Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Child Training and Attitude
The Bumper is a wonderfully active, curious and headstrong toddler. She loves to explore, climb, run, swing, jump, and dance. She entered the terrible twos with a vengeance. These days it seems like the only thing I say to her is "No!", which she says right back. The Bumper also likes the words: "mine, stop, and especially I do it myself".
It is this latter phrase that has me thinking. She is growing up, she is becoming her own little person, and as her mother I have to guide her and train her. When we were first married the Bumper's dad and I did talk a little about what we wanted our children to be like, what values we wanted them to have, but it was always in the abstract and theoretical . Now I am down in the trenches, and the Bumper's dad is unable to help, so I have to make the choices on my own.
The difficulty for me is that the Bumper is an only child and not only am I her parent, but I am her primary playmate. How to balance the two roles? Some days are better than others. Last week she successfully went to the potty, brushed her teeth, sat at the table and ate and went to bed with very little effort on my part. Yesterday... not so much. Yesterday was a complete struggle, it seemed like I was constantly cleaning up after her, and scolding her for every little thing. I kept putting her in time out until we were both exhausted. Then I had an epiphany the Bumper wasn't doing what she was to deliberately irritate me, she was behaving badly to get my attention. I was so busy trying to get the house work done that I was ignoring her. So I stopped, took a mommy time out (went to the bathroom and counted to ten), and came back refreshed. I decided the house work could wait. It was too hot to play outside; an indoor activity was called for. The Bumper and I spent the rest of the afternoon making play-dough animals.
What did I learn? When I pay proper attention to her, she is more likely to obey me.