I left my two year old at the playground

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I know that sounds alarming but before you call child protective services, please hear me out. My son is at the age when he likes to test boundaries. I should qualify that by saying he tests me, his father doesn't seem to have a problem with him and he is well-behaved at pre-school. But Mommy? Whenever the mood hits him he decides that it is time to disobey me. Mostly it happens when he doesn't want to stop what he is doing, like playing or watching a favorite movie. However, it is important for him to understand that when mommy asks him to do something he needs to do it.
 
Much easier said than done. Sometimes when I ask him to come to me he runs in the other direction. Or if he is busy doing something and I take it away he decides that going to "tell daddy" will make a difference. Although neither of these techniques have ever worked he continues to try them. Friends tell me that I need to start time out. I have been doing time outs with him since he turned two but it has never been successful for me. He cries, apologizes and not ten minutes later will repeat the same behavior.
 
Which leads me to the tale of the playground. Before our trip to the playground my son and I had a discussion about coming to mommy when she calls. It wasn't the first time or even the third time we'd had the conversation. As a matter of fact, he had been in time out for this very reason before we left. Although it seemed as if he understood, when we were ready to depart the playground it become very clear that the lesson had not been learned.
 
I let him know that it was time for us to go and before we left he could have a few more pushes on the swing and one more time on the slide. However, when I told him it was time to leave he said "no" and stayed on top of the slide. I let him know that I was departing and again stated it was time to go. He stayed put even when he saw me leaving the area. Before you get alarmed he was in my line of sight the entire time, I was no further than ten feet away from him - at most. The playground is in a circular shape and I was walking around the circle hoping that he would come to me.
 
It was not until I opened the car door that he became upset and started crying. He quickly started moving at that point when he realized I was serious about leaving. I am a responsible parent and I had no intention of driving off without him.  But in this instance I wanted to ensure that he understood that when mommy says something she is serious.  I suppose this would qualify as tough love and I am sure that many will not agree with my tactic but it is important for my son to listen to me.
 
My husband is not going to always be around to intervene when my son decides to run away from me or blatantly disregard my directions. Hopefully in the future my son will listen to me. At the moment I am taking it one day at a time. Now he may ignore my first request but when I call to him a second time he will listen. I call that progress.
 
And I am open to suggestions about how to deal with a two year old testing out his new found independence.
For more tales of Motherhood read:
Renee aka cutiebootycakes is a BlogHer Mommy and Family contributing editor and writes a daily blog Cutie Booty Cakes.

 

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