Someone once told me, “You’re not a parent until you have two kids.” With the recent addition of our second son, just under three weeks ago, we are now joyfully able to fill in that box. However, as any mom or dad with a talkative two-year-old would most certainly agree, a more appropriate statement would be: “You’re not a parent until you have a two-year-old.”
The difference between being a parent of a newborn child and a newly potty-trained one is, well, parenting. Taking care of an infant is all about cuddling, changing diapers, and feeding that sweet baby. It involves many sleep-deprived nights, occasional “accidents” on your comforter while changing a diaper, and sometimes even a few cries from the little one. There’s a gradual change from taking care of your baby to parenting your toddler, yet it all seems to change abruptly, at least for us, at the two-year mark. Our little man, who has quite an extensive vocabulary with the ability to pronounce “velociraptor” and “parasaurolophous”(he’s a huge fan of dinosaurs, in case you couldn’t figure it out), has mastered the word “no” and also the ability to ignore whatever his mom and dad say; a skill I’m sure we all mastered as youngsters and perfected as teenagers.
Every day is different, and with it, brings new challenges. Some days are a roller coaster and others I would describe as “easy breezy”. Our oldest boy is pretty well-behaved and has good manners. Yet, that doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes steady work over time. In my short stint as a father, I’ve learned that one of the keys to parenting is consistency. The act of putting my kiddo in “timeout” is an important part of that. We use timeouts to help him learn from his mistakes. Although, it is the least desirable part of parenting for me, it always seems to help him refocus. Just like any method utilized in parenting, he will eventually grow out of it. However, he will always need discipline.
Every child not only needs discipline, they crave it. They need boundaries and a guideline for what’s right and wrong. After all, they’re just kids and it’s mom and dad’s responsibility to teach them. The Bible says it best, “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24 NLT)