Join me as I continue with my Guilt & Failure Series….
I can still vividly remember the day my toddler refused to say thank you. It was a long time ago, as my son is now a teenager, but I will never forget how embarrassed I was as a mom. I learned a lot that day, and I hope to share some hope with you. Especially if you are facing a time in your mothering where your children are choosing not to listen to you.
I’m pretty sure that you have already experienced this phenomenon we call disobedience. My kids are angels, of course (*wink *wink), but they still have their moments of wanting to dig in their heels and disobey.
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Keep Going Free Printable Quote
I made this simple quote for those days when you just want to throw in the towel, particularly when it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere with your kids.
No matter how hard you try to teach them manners, they out-right refuse. Those days, the road seems so long.
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Personally, I feel like I’m on this long road all the time and failure seems inevitable, but this Keep Going Quote is a great reminder that I’m not a failure.
Sign up below and I’ll email you this FREE printable Keep Going Quote that you can hang someplace in your house to help to remind you to just keep going on the day when mothering is really tough – because, trust me, I completely understand![mailerlite_form form_id=9]
Disobedience Is Going To Occur
It’s never a fun moment, when out-right disobedience happens, but it does happen.
Mom, if you have not experienced out-right disobedience yet, like the day my toddler refused to say thank you, just wait, it will happen. I can guarantee it, and hear me right now – it doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a mom. Ok?
I remember the day this happened to me for the very first time. It was so blatant, deliberate, and it stung me right to the heart. I like to think I’m a good mom. And, at this time, I was a first-time mom, with a toddler and another baby on the way.
He Had Always Been Compliant
My son up to this point, had been a very compliant child. For the most part, he was pretty content to do as I asked. Of course, at the time, I just thought that meant I was the BEST mom on the planet. I was positive that my son was so amazing because I was such an amazing mother. I’m not joking one bit.
I was that mom who would scoff (although very quietly) at the mom in the grocery store who had a screaming child throwing a tantrum. My thoughts were something like this: I would never let my child behave that way at the grocery – or anytime – for that matter...I cant’ believe she lets her child do that…She needs to teach that child some discipline…..
Defiance Will Happen
I had taught my son manners, and he was expected to live up to them. My son knew how to shake hands with adults and say his please and thank you’s without being prompted. My son was a sweetheart who was one of those “good kids” (oh the lies I told myself as a young mother). Again, I attributed it all to my amazing mothering skills.
Then, there was a day that my toddler refused to say thank you. Refused. Out-right disobedience. Right in my face. In front of other people.
I was MORTIFIED.
I wanted to crawl in a hole in the ground and never come out. To top it off, he refused to say thank you to my soon-to-be sister-in-law. I didn’t know her very well yet. I was completely embarrassed.
The Day My Toddler Refused To Say Thank You
Here’s is what happened on the day my toddler refused to say thank you. I have one sibling – my older brother and he was about to get married. I had the pleasure of meeting his soon-to-wife and her mom for the first time. They had invited me and my mom to their house for the afternoon to get to know each other.
Being a stay-at-home-mom, I of course, had to bring my almost 3 year old son along as well. I was also 8 months pregnant at the time with my second child (basically I was huge and uncomfortable – so already a hot mess). Oh and it was almost Easter.
We arrived at her house, and my sister-in-law, being the wonderful lady she is, had purchased a special gift for my son. It was an adorable Easter basket filled with stuff to use when you go fishing – a toddler fishing pole, bait, tackle box, etc. The whole nine yards and more. It was a very thoughtful gift. My son LOVED it because he had never been fishing and had recently been asking to go fishing.
He oohed and ahhhed over it and was so excited. Normally, he would gush over stuff and without even thinking about it, he would run over and give a hug and say thanks to whomever just gave him a gift. This time, he did not do that. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because we were still getting to know my soon to be sister-in-law.
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He’d Never Defied Me So Strongly
First, he just ignored me when I asked him to say thank you. Then, when I asked him a second time, he just shook his head and said no. All while clutching his Easter basket very tightly.
I was shocked. Like really shocked. I’d never dealt with this before. He’d never defied me so strongly before. The day my toddler refused to say thank you will forever be etched in my memory.
I took him into another room and nicely asked him to please say thank you. He said no. With no real reason. I mean, he was only 2, but still, he just said no. I told him that he could not come back out of the room until he was ready to say thank you.
He sat in that room and didn’t move. He stayed there a long time. It was nearing time for us to leave and he was still just sitting in the other room. WHAT??? I could not believe how hard he dug in his heels?! All this from an almost 3 year old who up until this day had been the most compliant child you would ever meet?
My Mom Powers Were Dwindling
I was freaking out. My mom powers were dwindling down to nothing the longer he sat in that room. To top it off, I was embarrassed to my core. It was so hard to sit and chit chat with these two lovely ladies that were soon to be my family, while I had a very ungrateful toddler in the next room – pouting.
I tried talking to him one more time, because, now I was mad. There was no way we were going to leave without him saying thank you. This time he started to cry, all while clutching the Easter Basket tightly to his chest. Next, I sternly threatened that we would have to leave the Easter basket there if he refused to say thank you. He still dug in his heels. He still would not do it. He just cried.
I took the Easter basket from him and gave it back to my sister-in-law and apologized profusely for my son’s poor behavior and lack of manners.
I questioned myself. Should I have given the basket back to her – as she just paid for a gift that I was no longer taking home all because my son had a bad attitude?! The embarrassment I felt was evident.
I felt like a total failure as a mom, and because I was pregnant I was even more stressed out that I was going to ruin both of my kids! Goodness, if I can’t teach my toddler to say a simple thank you, how in the world could I teach him to be a Godly man?!
Feelings Of Mom Failure
Yes, I felt like a complete mom failure that day.
But, I can offer you some hope, years and years later, as I’ve dealt with situations similar to this a lot since then.
I may have felt like a failure as a mom that day, but I also learned that my son is his own person. He proved it. I can teach, coach, model, and preach behaviors to my kids all day long, but what they choose to do with that information is entirely up to them. God did not give me a robot, He gave me a child with his own heart, mind, and soul, and although I like to think I can control my kids, I can’t.
God calls us as moms to point our kids in the right direction and pray that as adults they will remember what we have taught them.
Proverbs 22:6 – “Point your kids in the right direction – when they are old they won’t be lost.”
Chin up momma. Especially if you have not faced any out-right disobedience yet. It will happen some day and it does not mean you are a failure as a mom. It’s not because you are a bad mom. It’s just called being human. At some point, your child will defy you, so be ready. In the mean time, train up your kids to love Jesus!
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I’d be honored to pray for you if you are really struggling right now. Jump on over to my Prayer Page and post a prayer request. You can post a public prayer request, or you can send me a confidential prayer request as well.
More Posts To Read In This Series
Stay tuned for a few more posts in my Guilt and Failure series, especially as I think back on memories from my early mothering days – like the day my toddler refused to say thank you – I have many more days like this that I’ll be sharing with you!
If you haven’t had a chance to read my first post in this Guilt and Failure Series – go back and read this one: I Feel Like I’m Failing At Everything.