For anyone following my stories, you will discover I write about children in general from time to time, and my grandchildren in particular. I have a lot of interest in a variety of subjects, not the least of which is children.
These past two years I have become quite interested in foster children—the government-subsidized program for their care, foster parents, the involvement of courts and police in the rescue of abused children, in addition to the many stories about how some parents treat their children.
Fortunately, mine is a situation whereby my grandchildren are raised in a very loving, caring home and atmosphere, and I can participate in that rearing from time to time when I’m so privileged to have them for a visit.
At this particular time, the most challenging grandchild is the one I call Prince William, who’s not yet 3 years old.
When he walks in the door, he has a long list of things he does every time he comes and seems to want to do all at once. I try to accommodate him, but it’s not long before he tires me out. So yesterday, he came up with a new twist to keep me going.
When he wanted me to play cars with him, I told him I needed to sit and rest awhile. Then he said, “just 5 minutes!” I argued with him, but he persistently insisted on “just 5 minutes.” Finally, I gave in and joined in car playing. Every 5 minutes I would ask him if my 5 minutes were up and for the next hour, he kept responding, “not yet!”
For the rest of the afternoon he kept using this same psychology on me—from playing outside, to going for a walk, to pretend cooking. He would preface everything with, “please just 5 minutes.”
By the end of the day, I was worn out, and all I wanted was a bath, massage, and the couch to watch TV. I concluded not only was I not smarter than a 5th grader (as the TV Series goes), but that I had been outwitted the entire day by a 3-year-old.
When his parents picked him up, I fell asleep with the words, “just 5 minutes,” and “not yet,” ringing in my ears, thinking he could probably teach a class on applied psychology as he had so effectively practiced on me all day.
I initiated a method of discipline after passing the naughty corner routine, replacing it with a star chart. I place a gold star on his chart when he is very good and a red star when he balks or says or does something I disapprove of. This worked well for awhile.
Now he’s into reverse psychology—giving me a red star when I don’t do as he wants me to do.
He is a very loving, sweet natured child, but his persistence and insistence is quite interesting to me. After rearing children many years, I realize I still have a lot to learn.
But one thing is for sure, they will rule or be ruled in their formative years.