This post is about children. I don’t usually write about parenting, but two other posts I read today got me thinking about how I treat my kids. More specifically, about my relationship with my almost three year-old daughter. We’ll call her Dee.
Dee has a moody, thoughtful temperament, but she is also quite garrulous and funny around those who know her well. She is very sweet and has a little, high-pitched voice. I’m worried, however, that I’m not always the patient, loving mom I should be. Since she’s the oldest, I expect her to carry more responsibility, but she’s not even three years old yet!
I’m worried that I’ve been too hard on her. I guess I’ve come to this conclusion because of the roller coaster potty-training we’ve been doing for the past six months. A few months after she turned two, SHE told us she wanted to start using the toilet. We weren’t quite ready for that, as it was April or May, and we had planned on INTRODUCING the concept over the summer when my husband wasn’t working. I went along with it anyway, and in less than a week, she was wearing underwear and getting through days (and nights!) accident-free.
She did really well for a few months, but then the school year started and I started babysitting again. She already knew the children I am babysitting, but for some reason, she’s had toilet issues ever since. For awhile she would stay accident-free if I let her go around the house bottomless, but this week she pooped in her chair while eating breakfast (that’s right — no underwear or pull-up).
Today I had the idea to set a timer for one hour, and everytime the timer went off, she had to go sit on the toilet. So far (well, today) this has been successful, but she didn’t have to poop today, which is where things get tricky. Hopefully, this is the golden ticket.
One article I read today was about the importance of eye contact. Most parents know that the best way to make sure your child is listening is to get down to their level and make eye contact. This article at Happy to be at Home stresses that making eye contact when your children talk to you about their own life is equally as important in developing and maintaining respect. This was particulary convicting for me, because I tend to dish out a lot of uh-huhs and that’s great‘s. I spend a lot of cooking and cleaning and not enough time engaging my daughter and patiently inviting her to help. She spends a lot of her time vying for my attention because I’m always finding something else to keep myself busy.
Guest-blogger Danielle at Simple Mom also brings of the issue of respectful speech toward children, pointing out that we don’t give children the same respect we give adults. I’ve always made an effort to not use baby talk with the kids, but I never considered that phrases like, “I guess your sister is in a bad mood, again” were probably not helping. Funny how things seem so obvious after someone else points them out!