Respect is in the Asking

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“Go get me some mo, Mommy. Go get me some mo right now!”

My first thought, upon hearing this, is to wonder who turned my tiny human into a domineering monster. But then I remember to regain focus, and respond back with the exact same demanding tone.

“Go to your room, Son Son. That was disrespectful, and I’ve taught you better. ”

And then he remembers himself. Mommy has been teaching manners for almost two weeks straight. This week, she’s not playing games anymore. One chance, that’s all she’s giving.

“Sorry, Mommy.”

Hmmm, nope. Still not good enough. Mommy’s not buying what her tiny tot is selling. Let’s try this, again.

“How do you ask me for milk?”

Please, let my baby angel remember the catch phrase I have been laboriously drilling into his head for the last couple of weeks.

“Mommy, can you please go get me some milk?”

Woohoo! He remembers! Thank the Good Lord in Heaven, let’s all celebrate! Oh, yeah. I should tell him how happy that made me.

“Oh, why yes, Son son! I would love to!”

Demands. Barking orders. Commanding Mommy around. These impolite requests are a recent problem, requiring prompt correction from Tiny Tot’s parental figure. Me.

As if the, “get it for me right now,” comment isn’t bad enough, his tone and facial expressions–both bordering rudeness–help to elicit my stern reaction. Time outs are becoming this week’s Thing To Do, because this Mommy isn’t going to be bossed around by her tiny human anymore.

No, thank you.

Last week began the instructions, this week we’re battening down, and following through with discipline. At no time did I sign up for a starring role in a Toddlers and Tiaras marathon; Super Nanny has yet to be invited to my door. My tiny person might be sugar crazed, but I am not a mother who caters to bad behavior. Especially when my tiny human pitches a fit, or demands attention. And he most definitely is never getting a cup of milk if the tone, facial expression, and delivery do not reflect loving politeness. No matter what, my baby boy is going grow up with nice, civilized manners.

Dangit.

So, last week’s lessons began with a correction of his behavior. It is not okay for my son to speak to his mother with rudeness in his voice.

“Oh, no, sir. Is that how you talk to your Mommy?”

I followed up with a reminder of what I didn’t appreciate–the way he asked the question. Or, better yet, the way he didn’t ask a question. Because, I demand respect, as his mom.

“Tell Mommy you’re sorry for that disrespectful tone.”

Then I commanded my child to parrot me, the right way. The correct way. Rote memorization is the first stage of learning, at least until the information sticks. And, sometimes it even works.

“Repeat after me, ‘Mommy, can I please have some milk?'”

Finally, I give praise for the adjusted attitude. In my household, nothing worthy goes unpraised. A swift change in attitude is just as celebrated as saying a new word, in the right context.

“Oh, that was such a nice way to ask! Of course I will get you some mo!”

What I don’t want is for Tiny Tot to be afraid to ask his Mommy for help. He shouldn’t be afraid to be himself, but he also cannot command me around like I’m starring in a film entitled, ‘Mommy: Toddler Slave.’ Not like my child is ever truly afraid to voice his opinions. He gets most of his irreverent, slap-happy charisma from me. So, who am I to squelch his personality? What I am squashing–yes, squashing–is the new desire to establish authority, and issue demands like a reigning King.

Lord, I really hope this is just a phase. I can deal with phases; they don’t last long.

Seriously, though, I understand that asserting independence is necessary for child development. It’s normal to talk back at this age. Sassing back is a form of establishing boundaries, and creating his place in our tiny world. But, again, I’m his parent, and entitled in all manners of correction, discipline, and laying down of household rules. I am the Sovereign Queen in this house.

Though I want to raise my baby boy to be not only self-assured, but independent, there is also the requirement of his learning to ask for assistance in a respectful tone. Which he has not, of late. Demand, command, instruct, and–when all else fails–yell. Nothing about his decision to instruct is viewed as a viable option.

Unfortunately, I should have seen this coming. We’re a household of headstrong people. Two, domineering, crazy, headstrong people. One happens to be three, though, and the other happens to be quite a bit older than three. Meaning, only one of us will end up getting our way.

Tiny Tot doesn’t yet know it, but I have a few things moving in my favor. I’m older. I’m bigger. I’m stronger. I’m stricter. I’m meaner.

I’m Mommy.

Not to mention, I am determined to have a tiny human who says, “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Mother may I.”

And, in the end, I always win.

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No comments posted on January 15, 2013 in Discipline, Winging It, Mom Style

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