Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I want to talk...

baby-lo isn't a baby - before my eyes she's become a togla. ar a toddler. whatev. I should call her "lo" now instead.
a few times in the last week I've been faced with a situation which leaves me thinking. lo is busy learning news things and starting to assert her independence. the things I say and do will establish the ground rules for our interactions, and will really define the way I parent.
it's got me wondering what kind of parent I want to be, what is important to me, and how can super-dad and I ensure we develop consistency in our approach to parenting?
here's some examples:
  1. on sunday, bl carefully pushed a stool over to the toybox in front of the tele and used it as a prop to clamber onto the toybox and reach a doll on the top of the tele

  2. on monday while visiting a friend, bl was presented with a plate of sliced fruit. she wasn't interested in eating it and so tipped the plate over

so they're totally different instances, but for they've started me thinking about parenting philosophies and encouraging positive behaviour in toglas.

in situation 1, the most important issue is safety. but in some ways I applaud her ingenuity. I don't want to just say "naughty girl" when she's being inventive, not bad. I said "well done - great climbing. mummy doesn't want you so close to the tele though darling - let's put the stool in another room". but I don't want to encourage potentially dangerous climbing.

in situation 2, I was acutely aware we were at someone's house and I really felt like I was on display as a mum. I said "let's keep the food on the plate. if you don't want any, I can put it away". and yet I don't want to become an ineffectual mother who brushes aside delinquent behaviours as all being "cute". having said that, in that instance I don't think bl was being intentionally destructive - so it's not a strict discipline thing either.

lot's of book blurbs I've read talk about discipline which makes me a bit uncomfortable. I think there have to be ways to encourage positive social behaviours while still making clear boundaries. I'm conscious too, that consistency in approach will be crucial.

I worry about the messages children hear when we label them as naughty or nice, good or bad. I feel really uncomfortable when I hear parents talking about their child in negative ways - especially within earshot. I cringe when I hear parents describe children as difficult, high maintenance or highly strung.

praps I'm coming to this later than other mums, almost certainly I'm over thinking it. what do you do to encourage positive behaviours, and how do you respond to inappropriate ones? is there a book or philopsophy or mantra that you follow?


  1. I don't have an ethos or a book that I follow I just do what I do as ti comes naturally. Lately I have been thinking that I might need to start saying "no" more often because whatever she wants she gets and maybe that might be a problem at preschool next year... If she says "jump on the bed?" I say "why not, lets go" if she wants to climb on the table I let her as long as I can reach her. If she wants to take all the stickers off the apples and stick them on the wall then I let her do that too...

    She does some very bad stuff to the dogs though. It IS naughty, it is BAD. She kicked Beatrice accross the room the other day you know? The poor little thing was fast asleep on a cushion on the floor and T came up and kicked her. As she did it she said "look look Beatrice fly" I took her by the hand and sat her on the couch and I said "Tinker we don't do things like that. Poor Beatrice is crying now, what do you say to Beatrice?" you know what she said? "Sorry Beatie do mean things".

    So she knows. She does it all day long I am struggling with it because she seems to find it very amusing. Other than being nasty and hurting my poor little dogs who are only a few kilos each, she is actually asking them to bite her one day and I really wish she'd stop it.

    If I raise my voice and say "DON'T HURT THEM" or whatever she laughs because she thinks it is funny since I never raise my voice at her it seems like a game I guess. I have tried taking her over to another part of the room and saying "when you pull Henry's tail you are asking Mam to sit you here by yourself" and she just laughs and says "No!"

    You probably cring when I say T is tricky... but she is tricky. She is not like my friends' children who can sit like a blob with a toy for 20 minutes. She is a constabtly moving/talking dynamo. She says "stop talking put phone back" if I try to make a phone call in her company. Often when friends visit and I chat to them she climbs up onto my lap and says "Mama talk to Tinker now". She is high maintenance but I really prefer her this way. I find other peoples children simple and boring.

    Discipline is important, Tinker needs to know that we don't hurt animals and we don't break things on purpose. She does know because she often tells me but I can't seem to stop her for the time being... It is hard.

  2. I tend to do what comes naturally too. I just worry that that might mean that sometimes things are ok, and other times it's not and that that will be confusing.

    I really admire you're "sure let's jump on the bed attitude", and I think it's really good to establish a sense of fun.

    I think saying "no" without consequences, or not helping develop basic groundrules can be really confusing for kids and for parents.

    I agree that hurting animals or breaking things on purpose is exactly the kind of thing that is important to understand. and you know with T that if you do explain, then she does understand. I don't know if Lo really does... get it yet when I say "no".

    just now she was looking out the front window and we look at cars as we wait for daddy. she bangs on the window, I say "stop, gentle hands" and show her what gentle is, and then she does it again.

    how much of a toddler ignoring you is lack of understanding, naughtiness or just... indignance?