Train up a child in the way he should go.
We were recently on vacation, and as a somewhat new parent still, it was not as relaxing as I expected it to be. When you take a one year old out of his routine and throw him into a whole new one along with other family members, you are going to be a little more hands on with that toddler. The condo where we were staying of course wasn't baby proofed and Jax explored his way into anything and everything. I think his favorite thing was the toilet plunger. I know, ew!
Our whole week got me thinking more about a concept that parents know but sometimes forget to enforce because let's face it, we are tired (and I will be the first to raise my hand and tell you that this blogpost is a reminder to myself too). To tell Jax over and over that he can't play with the toilet plunger and to show him that it belongs in the restroom is exhausting. Training a child is hard. Yes, I said training. You know like that verse in Proverbs, "Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not turn from it."
Every child is good at something and they are good because someone showed them how to do it. Whether it's giving a high five or stacking your kitchen tupperware, they are masters in something. I think for Jax one area that he has mastered is his restaurant behavior. We get compliments on how well behaved he is at restaurants and parents have asked us how we got him to sit so well in his chair or not throw food across the room. Simple answer, he learned because we trained him. We set the expectation and we were and still are consistent in teaching him what to do and what not to do while he is at a restaurant.
When you choose to train up a child you are signing a consistency contract and in every situation and every training moment you are agreeing to not waver from your original response. It looks like this, "Jax, that is a plunger and it goes in the restroom. We do not play with it because it has germs. Let's take it back where it belongs." Plunger ends up in the kitchen again... that consistency contract was signed so once again, "Jax, that is a plunger and it goes in the restroom. We do not play with it because it has germs. Let's take it back where it belongs." And you best believe it's going to happen again the next day and our consistency from the day before rolls over and training Jax in plunger purpose 101 continues.
Mamas are not the only ones who need to sign that consistency contract. Anyone who is a primary care giver to your child needs to be aware of the training that you are doing. They need to be aware of the expectations you have set for your child and agree to help by signing that consistency contract too. But just as you train up your child, those who are on board with you too may need some training. Husbands and wives need to agree to respond in the same way. If Fabian hadn't seen me training Jax with the plunger he may have let it slip and even turn it into a game because let's face it, Fabian is the fun parent. If we weren't on the same page about leaving Jax in his highchair until we finish our meal then Jax would've never learned to be patient and would reach for the parent who erased their name off that consistency contract because he would've figured out that they would let him get out.
I know this is kinda of a heavy post and it might not be popular but in all honesty it's something that we all know we need to do and might just need a gentle reminder. And like I said earlier, this is a reminder for me too. Everyone parents differently and there is no perfect parent but the one thing that should remain the same across all those different parenting styles is our consistency. Stay on the same page with your spouse, show those who care for your children the expectations you have set for them, be consistent in your training and trust me, when your littles are not so little anymore they will remember every moment you took to show them how to do life.