Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

The Situation

I recently received an email from a distraught mother who complained that every night after tuck-in time, her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter would call out, Mooooomy, I have to go peeeeeeeee even though she was put on the potty right before bedtime.

The Way I See It

I suspect that this three-and-a-half-year-old has discovered that toileting is a behavior that mom simply can’t ignore. She thinks, if I asked mom for another song, or to come kiss me again, she will disregard my request. After all, it’s bedtime and tuck-ins are over. But what kind of parent wouldn’t respond to a toilet-training tot when he cries out he needs to pee? The child has learned this is a request mom can’t refuse!

Yup, she’s right. After all, we don’t want to be inconsistent. We don’t want to take a step back in training. Nor do we want them to be wet all night. So we go and put them on the potty again. No doubt there is a small conversation, and probably an additional tuck-in kiss, maybe even a song if we are real suckers. Late-breaking pees actually become a very social experience for the child. And therein lies the payoff. These late-night toilet breaks provide bonus socializing sessions and that is the usefulness that sustains the child’s nightly behavior. It is our responses that we need to address if we are going to find a solution to the child’s creative behavior!

The Immediate Solution

Lose the payoff, or social benefit, of these extra night-time potty visits by teaching the child self-sufficiency.

During the day, take time for training (or T.T.F.T. as I affectionately call it). Show your child how to pull her own pants up and down and have her practice wiping herself. You might find wet wipes are easier for kids than dry toilet paper. They can wipe first and then you can be the checker until you are satisfied they have the manual dexterity to get the job done properly. Once they have this skill, you can install night lights in the hall and explain that they don’t need to call you to go to the washroom: You are so capable! You can go to the toilet and tuck right back in all by yourself! You may also opt to simply leave a potty in their room with some wet wipes and hand sanitizer (again, after some T.T.F.T.). Some children find this new limit exciting and want to test it out. However, after a night or two, most children prefer to avoid asking to use the potty before bed since they no longer have a successful stalling/attention tactic, and they just get on with bedtime.

The Long-Term Strategy

As with all the behavior guidance tips I provide, parents are not going to have long-term success unless we solve the child’s unmet goal, in this example: undue attention seeking, a mistaken means for finding connection. Every child needs to feel secure about their worth and their place in their social group (the family or classroom). That means parents need to bring on the encouragement and connection during those times when their children are not demanding undue attention. Find opportunities for positive connection instead.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Divorced? What Children Really Want for Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, and lots of articles are being written about ways to show your love. Here is an excerpt from “Helping Children Understand Divorce,” by University of Missouri, that might give you some ideas about what the children of divorce really want:

What I Need From My Mom and Dad –  A Child’s List of Wants:

  • I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
  • Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me.  When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
  • I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you.  If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.
  • Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.
  • When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all.  When you say mean, unkind things about my parent, I feel you are expecting me to take your side.
  • Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life.  I count on my mom and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems.

About the Author:

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Dealing With the Toddler Who Dawdles By Refusing To Make a Decision

Are you frustrated by a child who keeps you hanging while they refuse to make a decision?  We are supposed to give children choices but do we have to sit like hostages while they make up their minds?  Their indecision does not come from uncertainty, but rather from a sense of power and control they feel when they dawdle and keep you in their service.  Below is the script of what to say to ensure your child both gets the respectful opportunity to make their own choices, while also respecting your time too.

 

Day One (the current way)

Mom:  Ben, do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today?

Ben: (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Ben, listen to me! Ben, stop fooling around and get dressed.  Come on – which do you want? The red one or the blue one? Get off that bed this minute and come choose your clothes! (This goes on for 20 infuriating minutes.)

 

Day Two (the suggested improved way)

Mom: Would you like to choose your shirt or shall I?

Ben:  (Continues ignoring and playing)

Mom: I see you’d like me to choose, here you go – I’ve picked the blue one for you.

Ben: (Suddenly freaks out on mom): No, no, no I want the red one!

Mom: I am sorry, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can choose next time.

Ben: (Continues having a hissy fit on the floor)

Mom: I am happy to stay if you want help getting dressed, if not I’ll go start on breakfast.

Ben: (Still flailing about)

Mom:  Looks like you’re choosing to get dressed on your own. I’ll see you downstairs.  Come find me if you need help.  (Mom leaves)

 

Day Three

Mom: Ben, do you want to wear the brown pants or the blue pants today?

Ben:  (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Would you like to choose or shall I ?

Ben:  (Remembering his mother offering him this choice yesterday and knowing now that if he doesn’t answer he is forfeiting his option of choosing for himself, Ben decides he’d rather make his own choices.) The blue pants!

 

You can adapt this to suit a variety of situations: 

Would you like grilled cheese or macaroni?  Would you like to decide or shall I?  I see you’d like me to decide, lets have macaroni.  Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can try again tomorrow.

Would you like to read Flopsy Bunny or Good Night Moon? Would you like to decide or shall I? I see you’d like me to decide, let’s read Good Night Moon. Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you have a chance to choose again next time.

 

Give it a go and let me know if you find this improves matters by sharing your stories in the comment section.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Related Posts with Thumbnails