Thursday, October 28, 2010

He's Not A Robot

Here’s a photo of Will in his favorite robot t-shirt.  This photo was taken back in May. Doesn’t he have the sweetest little grin? He’s such a cute, fun, outgoing and smart little fella. My husband and I are blessed to have him. Will is our oldest and first so as Will grows and enters new phases we adjust and change, too. We are most certainly learning as we go! We’re rookies when it comes to this whole parenting thing, and I'm not too proud to admit it. Sometimes we feel like we have no idea what we are doing.  It seems like as soon as we get a feel for how to handle the current phase we are in, the phase changes, and we’re on to a whole new set of challenges.

Mark was 32 and I was 29 when Will was born. We weren’t the first to have kids among many of our friends and family. Since we were a little older when we had our children, we’ve had the benefit of observing others and learning what works and doesn’t work with the children of our friends and our nieces and nephews. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard was in a women’s bible study. My friend, Shana, said, “Children aren’t robots.” As a parent of young children, I think it’s easy for me to have unrealistic expectations about how my children should behave and act. I can be guilty of expecting my little ones to be perfect and that’s just unrealistic. They aren’t robots that can be programmed. Another piece of advice came from my friend, Jami. She told me in raising children, the two hardest things when they are young are when your child is sick and dealing with discipline. She’s right! I feel helpless when either one of my little ones is sick. And, the discipline issue is why I’m writing this post. We’re challenged right now with a strong-willed child who doesn’t listen.
What do we do?

We had our first big discipline issue with Will last night. One of Will’s teachers at church told me that he acted up and didn’t listen in class. Wow! It’s humbling! Mark kept Ben at home because he wasn’t feeling well, and he wasn't at bible study/church. After church Will's teacher caught me and gave me the low-down. So, I came home and told Mark about everything. It was definitely a learning moment for both of us. We want to approach this united. We want to be thoughtful and fair in our discipline and punishment. We also want Will to behave and be respectful of adults. How do we accomplish this? I don’t know! That’s what’s so humbling!

I asked his teacher what she did with her children when they acted up. I figured she had advice and wisdom to share because her kids are several years older than mine. She suggested implementing a rewards system with rewards for good behavior and meaningful consequences for bad behavior. It sounds so simple and makes complete sense. It’s funny how all logical reasoning goes out the window when you’re emotional and trying to discipline your own child. I plan to write another post about Classroom Management, which I think I’m pretty good at. Go figure, I can control a class of 25 rowdy 7th graders, but my 3-(almost 4)-year-old is giving me a run for my money!

Here are the goals that Mark and I have set for the next few weeks in hopes of improving Will’s behavior:

Be consistent in our discipline.

Reward good behavior.

Correct and punish bad behavior immediately.

Punish bad behavior with an appropriate consequence.

Reinforce expectations and clearly explain expectations for good behavior.

In the meantime, I'll remember that Will's not perfect and neither are his parents!  He's not a little robot.  Thank goodness!
I'm open for suggestions from those of you who have been there and done that.  We'll see how it goes, and I'll keep you updated.


  1. sounds good! as a mom of three and a teacher of 18 four year olds, consistency is REALLY need and want boundaries. they need to know what to expect when. and keep it simple! the more complicated and involved your methods, the harder it is to be consistent. and being consistent means that sometimes no fun gets to, you don't get to go to that movie you had planned on taking them to. and that's harder on you than them!! hang tough!

  2. Ann, thank you!!! I needed to hear what you said. I appreicate the encouragment and advice.


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