My little man is fast approaching ten months and is now at that stage in his development where is starting to test the boundaries. We as his parents are embarking on that wonderful challenge that is teaching him right from wrong and discipline.
This can’t be so hard can it? I like to think my own upbringing was a good one, I know the difference between right and wrong. I am polite, I’m not rude, I treat people with respect so all I have to do is instil these values on to my son. What I didn’t take into account was the reaction my son would have and the effect this would have on me.
As a family we take all meals together, we eat at the table with the little man in his high chair. From six months old we have gone down a baby led weaning route, so he eats all his own meals by hand that we place in front of him. One of the little things he started to do, is once he has had enough food, he holds what ever remains over the edge of his tray. We know this is him testing the boundaries because not only do we tell him “NO” but just before he drops it on to the floor he looks at one of us with a sort of look. You know the look, it’s that I hear you say no but lets see what happens anyway.
The first time he decided to drop his food on the floor I put on my best, stern, parenting voice and firmly said his name “Henry no, that’s naughty”. He promptly cocked his head to one side and gave the biggest smile, to which I burst out laughing. Epic discipline fail.
Then just this week, the same incident. As the food landed on the floor both me and his mum in unison “Henry no” and he burst into to tears. I had to leave the room as a feeling of guilt ebbed over me. I had just somehow made my little baby burst into tears, I just wanted to pick him up and tell him I was sorry.
I think it was a realisation for him that he had been told off and that we weren’t happy with him which prompted the tears. I also know that we did the right thing, we cannot and will not just allow things to slide. Yet that feeling when his expression changed and the tears came was not one I will enjoy.
Maybe this discipline side of parenting will not be so easy after all.