My question is about obedience and training. I have a four-year-old daughter whom I admit I have not been very consistent with in training for obedience and cheerful attitude.
Could you elaborate a bit on the discipline or consequences that you and your family use? Also how you have tailored that to each child's personality, issues, etc. (My daughter sounds much like your youngest girl, very energetic, strong-willed)
I've made so many parenting mistakes, I often get weepy and wish I could go back and fix things. I take great comfort in the truth that "love covers a multitude of sins".
There are two great truths that have shaped my mothering, however, although I am nowhere near arrival on either of these. The first is compassion and tenderness. I don't mean sappiness and molly-coddling, but I do mean that we as mothers need to remember that it's not easy being a clueless little kid trying to make sense of the world.
The second is to never, never, never, never let a child win at the thing you are trying to eliminate from their lives. If it's whining, then tell the child, "I'm sorry, but whining will get you nothing" and then stick to it.
Just this week I've been trying to transition Mighty Joe from bottle to cup and he was MAD. I didn't make a big deal about it initially, but by dinnertime I was concerned about his fluid intake. I said, "Little man, you are not going to win. You are going to have to get used to this cup whether you like it or not". I held that sippy cup in his mouth as he cried and wailed and made it very clear he was not happy about it. I spoke gently to him and just kept at it for at least 10 minutes. Mighty Joe screaming, mom smiling and holding the cup in his open mouth. Guess what? He finally clamped down on that cup and lo and behold, liquid came out! Suddenly the crying stopped and he sucked voraciously until that cup was emptied.
New Sippy Cup User
The strong-willed ones tend to live their young lives going from battle to battle with us. But the quiet and compliant ones concern me more; those are the ones I have to probe and prod to find out what's really brewing in their hearts and minds.
Balance the firmness with the compassionate, tender, fun-loving, joyful side of mothering, and leave the rest to God. Truly, love does cover a multitude of sins.