Sunday, May 4, 2008

down with Veruca Salt

I can hear that little voice from around the corner, repeating things ad nauseum... "Mo strawberries... mo strawberries... mo strawberries," and I just keep waiting to hear a request for an Oompa Loompa.

Cleo spent 2 days with her grandparents while I went to a conference, and she had a wonderful time, and they managed to spoil her so rotten that she doesn't even seem like the same kid. A 2-hour date's worth of saying "yes" to everything but fire and knives is fabulous, but two days' worth of compliance is just dangerous. She is more whiney, hysterical, and generally unpleasant than i've ever seen her, and if I were a squirrel, i'd definitely toss her down the bad nut hole.

Anyway, my point is, I think this is why we see so many temper tantrums in grocery stores and kids on attention meds and Dudley Dursley wannabes. I think parents today want too badly to be their child's best friend and buddy and never cause them any unhappiness or strife, and we are creating an army of whiners who just break down when the world doesn't go their way. Everyone has to wait. No one gets a treat every time they go to the store. No one gets to win every time. Everyone is subject to someone else's whims, whether a parent, a boss, or the head teller at the DMV. Especially the head teller at the DMV.

So many people seem to think that "discipline" involves spanking and threats, but I think a lot of it is finding ways to say no, to redirect a child, and to plant understanding of what is going to occur. Yes, suddenly snatching your child off the swingset and fleeing the park is going to cause lots of tears. So don't do it. You can be kind but firm and create a process that makes the 2-year-old mind understand a chain of events. You don't have to be "the bad guy"; you just have to be "the firm and loving parent", and it's much more work than just giving in to a child's whims.

So now I have to start over and reprogram the poor little dude with the understanding that she can't have everything she wants the exact moment she wants it, and it's going to make for a tough couple of days, especially considering my first trimester exhaustion and lack of sleep. Thank goodness for babyproofed rooms, eh?

I think the most important thing to remember is that Veruca Salt's parents gave her every single thing she wanted, and she was rotten, and no one liked her, and she was miserable, and she was eventually incinerated by a squirrel.

I don't want that for my child.


stinestrain said...

I want the world,
I want the whole world,
I want to wrap it all up in my pocket

delilah said...

Naw, dude, you just want a bar of chocolate. =o)

Valerie said...

You are my hero. I'll be asking you for advice daily when I get a little person!

PS We're moving to Virginia! We just found out! (6.5 hours by car from you!)

delilah said...

Yay! You're moving to my middle name! Welcome back to the south, sugar! And no more snow, neither, no how. Haven't you missed grits?