Monday, August 27, 2012

Disciplining Creativity

Bunny ate Cheerios but did not finish all of the milk in the bowl. As I was unloading the dishwasher as I do every morning in the time between my finishing breakfast and their being done, when I heard stirring.

Bunny was stirring her milk with her spoon, then dunked her hands in the bowl and finger painted the table.

What to do?

I threw a towel on the table and told her to clean up when she finished.

Is that teaching her that it's okay to play with her food? Or is it teaching her that food can be wasted? Or did I demonstrate patience and compassion in allowing her to follow her creativity? Perhaps I missed an opportunity to teach her that such behavior is not usual but that I was going to make an exception.

I suppose that I discuss discipline and behavior so much because it weighs heavily on my mind. It is i. These times that I feel the least sure of myself as a parent. We all know to teach kids about stair and street safety, but how does it come across? Are we yelling when we should be calm and sweet when we should be harsh?

In the end, we're going to make lots of mistakes. We will screw our kids up in some ways and make them stronger in others. Hopefully we do a good enough job so they don't go postal one day, screaming, "You never let me play with my milk!!!"

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