Without brute physical trauma or bribery

Elise and I are taking yet another parenting class at her church. We took a class called “Common Sense Parenting” earlier this past Spring and I think it helped us a lot. Elise and I were both luckily predisposed with laid-back personalities, and I think that trait has carried over into our parenting styles; not that we’re non-involved or we let our child get away with everything, but being laid-back means not fretting the little things and we always calmly take the hand we’re dealt. Our daughter, despite her current two-and-a-half year old personality, is pretty easy going as well. All-in-all, I think we lucked out and have an awesome child.

However, that doesn’t go without saying that there are “issues”. We’ve both been very frustrated as parents of a toddler and often questions our decisions and parenting tactics. We generally go with our gut on most decisions and child-rearing plans but we’re only human, and often question our guts (albeit both guts have gotten bigger, so you’d assume they’d become wiser).

The new class we’re taking is called “Without Spanking or Spoiling”. We had our first class last Wednesday and honestly, I don’t recall anything noteworthy from that class. Our next class is tomorrow night and Elise and I completed our required reading and homework separately tonight.

Tonight’s lessons were: 1) Recognizing your values 2) clarifying behavioral expectations (of your child) and 3) beating the first two lessons into your offspring with a blunt object, preferably with a comfort-grip handle. Really I think the 3rd was something about self acceptance.

Without dwelling too much on the above mentioned, I will skip to the homework that I just finished: Exercise 2.5 – Review a Problem.

A problem that I’ve had of late with Maly is that she just doesn’t seem to like me. That’s the problem, but I’m supposed to “define the problem behaviorally”. So I jotted down that “Maly doesn’t like to do things with me. She prefers that I not help her, play with her or engage her”. I noted “data gathering” exercise that this occurs in the mornings before I leave for work, and immediately when I get home from work in the evenings. I specified that I own the problem (versus a problem that Maly would own, for example: if I didn’t want to have anything to do with her).

So the alternative that I chose is to engage in play that Maly would otherwise enjoy alone, such as playing in her kitchen in the backyard or swinging in her swing in the front yard. These are the alternatives to what I might find myself wanting to do, like playing “chase”, “fun with metric conversion charts” or my favorite: “checkbook balancing!”

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