Okay. So. Parenting advice. We've all received it, whether we've asked for it or not! And, while some advice can be a tad frustrating, there is a lot of advice that I've found to helpful. So, I wanted to share some of that today! Firstly, I remember my Dad telling me that "Discipline begins in the crib!" I realize that can sound harsh ... if you liken discipline to punishment. BUT, really, discipline should be done in love whereas punishment is typically the product of anger. Discipline is a response, where as punishment is a reaction. Things like crying it out and learning to stay in the crib are great examples of early discipline--creating healthy boundaries because you believe the best of your child, that they are capable of learning and growing even as infants. And, of course, including loads of affection with kisses and hugs and cuddles. Feelings of self-worth, confidence, and boundaries ... and it all starts at the age of the crib.
Secondly. I've mentioned the book Don't Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman before. I appreciate a lot of what Mrs. Plowman has to say, but there is one principle that has stuck to my brain like white on rice and I'm so glad I read it. She tells the story of a young child who is misbehaving in a store. The child is whiny and fitful and disobedient, and all the while the mother is apologizing that her child is "tired". Mrs. Plowman suggests that shoot, we're not allowed to act that way just because we're tired, so why should children? As a new mom, I realize how easy it can be to excuse a child's bad behavior. "No, really, she usually isn't this way--she's teething!" "Oh, I'm sorry he hit your child. He's just very tired!" Because the reality is that yes, those things absolutely affect the way our children act. I'm cranky when I'm tired, too. BUT, that doesn't mean I get to haul off and smack the first person that crosses my path. I'm not allowed to scream at the dinner table when I have a headache, so my child may not scream at the dinner table because he's popping a molar.
I'm not implying that we should be stoic to the fact that are children are uncomfortable. Show the teething child sympathy. And good grief, don't drag an exhausted child to a restaurant or the mall! Be kind by doing what's best for them. If you know little Timmy is sleepy from a long day, stay home and spare yourself and others the frustration of a cranky kid in public. He'd rather be at home with Mommy and Daddy anyway, plus it's way easier to follow through on discipline when there aren't tons of people staring you down!
Yesterday, Cub was cranky and drooly all day and I knew he must be teething. We have a little routine after I change Cub's diaper. He picks it up and carries it to the kitchen trash can, lifts the lid, drops it in, and says, "Yay!" (We empty that trash every day, don't worry.) Yesterday I finished changing his diaper and handed him the used diaper and asked him to please take it to the trash can. He held it in his hand and suddenly burst into tears. He set the diaper on the ground and stood there, sniffling, looking up at me. Knowing he was obviously a bit unhappy and probably uncomfortable (and good grief, still so stinkin' cute), I got down on his level, kissed his head, and explained that I knew he wasn't feeling good and that I would help him carry his diaper. I handed it to him and offered him my hand. He knew the expectation was there for him to obey and that I was giving him a second chance--not in anger, not threatening. In the midst of his pain, he felt safe to obey. He took my hand and we walked together to the kitchen, where he tossed the diaper in the trash, and even gave the "Yay!" at the end of it. It might seem like a little thing. And maybe some of you will think I'm too harsh for still expecting my little guy to obey when he's teething. But, I wasn't cruel. He wasn't miserable. And the diaper got tossed.
So, that is also some of the best advice I've received (or read): Discipline starts in the crib, and, Be careful to not excuse disobedience.
How about you? What's some of the best parenting advice you've received??