Tuesday, February 06, 2007Children Need Consistency
I think that in whatever way we discipline our children, they all need consistency. To me, it is almost unfair to them and doing them an injustice to simply "let something be" because we're too busy or lazy to deal with it. That makes whatever it was they were doing wrong something which is allowedm sometimes and at others is not. So what I've been realizing lately is that I need to "pick my battles" wisely.
I learned this the hard way the other day when I was in an irritated mood and told my 18-month-old to stop doing something that was really, really bugging me. He was banging on something or other with his feet in a playful way, not a destructive way...My noise-tolerance level, at the time, was very low. Right after I told him to stop, I realized that, #1, I had never told him not to do that before, and that, #2, it really wasn't something that I cared about that much, and, consequently, #3, wouldn't be able to be consistent with putting my foot down on such a silly little thing as this.
However, at that moment, I knew that I needed to be consistent. So I did the whole asking him twice and looking at him in the eye thing, then gave him a time out when he delibrately kept on...
Today, he looked at me very intently and then carefully and deliberately tested the waters by doing the very same thing. Today it didn't bother me in the least and I couldn't care one bit if he did it. After all, I was in a bad mood yesterday and a good mood today. So, in lack of knowing what to do, I pretended that I didn't notice, sang a song out loud, played with him and distracted him entirely... oops.
Oh, live and learn. I shall pick my battles more wisely next time. With this particular scenario I speak humorously, but with our day-to-day right-and-wrongs and disciplinary endeavors, I think it tremendously important to be consistent for the child's sake. As one of our readers said a while back, "no" MUST mean "no", because some day if they're in danger, i.e. running into the street, and you yell, "no", they need to know that you mean it!
~Sia, Vancouver, WA