Monday, October 17, 2011

teach your children!

The boys and I are really lucky to live in a place full of children. Our apartment complex alone looks like a preschool most days with half a dozen children running around, and a handful of babies lying on blankets with their mamas.
We live close to several parks that are always filled with kids, and are across the street from the library, which has a very popular storytime.
So... yeah. We see a LOT of parents doing different things with their kids.
There are a couple little kids that we sometimes see, who are maybe two or three and on a regular basis they will run up to where my children are playing nicely, pull the toys from their hands and then throw them across the yard. It blows my mind that they are doing this.
But what is even more astonishing to me is that their mother then says "That's not very nice. Please try to be nice."
She doesn't say "go get that toy for Grey" or "please say you're sorry," or "if you do that again, we have to go home."
And since they aren't my kids, I can't punish them or reprimand them, and usually say "Could you please go get that toy back? My baby was playing with it and now he's sad that you took it."

So we were recently at the park with another friend, who is a super amazing mom. And when her daughter swatted Grey's hand away from her shoe, she said:
"Nohea, I better not see you do that again. It's not okay to hit Grey's hand, he just wanted to touch my shoe. You can't push him around just because he's smaller than you. I need you to apologize to him."
Nohea whined and shook her head, and Tanei said "If you don't apologize then we need to leave. Please say, 'Grey, can I talk to you for a moment?'"
Nohea mumbled, "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Please say, 'I'm sorry that I hit you, and I won't do it again.'"

And I sat there, a teeny bit in awe. So all two and three year olds are possessive, they are all bad at sharing, they can be a bit mean.
That doesn't mean that you're a bad parent, it just means you have a toddler.
I'm pretty sure that what makes you a good or bad parent is how you react to the way that your child is behaving. The children whose mother never disciplines them will probably be even brattier little bullies than they already are.
It makes me resolve to be better.
I will teach my children well. I will explain right and wrong to them, and expect kindness from them.
I feel inspired to be a better mother!

And in fact, to be a better person. Because I'm pretty quick to judge this other mom, but then another friend (who is also an amazing mom) reminded me that it's hard to go from the point when your children are babies who don't understand what you're teaching them, to kids that need to learn what's good and bad.
And then I felt a little bad for being judgemental.
But only a little bad.
Because I have a hard time forgiving people who let their kids pick on my sweet boys.

So it's a flaw...
I'm working on it.

How do you teach your children right and wrong? How do you discipline young kids?
And do you have a super mom that you look up to? I'd love to hear some more insights in the comments!

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Kristy said...

Teaching kids to share is so hard! My 3-1/2 year old is a bully and it makes me crazy. I think it's important to teach them empathy and to tell them to apologize and why. It's a constant struggle, for sure! Oh, and there can only possibly one Tanei around here--and she and I used to be in the same ward WAY back in funny! :)

Meagan @ Meagan Tells All said...

my almost 2 yr old has such a fiesty temper (umm wonder where she got that!? Not from me!! lol), but when she does something wrong, like hitting especially, I immediately put her in time out. I go with her, sit her on a chair, crouch down to her level and talk to her calmly about it. I usually say, "It wasn't nice when you hit daddy's face. You made mommy sad when you made that choice to hit daddy." and then we talk about saying sorry. I read somewhere that has completely changed my outlook on displining my toddler. Emphasize on their CHOICe to hit, or take a toy. Because they (hopefully) will make the decision themselves and make the right choice of not hitting or taking a toy.

Just a tip that has helped me transition into toddlerhood. It is SO scary and I honestly some days just want to cry because my daughter just doesn't seem to want to listen to ANYTHING.

Angela said...

I really appreciate this post! I agree with you.

I nanny for a 16 month old. He isn't old enough to fully get it, but he knows enough to START to get it. If he does something he isn't supposed to do (like throw his food off of the high chair) I tell him, "Max, no sir. That is not ok. We do not throw our food." When we play with other kids, I teach him to take turns on the slide, to give toys back if he takes someone's toy, etc. You have to start young. :-)


xj. said...

I think teaching empathy is really important. Like "how do you think it made Grey feel when you took his toy away?" Sometimes with the preschoolers I work with I'll ask what they can do to make the other person feel better, and we make a plan for next time. I'm lucky with my daughter, but one thing I do think is important with her is time-out can be anywhere. A store, the park, the car... for her it isn't a punishment so much as a chance to collect herself and ca;m down.

I really like the book "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn, (

I think you'll be great. Your sense of humor will help, your boys are lucky.

MARCIE said...

Good post Becky, even if there are no photos. Please remember the differences in children also. Some are so willing to learn and obey, while others want to challenge everything you tell them. I had both types and decided that it wasn't fair to take the credit for one if I had to take the blame for the other. You just do the best you can. Your babies are too little to have those issues yet. And with any luck they never will! Love you!