last months it does not garantee that the conflict is avoided. I have also identified young memories of me and my mother, when this kind of behaviour were not allowed at all, and which may explain my low patience with this issue. This is sometthing I need to talk with a listening partner.. But i would love to have some advice, or ideas, about how to handle this situation.
I really like the connection approach, but when the deffiant attitude is there, I would like so much to be able to stop it. and sometimes I am tired and really cannot handle a playful approach.
It’s so wonderful that you posted here and that you are reaching out. What a good Mama you are that you’ve been using these tools with your daughter since she was a baby. She is a lucky little girl.
Since you’ve been using the Hand in Hand approach for awhile, you know that when our kiddos won’t do what we want them to do, it means that they CAN’T THINK. They feel disconnected or there is some feeling of hurt, disappointment or fear that has gotten stuck in the emotional processing part of their brain. Those stuck feelings make it almost impossible for our child to access the thinking part of their brain.
Now that your daughter is almost 4, she is much more verbal. So instead of melting down or whirling around in a big ball of energy, she signals you with her words that she CAN’T THINK. Her rebellion just means that she is really hurting and she is trying to say to you, HELP! HELP!.
The process is the same: We bring the limit TO them and then we LISTEN. The best way to set a limit around verbal off-track behavior is to set a limit PLAYFULLY. Here are 3 articles that can help
Remember when she is off-track and defiant she is ASKING FOR CONNECTION!!!
As for what is happening at the end of Special Time… Patty Wipfler, our founder, suggests that it can be good to do a short amount of Special Time and make sure you set a TIMER. Make sure that you have enough energy and time to listen to your daughter’s upset for about 20-30 minutes AFTER the timer goes off. Special Time creates an emotional safety and deepens the connection between you and your daughter. Special Time invites the emotional part of her brain to show you how hard it is for her right now.
It sounds like something may be happening in your daughter’s life. Has there been some change lately? A new school? Less time with you? She is only becoming defiant because she is in so much pain.
Is something going on for you? Are you under more stress?
There are 2 ways you can handle her defiant attitude. 1) You can see it as a cry for help and give her more connection, more Special Time, more play and listening – so that she can release the feelings and return to her natural joyful cooperative self. OR 2) you can punish and threaten her using fear to make her stop – damage your relationship, break her spirit and make her a very fearful child.
But you need to get support to choose #1. Do you have a Listening Partner? We cannot use these tools and this approach unless we are getting regular listening time. We won’t want to play. We will just want to make the behavior stop. We have to have someone to listen to our feelings of fatigue and frustration so that we can help our kiddos offload their own feelings. Here is Patty’s story: http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/bad-feelings-dont-make-you-a-bad-parent/
When you don’t want to play, here’s how an LP can help: http://www.handinhandparenting.org/2016/04/just-dont-feel-like-playing-listening-cure/
And here’s how to find a listening partner. http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/how-to-find-a-listening-partner/
We now have a wonderful facebook group just for the Members of the Parenting Club. You should have received an invitation. If you have not, contact firstname.lastname@example.org That is a wonderful place to find a Listening Partner.
You might also take a class and get more support. Our Starter Class is 6 weeks long and I’m offering one that starts on Tuesday Sept 13 @ 11:30 am pacific. We also have a 10 week Parent Intensive. My group for that course starts on Thursday, Sept 29 @ 11:30 am pacific. Both courses are offered on other days/times. Here are links: http://shop.handinhandparenting.org/products/parenting-by-connection-starter-online#oid=15_9
Lucia, you are a wonderful, wonderful Mama. You’ve just hit a little bump in the road and you need some support. I encourage you to find a listening partner. If you are not comfortable asking anyone, our classes have built-in listening time or you could book an hour of private consultation with an Instructor. http://shop.handinhandparenting.org/collections/one-on-ones/products/one-on-one-consulting
We are here to support you. I hope some of my thoughts help. Please let us know how it goes.
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Parenting Certified Instructor/Consultant
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
Follow me on facebook: Parenting by Connection with Kathy
“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi