Consistency in Parenting for a Respectful Toddler
Toddlers are nuts. Don’t deny it, you know it’s true. I firmly believe that they are smarter than they look, and are constantly thinking and plotting and planning exactly what moves will drive us batty to the extreme. And it works.
B has been pushing my patience lately, and he knows it. I have this big red flashing button on my forehead that says “go ahead, just push me!” And he does. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day.
Its silly little things that will set him off. Like going to that park. Did he ask to go to the park? Yes. Did I beg him to go to the park? No. Ok, so we’ve come to the conclusion that this is his idea. Agreed? Moving on.
So we arrive at the park. But it’s not the right park. Oh, no. This park has the blue slides, and he wanted to go to the park with the yellow slides. Well, excuse me, Mr. Crabby Pants. This is the park we’re at, so this is the park we’re going to.
And then it happens. The meltdown of all meltdowns. Screaming, crying, snot bubbles flying… you know the one. Hey, at least it was the middle of a school day and we were all alone.
Lucky me, right? Well… actually… yes! Lucky me. I get to practice parenting. This is when the good stuff happens.
Me: “Let’s chat about this situation. If you want to go to a park, this is the park we’re going to.”
B: “NO! I want the yellow park!”
Me: “Yelling at mommy is not acceptable. We can’t play if you keep yelling.”
Me: “Sorry, you just missed out because you kept yelling at mommy. We’re going home.”
B: “NO, NO, NO! I wanna be nice!”
Me: “I want you to be nice, but you already yelled at mommy. That already happened, and it’s not acceptable, so now we have to go home.”
Then he got quiet, and sniffled how much he wanted to be nice. And in a really sweet tone, too! Must have been the car driving away from the park… was I making my point? Not yet.
B: “I wanna be nice, mommy. Play at the park, mommy.”
Me: “Sorry, dude. Not gonna happen. Yelling at mommy is not nice, and you yelled at mommy, so now we can’t play at the park.”
This was our conversation back and forth about 6 times. Would it have been easier to go back to the park once he calmed down and accepted the blue park? Yes. Would he have taken a good 2 hour nap after playing hard for an hour? Yes. Would he have learned respect and consequences? NOPE!
So I dealt with the screaming and crying and snot bubbles, (just turn up the radio… lol, I seriously did that), until it actually was quiet in the back seat. B had chilled out and stopped his little tantrum.
B: “Mommy, please me have your water bottle, please?”
Wait a sec… did I just get two “please” in one sentence from a 3-yr old? Yes, yes I did. My respectful little monster was back to his normal self. And he had learned a bit of a lesson, I think.
- Do not yell at mommy or you won’t be able to play at the park.
- Mommy is not a pushover.
So I handed him my water bottle
And what did I learn? Four very important things…
- Continue to stick to my guns, consistency is important!
- I am more stubborn than a toddler.
- Parenting is not for the weak.
- The price of a nap is too high when it comes with loss of respect.