My good friend (and amazing blogger) Sara wrote a great post about CAVING. Giving in to your kid. Not always being the hard ass. And how it can be detrimental to every routine you have ever tried to instill in your kid.
In the past, anytime I've caved with Z, I've regretted it. Anytime I've threatened and not followed through, I've regretted it. Anytime I've said he'll get a time out and then not followed through, well...you get the point.
However, since Z has turned (terrible) two, my thoughts on caving have take a different turn. Sometimes, I think it's good to cave. Sometimes I think it's ok to give in a little bit and let your child have a bit of control in situations. Especially when you have a child like Z.
(this picture is old, but typifies our relationship. I'm always trying to hold him back and he's always wiggling and struggling- trying to go and do his own thing...and looking so cute doing it...)
Let me start by saying that I adore my children. I may be annoyed or frustrated by them sometimes, but I ADORE them and am willing to put up with pretty much anything they throw at me (literally and figuratively). But, as I have mentioned numerous times before, my 2 year old has been giving me a real run for my money since W was born 3 months ago. He has always had a really strong personality. He was born stubborn and fierce and headstrong. When he wants something, he wants it and you are not going to derail him easily. I think these qualities will serve him so well when he is older. I can only imagine what he will be capable of and what he will accomplish. Right now, though, when he's 2...he's not completely able to control himself and the headbutting is sooo frustrating.
Threats really don't work very well. Bribes do (of course. they work on me and I'm a grown-up) but only to a point. But I'm discovering that CAVING. YES. CAVING. actually works with my son. Giving him an opportunity to redeem himself and not get the punishment I had threatened give him the feeling of control that I think this headstrong kid really needs.
You see, I think that kids with strong personalities often crave power. This is where Z and I butt heads most often. He wants power. I have power. By caving occassionally, I've noticed that our relationship is a little less contentious. He sees me as a little softer. He gains a little power. He feels a little more in control and (magically) he listens and obeys a little more easily.
The key has been picking our battles. Because with Z, there could be a fight at every turn. I say white, he says black. It's his nature to do the exact opposite of what I say because he wants to discover for himself... By allowing him to feel like he is making real choices and getting his way (occassionally), Z seems to be pacified and more willing to cooperate.
A magic bullet this is not. If I notice Z is getting a bit too big for his britches, it's back to the hard-ass, non-caving, I'll outlast you and any tantrum you throw my way mom. But the caving, the giving in, might just be the key to a better relationship between me and my headstrong redhead.