Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 2ODD, Apr 15, 2011.
How do you handle name calling in your house?
Good question 2ODD ... I would love to hear some response and ideas also.
It depends on who's calling names and what the intent is.
My mother would not allow nicknames. As a result, we were totally unprepared for the way kids at school nickname friends. Because it was banned at home, we saw it as behaviour intended to cause distress, and did not take being nicknamed in the spirit of friendship it was generally intended. Later on e did have some specific in-family nicknames, usually diminutives that were acceptable to the individual being named. But occasionally a 'pet name' applied by one particular person to one other would be used, and nobody else was allowed to use that name. My dad used to call me and my older sister "joe", for example. Never both of us at the same time, never in the same room. And nobody else could call us "joe".
But nicknames have to be acceptable to the individual being named. Some amount of thick skin is needed, but only some. Everyone has a right to be treated with respect.
If children are calling each other names, that has to be stopped. I step in and referee, point out that name-callnig is not driving the argument forward in any way. In fact, it risks stalling the argument at a "tis," "tisn't" level. Associated with this, is using "You" statements instead of "I" statements. It is more mature to say, "I do not like it when you say that," than to get angry and say, "You are mean to say that." The first leaves more 'wiggle room' for someone to put the brakes on themselves and take a more mature path. The second locks someone in to having to deny an accusation and get defensive, which only escalates things.
When I get in to referee, I hold up my hand for a stop, then say, "what is this all about, really? What are the proper issues?" Name-calling gets the argument off topic and this is why it stalls everything. Learning that this happens is a valuable lesson and takes repetition to learn.
If the name-caller is your husband, you are more hampered because he will not comply and is probably the main source of the problem - he sets the wrong example and then uses it as an excuse to get angry. And even though the kids hate what he does, they will still do as he does because they see it working - for him.
You have a lot of work to undo, methinks.
Depends on the name and who is calling it. I cannot hear anything said to me after I am called an unpleasant name. A curse word, like *itch, means I do NOTHING for you and often will do things that really bother you. Wiz hated to hear me sing, even as an infant. He learned to NOT call me names in the car because I turned on the radio to country - which he did not like, and I sang along as loud as I wanted. He didn't DARE kick my seat or hit his sister because having me pull over on the side of the road and go off on him was NOT fun and because it would make me cut out whatever fun thing he wanted to do. If he had the bad luck to have a police officer stop to see why we were pulled over it ended even worse for him. Police officers are NOT nice to boys who's behavior makes their mom pull over and step out of the car rather than having an accident or strangling their child. Wiz was shocked both times because he expected the officer to be mad at ME for not giving Wiz what he wanted and for being "mean" to wiz.
If the child has an activity that they need a ride to, that ride doesn't happen unless the child can pay me what a taxi would cost. They also often get to run laps or do some other type of hard physical labor. Scrubbing the bathtup is a favorite chore to assign because clearly the child needs to work out something with hard work. I always worried about the kids exposure to cleaning chemicals so mine had to use baking soda and diluted dish soap in a spray bottle (a generous squirt, maybe a couple teaspoons, of dish soap in a 1 quart spray bottle and then fill it with water) works just fine. The baking soda is a mild abrasive that will help cut the crud but won't scratch most tubs.
I have found that going deaf to their wants and whims is very effective over the long run. One thing I learned from Parenting with Love and Logic is that the consequence does NOT have to be immediate. If your child calls you a monkey tushie on thursday and you have told him in the past that this isn't acceptable, you do NOT have to tell him again that it is not allowed and his punishment is x or y or whatever. You can let him know that this hurts you and then not do something you planned, telling him that you don't do nice things for people who call you names. But what happe,ns if you just have a normal, routine night at home with homework, dinner and the normal stuff? Creating something that would be fun and making him sit it out is punishment for both of you. Don't do it. Instead when he comes to ask if you are ready to go out for pizza on Sat afternoon because that is your usual mom-difficult child thing on Sat afternoon you tell him that you don't take people who call you names out for pizza and fun. Maybe next week you will want to go out with him for pizza on Sat afternoon. Leave it there, nothing more, nothing less. Not all real world consequences are immediate. Heck, some cities don't even give you traffic tickets right away - they have cameras and computers monitor red lights and they mail the tickets if you run the red light. Why should it be different for the kids that we are trying to make into contributing members of society. One of the L&L authors actually did this with his 4yo son and it worked. the kid didn't call him a name for a very long time. It wasn't easy for the doctor to not yell at him or give a big meaningless punishment like a spanking or taking a toy away. It was a lot harder to be calm and to impose the consequence a couple of days later. The kid was only 4 and many of the "child development" based discipline methods say you have to have an immediate consequence esp with a child that young because htey can't remember what they did several days later. in my opinion that is hogwash. The kid can remember that you gave him lima beans two weeks ago and he hates them, and he can remember that you got him ice cream on the way home from the doctor last month. He can remember he called you a name three days ago - and link it to you not wanting to spend time doing something with him because he called you a bad name.
Yeah, if he is a difficult child he will rage when you tell him no outing/special thing. Unless that outing was earned for doing something like behaving in school or is otherwise tied to a behavior you want him to do, he will learn if you stick to your guns. Get him to an area that he cannot hurt and cannot hurt himself and let the rage play out with-o an audience, or whatever it is that works for your difficult child when he rages. But stick to it if you have said you will do it.
All that being said, right now things are super tense and chaotic in your home because your husband's behavior is so violent and volatile. You may want to wait until after your exit has happened to start with things like that. The kids are all super sensitive to your husband's moods and anger and are likely to act out more because this. So maybe running laps around the house or cleaning something is a better discipline choice for right now. A lot will change once your husband is not in the daily picture and it is going to take time for all of you to adjust to that.
Susie, I'm with you on everything except "It doesn't have to be immediate". With difficult child 3 and to a lesser extent with difficult child 1, it DID have to be immediate. If there had been a subsequent period of good behaviour, he often did not remember or connect my refusal to do something nice, with his much earlier behaviour. He really got confused and it added to the behaviour/discipline problems. In our case the school was a huge problem for us because their discipline policy was very much NOT immediate; it could be up to six months after an offence before he had punishment for it, plus they would not tell parents about it until after punishment (detention) was served.
I learned we had to make punishments smaller but immediate. Yes, we could at that point make it clear - "I do not go out of my way to do anything special for someone who treats me badly." That message gets through, but only if it is initially pointed out with immediacy.
Every kid is different, we need to be ready to adapt to our own personal situation.
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