Ok so I have admitted to myself and others that I’m a bit short tempered at home. I’ve read a lot about disciplining babies and the types of behaviour that they pick up from their parents since I became pregnant (but have yet to find a consistent conclusion…)
The most persuasive thing I read was about not saying “no” to your child at a young age, because realistically they don’t know what it means and as they grow into toddlerhood they will simply accumulate more and more things that you need to say no to. I agree with this…although the article didn’t give any tips on what to do instead of saying no, myself and a friend who have children of a similar age recently concluded that the trick was to distract them.
This is what I have been trying:
“Don’t lick that cable Jem, come and play with this *shakes toy*”
“Don’t chew that table leg Jem…here’s a ricecake”
“Jem, you’ll fall, stop it, stop it…come here…I’ve got bread…please come and eat the bread”
“Jem, Jem, Jem…grapes?”
…it’s not really working for me, and given the building site that we live in (which has vastly improved in the last 10 months don’t get me wrong) there are times when I just can’t find fruit in time to distract the
food monster boy. Sadly at these times I do resort to shouting, screaming, dragging him away, finger wagging. I can see now why some parents find it irresistible to smack. Now whilst I don’t agree personally with smacking (I was smacked as a child, it did me no harm, it’s not for me though) and in any event at 10 months Jem is waaaay to young to be acceptably smacked, I can see that he is old enough to know the difference between things that he’s not allowed to do (which appears to make the activity irresistible) and boring things that he is allowed to do and will be left quite alone whilst he is doing it.
My parents both shouted a lot at me when I was a child and I have always wondered what the point was, it didn’t make any difference to my behaviour (I remember distinctly) but always left me with a horrible and unpleasant feeling, so I had decided I didn’t want to go down this route…but I can’t help myself…
It’s almost therapeutic to tell the boy off when he does something irritating or naughty. It makes him stop, immediately burst into
crocodile tears…then do it again…lather; rinse; repeat. More importantly it makes me feel I am being an “effective parent“. Recently I’ve found myself shouting more and more and I think this is simply a symptom of my own boredom about being a stay at home mum.
Today I am having a day of not shouting, I feel I need it to try and build our relationship, but it’s hard!
Nicely telling the boy not to do dangerous things has had some advantages, I’m pretty sure he’s been a little calmer today than he might otherwise have been, and so have I. We haven’t had any worse accidents or falls than we might otherwise have had on a shouty day. Interestingly he’s still having his grotty hour at the moment which he gets everyday, although I just managed to stop the whine for 5 minutes by drumming on the sofa (he wanted to do it, didn’t want mummy to join in…moved mummy out of the way…) but I have noticed that in maintaining this I have spent much more quality time with the boy today than I might otherwise do. On days when I am working or have something of my own to focus on I find the frustration boils over.
That said he has just cracked the screen on my laptop as I ineffectively stopped him yanking at it…it resulted in a shout of “why do I have to tell you every day not to do that?!” clearly the answer is I should be focusing on my son rather than simply things that I want to do…