I've Created a Monster

Somebody please tell me Colin is going through a phase. Or face the possibility that I won't be blogging from the psychiatric ward (where my only consolation would be that it's okay to look like crap all the time). Because seriously, I want my well-behaved child back. He seems to have been replaced, Changeling-style, and I'm not sure how much more I can handle.

With my third child on the way, I thought I would feel like a veteran mom by now. But I'm still going through that first-time mom "what the hell?" feeling with Colin, because I've never had an almost-four-year-old before. I'm praying this newfound bratty streak is simply something that he'll grow out of, and not an early signal of our catastrophic failure as parents.

I used to be so smug. Colin was so well-behaved that we got compliments everywhere we went. The "terrible twos" were nonexistent; he was the sweetest little angel. Sure, he had a habit of running around naked in front of company, but at least at Wal-Mart or the grocery store he was clothed and sitting quietly in the cart.

But then he turned three, developed these annoying little things called "opinions" and "preferences" ... and began to voice them, strongly. Usually in an obnoxious whiny tone.

Lately, it's like somebody took those irritating qualities and upped the intensity about 200%. He has learned how to push my buttons. Where he used to obey me without question, he now has to be told no less than three times to do ... well, almost anything. He has ZERO patience and is easily frustrated, stomping and yelling when we tell him no. He does things that he knows will grate on my nerves: blowing in my face. Shouting "ahh!" in his "outside voice" ... in the house. And when he is punished for something, it's a dramatic show, complete with, "I don't like you any more!" And now he's started doing this in public. Humiliating! I mutter menacingly to him under my breath, my face burning as people judge me for having the brattiest kid this side of the Mississippi.

I'm at my wit's end with this sassiness. It's like living with a teenage girl. I'm not doing anything differently than I ever have. We're very consistent, always following through with our threats, with clearly defined boundaries of what's acceptable behavior and what isn't. I give him a chance to explain why he feels frustrated - so it's not like I'm not listening to him and allowing him to vent. He takes a nap every day and has a regular bedtime - 8:30. I've tried every kind of discipline, from spanking to hugging him until he calms down, and nothing seems to remedy the situation.

So tell me, someone, anyone ... is this normal? Can I expect him to grow out of this crap, or did I make a wrong turn somewhere in my parental judgments and accidentally spawn one of those horribly-behaved kids that people whisper about?


  1. Oh Rita honey...if we knew the answer, we'd all have perfect children!! I can't begin to tell you just how many phases boys can go thru. A tolerable attitude returns maybe when they are 18-19 or so...depends on how long they continue to live at home once they turn 18 or graduate high school! LOL Just wait til they hit the phase that every time you open your mouth or go out in public, you embarrass them! There will be good days...there will be bad days...but we still love them..... unconditionally! Oh, need I mention that just as you get child one thru one phase & they begin the next, the second child is there to pick up where the first one left off in the previous phase!! ...did that make sense?! lol

  2. You mean I have years upon years of all this left? Wow, thanks for the encouragement, Cindy ... LOL! ;)

  3. Cindy is right about going through so many phases. Whoever said that girls were tempermental obviously didn't have any boys to compare! And each child invents his own version of these phases, so you never really get a pattern to figure out. But it's okay - they all turn into human beings eventually. Gotta love those boys!

  4. Rita, I'm sorry I haven't kept up with your blogs! I want to tell you that Zane is nearing 5 and is just NOW starting to mature out of this type of behavior. I've asked other mothers and they've said that by far, 3 and 4 are worse than 2. So.... it will get better! He's just trying to show his independence and test his limits. I haven't been around you much, but I can just tell that you are an AMAZING parent. He'll be great:-)


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