It's no secret that two-year olds have their fair share of difficulties. The terrible twos should be called the testing two's because that's really what they are doing- testing boundaries and testing your patience. My sister-in-law is supermom- literally, she has 6 kids, 3 of which are triplet boys(!)- and she was so nice and sent me a library of books when i got pregnant with Max. Well i'm here to tell you that one of them has basically changed my life. I have read and re-read Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, and i have been employing its power for a few months now, but more consistently in the last month, and the other day at the park i had a huge pay-off that i want to share.
First off as i was reading this book i was almost laughing at some of the scenarios- for instance there is this one story where a family is having friends over for dinner and her 2 year old son is being rambunctious and testing limits and trying to climb up the stairs or something, she then says "Uh-Oh" ___insert child's name___ that's so sad we don't do that and then places her child at her feet where he plays happily until the dinner is over, no fight, no argument or tantrum. Laughable right?! How does your 2 year old take it when he's told No? Because mine launches an all out Level 5 tantrum and screams to the top of his lungs. Seriously his scream sounds like he's being burned in hot oil, it's not pretty. However i kept reading and decided to give this "Uh-Oh" method a try. Basically Love and Logic says to show empathy and not anger and then show quick and firm consequences without warnings. At first i was not sure how i felt about the no warnings but the book explains that in the real world there are no warnings and it is a disservice to kids who receive multiple warnings before any consequences, for instance it states that a teenager who was always given lots of warnings might think that they could have sex at least 3 times before getting pregnant. Yes it seems like a leap to go from not sharing your toys with your sister to being pregnant, but the more i read about parenting it seems like all the experts say the first couple years of life are crucial signs for how a child will behave for the rest of adolescence. Anyhow- back to my two year old. So every time Max has been doing something unacceptable- throwing something in rage, screaming outbursts at being told no, taking toys from his sister, etc. we say immediately "Uh-Oh, That's so sad, Max is screaming so he needs to take a time out" and then we take him to our time out room, which is our downstairs half bath and put him in it. He then proceeds to kick and scream and i say lovingly through the door "When you are ready to be nice you can come out" When he quiets down i open the door, kneel down, ask him if he's ready to be nice and give him a hug and say i love you. Well lately it seems like half our day is spent in time-out, and it has been clear that he has been understanding that when i say "Uh-Oh" he knows whats about to happen so he runs the other direction. However i got to see true love and logic magic at the park on Monday.
We were at a park that had larger play structures and this one had one of those dome monkey bar things that is made of metal bars- i looked over and Max was half-way up it! I rushed over to get him down and of course he was not happy about being pulled off. As i held him to the ground i told him that he wasn't to climb on that, that if he did it again we would have to go home and suggested that he go down the slide again. A very frustrated Max said "Noooo climb up it, climb up it!" and as he started to climb up it again i said "Uh-Oh, that's so" and it was like magic he jumped down interrupted me and said "Max go on slide" and ran off to the slide without any other attempt to climb on the dome the rest of the time we were at the park. I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome, and i felt like super parent for a little while. You know your a mom when such a small thing is the highlight of your week :) So if you need some help parenting a small child i highly recommend this book.
A second book that i just finished today actually and highly recommend for anyone raising, teaching or concerned about boys is Raising Cain. It sheds so much light on how to raise an emotionally stable boy and shows some of the problems that we face through culture and society and how to overcome them. I feel like shouting from the rooftops that everyone should read this book!
What are your favorite parenting books? Please share in the comments!