"Do you want me to call your dad in here?" "Alright, I'm calling your dad." "That's it. RYANNNNNNNNNN!" I have used the presence of my husband to control my children's behavior.
It hasn't been often, and I haven't done it in about 3 months, but I used to when I was at the end of my rope for the day until God impressed on me that what I was doing was undermining my OWN authority by having to call for back up, as well as making them FEAR their daddy, and show division in our parenting- I was the weaker link. God showed me this a long, long, long time ago but unfortunately I wasn't disciplined or obedient enough to stop.
Each time God would show me this, I'd understand and commit to not threatening my children with their daddy's presence, but then another frustrating situation would happen and I'd do what I heard my mother do so many times as a child "I'm going to have your dad come in here."
The way I feel God speak to me in regards to parenting is with a lot of flashbacks from my childhood and my parents unstable and unhealthy parenting. I'll see what the mature and appropriate and wise choice would have been to make, and then it'll clearly shift into this space of where I am at in my own parenting journey like a Tetris pattern.
Sometimes, having three toddlers is SO frustrating and exasperating that I just want to pass the baton off to my husband while I catch my breath. I want to scrub out and get a snack. Clock out and return Monday, refreshed. That momentary break from discipline and correction and guidance is felt on a minor scale when my husband comes in and brings with him his peace and calm which alone draws the children to obedience, but it has big consequences.
Meeting the emotional needs of three toddlers is taxing. Mine are 1.5-in that lil bit toddler lil bit baby stage, nearly 3-"NAOW!" LOTS of big emotions always intensified by hunger, fatigue, stimulation, sense of security in expressing them, and 4.5-he's still in his boundaries and pushing them stage, and just began half day preschool. I'd rather not add in MORE hard emotions to work through by building a foundation of fear of their daddy even if it does provide momentary relief. It's almost like when you take a pill for one thing which fixes that thing, but then you get 17 side effects.
Louise Bates Ames has material that actually discusses equilibrium and disequilibrium based on the half year before a child's birthday. So, equilibrium is present from the birthday to the half year, when disequilibrium comes in until that next birthday; the disequilibrium brings with it confusion, big emotions, being temperamental, and almost regressing in their ability to accomplish a task that was once doable to them.
We are in the disequilibrium stage with ALL THREE and will continue to wane in and out of these stages with all 3 at once. I've said all of this to paint a picture for you if you're not a parent, or not the parent of a child who is old enough to talk with yet. If you are a parent, you didn't need to read all of that because you already know exactly what I'm talking about.
In a perfect world, I'd be completely filled with patience, joy, reverence for God's will for me as a mother to three, gratitude, healthy mindsets with proper thinking, and well-rested-ness. Whew, nope this is not the current situation. It's more like a "Choose 3" situation. I work hard to always recognize and think on what my children may be experiencing behind their tantrums about what seem to be completely irrational meltdowns without merit. The other day at the library, my nearly 3 year old was SCREAMING AND THROWING HERSELF ON THE GROUND because I let her 1.5 year old sister throw her own dirty diaper in the trash. To a childless adult this is probably like uhhh okay she's probably just tired or naughty.
Well, as her mother I saw she certainly needed a nap, but she's not naughty. She is the middle child and she feels connected to me and appreciated by me when she is helping me with anything. She gets my attention and knows that I have seen what she's done because I thank her and tell her how helpful that was. She's coming into her own on the other side of 2.5, and is able to do more tasks with and for me each day which really feed her soul and make her proud of herself.
All I knew to do in an instance where she wasn't reasoning with me or letting me help her with her emotions was to call my husband and put him on speaker phone and let him love her. Just the sound of his voice soothed her tantrum down to slow, deep, post-sobbing heaves. He asked her if she got to read books, play in the tent, do puzzles, and other things the library offered. She knew when I offered her the phone to talk to her sweet daddy that it was going to be a help in her emotions, not a punishment for them.
This was a warm experience because I saw that my sweet girl recognized that she has a good, patient, gentle, soft, loving, daddy. I'm so glad I haven't ruined the way she sees him. More than not intimidating my children with their other parent, I want to always be sensitive to the fact that children grow up to view God as they experienced their Daddy, and I want them to look to Him as the source of their own daddy’s good, patient, gentle, soft, love.