Your Little Emperor

tic tac toe 1777936 640Parents and teachers of four-year-old children:  do not despair! Your child's attempts to rule the roost are normal! predictable! and part of learning to be a healthy adult!

Four-year-old children, whether boys or girls, all become Little Emperors -- rulers of their known universes. They are in a stage of learning about rules, laws, fairness, and justice. You will recognize this stage when it arrives, by the more regular occurrence of children's statements in the form of rules or requirements. You, dear adult, "must" do many things now--cut the crusts from bread, position the furniture just right, keep all portions equal in size, fold the clothes just so, tell girls they can't play doctor but only nurse....

There are many, many rules a Little Emperor may wish to impose. There will also be many times when your offer of a couple of choices for something is countered with a third, child-originated option. You offer A and B options for lunch but a four-year-old child asks, "How about C?"

Why has your child suddenly become so directive, so "in charge?" And how do you help your child not become a bully with all these rules and standards for everyone else? Is it okay for him to get what he wants? Should she get to make rules for you?

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Dr. L. Carol Scott.

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