Is my 15-month old already a manipulator? You be the judge.
A week ago it was nearing bedtime, and our family was in the middle of our nightly ritual. My hubby and I were sitting on the nursery floor for story-time. Twin A was nestled on my lap with a book, while Twin B sat on her father’s lap.
Now, Twin B was running a fever and had become rather fussy. So, she left her father’s lap, walked to the hallway, and dropped to the floor. There, she rolled around crying, frustrated in her discontent. Twin A watched from my lap as her father asked “what’s wrong, Baby?” He walked over to Twin B, picked her up, and whispered sweet nothings to her as he returned to the nursery and began gently rocking and comforting her.
Five seconds later, Twin A began a “nah-nah-nah” chant. No tears, just a chant.
“What are you doing, Dear?” I ask her. She rose from my lap, walked into the hallway and dropped to the floor at the exact spot her sister lay crying moments before. Now on her back, she continued her chant with hopes that someone would notice her.
“Wow, she’s really faking it,” I observed.
“I can’t believe she is really doing that,” my husband remarked. “I mean, she’s being dishonest. That’s what worries me.”
Her brain actually connected a cause-and-effect. If her sisters rolls around the floor crying, then someone will pick her up and comfort her. If it worked for sister, maybe it’ll work for me. This was last week, and since then Twin A has repeated this routine 3 days in a row.
This scary thought brings up three questions:
- Is my daughter learning to manipulate?
- Is my daughter learning to be dishonest?
- What can I do now?
“You better start reading The New Strong-Willed Child,” my co-workers tell me as I share this account. Trust me I have. I started the day after this scene, and I’m halfway through the book.
What to do? What can I do now at this early age? I realize that there is not much discipline I can do for a 15-month old, but I can at least do something.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment as a parent. Ask the Lord to guide us to shape her will without breaking her spirit.
- Recognize where the behavior is coming from. Twin A obviously desires more attention, most likely triggered by the extra attention her sick sister has been getting recently. Once we recognize her need, we can be intentional about giving her quality time without affirming her dishonest behavior.
So how about it, friends? What did you do? Dr. Dobson writes that most multiple child homes have at least one strong-willed child. Chances are many of you have experience in this area.
Help a sistah out please.
Question: How did you discipline your strong-willed pre-toddler?
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