My daughter takes after her father in nearly every respect, especially when it comes to the traits and characteristics my husband exhibited as a child. From her sandy blonde hair to her blue eyes and left-handedness, Reese and Noell are two peas in a pod. I’d even go so far as to say she gets her fiery temperament from her dad, although I’m sure he’d say it’s from me.
Although fairly level-headed now, the shenanigans, mischief and outrageous behavior associated with my husband’s childhood have made for some pretty legendary stories in his family — tales I’ve long enjoyed during reunions and holiday dinners. Long before Reese came along, I always thought that if we ever had a child who was anything like Noell, we’d be in trouble. Now, though, I look at it as an opportunity.
Who better to discipline Reese than the person who already knows every trick in the book? No matter what she says or does, chances are Reese’s dad will be familiar with the antics in question and ready to deal with them. In addition, this is a great excuse for me to bow out of the discipline arena — something I’ve scarcely even entered but am already petrified of.
I know — I haven’t even really been up to bat yet, and already I’m calling for a pinch hitter. Reese usually is a sweet, mild-mannered little lady, but as the “terrible twos” approach, she’s gotten feistier. On occasion — like when she’s forced to take a break from playing for a diaper change or told she has to leave the park because it’s getting dark — she throws tantrums that involve kicking and hitting.
I understand toddlers go through this phase, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, and I am of the belief that it does need to be dealt with. Some of the books, blogs, websites and articles I’ve read on the topic suggest simply ignoring physical manifestations of anger because by acknowledging the child’s bad behavior and punishing the perpetrator, parents are giving children exactly what the little ones want — attention. If the child begins to understand his or her little fits and tantrums aren’t getting a reaction from mom and dad, supposedly, they’ll eventually just stop. I see the logic in that method, but I’m not sure how long I want to wait to see if it actually works.
The few times Reese has really acted out, we’ve gone with the “time-out” approach. Spanking is out of the question, and I can’t find it in my heart to raise my voice around my girl, unless it’s for another rousing rendition of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” But even enforcing a time-out was nearly more than I could handle.
Watching Reese’s little lip quiver as she realized she was in trouble and seeing tears well up in her eyes was too much for me. I pinched myself to keep from crying, left the room and let my husband handle things. I can’t imagine what will happen the first time I have to ground her or revoke bigger privileges. I don’t want to find out.
That’s why I plan to insist that
Reese’s dad, whom she more closely resembles physically and behaviorally, should be the all-time disciplinarian. It only makes sense, after all. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.