5. Be Truthful and Consistent, It Could Save His Life — or a Nose.
Pearl flopped down on the living room floor with a fork in her hand and began excavating the carpet like an archaeologist scraping for dinosaur fossils.
Her mother sat just a few feet away from her, curled up on the couch cradling a heating pad. She hadn’t felt good for the past three days. The constant pain in her abdomen left her drained.
“Pearl, please stop digging in the carpet,” her mother said with a polite, almost pleading voice.
The pudgy three-year-old looked up but stayed quiet as she waited for her mother to close her eyes once again. Her bangs fell across her eyes as she went back to work.
“Pearl, I said stop digging that fork into the carpet! I’m going to spank you if you don’t stop it now.”
Again, the busy little girl looked up but didn’t say a word. She brushed the hair out of her eyes and rested her chin in the palms of her hands, leaving the fork within reach. When she saw her mother lean her head back to rest, Pearl assumed it was safe to begin her research again.
Hearing a gouging sound, her mother yelled, “PEARL! I said STOP IT! Or I’m going to spank you.”
Frozen in place, lifting nothing except her eyes, Pearl softly asked, “Are you really going to get up?”
Even a three-year-old knows how to play the odds.
Children test their boundaries. It’s your job to keep them firmly in place.
It can be comical watching a toddler bait his parents into counting, or seeing the vein in his mom’s head pop out before he conforms — that is, if he’s not your child. Don’t kid yourself: he knows just how many times you’re willing to repeat yourself before getting up — or whether you will at all.
When we are inconsistent in enforcing our rules, they become hollow and our children no longer trust our words of warning. Ultimately, he will play the odds, not realizing his safety is at risk.