Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. I love my children, I really do, but something about the holidays makes parenting really hard. I’ve been reflecting on this lately. A normal evening for my kids entails eating dinner, taking a bath, watching a video, reading a few books, brushing teeth, and going to bed. With my older daughter the routine continues in her bedroom with feeding her fish, reading another book and reflecting on our day. Anyway, around the holidays and out of our routine, things become really difficult. 3 days in a row of eating junk, staying up late, opening gifts and being absolutely spoiled leads to the next three days being extreme disappointments when the presents are gone, the junk food hidden and an attempt at the “normal” bedtime routine is attempted. It’s during this time that I realize the importance of the routines and schedules that we have developed for our children.
Often when my children are going through those difficult times of being more oppositional and defiant I look back and think “what happened?”. Most of the time I see that things have slowly slipped, the bed time routine later, the movies longer, and the compromising happening more just to avoid the dreadful temper tantrums! Oh, had I just remained disciplined and consistent myself, my children would not be fighting so hard. I read in a book recently the importance as us as parents being disciplined. How can we expect our children to be well behaved and disciplined when we don’t have the same expectations on ourselves? On that note, take time to reflect on your current schedule. Are you expecting too much of your kids, pushing them through too many activities, keeping the pacing of life way too fast? Perhaps it’s time to sit back, slow down and give our kids the wonderful gift of discipline. That’s one of my big goals for 2007!