The reason I am writing about this now is because we are at a ‘challenging’ stage of parenting. Our child is starting to understand a lot more, pushing boundaries and exploring constantly. The challenge is how on earth do you set limits while trying to keep a straight face?! Honestly, he is completely hilarious most of the time but even more so when he looks at you with a cheeky grin, shaking his head to match your own actions and then carrying on with whatever he was doing (trying to climb onto the windowsill, trying to slap Grandma’s telly, trying to put his hands in the bin… the list is endless!). It doesn’t help when you have other family members cracking up with laughter and trying (unsuccessfully) to hide behind their hands.
As parents you have to decide how you’re going to approach these things – are you full on with the strict discipline, right from this tiny age or do you want to try a gentler approach… or do you just muddle along and try it all on before deciding what fits? Now that TM is starting to push boundaries more and more, we’ve actually got to put into practice some of the things we’ve talked about and make definitive choices about how we handle various situations.
I am an avid reader and that includes articles and blogs about parenting – as well as a few carefully selected books. Both B and I have seen friends and family go through these toddler years with a variety of approaches and have decided what we like the look of and what we don’t feel so comfortable with. I think it’s actually a really delicate balance with a 1 year old – they are so, so small still but they are learning all the time and you do have to develop boundaries – at the very least to stop them hurting themselves! I don’t personally believe that time outs and naughty steps have any use on a 1 year old and at the moment it’s not something we want to try, anyway.
There’s always going to be a certain amount of trial and error, I guess. Each child is different so a blanket rule might not work out. We seem to be somewhere in the gentle/playful parenting camp – setting limits but without the reward/punishment tactics and trying to make sure we spend plenty of time just playing with our gorgeous boy and paying him attention for all the right reasons. Will this always be our approach? Who knows? Will it always work? Probably not! But it’s reassuring to have a plan in the first place, isn’t it?
How about you? Do you have a parenting style?