Leland is my second-born. He is a heap of passion placed inside a human body. He is fiery, incredibly strong, tells me everything he’s thinking (loudly!), and I never have to doubt how he feels about something. Most days it seems like Leland is always in trouble- taking a timeout in his room, sitting in a chair facing the corner, screaming in protest, yelling that this isn’t what he wanted (that’s the whole point, son).
Bella is my first-born. She is sweet, caring, silly but on the quiet side, and always voicing concern for everything and everyone. Don’t get me wrong… she knows how to be loud and have an attitude and get bossy and yell at her two brothers. But overall, she’s the quiet one that will accept discipline without fighting it and keep her thoughts to herself. Bella generally isn’t the problem in our house, other than the occasional bad attitude.
As you can imagine (or maybe you don’t have to imagine because you’ve got the same situation in your house), Leland takes up most of my attention, focus, time, and energy. There have been so many days where Bella didn’t get me at all because Leland was such an energy-sucker. How do you give your quiet one what they need of you when your strong-willed one is so constantly demanding??
There are some things I’ve been trying lately, as God has been nudging me to look in Bella’s direction more often, and inspiring me with ideas for how to train up all my children, and giving more of my time and attention to the ones who demand it less.
I am teaching Leland that it’s not all about him.
Although it’s simply the fact that Leland is loud and strong-willed and in almost constant need of correction that gets most of my attention (it’s not like he’s a brat that demands my time and is rewarded with it), I am still working on teaching him that life isn’t all about him. Over time, he will notice that he gets a lot of my attention and I want to make sure that doesn’t turn him into a brat later on. Plus, he has a natural self-centered outlook (like me) and I know the importance of guiding that firsthand.
I make time to spend with just Bella while Leland is awake.
I give Leland something to do on his own (coloring, building a block tower) in his room, then turning my phone off and sitting down to do something one-on-one with Bella. Usually Hudson is napping or just joining in with Leland’s activity, so it’s just us girls. I want Leland to be awake and to see that there are times when he needs to busy himself while I spend time with someone else. I really try to do this once a day. I also will take Bella out for frozen yogurt or hot chocolate at Starbucks every month or so. Brian and I do this with each of the kids, but I feel Bella benefits from it most because of her age.
Leland’s consequence for disobedience is time away from us in his room.
When he was younger, I needed to put him on a chair for a short timeout or just give a little spanking and call it a day. Now that Leland is over three, he is at an age where isolation works and is applicable. When he disobeys, I calmly tell him what he did wrong, send him to his room, and let him cry or scream it out there while the rest of us carry on. This avoids giving Leland negative attention, which is still attention so he’s getting what he wanted, and doesn’t make the other kids suffer for what he did wrong. You break a rule? You go in your room for a bit until I come in there to talk to you.
Do you have a strong-willed child and a quiet child? What do you do to keep the feisty one from taking over the house and sucking up all your focus? Leave your feedback in the comments.