Yesterday I was reminded of the kind of parent I USED to be — back when I had one child and I was determined to do everything right. Back when I wasn’t tired of doing this parenting thing. Back when I had energy and perseverance and pride in my children’s behavior. Maybe a little bit of pride isn’t such a bad thing.
You see, I used to be horrified when a child looked at his mother and said “No” with a defiance that only a 3-year-old can deliver. I used to look at MY child with horror when he attempted such a feat. And let me assure you, he only attempted it once. He was my first.
But somehow, over the course of having three kids, I have become somewhat desensitized to disrespect and defiance. That is, until yesterday when I saw the veiled horror on my friend’s face when my 3-year-old acted out and I was too tired to deal with her.
My 3-year-old is a pistol, but her spirit isn’t a bad thing; it just needs to be channeled in the right direction. Unfortuantely I haven’t been doing a very good job of that lately because I’m lazy and tired, but it’s time to snap out of it while there’s still time. I know if I don’t nip this in the bud, I am setting myself up for a loooooong road with this stubborn, willful child, so this week I’m instituting a reign of terror — a zero-tolerance policy, if you will.
I have sat her down and explained my expectations and the consequences. She is a smart kid. She knows what I’m talking about, and she knows she’s been getting away with disrespect and defiance too often. Inconsistent parenting is probably worse than purely permissive parenting, and I have been guilty of this inconsistency for far too long. My other two children never acted like this, and I’m pretty sure it has more to do with ME than with HER.
Not only am I making a promise to myself (and her) that I will begin to implement consequences consistently, I am also making a commitment to give her more attention so that she doesn’t feel the need to act out for that reason. I’m pretty sure that if I start responding to her needs in a more timely manner AND implementing discipline consistently, we will get over this hump quickly. Here’s hoping anyway.
Let the games begin.