For those of you who know me, know that I have a vibrant and energetic four-year-old boy. I have been so blessed that he is well mannered and has an excellent personality. He is sweet, funny and loves to tell stories. He snuggles, hugs and kisses as well as tells you how much he loves you. He is also the best cheerleader and lets you know the good job you are doing all the time. That is until he realized that he can say no and get a reaction.
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I really mean all those things that I said about my boy. He does fit that profile. But as of a few months ago, right after he turned four the independent streak took a new turn. He still minds his mother and father but has now realized that he can push things to get his way. He became bossy and demanding. He loves to do things his way and tries to reason with you on why he doesn’t want to do something.
Let me give you an example:
Today he had a dentist appointment. I asked him to get dressed. I laid out all the clothes that he needed. I have seen him get dressed on his own before with little assistance. Today he says to me that he didn’t need to get dressed since he can’t go out. I asked why? He said his toys and the cats would miss him so much that it wouldn’t be nice to leave them. Are you kidding me, kid? I let him know that they will all be fine and to get dressed. Then he lays on the floor naked and says to me that he needs help. I said no you don’t you are a big boy, and you can get dressed. He said that he was my baby, and he was so tired that he needed help. OMG! Good thing we started this an hour before we had to leave the house. Finally, after some firm talking and scolding, he got dressed. He did lose some privileges but nothing that was too extravagant, but I think got the point across.
He was an angel in the dentist and even let them clean all of his teeth for the first time! I was so proud. He was proud. We left there with huge smiles on our faces. Then we went to visit family. The entire time we were there, he was loud, bossy and destructive. I threatened to leave, and he would be good for 5 minutes. We took him outside thinking it would help him. No, he decided he was even more defiant.
We get home, and I am exhausted now. He decided he didn’t want to take his shoes off. He told me that I had to, or I will go into time out. I was thinking to myself I wish I had time out! Quiet time to myself hell yes! But unrealistic.
The point of my story is that I was convinced that I had missed the terrible twos. I was feeling so secure as a mother that I had missed them. I guess they were just postponed until now.
Children this age are learning what they can and cannot get away with. Testing boundaries and feeling out their own independence. My son reasons with us on why he does things. I try not to smile with pride or scowl with anger.
As children grow give them the ability to test their limits. Set the boundaries that are realistic but allowing for testing on their part. They need to still feel supported but this is how they learn. In turn, they could turn out to be independent and dependable adults. Praise for the good and pick the battles for the rest. It is only a small time that they will test the patience for their own good. Children need to learn consequences of their actions but at a gradual pace. Be patient and kind. This will pass and all will be happier for it. Share with me some of your battles.