the whole nature vs. nurture debate fascinates me.  certainly, children are shaped by love, affection, and discipline (and are harmed by their lack), but there is so much that is just ingrainedly innately in little personalities.

thankfully, i figured this out early on, so when people would compliment dylan's good behavior at a restaurant or in the nursery, i could deflect it.  she never threw tantrums or cried, but i couldn't take credit for that:  she was just a sociable kid who was pretty easy going...except for the sleep battles.  her good behavior was God's grace--we couldn't have suvived those first 18 months otherwise.

now that she is two and prone to public outbursts and domestic drama, i try not to take it super-personally, either.  dylan is difficult strong-willed.  my friend says this means she has leadership potential.  nice frame, huh?  somehow, this doesn't provide a ton of encouragement when dylan is defiant at church.  or the library.  or the coffee shop.  or my kitchen when i'm trying to make dinner.

if anyone has discipline tips for toddlers that don't involve spanking, i'm all ears.  time-outs only do so much.

anyway, you know how people alway reference little boys' ability to turn anything into a gun as inherent in their gender make-up?

apparently interest in guns can be nurtured, too.  (awesome, right?) 

it is morning.  jim and suzannah are cuddled together on the couch.  dylan plays within arms reach.  she picks up a slinky and aims it at her parents.

dylan, with enthusiasm and a big grin:  shoot!

jim, firmly:  no.  we don't shoot people.  what do we shoot?

dylan, cheerfully:  deer!

jim:  what else do we shoot?

dylan:  groundhogs!

and scene.

photo:  samuraislice


The Hamons said...

we were recommended the book "Love and Logic" that we picked up. have only read the first chapter so far but has made a huge difference! Evan, too, is quite strong willed in his too-smartness! :)

Blogless A.R. said...

Good reminder about not taking TOO much credit or blame for kids' personalities and behavior. Anyone who has more than one child probably figures that out quickly!

Dorothy said...

Liam is also quite "strong-willed," which means some days seem like we go from one battle of wills to the next. A book that really has helped me to not only deal with him on the day to day, but also to understand him more is Positive Discipline: the First Three Years. They definitely have a no-spanking approach, but more than that, they help the parent to be more intentional in their disciplinary methods. What is still sticking with me from the book is that the ultimate goal of effective discipline is not to have a child that obeys automatically without questioning (as nice as that may sound...). Instead, discipline should result in a child who learns how to make healthy decisions for him or herself.

O'Brien said...

I completely agree with everything said...well put!!

I found a group of books by age written by a few authors, some from the Gesell Institute of Child Development. These do a wonderful job of telling you all the development steps to expect and the reasons why. I find this helps to decide that maybe the kid isn't being "bad" maybe they don't know how to handle the emotions....or they aren't getting the communication across. They just want to have some of their own control.

Penny said...

Tim responded to us taking toys off him for time out so we used that as well as putting him there also. Lydia is not so responsive to such measures and has yet to learn that speedy apologies are better. She can take 2.5 hours before she will say sorry to her brother!

Amy from Occupation: Mommy said...

Sydney is strong-willed, as well. We have found that time-outs eventually work for us, but only after prolonged periods of consistency (months!).

Hang in there! Sydney is going to turn three on Saturday and in recent months has become FAR more reasonable.

Misty said...

consistency times a million! we're in a weird spot b/cs we used to spank but now don't and my kids are a bit confused as well as testing limits in a whole new way! im reaing love and logic now-very good-and love the pp's comment about the heart not behavior issued.
and? at the end of the day, this too shall pass.

Kelly Miller said...

I second the Love & Logic recommendation.

Okay, Dylan is officially hilarious.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...