“When you have respect, you can just relax and enjoy your kids.”
My son was 2 years old and I looked out the kitchen window and saw him throwing rocks over the fence. I reprimanded him, took him next door to retrieve the rocks and apologize to the neighbour.
There, that takes care of that and I left him in the sandbox again and went back to cooking dinner. Five minutes later I looked out the kitchen window and saw him throwing rocks over the fence again. I couldn’t believe my eyes! What the heck was wrong with him? Did his brain fall out of his head or what?!
What I realized in that moment was that what made no sense to me at all, made perfect sense to his 2 year old brain. I decided to make it my mothering mission to figure out what he was thinking so I could deal with him in his mind, not mine. His mind was thinking, “Throwing rocks over the fence is fun and I can’t see Mommy so she can’t see me”.
I couldn’t change the part about rocks being fun to throw, but I could change the way I responded. I went outside and played with him in the sandbox for a few minutes to distract him from the rocks. Then when I went back inside I kept calling through the window reminding him that I was watching. Problem solved.
Over the next year or so I kept using similar techniques to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour. By the time he was 3 years old he was pretty much self-disciplining. Once a child knows you understand them, they instantly show you more respect and want to please you.
The relationship I developed with my young children lasted right through their teen years and now into their adulthood. I was always the Fun Parent but also had very high expectations of their behaviour … and it worked.
Wishing you happiness and mutual respect with your children,
Founder of BratBusters Parenting Services (2007)