The other day, cvh commented on a blogpost that one could get the impression from my blog that my kids are perfect and wonderful all the time. I can appreciate that perception, but it’s just not true.
First let me establish some eras in our (and all) kids lives. There’s a time very early where they don’t understand english, and you have to communicate with them through expression, tone, and motion. This leads to a lot of mis-communication. Also, they don’t remember things that well that early, so repetition is required.
During this time, I think a lot of what would be called "disobedience" at an older age is simply mis-communication, or forgetfulness.
Aside from that time, I can only recall one single time of direct disobedience from either of my kids. Sophi once discovered a black permanent marker on my desk, and colored on some toys and walls. We spoke most firmly with her about it, and the next day she did it again. A spank was involved at that point (sorry Ed).
My wife can remember some, but I didn’t think to ask her.
Our most frequent issues involve fussing. Sophi is the worst, probably because she’s younger, Molly may have fussed this much at that age, I don’t remember. When she doesn’t get her way, she’ll hang her head and walk away, and we say "Sophi, no pouting." and she’ll say something like "But Mom, sometimes I don’t like to *" where * is the thing she doesn’t want to do. Go to bed, stop watching tv, eat her peanut butter, etc.
Recently she even started stamping her foot to show anger, but we put the kabosh on that fairly quickly.
The majority of the unhappy issues we have with our kids stem from our own frustration with something. They LOVE to talk, and talk and talk. When we can’t take it anymore, we say "No more talking please" and they stop. But often several minutes later, they’ve completely forgotten, and start again, and we get frustrated.
They like to touch things at the store. Not grabbing and pulling etc, but usually one finger, caressing some cloth on a garment or something. If we let that go, sometimes they end up hiding inside a coat or something, which they know they’re not supposed to do.
Sometimes they laugh too loud, or sing too much, or run too fast. I often find myself remonstrating them for this, and realize that I’m expecting adult behaviour out of my 4 year old, because usually she ACTS like a grown up. They should be allowed to laugh, and sing, and run all they want. I try to help them understand there’s a time and place for it. Running at the mall can lead to people crashing to the ground, and singing in a room where people are trying to watch a movie is annoying.
Sometimes I look back on a day filled with frustration and think that I have naughty kids. Then I do something parents shouldn’t, and I compare them to other kids. My kids never throw fits in the store. NOT EVER. It never occurs to them. They don’t fight, they don’t break things in the house, they’re thoughtful and courteous.
After "difficulties", they often come to us on their own, and apologize for "a hard time" and ask to talk about how we can make it better.
So no, my kids aren’t perfect. We have our tears and struggles. But they are indeed great kids, and I really am excited to be helping them grow into big strong beautiful people.