I’ve noticed a shift in attitude from my 5-year old boy recently. He has always known his own mind and has never been afraid to ask for what he wants, exactly when he wants it. But, this is more than ‘I want juice’, ‘I said the blue cup, not the red one’, ‘I’m not drinking anything until you make me a fresh drink in a new cup and if the beverage/colour of cup/way it is delivered is fitting to my mood then I will refrain from throwing it across the kitchen table in a blaze of fury’ kind of way. Much more.
For example, when I asked him to brush his teeth this morning, he told me to ‘just zip it’.
To which, once I had peeled my jaw off the floor, I responded with ‘Please don’t speak to me in that way’
OH, JUST SHUT UP.
I will not shut-up. Now, please go and brush your teeth.
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, I WILL DO IT WHEN I AM READY.
I need you to brush your teeth now please.
Did you just call me a stinker?
DO YOU WANT ME TO BRUSH MY TEETH OR ANSWER?
So, I let him get on with on it.
Later, as we walked to school and he was behaving like a perfect angel again, I explained that I don’t like it when he is so rude to me. He seemed to understand, apologised, and we left it at that.
As we did when it had happened a few days previously as well; probably because it was time to leave a friend’s house before he had finished playing, or it was time for bed and he wanted to stay up for a bit longer. It is always ok until the next time he is asked to do something that he does not want to do, at a time when he does not want to do it.
Then he folds his arms, shakes his head and says NO. I’M NOT DOING IT.
I do like that he challenges, ask questions and has bags of personality, and while I don’t want to quash that part of him, I do want him to be a little more respectful. And, you know, not tell me to shut up.
But, where to start? I’m trying to be clearer in my expectations and give him plenty of warning before we need to leave somewhere. I am hoping it is just a phase as he gains more and more independence from me and wants to test boundaries.
We don’t often make him do too much grown-up, or ‘boring’ stuff with us. He spends time with his friends, gets outdoors regularly and has enough downtime at home to relax and unwind too. But, there are obviously also times when he will need to go to B&Q with us, or I’ll need to pop out to the post office and he will have to come with me. It would be nice to do these things without him putting up a fight.
It would be even nicer if I didn’t have to chase him around the house to put his coat and shoes on too.
I’m trying to be fairly relaxed about this shift in attitude at the moment, in the hope it will soon pass. Then, some days I think I need to just nip it in the bid quickly. Although, how I do that, I am not quite sure.
Parenting does in many ways, get easier. Phases do end. However, as soon as you think you have conquered one challenge, another soon appears to take its place. As physically demanding as it felt at the time, shadowing a toddler around the house all day to make sure he didn’t bang his head, eat 4-week old toast off the kitchen floor, or fall down the stairs, was strangely satisfying at the end of the day. Because when I put him to bed, having succeeded in not breaking the baby, I had proof I’d done a good job that day. At almost 6-years old, parenting feels less physical but more emotionally exhausting. I can toss and turn all night worrying over whether my strategy will break or build the boy.
Either way, I really do not care much for this rudeness.
YEAH YEAH WHATEVER.