Why I Refuse to Count
Before I ever had kids, I had a lot of opinions about how to properly raise well-behaved and civilized children. Since giving birth to 2 babies in less than 2 years, I’ve let go of a lot of those opinions and now I tend to subscribe to the, “There’s more than 1 way to skin a cat” theory. There’s a million different ways to parent and I don’t think we can label most techniques as ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ For the most part, I believe we are all doing the best we can and we are all trying to find what works for us and our little people.
Most of the things I said I would ‘never’ (ever ever ever) do, I do (Raising my voice at my kids and letting them ‘cry it out’ are just 2 things that come to mind). And so many of the things that I said I would ‘always‘ do, I actually only do sometimes, now that I’m living in the reality of motherhood and not in the world of “This is what I would do if I were a mother.”
However, there is 1 thing I said I would never do and much to my surprise, I’ve stuck to it thus far in my parenting journey. I remember talking to one of my good friends about how I would never count to 3 for my kids. We were discussing the fact that so many parents today count for their kids and how our parents never counted for us. They told us to do something, we did it or we didn’t, and we either got rewarded or reprimanded immediately. Wham, bam, Thank you, M’am style.
This is what I’m talking about…
Mother: “Hey, give that toy to your brother.”
Child: clutches toy tighter and delivers death glare…
Mother: “You better give that toy to him right.now.”
Child: Takes a step back and prepares for a stand-off.
Mother: “One….twwwwo….twwwwo and a quarter…two and a haaaalf…you better not let me say 3 or you’re getting a spankin'”
Child: Throws toy at sibling and runs away crying.
You’ve seen this happen, right? Maybe you are a counter. I’m not judging you. You do what works for you and your child, but here’s why I won’t count.
My child doesn’t need to be conditioned to wait until the count of 3 to obey me. They need to be trained to obey immediately. It is my personal belief, that delayed obedience is a form of disobedience. I want Atlas & Andi Rose to respect authority and not live life pushing the limits, because they won’t be happy with that lifestyle. It also isn’t safe. If I see that they are in a dangerous situation and I need them to come to me right now, I don’t want to have to count to 3 before they know I’m serious. I don’t want them to be the kind of people who grow up and when their college professor says, “The paper is due on Monday at midnight” they interpret that as, “Well, that probably means Wednesday by noon.” Dave is a college professor and he is continually met with students who don’t abide by deadlines. I believe their parents my have been habitual counters.
I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t been tempted to count before because in the moment, it sometimes seems like the easier thing to do. Counting takes less effort than disciplining if the child will come before the count of 3. But I realize that on the times I’ve been tempted to count for Atlas, it hasn’t been because I wish to extend 3 seconds of grace to him but because I’m hoping he will save me the ‘trouble’ of stopping what I’m doing to discipline him for his disobedience. It’s really just laziness on my part. But that laziness on my part, would only be making more work for me later. I would be sacrificing long term goals on the altar of immediate gratification. I discipline him now, so that *hopefully* one day in the future he knows when I say “come here” I mean it and when I say “stop” that means right.this.second.
I’m by no means saying if you count for your kids, you’re a bad parent and you’re doing it all wrong. It may work for you and your child. You may genuinely be extending grace to them because you have a heart of gold. There are many days where I, personally, feel like I’m doing it all wrong so I’m certainly not judging anybody. However, I have stuck to my guns on my ‘no counting’ rule – if anything because I don’t have the energy to count that many times a day – and I just thought it would make for an interesting blog topic.
I also really just wanted to share this photo of Atlas shooting a bird….
While I don’t count, Atlas is obsessed with counting everything and whenever he uses his fingers to count, he will use his middle finger to represent the number 1. I always crack up because he has no idea what that finger represents and he is so innocent when he holds it up and says, “I just want 1 more M&M & then that be it.” Kids are so great.
So, now it’s your turn to chime in on the conversation. Did your parents count for you? Are you a counter? What are some things you said you would never ever do as a mom that you totally do now? #safezone up in here so everyone play nice! 😉