Mimicking Toddler Bad Attitude Brings Success
A fun time was being had by 2 1/2 year old grandson, Grayson, and myself, Grandma Boom, this weekend. Playing with Thomas the Train and friends, we were traveling to many fun places and getting into lots of train car jams, not to mention picking up a cowboy and zebra on one trip.
I chose Rosie train car to join the caravan and suddenly there was a very grumpy, squealing toddler voice projecting loudly into the scene at my actions. “NOOOO, NOT ROSIE!” And the squished up facial muscles with glaring eyes providing the back-up for the squawking made for a very unpleasant derailing of the train play. He continued glaring while I held Rosie in mid-air, halfway between the table and the train tracks.
“Grayson,” I said in a firm but not loud voice, “this is what you sound like.” I projected his exact words, mimicking his facial tension and tone. Then I continued as he stood spellbound, glaring at me with questionmarks in the pupils of his eyes.
“It doesn’t feel good in my heart when you talk to me like that. Does it feel good in your heart?”
Grayson did not even pause. He responded immediately, knowing exactly what I was inferring. “No, Grandma Boom.”
Onward with my next point, I said, “Grayson, if you say what you want in a nice voice, that will feel good to both our hearts. You can try saying, ‘Please don’t get Rosie.’ and I will listen to you.”
Something clicked in that darling little head behind those beautiful eyes. “Please don’t play with Rosie now, Grandma Boom.” The tone of voice was perfect with the expression.
“Oh, okay, Grayson, maybe we can play with her later. Thank you for changing the way you talked to me. I feel good in my heart now. Do you?”
We both briefly half-smiled as Grayson watched me put Rosie back on the table away from the train tracks. There was an efficiency in this situation that cut to the core and moved us along in our day, both feeling successful. Children and stress will always exist. Finding creative ways to parent young children and help them feel empowered brings intrinsic rewards to all involved. Knowing good ways to communicate and change inappropriate social behaviors will enable their Superkid Power to be fueled. And relationship building is one of the great benefits!