Naughty little squirrel!

No, I wasn’t pranked by any squirrel, it’s the title of a Chinese book and what I call Buddy when he is naughty “捣蛋小松鼠”. As he gains more self-awareness, he is increasingly pushing the boundaries and becoming more rebellious.

During one meal time:
Me, “Alex, don’t throw food on the floor!”
Buddy (looking at me for my reaction) proceeded to let go of the pasta in his fingers, which promptly fell on the ground.

When it’s time for nap:
Me/husband, “Alex, time for nap!”
Buddy *silent while continues to play with his toys*.
Me/husband, “Alex, if you sleep now, I will give you a star.”
Buddy *still silent and playing*.
Me/husband (trying to be patient like Buddha), “Alex, after your nap, I will give you cake / ice cream.”
Buddy *no reaction*.
Me/husband (trying to not to blow up), “Alex, if you don’t nap, you cannot go Toyland!”
Buddy *ignore*.
Me/husband (in exasperation), “if you don’t nap now, you will sit outside (on the play mat)!!!” (The time-out punishment.)
Buddy *proceeds to cry*.

Then there is the most favored word of children:

Me, “Alex, it’s time for bath.”
Buddy, “No!”
Me, “Alex, after bath, mama will read to you.”
Buddy, “No!”
Me, “Alex, it’s getting late, you have to bathe!
Buddy, “No!”
Me (getting desperate), ” If you bathe, mama will get Toby (train) for you.”
Buddy, “No!”

It’s time like this that I understand why parents in the past resorted to spanking or smacking, and even now some still do so. Not that I condone physical violence on kids, but you really have to have the patience of Jesus Christ or Buddha to deal with a rebellious or whiny kid. No wonder they didn’t bother to have a family. Because if either of them have a young kid who keeps repeating every 2 minutes, “I want to see Godzilla (or whatever was in vogue then)”, even they might turn into the monster.

I know many child experts like to advocate reasoning to children, and not using rewards to make them comply, and instead encourage their intrinsic willingness to do the right thing, blah blah blah. Well, either they have no kids or they are damn lucky to have compliant ones. Because, as far as I am concerned, there are many times I cannot reason with Buddy. And half the times, incentives don’t work, and I have also tried the star reward system (but he doesn’t care very much for it). Many times, only threats get him moving.

Worse, he’s becoming a smart-aleck.
Me, “Alex, it’s time for enrichment. Put side your toys.”
Buddy, “No, I want to play.”
Me, “Alex, you can play after enrichment.”
Buddy, “No, I want to play.”
Me, “Alex, there is a time for play, and a time for enrichment.”
Buddy, “Mama, don’t bully me!”
Me: *speechless*

And recently…

Me, “Alex, do you want use the potty?” (I am trying to toilet train him.)
Buddy, “I am busy!”
(My husband later asked me, “did he tell you make an appointment with his secretary?”)

Sometimes, instead of the silent treatment, we will receive a dinosaur roar from him.
“Alex, don’t be naughty!”
Buddy, “Rawhhh!”

Then there is another form of the silent treatment: turning his back to us. Yes, this naughty boy is rather creative in different ways of protest. And when we lecture or threaten him, he will make himself into a victim, either sobbed like he is wronged, or sniffle with teary eyes looking like Puss in the movie “Shrek”.

Luckily, one thing Buddy doesn’t do is to make a big scene in public by bawling his eyes out or rolling and screaming on the floor. Still, my husband and I know that we have to nip his bad behaviors in the bud. We don’t tolerate the silent treatments or the roaring, and definitely not the defiant no. So, regardless of what the child experts say, we will use the most effective disciplinary means including threats of punishment so that Buddy doesn’t think he can get away doing whatever he wants. And we all know when kids get away with bad behaviors right from the start, it’s going to get worse.


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