No way! I’m told. I’m NOT going to do that.
If you make me do that then I’ll throw this _____ away.
When I get big, you’re not going to come over to my house to play!
And I thought 2 was hard… So what’s next? I think it’s time to look a little closer – at more than the obvious “disobedience” or “defiance.”
When she was two, she learned to say No. She liked to say No. It gave her extra attention; it delayed the inevitable event she was trying to avoid. Whether it was cleaning up her toys, getting dressed or eating lunch, “No” was an attention-getter.
Usually, asserting this independence at 2 was about recognizing her separation from me. She is her own person, after all. As much as I’d like her to be snuggled up in bed with me, like she was as an infant, she insists on sleeping in her own bed now. (And has insisted for about 4 years.)
In reality, I offer my children many choices. It’s important to me that she learn to decide for herself if she’d rather wear blue or pink or purple. I want her to practice decision-making early before consideration of what her friends are doing becomes a factor. I want my children to really think, to consider, to be strong and a bit non-conforming.
So why am I surprised when she takes a stand?
I’m not surprised, really. I’m just at a loss at times how to reign in the independent streak without squashing it. I like her spirit. I like that she’s active and free, and a little wild sometimes. She’s 5! And 5 should be full of fun and dreams and imagination. I don’t want to dampen her spirit even a little.
So my mission, since I already chose to accept it, is to think like a 5-year old. She’s not a small adult. She’s really a child, with child-like thinking. She lives in the moment, in a way I envy sometimes.
What is she after when she adamantly refuses? What is she really trying to say? What would she like me to hear?
When I figure it out I’ll let you know. 🙂
In the meantime, just remembering she’s a child makes me feel infinitely more patient. And it also helps me consider- not wearing a coat when it’s cold outside isn’t the end of the world.