The twin that is usually the more reasonable twin has been acting out in a big way this past week. As always happens after they've been behaved for a stint, the sudden pushbacks, non-stop attitude, and tantrums throw me off-guard and I immediately forget that we just had three months of normalcy. I immediately think, Oh, God. What am I doing wrong.
And with that thought comes the parenting books, with that thought comes the Internet searches. Because I want this to stop and I feel the need to change my behavior to make it stop. I automatically discount growing and learning, and want the torture to cease.
This time around, I chose to look into Calm Parenting. Because I am NOT a calm parent. I do yell. When they're behaving, this is not a big deal. And when they've been misbehaving for a week, it's actually also not a big deal because I've acclimated to the current normal. But during the switch from good behavior to bad, all of a sudden, I'm yelling all the time. Because I'm flustered and don't know what to do, and what the hell is even happening?
And of course, I want to not yell all day.
But, it turns out, calm parenting may not be for me.
Because I simply cannot do it. At least not all in all at once.
As with anything, you have to take what you can use and leave the rest.
I absolutely cannot leave my children's lives and decisions in their own hands, allowing them to "discover their authentic selves, all by themselves." I will discipline my kids. The books say this won't allow them to learn to self-discipline, but I disagree. At this age, they CANNOT self-discipline and it is unfair to ask them to do so with no barometer in place. Right now, I'm still them and they're still me in their eyes. Therefore, I am their SELF-discipline. If I am loving and keep the emphasis on the actions not the person, they will learn which behaviors they need to self-monitor at a later time.
These books and articles I've read encourage "not pushing your agenda or ego" on your child, and allowing them full space to live their own lives. At three? That's bordering on cruel to the kid, I think. Talk about confusion. They're not ready! That's why parents are there, no? To help a child mold her internal monologue so that she actually has something to fall back on that has been consistently presented to her. We are the inner core, we are the voice, we are the moral values. To NOT be that is to ask your child to parent herself at a really young age.
There's being empathetic and not bullying and making your child feel heard and respected, but that can all be done within the boundaries we set in our home.
And I've got a whole other post planned about the "example dialogues" these pieces present. Oh. My. God. Stop.