Velociraptor’s are clever, as any Jurassic Park fan will tell you, and they are known for testing the perimeter fences. They push boundaries, repeatedly test different areas for weakness, and rapidly establish who and what is in control and how they are best taken down.
My two and a half year old daughter is a velociraptor.
The smartest thing you can do, when raising my child, is STICK TO THE RULES. Give in once and she will see that boundary as weakened. She will push it. She will test it. It will take time and dedication to reestablish that rule as strong. She is stubborn, determined and smart and if you don’t match her on all three grounds she will defeat you, and she will take pleasure in doing so.
The thing we are noticing is she seems to need to know where these rules are and she actually doesn’t like them being broken. She will break them, but need the appropriate response. She will ask for it.
One of our disciplinary methods is “time out”. This is used when she is getting herself worked up or she refuses to apologise for a wrong doing. She is sat down, wherever we are in public or otherwise, and informed that until she calms down and apologises, she is to stay put. As soon as she is ready to calm down and apologise she comes to us, says sorry and we ask “what was your naughty?” She tells us and then we have a cuddle. This can take seconds or, if she is in a particularly stubborn mood, significantly (!!!) longer.
On occasions, if it is taking too long and we have somewhere to be, I will take her off time out early and tell her what her naughty is and just get on with life. She really does not like it.
“No, mummy! I’m on time out!”
You would think that being taken off time out early would give her pleasure, after all she does hate being on time out, but no. As much as she likes to feel she can defeat these boundaries, if the boundaries are taken away from her it unsettles her. She breaks them down, fine. You take them away, not fine.
Whilst we were on holiday in Spain, the stairs in the house were marble tile and we had no stair gate. Consequently she was banned from climbing the stairs unsupervised.
“Daddy… I climbing stairs!” a little voice rang out, “Daddy… I being naughty!”
The Boy and I looked at one another, nodded a dull acceptance of what was to come, then he stood and approached her. She immediately began screaming out and crying, allowed herself to be removed from the stairs and told off, then sobbed a devastated sorry.
She had not only done something she knew she would be told off for, but pointed out that she was doing it in order to be told off. She is testing, checking. Making sure we are there, making sure we care enough to discipline her, and making sure she knows what the rules are… in order to break them more effectively perhaps, but also in order to feel secure in her own environment.
As much as she likes to velociraptor her way around life, and as much pleasure as she takes from conquering the rule makers, she values the rules and needs us to stick to them. As long as we are sticking to the rules, it means we care enough about her to deal with her when she’s breaking them. As much as she knows we love her when she is being sweet and funny, she needs to know we love her when she’s being a monster.
Rules are made to be broken. Boundaries are made to be pushed. But parents are made to let their kids know when not to break them, when not to push them, and that they are dedicated enough to their children to enforce it.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!