Good for bad

Monday, October 31, 2011

Children have a way of finding new ways to cause maximum havoc.  They tip over the Lego you just picked up, they break the jigsaw you just built, they tip the food you loving prepared on the floor and the list goes on and on.  All of this bad deeds list would get a telling off in my house and a possible trip to the naughty step.  But what happens when they are doing a good thing but its actually bad? 

Making a discipline judgement as a parent can be quite difficult.  How much to tell off, when to send them for timeout, when to give them a warning and a chance to right their wrongs.  Imagine my dilemma when faced with a good but bad situation with my youngest.  Let me explain:

Getting your children to brush their teeth is a vital step and something to positively encourage.  Now picture the scene.  Your child comes to you smelling of mint. There is white stuff all over his clothes and he looks very pleased with himself but there is a glint in his eye that tells me he has been doing something naughty!  He leads me to the bathroom.  After a few deep breaths to calm myself I see the extend of my sons activities.  He has been brushing his teeth.  What is wrong about that I hear you say?  He is two years old and the only way he can get to the toothpaste and taps is to climb onto something and then onto the bathroom cabinets.  Whilst sat on the cabinet he has his feet in the sink, I know this as he shows me what he did!  Whilst applying the toothpaste to his brush he has squeezed a little too hard and a mint explosion has taken place.  To his credit he has tried to clean it up a bit and using his hand has smeared the white gunk around a bit, making the surface area of mess much greater. 

So what do you do?  He has been naughty: climbing on furniture and creating a mint glaze all over the bathroom, but how can I tell him off, he has been good, he cleaned his teeth all by himself!  If I tell him off am I saying that cleaning your teeth is bad? 

I did tell him off for the climbing on things but how much of that my two year old took in is yet to be seen.  Life as a parent can throw many things at you and finding the right path is a daily challenge.  I am quite sure my sons will find many more good for bad situations to test me on and anyway at least they will have good teeth!

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