I actually threw my two sense (I realize now, that is supposed to be “cents” but I think I like it better this way…) in today where it was not invited. I did this last week also. I wonder if it’s that whole getting older thing, or if I just need to get out more…
Anyway, I was at the park in the late afternoon with the kiddos and there was a mom there with twin girls who were a tad bit younger than Maggie. They all got along famously. The mom and I talked a little because I noticed the girls had on Big 10 shorts and I love to talk about the Big 10. A little while later she told her girls it was time to go and they both looked at her and said “no” scampering off. I could tell she was embarrassed. It’s one thing when your kids do that in the privacy of your own home. It’s truly another when they do it in front of a total stranger.
We joked around a little about it and I tried to make her feel more comfortable. But in doing so she told me some of the things she tries to use as leverage – like “when your father gets home” and “we were supposed to go out for ice cream tonight, but I guess you don’t want to.” She mentioned some books that I am vaguely familiar with, but that I think really miss the point when it comes to discipline.
The bottom line is I want my children to learn what is right and what is wrong. I want them to be able to tell the difference themselves, and I want them to do what is right because they want to, not because they fear what I will do to them. If they can learn these valuable lessons now while I am around them most of the time, then they will have the ability to make the right choices when I am not around them. Children who learn to do to avoid being in trouble eventually end up out on their own with little to keep them out of real trouble.
So I recommended the book Positive Discpiline by Jane Nelsen. She didn’t ask for my thoughts, I just kind of threw them in there. She didn’t react badly, and in fact, asked me the name of the book again before she left. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to find the right words to use with thier children. Just a slight change in verbage can make the biggest difference to a preschooler. And there are countless other insights and strategies throughout the book.
I made the recommendation and quickly followed it with the truth – I always have the best intentions with my own children and I often make mistakes. I am, by no means, the model parent. We all just do the best we can, at that moment, with what we know. But I would say this book has helped me to raise my game, at least some of the time. Bedtime at our house tonight did not go as I planned, but tomorrow we will start fresh and hope we can learn from our mistakes. At the very least we can talk about what works and what doesn’t and try to come up with a solution together, instead of passing down a mandate that strips them of their voices. They are my children and I want to hear what they have to say.