You all sent me some wonderful questions and I am really looking forward to answering as many as I can through this series. You have challenged me to be very slow and thorough in my answers. I appreciate the encouragement.
In order to really get to the core of being intentional in your parenting, it helps to start when they are still very young. If your children are beyond this point, I want to encourage you to keep reading because it will get you in the frame of mind. It’s all the same anyway really….consistency and perspective.
When I first start noticing my babies need training is on the changing table. It’s a great time. You have stopped everything else for a few minutes, you are face to face, they are your focus. If you pay close attention, at some point you will start to notice your sweet darling begin to pull against you in some way. Each child is different, but they will almost all try to resist the diaper change. This is a great opportunity to teach them that they can’t have their own way all of the time.
When they wiggle or turn or arch their back it’s the time for you to teach them their first lesson in obedience.
It is tricky. You can’t make them stop. Sure you could forcefully hold them still, but the goal is for them to want to be still.
First, take a deep breath. Tell yourself to remain calm and peaceful. Pray. Your attitude in these moments will determine the course. Even when a child is having a fit you can stay calm and serene. The best way to do that is to stop at the very beginning and take a long, slow breath. Be in control. Think about how, no matter what, you adore this child.
Next, quietly and gently speak words of correction. With a sweet smile say something like, “No, no. You have to be still,” while gently but firmly directing them to be still. Then keep doing the work as if your baby isn’t having a fit. Have no reaction. Just smile and speak sweetly. Occasionally you will have to stop the diapering because of their posture, but you can just stand there with your hands firmly on them and say, “You are so sweet. When you be still we can finish and you can get down,” followed by some kisses. You are in charge and they have to get their diaper changed. It’s not up to them. You are teaching them in this moment that their objections have no effect.
For some children that is enough, for others they will keep pushing, escalating to a full on tantrum. For these children you have to be more firm, but still remain calm. Every time they twist, you flip them back. Every little arch, lift them and put them back down in the position you want them. Over and over. It is a simple, sometimes long process. But eventually they will get the message….if you are consistent. They can be crying, but as long as they are being still for you to change the diaper then that is enough for now. Your response is love and affection through it all, but not giving in.
If that isn’t working I may watch for a repeated pattern (kicking, arching their back, throwing their head) and the instant they do it I will pinch the fat place in their leg. The trick here is not to think of it as punishment or you hurting them, but as something that just happens when they make that movement. If something hurts their leg every time they kick, they will stop. They don’t even know you are doing it to them. Just like when they fall and hurt their head….it is just what happens; no one did it to them. But the only way this works is if you do it every single time. They are smart….missing even once will show them that sometimes they can get away with it.
Be persistent. It won’t happen in one or two sittings. The more consistent you are the quicker you will get a handle on the situation.
Once the diapering is finished you give them a big hug and tell them how well they did. Your love and affection should never be used as a tool for training. You want them to always know that you love them even if they act defiantly. Even if it’s unpleasant during the diaper change, don’t dread it. Look at it as an opportunity to spend some quality time working with your baby.
That’s it for today. It’s a good start. Even if you are dealing with older kids…you can employ these principles. Stay calm and peaceful. You are in charge, not them.
Hang in there friends! It’s a tough job. But I have confidence in you!!!Pin It