Me vs. my 6 year old

Man vs. Emmett

Child pushing his boundaries
This adorable child wouldn’t argue, right? (But the one behind him… someday…)

Anyone who has ever met Emmett knows he’s one of the most sweet, polite, and thoughtful people in the world.  This is not just me showing off some Dad pride.  It is a truth.  I have tried to live a good, honest, helpful life so far and he has already showed me what I still have yet to achieve.  He is that special.

Which is why this post is going to seem a little silly.


Pushing Boundaries

Recently, Emmett has been really pushing his boundaries and, as a consequence, my patience (a fact I am a little embarrassed to admit).  I know that everyone’s child goes through this and that this is normal.  I’m not suggesting otherwise.  I am more frustrated with his approach.

See, the problem is that he’s smart.

So he doesn’t just pick a topic and try to get away with something.  Instead, I swear he systematically attacks multiple problems with multiple angles at the same time to test a hundred weaknesses at once.  For example:
We were out at the library today (visiting his Meemaw, who is a Parker Librarian) and afterward he asked if I could buy him a Root Beer.  I said no and that we had drinks at home.  So the response:

E:  Can I have a Ginger Ale?

Me:  No.E:  How about a milk, since it’s healthy.

Me:  No.

E:  Yes it is healthy!  We learned it at school and I NEED to eat healthy.

Me (??  WTF):  We have milk at home, no.

E:  You could buy a Ginger Ale for Mommy!

Me:  Are you saying this so that you can have some?

E:  ….

Me:  No.


Ok, fine.  This reads like any parent Facebook update anywhere.  And something that, at this point, I have a good resistance against.  But then, when we got home, I saw him drinking a Ginger Ale!

Me (a little upset):  Emmett, what did I tell you about the soda?  Where did you even get this?

E (a little more upset):  It was mine from two days ago!  Mommy got it for me after school and I saved half of it!


Ok, so what do I do?  I told him no, but was I telling him no to Ginger Ale or to buying a new Ginger Ale?  And it was his, so should I be proud of him for saving it or upset that he clearly tricked me?  And wasn’t the original discussion about Root Beer?  How did we go from no Root Beer to me praising him for saving Ginger Ale?!


One of Many

This was just ONE 10-minute encounter.  We also had similar loops today about:

  • Him playing with his friend in the front yard
  • Him riding his scooter and scuffing up his shoes
  • Him helping (or not) with the garden and chickens
  • Him not playing Minecraft, Roblox, or on my phone
  • Him trying to sneaky buy an app on my phone (which involved him sneaking my phone to the front room then trying to negotiate with Siri to let him buy the app)

And every argument was the same:  we start discussing one thing and by the end he has confused the argument into something that proves, on some level, that he was either right or had a component of being right.

Kristie, if you’re reading this, I blame you!  You argue like that and you both need to be lawyers.  Those really fancy high paid defense attorneys that use the Chewbacca Defense and win!


It’s got to be a calculated attack, right?

When he first started to do this regularly (about a month ago) I was convinced he was doing the same technique I did when playing Double Dragon or Mortal Kombat:  push every button until something works and then keep doing it.

But as the month has progressed, I think he’s not a button-masher.  I think he’s probably more like a DDOS attack:

This video seems to better represent the precise attacks that he’s trying and the frequency with which he’s trying them (particularly starting around minute 1:07).   Plus, this analogy checks out as I think in both cases they’re trying to get my bank account information to purchase apps.


What to do now?

I know this is a phase and he’s testing his boundaries.  But each time I get into one of these arguments, I feel my limits being pushed and I know I’m getting closer to the inevitable “because I told you so” argument.  Which I really, really wanted to push off until he was at least 8!

Plus, each time it happens, I want to get super frustrated angry but I also have to admit that I’m kind of impressed with his foresight and how he manages such trickery.  I mean… he HAD to have known his Ginger Ale was in the fridge that whole time, right?!


Final thoughts

As I type this, a second possibility also occurred to me:  what if I’m just really, really bad at arguing?!

According to Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the right one.  So with that said… it is definitely more likely that he keeps lawyering me.

So… anyone got tips or advice?

  • Haha! I wish I could help! I have a preliminary version of him myself. Henry (3) replies to each “no” by putting his pointer finger in the air and saying “oh! I have a great idea!” The proceeds to carefully rephrase his first request. He succeeds more often than I would like to admit.

    • Dr. Webber says:

      #childproblems! As long as the laughs outnumber the frustrations then I guess we net positive!

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