Thursday, December 14, 2006

For those of you who know me, you know I'm a people-pleaser. I don't like confrontation, I don't like contention with anyone and according to my mom I was the easiest child in the world to raise. I was obedient and rarely required spankings and when I did, I think I cried harder due to the fact that I knew I had dissapointed my parents then fear of the pain of the spanking. I always knew I wanted to be a mom - it was my dream from a very young age to get married, have children and stay at home with them. Now that dream is fulfilled and I am so very blessed.

Having said ALL of that - I'm tired! I feel like some days my strong willed children chew me up and spit me out. Rauly is nearly stronger than me already (and she's only 1)...she's recently been throwing the worst fits...arching her back, banging her head on the floor and kicking her legs at anyone who's within reach. It's amazing to me that at times, it truly seems as if her spirit is stronger than mine - she's just a little that possible?!! Although Shepherd is also strong willed, he is surprisingly becoming the more compliant child - he seems to need my approval more than Rauly does and is already more concerned with being in my good graces. Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful that Rauly is strong willed - I truly believe that having a strong will is a blessing. Strong willed children typically grow up to be leaders among their peers, confident in their endeavors and unafraid of obstacles... I have just got to find a way to mold her feisty little spirit into what God wants her to be...which is obedient to her parents! My mom recently bought me the new Strong Willed Child by Dobson which is great - but if anyone out there has a strong willed child and has any other tools to share with me - I'd greatly appreciate it!


tleaf10 said...

sorry I don't have any kids so my experience is limited. I will tell you not to give up ... the discipline you give her now (whatever it may be) will make her a better person, more in control of her feelings and emotions, and more respectful...even if it takes a few months or years. You're doing a good job!

Lindsey said...

Don't worry Terri - your sis motivated me today to stick to my ground. I'm kind of feelin' bad about saying anything about her throwing fits because she was PERFECT the entire drive home today! (12 hours in the car and NO fits - yea Rauly!!)

tleaf10 said...

hey I thought of an tantrum episode that my dad and I witnessed in an old diner in Montana one summer ... I think it was like a dad and granddad and then a son and a daughter. The son got down on the floor and started screaming and kicking and making his face turn really red. His dad (I presume) walked calmly over to him and poured a whole glass of cold water on his face. The tantrum stopped immediately. It was humorous to witness but looked pretty efficient also. Congrats on Rauly being good on your way home. I've even been known to throw a tantrum after driving 12 hours (even when it's just me in the car) :)

elizabeth said...

I am Lauren's sister. She told me to read this blog as she knows I am the proud owner of a strong willed child! Matthew is 7 now, and how I made it through his preschool years with both of us intact is still a mystery to me!

I didn't get much out of The Strong Willed Child. My favorite book is Parenting With Love And Logic. They even have a preschool version. It just made a lot of sense to me.

That being said, I have always said that I had to keep my thumb on Matthew. If I gave an inch or let him get away with something it was trouble. I tried to always really consistent with him and that seemed to work well. He isn't "easy" to parent, but he is challenging which is fun and difficult at the same time!

Matthew is incredibly smart and his teacher adores him. He never gets in trouble at school. He is also very attached to me, loves God, tries to do the right thing and when he doesn't, he apologizes profusely. These are some of the positives of having a strong willed child that I remind myself of when we are in the pits!

He is 7 now, so spankings and time outs aren't as effective. I find items or activities that he adores and use them as leverage. In November, we were having a particularly hard week and Matthew wasn't able to attend the Baylor vs. A&M game. This is his favorite activity and was devastating to him. It worked though and even now when he is acting up, I remind him of that incident and he straightens up.

Throwing fits: They don't work if there isn't an audience. This happens a lot with my 2 year old daughter. She starts throwing a fit, she goes in her crib. After a minute, I usually hear, "I'm sorry, Mommy." If we are not at home, I do my best to ignore her (keeping safety in mind) and that usually diffuses it.

I hope this helps. I found that when Matthew was 3, it got a lot better. Once you can reason with them, fun discipling begins! I don't mean I like when my kids get in trouble, I just think it is like a puzzle to find what works and what doesn't. The end result is a happy, well adjusted child!

Lindsey said...

I can't wait to get my hands on the book you recommended Elizabeth - Strong Willed Child is interesting and encouraging but not so much helpful when it comes to suggestions on discipline. Thanks again for your advice!

Kate said...

All the "Strong Willed" stuff sounds great, but, just a word of caution: Try not to label your children, even if it's a good label. I know we all think being strong willed is a good thing later in life, if all is done well. But, it still labels them and this can be a very bad thing, no matter what the supposed problem/good quality. I think it might have been Dr. Phil (who I don't ALWAYS agree with, but I think he has some wisdom) that said you should never say things like "This is Jack, our athlete," or this is "Molly, our singer and musician." You can ellaborate on your own there, but it can be damaging, especially if the kids hear you labeling them. I have had a really hard time trying not to do this, but haven't been perfect--especially with Jack. Here is a short book that has been very helpful for us. "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp is a great way to raise your child on very Biblical principles. There are some things in the book that we have adapted to fit our family, as we have to do with all books. But, the overall skeleton of what the book teaches is our philosophy on parenting. Also, I also recommend "Parenting with Love and Logic." I'm glad to hear that it was good for Elizabeth with the 7 year old! I'm not in agreement with James Dobson on much, so "The Strong Willed Child" wasn't helpful for our family, but many parents swear by it, so maybe you'll get some help with it. I'll be praying for you.