HARD LESSONS

I’ve said before that one of the most challenging parts of being a parent is staying consistent with discipline and following through with what you say you are going to do. Sometimes Grant and Maria have had to learn some hard lessons with regards to behavior and consequences.

Maria’s lesson: Thou shall not throw M&Ms or any other food.

It’s not uncommon to allow them to have one peanut M&M if they behave and eat well at dinner. Earlier this week, I was handing out their M&M when Maria began to protest the color of her M&M and fact that she only got one. I had a different color in my hand and offered a trade when she grabbed it without warning. Problem was she was not letting go of the first one. I pried the 2nd out of her little hand when she began to scream and subsequently hurled the one M&M she had across the room. What did this mean for her? ZERO M&Ms. What did this mean for me? A tantrum full of pitiful tears and screaming. I let her rage for a few minutes then picked her up and sat with her in the rocking chair to calm her down and explained the reason that she did not get an M&M and that she needed to tell me she was sorry for throwing it and the subsequent tantrum. She said she was sorry and was soon distracted. The next night there was zero protest over M&Ms.

Grant’s lesson: Thou shall not throw tantrum over getting one’s hair dried.

Jeremy has been blow drying Maria’s hair after bath for some time. The other night Grant decided he wanted his hair dried. He sat on the floor while Jeremy blow dried it and when Jeremy declared him finished, I picked him up so we could start his bedtime story. Grant, however, did not think he was finished. He melted out of my lap crying “hair dwy” and soon became a puddle on the floor. He wallowed around crying as I told him that if he didn’t stop his crying about his hair that he was not going to get his bedtime story. He continued to wallow and wail. I allowed this performance for a couple of minutes and eventually I picked up off the floor and explained that he had lost his bedtime book privileges. The cry then changed from “hair dwy” to “read book”. It was pitiful. I cradled him and began to explain that I warned him of the consequences of his tantrum and because he continued he lost his book reading for that night, however we would still rock. He didn’t like the answer, but accepted it and after a few minutes the tears dried.

While these instances can be trying I see the benefits when we can remind them of these consequences and they alter their behavior to what we want. Sometimes the hard lessons are the best lessons.

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