My parents were traditional Southern folks. Lying, fighting amongst each other, disobeying, and being dangerous were all serious offenses that were quickly rewarded with a quick a smack on the bottom. Like most humans, I’ve attempted to do what I was taught, so I try to correct the same types of undesirable behaviors in my child. He’s nearly two, and in case you don’t know, one of the hallmark characteristics of the terrible two’s is the word no.
No. No. No. Nah. Uh-huh. NOOOOO!
Recently he started telling me things he didn’t want me to do by saying “No.” “No mommy cracker” when he doesn’t feel like sharing his goldfish. “No mommy book” when I sit down to catch up on some reading. “No mommy play” when I’m at the piano. He’s a bossy little cuss.
Of course, as soon as he says he won’t do something with a long, loud, “NOOOOO!” my Southern training hits a high gear and I face a dilemma: go through the battle of making my child obey me, since disobenience is a spanking offense, or carry on with alternative tactics like giving in, bribing, or just ignoring him. Problem is, if he goes on long enough, he cries himself into a screaming fit and pukes. And now I have a mess to clean up and a cranky kid.
Perhaps for some parents the choice is obvious. My husband, for instance, seems to find the situation quite clear, and always insists on enforcing character improving rules, like obediance. But in the back of my mind I can’t help but think–isn’t he still a baby? Maybe we’re expecting too much from him.
What’s your take? Are the terrible two’s just a phrase to be endured, or is there an opportunity to encourage healthy behaviors in my child?