A Test of Wills Between Father & Son

Among family and friends I am renown for being stubborn. It was once referred to as being legendary and I admit that there is a lot of truth to that. I have been known to fight to the death over things, some quite silly and trivial. Fortunately as I have grown older this has diminished and I find fewer and fewer moments in which I am engaged in such foolishness.

So it comes as no surprise to me that my children have this trait. To quote one grandfather they know their minds and to quote another you cannot screw an old head on young shoulders. I am working hard to help them learn when it is appropriate to maintain a stand when it is not and boy can it be tough.

My son is so much like me that it is frightening. If you offer consequences for his not listening he will sometimes smile at you and say that he wants to be punished and then he’ll take the punishment all because he wants to do something other than what you want.

I have a few tricks that I use that will soften his stance. On days like yesterday I will intentionally argue about something that I really do not care about and then just give in because it makes him feel like he has won and allows him to feel like he has more control over his life.

This often mellows him out and puts in a place where he is more willing to compromise. Now I should also add that there are many areas in which compromise is not a word in my vocabulary. Safety issues are never a discussion, do it my way or pay the price. Usually it just takes a look and he’ll back down in those areas, but in some others, oy.

Yesterday he and I battled over a few things, primarily food related. I won’t let him eat junk food all day long and we are careful about how much he gets. I also do not let him dictate where we eat. We may ask him his opinion, but he is not the final voice on the matter.

Unfortunately at 4.5 it is also not unusual to see that his grip on logic and reason is not as tight as it could be so sometimes the battle is much harder then it need be, especially when dear old dad is tired too.

So yesterday had some real moments in which the two of us were butting heads like a couple of rams and it was less than pleasant in large part because neither one of us really enjoys it. In addition I know that there is something bothering him now but I really do not know what it is.

For around the past ten days or so it has been there just beneath the surface. I do not know if he is jealous because of the attention his little sister has been receiving or if this stems from a problem at school because he has been unable or unwilling to verbalize it.

Last night he told me that he hates school. In the morning he is slow to get ready and a little unsure about going in, but he comes home with a big smile and his teachers say that he plays well with the other kids.

All this does is leave me wondering if there really is anything significant or if it is just a momentary hiccup. I suppose that we shall see.

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