I took a toy away from my son because he just wouldn’t listen.
I took a toy away from my son and while I felt empowered and knew it was the right thing to do, I still hurt inside.
Allow me to give you some background information. My son is three and he is embracing the age as if this is the greatest battle he will need to fight. My son is strong-willed, determined, stubborn, and persistent.
His presence is known.
Lately, it’s been nearly impossible to get him to listen. I know other parents can sympathize. I know we aren’t the only parents going through this, but it sure feels like we are. I am, like I imagine other parents are, convinced his ears are clogged with some powerful soundproof substance that is only removed when words that sound like “cookie”, “park”, or “ice cream” come to the surface. His selective listening skills are impeccable.
We are at our end, to say the least.
We’ve tried a bunch of different tactics to get his attention but have made no progress. I’ve read people’s blogs and I’ve vented and I’ve asked for advice from others.
*Enter new plan: count to five and take a toy away. Count to five and take his blanket away. Count to five and take away the next item in sight.
This tactic really does work! I’m telling you. He was beyond pissed at me for taking away his precious remote-control car. He cried and he protested while he kicked and screamed. He tugged on my shirt while he tried unsuccessfully and incoherently plead his case.
I held my ground. I did what the people told me to do. I thought, if they can do it then we can do it. I told him to follow through with my request – which was to sit down at the table to have dinner – and he’ll get his toy back.
I won’t lie and tell you that this isn’t partly my fault. I’ve been giving in too much lately and this is the result of it. While I’m so quick to blame myself, I do also recognize that he is only three and three is, well, three is difficult.
Like every mom I know, I’m trying my best. But sometimes my best goes to war with my patience and I have to pick my battles. I have to pick sides. Unfortunately, this has caused some slacking on my part. I give in because I just don’t want to hear it anymore. I’m tired of the whining and the crying and the screaming. I’m tired of saying “no” and “why won’t you listen” and “stop it”. I’ve been losing my patience as quick as a dart hits the board and it has caused me to give in more than I said I ever would.
I’ve finally allowed myself to listen to my husband’s protests. I’ve opened my ears to him and I’m listening to what he’s saying. And he’s right. This is the time to teach our son right and wrong, that consequences have actions, and that we are the parents and he is not.
So, we take his things away. We don’t snatch it like a child snatches a toy out of a another kid’s hand. We are not
At first it was hard. The screaming was unbearable. But after a day or two, it started getting easier and my confidence has started to return.
I can do this. I can parent. Sure, why not? I just have to stick to my motto: small-term versus longer-term consequences. The small consequences of being in the moment of chaos and temper tantrums outweigh the long term consequences which consist of having a bratty child who can’t understand the word NO and can’t self-regulate. Of course it will be a battle, but isn’t that what parenting is all about? It’s our duty to raise our children to be a productive and sane members of society.
A long time ago, I promised myself that I would not have a kid who does not understand the meaning of NO. I need to keep my promise to myself. I need to be in line with my husband, my partner, my son’s dad. We need to be on the same page and I am finally meeting him on the discipline page. Have I been avoiding it all this time? Not entirely, but – and this is no excuse but still applicable – my anxiety gets the best of me. My son’s tantrums cause my anxiety to spike. So maybe, just maybe, I’ve been a bit laxer because I can’t handle the tantrums.
Luckily my husband and I have found a method that works for our family and we’ve been sticking to the plan. We’re laying down the law (oh my world, I am speaking like a parent). I don’t enjoy doing it, but I can’t deny that it makes me feel good when my son finally realizes that in order for him to get whatever was taken away, he must follow through with direction.
I love my kid enough to want him to be a good person and it all starts here. I love him enough to teach him how to self-regulate and that things will not always go his way. I love him enough to want him to independent and look at the world as opportunity.
I know that there are families out there with strong-willed children trying to get their rambunctious minis to listen. I know that, like them, we will get through this stage and come out on top. We are stronger than those little people we created. We know better, I hope.
We too can prevail!
For more parenting stories about the real struggles, take a look at: The Freezy Incident