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Enforcing respect in the family


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Old 4th April 2019, 6:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by E-mc2 View Post
Yes, exactly why I'm asking what my role should typically be. I don't want to step in and make it worse.
I would offer to NOT step in, in front of either or both of your daughters, ever.
You're basically dealing with an adult's problem, which should be dealt with on an adult level, without impacting children.
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Old 4th April 2019, 10:29 PM   #17
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My son has effectively "free range" over a shelf and a drawer in the fridge packed with good foods. And another set of drawers in the cabinet. He doesn't want the chicken, rice and green beans I made for dinner? He can go grab a Pb&J, crackers, applesauce, cheese stick, etc. that he wants instead.

I'm not doing the "this is dinner and you have to eat it because I said so" thing with him. He may be only 3...be he's capable of being autonomous with some choices.

Have at it with PB&J and an applesauce if that's what you want tonight instead.
Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.
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Old 4th April 2019, 11:17 PM   #18
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Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.
My hubby was raised with his tastes being catered for. He is now one of the most adventurous eaters I know.
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Old 4th April 2019, 11:34 PM   #19
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Everyone has given good advice. I would ask your wife what she would like you to do in that situation, if anything. My husband was a "because I said so" type yeller when my girls were growing up. I was an explainer because I believe children have the propensity to understand why certain decisions are in the best interest of their safety or basic welfare.

All of that being said, I think the most important thing is for you and your wife to present a united front, communication being key.
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Old 5th April 2019, 12:02 AM   #20
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It’s very normal for kids at that age to be testing the waters, exerting their independence, and learning about what is appropriate/what is not. It’s part of our job as parents to help children to learn what those boundaries are and to help them to develop the self-regulation to manage their own emotions/behavior.

I tend to think that you can’t “enforce” respect. As a parent, I think you earn respect by doing certain things - providing consistent expectations, listening to the child’s thoughts/feelings, and allow the child to have some choices and independence (ie. learning how to pick your battles).

I would suggest, when your wife finds herself toe to toe with her child... what is she teaching that child about self control, emotional regulation, communication, negotiation and conflict resolution? To illustrate my point, my neice went through a phase when she was about two where she would yell “No!” And, when she would do this... my sister-in-law would yell back at her “Stop yelling!” or “Don’t yell at me!” I would smile and think to myself, what are we teaching this child right now... Are we really trying to teach her to stop yelling, by yelling at her?

If you find yourself in a power struggle with a child, you have usually already lost...
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Old 5th April 2019, 12:12 AM   #21
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Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.
Couldn't disagree more. I did the same things Wallysbears cites with my kids and see my son doing an even better job with my grandkids. Allowing kids to (within limits) make their own choices from some carefully selected options develops independence and decision-making skills, along with an understanding of consequences.

The "prison guard" method of parenting produces children ill-equipped for the real world...

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Old 5th April 2019, 12:23 AM   #22
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Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.
Current thinking is to offer 2/3 at every meal... two foods that you know the child usually likes/will eat, and one new food on their plate for them to try. Research also shows that it takes repeated exposures for a child to learn about a new food and accept it as a safe and good food to eat.

If there is one thing a parent can’t do, it’s force a child to eat. Children have the ultimate control over three things and three things only in their little lives - what they eat, when they sleep, and when they use the toilet. The more a parent tries to force it and the more pressure that a child feels, the less likely they are to do any of the above...

Some people are just by their very nature, picky eaters. Again, research is showing that it comes in part from difference in our neurobiology - how we smell, taste, and experience food. But then, there is a HUGE social/behavioural component to eating... I myself tend to be a fairly picky eater. My repertoire really started to expand when I moved out of my parents home when I had more control and was able to cook what I wanted/how I wanted. I would then go home for dinner and eat a food - my mom would say, “You never used to like that food...”

Like everything when you are parenting, a child’s relationship with food is complicated and unique to the child and the situation. There is not usually a “one size fits all approach...” although again, you generally can’t go wrong by establishing some boundaries, and encouraging choice and independence whenever possible...
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Old 5th April 2019, 2:06 AM   #23
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Added to what Bailey says, forcing a kid to eat stuff they don't like can also set up a dysfunctional relationship with food.
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Old 5th April 2019, 6:44 AM   #24
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OP, 5 yr olds should not be in charge, the parents should be. Back talking should always have some type of consequence depending on what was said. This is a life lesson that they must learn at home. We are always subject to giving respect to people that have authority over us as adults....your boss, a judge, a mentor. Just try lipping off to a judge in a courtroom and see where that gets a person.

Additionally, the food choice battle is one that is worth to be decisively won at a young age. If you don't, the chances of them being overweight as a teenager, and as an adult, is increased tremendously. IMHO, not all battles are worth winning with little kids, and you should give them limited choices, but it is critical that you two remain the authority figures, otherwise there is a good chance that a judge will be theirs when they are adults.
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Old 5th April 2019, 7:42 AM   #25
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To all the adults who criticise the parenting of kids who respectfully stand up against a decision which they think is wrong: I bow to you as I am not so infallible as you. I make mistakes and I will admit that I'm wrong if need be.
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Old 5th April 2019, 8:09 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Crazelnut View Post
Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.

I appreciate your input, but considering my son is not at all a picky eater and would opt for a variety of fruits and veggies and cheeses over junk like fruit snacks and basically never eats boring ďkids menuĒ food choices like chicken fingers but instead real adult food with spices and flavor...I think Iím doing ok.

He also helps to cook and clean up after meals at 3.

Not all parents do things the same way. And thatís our prerogative.
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Old 5th April 2019, 9:13 AM   #27
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I also have 2 girls... so I feel for you.

First... privately... talk to the wife, and ask her why she argues with the kids? And ask her to simply stop doing it. I'm sure she will say something like "I'm trying to reason with the kids". But the reality is... they are too young to reason with. I'm all for the explanation of why the answer is "No", and then an explanation (warning) of the punishment that will follow. But anything past that... the parent should stop the argument.

After that... my response to the kids is... "Just say OK." I may even ask them that a couple times before the punishment comes down.

I feel we should never argue with kids. I have a couple buddies who tried, but now they have kids that don't listen at all, and one of my friends has a kids that he's starting to worry about. (kid is 11 now)

The wife and I didn't see eye to eye on this all the time, but I am complemented on how well behaved my kids are now. I was just at a friends house who has kids under 8, and I had my youngest with me. My friends kids were being nutz, but at the end... I told my kid, "Time to go, please help clean up." Her response was "OK Dad". Both my buddy and his wife were like... "How do you get her to listen so well?"


As far as the punishment... that depends on what you believe in, and what actually works. (every kids is different) I got the spoon when I was young, so that's what I used on my kids. (at first) With my oldest, I used the spoon, and she would just get worse. But I quickly found that taking her electronics was instant remorse. On my youngest, I used the spoon exactly twice, and after that, all I had to do is say... "Do I have to get the spoon?" and her attitude would instantly change.

Finally... what ever you do... DO NOT threaten a stupid punishment. (like grounded for a month) Because when you don't stick to it... they know they can get away with being bad. Chose a proper punishment, and STICK TO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!! If you say "No electronics for the rest of the day"... then stick to it. If you say no TV for 2 days... then stick to it. If you say, you will get the spoon... then do it.

My 2 cents, take it for what it's worth.

Last edited by Blind-Sided; 5th April 2019 at 9:18 AM..
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Old 5th April 2019, 9:34 AM   #28
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OP, one more thing. If you or your wife have an issue with how the other one is parenting....bite your tongue for the moment, then discuss it with him/her offline...out of earshot of the kids. Children pick up on this dissent very easily and will use it to get their way....just my opinion.
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Old 5th April 2019, 9:45 AM   #29
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Great. I can already hear his future spouse weeping. Your son is going to be a pain in the butt picky eater. The man child who won't try new cuisines. Sometimes, it's in a child's best interest to expose him to things he THINKS he won't like, because a 3 year old has SUCH good decision-making skills.
I couldn't agree with you more. I have 3 children( 2 young adults and 1 at home teenager) and I have seen this with mine and their friends. The ones that were catered to with dinosaur nuggets, applesauce, no vegetables, and no wholesome foods are nearly all low self esteem, overweight young adults. Teaching good eating habits young is essential to growing up healthy and confident. We are not vegans or anything extreme, we just label read and attempt eat a balanced diet. Of course, there are certain foods that each person simple does not like, and we would take note and avoid making them the main course, but you will never know what those foods are unless you take control when they are young.
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Old 5th April 2019, 2:06 PM   #30
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I guess I'm still not clear on what the OP is trying to achieve here. Has your wife asked for assistance in dealing with the situation? Has she expressed to you that she's at a loss?
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