Temper

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I walked away feeling uneasy.

No. The other kids in his Mother’s Day Out program weren’t hitting. Holden didn’t learn it from them. That’s what his teacher told me.

I asked her because surely this new development in his daily routine had to be learned elsewhere- from the other kids, perhaps? I had a hard time believing my angel-faced Holden was born with this innate urge to hit me in the face when he doesn’t get his way and right away.

He’s just being two. She said when she must have noticed the disappointment in my face I tried not to show as I heard it wasn’t the fault of the other kids.

“Delay gratification.” I command myself as I see his eyes full of hope. He’s pointing at the candy or cheese puffs on the top shelf of the pantry without even having a bite of his veggies. As he begs me his hopeful smile starts to turn upside down, face shades red, eyes fill with tears. I know what’s next.

Hand winds straight back from the elbow. Palm open. He starts waddling towards me. All thirty inches and thirty pounds of him. Full of rejection and ready to hit me. Hitting me, giving me equally what “no” means to him in his two-year-old mind.

Delay their gratification. Don’t give them what they want when they want it. One of the most important lessons I am having to bestow upon my quick-tempered boy.

He doesn’t like me in this instant. He doesn’t like me enough to want to hurt me.

As I laugh it off internally, I grab his hand, squeeze it and say sternly, “No hit mommy. Bad, bad boy.” He is staring straight into my eyes and intensely breathing through his nostrils.

As soon as I release his hand from mine, it bounces back for another shot.

I think it’s about time for the time-out chair in the corner. That’s what I’ll do next. Verbal manipulation isn’t going to be enough as I was hoping would be my most accurate form of discipline.

It’s an intense journey. Figuring out what kind of response is going to elicit the right response in a child, especially in the heat of the moment- having to “nip in the butt” those behaviors right away that need to be stopped. To spank or not to spank? One controversial parenting decision is quickly approaching my future.

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