I was impressed: My four-year-old had just finished building an intricate structure of wooden blocks. This was the stuff I didn’t even know he could do—each block was meticulously placed, the structure was symmetrical, and it looked like something a budding architect would make. I was so proud.
Like any parent, I wanted to keep his spirits high, his ambition from fizzling. And in other times, I might have blurted out, “I love it! You’re so creative. Good job!”
“I don’t want to do anything,” my four-year-old whined. Meanwhile, I was trying to clip his brother’s fingernails (“Come on, just sit still!”) while another toddler clung to me unwilling to let go. It was a “meh” day: The annoyances weren’t a huge deal, but they were enough to get irritated, to lose hindsight.
That same night, I hopped onto my computer and caught up with the latest posts from my blogger friend, Oana. Her four-month-old son had been struggling with reflux symptoms and general restlessness. Or so I thought. Because as the posts in her blog progressed, she described what she thought was reflux, to complicated hospital stays, to her finally saying goodbye to her son. In a span of a few weeks.
You hear it all the time: If your child misbehaves, put her in time out. She’ll learn those actions aren’t tolerated, and that consequences follow her misbehavior. You can even consult charts that suggest how many minutes per age you should put your child in time out. Heck, my kids’ own pediatrician recommended this method. Except… I’m not buying it.
Formal time outs haven’t been part of my parenting method. I do agree that using time outs is a far better alternative than losing your cool or spanking your kids. And we all have days where isolating kids in a corner is the smartest thing we can do, to calm our kids and urselves down.
But is there a better way? Because time outs just aren’t cutting it out for me, and here’s why: Read more →
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All good stuff. Except, what if you could raise a kid who wants to behave?
Kids will act up and misbehave, no doubt—even we adults do. And you should be worried if your kid never tested her boundaries.
But what if we focus less on patching up their misbehavior and instead focus on how to prevent them in the first place? What if we focus less on power struggles and dynamics and more on building strong bonds and relationships with our kids?
This doesn’t mean we’ll be permissive. We still need to enforce limits and set boundaries and be authoritative.
But in raising a child who wants to behave, maybe we can focus on what’s important, address deeper issues and prevent most punishments and misbehavior to begin with.
I thought I did. I love my kids regardless of the choices they’ll make. I celebrate who they are, differences and similarities with me notwithstanding. And I say this not lightly, but truthfully: I would give my life for them.
Isn’t that unconditional love?
I thought so. But then I realized my kids may not see it that way.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My husband will tell you how obsessed I was with this book. I just finished it last night and I'm already on here recommending it to you. It's that good.
The story is set in World War II and tells the story of two teenagers—a blind French girl and a German soldier whose stories converge in a critical point in their lives. This book is poetic, a page-turner, insanely suspenseful and lovely.
It'll be pretty hard to top this work of fiction, and I predict I'll have a bit of a "book hangover" for a while. Read this amazing book—I can't recommend it highly enough.