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Is it him, me, or both of us?

SMIT's picture

I’m feeling like such a wicked stepmother. My little guy is 4-1/2, a wonderful age full of growth and being more of a “big boy” all the time… it’s also filled with stubbornness, mouthiness, whining, pouting, potty talk, etc. I don’t always have the patience I think I should for it and I find myself reprimanding him, then being worried about damaging our relationship and feeling like a big, fat meanie.

His mommy is more lenient than I am. For example, she laughs when he makes inappropriate references to his butt. I can only listen to that stuff and try to nicely correct it for so long. He pushed and pushed last night during his bath and I told him he was going to get it. He didn’t like that at all and told me I wasn’t being nice to him. He was also pissed that I wouldn’t let him have his own wash cloth after he did something else I repeatedly asked him not to do. Sorry, but I’m not going to reward a kid for bad behavior. I just can’t reinforce that.

I don’t know what to make of this. Does his mommy have (what seems to me to be) an easier time with him just because they’re mother and child? Am I lacking some “patient mothering gene?” Is it partially because he’s a preschool boy?

I’m the youngest of eight kids and became an aunt at age five. I was expected to act like a big girl waaaaaaaaaaay too young and I think that’s part of why I’m not as patient with little kid behavior as some other people are. I don’t want to take away any of the fun of being a little kid from my dear SS, but I can’t stand some of the antics.

Any insights, please! Thanks so much.



h6not3's picture

I feel the same way about my 4 year old son at times. My husband usually eases my mind and says...

"look, it's been a long day, think of all the fun he had all day. Reprimanding him and not giving in to bad behavior is the right thing to do. Don't beat yourself up over teaching right or wrong."

And then I usually chalk it up as me being tired. Baths are cute and fun when they are little itty babies.....but as they grow older, we grow tired, and you just want them to GO TO BED!!!! hahahhah....

I don't think you were too hard on him, and he is probably living like a happy, normal, well-adjusted, little 4 1/2 year old 99% of the day. Even though he doesn't act like he wants the discipline, he'll know in the long run that it was the right thing.

I was the middle child, didn't have to grow up early, and my mom still made sure that we acted respectful and not use trash talk.

Have a great day! Smile


happy mom's picture

I have a 6 yr old girl, from my experience at age 4 or 4 1/2 they don't quite grasp the idea of rules just yet. Nap and feeding times should be followed on time, they get really nasty, stubborn, whinney when it is not. So some of the bad behavior could stem from that, not necessarily the kid hates you. About 5 yrs old they are better in understanding right & wrong and know rules. It gets easier if constant rules & discipline is exercised.

-happy mom