Guess who said that. I have a four year old, a two year old and an eight month old…

Well…the eight month old can’t talk so that means it must be the four year old OR the two year old…

NOPE.

It was ME. It was ME! My grown-up, 30 year old self was actually frustrated enough with my daughter that I did what any normal grown-up would do. I said “Fine, then I’m not playing with you anymore” and huffed off.

SERIOUSLY?!

And all of this because we were playing dress-up and I wanted her to wear a cute hat I bought her and she REFUSED, no matter how much bribery, begging, or mommy-wizardry I used on her. I tried every trick I had up my sleeve to coerce her into wearing that stinkin’ hat, but she just wasn’t having it. So I did what any normal grown-up would do…I acted like a three year old.

WOW. What is up with THAT?! How ridiculous! But you know, it doesn’t matter how many times I’m confronted with these situations (and it’s a lot, thanks to my strong-willed children), I STILL have a hard time with these “battles” for control. And I know it’s going to get a WHOLE lot worse so I need to learn to pick them a little more wisely don’t you think?! Sometimes I do just fine. Other times, the days really aren’t working in my favor and I JUST WANT THEM TO COOPERATE. I’m tired, I’m cranky, and it would make me so happy if you’d just PLEASE WEAR that stupid hat – PLEASE?! (Come on people, tell me you know what I’m talking about).

Ugh. Interestingly, shortly after this “episode” of pathetic parenting on my part, I read a fascinating article on discipline. It stated that the best discipline for children is to teach them to obey because they love God and because you care about their character. The goal is NOT to simply control their behavior. Ouch. How often might I actually be “disciplining” just because I want to control their behavior???  If I get freaked out because she won’t wear a hat, that could definitely look absurd…but what about when I freak out because she won’t go to bed on time, or play nicely with siblings or say please and thank you?

Is it because I care about the people my children are becoming or because I just want them to “play right”? Because I want to grow their hearts to love and respect people or because  it makes me look good when they are orderly, behaved children? It’s not supposed to be about controlling WHAT they DO, but guiding them into WHO they ARE.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gift to our children to teach them not to act like idiots in public, no matter WHAT our reasoning is. But how much better it would be if we were doing that because we’re looking past the moment and at the big picture! What if we taught our children not to lie – not because lying will get them into trouble or because it would break our hearts – but because it would break THEIRS?

What are the real motives behind my discipline? To control them or to grow them? What if (and this is hard to even write)…I sometimes use discipline as an excuse to get my kids to cooperate with me because, quite frankly, it just makes life easier on ME?

Yikes. This is not easily answered without a real, honest look into myself. I’m sure there are days where it’s one or the other, but most often, I’m probably a weird mix of both. And I’d have to say today certainly proves that I’ve really got some work to do in this area. If I have any issues with control (like trying to get a four year old to wear a hat she clearly doesn’t want to wear), then I am a candidate for falling into this trap.

So…note taken. I am not proud of myself today. That was just plain ludicrous. But if it serves as a reminder to once again check myself and my “parenting style”, then I’ll take it.

And if you don’t like what I just wrote, then I’m not playing with you any more. :)

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3 Responses to “I'm not playing with you anymore!”

  • Liz:

    too funny! I do that too though so don’t feel bad. I have had it with a board game where he is clearly cheating and I tell him if he isn’t going to play fair no one will want to play with him inlcuding me :)

  • Kate:

    Seriously… I am SO happy that you are up and running. I love reading your blog, it truly makes me feel so much better. I just relate a little too well it makes me giggle!

  • Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need, thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.

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