Sunday 9 September 2012

The Sunday Parenting Party

Taming the Goblin

Welcome to the second week of The Sunday Parenting Party. We had an amazing response in our first week with over 80 amazing posts linked up - Thank you. Please grab a button to display on your blog or post if you are linking up this week. This week I'm linking up the following:
(Goblin is 34 months)
I have absolutely no child care qualifications but during my experiment into parenting I have discovered a few cool little tricks that for some inexplicable reason appear to work for us (OK they probably are 'explicable' by the experts). I'm not saying they will work for you, but you never know so I thought I'd share one - The ten count. 
I have seen parents getting really cross and screaming in the park at their child, "If you don't come here by the time I count to three then we are going home". Then they count to three with escalating ferocity in their voice to emphasise how bad it will be for the child if they don't comply. The child often complies. So obviously this is an effective method for some. But I was looking for something that I could use before I get to the point of losing it. Also a count of three doesn't really give a child the time to process and decide whether to comply unless they do it through blind obedience (which is not something that exists in our house). 
So we count in a slightly different way ....
Goblin is doing something and enjoying it, but I want to move on. For example he might be mucking around at bed time when I want him to lie down so I can tuck him in, or he might be playing in a drain when we are trying to walk to the park. I don't wait until the activity has me so frazzled that I want to yell. Instead when I have decided that enough is enough and it will start to make me angry if I wait any longer, I start the ten count process. I say:
"Goblin, I am counting to ten and then we need to move on" or "Goblin I am counting to ten and then you need to be lying down
I don't state the consequence of not complying because I don't want it to sound like a threat. It is simply a fact that this is what needs to happen by the count of ten. Then I calmly count to ten. I try and keep my voice entirely free of stress and anger and focus on really slowly counting out the numbers. 
  1. Count slowly
  2. Count calmly
  3. Count evenly (don't raise your voice or speed up as you get closer to ten)
Usually before I have reached the number ten Goblin has moved on. I say usually because if Goblin is really engrossed this trick simply won't work and then I have to resort to more direct methods like physically removing him (or in the case of bed time simply walking away).
Why does it work - I speculate that it works because:
  1. Ten is long enough for the child to process the request and make a conscious decision to stop and move on
  2. It gives the child enough time to carry on playing so that they don't lose face
  3. It gives you enough time to figure out what you will do if you get to ten and they haven't stopped.
If you try this method please let me know how it works for you, and why you think it did or didn't - we can all practice our amateur psychology together!
Features from last weeks Linky 
It was difficult to choose from so many great posts but I am featuring the following, if you haven't read them you really should:  
Promoting Positive Behaviour by Play Dr Mom
Getting my stuff together as a Parent by Picklebums
5 Things I wish I'd known before having kids by Mamas like Me
10 ways to stop Tantrums by Mess for Less
The End Goals by Little Moments
You guys can grab an "I was featured badge" from my blog buttons page. 
And now to this weeks The Sunday Parenting Party Link up


  1. What a coincidence your topic is...because I banged out a post last night about counting to diffuse a blow-up (I posted above).

    I'm looking forward to checking out your links. Great post.

  2. Thank you for the feature, and thank you for taking part in starting this linky! These topics are just as important as the topic of play!


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