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Question of the Week - A Parent's Gotta Do What a Parent's Gotta Do

We are having lots of fun with Toddler Tantrums these days. My little darling girl is really asserting her independence. She knows what she wants and what she doesn't, and Lord help whoever is trying to get her to stop doing what she wants or do something she doesn't want!

I think I have to finally admit that she's more stubborn than I am. Or at least, she has more energy and uses tactics that I couldn't get away with wouldn't. I just don't have the energy to argue with her or deal with all the tantrums.

So last week, I made my first bribe of something sweet with the Pumpkin. And it worked like a charm!!! Sure I would have given her a sip of my delicious Rita's Misto shake, but what I really wanted was for her to get in her highchair and put her bib on without a big fight and ensuing tantrum. And she did! And I gave her a sip of my Misto! And we ate lunch together without any tantrums and with a few more sips of Misto!

In my ideal world, I wouldn't have to resort to bribing my child. But in the real world, sometimes I'm going to have to bribe the kid (and future kid). I'm not perfect, and neither is my kid or the world we live in. And sometimes, a parent has got to do, what a parent has got to do.

Which brings us to this week's question of the week...

What have you had to do as a parent that you wouldn't have ideally needed to do?

I, of course, have another one. Because of my SAD and the pregnancy, I just don't have the same level of energy as I do in the summer. The Pumpkin does have the same level of energy, and Londo is getting worn out from having to take on so many responsibilities that I can't do anymore. So when I watch the Pumpkin now, I often have to put on the TV and just sit and watch it with her.

In my ideal world, I wouldn't need the TV as much as I do to entertain my child. In my ideal world, I would have enough energy to keep up with the Pumpkin. But I don't have the energy and I do need the TV.

On the bright side, I'm finally watching Dora and some other shows that everyone else seems to be talking about! It's nice to be in the loop.

How about you? What have you done/are you doing to make it through the day?


Becoming Mommy said…
We just started bribery too. Although, Sasha's kind of a parent's dream that way in that I can bribe him with produce--and therefore continue a healthy and balanced diet. Just yesterday I was bribing him to eat chicken with the promise of a green bean for every swallowed bite of chicken and a banana smoothie (milk, banana, and ice--blended) for picking up his mess. So, while I never thought I'd use bribery, I figure this way is win/win.
Also we use TV. Certain things turn him into a compliant zombie so we use them when he's being impossible (the intro to Spongebob, Elmo's World, and that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLaughlin singing). If we need to give him medication, make sure he eats *something* that day, or whatever, we go to those.
The other thing I never thought I'd do? Mock the baby. If I start in, mockingly, when he'd tantruming or in a fit of unbeleivable whining he forgets he's upset and starts laughing.
paola said…
How long have you got??

Countless things. The older they get the more you have to resort to strategies that you would have never thought of using. Bribery, check. Threats, checkaroo. Tele, yep. Ignoring, aha. CIO, yup. The list is endless.
- Dana said…
I try, no matter how painful it could be for me, not to give into my child - especially during those really bad tantrums. Mom and Dad are boss and that's that. We definitely do utilize the doc's limit of 30 min of TV a day. It's rare she'll get more than 30 though...and if she whines for it, she's definitely not getting it. I look at it as brat prevention :-)

One time I used a lollipop to get our 2yr old to sit still in the theater. It was a free movie through work and it was the 2nd time we saw it (both free), so I wasn't leavin the theater again! She loved it and we got like 20 more still minutes out of her. I think it's my new secret weapon. She'll never know it's coming though!
K8 said…
I never thought I'd use a paci. But I did, until the Infanta was three months old and could get her thumb reliably. Also, she gets to watch Daddy play video games a fair amount, or watch Youtube with him. Also again, I've started letting her fuss it out a bit at night when she wants to play and we want to crash. I'm right there with a hand on her, and if she's seriously crying I'll pick her up, but so far she'll conk out with just a little fussing. *knock on wood* This is a deal because I'm anti-CIO... but you do what works for your family, right?
Cloud said…
Oh, definitely TV. I let her watch a DVD after work/day care, so that I can start dinner or do whatever else needs doing. And she gets on these kicks where she looooves a particular DVD, so she sometimes gets to watch it at other times, too. Hey- we're working parents. Sometimes we need to get things done.

And we use whatever is on PBSKids in the morning to distract her so we can gt her dressed and put sunscreen on, etc.

Do you like Dora? We were talking about recording it so that we could try to unseat the current favorite DVD.

I read a tidbit about an economist who did a study that showed kids who watched some TV did BETTER in school. I need to look that study up, because it could totally get rid of some guilt for me! I think he was looking at low income families in which English wasn't the first language, though. However, I swear that Signing TIme DVDs improved Pumpkin's spoken language.
Trannyhead said…
This is an easy one because I'm doing it right now. I have to study for the bar and leave my son with his grandmother. HE HATES IT. Every time I go to leave he clings to me in desperation and writhes and stiffens. But I have to study for the bar. That reminds me .... enough of a break and time to study again.

PS - I totally ignore the highchair tantrum and have long since given up on the bib. I just strong-arm him into the highchair. He cries for a few minutes and then stops. I ignore it.
Cloud said…
I went and found the study I mentioned. Here is is:

And here is the author's home page (he's a UofC prof):

Reading the abstract made my head hurt. It is nice to know that it is not just scientists who are capable of making interesting research difficult to understand.

I don't have time to read the whole article right now, but my quick skim showed that they used the fact that that TVs were introduced into different cities at different rates way back when to get matched populations with differing amounts of TV exposure. Interesting.

And it looks like their data/analysis indicates that we shouldn't worry so much about TV. Here is a quote: "We find strong evidence against the view that childhood television viewing harms the cognitive or educational development of preschoolers."

Of course, that was 1950s TV. So the impact of our MTV-ized TV has yet to be studied....
Anonymous said…
Swiper, no swiping!

Sorry, had to get that out. :)

I give into Monkey's cries too much and DH has been on me lately. Plus, it's really hard for me to keep a straight face sometimes when he's doing something wrong but looking really cute. When reading the books before, I'd think, "Of course, you don't smile while correcting your child". Now I realize it's not that easy sometimes.

TV has always been a weak spot but sometimes when I'm really tired, I realize that my primary job is to make sure he doesn't get hurt. If t.v. keeps him occupied for a half hour while I try to re-energize on the couch or answer a few work emails in coherent sentences, then so be it.
I'm Not Skippy said…
Computer time already. . . we have a program on our macs that locks all other programs turns the screen white and as the kid bangs on the keys it puts up colored shapes on the screen and makes beeping noises. He sees the computers and whines. My wife never gives in. . . I do often.
Karen said…
Where to begin? My parenting skills have all but vanished with each kid. Micah eats on the floor in front of the TV. Period. I don't argue about where any longer. The kids' rooms are constantly a mess, and I rarely say anything. If they want to have a friend over they must first clean, otherwise who cares? Television is on all the time because sometimes kids are entertained. The list goes on...
OneTiredEma said…
Yell, threaten, and bribe. TV of course (but as of yet only PBS or Signing Time).

Once upon a time I thought I had it in me to do Gentle Discipline. No longer--I raise my voice, end of story. My mom did it. I do it.

But we get through every day and there's a lot of love to outweigh all the garbage. So it's ok.
MommyEm said…
I'm a little late to this conversation, but TV is definitely where I have faltered in my original parenting plan. I have oft lamented this to my friends and family and they all have said the same thing, "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!" The vehemence of their response is probably related to the amount of times I have expressed my concerns about Dorothy's brain oozing out her ears as she watches Baby Einstein for the 100th time.

As for bribing, my brilliant husband just came up with "Let's Make a Deal" to get Dorothy to agree to many disagreeable things (e.g. diaper changes, eating yucky foods, doing anything that we would like her to do that she doesn't really want to do). He says "Okay, Dorothy, let's make a deal. Diaper first (holding up one finger). Sesame Street second. Is that a deal?" Then Dorothy will agree to the deal by saying "deal" or "yes" or nodding. We weren't certain that she really grasped this idea until one time a deal was made for diaper first and TV second, and after the change she popped up, ran to the baby gate that blocks her door and said "Sesame Street! That's deal, Daddy! That's deal!"

So we don't call it bribing, we calling it making a deal!
I guess in someways we bribe. I will say let's get your pants on and we can go outside. Or whatever. Follow something he might resist by something he really likes. But I don't phrase it as a bribe (yet) I phrase it as after this is that.

Oh and the TV. I didn't think we would watch so much. I didn't think I would turn to it so easily. I didn't think this whole damn thing would be so hard and that the path of least resistance would be my motto... but it is :)
Anonymous said…
Yes, bribery works. Or mild threats like if you don't put your boots on you can't get a treat (if a treat had previously been promised). If you don't walk (instead of screaming and throwing herself on the ground), you can't watch Dora when we get home. My kid is 2 years old and these strategies are the ONLY things that seem to work right now. I have tried to use other strategies, but they were pointless. My kid is just smarter than I am. And she has MUCH more energy than I do. I am so tired most of the time from having to take care of my 6 week old too that I use whatever means possible to get cooperation out of my stubborn toddler.

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