A certain situation has occurred that has coincided with the recent 4th birthday celebration of a certain young man. Penguin has been engaging in a tremendous amount of backsass as of late. At first I thought it was a fluke. I told Penguin to do something and he told me to stop talking to him. Since he was not feeling well at the time, I thought maybe he was just feeling overwhelmed or ill. I can understand that as I, too, wish to be left alone when I feel unholy sick.

However, in the subsequent days, this pattern has been repeating itself with considerable frequency. Each comment or request on my part is met with some measure of resistance. Be it eating, napping, toileting or sleeping, each request is met with a resounding, “No, you can’t make me do this.” On some things, I can be flexible. If I ask, rather noncommittal, whether Penguin would like to play with his lego blocks and he says no, so be it. However, if we have to leave the house, then no amount of resistance is going to work.

My question is this: Do I still physically pick up the child and make him do some things? When he was younger, I would do this as a last resort. Do I still use this technique now that he is a bit older? I give him a few chances to do what I want without moving to the last resort. But there are times when I can no longer wait and I need to get the show on the road.