Outlasting a 3 yr old

March 7, 2012, 13 Comments


One of the things about being a parent is that we would like to have our kids obey and do what we tell them, especially for young toddlers. They are way to young to be wise in their own eyes. For example, they can’t tell you that they’re really tired because you know all they wanted was to play or that being thirsty is just another way to get down from their bed and away from their nap time.

Today my 3 year old and I just about have a tug-of-who-can-outlast-who session.

I have learnt that a ‘battle’ is a battle no matter how silent or how loud it can be and a battle need not be loud. Ours is quiet one.

I had gone out with a friend for lunch and both boys were with me. My 3 yr old decides that he would like to get down from his chair despite various attempts of keeping him on his seat. It was a conversation I long to have with a friend I had not seen for a long time and so in a twinkle of an eye, my 3 yr old saw the opportunity to grant himself his own wish (of getting down from his chair). I let slipped and I know it, but I did not forget.

Once home, we had another guest over. She was chatting with my older son when he wanted her to tell stories, and my 3 yr old wanted to sit in. I decided that today, he was to go to bed early because he was dozing off in the cab on our way home. Noodle boy apparently had something else in mind. He decided to slip out of bed and sit beside Kor Kor. Soon, they were both playing.

I patiently called for Noodle boy to go to bed. He went grudging and said “I can’t see the story book” .

I told him “You need to go to bed and listen to the story another time.”

He went to bed but was unwilling, “I can’t see.” He whimpered, tossing in his big bed.

So I said “ so you are not tired afterall, but because it is nap time and you want to do something else instead, I am going to have to discipline you. Go stand in that corner”

Noodle boy went dutifully.

In awhile he said,” I am ready”

Me “ The rule is that you are only ready when I get you, so no calling me.”

Noodle boy called out “ I am ready” at least 10 times. To which I ignored (in order to outlast him).

About 5 mins later.

I said “Now, you may go back to bed”

In less then a minute he was in bed, he said “ I am thirsty.” (but really he just drank water less than 10mins ago!)

I said “no you are not thirsty, you just drank.”

Noodle boy “Mummy, but I am thirsty” in such a gentle and beguiling voice and face.

I said “ No, you just drank”

Noodle boy “ but I am thirsty” and said this at least 10 times over!

I said “ Ok, you are not ready to sleep, go stand by the corner” Is this God’s grace I didnt end up shouting or yanking him out? I think it is!

And he went dutifully.

Then he said “I want to listen to story, mummy”

I said “fine, you are not allowed to sleep this afternoon. Go back to the corner and stay there quietly.”

5 mins passed, Noodle boy finally lied down on the floor and doze off. He was exhausted and I know it.

Outlasting a child can be as calm as this, with no shouting whatsoever, but it is a battle no less. I was this close to tearing my hair out, this close.   Never give way to exasperation. Outlast the child each time and so they know who is doing the parenting. Yes a 3 yr-old can be so innocent and not so innocent at times isn’t it?

13 Responses to “Outlasting a 3 yr old”

  1. haha…same situation for me today – battle of the slumberland!

    • Oaktreebaby says:

      Hi Dee,
      really? do share how you overcame!

      • Keep telling her that napping is important to her and after she zzz, she can play again. Now before she zzz she will drink her milk, if she is sleepy then she zzz if not I will just let her free play for a while more then asked her to zzz again. It’s an on-going battle now.

        She is starting to understand things when I explain things to her. I hope she will soon understand that sleeping is good for her and then stop fighting not to zzz.

        • Oaktreebaby says:

          Hi Dee, sounds like she needs her nap pushed back … so it becomes a routine that she will fall asleep. its really easy once you establish that… and you can identify a distraction like what happened to mine. try it…

  2. Madeline says:

    Oh man is it mean that I think your son is very obedient despite being not obedient? Haha. I know what you mean by innocent yet not innocent

    • sharon says:

      HI Madeline,
      3 yr olds usually look so innocent when they are asking for something, with that big innocent eyes and chubby baby face, its just so hard to believe they don’t really know what they are doing… and no, that was not obedience… :)

    • Oaktreebaby says:

      Hi Madeline,
      3 yr olds usually look so innocent when they are asking for something, with that big innocent eyes and chubby baby face, its just so hard to believe they don’t really know what they are doing… and no, that was not obedience… :)

  3. Regina says:

    Thanks for sharing this!

    … my son is displaying signs of wilfulness already, and this will definitely come in handy. Scolding doesn’t seem to have an effect on him – he will just give me ‘the look’ and turn away. He’s 14 months old now, I hope to have your patience when I’m faced with more of his antics in the future!

    • Oaktreebaby says:

      Hi Regina,
      thanks for popping by! Yes all kids do don’t they? I am still being trained to be patient but it is especially difficult when we don’t have enough sleep. I need my sanity sleep of at least 7hours a day with 2 afternoon naps per week!

    • admin says:

      You can… after awhile we too know what works and not on us! Kids are precious, only grace can turn them around. :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s not easy to keep calm when they are so full of excuses. I have to take a leaf from you and your patience. These days, when I know she’s testing my patience, I keep reminding myself, breathe….

    • Oaktreebaby says:

      No it is not!! I was so close to tearing my hair out, believe me! But I was seated on my chair… hahaha.. so that helps I think!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to this entry, I was lead to another research on delaying self gratification (or self-control) in Stanford University during the 1960s

    I would highly appreciate thoughts on this subject of discipline

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