Archive for January, 2010

To Spank or Not To Spank
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As of late, the topic of spanking a toddler as a disciplining measure has begun to weigh heavily on my mind. A common phrase we’ve all grown up around is, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” But what constitutes a rod in this modern age? Have we progressed so far as humans that we should be capable to discipline purely by intellect alone, using psychological methods such as time-out, reward/praise, selective ignoring, providing consequences, or withdrawing privileges? Is using Pavlov’s theory of association with a loud clap or slight sting of the hand on a child’s thigh antiquated for toddler discipline? What if all the psychological methods don’t seem to be enough for a resolute tantrum?

In my own practice, I’ve determined to keep my hand out of the discipline—literally. Not to say I won’t spank, but I want to save that as a last resort upon the failing of all other practices. Although I fear that the time is drawing near; especially with my son’s most recent unyielding bursts of dissatisfaction from being disciplined. He seemed to almost work his self into hysteria with practically-hyperventilated cries of, “I want to get up.” I was able to sooth him by continuing the time-out punishment in my bed where I laid quietly holding him until he was calm and responsive. Of course, his requests still continued, but then in a normal, soft speaking voice. I then reasoned with him that his need for discipline was due to his own behavior and that he had to stay a few calm minutes in time-out before he could get up. But was this the best course of action, or could a slight sting have facilitated a similar result?

I believe it’s true that a toddler needs rigid boundaries and consistent discipline. I’ve even discussed in previous posts how I can see in my own son’s development his need to communicate and express his self. They naturally need limited choices and routine schedules to give them a sense of independence and structure. Not to say they won’t test those boundaries. I think sometimes they crave a parent’s attention so much, that they’ll even look for it in discipline; if that’s what it takes. We all want to be recognized and feel important, or at least know that someone is willing to make some kind of fuss over us—even if it’s negative.

In time I may find a need to squelch inappropriate behavior with a spank. I’ve spoken to other parents who have successfully curved similar behavior with a slight sting to the thigh; of course, never in anger. It’s apparent that their toddler still loves them and there is no shying away from the parents hand—their disciplining tool. Since each child is their own person and does react differently to the various disciplining methods, I’d have to determine how my son responds and if it is the appropriate method to use in extreme conditions. I think we can all agree we don’t want to spoil our children.

Whichever method you choose to use, I think the important thing to remember is to never do it out of anger. Every kid can frustrate the most patient of parents. When disciplining, may have to give yourself and your child time. Maybe take five minutes to cool down. Tag in another parent or trusted friend to allow you time to get in the right frame of mind. They’re only trying to communicate and want attention to get their point across any way they know how. Use your praise to show them which ways are acceptable, and your discipline to show which are inappropriate.

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Colby’s 4 months growth
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Colby’s 4 months growth!

My son, Colby, is just growing and growing!  Not so much, in the physical sense, I’m talking about the progression of his mental and emotional growth.  He is now, eating rice cereal from a bowl!!!

Yes, we are mixing a batch of this rice cereal for him, with formula, which he is eating twice and day.  And he is even eating this with a spoon!  Starting next week, he will have it three times a day.  It will be a breakfast, lunch, and dinner type of schedule with bottled formula in between rice cereal feedings.  So, his progress from just bottled formula to now eating rice cereal from a bowl with a spoon is definite advancement. 

Next, he is now able to reach the floor while he is in his walker, and is able to move a bit in it.  He has not quite figured out the whole moving forward, but he is able to move backwards and side to side.

And lastly, he is holding his head up with no problems, turning to hear voices, and learning to roll over.  It is all very exciting.  His four months growth is right on track or above, which makes this daddy very happy!

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Colby’s First Night Away
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Colby’s First night away….

It was drizzling… the damp night was dark, only lit by the likes of our moon, and the dim street lights, which fought there way to shine through the light drizzle.  What lies for Colby’s parents, on this eve of the New Year?  Well, a party of course!  On this evening before the first day of two thousand and ten (2010), Colby’s parents have made plans to go to a party.  A party that was about a forty-five minute drive away, no less, at his daddy’s sister’s house.  Colby’s parents were very confused on how to make arrangements for this certain evening.  His parents knew that they wanted to go to this party, but they also knew that they now have a precious lil’ baby boy to consider in their event planning. 

Colby’s parents had very mixed feelings about this particular evening.  If they were to go, which they wanted to do, it most likely would be planned with Colby needing to stay the night at one of the grandparents home.  It would stand to reason, that if Colby’s parents went out and got home late, let’s say about 3ish in the morning and Colby needed to get up and eat about 5:45ish in the morning, then Colby’s parents would get no sleep.  But, Colby has never been away from mommy and daddy.

Well, this is what we were contemplating.  We definitely wanted to go out, but we knew that it was not good for any person involved, if we didn’t get the sleep that we needed, especially after being up late at a party.  So, we concluded that Colby needed to stay the night away from home.  It was not easy on me, though.  I was glad that we made this decision, but at the same time, I was sad that he was not home with us.  It was like, something was missing when I arrived home.  And that was Colby! 

In the end, we had a great time at my sister’s New Year’s Eve party, and everyone had a great time.  I enjoyed myself very much, but I did miss the lil’ guy!!!  It was a relief though, knowing that he was safe and sound at one of his grandparents’ home, being taken good care of.  It is also a relief that we were told that Colby was a very good boy, and slept very good too!

It is just a whole new ball game, to plan an evening out.  It will be like this every time now, and I realize this.  With Colby maturing and developing, I know that I will not want to miss anything, which makes leaving him, (even though I know that he is completely well taken care of), extremely hard.

Colby’s First X-Mas!!! Part 2….
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Colby’s first Christmas was a huge success!  It started basically with the annual Christmas Eve party at my mom’s house, December 24th.  Colby was able to meet the extended family, of brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.  Colby was the hit of the party!  Everyone commented on how well behaved and cute he was.  This makes me a very proud papa!  Colby usually has to nap, but on this evening, he was able to stay awake and alert for a long time, while continuing to be in a good mood and continue to learn his smiles!  He was smiling at all of the family, which was just adorable. 

Then we had a long day, on Christmas day as well.  We started by opening gifts at my house, that Santa left for Colby.  Well, he must have been a really good boy this year, or, in his four months of life, because Santa left him plenty of good toys.  After that, we went to my parents home to open more gifts, and had brunch.  After that, we went to my wife’s parent’s home, and again opened more gifts, and had dinner.  Colby was a real trooper throughout this long day.  He did take a long nap at my in-laws, in his pack and play, while we put some Christmas gifts together. 

All in all, it was a fantastic first Christmas for my son, Colby and his proud papa.  It was extremely joyous, and I look forward to many more!