It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

The afternoon started as most do, I walked into the house and within one minute of Remi seeing me he was crying, and Sofia was asking me to play. I rushed to put my work bags down, say a quick hello to Joshua, and get the pumped breast milk in the refrigerator. I picked Remi up and began talking to Sofia. After a few minutes of sharing about our day, she was ready to play.

Today’s game involved camping with a lantern and coloring pages. We sat inside the playhouse coloring “designs and stuff,” and after a few minutes, Remi was finished nursing and ready to explore. He crawled his way to our coloring pages picking up his own crayon and either moved it forcefully across the page or attempted to put it in his mouth while gazing at me smiling mischievously. After being redirected not to eat the crayon he shifted his interest back to our coloring page and with one quick grab ripped our colorful rainbow fish in half.

With no time to process, Sofia slapped Remi’s hand and shouted, “No, Remi!”

Ever since Remi has become more mobile, Sofia has become more physical toward him. In those moments, I am tempted to swat Sofia’s hand while telling her, “we do not hit our brother” because that was a form of correction I learned. However, Joshua and I decided before our kids were born that we would not use physical discipline.

Instead, I asked her if she was upset or frustrated to which she responded that yes, she was frustrated because Remi had destroyed her drawing. I acknowledged her feelings while reinforcing our rule of not hitting others and invited her to come up with a solution to repair the damage. After a few seconds, she lit up and said that we could draw another drawing and provided Remi with his own paper and crayon.

Sometimes, our children act in ways that seem illogical to our adult brains. As adults, we ask them, Why?

Why did you punch your sister?

Why did you trip your classmate?

Why did you cut your hair?

Why did you not study for your test and instead spent the evening talking on the phone?

Regardless of our child’s age, as adults, we have looked at them dumbfounded, wondering why they did what they did and often they respond with, “I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

And that may very well be it. It did seem like a good idea at the time.

Is it logical? No. But what we forget as adults, is that a child’s brain doesn’t fully develop until their mid-twenties. Specifically, their prefrontal cortex which helps them in decision-making, problem-solving, maintaining self-control, and planning – to name a few of its functions.

As adults then it is our job to guide them to a logical and reasonable solution. We may be tempted to solve the problem for them and demand that they apologize, or that they spend four hours studying in the evening but when we allow our children to come to their own solutions and ways to repair (with our guidance), they begin to learn to take ownership of their actions.  It’s no guarantee that they won’t punch their sibling the very next day but the more we guide our children to logical and reasonable solutions the more they begin to form their OWN good habits.

Meanwhile, back in OLH…I do love spring but sadly I now suffer from seasonal allergies. I haven’t always but having babies apparently can change that. Who knew! The discomfort started last week and has progressed so I went to see an acupuncturist. Second time in my life and as I laid on the table getting the needles placed in twenty different places I was fascinated with the information the acupuncturist was sharing about eastern medicine. In that moment I thought, I could have done that professionally. Ha! Anyone ever have that problem? There’s so much to learn and clearly not enough hours in the day. At home, Remi is  almost walking. He likes to push around one of the dining room chairs and he loves to grunt. His personality could not be more different from Sofia’s!

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