I was told a few years back to enjoy the innocence of my children before they start school because that’s when things “get ugly.” It is clearly something that I thought was funny and not serious. One of those things where you think that will NEVER be your child or children (insert laughter). Well, I’m here to report it was incredibly accurate.
The number of times my eyes about pop out of their sockets, my head does an imaginary 360, and my brain screams, “SAY WHAT!?” has increased drastically as of late. My oldest started school this past fall. Not even all-day school. Preschool. Three hours a day, 4 days a week. Over the last 7 months, his mouth has turned into a black hole of death. A filthy round circle of puke. I am now dealing with a mouthy kid. The arguing and questioning has taken on new heights. Arguing just to argue:
“The sky is blue”
“Actually, it’s light blue.”
Then you throw in that he’s picked up on some negotiating skills, and I find myself getting sucked into an in-depth conversation on why his bed time is at 8:00 pm and not 8:30 pm!
Wait for it….because I said so!
He’s even figured out that the car is the best time to test the limits. I can’t get to him and aside from the classic “Don’t make me pull this car over!” bit, he’s safe and sound in his seat belt and booster seat, at least for the 10 minutes we are in the car. Just so I don’t have you visualizing my 5-year-old dropping F-bombs and throwing up middle fingers, it’s not the what that is coming out of his mouth. It’s the tone and delivery of what he’s saying. I seriously have felt myself going crazy some days wondering how to fix that port-a-potty mouth. I should also mention he’s your typical oldest child; head strong, competitive, and as strong-willed as they come. None of which helps the situation.
We’ve heard of a handful of different methods in dealing with this. After trying several of them, we’ve come to realize that a few of them work and a few of them don’t. It all depends on the circumstance and situation. But, how we choose to parent or discipline behavior is always going to be different from one another. Each one of our children could be handled differently as well. How we were disciplined growing up, our child’s personality, personal beliefs, etc. are all factors. I personally think that for certain children, this is a horrific but necessary stage as they figure out that they have a voice. We simply have to guide them in how to use it effectively.
I will say this; dealing with a mouthy child has been a learning experience for me as a parent as well. More than anything, a few things have stuck:
1. I am not your friend.
2. I am fine with you not liking me.
This has been the year that the “I don’t love you,” statement has started. The first time is gut wrenching. But, guess what? He loves the crap out of me. Even if he says he doesn’t. If there are days he doesn’t like me, I can live with that.
So, I will bear down during this black hole of death, circle of puke, port-a-potty mouth stage. I will survive with only a handful of thoughts where I’m punting my child across a football field or pulling out his tongue. And I will be rooting for all of you out there who have head strong, scum mouth’d kids. We truly are never alone.
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