Say for example that one boy mentions that he can jump over a stack of 5 books. The next boy will naturally mention that HE can jump over 10 books. “Oh,” the first boy will respond. “Well I can jump over 12 books.” And so on. I’m telling you, it never ends. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m not male, but the constant one-upmanship gets tiresome after a while.
Lately The Mercenary (age 10) has been challenging everything that I say and do. He’s not being rude maliciously, but he is naturally a dominant personality and the questions or comments pop out of his mouth before he thinks about the reaction he’s going to get. He will correct things I say, down to the most trivial items. I told a boy we had plenty of cereal available for breakfast and The Mercenary was right there with, “No we don’t”. For the record, there were at least ten boxes in the house at the time. (When I buy cereal, I get the sales so I buy in bulk.)
That one example may seem small, but multiply that by dozens of times per day and you can see why the thought of throwing him into a snowdrift is appealing. We’re together all of the time since I’m responsible for his schooling, which means that neither of us gets a break from the other.
I’ve noticed lately that his dominant behavior extends to things like personal space. If he’s walking somewhere and a family member is in the way he makes no effort to yield. He just plows right on by. If I point out what he’s doing then I’m in the position of constantly criticizing and he feels like there’s nothing he can ever do to please me. I don’t want to get stuck in that cycle.
I know from experience that if I step out in leadership of my pack ‘o boys, act tough and set limits then we do pretty well. But ohhhh, it requires so much energy and patience. Especially with the constant challenges I’ve been getting.
Something’s got to change though, or else he’ll be out in that snowdrift. Creative ideas anyone? How does one teach a boy to bend without breaking?
Photo graciously provided by Xosé Castro, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved