I have been at a loss with my 2 and a half year old son for a while. I have read and skimmed through a few parenting books. I've read Christian based books, discipline based books, "happy child" based books etc. and the suggestions and tactics have definitely worked with my other children. Noah (6) and Kadence(2) both respond to any type of discipline whether it is positive or negative. Kadence is in her terrible two stage, so she lets her emotions take over a lot, but I know that is something she will grow out of (until she is 12, then I'm sure it comes back with a vengeance if she's anything like me).
That leaves me with Liam(2). My very rambunctious "bam-bam" two year old that not only does NOT respond to any type of discipline, positive or negative, but he enjoys getting into trouble and doing whatever he wants. Everything that works with Noah and Kadence does not even put a dent in this kids behavior. Whenever I read parenting articles or books that tell you to get down to your child's level and talk to them about what is acceptable and what isn't, it makes me laugh. It is also funny when they suggest time-outs, spankings, taking things away from them, positive reinforcement, using a stern voice etc. NOTHING WORKS ON LIAM!!
I know what you are thinking.
You are thinking that I'm not doing it right. You are thinking that I must be giving in or I must be inconsistent with the discipline. You are probably thinking that there is no way that Liam doesn't respond to anything and that he is probably just a brat due to lack of good parenting and I'm trying to find something or someone else to blame it on.
HOWEVER... I strongly feel that there is a BIG difference between a bratty kid and a "strong-willed" kid. You know who the bratty kids are...they are the ones at the playground, hitting and pushing other kids and you are looking around trying to figure out who their parent is to see why they haven't come and had a talk with their child about not hitting. Then when the child finally runs back to his parents they don't even notice that he is standing in front of them because their head is down with their nose in their cellphone because finding out what your "friend" on Facebook is eating for lunch is much more important than keeping an eye on your child. You understand that maybe the child just needs some love, attention and boundaries. The brats are the kids that will respond to discipline if the parent gives it.
The "strong-willed" child is a different breed of child and seems to be a little less common. I'm sure that many parents think that their child is strong-willed, when in reality they are really just brats. Maybe you think that I'm one of those parents and you can have your opinion, that is totally fine. I'm 110% sure I have a strong willed child. Liam has received every type of discipline I can google. I have set boundaries and laid out expectations and I used to think that I was failing miserably at being a parent, mostly because he is 1 of 4 children and a twin and my attention is divided between all of them which sometimes seems unfair.
I got a book called "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson and this is from the short synopsis on the back cover:
"They come into the world smoking a cigar and yelling about the temperature in the delivery room. As toddlers, their greatest delights include painting the carpet with Mom's makeup and trying to flush the family cat down the toilet."
OMG that's Liam. But then it also says:
"Challenging as they are to raise, strong-willed children can grow up to be men and women of strong character--if lovingly guided with understanding and the right kind of discipline."
When Liam gets older and is a millionaire I will definitely be reminding him that he egged his room, took off his diaper and pooped and peed behind the couch (where I had to search for it because I could smell it but not see it), got on the bathroom counter and dumped all the soap into the sink and all over himself. All in one day. We can reminisce about how he laughed when he was spanked, and smiled when he was reprimanded, and thought it was hilarious to get in and out of time out, and cry when he was sent to his room only to come out of his room and do the same thing that got him there in the first place within 30 seconds of being let out of his room...
I realized that raising Liam is going to be an adventure that will require a lot of wine, patience and impulse shopping but I have a strong feeling that in the end, it will be more than worth it. I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to the destination but I'm also going to make the most of this journey.
I'm pretty sure both of these Frisbees ended up in the neighbors backyard...on purpose.