The first few months were easy because baby stayed where mommy put him but then it became a bit difficult when my son began to move around. I mean – “yaay he’s moving !” – but amidst this excitement about his milestone I knew this meant we are at a new stage, the stage where I now I had to teach him the word no (actually I think they are born already knowing it), show him things he could do not versus the things he could do and as many of you already know they often do not prefer the latter. This is the most energy- demanding task ever. Running behind a small child who smiles (heart-melting smile of course) when you say no, is pretty familiar right? How you wish they would just stay in the parameters mommy has outlined ! It just took so much of my energy to the point that mouth hurt from constantly saying “No Isaac” – I know it is just two words. Try saying ‘no’ several times and you’ll see!
What I had to learn was consistency as well as finding other ways to get the desired behavior from him. I did not know disciplining an infant would take so much patience and pushing of your buttons too! My first instinct was always to yell “no don’t do that!” but he would always continue what he was doing like he was singing “la la la I can’t hear you Mom”. And so the moment came. I did some introspection and realized I have to be patient and calm, the personality of my child depends on it. What does that mean? It is simple, children live what they learn. I do not want my son to be mean kid at the playground or the one that throws terrible tantrums when he doesn’t get his way – yes I think if I do it right we will not have to have those kind of face offs ! What also helped was that I read Child Guidance, a book written by Ellen G. White – it is a great book, you should get one – and it brought to light that there is a better way to get my little one to listen and to learn do’s and don’ts in life. Here are two excerpts that were very meaningful to me:
“The Effect of a Quiet, Gentle Manner—Few realize the effect of a mild, firm manner, even in the care of an infant. The fretful, impatient mother or nurse creates peevishness in the child in her arms, whereas a gentle manner tends to quiet the nerves of the little one.3 CG “
“Take Time to Reason—Every mother should take time to reason with her children, to correct their errors, and patiently teach them the right way.9 CG”
Lastly I had to make a conscious effort and decision to invest in gentle reprimand approaches. If it means picking him up 10 times from the flower pots or say “baby plays here, not there ” a zillion times, then I will. I will do whatever I can to ensure he learns what is right and wrong or what is just not safe to do. You have to start training the minute they make direct eye contact (lol), in other words extremely early ! The good thing is you can adjust your methods the older your child gets so that you can match their level of understanding but most importantly always lovingly communicate that you only want to protect them and what is best for them. Another beneficial excerpt from Child Guidance was:
” Say It Simply; Say It Often.”—Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest, now and then, will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. 14 CG 34.6″
Guess what I’m still learning ! Each day brings new challenges that require some tweaks in my methodology .Remember in the same way a gardner gently tends to a garden, as mom’s we should incorporate “gentle touches, by loving ministrations” (Child Guidance, 19 CG 36.3) as we nurture not only them but their characters as well. Until next time keep sane moms!
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