I have been struggling with an area of parenting lately. It has really come to the forefront since Braden started walking in September. As you can see it has taken me a while to get a grip on the situation.
As parents we always have to make disciplinary decisions. This is not the most important thing in the life of a toddler, but the discipline scale grows exponentially over the years. A newborn needs zero discipline. A high school student needs a lot. So where does a 15 month old toddler fit on this scale.
Since Braden started walking he has been into everything. I was constantly following him around saying no, no, no, no. At first this seemed like the right thing to do. He is a smart kid. He will learn what no means and stop doing these things.
Yes he is still clearly smart. Yes he knows what no means. It is actually one of is favorite words. He is constantly telling me no while vigorously shaking his head. Still my word is not the absolute law of the house in his mind like I expected it to be.
As time went by it was lovingly pointed out to me by my wife that I was saying no a lot. I was determined for Braden to mind so I just kept on with the nightly parade of negatives even after the warning. When I said no he would learn that it meant no. He would stay out of our things and be a good boy.
Braden continued to ignore my suggestions fairly regularly. I found myself burdened by the worry about his behavior. Would he mind in the future? Am I raising him right? If I give in will I be spoiling him?
Then I noticed that Braden listened to Arica better than he did me. She says no too, but she has a different way about it. She also spends a lot of time each day encouraging the little man rather than constantly hounding him. Braden probably feels more comfortable with her rather than his ever annoying No No Daddy.
As I watched Braden play Saturday night something that Arica had been trying to get through to me finally clicked. I am spending way too much time trying to boss Braden around, and not nearly enough time having fun with my son.
Braden is just a toddler, and he is always a good boy. He doesn't need to have a drill sergeant to keep him in line. He is still exploring the world and learning at an incredible rate. If he kept his hands off everything like I wanted he wouldn't ever learn much. After all what does it hurt if he plays with a few things as long as they aren't dangerous.
Since then we have had as much fun as possible. I know Arica and I will both need our disciplinarian hats in the future. To tell the truth we still need them every day. There are certain things that are off limits. Unsafe or irreplaceable things should be off limits, but Braden should not be denied his right to curiously explore the world just because his Dad wants to be boss.
Sorry Braden. I promise to lighten up and have more fun from now on. I don't want to miss any more of these amazing toddler times being the No No Guy. Love Daddy.