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Monday, August 31, 2009

That Ring-Stacker on her Head isn't a Halo, Dear..

My friends, contrary to popular belief...this picture does not represent my daughter as an angel. She is not modeling her halo for everyone to see her for what she truly is. In fact, my dears, it's just a piece of a ring-stacker that I placed on her head to elicit some laughs a few weeks ago.

No, my daughter does not have a halo. Why? Because she is no angel. Some might argue with me about this. "She's such a calm, happy baby," they might say. That is true, I will admit. She is a calm, happy baby, but, she is no angel. We will deal with temper tantrums, and the so-called "terrible two's", and the "I don't want to eat my veggies" phase. We will one day deal with notes from the principal, we will have to ground her eventually, and I'm sure, at some point, we will hate her choice of music. Why? Because, my friends, that's just how it works.

I fully believe that it does not always matter how you raise your children. They will not be perfect. Sure, they will be better behaved than some kids if they receive some form of discipline, but no child (or adult for that matter) can be perfect. There will still be rocky terrain from time to time.

I think of this every time I hear a toddler screaming in the grocery store. My husband, bless his heart, always says "Our kids won't do that. We will raise them better than that." Apparently, he seems to thing that she really does have a halo. Of course, we will raise her the best we can, and we will teach her not to throw a fit in a store. Does that mean that she won't do it? Not necessarily! Toddlers are emotional creatures, and they do not quite know how to control those emotions, or express them in a pleasing way to adults. So, they throw a tantrum. I think the key is knowing how to handle these situations as they come up. Knowing that you need to remain calm and not give in when your child screams for the cereal with the cartoon on the front can help prevent this in the future. You just have to know your options. You have to know what will work for you.

I cannot write a blog post about discipline that will really help anyone. Why? Because my daughter isn't even 10 months old yet. We are just getting to the very beginning stages of discipline-teaching her "No," and working on obeying small commands, like "Give the cat food to Mommy, please." Some might say that she is really too young for discipline. I do not think that is the case. I think she is too young for punishment, but not all discipline is punishment, and not all punishment is discipline.

The root of the word "discipline" is Latin. It means "to teach". It is never too early to begin teaching your children how to act. On the same hand, is it really right to judge others based on a 5 minute preview you see in the supermarket? We have no idea what form of discipline they use on a day to day basis. We have no idea if this tantrum was a one-time thing or something their child does on a daily basis. Until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you should not judge them when their seemingly angelic child throws their halo in the dust occasionally. Just like Addie...all babies and toddlers have mood swings, tantrums, and their own little personalities we must learn to work with.


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