Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Choosing their Battles, worth it?

Most people understand the phrase that I am about to discuss.  However I need to be very cautious about how I talk about it.  Someday my thoughts will probably change, but let me just express my thoughts for now. :)

Choosing Your Battles

That's a phrase you hear, not a lot, but quite often with toddles and young children where parents or caretakers are trying to decide what battle to "deal with" or which ones to "let go."

However I'm not a fan of that phrase or what it stands for.  I feel like if I happen to decide a certain "battle" is worth dealing with today, but not tomorrow what exactly does that mean?  Once the child gets older they may understand this, but really is it worth waiting until then?  Why are we "choosing our battles"?

My key thoughts on parenting:
1. God is holy, and we are not.
2. We all are going to mess things up.  Even tell your kids when you mess up.
3. There are consequences for our actions.
4. The obvious one:  How much God loves them, and how much their family loves them.
5. Respect.  In all circumstances respect.  (like showing the proper way to express yourself through interrupting with manners, yes means yes and no means no, and the typical take care of each other and the things God has blessed us with, etc.)
--Am I missing any other key points that come to mind?  Maybe I'll add some more as time goes on, but you get the idea.

When a kid is freaking out over something I don't want them to think I'll freak out over it too.  Instead I like to:
Calmly react to the situation so they know I care.
"What happened sweetie?"
Usually I'm given a baby voice or a situation that I can return with a lesson attached to it.
In most cases it ends with a happy child and a happy caretaker like me. :)

In other cases when the parent is around I sense this extra emotional thing going on.

Yes, grace is important.  And letting them know you care is important.

Where's the consequence?  Where's the lesson?

Today the girl I nanny for was messing with the door while waiting for her mom to return.  She freaked out because it bumped her on the foot.  With me she cools down VERY quickly (different story around mom).  I told her I was sorry she got hurt, but to remind her doors are not things we play with.  (And yes I looked at it.)  She responded just fine.

Few moments later her mom came home and randomly she remembered about her foot and how it got hurt earlier.  With a wimpy voice she told her mom about it.  Her mom picked her up and told her let's check it out.  Her mom did different things with her foot to see if it was still working okay.  And then told her,
"Let's walk it off!  Is it okay?"

Thank you for that!  Yes, I might of done things differently.  But aren't we all a little different? :)  She is given the chance to see things that come her way and either: figure out why it happened or to check things out and walk away!

Battles I think are worth it.  There's lessons learned every time.  I'm not giving them the response they want.  I'm giving them the response that will be helpful next time.


  1. I read this the day you posted it and had to think before commenting... As im sure you know I deal with this one everyday. Choosing your battles is a very complicated subject. My three year old is very very defiant right now which created a million battles a day. Sometimes it would deffinately be easier to ignore it and keep on doing what Im doing (cooking, menu planning, teaching, checking email etc) However if there is not 100% consistancy (in each caregiver alone not together) the child will know that they have a chance of getting away with it. If they get in trouble 9 times for something but then get away with it once because your too tired or busy, then its worth the risk every time. If they get in trouble 1005 of the time for it then they will eventually give up. but this is not a fast proccess. It is not a fun proccess, and it is not easy. Some days I feel like sending my kids to Iowa to stay with grandparents for a month! (wont but they stress me that much sometimes) Anyway. Things that I have found that are really helpfull is reorganizing priorities. I used to try to blog, just for fun, and stay very updated on facebook, and read others blogs, and watch my shows during naptime and sometimes during not not naptime too because I could. Well in February I decided to reorganize my stay at home mommy life (only a few months in) I decided to teach preschool to Lillyana even though she wasnt quite 3. I decided to cook from scrath and invole the kids, I decided to cook things to fill the freezer to make meals quicker, I decided to evaluate our grocery money andmake it go as far as possible while still eating well (or atleast knowing how much it cost to eat certain things) I decided to focus my entire day around my kids, which is when I also decided to have a no tv during the day rule. And while daddy is at work there is no tv aloud... Me or the kids. It gives us so much more time to play, craft, cook, and just spend time together. every one is in a better mood, and I have more time and patience to deal with every out break that my silly girls have. I think that the biggest thing I see in others with choosing your battles is a parent tells a child something ie: go to bed... child throws a fit, so parent lets them stay up a little longer. My girls try this stuff. sadly I have tried everything with miss Lillyana and the only thing that works for her is spanking... it makes me feel so bad, but I would be a bad parent if i didnt dicipline her according to her needs. My baby on the other hand (19 mo) has very sensitive feelings and can be corrected by a stern voice to look. Another thing I notice that has to do with picking battles is empty threats. I see this alot in my friends. "If you do that again we are going home" 20 of the same threat later they still arent going home.... every time they visit its the same story.... it would be fine if they left when they threatened but the child had learned it doesnt mean anything. (P.S. the looks you get when you really do leave after a threat like when we took lillyana out of the mall and went home when she wouldnt behave even though we werent done... those looks are priceless!) And I still have alot to learn and alot to work on that Ive already learned, and my kids are by no means obedient children, but its a work in progress... AND A LOT OF PRAYER REQUESTS FOR PATIOENTS AND CONSISTANCY :)

  2. Thanks for the comment Erin! :) I agree with everything you said. Each child is different and so is the circumstance. For the most part I was leading towards the situations where "threats" happen and the care-giver doesn't follow through. It's helpful for the children to know what to expect.
    With the little girl I nanny for she's started to have fits (rarely happened before, happens more often now that there's a baby around). Whenever she has them I have her go to her room and calm down. It's clearly not a time out and I tell her that. I encourage her to find something to do in her room. I tell her she can come out as soon as she is calm and has her happy voice on. Usually she is in there for five seconds and walks back out with happiness I knew was there but she just wanted to be upset in the situation. I found this to work really well. There are times where I say, "Okay calm down or you need to go to your room and calm down." other times I lead her there because I know as soon as she goes in there shes walking right back out happy as if nothing happened.
    one day she went in there screamed as loud as she could, crying....stopped. Walked out with a smile on her face. like There. I did it. I let it all out. I'm done now.
    And she was. She did great. I tell her it's okay to be upset about things. it's just that she needs to learn how to respond when she gets that way.
    I can't have two fussy kids. It seems to work for her. :)