Wednesday, September 29, 2010

day 255: we are getting the behavior that we want

I have the most amazing husband ever! I adore him! He is one of the most involved, truly-training fathers I know. He spends all of his non-work (at his plant and on Training for Triumph) hours on the kids and on me—and he has for our entire twenty-seven years of parenting. However, he does one thing that drives me nuts: he tells me the truth about the kids’ behavior!

His mantra has always been (and this is the really nutsy part!): “We are getting the behavior that we want ‘coz if we didn’t want it, we would stop it.” Aghh….. I come to him complaining about a child’s behavior, expecting sympathy and commiserating, and he reminds me, once again, that this behavior must be the behavior that we desire. If it isn’t what we want, we would surely not let it continue; we would surely do something to put a stop to it.

This truth, and I do have to admit that it is a truth, of parenting, is a little twist on the “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” And just like that saying, it is too accurate.

Now, Ray is an incredible husband and father, so, thankfully, he doesn’t just spout off his catch phrase and leave me hanging. This twenty-seven year old saying has almost always led to resolution. You see, if it is true—and we admit to each other that we are not really doing anything to stop the behavior in question—then it follows that if we want to stop it, we need to come up with a plan of action to change the behavior.

This blog is a positive blog! And I want to stay positive. However, the teacher in me feels compelled to “teach” what we have found to help us “get the behavior we want.” If you have small children—toddlers and preschoolers, especially—you may want to join us over the next few days.

Our children were never (and still are not) perfect. However, we were blessed with outstanding teaching early in our parenting to help us train our toddlers and preschoolers to have good behavior—to not scream or throw fits, to obey when a command is given, to come when they are called, to be content and not surly, to be kind to others (even siblings!), to follow routines they are taught (going to bed, sitting at the table, being quiet in church etc), and much more.

Your little ones can be joys to you. You can get up in the morning knowing that you can have a good day and enjoy your kids—because they want to obey you. I promise that this can happen! Not perfection—just daily contentment and obedience more often than not. After all, we get whatever behavior we want.

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