Thursday, March 31, 2011

Get It Back Out

Amongst my friends everyone has their favorite parenting advice, advisor, book, philosophy, etc. I travel in a bunch of friends whose opinions vary fairly narrowly on this and as a rule have pretty well behaved children.

Years before John came along, Mark and I read Parenting With Love and Logic because we were dealing with other people's children, i.e. the youth group and after school programs and such, and needed a way to manage these children behavior without yelling at them and without spanking them. The techniques in the book basically give the child some control over their environment, while still keeping them in the parameters that you choose. The example that comes to mind quickest is one used by the friend who recommended the book in the first place to deal with children and coats in the winter, she would give her child the choice to either carry it or wear it, they have a choice and their coat is at least with them if not actually on them, but they can put it on later if/when they get cold. For us, with other people's kids, these choices worked ok, better than some other ideas and depending on the amount of self-discipline the child already had, pretty good in some cases and in others it just made us look weak.

When John came along he was a sick baby and we were more concerned with keeping him alive than worrying about how we would discipline him when he got big enough to misbehave. Later, while we insisted on manners, please and thank-you, John really didn't have the energy to get himself into too much trouble. Now it's a whole different story. Too many times lately I have found myself thinking "thank God you survived all that, now STOP IT" about whatever he has gotten himself into. He has never had so much energy to get into trouble with and now we find ourselves talking more about what we remember of Love and Logic and needing to get the book back out and hoping that it will work better with our own child, especially since we don't have the no yelling or spanking rules and he knows that.

We are so thankful that John survived, human words cannot express the relief and thankfulness that we feel as we watch him one more time feeling bigger and better and stronger than ever. On the other hand we can't let his survival become an excuse for him to turn into a little brat, which he would surely do right now if left undisciplined. As much as we don't want anyone to pity John for all he's been through, we don't want anyone to be thinking 'oh great, here comes's John, I wonder what he'll break this time' and equipped with a 300 pound power chair set on full-speed-ahead that is a legitimate concern if he appears to be out of control. He is a charming, beautiful little boy, who exudes a love for life like few people I have ever met, and Mark and I, well we figure out job as parents is to raise him so others can enjoy this amazing gift too, and not just cringe in fear when he comes on the scene.

No comments: