There were many parenting books that I read with out first son. I thought he might be a strong-willed child, or maybe I just wanted to be equipped in the event that he was. The parenting strategies we used with him worked marvelously, and aside from being a busy-body, wiggle-worm, our discipline routine worked well.
I was often perplexed at other parents explaining the discipline issues with their children. Their kids threw such big tantrums that they had to leave places. Their kids hit them, kicked them, refused to sit in the high chair, or threw themselves into dangerous situations. Their kids screamed when they didn't get their way and more or less ruled the household.
At the time, I couldn't figure it out. My first born has had one tantrum, and it was, respectively, a few weeks after bringing home a new baby. He was three. "Why can't parents get their kids under control.?" I wondered, "Why aren't they disciplining their children?"
Um. To all those parents out there: I'm sorry. I get it now.
In the last three weeks I have had more physical battles with my two year old than I have had in nearly five years of motherhood. I have heard hours of screaming tantrums, have endured objects thrown across the room, feet and hands hurling toward anything or anyone that they can hit. I've seen a child truly out of control with me seemingly not able to do anything about it.
I mistakenly thought that my first born was strong-willed, but girlie, you ain't seen nothing yet!
So, we are redirecting. What we did with one is NOT working with the other. Our gears are shifting from child training methods to trying to understand better the way our son ticks. Because really, there can be no training if a child is hysterical. We need to try and understand our sweet second born, to get into his head and better cope with his outbursts and anger.
Do you have a child like mine? Many of the qualities that these children have are considered to be highly valued in adults. They are leaders, fight for justice, and aren't afraid to stick to their guns and stand up for their beliefs. Their intensity, when properly channeled, can be applied to success in their lives. As a consolation, I often like to think of the Greats of Science, Arts, and Athletics. I like to think about Lance Armstrong as a child, or the challenges that the parents of Apollo Ohno faced trying to curb his intensity into something productive.
I imagine that Michelangelo could have been an explosive, strong-willed, and spirited young man. How could he not be? He spent twenty years of his life hanging upside down from the ceiling painting the Sistine Chapel. His marble statues are as close to perfection as I've seen. As a child, I can picture that his mind was solely occupied on one task at a time, and that any interruption couldn't be tolerated--not from mother, not from anyone.
There are countless examples of Greats throughout history that display qualities uncommon from average folks. Edison, Pasteur, Mozart, Galileo, Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, St. Thomas Aquinas, and hundreds of other authors, scientists, athletes, and thinkers.
I'm not necessarily planning on raising a musician or a sculptor, but I DO need to have an effective way to get from here...to there.
Two books have come highly recommended to me on this issue. They went into my Amazon shopping cart today!
The Explosive Child
Raising Your Spirited Child
And, to all of those mothers who give me consoling smiles and encouraging looks as I maneuver my way through embarrassing social situations, I realize now that you get it, too.