October 2, 2015

The Age of Adjustment

His tiny body was almost convulsing. He gasped for air repeatedly and was sobbing uncontrollably. I asked him what was wrong and he couldn't articulate the issue so the scene continued to escalate.

This all started with dinner and his spoon. He wouldn't eat and he threw his spoon on the ground over and over again. I wasn't happy with his behavior but I was calm with my two year old, I didn't raise my voice or my hand. I explained that tonight, unlike nights past, he would not get a treat after dinner and we wouldn't be having family movie night. His privileges for the evening were revoked. I thought I was winning as a parent since I managed to maintain my cool while he was clearly losing his. And maybe that's true but while he stooped and shouted in his toddler-induced craze, my heart was breaking. 



I have been my son's caretaker and his comforter. I make things better when he cries. I kiss his boo boos when he gets hurt and I rub his back when he can't sleep. So It was very difficult for me to sit there and bear witness to the dramatics that had ensued since dinner time. I had the power to make his two-year-old world all better but I was handcuffed by my duty as a parent. I needed to make this a teaching moment. I was obligated to be diligent and unwavering, to show no sign of weakness but the truth is I was weak. I wanted to cry because in his eyes I was the cause of his distress.

People call this stage the "terrible twos" and if you spend more than 30 minutes with any two-year-old I'm sure you'll see why that name is so appropriate. But this time is difficult because the child isn't the only one going through a transitional period, so are the parents. The child is learning boundaries, communication and more advanced motor skills while also juggling their unquenchable curiosity. The parents are learning to adjust to their new role implementing a desired level of conduct and balancing that with cuddles and caregiving. 

I realize that as my son gets older the amount of cuddles are going to dwindle and the moments when disciplinary action is necessary will increase. I also realize that it's my duty as a parent to be a disciplinarian and not necessarily his best friend. That's not to say that we can't have great times together but I need to equipped him with values, principles and integrity, and to do so requires me to be firm when I discipline him.

I struggle with promising disciplinary action and not following through: early bedtimes are never realized and the treats he doesn't earn are eaten. Like every parent I'm not perfect but I'm really struggling with the paradigm shift to a stricter disciplinarian. I want my son to look at me and see a safe, comforting place and in the moment, when he's screaming and crying, I sometimes lose sight that I can still accomplish that without giving into his bizarre temper tantrums. I don't have it all figured out and I think it's fair to say that as soon as I think I do have things figured out I'll be faced with an entirely new set of challenges.

Have you had to deal with walking the fine line between being your child's disciplinarian and friend? How have you learned to adjust and if you have any tips please share in the comments below.

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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11 comments:

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  2. This is never easy. As my kids get older, it only seems to get more difficult. I want to be their friend, but you have to also be the strong disciplinarian that doesn't let them get away with anything. Two is a tough age, but just wait until they're teenagers! Yikes!

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  3. It is a fine line that a parent walks between friend and disciplinarian, it must be very difficult. I'm sure that lots of parents will identify with your struggle. x

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  4. I've heard my parents talk about this before and it must be difficult. I can only imagine since I don't have kids of my own yet!

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  5. Oh, gosh, scenes like that must be really difficult. I applaud you for keeping your cool--trust me, as the child of parents who didn't, it'll matter in the long run! Best of luck to you during this transitional time!

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  6. It is so hard. Mine are now 5 and 7 and I feel like it's even harder because they now when they know better. Hang in there momma!

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  7. It is truly never easy. Some days I fail and some days I do great!

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  8. Some days are easier than others, that's for sure! It gets a little easier when they are older and communicate better with their feelings, but them emotions and hormone get into the game and it's a whole other world ha!

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  9. You are doing great. I'm sure. It's hard to be both... we only have a little girl so count daddy out to "discipline" ( I dont really like that word). My daughter gets it when I do have to raise my voice so we are lucky that we've had only a few minor breakdowns. My struggle right now is bedtime, I have layed with her every night until she fell asleep, sometimes that's 20 minutes but sometimes its an hr and a half. I feel like now that shes 4, she can do it alone after a story. It is rough right now. She gets to the point of gasping for air as she cries which at that point, I have to come in. But I gotta get her to do it!!

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  10. It is tough trying not to give in to your impulse to comfort them no matter what!

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  11. I have three children I'm there mother first, friendship is earned as they get older! My kids have plenty of wonderful friends, kids need parenting and unconditional love! Your doing great!

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