Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Child Training Tuesdays- Picking your Battles

Good afternoon all! Forgive me for being so late with this post. I've been sick and miserable the last couple of days. As we speak I am sweating out a fever, and hoping that this massive headache of mine will go with it! But, I always enjoy these posts on Tuesday, so here I am.

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.


  1. I think warning the kids is really good advice. I find if I do that things run ALOT more smoothly. Even if I only give them 5 min. warning it helps. It's really not a big deal it's just more planning on us as Mom's!

    I also think there's a difference between childness and genuine disobedience. It's tough sometimes to figure out tho

    I really hope you feel better soon. We mom's just don't have time to be sick!!

  2. I am not giving my own personal advise since my oldest is only 2 1/2! But I have been reading "The Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. Dobson. Has been quite insightful (I find it much more practical than the Parrots). Here is a quote from the summary of the section titled "Shaping the Will" - it gave me a lot to think about. "Most confusion over how to discipline results from parents' failure to define the limits properly. If you're hazy on what is acceptable and unacceptable, then your child will be doubly confused. Therefore, don't punish until you have drawn the boundaries too clearly to be missed. Most children will then accept them with only an occasional indiscretion." My problem has been that I under-estimated how smart Emma really is! I felt that if I did not punish her "in the moment" she would not know what she was getting punished for later. Well, a few weeks ago I noticed that she was telling Mike all about her day - including her misbehavior's. Then it hit me - if she can remember getting in trouble for not picking up her pj's first thing this morning she will totally understand why she is getting a punishment at home for misbehaving at the store. And sure enough - first time it happened we got home and I asked her why she was going to get a punishment and she immediately told me it was because she did not "listen and obey at the store". Little Miss Smarty Pants - she fooled me for a while but I caught on;-) Hope you are feeling better!

  3. HI. I have been link chasing all day and just ran across your blog. I love it. I thought I might put my 2 cents in on this issue. :-)

    I have 4 kids. Ages 7, 5,3, and 1. When my oldest was 2 1/2 he did exactly the same thing. I would give him a blue cup....without warning, he would burst into a fit. He would throw himself on the floor and scream that he wanted a "RED CUP!!" It was crazy. The bad news, I never really figured out what to do about it either. I tried as much as possible to give him a choice between 2 options, but that didn't always work because then he couldn't decide. The good news is, he did eventually grow out of it. He doesn't throw fits over things like the color of his plate anymore. But, he does have some personality traits my other kids do not. He requires VERY specific instructions. He works well off of list (and don't try to add to the list when he is done). He likes reward charts. He can play the game by your rules, but don't try to change the rules or he will flip. He generally has a very bad attitude about things and doesn't want to do what "everyone else" wants to do. He is content to be alone and do things his way!! He likes organization and he doesn't like change. He would rather do it himself. What is really funny to me is that he gets along great with other kids. He is a wonderful negotiator (so he can have things his way, haha.) He play wonderfully with his siblings and is very responsible. He is a great kids most of the time. I find the key to keeping the peace with him is to keep a schedule and routine for him. He is typically happy if he knows what is coming ahead of time.

    Well, I'm not sure that made any sense. I kinda feel like i was rambling, but I hope I helped in some way. Keep up the great blogging.

    PS. This will be my first year of homeschooling. Wish me luck!!