Each of my three children have their own versions of stubbornness. My littlest one is giving me the most run for my money – at least that is how it feels right now.

Tired of toddler battles? Me too. Read confessions of a child therapist to hear that even professionals have major parenting struggles!

She is a toddler getting ready to rule the world, but first she  needs to conquer me!


She loves her chocolate milk. She loves her chocolate milk very early in the morning. We sleep in if it is after 5:30am, but that is for another story. Like a cranky adult needing her coffee, she wakes up needing her chocolate milk right away.


One day I was pouring chocolate syrup into her milk and she started to have a complete meltdown. I ran to find out where she was bleeding.


No blood, just an angry toddler. “No milk!” She shouted. I stood there looking completely baffled.


“You mean no chocolate syrup?” I asked her – trying to make sense of her non-sense.


“Honey, I thought you wanted chocolate milk?” I ask totally perplexed. “I DOOO!” She bellowed at me. So thinking we were good – I continued to stir.


“Nooo milk!” She shouted at me again. Okay, now I was completely confused.


It took me some time, but I finally realized that when she saw me pouring white milk – she thought I wasn’t giving her chocolate milk.


So, I did the obvious thing and tried to explain to her that I added chocolate syrup to her milk.


Obviously I forgot that toddlers are insane, irrational little beings! We went around in circles. I explained. She yelled. I showed her. She yelled.


I tried to give her just a cup of chocolate syrup. She yelled.


We did this dance for over a week. Every morning. I tried all of my fancy approaches – to no avail. I found myself tensing as I reached for the milk each morning.


In a rushed frenzy, I found myself constantly checking her location as I poured the milk. Eventually I found myself darting into the kitchen pantry for coverage as I poured the prohibited milk so I could add the approved chocolate syrup.


I did this for several weeks, as sad and pathetic as it sounds. But, the mornings were quiet and she did not yell and I did not start my day with a headache.


A few weeks later she seemed to have forgotten her plight for “just chocolate and no milk” and I became less hyper-vigilant and stopped hiding in the pantry. Eventually – it was like there was never a problem.


Just like that – the issue disappeared.


I find that happens with many parenting struggles and concerns. I will often think, I can’t live like this any longer and then they are on to another phase – another irrational argument, another concerning behavior. I guess that is what parenting is all about!

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