Saturday, February 12, 2011

Expectations

Well, we are in that stage with Britt, you all know the one. It happens somewhere between 18 months and about 36 months, that stage where the child all of a sudden realizes that what Momma and Daddy want isn't necessarily what he wants. Yep, anyone and everyone who has had kids, barring those few that are lucky enough to have incredibly compliant kids, has been there. We are in midst of the "Terrible Twos."

Our content, laid back little boy, who seemed to have the most go with the flow attitude. Who I had decided inherited his daddy's calm and low key personality, is resembling me more and more each day. The change happened almost over night. He now delights in destruction and mess, in only playing with off limits items, and never needs help, unless I need a few minutes to myself. You discipline the boy, and you can see him gear down for a battle of epic proportions.

While I'm learning a lot about trying to stay one step ahead of the curious, easily frustrated, and often amusing little man, I'm learning even more about myself. You see, Gary will tell anyone that I'm about OCD, neat-freak, perfectionist. Everything has it's place and if it's not where it belongs in the house, it bothers me - a lot. I want to have one thing out, and then have it put back away before the next things comes out. (Apparently my mother did succeed back along the line somewhere of instilling that rule of only having out one toy at a time.) I try to remind myself that a clean and organized house isn't the most important thing. But then I'm in the middle of sorting baby clothes, and I leave Britt watching a video for 10 minutes to get a load of laundry and I come back to discover that all the clean and dirty clothes are mixed up, and 30 minutes worth of sorting out clothes they have outgrown has been wasted because he has dumped out all the drawers and scattered clothing all over 3 rooms. When I ask Britt what are you doing?!? and he responds with "I hep" or he laughs and runs off, it's hard to remember that order isn't the most important thing.

Some times I struggle with wondering if I have unreasonable expectations for Britt. I mean after all he is only 2. I expect him to need reminders about things, but I don't really think that it's unreasonable to tell him no and him immediately glare at us and do it anyway. It was getting to the point that I felt like I was spanking him all day. Momma being frustrated has been the theme of the last month around here, so I went to several veteran mothers - sisters at the Church, those with grown kids, those with small kids, and I canvased for ideas. I have felt like we are spanking him to much and want to find away to avoid misbehavior and destruction rather than constantly punishing it.

On primarily Aunt Joanna's suggestion I have made a few changes. The best change we've made around here is in putting Britt on a chair when he is pitching a fit. Before, we would spank him and he would continue to thrash and knock over chairs and throw things, and this way, he can't hurt anyone. We don't allow him to get up until I can ask him "Are you calm now?" and he answers, "I calm." The other thing I've done over the last week or so is I've and read Dr. James Dobson's books, The New Strong-Willed Child and The New Dare to Discipline. Several of the sisters suggested him, and like anything there were some things we threw out, and there were some things that we are using. I wish I had happened across them sooner, they by far are the best parenting books we've seen.

I hope that maybe as things get more back to a routine that Britt will settle down some. Of course, if he is as strong willed as I was, it may be a long time before he settles down. Despite the frustrations, I keep reminding myself a spotless house isn't vital, and that parenting is largely trial and error. As Daddy has said, "Parenting is like trying to hit a moving target. What works today, might not work tomorrow. What works on one child, might not work on the next." Oh well, I suppose after we make all the mistakes with Britt we'll be closer to getting it right with the next one, haha.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

If you enjoyed Dare to Discipline and Strong Willed Child (books I have read twice now!) then you'll enjoy Bringing up Boys and Bringing up Girls by Dr. Dobson. I also found a book called Creative Corrections. I can't think of the authors name at the moment(but she was a famous child actress in the 90's) and am too lazy to get up but you can just search the title on Amazon. My philosophy is to read all the good material on parenting that I can find since these little rascals don't come with an instruction manual!!