Don’t let them fool you. They know it. Right from wrong. We don’t give them enough credit. Today I had two confirmations of my kids’ complete understanding of the concepts.
Episode 1: Morgan bit a girl in school. Yep, if you happen to be the parent, my apologies, but as I understand it, it didn’t leave a mark. Yay for the teachers that caught it in time. When I got a call from the front office (a “courtesy call”, which in and of itself is a funny term for someone calling you to let you know your kid was terrorizing the class), I as always, asked about the victim. In hearing that they were fine, I asked about Morgan’s response. I was informed that when Morgan was told “No, your teeth are not for biting your friends” she fell to the ground and cried. But even that wasn’t enough to convince me. When I picked her up tonight, I asked her if she bit someone and immediately saw a look of remorse on her face. When we past the teacher who told her it was bad, she turned into the wall and wouldn’t face her.
Episode 2: This one was extremely clear. I suggested to Jake that we get his PJs on. He looked right at me, said “mama, I’m going to be a good boy for bedtime”. I, thinking that positive reinforcement was the way to go, responded, “of course Jake, because you are a good boy”. His response? “No mama, I’m not always a good boy. Sometimes I’m really bad when it’s time for bed. But tonight I am going to be really good for you”.
So, the next time your toddler/preschooler does something wrong, don’t assume it’s because they don’t know better. In fact, tonight when Morgan was acting up and continuing to put a barette in her mouth after repeatedly being told no (can we say ‘testing, testing’?), Jake looked at me and plain as day said “Mama, she’s just little, she doesn’t know any better”. No Jake, that theory has been disproved.