Our son, Corben, will be 3 in February.
He has become quite a personality. He's always gone 100 miles per hour, but lately I think he's begun accelerating.
He acts out so spontaneously. We'll hear him yelling at Emma, go correct him, and he immediately yells at her again, so we give him a timeout - which starts the tears. He cries the whole time he's in his timeout, then we have him apologize to Emma, which he does, then he wants us to hold him or play with him, and it's as if nothing had happened; he engages with us and giggles and laughs and we have fun.
We then leave the room and he yells at Emma again for something.
The correction should be constant with him, but he outlasts our ability to correct him for the same thing. But always there is the restoration; the apology and love and playing and laughter.
I try to imagine him in High School or as an adult, and I wonder what his personality will be like. What is a 2-year-old who can't stop like when he's 15? 25?
One thing I learned years ago from our former pastor, Tim - is that parents need to correct the negative behavior without crushing the spirit of a child. I have to watch myself, because I can tell when my patience has been exhausted. I resort to yelling "Corben, leave your sister alone!" from another room, rather than coming right to him, again, stopping him, talking to him and addressing the behavior.
I think this could be what could crush his spirit - scolding him constantly without meeting him at eye level and stopping whatever is going on. After a while, if I've scolded him a lot, I can tell he does quiet down, and does retreat. But this is not an improvement in his behavior, it is him surrendering - out of fear of being scolded - to my will. He cries more easily when things have gotten to this point.
This is not the way I want to parent. Even though he is exhausting, the moments of restoration are so sweet and the freedom of his spirit is so refreshing. This is the son I want to see become a man -- not one who has been subdued and quieted, but one who jumps onto the couch [where we don't want him standing], and with a big grin stands and yells "Daddy, look at me!"