There was a battle brewing. I was setting lunch on the table, and my daughter decided to sit in a chair other than her usual one. “Please move over into your chair,” I asked. “I want to sit here,” she replied. I explained that we were having soup and I didn’t want it to spill on the carpet, so I wanted her to sit on her own chair, which has a plastic mat underneath. I explained how much easier it would be to clean up spilled soup from the plastic mat than the carpet. My usually agreeable child looked at me and repeated, “I want to sit in THIS chair.” Oh, I thought. She wants to sit in … [Read more...]
But What If They Run Into the Street?
Yesterday SweetPea and I were walking home, and she all of a sudden turned around and ran the other way. "Home is THIS way," I pointed. She paused, then continued running the other direction. "Stop!" I said firmly, but she continued on, giggling in anticipation of the chase. I was fuming. I would love to say that my anger was fueled by worry of her running into the street, but no; I was furious that she disobeyed. How DARE she blatantly defy me! With my blood boiling, I set of in a stern walk, determined not to make this fun by chasing her. Is Punishment Ever Justified? It seems … [Read more...]
Taking the Bite out of Toddler Aggression
I heard the shriek of pain from the other room. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I raced out, knowing, just knowing, that my own little SweetPea had somehow injured little Alex. Few things make me feel more self-conscious than pushing, biting, snatching toddlers. Double the anxiety and embarrassment if it happens in public; nothing like all those eyes on me with their unstated expectations for me "do something" to control my kid! Last week was one of those times. I was babysitting twins and had taken Nicky into the bedroom for a diaper change, when all of a sudden, I heard … [Read more...]
Can Kids’ Misbehavior Be An Opportunity To Connect?
What do your kids do that drives you crazy? Do they whine, refuse to come with it's time to leave the playground, argue over who's turn it is to take out the trash? How do you handle these behaviors? Does this restore good feelings to everyone, or do you all feel worse afterward? The good news is we can influence whether we are more connected after a conflict. People are hardwired to see people as either threats or allies. When we try to control (through punishments, bribes, comparisons, false praise) our kids perceive us as a threat. They may go along with us to avoid the … [Read more...]
The Day I Stopped Spanking
I will never forget the look on his face. The look of utter betrayal, mixed with anger and confusion. The tears squeezing out from the corners of his eyes. I had just spanked Ethan for the first time. He was the first child I nannied for full-time. His parents spanked, and had encouraged me follow their lead for "consistency." He was just over a year old, and I had already been taking care of him for about half a year. Up to that point, I had been relied primarily on redirection, distraction, and positive reinforcement as my main disciplinary tools. But that day, he just … [Read more...]