May 20, 2003 - Tuesday
Last night I was really discouraged talking to Harry at bedtime. He was fooling around as he has been doing a lot lately, being overly silly both at bedtime and at the dinner table and making mealtime an annoying time again. Add to that my own work-related distraction and it was one of the few times I had to dig deep for sincerity saying "I love you very much." Harry sounded flat saying it in return, too. That can't go on.
It was just about immediately after I left Harry's room that I decided that I would not scold Harry at all today, no matter what. If nothing else, it would be an experiment. As it turned out, it was hardly much of anything other than putting a slightly different slant on things every now and then. Sure, at dinner there was a little fooling around and at bathtime a little resistance, but he's three and that's what three-year-olds do. Oddly, it was almost as if Harry was in on the experiment and playing along. And, maybe that's the answer: that being positive begets positive behavior. Of course, that's really pretty obvious. It's easy to say and I've said it, written it, thought it, many times. Indeed, it's pretty easy to do for one day. But this parenting thing goes on for many days, weeks, months, years and keeping that focus can prove more difficult.
So, since things went so smoothly today. I will try again tomorrow. Naturally, the "no matter what" pledge can't last indefinitely, but what I will do is document when I need to break it and why. That's the new experiment.