When He Couldn’t Answer Why

The other night was an episode in my sister’s (and well,all of us in the house) parenting skills.

My sister and I were watching Superbowl XLVIII replay when we heard Hulk crying and arguing with his nanny. We both ignored it. The two of them arguing was nothing new and we were sure the nanny could handle it. Then, the argument turned into crying. Since I didn’t wanna be bothered by it (Bruno Mars was ON!), I told my sister to check on them. This happened around 10pm so he shouldn’t be up, much less playing.

Minutes later, he and nanny came into the living room and I was like, “What happened?”

Apparently, my nephew was playing with the tap so she stopped him. Or at least tried to. The result: Hulk turned into neck-biting-baby-vampire.

The shock of my life. Why would he bite his nanny’s neck? So much so that it left a red mark. I was dismayed by what he did, but I figured it wasn’t my place to shed some light on his playful antics so I called the boss–his mommy.

It was hard to make him understand that what he did was wrong and that he needed to apologize. I guess from being angry,it went to a tantrum. He was still upset and was being stubborn. There was no use reasoning with him.

“She’s bad,” he said repeatedly.

My sister asked him his reasons for refusing to say sorry. This part was particularly difficult. He couldn’t answer us when asked ‘why’. He just doesn’t understand the word.

I felt sad realizing this was the case. Perhaps he knows the concept of reason or reasoning, but doesn’t identify it to the question. Of course it was imperative that he apologize, no matter the reason, but it would’ve been really good to know. There’s always a reason behind every decision we make, especially in such a strong ‘no’. Sadly, my nephew can’t express that.

It was also very frustrating to not know how to explain such an important word to a toddler. Answering our questions could have made us understand the situation better. I don’t really know much about toddlers but, probably, it would also make him know his own feelings better.

Needless to say, my nephew has a mind of his own. What if, after everything, he didn’t wanna apologize because he was being the brattiest kid in the neighborhood? What if he wouldn’t apologize because he thinks so highly of himself? For him, his nanny should be the one apologizing. She didn’t let him play, that much we pieced together. My nephew felt his nanny wronged him.

His nanny said it’s okay. That he was still a kid. She’s right; however, I wanted him to learn the value of expressing regret and reason, and of staying calm–meaning,no biting anyone’s flesh(!). I may be rushing things, but I think he should’ve known by then.

I’ve truly learned some things that evening. I guess as we grow older, we apologize upon realizing we were wrong. Who apologizes in a fit of fury? In the middle of being upset? Perhaps, only a mature person. Yet again, would a mature person apologize when he feels he was wronged? The most kindhearted, saintly person maybe. 

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