Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When To Teach a Child "NO", sooner or later?

What would life be in a home without a few burst of anger from time to time?

Doesn't matter what personality they have, we have had to train each child what to do with their anger. Today, I had 4 of them forget, so yet again, we have one more lesson in controlling our emotions. (None of them can burst into anger at the same time so group lessons or family discussions are out the door! This takes up a lot of time in my day...but it is worth my attention!)

A little hard to imagine that our happy, content toddler will ever exhibit anger, but I see it coming! At the moment he has just started the stage of 'if' I don't get what I want or 'if' I don't like something, hit the closest thing to you:/ He is still in the smile while I do it stage but that doesn't make it right. So we are having to teach him that hitting mom, the table, or a sibling is NOT appropriate! I know there are gonna be lots more times to train this concept.
(Experience from 7 previous children gives me a little insight!)

With that insight we have learned there are several stages in a child's life where you see that sin nature BUST out the door. To list a few....from going after what they can't have, to burst of anger, to the all important (its all about me) stage. The training of contentment, controlling our emotions, and the thought of others first...all are important and require a parents constant attention. No wonder we are all drop dead tired!

We have often been asked when do we begin spanking or disciplining our kids. We typically begin the process the moment they can crawl. (when they crawl they are making decisions on where they want to go and what they want to do) Thanks to our strong willed 1st born, she taught us with a great deal of confidence that if she has a choice she was going to pick her way!

I will never forget the day we were sitting in the living room. I was in the floor reading a book as she was exploring the room from her new vantage point, the crawl. It didn't take her long to notice all kinds of fun things that apparently didn't capture her attention before this stage. It was very evident as she crawled over to the stereo that when I said "no", she considered that a suggestion and not a command.

First I would tell her "no" and pull her away.

Second time I would tell her "no" and pull her away.

Third time I would tell her "no", swat her hand, pull her away.
(she looked at me with disgust and she was only 5 months old!)

Fourth time I would tell her "no", swat, and pull her away.
(I am questioning at this point if she has any idea what I am telling her)

Fifth time.....Do you know what she did?

She crawls over to the stereo,

looks right at me,

waits for me to look at her,

then reaches out and touches the stereo!!!

(I KNEW at that moment, she knew EXACTLY what she was doing)

I determined if it took me all day I was going to teach her NOT to touch the stereo.
There was no yelling, no crazy fits, it was just a battle of the wills! I was determined that I was older and bigger and I could win this battle! It took me nearly all day, but do you know by the end of the day...she did NOT touch the stereo.
(Because she was only 5 months old I think it helped me stay calm through the process. We did the "no", swat hand or leg, and pull her back...over and over again.)

That was the beginning of us realizing that these little ones need to be trained for everything! Especially since having 8 children I understand that everything, means...everything. Even things like emotions!

Even with the toddler now in high destruction mode. I can watch with amusement at seeing his little eyes and hands in constant motion to satisfy his curiosity. But we still have to help teach him the boundaries of that curiosity. I get tickled that our little 18 month old already understands the words, "put that back" or "give that to me". If we say put it back he walks over and puts it back. If we tell him to bring it to us, he will bring it to us. NOT every time, but most of the time. You can see his little head determine whether he should BOLT or not. But he has learned that choice will only result in a win for mom or dad! (of course the entire time we are announcing to the other kids...don't you laugh or you will RUIN our teaching moment...inevitably we all get a good giggle in afterwards...that is the joy of having raised 7 kids prior...the first few it left us exasperated! Now we enjoy the moment and realize a good laugh never hurts!)

1 comment:

  1. I can SO relate to the sooner the better idea. So true. And even when they are trained as little ones, there is constant building on that as they grow. Yes - TIRED! :-)
    And laughing? Our biggest challenge is dinner time training with the two year old while the other seven giggle and snort and chuckle. . . sometimes I have to make them leave the room! HA!