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Consistency in Parenting

Posted Feb 12 2013 7:06pm

It seems that whenever we are going on vacation or getting away for a few days, there is always a ton to do before we leave! My husband’s birthday is Friday (the day after V-Day), so we are spending a few days on the Coast to celebrate, leaving on Thursday and staying through Monday. It’s only Tuesday, but I have SO much to get done before we leave, it is crazy (fortunately, I got my WOD in this morning, so I have the afternoon to work on things!). In addition, I’ve been thinking about Keenan, which doesn’t help. He will be staying with my in-laws, which is the first time he has been away from us for that long. He has only stayed with my parents for two nights, so four nights is a long time (at least for me, anyways!). I know he will have fun and be fine, but the Drama Queen in me is a little emotional about leaving him for so long. My husband thinks I’m a big worry-wort, but I just can’t help but feeling that way. Has anyone else felt that way when you left your child or children with relatives for a few days?

Anyhow, enough of my worries and onto the joys of parenting. I recently read an article on BabyCenter about disciplining toddlers, especially during the “terrible two’s.” Since I’m right in the trenches, I thought it was very timely. Keenan is a pretty good child. He’s even-tempered and usually listens to and respects what my husband and I say. A couple of months ago when he was cutting some new teeth, he turned into a completely different child: acting out, getting upset at every little thing, throwing tantrums and not wanting to eat his food (even his favorites). Fortunately, after a week, that little phase passed.

My little "Sweet Pea!"

My little “Sweet Pea” enjoying his dinner last night!

Lately, in the past few days, Keenan has been testing the waters, doing things he knows he isn’t supposed to. For example, he loves to get his little step stool and put it next to our kitchen counter in order to reach things he isn’t supposed to play with, such as our phones, pens and papers. If we tell him no, he continues to do it again a few more times, testing his limits. My husband and I believe in removing him from situations, so he gets one warning and then he is immediately put in Time Out (the little corner of our dining room). He has to be completely quiet before he is done with Time Out, and every moment he isn’t quiet, we add another minute on the clock. Sometimes, Time Out has stretched to 20 minutes because he kept crying or talking! After he is done with Time Out, we ask him if he understood why he was disciplined and to tell us he is sorry. Most of time time, it works and after his Time Out, he doesn’t push the limits again. But in the past couple of days, it seems that Time Outs haven’t been that effective.

It is frustrating because as a parent, I sometimes feel like throwing in the towel and giving in, but I know deep down inside that it is the wrong thing to do. In order for Keenan to grow up knowing right from wrong and what is acceptable behavior and what is not, my husband and I need to be consistent with our disciplining.  No matter how tired we might be in repeating the same thing over and over, or spending what would be productive time dealing with Time Outs, we need to not give up. Even little things like throwing a toy or putting a cup in the toilet (which he did yesterday!) seem easy to skip over, but in the end, being consistent is key. If my husband and I aren’t consistent, then Keenan learns to get away with things, thus taking advantage of us. No one said parenting is easy, but sometimes, things can be so frustrating that you just want to scream and let everything go!

Today, right before lunch, Keenan went number two in his pants ( still no success in the potty !) while building his lego house, but he refused to get changed, throwing a little fit. Finally, after telling him that he wouldn’t be able to continue playing with his legos if he didn’t get changed, he listened and allowed me to change his diaper. But once lunch was ready, he didn’t want to eat, and when he did, he was whining and crying. I was having a hard time staying calm, since I was hungry and anxious to get him down for his nap. I raised my voice and he finally listened and ate his food, but was it the best approach? No. I feel bad for being frustrated with him, but sometimes it is hard to remain calm, after spending countless minutes disciplining. It’s funny how nobody prepares you for these moments when you are pregnant!

Al in all, no matter how frustrated, irritated or exhausted we may be, my husband and I need to remain calm, not give in and remember to always be consistent. I know Keenan will get through this, whatever it is, as he did a couple of months ago. Maybe he is anticipating us being gone for a few days and not happy about it…I don’t know. But, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and I need to remember that.


- For all of you mommy’s out there, what is your disciplining approach? What do find most effective?

-How do you remain calm during bouts of frustration?




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