Came across this journal entry from about two years ago and thought it might be helpful to a dad (or mom) out there. Can you relate?
Took my toddler for a walk today. He had been rather content for most of the day. We did have some trouble down at the pool, as he had a difficult time concentrating. From “I want in” to “I want out,” he bounced back and forth. Eventually I tired of his lack of consistent interest, and so we went back home.
Eating seemed to help settle things down. After a nice little snack, we took a walk. Well, I walked, he rode his “bike.” Picture one of those plastic Big Wheel kind of things, only smaller. He cannot reach the pedals yet – almost! – and so scoots it around with foot power. Rudimentary travel method, but it works for him. And any way that he can burn some energy is a good thing!
We tooled around for a while. As we got to the apparent point of no return, at which he would start to fade, Little Man decided to challenge me. Now, I had been pretty relaxed and so I was up for battle. And I did indeed win. Along the way, his dispassionate expressions and stares seemed to say, “What, are you talking to me? Not sure I can read you. Huh?” And thus the parenting skills were applied.
Now, I try to make these times of disobedience, in which it is clear he is challenging my authority, unpleasant for the child. I think a child who is willingly disobedient ought to have some consequences for such behavior. That outcome ought to be bothersome, at the least, and I prefer it to be an unwelcome outcome of their behavior. You know, it just seems that such a child should feel some…discomfort. That’s how I signal that I am not going to tolerate their defiance, and it seems to work. My two strong-willed kids have responded to such parenting techniques.
So on our walk, when he clearly disobeyed, I picked the boy up off his bike, hoisted him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and scooped up the vehicle with my free hand. He does not like this posture. However, I find it easy, and it also restrains him so that he cannot in anger hit or scratch me (it happens). Thus we “walked” toward home. Somewhere along the way, he effectively convinced me that he was ready to follow my lead. So put him down, and he got back onto his bike. A moment later he looked up at me, thrust his hand up into the air, and grabbed my hand.
This was a “keeper” moment. After disciplining him, my son literally reached out to me, wanting my involvement and physical touch. Have to admit that felt pretty good!
Then later, at bedtime, he was pretty wound up, and would not quiet down. So I held him tightly. Very tightly. Not to a point of hurting him, just to let him know “I am serious about this, you’ve gotta settle down and get to sleep.” He fought me. Wiggle, scream, claw at my back, arch his back, bang his head on my shoulder, writhe as if in great pain (he wasn’t). On and on and on for almost 10 minutes. Whew!
Then, the breakthrough. He calmed down a bit, and fought me less. Finally, after a few more minutes, he settled into my shoulder. Head nestled up against mine, he accepted the warmth, the touch, the safety and security that I offered. Sigh. Contentment. Peace. It was a great moment, and I drank it in.
In these two incidents, a 35 month-old, 35 pound boy tried to take me on. He exerted his will, defied me and said, “No.” He clearly did not want to obey me. He would do as he pleased. In response to that challenge I held firm, laid down the law and expected him to accept my direction. I didn’t get angry, I didn’t threaten. I acted. I let him know in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t disregard me. My intent was to help him see that I love him, but he’d have to go my way.
Somehow, in these encounters, I think he got that message.
Update: That Little Man turned five last week. He continues to challenge boundaries and our authority, but thatr’s just part of his DNA. In many, many ways he is a wonderfully delightful boy. And he still responds to a calm, measured parent’s loving direction!
If George needed heart surgery, he might benefit from this.
More discussion here.
My wife heard Dr. Archibald Hart on the radio yesterday and told me she thinks he is spot-on about the need to guard ourselves – and our kids - from information and entertainment overload. Pretty solid advice from someone with a lot of wisdom.
We’ve tried to limit the amount of media our kids consume, for instance. Our computer is in the living room, and the younger kids have to have an adult around and permission to go online, and event then, only to a few approved sites. We’d rather they play outside, read or have some game-time, really. And we don’t watch TV, except for an occasional educational show (or a Jane Austen show from PBS). We watch movies/DVDs, but only average one or two a week.
So Dr. Hart’s suggestion that entertainment and excitement are habit-forming and need to be carefully managed got a loud and clear, “Amen!” from Dena.
One quote from the show:
I’m a gadget person, but I discipline myself. I will not touch a keyboard after eight o’clock in the evening because if I do, I know I’m not going to get to sleep [on] time … I have a cell phone, but only one person knows the number, and that’s my wife, and it’s [only] for emergencies. Very few people have my e-mail address.
BTW, here’s an article by Dr. Hart about the “excitement addiction.” It is a real condition, and one which may be affecting someone you know.
The special issues broadcast which aired the past two days has generated some national news media attention. Maybe you’ve seen the coverage on ABC TV, read it in the blogging world or heard it on the radio. You can still listen in here.
UPDATE: Readers, thanks for the many comments. I did not anticipate the significant response we’d get when I linked to Dr. Dobson’s recorded comments from last Tuesday! As indicated in the past, this is not an open-forum, and we reserve the right to edit comments. I’ll not be posting all feedback, but with those that have been published have tried to show a fair representation of remarks we received.
BTW, the intent of this blog is not to highlight public policy or election issues, but to add a personal touch to my on-air work, let readers see a bit of Focus from a behind-the-scenes perspective, and to bring practical marriage and parenting advice. It is my hope you’ll come back from time to time and find the posts helpful – and hopefully a bit entertaining, too.
Thanks again for reading – and commenting.
* This blog entry has been paid for by Focus on the Family Action, Inc.
Our three daughters play with dolls. We’ve never had Barbie dolls, though. And for good reason – what little girl can measure up (literally!) to the bronze babe with such an exaggerated figure? Better to have toys that are more…appropriately proportioned, I think.
Here’s one commentary on the doll and her effect on society.
What do you think? Is this on the mark? Or is the writer off base here?
Take a trip back to the enlightened “Age of Aquarius.” Those turbulent 60s were hard for a lot of folks, but God intervened in some dramatic ways in the lives of at least four folks – our guests for this two-day flashback series.
Tidbit: Back in ’93 when this was recorded I was the show’s producer. It was pretty fun to work with our guests. Today two of them are still here at Focus. That’s longevity!
A neighbor’s house was “TP’d” recently. The Charmin was streaming all over their trees. It was a thorough job. Only problem: The intended victims were not home. And within a couple of hours, caring neighbors (not us) were out there picking up every stray sheet of the white tissue paper. There was little damage done, and no lingering effect. Sorry about that.
Ah, but the perps caught word of their fruitless efforts, and soon struck the same house again. And in great style. Paper streaming everywhere. It was a rather windy day that followed, and the effect was somewhat pretty, actually. Which probably was the reason behind my youngest daughter’s question to me the next morning.
“Daddy,” she asked, “Can we decorate OUR yard like that one?”
“Ah, no dear. That’s not really supposed to be there in the trees…er, how do I explain this to you?”
The delightful innocence of a first-grader.
The joys of parenting.
Gotta love it.
The execs at cable television are pretty smart. They are aiming for your child’s present media habits and future interests. Take this news item, for instance:
Jose Carbonell has been named vice president of pre-school parenting brand marketing for the Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. Carbonell will be charged with coordinating cross-business marketing programs, on-air events and consumer and trade advertising efforts for Nickelodeon and Noggin pre-school properties, including “Dora the Explorer” and “The Backyardigans Live Tale of the Mighty Knights” stage tour.
Now, “Nick” is owned by the same folks who have channels like Spike, VH1 and Comedy Channel. And…MTV.
In case you aren’t seeing it, these folks are grooming kids for their networks — by marketing related brands and TV properties to PRESCHOOL ages. Mighty good planning to ensure they’ve cultivated future viewers. In 10 years, that preschool child is a teen, ready and willing to watch what is arguably one of the most influential teen entities, MTV. They’re already used to the network’s logo and co-branded programming, so this is some really smart marketing. I’m not saying it is good, just makes some good business sense.
So…are you letting these networks have your kid? How are you guarding your children from the influence of good marketers who want their eyes and ears? You don’t allow your kids to have a TV in their room, do you?
See the video here (link is mid-page).
This had to be one of the more memorable moments I’ve eperienced in the studio with Dr. Dobson. Wow, did we surprise Josh McDowell! What a joy to see the deep, deep love this family has, and to frame this touching time in the context of Josh’s terribly difficult childhood.
Great stuff! Have some tissues nearby…powerfully emotive.