Ok, everyone… I really need your help on this one. I have no idea what to do…
Frequently, when I tell Elias something, he does not believe me. In fact, he will argue the opposite point with me. And I sit dumbfounded that I am arguing with a 3 year old about something that he knows nothing about.
Examples? He is convinced that the trunk of the car is in the front and the hood is in the back. Nothing I or anyone else says will change his mind. And it’s not a “woodpecker.” It’s a “woodPACKER.” It’s not “instructions” – it’s “constructions.” And many, many more.
Seriously… I argue these points with him. And it hasn’t just been the past little bit – these arguments have been going on for about a year or so – since Elias has been able to string together his thoughts into coherent sentences.
And I argue these points with him because I think it is important – not that the trunk is in the back of the car and the hood is in the front, but that he believes what I say and take my word as an authority in his life.
In a parenting class Josh and I are taking, we read the following in our workbook:
All children are born with an inherent sense of trust in Mom and Dad. In the primary years, they believe everything Mommy and Daddy tell them, whether it is true or not. By our correct words and deeds, we help them interpret life. (Along the Virtuous Way, footnote pg 59.)
I know that this is a blanket statement, and the point of the thought is not even that kids believe everything their parents say, but that we, as parents, should use correct words and deeds to help train our children by our example.
But as I think over that statement, I begin to wonder where I went wrong. I have always tried (with varying degrees of success) to live as God would have me live – and especially with children, I have always wanted to model “correct words and deeds” for them. I cannot think of anything that I (or my husband) have done to destroy the trust Elias should have in our words.
Because if he, a 3 year old who cannot read and is an authority on nothing, does not believe the little things that we say (“No, really buddy, it is not a woodPACKER. They do not PACK wood. They PECK it. Therefore, it’s a woodPECKER.”) how can I know that he will believe the big things I say? I want him to take my word as an authority until he is able to read and fully comprehend what he has read for himself – and mostly, I want to start impressing God’s word on his heart before he can read. But if he doesn’t believe me when I say that God is love, that God loves him, that God is always with him, and all the good news and promises that the Bible contains… what is going to happen?
On top of all of that, how am I going to teach him other things through life? I am planning on homeschooling – what if he rejects everything I teach him as fact?
I will say, Elias comes by this arguing quite naturally. I mean, I can think of a couple people on each side of the family tree that are quite proficient in arguing. ehem…
OK – so here’s where I need your help: am I over-reacting? (yes, yes, I know I am to some extent. I cannot forecast what will happen coming down the road… and I cannot worry about the condition of his heart – that is up to the Lord.) But should I be making a big deal about this now? I said it happens frequently – I would say this happens 50% of the time. What part of this is normal pre-schooler independence, and what part is not normal? IS THIS NORMAL? argh! I really do not know if anyone else is going/has gone through this before.
I would love to hear from you about this… thank you as always for your encouragement and helpful comments!!!
**This “issue/concern” is shaping my next lessons for Elias on Respect. Stay tuned this week for some new things on Respecting God’s Word.