Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How Strict Are You?

I can safely say that I let my kid get away with some stuff that I shouldn't...and that I swore I wouldn't.

I rationalize it all away by saying I'll be more strict when he can understand me/communicate with me and when I'm all alone it makes it easier so I'm doing it!

But as we've hit toddlerhood we're beginning to discover that my husband I disagree on how strict we should be with rules at this young age.  I, being of the mind that we need rules now but letting him get away with some things now that we wouldn't when he's older is ok.  

My husband believes that rules are rules and he needs to adhere to them...regardless of his age.

Some of the things we don't agree on?

I let him eat walking around/playing.  He doesn't like to be in the high chair for any extended period of time these days and while I insist on breakfast and dinner at least starting out in the high chair, I sort of let lunch slide and I feed him while he plays. He's still pretty small weight-wise and I find he'll eat more if he's not confined.  I REALLY don't want to continue doing this and I've vowed to quit by the time he's 2...but for now it works.   My husband thinks he should eat his meals in his chair and if he doesn't eat...then he doesn't eat.

My husband doesn't have to live with Screamy McCrankypants if he doesn't eat...which is what happens when kids don't eat!  So generally we do things my way =)

He's getting really good at his baby signs which is helping IMMENSELY.  He can now tell me when he's done and when he wants more and we've begun to...ahem...compromise with him regarding how much he has to eat before he gets down.

Another food arguement?

I don't force him to eat anything.  I give him choices...probably too many choices.  If he doesn't want to eat the first thing I present to him for dinner then I give him another option.  I never EVER had to eat something for dinner that I didn't want to eat, so I have a lot of trouble forcing him to eat something he doesn't want to eat.  

My husband is of a very very different opinion in which he thinks he needs to eat the food that's presented to him.  Period.  

Bathtime meltdowns?  

Every once in awhile, usually when he's super tired he has an epic meltdown in the tub and wants out IMMEDIATELY after getting in.  My way to deal with it?  Let him get out of the tub.  Even if he was older and could talk I wouldn't force him to take a bath if he was having a meltdown.  If he started doing it EVERY night?  Different story and he'd probably get forced into a bath, but once?  

My husband disagrees with me and wants to nip the tantrum in the bud, not wanting him to think he can get away with things just by screaming and makes him stay in the bath until he quits crying (which doesn't happen he just keeps crying until mama saves him!)

Things my husband does that I don't agree with?

He lets him get on the coffee table and he lets him play with screwdrivers.  Sigh.

These are just a few things that we disagree on when it comes to rules/discipline.  We agree on the rules that we ultimately want our child to follow and the manners we want him to possess but disagree on how to get there.

It's all a learning game, I guess we'll see what happens in a few years.

How has everyone else started dealing with rules/discipline?  Are you super strict starting super young?  Or do you let things slide now that you plan on being strict about later?


  1. Ha. Here's my thoughts as someone with a 22 month old who is suddenly communicating MUCH more with us. FWIW, I was totally on board with your parenting style, but I'm kinda changing now...

    1) Food at the table only. I (like you) let this slide the past 9 months or so, especially at lunch. *I REGRET IT* My child can now say things like - "No mama, NO chair. SNACK COUCH" - and throw a tantrum if I say no b/c I've let her do it in the past. Um, shit. I've had to do a 180 and totally crack down on that, b/c I don't want her to think she can just snack & walk around all day with food in her hands.

    - I will say that if she says "all done" - then I let her get down & play without eating. I don't force her to clean her plate (I think that teaches kids to eat past the point of hunger. Not good! I do let her walk around with a milk sippy cup, though I'm debating continuing this.)

    2) Food choices. I offer Stella a few things based on what we're eating, but that's it. I used to give her more choices, but then last month she started saying things like "No mama, I no hungee" (to a meal I made that I KNOW she likes) -- followed by "Mama, cook noodles." Um, HELLS NO CHILD. That was the first time I sent her to bed without dinner (not punishment, but I told her she could eat what mama made for dinner or not eat, and she chose "all done" - so be it then). I was PETRIFIED she'd wake up at 11pm screaming cuz she was hungry, but no, she slept until morning, and then ate a HUGE breakfast because she was so hungry. LOL. Works for me. I don't make her eat something she doesn't want to, but I also quit giving her a million options if she didn't want the 1st couple things I offered.

    3) Stella has been in a weird phase lately of LOVING bath a couple times a week, and the rest of the nights wanting nothing to do with it. Occasionally we skip it altogether, but usually we give her a choice - bath or shower? With toddlers it seems to be easier to give them an "either/or" - that way they don't have the chance to just say "NO."

    Good luck deciding how much to crack down now! The right answer is different for everyone, but remember that toddlers DO start to remember things, and when he starts reminding you of something you let him get away with LAST week, it might start changing how permissive you are on things. :)

  2. It is a very personal decision and it's even harder when you don't entirely agree with the other parent. I've definitely had to crack down on the dinner options because our DD was starting to demand specific meals even if she normally would have liked the meal that I made. I've told her that once she's able to make a few dishes on her own (scarmbled eggs/ PB & Honey sandwiches) and we practice on the weekends, then if she doesn't like what I'm making she can make one of those two options for herself. Until then she'll have to eat what we are eating.

  3. It's hard isn't it! Ryan is way WAY WAY WAY too relaxed. Although apparently she hit him the other night and he put her in the naughty corner but sometimes if she is throwing an epic meltdown he is all poor baby and I am no ignore her these are fake tears. In saying that I don't have a problem with her walking around with snacks and stuff but i don't make multiple meals. If she doesn't like it bad luck I don't have time when I am working to make meals for me let alone gourmet multiple meals for her so for the most part girlfriend eats. If she isn't eating what I am cooking 95% of the time she isn't hungry or she isn't well. The other 5% she doesn't like. Molly has been biting me a bit lately when she doesn't get her own way. I have been putting her down and saying NO BITING which seems to be working, she gets she is in trouble. When she throws a tantrum I pretty much ignore it and 5 seconds later she is moving on. Very much like me blow up and then over it!!! I think I am more stricter but like you she doesn't really get it just yet so i am not going to go postal on her but I do try to set some boundaries. At the end of the day I have this really happy well adjusted baby so I think it must be working!!

  4. I guess I am kind of strict and do the things your husband wants to do (I mean, those are things I am already doing).

    They eat in the chairs. They eat three meals and a snack. There is no in-between eating but there is in-between drinking. The snack is on the floor in the play room right now, but it's still snack time, that is what we're doing and once they seem ready to move on the food goes away. The only time they get an extra snack is if we're out and their meal is going to be significantly delayed, to prevent a meltdown.

    They get what they get for a meal and that's it. I try to provide a variety of food at the meal, but they can only have what's on the table. There was a week Banana only ate peaches, and in general she is pickier about food, but I have seen picky eaters turn their desperate parents into made-to-order chefs and it's not worth it. They also only get to drink what there is to drink, so Banana only had prune juice the last few days because she was constipated (no more, though!). She didn't like it the first time but that was all she had to drink so there it was! Worked! This is also a practical thing for us, because we keep kosher and separate milk and meat - they can't drink milk at a meat meal, if we're having a dairy meal they can't have chicken, etc, so foods and drinks are what is served, period.

    But I never force them to eat anything. They can eat however much they want of whatever is served (and if available I will go back to the fridge to get more if we run out at the table). If they choose not to eat it, that is their choice. The next meal is at a predictable time. It's easier said than done, sometimes they throw the food and cry and I get so stressed out, but I am trying to stick with this.

    We are also just starting to get the tantrums, especially from Banana. I hold her firmly in my arms and tell her to stop quietly but firmly. So far we haven't had one in the bath, that would be hard to manage! I was trained in therapeutic restraints when I interned at an alternative residential school for kids with serious trauma history that acted out violently. I am not exactly doing therapeutic restraints with the babies but I am using the same kind of mindset - the flopping is a signal that they FEEL out of control, so I hold her close to signal to her that I am able to contain her out of control feelings, and quietly and calmly talk to her. It actually so far is working out pretty well, but they are only a year old, and the real tantrums have yet to begin...

    1. I should say, I only hold her when she is tantruming if the tantrum is from her really being legitimately upset. Sometimes she doesn't get what she wants and she cries for a minute and is over it, I am not going to break my back over that. But a serious meltdown with flopping everywhere and screaming because she doesn't want to get back into the stroller, I hold her for a second and tell her quietly she is going into the stroller and then I do it, and usually the second time is better. But like I said, we are JUST BEGINNING, we'll see what happens when she is bigger and more stubborn like her mommy!!!!

  5. My hubby and I so far haven't had any big differences in opinion on discipline. We are both fairly strict. I sometimes worry that we are too strict. So often the first child thinks they have to be perfect and I don't want to create that kind of stress on H. However , we are both teachers of vastly different aged kids and we have both seen first hand the results of lenient parenting and kids growing up to think they are too special. We were just discussing this evening how we want H to know that he will always be special to his mom and dad but he will need to work hard and prove it to others in the real world.

    As far as the bath issue goes H likes to climb out when he decides he is done too. Usually about when it is time to get his hair washed. We did what we could to convince him the bath wasn't scary but if he is crying and squirming in the bath it's not safe to force him to stay in. At that point we have let him get out but still washed his hair while he stood on the side of the tub. Basically saying you can get out but you are still getting your hair washed. Hopefully sending the message that we all have to do some unpleasant things every once in a while. We will see how it goes. He is only 11 months now. It's kinda hard to reason with a baby.

  6. So far of the two of us, I am definitely the strict one. I am also the only one she throws temper tantrums for (full out throwing herself on the floor and arching her back screaming!), my husband has never even seen her do it!

    I do let her have the occasional snack out of her chair, but meals are only in her hight chair. They told us at the health center that the parent should be in charge of the what/when/where the baby eats, but the baby should be on charge of the how much. And I have stuck with that. I give her what she gets to eat, and she either eats it or doesn't. If she finishes it I give her more, if she doesn't want to eat it, I don't make her. They said that babies only eat for hunger, not all the reasons adults do, so not to push it on them...and I like that so I use it.

    We have been dealing with the coffee table thing too....and I don't let her do it cause it scares the crap out of me!!! She can get up there, but she cannot get down!

    But I think so many things change in our minds versus reality - you do what you gotta do!! :)

  7. The food thing is hard.. I'm half tough, half soft too.. Austin is picky so I try and stay with the "he sits in his chair and eats what is given to him" or all he'd ever eat is crackers. No joke. But, sometimes he gets to sit at his little picnic table or just eat while he plays.. its hard to stick with it every single time because you just want them to eat!! So I get that completely. Neal and I differ on snacks.. and when he gets snacks and of what. Neal will give him crackers, and a cheese stick, and a banana and full glass of juice.. all about 30 mins before we want him to eat dinner. So we've argued about snacks and how we have to stop them or limit them to try and get our kid to eat better and a bigger variety. Its still a struggle because Neal still gives him too many snacks or things I don't want him to snack on. :-) darn Dads.. they just need to do it our way!!!!