Don’t Slack Off With Younger Children

While eating out at the local diner yesterday, my four year old’s silliness fast became annoying. One minute she’d be poking non-stop tickles at her cousin, the next she’d be noisily clinking her silverware or leaning way over out of her chair, trying to topple her booster seat. Worst of all, daddy had to take her on his lap and give her a stern lecture when she ignored his two attempts to nip these antics in the bud. Depending on your parenting style, this might not seem so terrible…but trust me, it was loud, interruptive and she would not tone it down.

She reacts to correction with tears of self-pity, sometimes saying, “Everyone doesn’t like me, I’m going to run away…” (incidentally, I have no idea where she gets this, unless she’s heard it on some movie?)

Her bad attitude will surface when I least expect it, probably once or twice a day. She can be the sweetest girl in the world–we love her to pieces–but I think, being the baby, that she has royal expectations of her place in our family…

So I’m guilty of slacking off with this third child of ours. And it seems backwards. I should be an old pro at this parenting gig. Right?

I remember how pumped I was when we discovered I was expecting our first born, scratch that and back up further, the anticipation and OCD began in the conception process! I checked out almost a dozen library books on pregnancy and infant-toddler rearing before the pregnancy test even came back positive… I would be the best mom ever. Breastfeeding, scheduling, newborn read-alouds, teaching her sign language, protecting her from television and learning Spanish words for colors and numbers while playing Candyland… Hubby and I took parenting classes for each segment of the growing years, from newborn to toddler to the formative years, etc. And so far, these two oldest girls of ours seem to be on the right course…not so our youngest!

Excuses

I guess I got lazy. Maybe I didn’t give enough credit to the training we put into our older girls, thinking that, with luck, our youngest would turn out fine on half the effort. I was homeschooling the older two by the time youngest came along…so shoving aside the great training moments became a habit, and before I realized it, we had some major issues to address.

Also, I think we tend to be hardest on ourselves–there’s a ton of pressure to raise our children right and we’re so scared we’ll mess them up forever. So I’m trying to remind myself not to take myself too seriously here, just to roll up my sleeves and try to regain the lost ground.

More Later

Either later this evening or tomorrow I’m going to share some of the easy things we did differently with our older girls and the benefits we’ve seen as a result. Like night and day, the difference training made. It’s sobering to me, to realize that I’ve lost those opportunities (to teach good habits before bad ones are firmly entrenched) with my youngest just because I’ve “relaxed” my parenting style.

I know it’s not too late, it’s just going to take more perseverance on my part now and a lot of God’s grace!

My #1 Parenting Tip coming soon!

7 thoughts on “Don’t Slack Off With Younger Children”

  1. ML, I shouldn’t take this up on your blog but it sounds like what happened to me when I was three I guess. You’ll remember the homestead and for whatever reason I decided to run away. Apparently (I’ve no memory of this)I’d been thwarted about something and my dad took care of me! as they say. Now consider, I was the oldest of two, your mom and me with a third on his way.

    So the moral of my tale of woe would be that some of us are born with these outlandish streaks in us and as for your grandmother-a homesteader’s wife, pregnant with two toddlers running around how could this be all her fault. Or yours! Everyones dead and gone (70 plus years ago) by now that would remember this so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Ha. A. Ruth

  2. The longer that you take to get consistent, the harder it is to get them to behave– or at least that’s what our parenting class taught.

    The wrinkle is that every child is different– there’s even a difference between the sex of the child!

    So, I wouldn’t “beat yourself up” over it, but take to heart that different children will act in different ways, and their age also has a lot to do with it.

    MInTheGap’s last blog post..How Long Should I Be Engaged?

  3. I remember those moments all too well. I don’t understand why kids start acting up when in public places.

    My boys are usually pretty good, but when we enter Wal-Mart, the library or restaurant, my boys turn into hooligans with a vengeance. And don’t get me started about Wolfie at the movies, God help me!

    I began to pinch them and that caused a bigger scene. Wolfie screamed, “OWWWW! DON’T PINCH ME!!”

    I can’t really offer advice, since I am still working on it too.

    Leticia’s last blog post..CARDBOARD TESTIMONIES…..TISSUE ALERT

  4. Leticia, thanks for the chuckles, I can just hear Wolfie and feel your pain!!! My little girl acts up at home too, not just in public. In fact, she’s a pinch worse at home I think.

    Yeah, MIn, you’re right. As I only know girls…and each of mine has been super different, temperamentally…God’s still got a lot to teach me through my little reflections!

    Aunt Ruth, I don’t know as I’ve heard that story before! And you definitely didn’t get the idea to run away from watching movies! πŸ˜‰ Not on a homestead… I know that stubborn streak is definitely part of the problem, but I definitely should have been more involved in training her. She’s had the typical spoiling of youngest children, by all of us.

  5. Mary…I think we should all do our best to raise our children the way God would want us to. I think one of the most important things to remeber is that our example in how we handle our daily trials will be how we truly teach our children. If we put value on God and his ways, our children will have that seed in them, if we put value on the worlds ways, that is the seed we will plant in our children’s hearts. So just do your best to deal with each child’s different personalities, and make sure the seeds you sow with your children are the ones you mean to sow. I wrote a poem years ago. Children are the seeds of our nation, much as the sun helps a young seedling to grow and bloom, so does God’s words for a young mind. So nourish them and help them grow for you shall reep just what you sow. Hugs. Juli

  6. Thanks for the encouragement, Juli, and the poem. It’s so true. And I feel I haven’t sown nearly what I could have in my youngest…but, God is more than faithful, right? It’s never too late.

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