We had a major showdown yesterday with Elliot. Yes, he was tired and probably hungry, but this to me means even more consistency is needed, as this is when the real brattiness comes out. Elliot was grumping and purposefully threw a bowl of dry Cheerios all over the floor. Thus, he had to pick them up... 25 minutes later, he had not complied. Really. Squirming, twisting, resisting "forced" attempts, ignoring the "I'll help-- I'll do one, you do one" bargaining, crawling up on each parent with snuggly hugs, faceplanting with screams in my lap, starting to eat those that were already in the bowl, you name it. It was entertaining, amazing, and impressive. And, we both knew he had not forgotten what we were all about, as part way through the showdown, after getting about half of them in the bowl, he proceeded to get really mad again, and spilled them again on purpose. Of course, we tried to point out that the job could have been done in 1 minute and we all could move on to playing, but alas, he stuck with his guns for a good half hour until, huh, he decided to use both hands, and fill the bowl with handfuls. Thank goodness we didn't need to be anywhere and we could just outlast him.
Ten minutes later, I catch him out of the corner of my eye picking up a single Cheerio from the floor, putting it in the bowl, and clapping for himself, unaware I was watching.
The sad part-- I vividly remember similar episodes as a child and teen, being just as stubborn and bratty. (Mom, dad, remember the afternoon I was supposed to move into college? 5 hours late, after a meltdown, we got on the road...)
I dread the battles with this child as a teen. Do these episodes fade with constant reinforcement, or do you just manage them with constant reinforcement?