Repa Repa Repetition


At any given moment during a child’s development, the parent will meet a stage of growth, head on. Some stages are enlightening, showing the brilliant cognition winding its way through the child’s mind. These milestones make themselves known through the wonder of firsts. The first smile, first roll, first crawl, first step, first word. Other phases seem a bit more trying, testing the limits of parental stamina. Pitching fits, throwing tantrums, talking back, screaming, biting, pinching, refusing to listen.

Oh, the joys of parenthood. Trials, tribulations, and insurmountable joy.

Then there are stages that straddle the line. They may incorporate firsts; cognitive development is definitely being reached, but the phase is borderline exasperating. It not only blurs parental patience, but along with it, parental understanding. In these instances the child shows mental growth, yet willfully pushes buttons, and creates a need for new discipline strategies.

I’m in one of those stages of growth right now—or rather, my tiny human is involved in a cognitive leap that is driving his Mommy a bit batty. He’s in the stage of repetition.

“Son son, can you put your clothes on?”

“Son, son, can you put your clothes on?”

“Mimic me, but put your clothes on while doing so, please.”

“Mimic me, but put your clothes on, please.”

“Seriously, pick up your shirt and put it on.”

“Seriously, pick up your shirt and put it on.”

“Three …”

“Three …”

“And, it’s officially time out time, go to your room.”

“Noooooo! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

Over and over I tell myself that the repetition stage is important for vocabulary, sentence structure, and critical thinking skills. Tiny Tot is exerting his independence—a never ending battle—and learning to assimilate new words into his lexicon. Important in the grand scheme of things, but it seriously tests my patience as his mother.

Two days into this repeating phase, and lines were drawn. Boundaries established.

Mommy was done.

Without putting much thought into the decision, a new household rule instantly found itself created: copy what I say, until I think you’re talking back. Then it’s time to think about the attitude.

Talking back is unacceptable. A complete no-no. There is no moment when my child can disrespect his mother, and get away with it. Heck, I wrote a blog about that a few months ago! And, because I am Mother, Queen of the Household, I alone get to decide when the line is crossed–much to my tiny person’s consternation.

In the back of my mind, I know repeating is only a stage of development. In the front of my mind, I also know that it’s a silly game he believes he’s playing with Mommy. But, because respect and discipline go hand in hand, there’s a line of tolerance.

Mommy only tolerates so much.

Still, I also understand that Tiny Tot is of an age where he thinks he gets timed out for unrelated issues–like because Mommy was just being mean, or because he was wearing the color blue. Therefore I make sure to end our time outs by letting him understand exactly why Mommy wasn’t appreciative of his chosen attitude.

“Son Son, do you have something to say to Mommy?”

“I’m sorry, Mommy.”

“What are you sorry for? Why are you in time out?”

“I’m in time out for talking back. I’m sorry for talking back.”

“Thank you, Son Son. Now give me a hug, and let’s not do that again.”

But, again will happen. Because, after all, he’s going through a stage.

There is one good thing I know about stages; one bit of knowledge that gives me hope. With time, these stages will pass.

My child is learning new skills, developing his mind, and growing throughout these processes. But, no matter what phase of development he finds himself in, above all, I am the parent. I am the responsible party making sure he becomes a respectful part of society. The foundation is set, by me, as to how far he is allowed to test his limits.

Though it drives me crazy, and sometimes wears me down, I have to persevere in understanding when my tiny human is repeating to play games, and when he’s repeating to sass back. When he’s crossed that fine line, it is up to me to bring him back into the learning stage of growth, by recognizing the murky, gray area where cognition meets discipline.

Which is the only way to survive through these stages of life.

No comments posted on August 22, 2013 in Discipline, Winging It, Mom Style

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