Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cute Antics Aren't Always Cute

I am the mom to three boys. I've learned some things in the last 12 years of parenting. I'm hoping this one will help.

Here's a scenario...
Junior is now toddling around the house having a grand time exploring his world. You pull out some blocks or toys for him to play with & he begins tossing them hither & yon. "How cute!" you exclaim. Or hubby may say, "Look at that arm!" and you do nothing to discourage this behavior because after all, Junior is just a baby & he doesn't know any better & he means no harm & really, would he even listen?

Fast forward a year or two...Junior is now bigger & you have Little Sis who is just learning to crawl. Junior is still practicing his throwing arm & is getting better with his aim. He tosses around the blocks, matchboxes, whatever he can get his hands on. They are hitting you, the baby, the dog, the walls, everything. Every time you tell him, "No, Junior, we do not throw our toys" the little darling just laughs at you.

So what should you do? Rather what should you have done....

Any behavior your toddler is displaying now has the potential to turn in to some very undesirable behavior when they are grown. Try to imagine what your young one will be like in just another year. Is this a behavior you want to encourage? By encouraging I mean, ignoring it. Do not discipline for it. Do not try to change it. If not, then you need to be proactive.

When your toddler is young & they are (for instance) following the above scenario, you tell them no each and every time. If it is a behavior you do not want to encourage, then you must be consistent (as with all discipline) and discourage it every time. Otherwise you'll be dealing with behaviors in older children & wondering why on earth they aren't listening to you now - it's because you didn't make them listen then. Young ones (and I mean young) have an amazing ability to learn - use it. Teach them. Teach them the way you want them to behave & you will enjoy the benefits when they are older.

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  1. Good advice you have given. It is easy to fall into that trap when you have so much going on in the house at one time. Thanks for the reminder.

    In Christ,


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