Here’s a fun and informative story about 2 year old Jack.
Family gathered last week for his big sister Rachel’s 12th birthday. One of her gifts included a big bag of M&Ms – Jack’s favorite treat. He managed to get ahold of the candy and carried the bag from person to person saying “Open MMs?” over and over and louder and louder as each person said “no.” He finally got to me, quite frustrated and whiney. He repeated “OPEN MMs?!!!” I said, “Jack, those are Rachel’s special birthday M&Ms.” He said “OK,” set them down and walked away.
Are 2 year olds reasonable all the time? No. But I’m convinced it’s essential to teach why. This will lay a foundation for self discipline.
Joseph Smith once said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.)
In parenting terms – teach them why and they will learn to control themselves. “Why” includes how their actions affect those around them and also Gospel principles and doctrines (eternal truths) such as the Plan of Salvation).
I still remember, years ago, getting a call from my daughter. She said “*** lied! What should I do?” *** was about 3 years old at the time and my daughter couldn’t believe she knew how to lie and had no idea what to do. My first thought – teach her the Plan of Salvation.
To a 3 year old?
Help her understand that we all need to learn how to keep the commandments of God in this life so we will be prepared to return and live with our Heavenly Father someday. Help her know that it’s worth it!
And remember – 2 year olds turn into teenagers. If they understand the “Why” when they are young, they may grow up to be reasonable and enjoyable teens.