Wednesday, June 20, 2012

by himself (a lighter post)

Last week, I read The New Strong Willed Child by Dr James Dobson. It was a good read, very interesting to me, as the things he discussed are things I deal with every day. He described some general differences between a relatively compliant kid and a very strong-willed one. Of course, every child has a will of their own, but there are some who are just stronger willed than average. That is Nate. (Ben's more compliant.)

To sum up the advice he gave, in a few simple words (paraphrasing his own summary): Choose your battles and win decisively. But that's not really what I'm thinking about today.

One of the points he makes (as he does tend to rant quite a lot about permissive parenting and parents who do everything for their kids) is that anything kids are capable of doing on their own (even if they don't do a really great job), they should be doing for themselves. I don't think this goes for strong willed kids any more than compliant ones. It's good for any kid to do for her/himself what s/he can.

Nate has been bathing himself for several months now. He does not do a great job washing himself. Once a week, Rodgers or I will wash his hair for him, and one of us washes his face/neck/ears every night. Of course we do still clean him after he goes to the bathroom. He washes his own hands throughout the day.

I brush his teeth well at night, then he has a turn brushing. He brushes by himself in the mornings. He loves brushing his teeth, but again, doesn't do a great job.

He cleans up his own toys. If he's made a big mess, it overwhelms him. I think he honestly doesn't know where to start, so I help with that one. I give him bit-by-bit instructions: put all of the yellow blocks away, now the blue ones, put the cars in the basket...

Most recently, I rearranged the shelves in the boys' room, where we keep their clothes and extra diaper inserts/accessories. Nate's clothes are now on the lowest shelf (the only one he can reach), and he is responsible for picking out his clothes in the mornings. I tell him to get some undies (he wears a diaper overnight), shorts, a t-shirt, and socks if we're going out. We've been doing this for 3 days, and so far, he seems to be loving it. He does not like changing clothes, maybe because he doesn't like that I'm undressing and dressing him, rather than doing it himself. But, he seems to feel more in control if he's the one picking out his clothes. Now, to teach him how to get dressed on his own...

And something fun, for good measure

EDIT: I should add that doing things on his own doesn't mean he won't put up a fight. It doesn't mean he obeys all (or even most) of the time. There are still times when I end up scrubbing him in the bathtub, as he screams tortured screams, because he wouldn't wash himself. We both prefer him to do it, but he has to test regularly, "What would happen if I don't obey?"

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