Shortly after PB and I got married, we lived in Richmond, VA, in an area called Short Pump. We lived just a few minutes from Wal-Mart, and one evening in the parking lot while I was putting my bags in my car, I heard screaming…lots of screaming! There were two little kids, probably 2 and 4 years old, being pushed in a cart by their mother. Obviously, they did not get all that they wanted because they were screaming at the top of their lungs. The mom quietly put her bags in her SUV (still screaming). She put the children in their seats (still screaming). She took her cart to the cart return gate (still screaming). Then she stood outside of her truck with her arms folded (still screaming). When I pulled away, and drove by her truck, I could see that she was angry – red-faced, teary eyed, angry. I imagine that she waited outside of that truck until she cooled down enough to deal with her screaming kids that were inside. It was such a great lesson in parenting for me, and that was over ten years ago! Who knows what she was thinking, but I’m sure it wasn’t “I’m the best mom ever!” at that moment, however her strategy was one that I found effective when dealing with my cubs’ toddler tantrums.
The other day Cub 2 came home from school with a note from his teacher. It seems he had been very talkative and playing around in class. His big crocodile tears were already forming in his eyes after showing us his agenda book. He is by far our most sensitive cub, and it tears him to pieces when he knows that we are disappointed in him. Cub 2 was sent to his room to complete his homework. He also had his iPod taken until a better behavior report came home.
Disciplining our cubs is the part of parenting that I dislike the most, but it is required. Each cub is different, therefore our approach to discipline for each one is different. We have to find the rewards and consequences that will be the most effective for each cub.
What a task sometimes, but you have to keep at it and be consistent! Even when you can literally see the gray hairs growing in the mirror or when you have to drag them [embarrassingly] down the store aisle after you’ve said no to whatever they tried to get you to purchase for them or when they talk back for the someteenth time in one day and you just don’t like the funky attitude coming from your once adorable little angel. Stand your ground and keep teaching!
I’ve been reading a devotional book by Jen Hatmaker that was given to me a few weeks ago. It’s called “out of the spin cycle” and it caters to mothers of young children. When talking about her middle schooler, she says, “…it occurs to me that I might live ninety years on this planet; I’ll have him for only eighteen.”
Think about it this way: You only have 18 (or so) years to teach them what they need to know to be responsible, kind, productive, God-fearing adults. The other 80 (or so) years will consist of them applying all that you’ve taught them. You will not see the application of all that you teach them in the first 18 years before they leave for college, but they will take the lessons with them (whether they want to or not). I know that I’m using an ample amount of what I was taught by my parents still…20 years later! Wow! You are, too!
Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it. I’m believing God’s Word. We ARE going to survive this parenting thing! Oh, and to the moms who have completed their years of teaching, thank you for encouraging younger moms still working on theirs!
Off and Running!