I taught my boy a tough lesson today and it almost broke me.
Youngest cub has now joined his sister at big school. The change in educational level has done wonders for him. His language has come along in leaps and bounds and so has his interpersonal behaviour.
He’s not the finished article yet and at 4, neither should he be.
We do have some challenges. He gets frustrated easily and when he does, he can lose it quite badly. Foot stamping, screaming and saying no to everything.
On Saturday, I had said that we’d finish the day with a trip to the park but this had to follow him cleaning up his room. His sister will maintain her’s on a regular basis, but he plain and flatly refuses, or states that he can’t do it without help.
Again, given his age I don’t expect much, just a token effort.
At times I help him, at other times I get on with other aspects of housework to show them what is required to maintain a home.
As he’s grown, we quickly (and sadly) moved from the response to the tidy your room request of ‘No thank you!’ to plain and flat ‘no’.
We never made the park.
As I had no wish to punish his sister, I told them both that we’d go after breakfast the next day.
Next morning, after a hefty porridging, they headed for the bathroom. A quick wash and then out, was the plan.
All went south after hair washing. Water in his eyes was too much to bear and foot stamping began. Followed by screaming, and then kicking his sister.
At 4 years old, he seems to be experiencing the terrible 2’s.
I won’t stand for kicking so tell him he’ll lose a star. ‘I DON’T CARE!!!’ he screams, and kicks out again.
I pick him out of the bath. He screams and stamps. I ask him to apologise to his sister. He’s in full flap and now cyclically repeats that he’s not listening to me and he never will.
Admittedly, I can feel my blood pressure rising, so I decide to remove myself from the situation. I leave him dry, but naked.
Eldest cub gets ready and I shave and brush my teeth. She does her hair, which takes a while. He eventually stops screaming and comes in to my room. I’m now reading and pay him no attention.
He climbs on the bed next to me and slowly attempts to capture my gaze. I change position away from him. His sister declares that she’s ready.
Right; let’s go downstairs.
‘Dad! I’m not dressed yet…’
I walk down the stairs, telling her to put her shoes on.
In his nakedness he’s smiling and laughing as we get ready. He asks me a few questions, which ignore.
He persists. I stand firm.
His sister opens the back door and heads into the garden. Still in a state of undress, he puts his coat on.
I walk away from him and step into the garden. He screams…
I stop and go back.
I bend down and hold him tight.
We have conversation about what it feels like to be ignored; I do my best to keep it simple. He says he understands.
His sister, a witness to the entire charade, comments on my ability to maintain the ruse.
As I said; I don’t believe in striking a child but I do believe in discipline.
I’m not sure if what I did was any better.