Posts Tagged: Guest Post

Should A Pre-Schooler Be Made to Pay For Her Mistakes?

Imagine following a strange sound across your house only to discover your 4 year-old has tossed one of your books into the washing machine.  There it is, soaking wet, banging against the drum – ruined! You are shocked and upset.  What were they thinking?

As far as you can tell, she was just curious about the washing machine.  But, it also crosses your mind that she may have plunged the book to its death in retaliation to an early tiff you had.  The trouble is… you’re not really sure.

What is a parent to do when they don’t know if it is an accident or a stunt that requires disciplinary action? It would feel wrong to punish a child for an innocent mistake wouldn’t it?

The parenting paradigm that I teach is based on Adlerian Psychology. It argues against the use of punishments, which rely on fear to control a child’s behavior    Instead, the “democratic”, “ backbone” or “authoritarian” approach as it is some times referred to, focuses on an education approach to discipline.  In fact that is the root word “disciple” which means “to teach”.   Discipline without punishments is about educating the child about how life works, their freedom to make choices for themselves in society, but also (and equally important) holding them responsible for the choices they do make.

Whether the book was thrown in the washer as an accident, an experiment or a ploy to upset mom, the child is still accountable for their actions and needs to learn about the outcomes from making that particular choice.

Share with the child that even when accidents happen, things need to be replaced.  You can explain that from your perspective, you didn’t leave your book in the wrong place or anything, but now you have no book and it needs to be replaced. Ask if she has any ideas.  How can this situation be rectified?  Who does she think should pay for the new book?

Be sure to ask with true curiosity, so the child actually reflects on your question.  If you are angry and accusatory, your child will likely stop thinking and start defending their position instead.  Help them stay open by being calm and patient.

Ask them what they think should happen if the tables were turned, and you accidentally stepped on one of their toys and broke it?

Work together to strike up some arrangement together that makes sense to both of you.   Be creative, there is no one right perfect answer here.  For example, with small children who have little or no money, you may ask the child to make a financial gesture of some kind.  Perhaps they want to see if they have any money in their piggy bank.

I made my preschooler pay for the full amount of an aquarium ornament that she broke while shopping. She was about 4, but at that time, was getting a small allowance.  The arrangement we came up with together was to hold back half her weekly allowance until it was paid off.  We kept track of the debt reduction each week by posting a ledger on the family bulletin board.  Maybe it sounds cold hearted, but at the age of 4, money holds little true value (they are not Jonesing to go shopping at Aritzia yet), but symbolically it represents a lot.  She didn’t really miss that half of her allowance too much, but she sure did know she was clearing her debt and making good on her responsibilities. She felt really proud of herself when she made her last payment and was debt free with a clear conscience.   From that time forward, she has been very careful with breakables, and all her responsibilities come to think of it!  Co-incidence?  I think not.

 

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.

Kids and Condiments

By Theresa Albert, www.myfriendinfood.com

When I am faced with parents who are desperate with a truly fussy kid I advise them to help their child find their condiment.  Choosing at least one flavour that is loved makes just about everything go down a little bit easier. Of course it isn’t the perfect way but it does unbuckle the power struggle and help get more foods into the diet when everything tastes like at least something your child loves.

Not all condiments are created equally, though, and it helps to think outside the squeeze bottle.  Most have their pluses and minuses but their key feature is that the favourite should be freely available whenever “whine” is served.

Be prepared to be creative and flexible when you take your child shopping for his or her choice. Let him choose one bottle each time to try out new flavours and try to guide toward the higher ranking options.  This can be a palate expanding expedition or a hopelessly expensive tromp through the bottled goods aisle.  If the flavours and choices grow with your child, you are on to a good thing! Condiments are not marketed to kids with licensed characters so they are less likely to be swayed by their favourite smiley face.

The best fridges are loaded with many flavours of mustard which is the condiment that is lowest in calories but high in nutritive value. All you have to do is avoid the honey mustards and mustard blends and you can’t go wrong.  Mustard is always made from mustard seed which is a high anti-oxidant spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. If it is coloured at all it is usually with trace amounts of turmeric which is another potent anti-cancer spice. Rarely made with sugar (thus the “avoid the honeyed versions” note) and only mixed with vinegar and very little salt it offer zing for a caloric pittance.

This yogurt dip is in my fridge at all times, it goes on everything from chicken to fish to carrot sticks at snack time.

Condiment Pro Con Nutritional Rank
Mustard zero calories but high nutri sharp taste

1

Applesauce best if unsweetened good dip/poor dressing

2

Honey Mustard 10-20 calories/tbsp sodium

3

BBQ sauce tomato based too much sugar

4

Ketchup more tomato per tsp high salt/sugar

5

Relish/chutney Sneaky pseudo vegetable high salt/sugar/calories

6

Dill relish lower calorie high salt

7

Bottled Salad Dressing gets veg in high cal/bad fats

8

Mayo ok if gets more nutri foods in 100 cal / tbsp

9

Cheese sauce good for cooked veg saturated fat+salt

10

If and when parents get push back about a new or particular food, it is a worthwhile technique to have up one’s sleeve.  “Go get your condiment, Jojo!” sounds and feels much better than some of the alternatives.

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.

Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.

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.

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