Home » Another Stellar Parenting Moment: “I Choose. . .”

Another Stellar Parenting Moment: “I Choose. . .”

Did you miss me?!

Doubtful.

I had no idea I was going to be MIA for so long!  I started painting the baseboard trim on the main floor of the house last week and realized just how much the entire place needed a fresh coat of paint.  So I sent my Mother a text mentioning that I could use some help sometime soon.  Of course, I wasn’t exactly prepared for her to say, “I can be there in two days.”

But she did.

And she was.

And now my ENTIRE house looks all kinds of happy and bright and shiny.

The woman is a machine.  A painting machine.  I’m pretty motivated and can push pretty hard, but she’s INSANE.

Now there are random piles of stuff in every corner.  And the shelves still need assembled in the boys’ room but I’m ignoring that stuff for a few minutes so  I can tell you a little story about how we have ONCE AGAIN managed to screw with our poor kid and likely screwed ourselves over in the process.

Being two, Mac is all about exercising his free will these days, frequently with disastrous consequences.  I spend a lot of my time trying to anticipate these situations and avoid them.  No one WARNED me about how exhausting this is!

However, not everything can be avoided.  We needed a way to consistently manage his behavior.  Of course, for serious infractions – malicious hitting or pinching or the like, we use a time out.  For other less than desirable behaviors, I started using a little system something to the effect of “Mommy will ask twice.  After that, the consequences might not be so nice.”

My thought was, I’ll give him two chances to think about what he’s doing, offer an alternative, and outline the consequences. Perhaps this way, he would be able to make an informed decision about what actions he should choose to take.

Now, I know this is a little advanced for a 25-month old.  However, he’s pretty astute.  And I figured this system might be good enough to grow with him.  So even though it might be a little difficult for a child his age, he’ll get the hang of it, and we’ll have a way to address these situations consistently for years to come.

I also thought it was nice because it shows the child that his actions do have consequences.  And making good decisions, typically leads to a more favorable outcome.  Hopefully, this will allow him to consistently practice making good decisions long before some kid offers him lawd only knows what kind of controlled substance when he’s in Junior High. . .maybe?

And finally, although, it doesn’t really offer him super fun choices, it still offers him a choice. . .which to me, seemed better than just imposing a consequence on him without giving him an opportunity to think about what he’s doing and why it might be advisable to KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY!!

So after I developed my little discipline philosophy, I discussed it with Chris.  ‘Cause you know, we have to present a unified front, otherwise, the kids will certainly KILL us.

Much to my shock and amazement, he seemed to really like the idea – no debate at all. . .

And he wasted no time employing it.  . .

EXCEPT

He went about things a little differently than I anticipated. . .

He might have offered a little too much explanation to the kid. . .

At dinner, Mac has been requesting a real glass for his milk instead of his sippy cup.  Figuring a wee bit of spilled milk isn’t a problem, and wanting to encourage his development, we agreed.

Still, at some point during every meal, the temptation of that wide open glass proves too much for Mac and he attempts to jam his fist or his broccoli into the glass.

Chris early on took the authoritative lead – probably because my  in my piggish pregnant state, I was cramming food into my face so fast, I couldn’t speak.

“Mackinley,” Chris stated firmly, “If you put your hand or any food in that glass, you are choosing for me to take it away.”

Not exactly how I would have explained it, but it worked.  Mac went back to his dinner, leaving his milk unmolested.

This went on for several nights. . .

Look how effective my method is I thought smugly to myself.  This is working really well.  I’m shocked honestly.  

Then one evening, Mac accidentally spilled the milk.  At which point, he forlornly slide his glass towards Chris and said, “I choose.”

I wasn’t expecting that.

“Oh, it’s ok!  It was an accident!  You don’t have to choose right now.  You didn’t mean to do it, buddy!” Chris and I both practically shouted in unison.

I felt terrible.  Poor kid.

Maybe this wasn’t working the way I intended?  I didn’t want him to feel badly about an accidental spill.  That wasn’t our intent.  I shouldn’t be dreaming up disciplinary schemes for my kids.  Hell, I can’t even discipline myself.

Although, he recognized the milk shouldn’t have been spilled.  We probably just need to help him understand the distinction between an accident and an intentional action.  We’ll stay the course and see what happens. . .

And then, a few short nights later. . .  

Mac was once again waiving his food-loaded fork over the rim of his glass.  But this time, on his third warning, he smiled wickedly at Chris, jammed the vegetables into the glass and slid it aggressively towards Chris declaring “I CHOOSE!”

Uh huh.

We’re screwed.  

I choose to make a gawdawful mess of myself in this mud because I know you're too exhausted to stop me.

I choose to make a gawdawful mess of myself in this mud because I know you’re too exhausted to stop me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Responses to “Another Stellar Parenting Moment: “I Choose. . .””

  1. Jennifer says:

    Oh yes, never underestimate the ability of a little to completely understand consequences and calculatingly embrace them as entirely worth it.
    And yes, you have been missed 😉
    Jennifer recently posted…Summer SunMy Profile

  2. Rick says:

    My twin grandkids are the same way. They pull stunts that indicate they have a brain just a little larger than a pea, yet attempt to justify them using tactics of a genius.

  3. Seriously laughing. It reminds me of when my oldest was about 3 and he’d been told that if he jumped on the couch again he was going to timeout. So, he stood there for a moment, then ran and jumped on the couch. Then walked himself to timeout. Apparently, he chose and thought it was worth it!
    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…Independence DayMy Profile