Shall I explain my thinking behind the previous post? This is an idea I've tumbled around in my brain as Allen and I are challenged in our role as parents.
Neither of us has spent much time, aside from our time as parents, with young children. Or studying young children. Our career choices had nothing to do with children. Our hobbies generally had nothing to do with children. In fact, we chose to avoid childhood development classes as electives in college.
So, we are kind of flying by the seat of our pants with this whole parenting young children thing. Besides conferring with moms whose children exemplify the behaviors I want my own kids to have, implementing gospel teaching into our daily lives, and going with my gut, we've had nothing but our own childhood experiences to help guide us on this journey.
Allen often says, "When I was a kid..." when we discuss discipline for our girls. But what it's easy to forget as we reach back to our own experiences for current direction is that our memories do not include our early childhood years in much detail. There are snippets, flashes or cloudy recollection, but nothing concrete.
And I don't care what you say, no one accurately remembers much before the age of two.
Put this together. What did you determine? If you are parenting from your memories, you are probably using techniques that are appropriate for the 8 and up range. No, really. Think about most of your memories about discipline. Do you remember how your mom consistently reacted to you at 18 months? Unlikely. Three? Perhaps, but on a consistent basis? Doubtful. Five? Ok, yeah, more often, but it's still sketchy I bet.
But, you can clearly recall when you were 8 or 9 and really ticked off Mom or Dad. Or totally broke curfew at 16. Those moments are crystal clear and will serve you well when your kids are 8 or 16. But not 2, 3 or even 5.
I've tried to fill that unavoidable and very human gap by reading many, many books on childhood development and different parenting styles. Thank goodness I have! Otherwise, I'd be lecturing my 18 month old about using logic go come to daily conclusions. Or making them write sentences. Or drilling their windows shut with bolts (not that my parents would ever need to bolt my window shut...).
I put this out there so that those of us who are in the extremely influential position of parenting the young children of this world will take a minute to evaluate our approach. To build a relationship of trust with your child, you must prepare them for your expectations, explain your expectations in a way they can truly understand and make consequences that fit the crime. Over punishing a young child will not only negate the lesson, but it will also create a relationship built on doubt and insecurity.
And that will ruin your chance to use all those awesome techniques you have in your arsenal because you will have no relationship with them at all.