Mom told her to put back a toy into a bin. Emily was having none of it. Mom asked Emily to hold her hand. Emily pulled away with a shrug and a moan. Mom told Emily to come with her to the check-out counter. Emily ignored her and walked the other way.
I watched to see what Mom would do. Nothing. Mom did absolutely nothing. She let Emily hold on to the toy, shrug off her hand and walk to the other side of the store. So, I looked at what Mom was buying and saw that there were a few knick-knacks I would assume were for Emily.
Now, Emily was only three. That's what three-year olds do. they try to establish a bit of autonomy, and show their parents that they have minds of their own. Although normal toddler behavior, it's crucial that at this point in their lives that parents draw the line and show their youngsters that there are consequences for their actions.
"So, what would you have done, Almighty Poster of this Blog?" Thanks for asking. This is what I would have done with Little Emily. I would have told her that she needs to listen to me and do what I have asked of her (expectations). then, I would have told her what would happen if she chose not to do what I was asking: I would put back the items I was going to buy for her, adn we'd leave the store immediately (consequences). Then, I would ask if she understood what I said and ask her to repeat it back to me (check for understanding). Finally, if she chose to test the validity of my words, I would do just what I told her.
We would leave the store without the items. She would cry. I'd feel bad, but I would not give her "one more chance." If I did, she would know that my words are not always the truth. So, the next time, she might test them again to see if I would follow through. Once we got home and she was calm, I would talk to her about what had happened. Then, on another day I might give her the chance to try again.
It's a hard thing for both parent and child to follow through on promised consequences, but when you do, it makes things so much easier down the road. One day of difficulty to ensure easy sailing for a very long time.
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