Look at that wee face. Go on, have a really good look. I’ll give you a minute or two…
Now, imagine you’re trying to tell her off. For pulling her sister’s hair maybe. Or for putting her feet up on the dinner table. Or for climbing up and standing on the coffee table. Or, as happened at the weekend, for BITING her sister on the chest, hard enough that three days later it’s still bruised (Heather kind of brought that one on herself by persisting with a big bear hug which was clearly unwanted, but still…)
I think one of the hardest things we have to do as parents is disciplining kids before they’re really old enough to understand that they’ve done something wrong. Especially when rstern words and finger wagging result in nothing more than an ear to ear grin that’s cute beyond belief, and you have to fight with every fibre of your being not to smile back.
Or worse, laugh.
I think it gets a bit easier as they get older though, and begin to understand that they’re being told off for a reason. That’s certainly been the case with Heather, and I hope it proves to be the same for Megan.
Of course, there are always going to be times where giving a telling off is difficult for one reason or another. That may be because the specific transgression is something you remember doing yourself in the past, or it may be because the situation is so ridiculous it’s hard to keep a straight face. Like the time I took a chunk out of the dining room table with a table tennis bat (I won the point though) and got a very stern telling off for it. Until, that is, my mum uttered the immortal line “DO YOU THINK TABLES GROW ON TREES?” and retreated to the kitchen to laugh at the absurdity of what she’d just said, which instantly cleared the air.
In an ideal world the kids would never do anything that warranted a telling off in the first place, but we all know that’s not going to happen, and to be honest, that’s a good thing. We want to raise confident, independent kids who are capable of thinking for themselves, and inevitably that’s going to involve a lot of ups and downs along the way. I guess it’s a price worth paying though.