Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parenting Lessons I've Learned Lately

Turning Against Each Other

This morning, as I walked #5, #6 and #7 up to the school with a few of their bubs from the neighborhood, I watched them play.  It always starts with a game of tag, but today, when I was "it" and was straggling behind so far that I didn't tag anyone for a long time, it turned from tag to Star Wars.

I watched them blow each other away with their laser guns and their light sabers.  I really detest this game.

As we walked through the forest and approached the crosswalk, it occurred to me that their form of Star Wars was much, much different from the game I played with my brothers when we were close to #5's age.  In our day, the Star Wars movies were just coming out.  My mom made us Star Wars costumes for Halloween that year.  David was Luke Skywalker, Matt was Han Solo, and I was Princess Leia.  We rocked it that Halloween.

The difference I noticed (as I carried "Jaba the Hutt's baby" in my arms that last stretch to the crosswalk), was that me and my brothers were a unified team.  We worked together to destroy Darth Vader (the cars with their headlights on) and the storm troopers (those with headlights off).

This morning, Yoda, Princess Leia, Boba and Jango Fett and the like were out to destroy each other.  No wonder I dislike this game so much.

I introduced the idea that they work together, but of course, they were headed across to the school within seconds of my suggestion.  We'll see how this game goes tomorrow.

I believe that our children need to work together and be on the same team.  They need to know that these principles, even during play (maybe even especially during play), will bring unity and peace to their family.

Besides....Jaba the Hutt's baby....really?!

Delayed Gratification

A couple weeks ago, Baby Jaba #7 decided that she wanted me to carry her all the way to and from the school in the mornings.  Before this, we would take turns.  I would let her walk until she decided that she was too tired, and I'd carry her for a bit and then she'd walk again.  It worked out  nicely.

On the day of the carrying all the way, I tried to put her down, and she'd cry, so I picked her back up--at first.  It was after a time or two of doing this, that I realized that I was doing her no favors.  She was taking advantage of me.

I put her down and walked a number of paces away--enough so I could turn and see her, and she could see me.  She would stand there and cry.  I would just stand there and wait.  After she'd stop crying, I'd call, "Okay, come on."  She'd run to me, I'd offer to hold her hand, and we'd be off again.

On the first day, there wasn't a time when she'd accept my hand.  She'd stand right in front of me and cry to be picked up.  It was then that I'd walk ahead again and turn around to wait for her.  This went on the entire way home.  I can't stand to hear my kids cry, but I choose that over being their doormat.  Needless to say, when we got home, my nerves were frazzled.

The next day was much easier.

But, the third day, when things were a bit more in control, I decided to try something new.  There are certain stretches of our walk that a bit more difficult for a two-year-old--no sidewalk, the walk through the forest, etc.  I decided that at these strategic places, I would carry her.  The other, easier parts, she would walk.

This is how it's gone....this morning, for example, as we walked out the front door, #7 said, first thing, "Momma, ho'd me?"  I replied with, "No, but I will hold you when we get to the corner."  Her response, "Okay."  No tears.

As I said this, the thought occurred to me that I'm helping my child, who is growing up in an instant-gratification world to wait for what she wants.

At the corner, I picked her up and carried her across the street and down the stretch of road that has no sidewalk.  As soon as we got to the sidewalk, I put her down and said, "I will hold you when we get to the dirt path."  I didn't even let her ask me if I was going to hold her.  This is how it went all the way to the school and all the way back home.

I figure from this, not letting her have her way, she's learning three things....that she's a capable person that can do things that she might not want to; that I, as her mother, am true to my word and will do exactly what I say I will; and that she can wait to have her needs (or wants) met.  Not a bad trait to gain in the world we live in.


Anonymous said...

Olivia does the same, always wanting to be held when she is quite capable of walking herself ( and now with another one its quite difficult to go anywhere). I will definently try this tip with her, she does like to do everything else herself haha I dont read your blog all the time, recently dont have the time, but when I do read it, it makes me smile. I love your Family :)Take Care

Elisha Steinhauser

LeAnn said...

Great thoughts on parenting. I like the way you are handling the baby and her desire for you to hold her while walking. I marvel at how quick they catch on to a teaching moments. I remember the Star War era of raising kids but if I go back to my own era; it would be cowboys and indians.
Blessings to you and keep enjoying your journey.

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