Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Evil Twin Is About To Be Shown The Door

I’m going to be honest with ya’ll. The last couple weeks at our house have been…bumpy. I’ve been told multiple times that a kid turning 3 is worse than the “terrible twos.” But we never really had “terrible twos” so I thought maybe we’d dodge a bullet with this whole three thing.

Not so much.

Let me begin by saying that Caedmon is a sweet little boy. He is kind, loving, fairly happy to obey, and finds joy in helping me out. But occasionally some little monster overtakes his body and he yells, whines, melts into a pile of tantrum at the slightest hint of disagreement, disobeys, and is just plain obnoxious. Others don’t get to see the evil twin much. But this little doppelganger has been making more frequent appearances lately. And I don’t like it. At all.

We’ve tried spanking for that stuff. Because ya’ll, I totally believe in spanking. But it just doesn’t seem to fit with his personality. I’ve tried sending him to his room until he’s ready to get happy or behave. But the other day as he was still having a fit, flailing arms and legs included, he was saying, “I’m happy now, Momma.” Yeah, right. Not exactly working the way I want it to. I’ve tried sitting down and talking with him. But you can’t really reason with a three year-old, especially when their answer to everything is, “Why?”

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I need to have a little talk with Caedmon about his behavior, he doesn’t pay attention to me. Like, at all. He’s standing in front of me. His face is inches away from mine. I’m trying to put on the “serious Mom face” and see if I can squeeze out a little guilt. His head may be nodding, but his eyes, mind and heart are elsewhere.

And then it dawned on me the other night. When Michelle Duggar talked to our MOPS group a few weeks ago, she said that she’d had the same kind of issues with her kids. And she realized that she must teach them three very important things: Attentiveness, Obedience, and Self-Control. She told us how she started “from behind” at first because she already had several little ones, but it worked. Once they learned to be attentive, it was easier for them to obey because they were already listening. And learning self-control was an extension of the other two. She also shared with us how she trains each of her small children in these character qualities starting at a very young age. And on the basis of those three character qualities, others are built.

So if Michelle could do it with several little ones (and quite a few more since then), I can do it with one. It will take discipline on my part. But honestly, I don’t have time to play around. Caedmon is three. Before long, he’ll be going to school and dealing with things the world has to offer without the protectiveness of Mom around to help him out. He must learn what’s right before he’s put in those situations. Sure, we’ll both make mistakes along the way. But I’m ready for a change. Mainly, I’d like to know who I’m dealing with each day…Caedmon or his evil twin.

But the evil twin is about to be shown the door. That little doppelganging monster is not going to know what hit him.

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  1. great post. Did she give any tips on how to teach attentiveness?

  2. Yes, actually she told us what she says to them and how she speaks to her children. She uses “big words” even with the little ones and believes they understand what you mean, even if they don’t understand the words.

    She gets down on their level and requires them to have eye contact with her. She tells them their operating definition of attentiveness (in the materials she gave us) and that she wants them to learn to hear her voice and obey because they will need to learn to listen for Jesus’ promptings the same way. (Not audibly, of course, but you still have to pay attention.) She praises them for the attentiveness they’ve shown and moves on to what she needs to say to them, requiring that they remain attentive while she is talking. It sounds time consuming, but it really doesn’t take that long after the first time or two – they pick it up pretty quickly.

    She teaches them to say, “Yes ma’am, I’d be happy to” when she tells them to do something and “Yes ma’am, I’m coming” when she calls them. Even before they can really talk, she puts it into practice by playing a “game” with them and teaching them the concept over and over again. Of course, she has older kids to help her teach the little ones, but I have to remind myself that she was once outnumbered and still taught her kids to do it. Ha!

  3. You seriously need to consider writing a book one day! Your style of writing is always captivating. Anyways - I'm reading (again) "The New Dare to Discipline" by James Dobson, having to remind myself of the importance of obedience the first time and that it does take more discipline on my part to keep everyone with good attitudes and obeying spirits....like my Daddy always tells me "Mommyhood is not for wimps!" Good Luck!

  4. Someone else asked my same question - thank you for sharing the "how". I work on that already with my little ones. Trying to get them to look me in the eye but it does take patience. It's easy for me to get frustrated instead of using the gentle calming voice Michelle seems to use. :-)

  5. It all sounded so easy when she was saying it....in that calm and soothing voice, didn't it?

    She could've mentioned how much our patience would have to grow in order to practice it! Haha. Eye contact does seem to help with Lilly.