Written by: Suzanna Palmer August 12 2012
Take a look at the picture below:
No, we don’t own a toilet-paper loving dog. Nor do we own a toilet-paper loving cat. We do, however, own a toilet-paper loving child.
Most days, I keep him from indulging his obsession, chasing him down before he can make his mark. But on this particular morning, I was running on two hours of sleep after a long night of work and sat by exhausted as he happily pulled apart the pieces.
At the moment, I was glad he found something to keep his attention and figured I would worry about the mess later. But after a couple of minutes of watching him through bleary-eyes, I began to feel guilty for sitting idly by, realizing that this is precisely the kind of laziness that later leads to a spoiled kid.
Though Jacob’s only ten months old and Tom and I haven’t had to do much in the way of discipline yet, I know that the first principle of Parenting 101 is consistency. By practicing consistency and repetition, you enforce the idea you’re trying to teach and avoid sending mixed messages. This, of course, is easier said than done.
While most days, I don’t mind chasing him down every two seconds to keep him from turning the X-Box into a drum or my phone into a chew toy, there are days when I just don’t feel like saying “no.” And, this is where the problem lies.
Anyone with a baby who has crossed the threshold from sweet and docile into strong-willed and independent knows that discipline doesn’t end with a simple “no.” Following close behind it are tears of frustration and anger and miniature temper tantrums. And, a lot of times, your baby cries, too.
While the easy answer to my discipline dilemma would be to make sure he can’t access anything that would get him into trouble, no matter how much I modify my house to be baby-friendly, he is forever finding new ways to make a mess.
The other option would be to keep him in a play pen like they did in my mother’s generation, but he’s not a huge fan, and I have a slight aversion to keeping him pent up like a zoo animal.
Surely there must be some alternative. So, I’m going to turn the question over to you—how do you stay consistent All. The. Time when it comes to teaching your little one? Any tips or tricks for boosting my sticktoitiveness? I know I probably just need to suck it up for the sake of our future well-being in my moments of exhaustion. Or, then again, maybe I just need to get more sleep.