Of course, it’s not always easy.
My son is going to be 3 in a week. He’s begun saying “no” to every. Single. Request. I’d always thought this kind of behavior was reserved for “the terrible twos,” but I’ve learned as a parent that children have very different times when their behavior becomes more challenging, regardless of age. He only wants to do things on his own terms, and will always answer “no” to a request, even if his real answer is “yes.”
Just this past weekend, my husband asked Ev if he wanted to play in his sandbox, knowing that it’s one of Ev’s most favorite things to do. Ev, predictably, said “no,” but as soon as the words left his mouth he started getting into the sandbox, looking at my husband wonderingly, as though wanting to know why his daddy wasn’t joining him? And this morning on the way to the car, Ev ran straight for the puddles. Remembering to offer choices I said, “Ev, you can either walk to the car yourself or I can come get you.” He chose neither and ran around the yard, laughing hysterically, while I chased him.
And last night as it was getting near time for Ev to be done with his bath, I gave him his normal warnings: “Just five more minutes,” and, “Three more minutes, Ev.” With one minute to go I let the water drain out of the tub. This is routine. We’ve done it every other night since Ev was nine weeks old and it’s always time to get out when the water is gone, and time to go to bed. But last night, once the water was gone, Ev said he wanted to sleep in the bath tub. He laid his little naked body down in the tub and proceeded to shut his eyes. When he refused to get out, I lifted him out and he threw a fit. Crying, screaming, kicking because he wanted to sleep naked in the bathtub.
Granted, it didn’t take long for him to get it together, especially when we warned him that he was running out of time for a story. But it gets frustrating sometimes. You do all of the things people tell you to do and still your child finds a way to be challenging.
I’m going to stick with the series on avoiding power struggles, though. My plan is to read each one, memorizing all the tricks to getting my child to do exactly what I want him to do when I want him to do it. Even if they don’t work, it can’t hurt to be prepared. And no one ever said parenting is easy.