Lately, Ev is really pressing the limits with me. He has been yelling and hitting when he isn’t getting his way, not listening, and persisting in doing the opposite of what I ask or tell him to do. I am well aware that this is all part of a toddler’s natural development. I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and have actually helped write parenting tips on addressing a toddler’s challenging behavior. So why am I feeling so inept?
If I’m going to be completely honest, it’s really frustrating that Ev isn’t as challenging when he is interacting with his dad. My husband is good in stressful situations because he is keeps an even tone and is very matter of fact, and though Ev prefers me when he’s feeling tired or cranky or sad, he prefers his dad the rest of the time. Just this morning when I asked Ev about his friends, referring to those at child care, he listed two children and his daddy.
I know my husband means what he says and says what he means, but I am guilty of giving in to Ev. I was venting to my husband about the challenges we’ve been facing and he suggested being more firm. So when I say one more song in the rocking the chair, then it is one more song in the rocking chair and bed, no matter what. I left that conversation with my husband feeling a little defensive.
The next morning, when Ev should have been getting in the car as I asked him to because I was worried he would get cold, he ran around the yard. It was freezing out, literally 5 degrees, so I was very cold and annoyed. When I went to get Ev, he started crying because his hands were cold, and because he didn’t get to eat any snow. As I was strapping him in his car seat I told him if he would have listened to me, his hands wouldn’t be as cold and he would have had a chance to eat some snow. He responded with, “I don’t listen to you. I only listen to Daddy.” That hurt.
I don’t mind being the nurturing parent. I am nurturing by nature and will continue to be, but I am also going to start being a bit more firm. Because Ev needs to realize it’s important to trust and respect mommy and daddy.