Help! My sweet, adorable, loving daughter is starting to turn into a no-good, mischievous brat! She seems to be testing out this new found ability to defy me. Yesterday was a beautiful day so we were spending time outside after school and I got out the sidewalk chalk. She was very excited to dump out all the chalk and draw three lines on the driveway. Then she took the chalk and proceeded to draw on my car. I was busy with my own artwork but when I noticed, I sternly walked over, told her no, and took the chalk. Moments later she had a new piece of chalk and was holding it to the side of my car and grinning at me.
It was the most obvious, bold instance of outright rebellion I’ve seen from her. She clearly knew she wasn’t supposed to draw on the car and clearly wanted me to see her doing the thing she knew she shouldn’t be doing. And she definitely thought she was hilarious.
I instantly felt like I must have totally screwed up. Somewhere in these 22 months I must have taught her that it is fun to disobey me. I haven’t been stern enough. I haven’t explained right and wrong. I haven’t disciplined her.
But then I heard my mom’s voice in my head telling me that she wasn’t even two years old, I couldn’t have possibly caused her to act this way yet. Other than occasionally not listening or refusing to cooperate, she hadn’t really given me any reason to discipline her. This was a test. Just the beginning of the test. Not an indication that I had already failed. I hope…