I’ve Been Undermined By a 6-Year-Old

 “G, I’m warning you, if you stand up on that chair again you will get a timeout.”

 He turns to me smiling, reveling in his accomplishment. However, upon seeing my expression he slowly sits down on his diaper-clad bottom. I turn back to the oven and continue preparing dinner, reveling in my own proud moment.


Mom: 1.

 Toddler: 0.

My success is short-lived. As I see in the reflection of the microwave {or the eyes that are in the back of my head} a little redhead slowly and silently lifting his feet off the floor and standing on the chair again.

“That’s it,” I say sternly. “You are getting a timeout.”

He wails “no” and proceeds to throw a full-on fit while I place him in a chair. I again return to a dinner that may never be made. Then I hear it: “Mom, he’s just a little guy. Why are you so hard on him?”. Such a profound question from my six-year-old.

I explain that there are rules, and we must make sure to follow them or we could get hurt or hurt someone else. He nods his head and returns to his action figures.

Again I attempt dinner. Whew!

It is at that moment that my youngest’s cries cease and I breathe a sigh of relief…until I glimpse over my shoulder and see my oldest playing with him.

“Honey, he’s still in a timeout you can’t play with him right now,” I say matter-of-factly.

“Nope, he’s my baby. You were being mean to him and I’m going to make him smile,” he retorts.

My heart busts open and I’m so filled with joy watching this brotherly bond, but just as quickly my mind rallies and I know I need to stop this, no matter how cute.

Because my parenting has just been undermined by a six-year-old.

 Mom: 0.

 Six-Year-Old: 1.

Actually it’s six-year-old: 100, because my oldest has been doing this FOREVER.

I catch him giving his brother snacks that I forbid, giving into his temper tantrums for toys and just in general not following the rules.

While I admire this abundance of brotherly love and camaraderie, it’s also on the cusp of turning my boys into hooligans, with me as the police.

I’ve been trying to encourage my eldest to be a good role model, and teach his brother the ropes. My eldest has taken great pride in his new role. Sure, he’s sad when the little guy gets in trouble, but it’s nice having him on my team instead of undermining my parenting.

Now I hear, “no G, you can’t do that, it’s not safe.” and “let me teach you the right way to do it.”

brookboysMission Accomplished!


How about you?  Does your oldest undermine your parenting?



Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


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