February 1, 2010

On Parenting...

Ashley recently asked, What ages of your children did you find the most difficult and why?
I remember a time, when one of my daughters was about 3 years old and I sat in puddle of my own tears feeling guilty for not really liking her. We were in the throws of her strong will, strong opinion, and strong emotional reactions.
I just wanted it to be easy. For one day.
Part of the problem was my parenting. I was being a re-active parent rather than a "pre-active" parent. Reacting to her outbursts, reacting to my frustration, reacting with my own emotion. I had to learn to be the adult and plan for her outbursts. Nothing was being solved when I just reacted. I had to make a plan. I also shared the plan with her (during a calm moment). This let her know what to expect the next time she used her emotion/will/opinion to try to manipulate the situation. Don't let that ruffle your feathers. She wasn't manipulative, but 3 year olds know how to push the right buttons. ;)
The next step was for me to be consistent. Once I had a plan, I had to follow through. If I told her she would have to sit on her bed until she gained control, then that's what had to happen. There were a couple of times she sat there and yelled, cried and screamed for an hour. That's the hardest part of breaking a strong will ... outlasting them.
Once she figured out that she wasn't going to win the battle, the war was over pretty quickly. Needless to say, I really like that kid now. I realized it wasn't that I didn't like her. I didn't like parenting the strong will that was bottled up inside her. She still has strong opinions, and I'm okay with that because one day when she's on a college campus and someone is pressuring her to do something, I want her strong opinion to shine.
I have much more to say on this grand adventure of parenting, but I'll stop here for today.

Need some creative ideas for consequences/incentives? Check out this book. It's the most practical parenting book I've ever read:

My all time favorite "expert" on parenting ins Dr. Bob Barnes. He has written numerous books on marriage and parenting. If you ever get a chance to listen to him in person (or on you-tube) I recommend it. He is funny, practical, and wise. I love this particular book:


ashley said...

Wow, you have no idea how much your answer helped me! I often feel "annoyed" or like I just need a break from my oldest, and you're right - it's not because of HIIM that I feel that way, it's because of his intense personality. He really is a good boy... he has his moments where his sinful nature surely shows through, but he just is high energy and is FULL of questions, and never lets 1 second pass by before he's saying something else. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to explode. :) But, know I just need to enjoy it while he's young, because once he's a teenager he might not want to talk to me as much anymore!

Thanks for your wisdom.

Dawn said...

"creative correction" is one of my very favorites, too! it helped me out so many years ago! my other go-to source? kevin leman's "how to make your child mind without losing yours!"

i felt that guilty feeling... not liking my own daughte. i knew i loved her... but like? yikes. it was an awful time for me. guilt-ridden and lost. but we made it through... and this weekend was especially fun for the two of us girls :)

happy day to yoU!

Anonymous said...

I've read Lisa Whelchel's book but I've never heard of Bob Barnes. I'm going to put him on my library list!

We have a funny picture of K reading Dobson's Strong Willed Child when my oldest was probably 2.

Sandy said...

I did it... you did it... & both you & your precious little one benefitted SO greatly! You are an awesome Mommy!!!!

O Mom said...

My youngest is our strong willed one. I love how you said
"the hardest part of breaking the strong will is outlasting them."
So true.

Amber said...

I love that you said that you went through a period of not liking your kid very much.

I'm right there. Right now. And it hurts. But we're working through it. It's a long hard road of taming that wild spirit, but I'm trusting God with that crazy kid's heart. And just doing my best.

Thanks for sharing your heart!!!

Gretchen said...

I want to encourage you today because as I sit here with a preteen and a teenager, both in the throes of puberty, I realize that this advice is very sound. I don't always like them. Really. But I'll love them forever, and I know that despite my FEELINGS, I am the adult, and I can choose to parent with love and logic (also a good book, by Cline and Fay), and when we all fall, grace is as close as the next prayer. Thank You, Lord, because I blow it a lot. :)

Janet said...

Your post helps us all feel like "we weren't the only ones". I think the best thing that helped me in the toddler years was going in and looking at them sleeping. Then I would drag Brian in to their rooms, for the umpteenth time, just to look at them. What a gift --even after a bad day.

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Wow, very good post today NEM!

We're entering into some new unknown territory at our house with our 2nd son. He reacts so differently than me and my hubby's personality.

These last weeks we've been praying for God to give us wisdom and direction to guide them. This post had a lot of great insight!

Kellie said...

Three and strong will.... yeah, we had that here, too. Actually, we still have it ever so often, but thankfully it has been tamed with nice moments like you shared. :)

Amy Kinser said...

I love Creative Correction. I actually got to hear her in person at a Wonderful Weekend for Women a few years back and she did a great job. I love the creative methods she uses. I haven't hear of Dr. Barnes. Great post to share for all of us moms.

Richella said...

I haven't heard of these books, but they sound as if they must offer some good advice?

A lot of parenting is simply hanging in there during the difficult times. It's amazing how many different "phases" kids go through as they mature!

Blessings to you!

Gina said...

Thanks for some much needed (and timely!) perspective. I think I know this, but it's a great reminder. I'm going to check out those books too!