I remember the first time I heard Nora sigh in utter and complete exasperation at something that I said or did that frustrated her. It caught me completely off guard. Not because of the anger that I heard pulsating behind it, but because I heard, without a doubt, a reflection of myself.
I do that. And once I heard it from my daughter, I started realizing how often I do it. I didn’t like hearing it from my little girl and now when I catch myself doing it, it bothers me as well. I am trying to be more conscious of how I act and what I say in front of my kids because they will inevitably learn from my behaviors, bad and good.
This morning I was thinking about the issue with hitting that we have going on in our house right now. I am not sure how kids learn to hit as a way to express their anger. Meredith obviously picked it up from her older sister, but where did Nora get it? We don’t hit each other in this family and have never spanked. To my knowledge, Dora has never hit Boots and the gang on Mickey Mouse generally get along. I don’t let them watch much more than those basic shows, so I don’t think they got it there. But, still it is a problem in this house. That and lying.
Discipline is hard. Nora often hits her sister and denies it when asked. She then gets in trouble for lying on top of the hitting, but when she tells the truth she still gets in trouble for hitting, so she often still lies. I try to get her to tell me the truth, but that can’t mean no punishment because then she says the following: “Mommy, I hit Mersie, but I said sorry and told you the truth.” It’s hard to explain to a three year old that saying sorry and telling the truth are both good, but they don’t automatically make up for the bad behavior.
And, I will tell you this… three year old’s ask some tough questions, so explaining some of this stuff is not the easiest. I am trying my best to be a good role model and to give her positive feedback when her behavior is good, so that hopefully will start to reinforce expectations and ultimately teach and change behavior. I am optimistic that preschool this Fall will also be helpful with these types of lessons. But, it is exhausting. Behavior is hard to teach and influence… in my kids and in myself.