Parenting a toddler is, at times, frustrating. (Understatement.) So I’m often looking out for new strategies that will make life with our tiny tyrant just a bit easier. Sometimes Bean misinterprets these strategies.
Who’s in charge?
I’ve read that teaching kids that they are in charge of their own bodies can help them to respect each other, protect against abuse, and pave the way for the concept of consent. So, I’ve been telling Bean that he is in charge of his own body and Monkey is in charge of Monkey’s body. (That is, hands off your brother because you’re not the boss.)
The other day as Bean began to manhandle Monkey out from under the dining room table, I started to tell him that Monkey was in charge of his own body. Bean responded with arms waving excitedly:
“I in charge of myself… AND THE WHOLE TOWN!!”
When we’re trying to get Bean to do something, we give him a choice. For example, if he refuses to go upstairs to get dressed we’ll say something like, “You have a choice. Would you like to walk upstairs all by yourself, or should I carry you?” If he doesn’t make a choice then we go to that old parenting standby, the one-two-three count, after which the parent gets to make the choice. It took a bit of practice, but this strategy works really well.
Yesterday, as my husband was reading on the couch, Bean climbed up beside him, got right up in his face, looked him straight in the eyes, pointed his finger and said:
“Daddy, you have a choice. You. Have. A. Choice. You come play with me.”
Yeah… Daddy definitely didn’t have a choice.