Look at this face.
You wouldn’t think she was anything but angelic.
And she is. She is bubbly and funny and full of personality.
But oh my.
She is also headstrong and stubborn, and I am bracing myself.
Cause this little girl is smart. Daisy would call her a player.
I’ve discovered in the last few days, that she knows more than we give her credit for. And I am pretty sure she is taking full advantage of that fact.
The other, day, she threw a massive tanty because Bridie decided that she would sit on my lap (oh the horror!), and Boatman said quite innocently, ‘do you need to go your room?’ To our absolute amazement, she did. She marched herself down the hallway, crying in protestation all the way.
It’s not just that. It’s a look she gives me. When I ask her to say mum, she will say please, or thank you or anything else but mum. (And she can say mum!)
And this little grunt she gives. When I say no, or ‘don’t touch’ or take something from her. She makes this sound to let me know that she may be complying, but it is not with a happy heart.
I feel a little out of my depth here.
When it comes to parenting, it’s important to us that our kids choose right choices from their heart; not from fear of punishment or desire for reward. Good Goog wrote a thought-provoking post on this just the other day.
The way this looks, is that when we give an instruction, we expect obedience, but obedience with the right attitude. For Taylah this is described as immediate, complete, and without challenge or complaint. For the young ones we word it slightly differently.
Straight away, all the way and with a happy heart.
The happy heart is just as important to us as the act itself. When I ask Bridie to pick up her toys, I want her to do it willingly, with the consideration of the family (and her mothers sanity) in mind. When she whinges and complains, and cries, and rolls around on the carpet, it shows me that her heart is not only unwilling to listen to me, but is also more concerned with what is comfortable for her, and not helpful for others. Because of this, I need to deal with two things. The first being the act of disobedience, and the second being the attitude. Depending on the day or the situation, usually I will send her to her room and tell her that when she is ready to obey me with a happy heart, she can come out and do her job. This puts the ball in her court, and makes her responsible for her own actions and attitudes. Plus it helps her to develop the self control necessary to calm herself down, and realise that picking up her toys is not an unreasonable request.
I can deal with that with a five year old. An eight year old as well. But it gets a
Iittle trickier when it comes to the younger two. The problem is that at the ages of three and one, kids are very selfish. They haven’t learnt to consider the needs of others, and they don’t yet have the self control to stop a tantrum, or realise basic truths. (Such as flooding the bathroom floor will make it slippery and you will hurt yourself.) There is so much that they need to learn, and as a parent it is my job to teach them.
So when dear little Ava is quite open with her disgust at not being able to eat the raw chicken before I cook it, or pull all the toilet paper off the toilet roll, I need to teach her not only what is right, but also that when Mummy says no, I require a ‘yes mum’ with a happy heart.
But how do I teach a one year old to have a happy heart? (Sorry Erin, I am asking a question)
As adults our beliefs drive our actions. We do what we believe is right, and we follow our convictions.
With our kids it’s the other way around. Their actions drive their convictions.
So the child who is allowed to misbehave and show disrespect, or yell or swear, or break things grows to believe that that is ok, and that is what is right.
The child that is taught to obey, show respect, speak in a nice voice, use their manners and tidy after themselves grows to believe that that is what is right.
So when faced with a one year old who is obviously smart enough to know what is going on, and be able to play her mother, I need to get moving training her heart, and shaping her beliefs. I’m not looking forward to it, but over the next few days there is going to be lots of ‘time out’ (obviously very short) for my little girl for when she expresses her displeasure, or decides to do contrary to what she is asked. It’s important to me that I start now, because the grunts of a fifteen month old are easier to retrain, than the tantrums of a two, three or four year old.
And unfortunately, I know that from experience.
So wish me luck! It’s going to be some tough times here this week!
How do you deal with tantrums and obvious displeasure?
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