Friday, October 31, 2008

Training in Times of Non-Conflict

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Training in times of non-conflict means that you teach your child appropriate behaviors before the actual potential problem occurs. Many times your child will act in a way that is displeasing to you simply because he literally doesn't know any better. Training in times of non-conflict allows you to teach your child what appropriate behaviors are. It is also a time to work out the "kinks" without the benefit of people watching both of you.

What are some situations you might want to train for? Perhaps you have a friend coming over to play with your child. Training before the conflict would be to tell your child Bobby is coming to play, then going through the motions of what will happen when Bobby gets there. You will greet Bobby at the door and do whatever you do. Then perhaps you will go to your son's room to play. Bobby will want to play with your son's toys. Your son needs to share toys with Bobby. And so forth.

Perhaps you are going to Bobby's house to play. You want to avoid a meltdown when you tell your son it is time to go home. You tell your son what is expected and do a practice session.

Maybe you are going to go out to dinner at a restaurant or friend's house. You can practice appropriate voice levels and manners.

It is possible you have decided it is time for your son to sit more quietly at church. You might have practice church time at home. I once attended a conference where a woman spoke who had 8 children. She had some twins and all of her children had come closely together. She was determined that they would sit on the front row and be good. They practiced at home each day until her children got it.

All training in times of non-conflict needn't be in preparation for social situations. It can be for a happy attitude when it is nap time, clearing dishes after a meal, etc. The point here is that training your child before it is a battle of wills between the two of you will help prepare you both. You can clearly outline your expectations and have that clear in your head. Your child can be informed of those expectations and learn how to carry those expectations out.

What age do you start this? Probably younger than you think. You need to decide what age your child is ready, but know that your child understands far more than he can communicate. Keep expectations and instructions age-appropriate, in both directions. Don't be too hard but also don't be too easy. This is something that can be so beneficial to both you and child. Give it a try!


Jennifer said...

Great post. I have often seen other children resisting their parents or not acting appropriately and have wondered if the parents had taken the time to tell them what to expect or what was expected of them in certain situations. Though my baby is less than 12 months, I have often thought I would do something like what you are talking about--but you laid it out so much more clearly than the thoughts in my head. Thanks so much!

The Pinnt's said...

This was something I needed to read right now. Thank you. My son is 13 months and we keep him in church with us, our church doesn't offer Sunday school/nursery. My DH and I are having a hard time with him in church and I feel like DH is too hard on LO but maybe that isn't the case, I think I need to rethink this. I have yet to read Toddlerwise. Does it cover anything about church behavior in children this young? How high do you think we should set our expectations? It's tough. I don't want him to learn that acting out or crying gets him a free ticket out of the service but I also don't want to distract anyone else. AND i want church to be a place he wants to go. But maybe that means setting some strict boundaries now...?

Anyway! thanks for this post...

Amanda said...

Good point! I taught a Kindergarten/First Grade combination class last year and I definitely was not good at it. The biggest thing I learned for the future with raising my own kids & teaching a class is that if the kids understand how to do things from the start, you set them up to succeed behavior-wise. It empowers them to behave & gives them confidence going into the new situation. It also ensures that they behave according to your ideas of proper behavior rather than reacting based off of pure emotion. This advice reminds me of the ideas in the Pottywise book with practicing and such.

Maureen said...

Great post! I so needed to read this tonight. I have to bring my kids to a meeting tomorrow and our training hasn't been the best lately, so I'm dreading it! I will definitely teach him about the meeting and practice for it in the morning. So good!

Homestic Affairs said...

I LOVE training outside of conflict. I make up "training games" so it's fun for my 3 year old. For example we have a Parking Lot/Street Safety game. Check my blog for details.

Julie, the mama said...

First, your blog is such a helpful resource, and I can't imagine the time and effort you must put in it to make it so wonderful. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

Secondly, I am a huge BW fan. My daughter did BW from the get go and now, at 20 month old, is still a fantastic sleeper. With BW, she started sleeping 12+ hours at 12 weeks, and even though I had to endure some CIO times, overall it was a relatively easy plan for her.

I have a 10 week old son, and I'm having MAJOR issues. He was diagnosed with acid reflux at 6 weeks, although I'm still not 100% confident that he is not just a very FUSSY baby. Whatever the case, he is on meds for the reflux. My problem, he will NOT get on a proper sleep schedule. I watch for cues, he gives them, I put him in the crib and he SCREAMS. Until the next feeding time. Every time. If it is an hour to the next feeding or 2 1/2 hours to the next feeding. He SCREAMS.

The only way I've been able to get him to sleep at all is in the car seat, and even then it is inconsistent.

His mattress is elevated, I try swaddling...nothing works.

My question is this - when he is still screaming when it is time to feed him again (every 3 hours), should I get him, feed him and restart the cycle? Or does this train him that I will eventually rescue him if he keeps screaming? Or should I let him keep screaming until he will eventually fall asleep and then wake him up and feed him, even if that puts my cycle at 4 - 5 hours?

I hope that makes sense. I'm so sleep deprived right now, I can't think clearly....

If you have questions, you can email me at


Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Jennifer! I think parents often underestimate the ability of their child to understand things in the future.

Plowmanators said...

Pinnts, I don't remember anything about church specifically in there. I would definitely read it; it will give you great insight to things to do on a daily basis that will help for church. See also this post:

Church: Weekly Disruption :

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for your thoughts Amanda!

Plowmanators said...

Maureen, thanks! I hope all went well for you :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Homey!

Plowmanators said...

Julie, I would definitely get him and feed him when it is time.

Be sure to see this post:

Babywise and Reflux:

Many reflux babies will only sleep well in a carseat since they are so elevated.

Labhrain said...

Julie, I don't know your situation so I don't know if this will apply or not, but could he possibly sleep on you (in a wrap or carrier) instead of his crib for a while? Or do you have a swing? The swings have pretty elevated heads. I did BW and I loved it, but the thing I would change with my next baby is that I thought if I didn't get my LO used to his crib early, he would never sleep in it. Now I regret not letting him sleep on me more while he was little. I know that it may have been a few days of work to get him used to a crib when he got older, but it would be worth it. Maybe your LO wouldn't scream if he was sleeping on you in a wrap? The movement from walking around always conked out mine when he was in a carrier. I have no idea how to survive a fussy/colicky/reflux baby, so more power to you! Hang in there!


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