I’m Trying Hard Not To Help

My son is three. I spend many hours each week teaching and let’s be honest, playing with children, many of whom are three. My son is the MOST three of all the three year olds I know! Or maybe it just seems that way to me.

Some children are ‘easier’ than others, by the simple nature of their personalities. Some children sleep and eat. Are generally agreeable and cooperative. Some are eager to please and enjoy social interaction.

My son is none of these things. He does not care about your opinion of him. He does not care. He can not be bribed or convinced to do something that he does not want to do. He will not give in. Ever!

 Julie and Alexander - mister three

Julie and Alexander - mister three

My son cares if he’s right. He cares if the world makes sense to him. If it’s logical and consistent. Things being ‘fair’ is a strong motivator for him. He’s a social justice warrior. He will tell you off if you’re doing something ‘wrong’. I’ve seen him tell much bigger children off for anti social behaviour and while I’m proud of him, it did make me a little concerned for his safety. He’s like the little terrier, barking at the rottweiler. You know, you may be right, but that’s a rottweiler.

For every inch of him that is stubborn the same amount of him is kind and generous. His favourite activity in the whole world is to make his baby brother giggle. It fills my heart with joy, more than I ever could have known.

Since his last two language explosions he has developed a charming way of verbally communicating with our family. He’ll often say things like, “Mummy, I saw you do that, I’m so proud of you. You are clever, like me!” The ultimate compliment!

Nevertheless he is SO THREE right now. He has huge emotions and no way to process them, so too often an incident leads to tantrums and/or lengthy sulking.

Where am I going with all of this? My point is you don’t pick your child. I remember when I was pregnant wondering about the physical genetic mix my child would have. What would he look like? What colour would his eyes be? I didn’t think too much about what characteristics he would immediately have. I thought he would grow into the person he was going to be, I did NOT know babies could be fierce from the get go! Mine absolutely was!

This stubborn, self assured, but vulnerable and high emotive child of mine frustrates me every day, but everyday he also blows my mind. The frustration is not his fault, it’s me still learning how to be HIS parent, not the parent I thought I would be. It’s me understanding what I need to do, or more often than not, not do, to help him along the way. I really was not prepared for parenting to be so frustrating and I had no idea I was so set in my ways of doing things. Talk about no control for this control freak!

My parents have recently moved from a house in the suburbs to their life-long dream home, as a tree change in the country. We went to visit. Upon leaving my mum was smooching us goodbye at the farm gate.

“I can do this.” said my son, as he opened the gate and pushed it wide for the car to pass through. The gate is large and heavy. He made it most of the way and it stopped. I went to help push it open, but my mother stopped me.

“He can do this” she said.

She was right. He can and he did. He was beaming with pride as he did it, all by himself. He can do a great many things without my help. I just need to learn to back off and give him that moment longer to actually do them.

This fierce little creature will grow to be capable of moving mountains. Childhood is when he’ll learn to trust himself enough to try as an adult. And to try again if it doesn’t work the first time.

by Julie Murray
Sounds Like This For Kids Presenter
Sounds Like This Owner and Teacher