Before David and I started having kids I was determined that I was going to raise, to the best of my ability, well behaved kids. Once Emily reached the “terrible twos” I started reading every parenting book I could find. Then a year later I read them again because now I had two toddlers under foot and I had no idea what I was doing. While the crying, screaming, fighting and just plain disobedience was enough to bring me to tears on a daily basis, that was not the hard part.
The daily discipline was much harder. So much harder.
There were days I wanted to give up. There were days when I thought letting them talk back, be disrespectful, tell me no & run around the house like wild animals would be easier. And to be honest, it would have been.
But I love my girls and I want what’s best for them. David and I made a commitment to God that we would do our best to raise them to bring honor to Him.
When Emily and Audrey were 4 and 5 I hated for people to tell me how well behaved the girls were because it was usually followed by, you’ve got it so easy.
Even now having a 14, 12 & 7 year old I hear some of those same statements and it makes me cringe on the inside. I know people mean well & I know they don’t mean anything by it and really it is a compliment but something about “having it easy” just irks me.
Because frankly, being a mom to these three girls is THE hardest thing I have ever done. Having to discipline your children when needed is anything but pleasant. It’s not fun having to spank, say no, take toys and fun things away from the girls as punishment. It’s an awkward thing to have to call up a friend and cancel plans because the kids will not behave or cancel a sleepover because a child is being so dang stubborn.
David and I have been asked so many times over the years what’s the secret, how do you get them to behave, they are so polite. Once we start talking about discipline nine times out of ten they lose interest. I don’t know what they expect us to say its not like we have a magic pill or anything.
My girls do not tell me no now because I did not allow them tell me no when they were little. They do not raise their voices in anger to us because we did not let them get by with it when they were little. Just as we don’t make excuses for their bad behavior now we did not do it then.
Two of my favorite books are The Strong Willed Child and Creative Correction. And I had lots of creative ways to discipline the girls. Some were thought out well in advance while others just came to mind right there in the moment. There were times when this momma broke the rules and was “caught” by the girls and like a big girl I had to take the same punishment I gave to them. Even if it meant I had to wear a lollipop stick on my nose for five minutes.
I’m not saying our children are perfect, in fact they are far from it. But it was hard getting them to where they are now. And while our days of the terrible twos are far behind us we have reached a new season in our lives having teenagers and just like we did when they were two we will figure it out one tear at a time.