Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Are You Over A Barrel

It was a warm-ish sunny day in mid-March. We were just finishing cleaning up the reception area of the church after our daughter Elizabeth’s wedding. Emma and I were carrying things to the car and Becca (who was eight months pregnant at the time) was walking to her car with 2 year-old Mackenzie beside her. Mackenzie suddenly spies a small outdoor play area and decides that it looks a lot more interesting than her car seat. In a split-second she lets go of Becca’s hand and takes off on a dead run for the play area.

For anyone who has ever been eight months pregnant you know going after Mackenzie was not an option. Just thinking about going after her was exhausting. What’s more, calling Mackenzie back to her just spurred Mackenzie on to run faster—away from her momma. So what did Becca do? She looked at Emma and said, “Get her, Emma! And bring her back to me.” (all said in a no-nonsense, she’s-in-big-trouble-now tone of voice).

This is a clear ‘case’ of Mackenzie having Becca over the proverbial barrel. 
Sure she was only 2, but she knew what she was doing. She knew she was getting away with something and that her momma was powerless to run after her. But Mackenzie’s victory was temporary. Emma was happy to oblige Becca, and if memory serves me correctly, she gave Mack a good scolding on the way back to where Becca was waiting to dole out a bit more discipline. 
Do your kids have you over a barrel? I’m not just talking about running toward a playground even when you tell them not to. And I’m not just talking about getting one more bedtime story and another drink of water three more times before the lights go out at night. Those things are part of dealing with raising a toddler. But the key phrase in that sentence is ‘dealing with’. If you don’t deal with these ‘barrel issues’ when they are little, your kids will have you right where they want you later on. 
So how do you make sure your kids don’t keep you over a barrel? I’m glad you asked. 
*Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you say ‘one more time’, then one more time is all there should be. If you say ‘no’ then stick to it. If you tell them they can’t have something, don’t give it to them to keep peace. 
*Set boundaries and enforce them. If a child breaks the rules (which we all know they will), make sure they suffer the consequences for doing so. Kids need rules, boundaries, consistency and they need you to be credible. They don’t just need it—they thrive on it. 
*Don’t be afraid of your kids. Too many parents these days are afraid to hurt their kids’ feelings or making them angry or upset. Too many parents are bending over a barrel willingly because they are afraid their kids won’t love them or like them. Trust me they love you. They even like you (most of the time). But what’s more, they need and want you. They need and want you to be strong, firm, fair, and constant. 
Don’t be afraid to stand up straight—to stand up to your kids and for your kids.


Momma D
                         Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.