No One Said Parenting Is Easy
There is always a fine line between a small child being cute around other adults and actually being sassy and talking back. When that continues it could be that the ‘well behaved child age’ really isn’t appearing. You got past the terrible twos and the troublesome threes. You aren’t in the tween/teen years. Yet there is this little human being that still says things like, “No, I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” What are the options? Especially in public or a crowd. Sometimes we need to take a step or two back and access the situation, our parenting and the rules of the household.
Strengthen Communications With Your Child
It is important to sit and talk where there isn’t a fight escalating. Friendly chat about friends, events on the calendar, party planning. Even small things like ‘what do you want for dinner tonight?’ Having time one-on-one with your child(ren) gives some private alone time. This does not need to be a fancy dinner, $100 spent at a toy store or a boring trip to the grocery store. It can be as simple as sitting in the backyard enjoying the birds outside. Taking a 10-15 minute walk around the neighborhood. Making cookies together.
This is important for everyone. When someone says something, repeat it back, asking a question about what they said, validating that you heard them. Example: “I am so mad. My sister took my hairbrush to a sleepover and left it there. She does not respect my property.” A good reply might be something like, “So you are upset that she does not respect your belongings?”
Rules of the HouseHold
It is important to make rules and stick to them. This can be discussed together, with the parent making the final decision. Do a online search for ‘classroom rules’ and adapt them for a start. Make sure they are short and easy to understand. A list with 5-10 rules is sufficient. With this list also needs to be consequences if they rules are not followed. For my household there is the problem if me nagging my son 4-5-6 times to do something that takes a few minutes to complete. Me, “Please unload the dishwasher.” Son, “Okay, one minute.” Hours and hours can pass. He’ll keep repeating his ‘hang on’ comments. It escalated of him being annoyed that I’m nagging him and me upset because he does not obey when I instruct him to do something. Now we have a rule for that. He needs to listen and has a short, specific amount of time to have the job done or I take away his cell phone for one hour.
Need Outside Help?
Never underestimate the wisdom and experience of a good counselor or therapist. They are an objective outside voice, have years of training and can often help repair relationships. Counseling does not need to be a lifelong commitment but can be something for a few months to help a parent get back on track and learn new skills in parenting and communication.