It’s important as parents to set some boundaries at each stage in our children’s lives, yet it’s also imperative for you to set up “parent blockers” so your three year old won’t drive you crazy.
We’re at that point where “WHY?” is making us want to grant the grandparents wish and let them keep him until he is a teenager… then they can give him back to us to handle the easy part…right…
No, seriously, all jokes aside.
This how our conversation goes most mornings… and needless to say, after three months of the same routine and same question, I truly understand the definition of insane i.e. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Mom: “Morning my Sweetie, get up, get dressed, let’s go.”
Son: “Why? Where we going?”
Mom: “We have to take you to school and mommy has to go to work.”
Mom: “You have to go to school to learn and mommy and daddy goes to work to pay for your school.”
This continues to go on a few more times until I realize that this is a battle that won’t be won by me constantly explaining or giving an answer. I need to put my “parent blockers” on; one to refrain from getting upset and doing the Homer Simpson Bart hold, and two to stay in control of the situation and show him that we need to stay focused on what was originally requested, complete that, and then we can chat it up later. Parent Blockers are a state of mind where no matter what your child asks or does that my push your buttons or literally enrage you, you stay calm, redirect the conversation or action to get your family moving forward and where you need them to be. Maybe that’s downstairs for dinner or in the car with seat belt on waiting for you to lock up the house. Sometimes you can’t answer every question. Sometimes you can’t stop to make everything make sense. Yet, you can take the time to stay grounded, cool, and pleasant. You want to show your child that you love talking to them and hearing their questions, yet you don’t want their requests to consume you, frustrate you, or make you harshly take it out on them. You have to be the leader and take control of the situation, especially if you’re on a time constraint, schedule, or strict plans. You can even say, “Hey, I’ll explain later, right now I need you to focus because we have to go. We’ll talk more in the car or afterschool when we have lots of free time.” Of course, some three year olds might not comprehend everything you are trying to say and even still ask “Why?” (Smile)… Yet just be patient and remember, you’re actually teaching them valuable life skills on how to follow directions, wait when it is appropriate to talk, and the beginnings of time management.
So how can you get him (or her) to snap out of it and get back your sanity? Snap in with "parent blockers". Remember that your children look to you for behavioral cues, mannerism, and language use. If you scream and yell every time they are not doing something right or immediately, they will mimic and follow your lead. Try not reverting to what feels comfortable for you or what they might expect and even change scenes if you have to. Literally, take them to a different room, sit with them, hug them and talk calmly to them. Practice this consistently and you’ll definitely notice a change in them and you!