I don't believe in doing battle over everyday events and I don't believe in sending mixed messages, but there reaches a point when you wonder, should I rethink my parenting philosophy?
I don't believe in doing battle over everyday events. I don't make a fuss if my son doesn't want to go potty before we get in the car. I don't start a fight if my son doesn't want to eat a meal. I don't get particularly upset if my son won't take a nap. If he doesn't want to potty, eat, or sleep, well, okay then. I don't get too worked up over it because my attitude isn't going to change his behavior.
I also don't believe in sending mixed messages. Once my son was in underpants, he never saw another diaper or a pull-up diaper. Once my son began regularly sleeping in his big boy bed, I filled his baby crib with old clothes and outgrown baby gear. The message is the same: he's a big boy now and this is what big boys wear and big boys don't sleep in cribs.
My son was up until an ungodly hour for the second night in a row. It was after 10:00 pm before he fell asleep on both nights. Understand that my son has been sleeping a minimum of 12-hours each night for well over a year and he'd been going to bed every night at 7:00 pm.
I'm afraid that I didn't handle it very well last night and, in desperation, I cuddled him on the twin bed in his bedroom. I don't know when he fell asleep because I fell asleep too. Sometime in the middle of the night, I put him in his own toddler bed. When he pointed to the twin bed tonight, I knew that he wanted me to cuddle with him again tonight and I realized that I sent him a terrible message last night: If you won't go to sleep, I'll cuddle with you until to you on the twin bed until you go to sleep.
So I refused to cuddle. And he refused to go to sleep.
We didn't have a battle. It was more like a cold war. He could sit on the couch, but there wouldn't be any television, toys, or books. He sat on the couch until his father returned home this evening. When I heard my husband's car, I told the boy that he could sit with his father for a few minutes, but he would have to go to sleep after my husband put him to bed. Interestingly enough, he went right to sleep after cuddling for a few minutes with my husband.
I don't know if I should rethink my parenting philosophy, but I had some serious doubts tonight. My problem is, what is the alternative? Yelling and fighting with a child to make them go to sleep? Somehow punishing the boy to make him go to sleep? I don't think these would work with my son and I don't care to try.
Maybe I don't need to rethink my parenting philosophy just yet.