I think most parents have used the innocent threat, “I’m going to count to three if you don’t (insert command).” I know that I’ve used it plenty of times on occassions that deemed it necessary. But does it really work? Hmm, I’m not too sure. I’ve seen other parents use it on their children and their kids just looked at them skeptically and continued doing what they were reprimanded not to do. It’s frustrating when your kids don’t do what they’re supposed to do, like putting away their toys after playing with them, eating all the food on their plate, not running around and damaging everything, and so forth. I’m sure you’ve had times when you’ve counted up to 100 and they still didn’t care. Kids are constantly testing their boundaries and they really don’t know when enough is enough. So what’s a parent to do? When gentle persuasion doesn’t work, bribery, and the old reverse psychology trick flies over their heads, what other way is there for your child to do what they’re told? Military? Okay, that may be a bit rough and that’s why I’ve come to realize that the innocent threat of couting up to three may work, sometimes, at least.
As my son gets older he is constantly testing his boundaries with us. But I look at it as his intelligence is also growing. After all, your mind is thinking up a lot of ways to do things that you shouldn’t be doing just to see if you can get away with it. Fortunately, this activity is okay for children since it’s one of the ways for them to learn and grow – it’s not okay for adults to do it though. But how do you authoritatively teach your children boundaries without acting like a dictator? After all, you still want your kids to listen to you and respect you when they realize they did something wrong. Like my friends have told me – keep a tight rein on your kids when they’re young and they should grow up okay. I firmly believe in that philosophy since there are so many outside influences nowadays such as other children, television, video games, toys, and anything else that can swipe away all the hard work you’ve been doing to keep your kids in line.
There really are no right way or wrong ways to teach your kids to be good. Sometimes it’s inherent, sometimes it’s learned. As I’m sure all parents agree that all kids are different and they eventually learn at their own level. However, discipline starts at a very young age and I’m one who believes that nurture usually wins over nature. And the possibility that boys are harder to raise when they’re young but easier as they get older and girls are easier to raise when they’re young and harder when they’re older. Or at least that’s what people keep telling me. I have nieces and nephews and as I’ve watched them grow up, I think that theory is pretty true. But there’s always hope for those that wonder if their sons will ever grow out of the immaturity stage or if their daughters will stay away from the bad boys as mentioned here. If you keep a close eye on your kids and create a balance between discipline and chaos, then surely your kids will grow to be responsible, kind, and generous people. Or at least we hope so, right?
And with the holidays coming up, it’s doubly important for kids to learn about good manners and good behavior when they’re at home or visiting relatives and friends. After all, I figure if I’m going to be counting 1-2-3 or even to 100, then at least my son is learning his numbers.
2 thoughts on “Counting 1-2-3”
Nice post, Suzan! Myself when my girls were small I sometimes tried to distract and redirect the unwanted behavior. The time out thing, and the counting thing just didn’t work all the time for us, either. I have watched moms count to three, and their kids straightened out right away, and I have watched moms count and it get them absolutely nowhere. I guess it’s all a matter of what works for each family. There are people in our family who use “corporal” punishment…My husband and I have never been spankers, and it hurts me to see people smacking their kids, especially in public. How humiliating for the child. My mother in law told me my kids would be out of hand and nothing but trouble when they grew up if I didn’t spank.. my 23 year old daughter is now in law school and working part time in a law office as an administrative assistant, and my 10 year old dreams of being a Veterinarian. So I guess what MIL said just isn’t always true!
I think that if you spank your kids (constantly), then they learn that it’s okay to hit or spank since that’s the behavior they see their parents doing.
And you’re right – mother in laws aren’t always correct! 🙂