Many new parents adopt a parenting method to follow, something that serves as a guidebook or helping hand and aligns with their hopeful philosophies in child rearing.
As a new parent of three at once, I knew no one method would cover three personalities and temperaments, so I more or less ignored it all, planning to parent by the seat of my pants (something most veteran parents say we all end up dong at some point).
As I settle in for the long haul through toddlerhood, I find myself scratching my head a lot, trying to figure out what to do next, how best to establish ground rules everyone understands.
Safety is the first priority. Kind social skills is next. Everything else just sort of happens.
With three at once, I have a hard time letting things slide. So And Ao is jumping on the couch, but he/she isn’t in danger, so it’s OK.
Except So And So’s brother and sister just saw the fun, and now I have three jumping on the couch, begging to bounce off each other and shed blood.
It’s a fine line to walk, letting them explore without it getting out of hand … times three.
Then there’s how to go about disciplining.
Toby is instantly sorry but will go right back and do it again (and be sorry again). He often says, “No, no” as he’s about to break a rule, ultimately telling on himself. Time out in his crib can make him cry or leave him unbothered, usually depending on how tired he is.
Eleanor couldn’t care less about being told no. An attention seeker, she will run to do something her brother or sister just was reprimanded for while looking over her shoulder and waiting for her own reprimand. She’ll smile the whole time until you threaten a time out, then she usually stops. Time outs are torture for her, and her tears usually require a recovery period after she’s been retrieved.
Callista often cries when she’s told no, sometimes because she’s upset but mostly because she doesn’t want to give up what she’s doing wrong. She’s strong and stubborn and has her own ideas of what she should do. Reprimands usually work, but time outs don’t bother her a bit.
Three toddlers, three personalities, millions of opportunities for testing my skills as disciplinarian. Who will win?