I recently was grocery shopping and watched a exhausted mother put her approximately 18-month old in time-out whilst they were in the check-out line. I felt so badly for the mother, who clearly had had a hard shopping trip, and I also felt badly for the crying little child sitting with his back against the wall across from the check-out line who could get up once he was quiet.
Sometimes it is so hard to pull out the right tool at the right time, isn’t it?
Part of what can really help you in your parenting is:
1. To get very clear with yourself and your partner how you view the small child. This provides a framework for everything from guiding a child’s behavior to education.
I have written about this time and time again. The consciousness of the small child is completely different than an adult consciousness. In our society we tend to think of small children as miniature adults with less experience and then are disappointed when talking and reasoning and offering a million choices doesn’t seem to make things go smoothly.
Small children, to me, are beautiful spiritual beings who are here learning. They don’t do things to make you angry on purpose! They are trying things out, they are complete sense organs who are taking everything in, they imitate everything they see, and yes, they pull out their own things as well! I have had so many mothers lament to me, “Wow, I cannot believe little Billy just (fill-in-the-blank: kicked me, spit at me, hit me, yelled at me). We don’t do that to him, I can’t believe it!”
In discipline, small children need you to re-direct them into PHYSICAL activity with a pictorial way of speaking. They need you to not crumple into a ball over their behavior, but to help them make it right through restitution. And they really need you to stop talking so much! Hum, sing, move them, work. Stop talking so much and pulling them so much into their heads!
Protect their senses by being home and having a rhythmic, non-hurried household, and you will see your children shine!
If you need further realistic expectations for each age, here they are:
For the three and four-year-old: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/28/realistic-expectations-day-number-ten-of-20-days-toward-being-a-more-mindful-mother/
For the four-year-old: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/05/realistic-expectations-for-the-four-year-old/
For the seven and eight-year-old: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/10/02/the-seven-and-eight-year-old-realistic-expectations-last-installment-of-day-number-10-of-20-days-toward-being-a-more-mindful-mother/
The second step to help you in your parenting is this:
2. To understand that whatever your child’s more challenging behaviors are being caused by, the behavior is still there and you still need to meet it. I recommend you get very familiar with the options that are in your tool box for parenting. This includes gentle discipline techniques but also includes such things as knowing what you will allow at what age, and what your boundaries truly are.
Some parents really don’t seem to have many boundaries at all. If you need help in this area, try this back post:http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/23/gentle-parenting-and-boundaries/