According to the dictionary, discipline means “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.” Seems easy enough, right? Well, when you become a parent to a toddler, you quickly realize, it ain’t that simple. Especially, once you start having multiple children, and the second one doesn’t respond to discipline the way the first one did/does. As we know, every child is different and unique; however, that fact has been giving me a serious case of self-doubt, lately.
I’m struggling these days, particularly with my newly minted two year old. He’s been hitting and pushing (mostly his 3.5 year old older brother), but I’ve also intervened during play dates more times than I can count. There are regular tantrums, he’s in love with the word “no,” and is often threatened by sharing. I’m a hands-on-mom, correcting and guiding him through the somewhat difficult concepts of socialization. We model behavior, use positive reinforcement, use time outs, and take away privileges. It’s frustrating, and embarrassing at times, when his spirit overwhelms me.
I lie awake many nights, thinking about him, my dear boy, who seems so angry at the world sometimes. So, I rationalize. He’s two. He’s the middle child. He’s a little brother and a new big brother. He’s still nursing. He’s had to share mommy his entire life. Life is different for him than his big brother, and in a lot of ways, it’s more challenging, and it feels unfair.
And also. He’s two. He’s feisty. He’s so loving. He’s learning and testing boundaries. He adores his brothers. He’s perceptive, kind, and sensitive. He’s laugh out loud hilarious. He’s amazing. He’s his own person. He’s my heart. Sometimes I don’t understand him, but I see him.
And so I cry a little (ok, a lot) when all is quiet and my heart is aching to understand him, to help him navigate this difficult time. My mom had three children, very close in age (and I followed suit!), and she reminds me that everything is a season. Keep pouring in the goodness, love the heck out of him, and keep responding to his needs. We can, we will, and we must. Keep tending to your seed because spring is near, and beautiful blooms will surprise you when you least expect it.
You Got This,