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  #16  
Old May 1, '12, 11:00 am
Bezant Bezant is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8e308 View Post
I feel like a horrible mom. My toddler - he's 2 1/2 - throws temper tantrums, hits, screams when he doesn't get his way and generally makes our house a horrible place to be when he's not happy.

The only way I know of to deal with this is to ignore the tantrums and respond to him only when he's calm. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't agree that this is the way to go and does what he can to calm him down (and also looks at me as if I'm the devil incarnate when I don't try to help him); "doing what he can" generally involves giving our son what he wants at some point. As you might imagine, that only teaches him that if he throws a tantrum he gets what he wants or gets something equally good.

The latest ongoing battle is dinner. My son consistently does not eat well at the table. In front of the television, however, he eats fine. I have two problems with this: one, meal time is family time, IMO, and should therefore take place in an environment conducive to conversation, even if it is conversation with a toddler that mostly involves laughing about the "Hot Dog Dance" from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Second, eating in front of the television is distracting, and while I believe he does okay right now with knowing when he's full, I also know that can change very easily. My husband, in the interest of seeing him eat, has decided that we should move mealtime to the den; our son eats at a small child table, while we use TV tables while sitting on the couch.

So, am I crazy? Is it really such a horrible thing? If so, what do I do about it, especially in light of my husband's decision that it's okay?
For one, both you and your husband need to be consistent in the way you discipline your son. Neither of you are showing him who is the child and who are the parents. He may be young, but he's not too young to know he can exploit mummy for certain things, and daddy for certain things.

Secondly, you're right--dad's approach teaches that there's a reward for tantrums. But your approach teaches your son that mum tolerates tantrums.

Both of you have to show him that screaming, and fighting, and carrying on is improper behaviour. That means chastising him as soon as he starts making noise -- whether you must talk hard to him, put him in time out, or use physical discipline as necessary. Whatever you do, nip it in the bud.
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  #17  
Old May 1, '12, 12:12 pm
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kristacecilia kristacecilia is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

This is a discipline issues, not a food issue.

Discipline doesn't need to be harsh, but it needs to be FIRM and CONSISTENT. Welcome to parenthood, OP. It only gets harder from here on out. Make the most of these early years to set down those boundaries and house rules that will lead to good habits and virtues.

No, we don't give into tantrums. You are exactly right that your DH is placating your son to get him to stop crying and that is only going to lead to bigger problems.

Depending on your child's maturity (since 2 1/2 year olds can vary SO MUCH) here is some ways you *could* handle it:

- Child has to have tantrum in arms (we do this with babies) little babies might get offered a comfort object (breast, thumb, favorite animal). We just sit and hold them until they are calm, then we deal with behavior issue.

- Child has to have tantrum in his room, with the door closed. "DS, you need to go lay down on your bed until you are done crying, then we can talk." Most kids have to be physically removed. Once child is calm, we deal with behavior issues.

Right now your 2 1/2 year old is running your house. I am sure that's not what you want for your family, so you need to decide with DH on how you are going to handle this and be FIRM and CONSISTENT.

There are three things we never fight our kids on. Food, sleep, and toilet issues. They will win every time. It's their body. They are the ones in control and it's fruitless to try and force the issue. We set reasonable boundaries and requests and leave the rest up to them.

Food rules:
- You must taste everything on your plate.
- You may not complain about what is being served. If you continue to complain you will be asked to leave the table.
- If there is an ingredient you don't care for (onions, etc) you may pick it out WITHOUT COMPLAINING and leave it on the side of your plate.
- After you have tried one bite of every thing, you may ask to be excused, but you will get no more food until the next meal.
- If you want dessert (which we rarely have anyway) you must eat a reasonable amount of food (usually everything on their plate, but we are very careful to give small portions or change that if we feel like they did really eat a reasonable amount).
- You must thank Mommy (or Daddy, or whomever) for making this meal for you before you leave the table, even if you didn't care for it.

Obviously, these apply differently for different ages. We would expect a 2 1/2 year old to do almost none of these. We would put them in their chair, put their food in front of them, and when they started complaining or misbehaving or seemed done we would clean them up and let them on their merry way to play.

Your son won't starve. Give him plenty of HEALTHY options for food, don't let him fill up on snacks between meals, and he'll eat. Make things like juice, cookies, crackers, granola bars, and other packaged foods into treats (like as often as you would have a candy bar or a can of pop). Offer water, fruit and veggies, protein sources, and healthy carbs. He'll eat what he needs. All my 22 month old has eaten in the past two days is broccoli.

Family dinners are very important to us, too. Everyone is expected to be there and to help with the table setting and the kitchen clearing. We usually light candles and use cloth napkins (both for economic reasons and because it makes it feel more special). The candle does amazing things for the atmosphere, I am telling you. It calms my kids down right away.

You might enjoy this blog article: Dinner Together: The first phase, when the children are very young.
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  #18  
Old May 1, '12, 12:25 pm
k8e308 k8e308 is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

Good to know that I am not crazy, either with being concerned about allowing meals to be eaten in front of the television or (worse) that my husband and I don't agree on this or many other forms of discipline.

So, any advice on how to bring this subject up to or discuss this with my husband? When giving such advice, please keep in mind that by all indications he sees nothing wrong with the way he "disciplines" our son, and prior to having a child, we agreed on how to discipline (especially in ignoring temper tantrums). Now that we are in the trenches, so to speak, it seems the pain of the moment eclipses the good of sticking to our plans - nor does he really believe that he has changed the agreed-upon methods or understand that such deviations will have life-long consequences. After all, from what I've been able to gather, this is essentially how he was raised (with perhaps a little more intolerance for bad behavior as he grew older), and he turned out "okay".
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  #19  
Old May 1, '12, 2:03 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8e308 View Post
Good to know that I am not crazy, either with being concerned about allowing meals to be eaten in front of the television or (worse) that my husband and I don't agree on this or many other forms of discipline.

So, any advice on how to bring this subject up to or discuss this with my husband? When giving such advice, please keep in mind that by all indications he sees nothing wrong with the way he "disciplines" our son, and prior to having a child, we agreed on how to discipline (especially in ignoring temper tantrums). Now that we are in the trenches, so to speak, it seems the pain of the moment eclipses the good of sticking to our plans - nor does he really believe that he has changed the agreed-upon methods or understand that such deviations will have life-long consequences. After all, from what I've been able to gather, this is essentially how he was raised (with perhaps a little more intolerance for bad behavior as he grew older), and he turned out "okay".
You might discuss that he is handing over a heck of a lot of power and control to a baby (essentially, a baby's mind in a body that walks and marginally talks). It is not a good thing for a baby to have that much control over what the adults in his life do or don't do. Children in general should be below their parents in the family power structure (and the parents are both below God, of course). The way he is giving in, your son is going to "perform" with a tantrum every time, since it works.

I can look backward and see a lot of points where I did this, because my younger son got so unpleasant to deal with when he didn't get his way. One particular quirk was that he never wanted to go anywhere after school, just go home. Sometimes we would have to run an errand on the way home, and he would pitch a royal fit about it. I never capitulated on the spot, but I did tend to rearrange my day so that we didn't run errands after school. Now, I don't think a parent should intentionally make things difficult for a kid with problems, but neither should the parent let the kid dictate his/her schedule to any great extent.

You need to just be straight with your husband. Tell him, "Honey, we need to be on the same page, and you have turned the page on what we discussed before children. We need to find a way to deal with these little conniption fits our son has, because pretty soon, he's going to be throwing them all over the place to get what he wants. Is that what YOU want? What about in public? What about at our parents' houses? What about when he gets angry and HITS you?" Bring up those kinds of situations that you are likely to see.

I would say, just back off and let him see what happens, but I think that might backfire. Sometimes when very lax parents finally get the worst response out of their kids, and they don't have any other tools in their toolboxes, they get frustrated and out of anger, spank or hit. I think you really have to work on this problem and fix it soon.

Could he put your son in time out? Put him in his room and let him scream in there?
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  #20  
Old May 1, '12, 2:15 pm
shainski shainski is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8e308 View Post
Good to know that I am not crazy, either with being concerned about allowing meals to be eaten in front of the television or (worse) that my husband and I don't agree on this or many other forms of discipline.

So, any advice on how to bring this subject up to or discuss this with my husband? When giving such advice, please keep in mind that by all indications he sees nothing wrong with the way he "disciplines" our son, and prior to having a child, we agreed on how to discipline (especially in ignoring temper tantrums). Now that we are in the trenches, so to speak, it seems the pain of the moment eclipses the good of sticking to our plans - nor does he really believe that he has changed the agreed-upon methods or understand that such deviations will have life-long consequences. After all, from what I've been able to gather, this is essentially how he was raised (with perhaps a little more intolerance for bad behavior as he grew older), and he turned out "okay".
I don't know what will work on your husband. I do suggest that you go to the library and get a book called "Touchpoints" by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. Get the one "Birth to Age 3" Someone suggested that to my wife - and we used it to understand the world from our toddler's point of view.

To give you an idea of his style (This passage doesn't specifically deal with your issue), i am looking at the website, http://www.touchpointsbook.com/parents.html, i see the following:

Quote:
When asked for specific positive discipline guidelines, I give parents the following advice.

Respect a child’s stage of development. In particular, be aware of the kinds of learning he is exploring at each stage.

Fit the discipline to the child’s stage of development. For an infant or toddler, try at first to divert him to another activity. If this doesn’t work — and it won’t very often — you may need to remove him bodily. For a child over two, discipline should always include an explanation (but not an excuse) for his reasons for “acting out”; try to figure out what triggered the child’s aggressive behavior and give him a chance to understand it himself.

Discipline must fit the child’s temperament. Make use of what you know about your child’s temperament and sensitivities. A sensitive child
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  #21  
Old May 1, '12, 2:17 pm
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The Bucket The Bucket is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

I don't get a dad giving in to a kid. Seriously. As long as it's not in public, I sometimes get a kick out of kids throwing tantrums. It's amusing because they frequently make no sense. It's like a behavioral non sequitur. I don't get angered in the slightest. They get a swat on the bottom (not hard mind you) and put on the steps. If they continue the fit, they go to their rooms.

I like being the dad that can just walk up to his kid, point at the stairs and say absolutely nothing and the message is sent. It's sweet.
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  #22  
Old May 1, '12, 2:43 pm
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Kouyate42 Kouyate42 is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

I'm in agreeance with the people who are saying about consistency in discipline. Major problem with kids is that they will easily become confused if there isn't consistency, and this applies to pretty much everything from daily routine to discipline and house rules. They won't learn where the boundaries are and will end up being manipulative because they'll learn that if one parent wants X and they don't want to do X, they'll go to the parent who wants 'Y' and either way, they get their own way.

Sit down with your husband and work out what the rules are and also agree to both enforce them. Be willing to come to a middle ground. Listen to what he's saying. Make sure he's listening to what YOU say. Make it a two-way process and you'll get results. Also, write a rulebook or 'house rules' list if you want. Hang it somewhere prominent.

Key also is that it will likely take time for you to see any changes in your small son. You might have to repeat something 100 times but if it is needed, you will just have to grit your teeth and get on with it. Having your husband on side will help in taking some of the strain off you.

Time-out is a good technique which doesn't involve smacking or any sort of shouting even, and it works for even the smaller children. The usual rule is to use their age as a rule as to how long they're on time-out for at any one time. So a 2 yr old is on time out for 2min at a time. Use a quiet room with no distractions or things like toys which will confuse things, or even a chair set to the side of the room may also work. If they come out of time out before their time is up, they go back to the chair/room and the time starts again. Make sure that afterwards you sit down next to him and explain to him why you did what you did and ask for an apology. As soon as this is given, the punishment is over.
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  #23  
Old May 1, '12, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

Stick to your guns on family meal time.
We raised our family with evening family meals and they are memories to be treasured. As the children got older it was so rewarding to hear about their days at school and their ideas. It was also a great time to address serious issues in a fun, conversational way.
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  #24  
Old May 2, '12, 6:10 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

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Originally Posted by The Bucket View Post
I don't get a dad giving in to a kid. Seriously. As long as it's not in public, I sometimes get a kick out of kids throwing tantrums. It's amusing because they frequently make no sense. It's like a behavioral non sequitur. I don't get angered in the slightest. They get a swat on the bottom (not hard mind you) and put on the steps. If they continue the fit, they go to their rooms.

I like being the dad that can just walk up to his kid, point at the stairs and say absolutely nothing and the message is sent. It's sweet.
Some fathers are conflict avoiders. Some hate noise of any kind. You are obviously comfortable with your role as a husband and father, head of the household.
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  #25  
Old May 2, '12, 2:13 pm
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ryecroft ryecroft is offline
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Default Re: Eating in front of the TV

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Originally Posted by shainski View Post
I don't think it's a good idea. We have tried very hard to not have our children eat in front of the tv. It's just too easy to do mindless eating of bad things.

The only television our kids watch is after dinner - when we will watch a movie from the library. Our rule is that they must have eaten a good dinner - no snacks for at least an hour. Then, if there is a snack, we turn off the tv - go up and have a snack - and they can watch a bit more of the movie after they brush their teeth and use the rest room.

On rare occasions, we have had popcorn while watching, but that is unusual.

My wife and i have had lifelong struggles with our weight. That is one thing we do not want our children to inherit. So we have done a lot to encourage good eating habits. So far, it has been one struggle where we have seemed to have done a good job.

But I think that you have to start early. I would talk to your husband privately about your concerns. In our family, if a child did not eat his/her dinner, then his/her left over dinner would be the snack for that child. We have made a game out of eating good things - and we don't usually push it. With our kids now, we've made a connection between eating their vegetables and fruits and how fast, strong, smart or cute they are. All i have to say is something like. "That's okay, Daddy needs to be faster than you anyway, so i can catch you. Don't eat that broccoli, I don't want you to be that fast. Mommy, you watch her while i get a glass of milk, don't let her sneak a piece of broccoli. Every one of my kids would sneak the carrot/broccoli/brussel sprouts. Even though my older kids now realize it is a game, they still like to do it. And there are other games we play along that line. And then i follow up the next day with questions. "Where did they put that school of yours?" My 3 year old can tell me when we are five blocks away that she can see the school. So I will ask her "Did you sneak extra carrots last night that your eyes are so good?".

And I think a family dinner without outside interruptions is worth it. We don't answer the phone during dinner.

Good luck. It's a lifelong struggle to get it right.
I'd say something but I think the subject has been taken care of.

Not to get off the subject - but that's great! Seriously, I'm going to have to try that with my God Daughter when I'm watching her! What a cool idea!
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