How do our innocent and precious babies learn to be stubborn, hot headed little tyrants? At what stage do they turn from sweet innocent little angels to becoming very stubborn and learn to stick their heels in? As a christian, to me, this highlights the very nature of sin.
I was in shock the other day when my 13-month-old decided that he was going to exercise his personal rights to refuse instructions over my personal right to give instructions.
How difficult can it be for a 13-month-old to do as they’ve been told? We were in the midst of a very busy morning, child #5 was playing with my electronic bank card reader that helps to identify me; looks a bit like a calculator.
I then presented him with an Ella’s kitchen smoothie pouch, he immediately threw the card reader across the room and stretched his arms out to receive his pouch. Now this was becoming a habit, I’d noticed over the past couple of weeks that when he had something in his hands and he was then offered something else, such as his cup, bottle or a toy, he’d throw whatever was in his hands to receive what we were offering.
Of course he is still very young and probably unaware that throwing things across the room to get what you want isn’t a good thing. It’s something we his parents need to teach him.
I naturally spoke gently to him and said ‘Joey, pick that up and give it to mummy, ta’ he looked me dead straight in the eyes and swiped his hand across it; catapulting it to the other side of the room. I could not believe what I was seeing and experiencing. Did this 13-month-old baby boy just do that! I spoke gently again repeating the instruction. I held out the pouch and said “first pick up the card reader”, pointing to it, “ta and then you will get the pouch”. Again he reiterated his previous behaviour and swiped it across the room, only this time coupled with agitating and shrilling screams.
The look in his eyes accompanied by his piercing screams immediately indicated to me that this was overt and plain stubbornness, it was a battle of the wills and only one of us was going to come out triumphant. I knew that conceding would have communicated to him that he could then behave in such a way whenever he wanted. I was not about to hand that power over to my 13-month-old son, I mean what would be next? Would this then continue into his two’s, school years and teens! No WAY. It had to be nipped in the bud in that moment. Who knows where failing to challenge such negative behaviour could end up.
Now I was already under pressure as I had to get into work and hand in some very important documents that I was unable to find. So inbetween tearing my home upside down and combing through every drawer, box and cupboard to recover the documents, I periodically checked in with him and repeated the same process. “First pick up the card reader, pointing to it, then you will have your smoothie, ta” . This continued for 1.5 HOURS!!!! Yes, ONE AND A HALF HOURS. I was not about to relent and neither was he. It became very apparent that he is my flesh and blood with those genes of sheer determination. Our 1.5 hour battle of screaming, ignoring, reiterating and repeating, came to an end with SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!! FOr ME!
Joey finally decided to put the card reader into my hand and I immediately gave him his smoothie pouch. I praised him for good listening and thanked him for the card reader.
deep inside I felt a great sense of achievement. I was a winner and he had been taught a valuable life lesson. I know it isn’t about winning and loosing of course, it’s about the principle and learning experience for my son.
The most amazing thing is, now whenever I offer him something and he has another item in his hand, he will either carefully place it on a table, the bed or in my hand. Since that moment he has not thrown anything down on the floor again. It goes to show, our children are very intelligent, they learn so rapidly and we must start as we mean to go on. It is absolutely essential to exercise consistency in raising our children. It may be tempting to give up in such situations because of time restrictions or impatience. However, the life lesson learned at the end is so empowering that it’s definitely worth the battle.
I encourage us parents to put in the time with our children, the rewards are great and our children are worthy of our input.
•Have you had similar experiences with your child or children?
•What did you do?
•How did you combat and challenge the behaviour?