March 22, 2012

Just One More Thought ~ Reader Mail Part 7

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question.  The response was long and involved so I have divided it into a seven part series.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 

Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 

My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o)  


One more thing to consider. Even though sweet Bella is your only child at this time, I know that you and your good husband hope to have a large family some day. So you may want to tuck this one away in your memory bank for when the time comes.

In our home, no one is permitted to play with baby unsupervised until they are able to follow through with the edicts of our training philosophy. Elisabeth loves to sit and play with Carmella on a blanket. This is a great blessing to all of us. They are growing a friendship, Carmella loves the attention and it gives me a chance to do a few things here and there.  I like to set a blanket in the doorway between the kitchen and living room while I am working.  I can keep an eye on them but they aren't focused on my presence.  This is a good way to train play time independent of mama's attention.

However, before I could walk away and leave them alone, I played with them for some time and then quietly observed for some time more to be sure Ellie was clear about what Carmella was and wasn't allowed to do and how she should respond to various situations. For example, Elisabeth knows Winnie can not have a toy she whines for.  She is not to hand toy after toy to Carmella to appease her, either.  Nor is she to retrieve toys over and over if her little sister throws them.

Another example is reading time with the boys.  Aedan particularly loves to read to Carmella.  He was not allowed to sit alone with her to read until he was clear on the way she was to handle books.    (See post about book training for questions on this topic.)

The big girls are expected to have brief training sessions in "no touch" with Carmella when they hold her. This has become great fun for everyone. It is a blessing for Carmella, too.  She can sit on our laps while we are schooling or eating dinner and we mustn't worry about her causing trouble. Otherwise, she would have to be in her crib or on a blanket or some other situation (play pen, exersaucer etc....) where she could not get into trouble or get hurt while we go about our day. Instead, she gets to be right along with us enjoying the fun, learning and taking in the life of a house of ten.

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