The last couple of weeks we have been attending a small group bible study on parenting your young children. The study is a video series from Les and Leslie Parrot. There is a book that goes along with it, and the fellowship and trading of ideas has been wonderful. I do not neccessarily agree with everything that the Parrots say, but the overall messages are good.
We have discussed many things during this study, and one of the things that has stuck out to me has been talking about how we can keep a good relationship between us and our children. Last week we talked about discipline, and how to pick our battles. This is always a tough one for me. I often feel like I need to learn when to pick certain battles. We shared with our group how our 3 year old is soo very picky, and when he doesn't get something exactly the way he thinks it should be, he throws a major fit. I'm talking a MAJOR fit. He's very dramatic in his fit throwing. This is something I struggle with, because even though he is my 5th child, I have never really had a child who acts this way. If you give him a blue cup, he wants the red. If you give him a whole sandwich, he wants it cut in half. If you give him a little bit of milk, he needs more. And on and on.... I don't want him to be spoiled, and get what he wants all the time, but dealing with his tantrums gets very tiring. Someone suggested to us, that it would help if we always tell him ahead of time that this is exactly what he is getting, or how much he is getting, and then only if he then throws a fit, is it worth being disciplined, because then he is disobeying. This made some sense to me. So, in other words, make sure everything is spelled out for him ahead of time, and it might help him feel more prepared for things, and less out of control.
So, here is where you all come in. Tell me what your thoughts are on this matter. Do you have a child who acts like this? If so, how do you deal with it? How do you as a parent learn to pick your battles, not just with the little ones, but with your big ones too? I have always felt that you have to learn the difference between childishness and genuine disobedience, but that is sometimes harder then it sounds. Tell me what you think. How do you go about choosing which battles to fight, and dealing with a child who seems to want to fight battles all the time? I'm dying to hear from all of you out there.