In other news, I just finished a parenting course. Just the words "parenting course" are enough to make people who don't have children, or who still have compliant little babies, roll their eyes. But any of us who knows how wily and difficult children can actually be, I hope, understands the need for such a thing. Anyway, it was wonderful. I am already seeing Mia respond to many of the techniques, which center around abandoning the idea of punishment. Discipline is not about making your child suffer for her bad behavior, it's about teaching her the correct behavior. We were instructed to tell our children what they should do, rather than what they shouldn't, tell them what good can come of doing the right thing, rather than what bad can come of misbehavior.
Above all, the teachers said, express your belief that the child can do what you ask, that you believe in them, that if they fail you will give them another chance to get it right. (If they don't do what your ask, say, "I bet you can do it next time.") Now, when Mia balks at doing what I ask, I say "I know you can do it!" And she often goes and does it. Then I make a big deal about how proud I am. The other morning, I forgot to praise her after she picked up her own toy and she said, "What were you going to say to me?" Confused, I asked, "What do you want me to say to you?" And she said, "I knew you could do it." It's working! Should have taken this course before birth to avoid spending all this time screwing it up.