The other evening, my three year old screamed and screamed at me. He refused to move from the pile of washing I was trying to put into the washing machine.
I asked him nicely.
Then I gave him a reminder.
Then I gave him a warning.
And finally I got out…….THE TIMER!
Now, just to clarify, ‘the timer’ is a rubbishy little wooden thing that you’d use for cooking. We don’t sit our three year old in a particular place to endure the timer, but we do ignore him for the duration of the whole three minutes.
But, for some reason (probably the fact we ignore him and don’t give him any attention), he detests the timer. We have had it out on only three occasions and each time he kicks it, pushes it over and cries until it runs out.
We stop ignoring him. We cuddle him and we explain why we are sad. We hug him so so tight.
And guess what he does?
He says sorry. He acknowledges that he didn’t do as he was asked.
Would it matter if he didn’t move from my pile of washing? Of course not. But if he doesn’t learn to do as we ask when we want him to move off the washing, will he learn to listen when we ask him to stop running into the road on our next trip to the shop? Will he learn to do as we ask when we ask him to stop jumping innocently on his brother who, at nine months, is unable to hold up his own body weight, let alone anyone else’s?
We are not trying to make him submissive (if we are, we are failing miserably because he is a feisty little thing who makes demands of us daily like “fetch me some ice water” – actual words which have left his mouth).
But we are trying to teach him boundaries. And these are mostly a) for his safety and b) to make him a nice person who thinks about his actions affect others.
We have a wonderfully stubborn little boy (don’t know where he gets that from….ahem….Daddy) and he is very much ‘give an inch, take a mile’. So we have to be strict with ourselves too.
And sometimes, this means we have to let him cry and scream round Aldi because they have only got Haribo mix bags and not huge packs of just Haribo cola bottles. How dare they?!
So, if our babies are hurt or sad or need us for whatever reason, we will be there to dry their tears.
But if our babies are crying because we have refused to buy them six iced buns to eat round Sainsbury? Unfortunately, we will let them cry.
Because we are teaching them boundaries.
And sometimes they don’t like that.
We all know how they feel. I hate people telling me what to do. But it is a fact of life that I constantly follow rules. I follow rules at work. I follow the laws of society.
Share this post or follow me: