Today I’m going to share the ongoing challenge parents face that is discipline and kids. I am only sharing my observations with how Leki and I discipline Emelina and it is an ‘educated trial and error’ process. Your mileage may vary 🙂
One big theme I would like to share first is the mindset or psychology of discipline. The link here can explain in a bit more detail on what I’m talking about but I would like to present this idea in the context of disciplining children.
Our daughter Emelina will be 3yo in March 2018. She is a curious, adventurous, cheeky and a loving little human – she is not special in that regard as it is typical for most children. At this age she will explore her environment and a lot of what she encounters will be for the first time and/or she’s learning how to process something that looks or feels familiar. It is that curiosity that shapes her views on the big wide world.
On a slight tangent we as her parents have experienced this worldly environment for over 32 years. We already know the risks and dangers that exist in this world. We as parents understand the challenges of pouring water into a cup and the risk of spilling it, we have felt the pain of running around outside and falling scraping our knees bare, we know that sharp pointy things can be dangerous, we have felt that immense fear of being lost at a supermarket with unrecognisable people walking by ignoring you – there’s so many examples of pain and suffering we want her to avoid.
In reality there is only so much we can do to create a sense of safety for Eme allowing her to explore her environment by encouraging a healthy dose of curiosity.
Now let’s present this real life example of how we practice Curiosity over Judgement.
We are in the deep throes of toilet training Emelina. She shows signs of being ‘ready to go’ from nappies to undies. When she has a wet nappy it’s soaked up pretty well and so she’s comfortable. Different story when it comes to a dirty nappy – the feeling leaves her irritable and she’s wanting to be changed ASAP. We’ve used this opportunity to get Eme on the training toilet…. but we’re being met with some resistance.
So instead of getting frustrated with her or scolding her to ‘hurry up’ and kaka our code word for no. 2 🙂 or weewee we ask ourselves why she’s not wanting to use the toilet or how can we help her understand that this is a normal part of growing up. Granted it is a challenge to hold a conversation with a 2.5yo but we feel that should not limit you trying. We talk to her as if she’s 6yo but make sure we do it in a way that she feels comfortable and can process what we’re saying at her own pace.
After our initial attempts – 4 weeks in total – without any activity on the loo we trialled a reward system. Instead of promising nice treats or snacks we said that for every successful effort made on the toilet she’ll be rewarded with an Emoji sticker from the popular children’s movie. The result? Two successful weewees in ONE DAY!
I’ve been following the efforts of Susie at ‘Not-Your-Average-Mom’ blog and she has a great perspective on this theme involving discipline and Kids check it out here.
I don’t believe there’s such a thing as ‘terrible 2s or troublesome 3s’. The challenge will always be there regardless if they’re 2yo and not sleeping at night or 6yo and getting bullied at school or 10yo and wanting to try on make up or 12yo and wanting that new flashy mobile phone or having boy trouble at 15yo or falling pregnant at 18yo. These are all very real scenarios and fears all parents of young girls face but it is our responsibility to help these children grow and help guide them as they navigate their own journey. So how can we ensure we can keep them on the right track? While there’s no perfect solution practising Curiosity over Judgement can certainly cushion the fall.
So, another tough situation we experience with our little one is when we’re sitting in church. Now you can picture the struggle here. A church that can be a place of hushed quiet reflection and you have this child who refuses to sit still or wants to go an explore her new surroundings. How can we teach Eme to understand that there is a time to be playful and there is a time to be still and listen?
We taught her why it’s important to spend time together as a family, sing songs of praise and be grateful for the things we have in our lives. Does she understand completely what’s going on? Probably not. But we explain things to her anyway and more importantly show her by being quiet ourselves and being an example of how to be and act in times of quiet reflection. Any time she decides to act up we correct her behaviour and remind her again that this is not the right time to play. We make it up other times during the week by making sure we play with her so when we ask her for 1 hour of obedience we find that it’s not such of a big demand 🙂
So in short it is not my intention to paint this idyllic scenario where we are living error free and that everything is perfect. Far from it. The difference is that I am always striving to have the perfect day with my husband Leki and our little girl Emelina.
Curiosity over Judgement is helping us and I sincerely hope it helps you too!