It is amazing what a little attention can do for a child. This morning, my three year old son woke up in a great mood. But by 9:30, he was into EVERYTHING and was harassing his sister while she tried to do school. So I scolded him, and then I sent him to his room to pick out some books while I finished cleaning the kitchen. He brought in 6 books. We spent about 30 minutes reading through and discussing 4 of them. He then climbed down from my lap, told me thanks, and cheerfully played by himself until lunch.
This scenario is so much better than the one that all too often plays out in my house. He starts causing trouble, I scold him, he causes a different kind of trouble, I send him to his room to play, he throws a fit at being excluded from everyone (and he knows the difference between when I send him to play in his room so he can have fun, and when I send him there so I can have space). Finally, one or the other of us completely looses our temper, and I feel like a complete failure as a Mom.
If I can remember to stop and give him attention more often, perhaps his behavior will be better. Not that his behavior will be perfect, but my behavior improves when my children and husband spend time with me and notice all of the things I do. Why would it be any different for my three year old? Or my ten year old? Or my fifty-two year old? We all just need a little lovin'.