This post isn't meant to brag on myself at all. Goodness knows I can be a downright awful parent. That said, I've been wondering why my kids don't tend to act out in public as much as others. They listen pretty well, they generally follow the rules, and I don't have to repeat myself that often. (Obviously there are exceptions to this, and times I've carried Lilly out of places as she screams.)
In our music class yesterday, I watched a little girl lean toward the keyboard she wasn't supposed to touch. She touched it. Her mom said no. She touched it again. Her mom said no again, and asked her to come back to her lap. She kept pressing the keys. Finally, her mom leaned over, grabbed the back of her shirt, and pulled her back.
In that moment, I realized how I parent differently. I step in a second before. When one of my kids so much as leans toward the keyboard (or some equivalent thing they know they shouldn't do), I either ask them to sit back, or gently remind them that it looks neat but we have to wait for the teacher, or in some way bring to their attention that I'm there, watching, and they know the rules.
Again, it always seems that I come off more of a disciplinarian than I am. I'm not mean, I swear. But that half-second, of being on top of them and reading their minds where I can, gives me a ton of preventative time; then I don't have to correct or chasten nearly as much. I'm glad for it.
We've started counting tantrums for each kid for each day. So far this week, it's been Patrick 1, Lilly 2, and then yesterday was 2 and 2, and today was 1 and 1. If they only throw one (or none), they can have two stickers before nap. If it's two or three, they can have one sticker. More than that, and they're out of luck. Unfortunately, Lilly now throws a tantrum at breakfast every day. Every. Single. Day. Darn child.