November 21, 2011

A Little Reminder...

... definitely for me. Maybe for you too.

There are many different ways to parent. There is no right or wrong way. Well, I totally take that back. There are lots of wrong ways. But I'm not talking in the extreme sense here. Once you have the basics down.. you know.. making sure they're fed, clothed, and have a warm place to lay their precious little heads.. the other stuff is a personal choice you make. One you make based upon what works with your family. We know all of this. So, my point?

Sometimes I forget this little fact. Sometimes, I see what's working so well for others and think, "ohhh that's what I'm doing wrong. I'll do exactly what she's doing. That'll fix everything." Basically, I can be my own worst critic at times. My mind can be tricked into doing something I'm not comfortable doing, just because someone else is doing it and doing it well.

My SIL has been my parenting guide since day ONE. Her baby is 7 months older than Andrew, so she's been through everything and it's still fresh in her mind. Plus, she has set a high standard. She's an amazing mother! For the most part, our parenting beliefs have matched up exactly, so it's been real easy for me. Let her go through all of the trial and error and then have her walk me through it.. ha! And for the first year of Andrew's life, it's worked out perfectly. Everything she was advising me on, I 100% agreed with and wanted to do with Andrew.

Enter in our visit together. Andrew starts acting up and being extremely clingy to me. It looked like we were starting the next bout of separation anxiety and I'm thinking.. perfect! Mel is here! She can help me fix this. Because at that point, in my mind, I have been horrible with discipline. I felt like I wasn't disciplining at all. I knew that she has been implementing time-outs for quite a while, so I turned to her. I wanted her to guide me through this time-out thing. I wasn't planning to start them quite yet, but I just had had it up to here with my son and didn't know what else to do. Combine that with the fact that Addyson was getting time-outs and it was correcting her behavior... I was on board.

So, that afternoon, when I was getting lunch ready in the kitchen and he wouldn't let me do a thing.. crying and clinging to my leg, Mel walked me through time-out. Because that's what she would have done with Addy.

It broke my heart. I hated every single second of it. My stomach had that awful, gut-wrenching feeling because he was crying more. Now to the point of hysterics and I just wanted to hold him. "What is wrong with me??", I was thinking. I'm going to be a total sap. My son is going to walk all over me and he'll never have boundaries. I was completely beating myself up and now even more confused than ever. And, surprisingly, it took a few days of that, until I got to the point where I had to excuse myself to fall into a pit of tears in my room, until I realized that... when it comes to discipline.. for the moment... Mel and I aren't quite in sync in our methods anymore. And that's okay.

It totally works for her. Just because I won't do it quite like she does, doesn't mean that I think she's wrong. She's obviously doing a lot right. Her daughter is so very well behaved and such a sweet girl. And Mel is fierce, but at the same time completely loving and interactive. Like I said above, she's an incredible mom, we are just different at the moment.

Always listen to your gut. A few days after Andrew started being extremely clingy, whiny, and just all around constantly needy like that.. he got a slight fever and started the whole runny nose, cough escapade. And then broke 2 teeth in the back. There was a reason he was acting like that. And instead of giving him the comfort that he needed, I isolated him in a separate room and used my "firm" voice. Remember that you know your child better than anyone else. I think I was feeling pressure and totally lost sight of that. If I had been more focused on the way Andrew and I handle things, and less concerned on being just like Mel and Addy.. (Ha! I have to laugh at myself)... I would have known that.

Also, I realized, once I took a step back, that I do discipline. I just do it differently. I pick my battles and the battles I pick may not be the same as hers.
1. There is no throwing. Of toys or food. He gets one firm warning (No Throwing) and I show him the appropriate ways to use said toy/food, and if he does it again, the object gets taken away. If it's a car, the car is gone. If it's food, he's done with his meal. That works for us at the moment. (I'm finding a lot of the times with food, he's telling me he's done and doesn't now how to tell me otherwise. So he's learned that if he throws his food, I put him down, and he's done. So, clearly we need to work on that :)
2. Absolutely no hitting. This he will get a time out for. Like above, he gets one warning. If it happens again, time-out. And honestly, I've only had to do the time-out two or three times. The warning is enough now and the behavior happens less and less. I'll get to the point where there aren't any warnings with this, but for now, this is working.

There are other little things, but we don't need to get into it all. You get the general idea. I'm just not as big of a time-out fan as others are. Yet. When he's older, that's totally the route we'll go. If it works for him... that's my plan anyways. I definitely won't use it ever again for when he just needs some mama comfort. Yes, sometimes it's an inconvenience, but this won't last forever. He won't need me forever, sadly. I've found that giving him something to do in the kitchen works wonders. And at times, if it doesn't, and he just wants me.. dinner can wait.


Jenn said...

So true! My son does the same thing to let us know he's finished eating. Just starts dropping Cheerios one by one on the floor until someone notices and plops him down... where he goes straight into eating his little stash on the floor. LOL

C. E. Welch said...

You are a great mom! I know I helped my sister go through some of that. Everyone telling her how to do things, but she had to find what worked best for her and her kids. You will find what works best for your little guy. And it may change for the next one, but you are and will continue to be a great mom.

Michelle A'etonu said...

well said, jessica!