Sunday, August 25, 2013

Three posts in one day

But there's something I'd like to think through, and I do it best in writing. For the record, I'm sitting here at the computer with a bowl of peanut butter chocolate ice cream with broken-up Nutella coated pretzels in it, and wine in a plastic kid's cup. I am classy.

This afternoon Nat's friend Madeleine had a lemonade stand. We went over and she was giving out lemonade for free because she is s darling girl, and didn't want to refuse anyone who might not have money. While we were there Nat was asked not to get too close to the glass jug full of lemonade, because it might break. He immediately moved closer, and got into trouble for it, quite rightly.

This is pretty much a constant for him- if he's told not to do something, his first reaction is to try. I have occasionally been frustrated enough to want to tell him not to go throw himself off a cliff, just to see. He pushes. He always has. He doesn't accept that anyone else's reasons and advice and rules might be better than his. Not without lots and lots of arguing. I don't think this a a major failing in parenting. I guess it could be, but it's been very interesting to me that Thomas and the girls both have much more of a tendency to want to please and to accept adult authority. They don't push the same way. So I don't think it's us. I think it's temperament.

One of the things I noticed over the weekend was that almost all of my shouting and arguing energy goes into Nat. We're in a near-constant willpower battle. He's starting to develop the framework for objective morality, but my surest tactic has always been to appeal to his self-interest. Geoff and I were just talking about it- how do we help him to learn to trust others' judgement over his own?- which is that of a five year old with, erm, something close to suicide-by-dumb-inventions tendencies? How do we help him curb his innate, visceral desire to always, always, test the limits?

ETA: we do actually have ideas. I'm not just pleading for help. The main problem is, I think, how difficult it is to keep reminding and enforcing and grinding away at the tendency. I suppose that true for any habit or undesirable character trait, in anyone...

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