Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Please share advice!
As those of you who know me know, I have a wonderfully loving, adventurous, intelligent, and RASCALLY toddler. I'm not even sure if I can properly call him a toddler anymore b/c now he's more of a sprinter, esp. at the library. As soon as I turn away off he goes, head tucked, arms pumping, weaving his way around the library. Last night when Ben and I went for a run he insisted on running with us instead of riding in his stroller. He got to the sidewalk, and then gave up and crawled into his stroller huffing and puffing.
All that to say, I need some advice from those who have gone before, or those who are fighting this delightful and still trying battle beside me.
My son is at the stage where he is constantly testing me to see who the authority is, to find out the boundaries. But, I don't think I have yet convinced him that I'm the authority, not he.
He reminds me of my parents black lab when he was a puppy. You had to watch him constantly b/c he was always roaming looking for the next thing to steal and chew and jump up on.
For example, yesterday I was sweeping the kitchen and he came looked at me defiantly and started dancing in the pile, no matter how sternly I spoke telling him to move. Once, I had finally finished and moved him away he ran over and climbed on the table (a no-no) and started dumping the salt out. When I removed that from him and put him back on the ground, he snagged a candle stick and began running around the room and banging things with it, and on and on until I wanted to lay down and throw a temper tantrum.
I have tried all the things I can think of with him as consistently as possible and not met with success.
We have tried time out in his crib - it makes him see it as a place of punishment and refuse to nap in it afterwards.
We have tried time out in his room - he throws lamps on the ground and breaks them, and then refuses to let us back in the door to get him. I guess punishing us for punishing him!
We have tried turning him around at the table when he throws food - but he turns around and throws it again immediately.
We have tried spanking his hand - but its not enough of a deterrent to the delightful mischief he wants to engage in. When we were in Norway the only source of heat in our old farmhouse were a few space heaters with BIG, EXCITING, RED, on and off buttons. He would go over to them, we would say no. We try to give him the opportunity in non dangerous situations to make the right choice. He would look down at his hand and stroke it, and go ohhh ohhh with a concerned look on his face thinking through the consequences of what he wanted to do. He would look at us, look at the button, look at us, look at the button. And then, push the button. Over and over. Sometimes he even spanks himself, and then proceeds to his misdeed.
We have tried ignoring him so as to not give negative attention - this just gives him free reign!
Dobson recommends basic deterrence tactics - baby proof your house to the point that there is no longer anything to say no to. But this is only possible to a point. There will always be cords on lamps to yank, things to climb.
Honestly, for those who know my husband and I, we are pretty laid back people. We only say no to things that will seriously injure him or others or break things(ie we let him dance on the chest in the living room even though he occasionally falls off, but we don't let him use our CutCo set like swords, he can drum on the walls with spoons but he can't drum on our faces.)
Is it possible to mold an obedient spirit in a toddler, or is the highest goal at this point merely to deter him from harm and redirect him?
Please send advice. I welcome ideas and stories to help me raise my fun, crazy little son to be a good man.
I don't want to force him into being a quiet child who sits in the corner and twiddles his thumbs. I LOVE his adventurous curious spirit and want to foster his zest for life. But, I also want to see in him a willingness to obey me, in order that he will learn to submit to God.
Ok thanks in advance! I look forward to reading your advice.