Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

When Stubborn meets Stubborn-er March 6, 2012

Filed under: and that's how I feel about that,Matthew,the adjustment — Elizabeth @ 5:58 PM

Up until two and a half years ago, I thought I knew what stubborn was.  I could recognize that stony way a person sets their jaw or digs in their heels.  I knew stubborn.  I was stubborn.  But I had never really borne the brunt of stubborn.  I was so blissfully ignorant.

Because two and a half years ago, I met Matthew.  And I learned how deep stubborn can run.

I could list the ways that his stubbornness has tormented me to my core, but I think that I can just tell you our current situation and you will get the gist.

Today, when we got home from school and running errands, he announced that he didn’t want to carry his backpack inside.

Me:  Matthew, I have to carry in the groceries.  I am not going to carry your backpack in.

Matthew:  I can’t dooooooo it.  I don’t want to.

Me:  Yes, you can.  You carry it every day.  I’m am not carrying it for you.

I made 3 trips from the car to the house, bringing in groceries, and the entire time he stood in the van.  Adamant that he would not carry in his backpack.

Each trip I would tell him–you need to obey me.  Pick up your backpack and let’s go.

And each time, he would stare ahead defiantly.

So I made a decision.  I scooped him up and set him down in the backyard.  I handed him a mop bucket and closed the fence.

You will not come back in the house until you fill this bucket with pinecones.  Period.

(Sidenote–the weather here is sunny and beautiful)

He could have been done with this task in less than 5 minutes.  Easily.  But no.  He pouted.  Then he screamed.  Then he shrieked.  Then he sat and stared into space.

30 minutes later, we had to leave to take some samples to Isaac’s doctor.  I loaded him up in the car and told him that he would immediately go back to the yard when we got home.

We have now been home for almost an hour and he is still out there.  Again with the crying, the pouting, but now you can add in throwing dirt in the air, digging in the ground with a stick, and filling his new shoes with dirt.

My blood is boiling.  Literally boiling.

It has reached the point where I refuse to go back out there until Jason gets home.  I do not trust what may come out of my mouth!

The best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever gotten is this:  Choose your battles.  But you had better make sure you win every battle you choose.  This goes quadruple for kids who come from an attachment-challenged background.  He needs to know that I MEAN what I say.

Every time.

And I told him that he wasn’t coming back inside until that bucket was full.

Well, my invisible mommy friends, I chose this battle.  And mark my words–I will win it.  If I have to serve him dinner on the porch.  If he has to spend every minute of his at-home time in the yard for the next 6 weeks, the bucket will be full of pine cones.

Because, as he is about to learn, I have a bit of a stubborn streak of my own.


13 Responses to “When Stubborn meets Stubborn-er”

  1. Frenchie Says:

    It sounds like you’ve met your match!

    It’s actually kind of impressive that he’s managed to hold out that long, if you think about it. Well, not you, but you know, an outsider. I think back on my defiant toddler self and just know I would have given in after about 45 minutes.

  2. Jerusha Says:

    You don’t even want to hear about some of the battles I’ve picked with my son…a few I was sure I was guaranteed to win eventually. Nope. Your blood would be boiling on my behalf. I brought home the stubbornest child in all of China, ever.

  3. Jodi Wells Says:

    Power to the people! I am sending you virtual hugs Elizabeth. I have a 7 year old that has foregone dinner many nights in the midst of stubborn fits. I agree with you. The best thing you can do for a stubborn child is to follow through. Even if it is harder on us than on them. May the force be with you 😉

  4. deb jacobs Says:

    to me, this is the core of good parenting. Back up what you say, or don’t say it. if you say, if you do this one more time and then they do it, and then you say, if you do that one more time, you are just showing them that your word means nothing. this was the most important thing i ever learned in being a mom. and it works. after you have held to your word every time, they also know that when you say i love you and more, you also mean business xx this is how to get your children to respect you, by respecting them enough to show them that you will always back up your words. xx

  5. Jenny Says:

    amen to that parenting advice. I had an epic battle with Kylynn once over eating yogurt she begged for, it went on for 2 hours…but I won!! oh it’s so important.

    currently Jack is peeing on his carpet, on purpose and for the life of me I cannot figure out why, all to say I get the not trusting yourself to go out there, when he did it again (like the 10th time) yesterday I was so angry I could not discipline him b/c I was afraid of what I would do, yea for self control 🙂

    love you, jenny

  6. Yvonne Says:

    so…I’m thinking Matthew, Daniel, and Natalie have some things in common. Because it took Daniel 90 minutes today to pick up a box of toys. So I’m hearing you and you are right – you have to mean it and wow, it’s amazing how hot blood can boil!

  7. Christy Says:

    Hugs! That’s not easy! I’m still learning this with my oldest. He gets that jaw set and I know that I have to decide how far to push b/c whatever comes out of my mouth I have to follow through with. Saying a prayer that the pinecones are all collected!

  8. Tiffany Says:

    I’m thinking of you. Let us know how it ends. Someday that stubbornness of his will be a good thing. The key word being “someday”.

  9. Kimberly Says:

    I hope the epic pinecone battle ends sooner rather than later.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Oh, boy! I have to say that I have had a few of these battles of my own and for those who say “choose your battles” and think that these are something to dismiss – I say they’re crazy. It’s about way more than carrying the backpack. I admire you for sticking to it (and for also staying inside when you couldn’t trust your mouth).

  11. Kelly Says:

    Whoa – that is one epic battle. He is stubborn with a capital S!! I can’t wait to find out how this battle ends!

  12. Barbara Says:

    Congrats on standing your ground. We have come close to similar standoffs with Daniel. Choosing your battles is tough. But you definitely have to win the ones you choose!! Stay strong?

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