1.10.2014

THE TOUGH STUFF

Discipline is a word I always kind of shuddered at the thought of. Of all the tasks we undertake as parents, I think this may be the toughest. Back when Josephine was just a tiny little baby I remember thinking how Pete and I would one day need to actually teach her right from wrong, what is safe and what is not, and consequences. It seemed so far off, but that day is here. At 14 months old she is starting to flex her independent muscle in a big way, and this means pushing boundaries and big meltdowns. Things that used to be easy-peasy…diaper changes, getting her dressed, eating…are now mini battles. I know a lot of this comes from a place of frustration. She is increasingly aware of her own wants and desires, but doesn't yet have the ability to vocalize them. We've taught her some basic sign language and she has gotten pretty good at pointing and acting out what she wants, but there are still a lot of times when she just loses it because we can't quite understand what she wants. Patience isn't necessarily something a toddler understands yet either, so it takes an extra dose of patience and understanding on our part just to keep things somewhat calm. I try to put myself in her shoes. It must be terribly frustrating.
With all of this new behavior, I have been reflecting on my own personal style of parenting a lot lately. I want Josephine to begin to understand that certain things just aren't okay. That there are ways of letting us know what she wants without tantrums. I want her to feel safe, secure, and happy within the boundaries we place for her. And I want to do it in the most warm and loving way possible. I know we are only at the beginning when it comes to this huge task of ours, but so far redirection, following through and being consistent are the strategies that have been working for us. I have a big heart for this little girl, and it breaks in a million little pieces when I see her so upset at the drop of a hat. Thicker skin is definitely a trait I am going to need to develop as she gets older and the battles get more complicated. I don't even want to think about the teen years…oi vey! I only hope that setting up some expectations now will help us out down the road.

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