Monday, November 9, 2009

you might have a dictator if...

I love it when yall ask me to write about things, it makes blogging so easy when I don't have to think about what to write.  

Lindsey and Megan have asked me to describe exactly how our little tyrant was ruling the roost.  I'm happy to oblige.  
  • He will come crawling up to me while I'm cooking or trying to get stuff done and whine and grab at my legs wanting to be picked up.  If I don't, he often dissolves into tears. 
  • When he's being held (which is very, very often) he points at certain objects of interest and proceeds to say "dis dis dis" until you take him to the object.  If you don't, he gets louder and louder and more wriggly and agitated. 
  • If you are reading him a book and you decide after the third reading you would like to do something else and Parks wants a fourth out!  A tearful fit is likely to ensue. 
I'm learning that babies are definitely wired differently from birth, no doubt about it.  Parks was never a "laid back baby".  He was always more high maintenance and particular.  However, much of his demanding behavior that I just described is because I've never really told him "no" to those things before.  

I felt like everytime he crawled up to me I "should" pick him up and most of the time...I could!  It's just me and him at the house most days so I'm available to give me that kind of attention.  I would take him to whatever object he was pointing at everytime and didn't think twice about what kind of message that was sending to his little brain.  If we were reading a book and in the middle of the book he decided he wanted to read another one, I would get another book.  

I realized a week ago that I was teaching him that whatever he wanted would be granted in an instant.  This explained his mini-fits when suddenly I didn't not give him what he wanted.  I was teaching him that my world revolves around meeting his every whim.   I think it's probably a pretty common parenting mishap, especially with your first baby. 

Of course, I pick him up if I know he's hungry, tired, hurt etc, etc.   I certainly don't neglect Parks.  I just realized I was doing him a disservice by giving in to every little demand and whim like I had been.  

After getting advice from some wise, older moms and doing some reading here are some of my ground rules for "Operation De-throne".

  • Only pick him up when I want to.  This means I have released myself from feeling like everytime he crawls up to me I have to pick him up.  Of course, I still pick him up a lot, but not when he's whining.  My back is thanking me already!
  • I don't take him to the objects he points and whines for.   Once he stops whining, sometimes I'll take him over to what he wanted.  It's not about depriving him, it's about teaching him that whining is not rewarded and that he doesn't get everything he wants. 
  • If he picks out a book, we finish that book. He is not allowed to throw it away half-way through and get another book.  We also read the book as many times as I want to read the book. 
  • Utilize playpen time.  We do this every morning so I can get ready or do house work. 
Jackson and I are completely united on this so it really hasn't been that hard to do and we are already seeing a big improvement!  He hasn't been whining as much and he is more self-occupied.  It's awesome.  It's amazing how a small paradigm shift can change so much.  Parenting is hard and the "work" starts earlier than I thought.  I know it's worth it though. Having obedient, respectful children is so worth it.  Keep pressing on parents, your labor is not in vain! 


Rachel C Morgan said...

This is so funny to me that you posted this because I have a cousin who is an only child to older parents. He not only dictates them, but just about everyone else in the family also!! There was a 10 year gap in babies, so everyone was really excited when he was born and we all gave into his every whim. Unfortunately, it became VERY apparent that he had no boundaries or manners when he was about 1 1/2. Good for you for recognizing this and acting accordingly! At 4 years old, my aunt and uncle are finally realizing that he needs behavior modifications. I have a blog topic that I would appreciate reading. Entering my 2nd trimester, I'm starting to think about the first 2 months after birth - establishing a good schedule, breastfeeding, handling excessive crying, internal emotions from everything, changes in marriage, etc. If you have the time, would you mind writing about this time period, both expected and unexpected problems and how you managed it all? Thanks!

Megan said...

Oh my goodness. I deal with this everyday with the 20 month-old that I babysit. His parents have certainly done him a disservice. He rules their house. I cannot stand it. I think I have taught him the word, "no." You are WISE for moving away from child-centered parenting. I think it speaks highly of the parents when they do not allow their child to trample all over their life, make decisions, rule the roost - after all parents know best. Not children.

mallory said...

Rachel- I'd love to share my *small* bits of wisdom I gleaned from that first couple months. Be looking for a post!

Megan- It's so easy to let that happen! After all, the "things" that you have so say no to aren't bad in themselves, i.e. another book, taking him to a toy he wants, etc. But, it DOES teach them that they can have everything they want...and it sets a dangerous pattern like you've mentioned!

Bryceleigh said...

way to go doofis! these are all wonderful things you are doing with parks...positive disciplining! any teacher would be pleased with this type of parenting :)

Megan said...

My favorite is the "dis dis dis". We have started telling Noah "no" alot more too recently. But sometimes when he's tired, and Dave says "no" in a firm voice he starts crying and gets his feelings hurt! Its sad and kinda cute at the same time. I am surprised though that he actually seems to understand what NO means (at least a little bit). Sometimes it evokes laughter but other times he actually stops what he is doing!