Note to Self: Distracted Parenting

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 at 8:51 am

Have you ever noticed, Rebekah, how distracted you can be?

You get up to do one thing and find a half dozen other things to do along the way, such that you sometimes forget what you were aiming to do in the first place.

Sometimes this isn’t a problem.

Many times this isn’t a problem.

Even if you forget your original intent, it’s rarely urgent and will usually get done eventually – and the half dozen little other things need to be done sometime. Now is as good a time as any.

But there are times when this distraction is a problem.

“Come here, Tirzah Mae,” you say. “We’re going to change your diaper.”

And then you notice the toy on the floor that belongs in the nursery and the socks that belong in the hamper in your bedroom. You pick them up and take them to their appropriate spots.

Returning to the living room, you repeat your plea: “Come here, Tirzah Mae. We’re going to change your diaper.”

But on the way into the bathroom to wet her wipes you realize your water bottle is empty so you grab it to refill it.

And so on and so forth.

Tirzah Mae learns that when Mama says “Come here, Tirzah Mae”, Mama really doesn’t mean it. When Mama says “We’re going to change your diaper”, she doesn’t mean right now.

She learns to ignore your directions until you come and get her. She learns that Mama isn’t serious about changing the diaper until Mama picks her up and carries her off to the nursery.

Your distraction is training her to ignore you.

And that is NOT good.

So try this, Rebekah.

Stand by the bathroom door. “Come here, Tirzah Mae,” you should say. “Mama is going to change your diaper.”

Stay there, holding your hand open for her to grab hold of it, repeating yourself if necessary until she obeys. DO NOT BE DISTRACTED.

When Tirzah Mae comes, you can wet the wipes in the bathroom sink and then the two of you will walk, hand in hand to the nursery, where you will change her diaper.

If you notice something that needs to be done while you’re standing by the door waiting for Tirzah Mae to obey, make a mental note but don’t do anything else.

Your primary job is teaching your daughter, not ensuring that the toys and socks are put away and the water bottle filled. You can do those things after you take care of the first thing – training your daughter to be obedient when you give her instructions.

Distraction in housekeeping is one thing. Distraction in parenting is quite another. Keep your eyes on the goal, Rebekah – train your daughter well.

Reader Comments (1):

  1. Davene Grace says:

    Good, good point. Really, this is so, so good! I’m sure I’m guilty of this, too; but thanks to you sharing this insight, I’m going to work on this. Thank you!!

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