Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Don't Look Back in Anger: Reprimanding the Toddler

Monday, 14 May 2018

Don't Look Back in Anger: Reprimanding the Toddler

Recently I have come to realise that I had no plan as to how I was going to reprimand my offspring. I feel like, at the grand age of 4 and 2, this should have come up earlier but behaviour has never really been an issue. The big one routinely toes the line, keen to impress any potential figure of authority and the youngest is, quite frankly, so close to criminality that I could imprison him and he would stealthily manage to con his way out of the slammer with a petted bottom lip and a well timed "sowwy"; so I often give up and just resort to physically extricating him from the situation. He's a lost cause anyway.

However, The Big One has started questioning my authority of late. Whilst I am delighted that she is saving up all of her worst behaviour for me and not terrorising those who aren't conditioned to love her by the virtue of genes, it is becoming a little wearing. At 4 years old her opinion of me shifts from celestial being to intolerable oaf. I thought I had 5 more years of utter adoration at least but, alas, no. I have had the eye rolls, the sighs and, possibly worst of all, the pointedly and laboriously annunciated repetition of demands should I be so foolish as to not catch her request the first time. Intermittently a joy to be around.


Not best pleased

The only thing is I wish we had agreed a plan of action regarding appropriate remonstration before it got to this point. Where do you start? What is the best approach? And why is this not covered in NCT? Not that I went, but that is beside the point. I have never read a parenting book (not going to lie, I find them pretty dull) and I dare not run the gauntlet of the Mumsnet forum for advice (those ladies can be terrifying) so the only reference point I have is my own childhood. Whilst I have great parents (who clearly moulded some rather stellar children) and I would happily emulate their behaviour, the problem is that I don't have many useful memories from my time as a toddler. 

So I have had to go it alone, groping around in the darkness of this parenting quandary until I navigate my own path. This has led to a number of poorly judged techniques being implemented to date; there has been the shouting, the banishing to the bedroom, the guilt tripping (not proud) and finally "the look", a glower to send icy chills through the heart of the recipient. Yet nothing seems to penetrate the impervious shield that The Big One seems to radiate at the times of her transgressions. 


Her face is an open book...

The most annoying part is The Husband seems to maintain a cool detachment in the situation. He assesses the behaviour, remembers that she is, in fact, four years old and has no ulterior motive and acts accordingly. He speaks calmly, explains the error of her ways and moves on, treating her as before. Meanwhile I am consumed with anger in the aftermath. Why is she doing this? Who is she learning this behaviour from? Where has my little girl gone? How can she be so disrespectful? I stomp about, bang doors and emit an cool, icy demeanor that Elsa would be proud of. 

I am such a child. 


I can grumpy with the best of them...



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