Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain

That’s what I’m telling myself anyway with reference to the Littlest Brewster’s behavior lately.

First, an explanation: the Littlest Brewster is very firmly entrenched in toddlerhood. This means that some days, she’s amazing. It’s seriously like magic and if I could have a dozen kids like that, I would. But it also means that some days, everything is a battle. She’s defiant and truculent and really, really good at getting on my last nerve.

Those are the times that I just want to throw in the towel and give in to my little dictator’s demands and avoid the inevitable confrontation.

I told DB the other night – after a long, drawn-out bathtime battle – “Why do we even bother? I feel like we’re doing our best not to raise a spoiled brat and that’s what we’re getting anyway!” ((It isn’t actually true, to my knowledge, that LB is a brat. At least no one has brought it to my attention if she is. I think that overall she’s a pretty happy, helpful kid.))

I honestly feel that DB and I do a pretty darn good job as parents. I’m sure there are things that we are stricter than necessary on and things about which we’re probably a little too lenient, but overall I think we’re where we need to be to mold LB into a productive, responsible member of society. And I know that that process takes years to come to fruition.

But sometimes, it is so tempting to give in rather than sticking to my guns. When it’s been a long and hectic day at work and everything on God’s green earth has gone wrong, I don’t really feel like enforcing the “Don’t leave your toys all over the house so Mommy doesn’t break her neck at 5 am” rule. Brushing our teeth doesn’t seem that important. I can see the allure of handing over the iPad and Color Moo Moo for 15 blessed minutes of no whining.

And it’s times like that that I try to remind myself that it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

Yes, if I give in to LB’s crazy toddler demands now we can avoid a confontration. But she’ll be that much more unmanageable and unreasonable tomorrow, next month, next year. And then we really will have a spoiled brat.

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