When I was preggo, and hubby and I would discuss parenting strategies, there were a lot of things that we surprisingly agreed on. Rules, curfews, manners- it was a long list of things. Discipline was a long detailed discussion, but in general we agreed that we would never second guess or contradict a discipline that the other implemented on our son, in front of our son. If we disagreed, we would discuss it later, privately. We would need to be a united front.
Spanking was another specific conversation where we were both in favor of this if the situation called for it. Our parents slapped the shit of out of us and we both turned out well (we think?) We have a healthy understanding of respect and what it means, and generally felt that ‘kids these days’ quite frankly, do not. Spanking is definitely a hot topic, and much debated, but we believe in parenting first and friendship second. If time-outs and taking toys away and yelling are not getting the point across then it’s time for more drastic measures.
We also don’t believe that the distraction method or compromise method should be the go-to tactic when G-man is throwing a fit. He needs to learn that he can’t always have what he wants and he needs to learn to deal/cope with those feelings of disappointment and frustration. Constantly bringing his attention away from something he’s been told he cannot have/or do does not teach him this. Trying to compromise is good in some situations but not all and as a parent now- I realize the importance of saying: “No means no.” (Fuck! I sound like my mother!)
All that being, said we have been very fortunate, Gunner has never had a melt down in public and he is typically very well mannered. He’s about to turn three, and we are just starting to see some markedly different behaviors which we are striving to get ahead of. I’m also a sucker for planning and being prepared- if we’re going out I usually pack snacks, drinks, treats and activities or toys. Let’s face it, when hubby and I want to run errands or go browse around some stores- that’s boring as shit for our busy toddler. If I can keep him happy by bringing along his Hulk Hogan action figure, a freakin’ cheese string and juice box then I’m going to make the time to grab those things before we leave the house.
The absolute worst thing for us as a couple is turning out to be going out for a meal. G-Man is not a fussy eater but he has the attention span of a squirrel and trying to get him to eat in a restaurant is akin to herding cats. We’re finding we’re just avoiding taking him out for meals now because it just doesn’t turn out to be an enjoyable evening (cue the babysitter). Alternatively, we’ve also just been investing in nicer cuts of meat and on weekends we end up giving him something easy for dinner and once he’s in bed I make something nice for the two of us (it’s nice to eat while the food is still hot!) We are strict parents, and people comment all the time on how well behaved Gunner is but in all honesty a big part of our parenting approach is conflict avoidance. If we know he typically behaves poorly during certain outings, we just try not to put him in those situations.
My little threenager is certainly turning the tables on our predetermined parenting strategies, but the best thing about our strategies are that they are flexible. As parents, we know where our hard lines are and what we’re willing and unwilling to do (I sound kind of 50 Shades right there). As long as you and your partner are on the same page, and you child is responding well to your ‘techniques’ then you’re obviously doing something right. Pat yourself on the back my friend- you’re winning the battle.