I cannot take that sentence one more time. Those 4 words are going to break me as a mother. Who? It’s my threenager Braden. We’re actually closer to 4 now than 3, and I’m praying that we’ll see an improvement with 4. He’s only started this super sassy-ness the last couple of months. He’s still a really good kid. Right now we’re averaging 75% sweet Braden to 25% sassy Braden. I love my sweet boy. I wish he were sweet all the time like he used to be, but I know he’s learning. He’s growing, he’s learning, he needs us to help guide him through these rough times – I know it’s not easy on him either. He is a very sensitive soul and my poor boy cries so much lately. I know he’s on the older side to be transitioning out of naps, but I can tell (especially with how busy summer’s been) that he still needs them. But, if I give him naps he’s up until 9 or 10 and then even worse the next day because he didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
The most frustrating thing for me right now brings me back to the title of this post. It’s Braden’s catch phrase as of late and I don’t really know how to handle it. I am not a discipline-by-spanking, kind of parent (though there was that one time)…we use time outs, they’re very effective when we need them. But I’ve threatened and followed through with 2 ‘swats’ on the bum for repeatedly saying “I DON’T WANT TO!” when (repeatedly!) asked not to. I do not like this at all. It’s so hard on both of us. It’s really pointless and frustrating arguing with a 3 year old. As my wise sister-in-law Laura puts it (who has a now 5 year old):
Arguing with a 3 year old is like arguing with someone who has dementia: it’s pointless, makes both of you agitated, and in the end…someone is going to need a sedative.
Laura is wise beyond her years and makes an extremely valid point. I will calmly tell Braden that (for example) if he wants to have a bath with his brother, can he please come now? “I don’t want to“, he says. I acknowledge that this is fine and he retorts with “But I want to!” Okay, fine….then come and have a bath with your brother now, please: “I don’t want to.” And around the mulberry bush we go. Seriously – around and around and AROUND. It’s pointless. It stresses me out, he ends up in tears…no matter how nicely I try to explain it to him.
Then at his bedtime he still goes on and on “But I wanted to have a bath with Ethan!”. DUDE. I gave you umpteen million opportunities. I dumbed-it-down and explained to your 3-year-old-self the consequences that if you didn’t get your cute naked butt in the bath when your brother was in there…it wasn’t gonna happen. Tough poo poo, we’ll try again tomorrow. Sigh.
It really is pointless. He doesn’t “get it”, and I understand that. It’s an age thing. He’s just learning his reasoning skills, or rather he thinks he does know his reasoning skills, and that’s why we’re constantly arguing over these silly things! So what say you, parents of 3 year olds? Any advice on how to deal with the I Don’t Want To Syndrome? He literally ends up crying/kicking/screaming…and this is not my sweet boy. I want to help him and not be constantly stressed and worked up about these incidences. At least he’s not like this ALL the time.
Before I sign off, he also seems to not handle busy days with lots of people around very well. At least once a week cousins Luke & Blake come over to play. They’re usually here for the better part of the day and I love it because I get to have my best friend over for coffee and baking and chatting, while the babies sleep and the big boys entertain each other and play. Braden loves it, but if we have people over 2 days in a row or if we were to go out and be busy all day the next day? It’s a guaranteed melt-down at the end of day 2. I don’t know if it’s a sensory thing and/or if he just gets overstimulated and wants to be alone??? I kinda get it, I’m like that too. I love to be around people, but I need my alone time and time to just chill at home too. I just assumed/figured with kids that they’d love to be busy and playing all the time if they could. I guess not my guy, and that’s okay too!