Nature has provided many animals with defenses against their enemies. Skunks spray. Snakes bite. Jellyfish sting. But how do you discipline a kid who has a natural defense mechanism?
We are in the thick of it now. The Bean has rounded the corner and is racing towards three and a half. The pendulum that is his mood swings back and forth so much that I’m getting whiplash. He’s constantly testing the boundaries, which is his prerogative as a pre-schooler. But it’s also my prerogative to get angry when he breaks the rules.
All of the parenting advice heaped upon us poor saps with pre-schoolers says you gotta lay down the law, and stuff your ears with cotton so you can shut out the tantrums when you do. For us, this is proving to be a bit difficult. It all starts off fairly normally. The Bean’s eyes get damp and the hysterics begin. Once the screams start, he will no longer listen to reason. At this point, most parents will send the kid to their room to chill out. But we can’t do that because the Bean leaks like an old roof in a rainstorm when he gets upset. The wetting of his pants causes the Bean to get more upset, completely obscuring the reason for sending to his room in the first place. The kid isn’t going to calm down after he’s peed himself. We are confident that this emptying of the bladder is involuntary, but the fact remains that we cannot let him finish out a crying jag on his own without going through multiple pairs of pants and underwear, paper towels and sometimes bed sheets. Disciplining the Bean is like hucking a water balloon. At some point, the thing is going to break, soaking everything in its path.
We’re pretty much stumped at this point. We’re living with a raging toddler who has the bladder of an excitable puppy. However I don’t think swatting him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper is going to do the trick.