Dear Dr. Dobson,
I imagine I've written you at least once a week during the past year. (Only in my mind) But this time I'm planning on mailing my letter.
I have 2 sons-Benjamin, 3 years and 8 months old, and James, 1 year and 8 months old.
My oldest son fits your description of a strong willed child, with a few exceptions. He is kind, gentle, calm, and sensitive of others. He just wants his way and he calmly, gently stands his ground, craftily manipulating to get it. I would like to say this is wearing me out.
We live in a small 2 story apartment. The boys share a room. However, we have the room set up so they have most of it to play in. My husband even built a "quiet corner" or "fort" in one corner of the room just for Benjamin. The little door in that corner has a hook-in-eye lock on it and James is NOT allowed in. We put Benjamin's books and favorite toys inside and hung some posters of some of his favorite animals in it.
What a waste of time!
This small boy, whom I love so much, is driving me crazy~ He is like a walking growth on my leg. A questioning, talking-non-stop, demanding-non-stop-attention growth! He follows me from room to room, up and down the stairs; always wanting me to "look Momma!" or asking me what I'm doing, why am I doing it, where am I going....If I say I'm going downstairs to check the laundry and I'll be right back, he still insists on coming with me. He feeds me lines like: "I just miss you mommy." or "I just want to be with you." or "I just want to make sure you're OK."
If I'm hard hearted enough to say no, I can't even get to the bottom of the stairs without him yelling out, "What are you doing Mommy? Why are you down there so long? Are you coming back soon?"
I feel like I'm living in a glorified Hamster cage!!
I won't even go into the sibling rivalry stuff and his methods of pulling me away from my husband. I know it sounds childish, but I want to ignore him so he'll just go away!
My one consolation is that through all this I can see he's got a sharp mind and is quite creative. (I on the other hand, am wondering how long my mind will last.)
I find myself longing for his 21st birthday, or his marriage or something. And I don't want to have that attitude during these special early childhood days.
How much independence should I expect at this age? Is it unreasonable to expect a child of almost 4 to be able to disappear into his pretending for even 20 minutes?
I realize that as a first born, and a boy, he's going to want a lot of my attention. But in the day to day long haul, how do I deal with this? How do I foster independence without hurting him emotionally? How do I do more than barely cope?
PS Read Hebrews 13:17 in the Ampified Bible-I wish all children would!!
(Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them, continually recognizing their authority over you, for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account of their trust. Do your part to let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you.)
I thought I wrote that letter yesterday, then suddenly, this morning, my dreams came true.
( By the way, this is a real letter I wrote but never mailed. I've been doing some spring cleaning and found it in an old journal.)