Welcome to the fascinating world of children’s reasoning…
Scattered across the internet realm are oodles of hilarious tales of children not behaving. Licking the neighbour’s car, drawing on the walls with yoghurt and permanent marker, biting things they shouldn’t bite. These are dutifully partnered with a plethora of behaviour strategies and suggestions that desperate parents are using.
Mainly involving stickers and desperation!
Being the proud owner of a rather contrary five year old I am always fascinated by his reasoning of WHY he misbehaves. It is difficult to parent a little that is cleverer than you. I find it really frustrating and exhausting when I ask him to say, carry his plate the table and he ignores me. WHY WONT THEY LISTEN?
Any other parents in this boat?
You get to the point where you start to doubt yourself and ponder if your child has a hearing problem. My boy is a shining example of a selective hearing. ‘Turn the TV off now darling,’ may be repeated, three times, then Mummy reverts to counting to five in her strict voice.
Which all parents know is the sternest and most threatening thing an adult can do.
1……2…..3…..If you get to five Armageddon WILL ha9ppen.
BUT you ask if he wants to go to the park? Quicker than a flash he will have his shoes on (the right feet) and be standing in front of you with an endearing smile, ‘Yes please Mummy.’
You momentarily wonder if your child has been possessed by a Carebear.
It would be a LIE if I said I don’t get angry. Because I do. When met with blatant defiance i.e. when my child needs to poo but on principle he won’t go (See Mummy I am going to poo in my Spiderman Onesie) the obstinate child in me thinks I need to win and gets in an uber huff. I am an advocate of good manners and respect and try to instil these in my son through modelling… Also kids should bloody well do what their parentals tell them. Its circle of life stuff, when they have children they can be the commander of their littles (I as granny can feed them sweets at 9pm). We all have our roles.
BUT THEN, they start asking why?
The fact my boy is asking why is either a trait of a thoughtful, questioning character OR I have created a monster that challenges authority. He may grow up to be a radical.
In a gentle yet firm voice Mummy asked, ‘Leo darling, its tidy up time, please put your cars away so Mummy won’t step on them in the night (when you wake up 600 times).’ Little cub looks at me with a face of utter incredulousness, ‘No.’
DRAGON BREATH. Get down to his level, ‘Mummy can help you but you got the toys out and the rule is we tidy up our things at the end of the day.’
A half whingey half upset little voice replied, ‘But I like my cars out. Why can’t you listen to me? Why do I have to just do what you say? You said fair means treating people the same! YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR’.
It was like a scene of Kevin and Perry. If Kevin was five and a politician with a good grasp of semantics.
This situation required counting to ten in Mummy’s head. Could I use the age old BECAUSE I AM THE ADULT retort? But I could not discount his infallible logic. I want a child that respects me but applying his scarily accurate understanding of fairness, I was not respecting him. Mummy felt half proud, half flabbergasted.
This is a catch 22 moment Mummy’s and Daddy’s.
I decided to be Switzerland. Little cub needs to respect his toys and what Mummy asks of him as growing up believing he can just do what he wants will likely lead to incarceration. But I also want him to know that I listen to his feelings, that they are valid too.
I asked little boy if likes it when I come into his room when he calls (yells) me at night. Then added, what happens if I could not get in? Or it might hurt Mummy to step on the cars etc.
Together we went to my room where the laundry pile was a technicolour mountain. It was patiently explained that Mummy didn’t find the idea of putting it away fun. But if she just did what she wanted and watched reruns of bake off with wine (I did not include that bit) we would be going to school and work tomorrow in out pants.
That he would not be able to watch Storytime on CBBC from Mummy’s bed.
So I listened to why he does not want to do things, as that is fair. Back to the original request of tidying the cars away. Little cub explained that he felt too tired to tidy up. Mummy acknowledged his feelings and the validity of this statement. Then informed him kindly that to avoid this he could go to bed fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow.
He tidied up his cars. Quickly.
I understand some parents are reading this thinking Christ I would have just made the boy tidy up. Admittedly this narrative was tiring and I often do just reiterate what I have asked no-nonsense. But it is also good to talk with our children, to acknowledge their little selves, opinions and intellect.
Mummy learnt some patience and some more about her little cub. Like I need to start saving for university now.
That said. Mummy is not bloody well doing the laundry. It’s not FAIR.