Train up a child in the way he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Prov. 22:6
Love and Logic (L&L) claims that if I put in the hard work now when Ethan and Liam are young, then when they are teenagers and older it will be easier. Today is one of those days when I hope to God they are right.
I know I should be glad when Ethan makes a mistake now, because a mistake and learning experience at two are much less costly than twenty-two, but does he have to make all his mistakes in a two hour window?! He’s spent more time this morning in his room than out!
Now I know why there are so many misbehaving children in the world. Being a parent is hard. Enforcing rules and the statements you make is HARD. Ethan makes me pay in spades for enforcing my statements and boundaries. I’m just praying it pays in hearts later on.
These boys are driving me to my knees and God’s throne more often than I ever have been before. Most of the time Ethan spent in his room, I spent praying for the wisdom to know what to say, patience to wait him out, and calmness to not lose my temper.
It was worth it. We didn’t get into a yelling match, and he decided on his own that listening to mama and helping me to make candy would be much more fun than throwing an ugly fit. It took almost an hour that time, but he did it!
Why are we choosing to do room time over spanking? Why spend an hour letting him fuss in his room instead of giving him one good spanking? For one, spankings from me just don’t work. From when he was very little, Ethan would look up at me defiantly whenever I would spank him. It just seemed to be hardening his little heart and hurting our relationship instead of changing his actions.
On the other hand, time away from the family and fun usually seems to work. He may have a bad day when it takes FOREVER for him to calm down and come around, but he always does, if I can wait him out and keep my mouth shut.
That’s one of the most interesting things about learning Love and Logic parenting for me. It forces me to grow and change just as much as it forces him. It would be much easier for me to spank him in the moment out of frustration and anger (I don’t have anything against spanking, and I know there are parents who can do it very lovingly on a regular basis), than it is to take a step back and think of a logical consequence that fits his age and abilities.
Right now this is hard. I’m still making my way through Love and Logic for Early Childhood, and learning how to apply its concepts on a regular basis. I’m also having to learn to stop and think because, quite frankly, I can have a temper, so this type of parenting does not come naturally at all.
However, for our family the learning curve is worth it. On those days, when I see the lesson finally sink in, and he chooses the wiser path the first time. Or when I am able to respond with empathy and love instead of anger and sarcasm, then all these hard mornings are worth it, and I finally begin to see the hearts I’ve prayer for so desperately.