What To Do When Your Child Says “F” You

Gray’s got this thing about him when he’s feeling ornery, which is at least once a day, it seems. Watch his eyes. They kind of light up. The corner of his mouth slightly rises just short of a smirk. And then he does exactly what you’ve told him not to do. Again. My wife and I agree that it feels like he’s flipping us off. “F you mom, I’ll do what I want to do,” is likely what’s going on in that skull of his. Go through this enough times and one starts to feel defeated. At a loss. My son’s going to be in jail by 16, isn’t he?

My wife took her frustration to her favorite spot on the Web in search of parental guidance, wisdom and understanding. She went to Pinterest.

Last week, during one of her night owl sessions, she emailed me three Pinterest links. The first two were Someecards that joked about not liking me because she’s out of meds and nagging because she cares, as silence is a sign of plodding my death. It’s funny ’cause it’s true. The third was a graph created by author Carol Tuttle, a creative marketing idea to promote her book The Child Whisperer.

The Child Whisperer

We’re in need of new ideas on discipline. Gray rarely balks at timeout. He knew the consequences and he was happy to serve his time. It was worth it to him. Ellie, however, cries like she’s been sentenced to death.

The gist of the book is children have one of four archetypes: The Fun-Loving Child, Sensitive Child, Determined Child and More Serious Child. Tuttle’s developed her philosophy through her work with children based on energy profiling. If we know how to read our child’s unsaid messages and respond appropriately, we will experience more cooperation and respect.

My wife and read the graph separately and came to the same conclusion – Gray is the Determined Child. He’s as loud as your alarm clock at 5 a.m. He’s as physical as Dennis Rodman boxing out to chase a rebound. And he covets adventure as if he was Indiana Jones. Except with food. He doesn’t want any crazy shit, like a cinnamon roll.

The first thing we talked about after reading this was saying “No” too often. Because he likes to explore he pushes boundaries constantly, followed by a lot of “No” and “Stop” from us. If he’s cooped up in the house too long he picks fights. He knows our house rules, but he’ll bust them just to stir things up. If he could write, “All don’ts and no play makes Gray a dull boy,” would be scribbled all over his bedroom wall in crayon.

Tuttle advises to encourage Gray, let him move fast and to allow adventure. They have an Ultimate Fighting Championship weight class for 2-year-olds, right?

My hope is to encourage anyone else at their wit’s end with their kids. Sometimes we just need a chart to simplify things, help us to understand our kids and keep us from slapping the “fuck you” off their precious little faces.

5 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Child Says “F” You

  1. Let me tell you about my Two determined children. I felt just like you a about 2 years ago. So What I did was I sat down at the computer and I typed out the 10 most hated jobs my kids could do but don’t. Things like clean you room, clean your brothers room, Pick up the dog ppop in the back yard, scrub the toilet, you get the idea. We printed them out on a sheet of paper and made several copies. Cut them up and folded them so my kids could not read them before they choose them. I put them in the pretties bowl I could find. When My kids were willfully disobedient they had to get a chore. You want to argue? Get two. Would you like to try for three? This made them responsible for their bad behavior. They picked the chore and if they grumbled about it they could pick more. During one particularly difficult time one boy had 3 cards and the other had 5. But after about 6 months the willful disobedience stopped…well almost. Occasionally we have to point to the jar. No yelling. No fighting and arguing. Peace. good luck I hope it works for you too.

  2. Oh man, this post just feels so close to our reality. Declan (three years old) is exactly the same way, I’ve been reading a book called “Easy to love, difficult to discipline” for the last few days because I just sometimes don’t know what to do. There are a number of things that can detonate a massive tantrum with Declan, if the jacket I ask him to wear has a hoodie or if I gave him two Oreos instead of three, he constantly pushes buttons and tests limits and he definitely needs some sort of physical activity in order to deal better with his emotions (usually two hours of hockey in the garage, hitting a puck with a stick makes him happy). Thank you for sharing, sometimes it helps to know we are not alone dealing with a child that is confrontational, the determined child.

    • I wish I had read this when my boys were Gray’s age to nip the problem in the bud! It is comforting to know that even awesome parents like you guys have the same challenges. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don’t know how you parents do it these days and prob why my 33 year old ass has ZERO children. I equally admire good parents/kids and the fact that I don’t have any “little darlings” myself. My father subscribed to the very old school (back one pissed off look in the grocery store stopped you dead in your tracks circa 1987) method of “Reactive Parenting.” In my child-free opinion, it developed some good and and some not so good issues that I face as an adult. But, at the end of the day, I know that he did the best he could being a 20-ish single- dad of 2 little kids in the 80’s. If I am blessed to have a family one day- I hope there’s a “Parent Whisperer” not in liquid form.

  4. Thanks for sharing this info and glad to know that I am not alone in not knowing how to deal with my 2 1/2 year old! He is such a challenge! I would say Austin is a mix of the Fun-loving Child and the Determined Child, just depends on his mood.

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