News Flash: Parenting is hard work.
Our kids’ behaviors seem to cycle. Some weeks they behave pretty well, with slight misbehaviors thrown in here and there. During these times it is easy to love and accept them – to even consider staying at home full time. However, other times they behave as if it their sole purpose in life to frustrate and annoy us.
The last couple of weeks have been really busy for us: two visits from my in-laws, extra projects for Chris at work, three of us getting ill and Ella’s birthday and party. These types of things bring out the behaviors I don’t like as much. Ella’s completely backtracked on her potty training and Harrison is becoming more negative again. (He can have attitude changes in which he approaches everything from a negative angle.) Maybe it’s because we let things go when we think they’re sick, or recovering. Or maybe it’s because we let things go when we’re busy with work or cleaning for a party.
A friend of mine at work, Amanda, and I have been talking about this lately. Why does it seem that parenting is so much harder these days? People have been parenting for millions of years. Do you think they had problems with name calling and temper tantrums back in the Stone Age? Maybe, but they probably just stoned their children into submission.
As the cycles of behaviors change, so must our discipline responses. Time outs have been our most effective tool, as have reinforcement and redirection. My biggest problems can occur in the car. I can’t throw them into time outs, so I try to play “I Spy” or “Let’s count the pink flowering trees” game. When all else fails, I take pictures.