toddlers who don't listen

and other things that make me think... this will be a multi-part series... probably until it becomes "tweens who don't listen".

wren is definitely getting into the defiant age. it's been *interesting* to deal with her choices. she has figured out that if she gives a big grin that we will laugh and she could basically commit murder in our presence. we've had to hide our smiles and stifle our snickers and continue to discipline her even when she's stinkin' adorable. it's hard folks... just plain hard. also, she can now open twist tops, take her diaper off (that one's been a long time coming), get into drawers, climb on ANYTHING, and get things off the counter.... and open baggies... and eat mommy's very special cake bites. (made with cake, icing, and chocolate.... play therapy after one and a half of those puppies was pretty much pointless. it was like toddler ping pong in my living room.)
as i've posted on facebook several times (if you're friends with me you'll be bored- so feel free to skip this) i absolutely LOVE Raising Godly Tomatoes. her approach to child-rearing has been pretty life changing around our house. i had previously lamented that i had one of those kids that "spanking just didn't work for". (i definitely believe there every child is different and their discipline has to be specifically targeted to the need.) this approach has completely changed my mind. she teaches consistency and immediate responses to disobedience. those two things work like a charm.
here are the underlying tenants she asks parents to address:
1. what are your priorities? 
2. what are your beliefs in regard to authority? 
3. how willing you are to separate your children from the world?  
4. do you have a willingness to reject worldly parenting theories and adopt biblical principles and godly standards instead?
these questions are things that we've had to address, and then re-address, when new obstacles pop up (what about a big sister who doesn't want to share, has never had to share, and doesn't even really know what sharing means?), and when new parenting methods or ideas are presented to us. 
my favorite excerpt (from just the opening page) is this:
"Throughout the Old and New Testaments are stories of faith mixed with obedience, one working together closely with the other. As our Lord loves us and teaches us, He continually gives us commands and expects us to obey them. These are all very clear examples to us of how we are supposed to love and command our own children. In following our Lord's example we are not only painting a picture for our children, of what their relationship with God can be like someday, we are also instilling in them the type of faith that Jesus praised in this Roman centurion. Embrace the authority God has given you over your children, combine it with love and diligence, and use it for their good, to train them in the ways of Lord and lead them into eternal fellowship with Him."
what in innovative idea in this day and age! that we have an obligation to teach our children about authority, to teach them about rules and guidelines. 

i recently read an article in parents magazine. i always enjoy reading that magazine because i rarely agree with their discipline advice- and find it a useful tool in re-examining what i believe and why. back to the story.... they had some great points! i (surprisingly) agreed with the first 2 points. 
number one: stay calm, mom. this is something i seriously struggle with sometimes as wren and emeline are doing their "anti-vaccuum" thing and the dog is knocking off my glass on the table with her tail and the hubs is tracking mud in with his boots and then em pukes and i look over and wren has pulled every single wipe out and is flinging them in the air giggling. they're all adorable.... but sometimes it's a lot. it's really a lot. i try to take a deep breath, think about what's important... and be thankful for all the chaos. they're all signs of my many-MANY- blessings.
number two: set limits. they even went so far as to say "don't be afraid to draw lines that you expect your kid to never cross. but don't make too many of them." <-----i like that.  
ok. now, number three is what gets me thinking. number three: encourage cooperation. sounds great, eh? but when you read on it says "just recasting a directive as an option creates less resistance." ummm.. so, are you saying "don't tell them not to do something. just make it seem like they have a choice between two things you want them to do."? the idea of basically manipulating my children into doing something by not *telling* them to do it is crazy to me. absolutely crazy. i was talking to a friend today and she mentioned she'll be interested to see this generation of children grow up. how is this manipulation- this world of choices- going to effect their behavior and perception of adult life and the "real" world? of course, i think it's perfectly acceptable to give my kids choices- but not as a permanent parenting tool to get them to do what i want/need them to do.
i want my girlies (and any future children) to be prepared for life. to be ready for what this world is going to throw at them... the good and the bad. but, most importantly, i want them to understand authority. i want them to learn to submit to me so that they will ultimately understand submission to God. our job, as parents MUST be to get our children to heaven.
of course, the Godly Tomatoes way teaches to discipline consistently... it also teaches to discipline the heart. (ie. you won't be getting any soap in your mouth the first time you say a swear word. but if you defiantly fling poo at me when you know it's wrong you'll DEFINITELY be getting a spanking.) we'll talk more on those, equally important, ideas next time... here at the crazy morris mom discipline hour. :)

Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
- Colossians 3:20


Anonymous said...

Oh, my youngest just turned 2 in April--and she's a handful too!! I'm going to check out the Raising Godly Tomatoes. Sounds like something that might work-and if it's based on the Bible and God's teachings how can I go wrong?!

Trace and Sarah said...

Hey Charla...This is Sarah from Northwest! I just found your blog and love this post. We are in the throes of disclipline issues with Nathan and I will most definitely be checking out that book! Wren is getting so big, and Emeline is adorable!

wrensmommy said...

great to hear from you!! the book is amazing. i hope you enjoy it.

are you on facebook? you should find me. (there aren't many charlas. :)