Co-parenting with a “kid man”

Combining the thoughts expressed in Ms. Single Mama’s post on Larry Bilotta’s Male Maturity Scale, and the Love & Logic classes I’ve completed over the last 2 months, here are some parenting techniques I have found to work on both my 2-year-old….and her dad. Since I’m simultaneously interacting with a rule-testing, self-centered toddler, as well as a “kid man”, according to Larry Bilotta, these things have helped tremendously in finding peace in maddening situations.

  • Do not show emotion when your buttons are being pushed.
  • Use the statement “I will talk to you when you can speak to me in a respectful way.”
  • Make your statement only once. The child/father will come to expect as many warnings, requests and chances as you give them/him.
  • Give them as many choices as possible.
  • When there is only one option, tell them that you always give them as many choices as possible, but in this case, you need to make the final decision.
  • Expect tantrums, and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Cut off all communication.
  • If forced to witness a tantrum, regard situation with curious silence, as if watching monkeys at the zoo. It helps to rest your chin on your knuckles, philosophically.
  • Discuss child’s/father’s behavior with seasoned professionals (like the paternal grandmother/mother) to receive valuable insight.
  • Ignore degrading comments from on-lookers/father’s girlfriend and focus on the task at hand.
  • Bribery makes you look like a fool and will eventually work against you.
  • Make the punishment the bad guy, not you. Father Example: If he doesn’t show up for visitation/parenting class/pay child support, the court will issue consequences, not you.  Child Example: if she makes you late by not getting dressed in the morning, tell her she can pay back the time she spent later (with a timeout or helping you with chores).
  • Give yourself a timeout if you are on the verge of an outburst.
  • You cannot force the child/father to do what you want. You can make sure the rules are clear, provide them with information, let them make choices and help them understand the consequences of their actions.

Of course, love is involved in all of these techniques. I have no problem loving my child while disciplining her. As far as her dad goes, I hope one day I will be able to love him for the father he is to our daughter, not hating him for the same reason.  If this goal is not possible, I hope to remain indifferent.

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20 thoughts on “Co-parenting with a “kid man”

  1. Okay, this is going to be way gooey, and I apologize in advance, but: in using the techniques with the sperm donor, you can do it with love – it’s loving yourself enough to not be dragged into his crap.

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  2. Thanks I will find this to be very useful. I cut off communication immediately when either of them throw tantrums. Very helpful. As for love, I will remain indifferent. I also need toexercise giving myself time outs 🙂

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  3. I really don’t have anything to add here, because you know I hate the love and logic class (come ON, are they really expecting your child to “pay you back” for things she does that make you late? At the toddler level? I wouldn’t even do that with my teens. Talk about condescending! But I digress…), and as far as Rooferman goes, well, I think those are great tools. I used them with my ex, and they worked.

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  4. I love this post! You are a wise and wonderful woman pisceshanna. Great insight for a new mom like me. To be able to keep your cool day after day is admirable. Give yourself a pat on the back for how far you have come already. Stay strong in 09. You are off to an excellent start.

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  5. Great advice. Most of this sounds very similar to what I’ve read in How To Make Your Kids Mind Without Losing Yours. He calls it reality discipline. To put it in a few words, it’s letting the consequences discipline or teach the child when possible.

    Of course we all have to tweek these things to make them work for us and our children. But it sounds like you are doing great. (And isn’t it crazy how it works with men too?)

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  6. I heart you Kori, no matter what. There are part of Love & Logic I found to be slightly demeaning to the child as well. Nothing is perfect, I guess, kinda like the class you took right?

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  7. This is BRILLIANT! Last night while my ex was ranting and yelling at me threatening to take me to court for custody – I did all these things!

    Ok I eventually had to hang up but I did tell him ;-p

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  8. Just popping in to tell you that the schools are closed in middle TN today because of the cold. Yeah, the cold. No snow. Just cold. Haha. I thought you would appreciate that since it’s probaby way colder in Colorado. It is colder than usual here, but come on, the schools have heat! I think I need to work for the school system. I could use a four day weekend.

    Just thought you might find that funny. Have a great weekend.

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  9. Jenn- Do they not sell coats in TN? Hehe. When its below freezing here, they don’t let the kids out for recess, but other than that, if the roads are clear, GET YOUR BUTTS TO SCHOOL! Thanks for the newsflash 🙂

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