Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Parenting Moment

Is it just me, or has it occurred to anyone else out there that parenting would be better left to the professionals? I mean, seriously, it's about the most counter-intuitive thing I've ever done!

God gives you this baby who can't do anything and doesn't know anything, so you do what comes naturally. You protect him, you teach him, you help him, you work with him. It doesn't take long to figure out that if you really want him to get something, you probably have to teach it in one form or another a thousand times.

Thing is, there is no tally counter that beeps when you reach a thousand. Or two thousand, just for safe measure. It is just now occurring to me that when he is zipping across the street on his scooter and I see a car coming down the block, this is not the time for lecture #3478. It's the time to thank God that he sends his angels to tend our kids. The very thing that made me a good mom a few years ago, could actually hamper my child's growth today. How is that fair?

We have a really hairbrained idea. We are considering having a few days where we let our kids self-monitor their behavior. We'll let them decide whether they've earned dessert. And why. We'll comfort them if they've been wounded or had their feelings hurt, but if they want their sibling dealt with, they will have to figure out the most effective way to do it themselves. With any kind of luck they will encounter more natural consequences than they would if we were intervening. They will have no positive reinforcement for tattling or whining. And maybe, just maybe, they'll be honest enough to hold themselves accountable. Wouldn't that be miraculous! But mainly, we'll get a few days' reprieve from riding them and "being consistent". If nothing else, we'll have the opportunity to reflect on our own responses and adjust. To let our parenting "grow up" with our kids.

Stay tuned. And just in case, be prepared to send in the professionals!

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