I’ve always been a stubborn fool, I’ll admit it. I hold grudges and when I’ve made up my mind about something, it’s hard to change my thinking. But hey, that’s a Taurus for you.
The thing is though, this really only works—and barely so—in the adult world. It doesn’t translate well when you’re dealing with kids. I’m finding that no matter how badly I want to teach MLI a lesson about not talking back, or listening to what his teachers say, my desire to be the good guy and make him love me rears its dominating head.
And I know that a parent must be a parent first and a friend second, but where’s the line? When does a parent, after an entire evening of correcting a child, hold his or her tongue when the child does something else that needs correction? At some point, don’t you just have to tell yourself, “The poor kids needs a break.”
That’s where I find myself on the eve of MLI’s fourth birthday. Last night he was very whiney and uncooperative. At one point during dinner, after CareerMom had begged him to eat A SINGLE bean before being excused from the table, he pitched a fit. I turned to CareerMom and said, “Well, I don’t think he deserves to have a birthday party acting like that. I’ll go call Susan and the other parents and tell them not to come.”
This of course, raised a wailing, “Nooooooo” from MLI, at which point I said, “Then you need to eat that bean right now.” He did of course, and the evening continued. This is just one example of the seemingly constant battle we’re fighting with him these days. None of his actions are mean-spirited; they’re just the usual stubborn childhood things, but things that nonetheless deserve correction.
Given that, there’s a part of me that says, “He doesn’t deserve a birthday party with the way he’s been behaving,” but I also know that’s ridiculous. You can’t NOT give a kid a birthday party no matter how bad he’s been (not to mention that CareerMom would override a decision like this).
Without buying that “Total Transformation” thingy they advertise on TV, or taking away everything the kid owns, I’m not sure how to move forward with correction that doesn’t elicit a total meltdown and end up with punishing him (and us) by banning him to his room for half the night.
I’m open for suggestions!