You’re A Big Boy Now

People keep saying You’re A Big Boy Now to Little MPB.  Usually that sentence is followed with something like

…so you don’t need your soother any more.

…so you can start using the toilet now.

…so you shouldn’t throw your food at dinner time because big boys don’t throw food.

Heck, I’ll admit, I’ve said these things too.  Probably because it just comes naturally to use this language.

And, it’s always just sort of annoyed me to hear encouragement based on the language of becoming a big boy.  It doesn’t make me angry, and I definitely I don’t hate people who use this terminology.  Rather, it just gets under my skin and irks me.

But, I think I’ve finally figured out why it irks me so.

I realize my baby boy is growing up.  He’s a full blown toddler now, with toddler sized temper tantrums and everything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that naïve,  I get that is not a baby anymore and I get that he should not be a baby forever.

But, seriously, he’s not even 2 years old.  He’s still just a little kid – he hopefully has another 80+ years of life ahead of him.

My problem with this language is that we are we all rushing to make him grow up.  By using this language, we are already subtly making it known that he should stop being a 2 year old and start maturing beyond his months/years.  Why are we, as in society (I suspect this language is widely used beyond just my family and friends), already socializing him to believe he needs to grow up?  Why cant we just embrace him for being a messy toddler, who doesn’t know how to use the toilet yet?

I don’t have the answer to the we question, but I do know that I’m going to find a new way to encourage more desirable behaviours that doesn’t include encouraging him to be a big boy.

I want him to enjoy the innocence of childhood as long as possible!

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24 Comments on “You’re A Big Boy Now

  1. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I agree! When Avery throws food at the table (which isn’t often), my wife jumps in and disciplines on the basis that she’s too old to be doing stuff like that still……. I think that we need to let kids be kids, or even more accurately in this case, let BABIES BE BABIES! You cherish these baby/toddler years. I’ve heard that some people don’t even classify a kid as a toddler until they’re 2. Little MPB needs people to guide him toward the skills he’ll need as a big kid, true, but he also needs people to give him freedom to just be – without pressure of growing and changing. It’s a balance…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s such a delicate balance! And, yes, really in the scheme of the average life span, I’d say they really are still babies! And should be given the freedom to be babies and the freedom to be kids as they grow up too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this and like you I’m guilty of saying it. I too have tried to stop myself and have made the decision to say “you can do this because you are smart” or “I know you understand” This was especially the case when we potty trained Luke. It is such an easy statement to fall back on but it’s just that….a statement and really means nothing. But when I say “smart”‘or “understand” I do believe what I’m telling Luke and I hope he does too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please, please, please provide tips on potty training. We are going to try in a few weeks.
      Also, I love your statement – “you are smart” and “I know you understand” are simply brilliant. I will be using those from now on!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It definitely wasn’t our idea to potty train Luke. I really didn’t think we’d be doing it for another year. His interest started a few months ago and I was so hesitant and it just seemed like he was too young. But then he started telling us he needed to go and would take his diaper off, etc. After talking to some friends and reading the book “Oh Crap Potty Training” I was convinced that he was ready and I was the one holding him back. Thursday will be 5 weeks into it and he’s doing great. He’s still in diapers for nap and nighttime but otherwise he’s diaper free. I highly recommend the book. It’s definitely a process and takes some patience but it is worth it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s insane how we all just expect little ones to grow up. They are still so little and have so much to learn. I just don’t see the point of rushing it. Great observation! I’m going to be watching myself for using this language.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. IMO, telling toddlers “you’re a big boy/girl” is really just a method of using shame to attempt to shape behavior. Not exactly the best approach, although I am sure most parents have resorted to it at one time or another.

    My sons will be 6 next month, and although they are big boys in most ways, they still occasionally display some babyish characteristics, esp. when tired or stressed, and I want them to stay as innocent as possible for as long as possible, too. 🙂


  5. I’m definitely guilty of this lately with H’s random, crazy sleep regression. I’m often saying “big boys go to sleep without mommy in the room” or something along those lines. Last night he insisted I stay in the room until he fell asleep. I didn’t want to, but it’s such an unusual thing, it made me realize he clearly just needed his mom, and it wasn’t helping that I kept pushing the “big boy” mantra on to him. Your post made me realize how often I say this. I think I’m going to switch it up and say something like “special boys fall asleep in their own beds” or something like that. I’m not sure. But definitely going to make a conscious effort to reign that line in! Let our kids stay little as long as we can! We all know that once they hit school age, society is going to have them growing up much faster than we are ready for!


    • Ummm … won’t the message then be “if you don’t fall asleep in your own bed you’re not a special boy”? Truly, I don’t mean to sound critical – and I’m definitely not trying to tell you how to raise your child! I guess … mainly, as the mother of a beautiful, successful almost-40-year-old I’ve gone through some ups and downs, which have involved some painful communications, and I’ve been dismayed at how often things I’ve said – meaning well – have been received in a way that’s been hurtful. So … I don’t know … maybe if he needs you to stay in his room while he falls asleep … you could move a chair in there and just do so? Put him to bed a little earlier, maybe, so he has more time to go to sleep; let him choose some beautiful, soothing music (whale songs and classics were our favorite – words tended to get the imagination going). Tell him it’s okay, one day he’ll be ready to sleep without you being there, but until then you’ll just sit quietly in your chair and knit or read or just think. I wouldn’t lie down on the bed – too easy to fall asleep … And the deal would include no talking. Anyway … just some thoughts. One of the deeply painful things I learned from my daughter was that she used to be terrified, at night … and to this day she suffers from insomnia. She was ashamed to tell me – thought I’d be disappointed in her. I had no idea. And I have no idea how to tell you how much that still hurts, 30 years later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your advice. I will be thinking about what words I choose to use when the time comes and will do what will work best for our situation and family. I have stayed in his room the last few nights and sat quietly until he has fallen asleep. But because I know that he has been capable for over a year now, of falling asleep with nobody in the room, that I can’t allow this to become a habit. It’s a phase and I will accommodate as necessary but also will not allow him to get used to it. I will go with my gut on the nights when he seems to truly need me to stay in there and nights when he’s just trying to delay the inevitable fact that he does have to go to bed. He’s in the phase of his life where he is testing boundaries and learning how he can push them. Currently his thing is testing to see how long he can push bedtime to. Without me being firm about this, he will end up going to bed at 10:00 and that just is not appropriate for a 2 year old. We are figuring out this new balance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh boy, that sounds familiar! Only one thing I need to tell you … that “testing boundaries” phase? It lasts until they leave home. Actually longer … come to think of it, I’m still doing it…lol.


      • I agree with you that wording should be chosen. I wouldnt use the word “special” because they should know they are specialto us no matter what. I understand experience,trial and error take time and we all learn. Sometimes children are afraid to fall asleep because they saw something or they heard something which they remember at the time of sleep. Little kids are usually tired at the end of the day. Parental presence will make them calm and will fall asleep faster. Resisting to be there when they ask you to will just postpone their sleeping.time.
        All the best!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Yes, yes, yes. This irritates me as well. I let both of my kids lead me into that language, rather than me leading them into it. We only used, “big boy” for fun things like water parks, big slides, going to movies, etc. They then started using it for using the potty, getting dressed themselves, etc. We do not use it for shaming them, but will use it now (they’re 4 & 6) for things like temper tantrums (“your a big kid – act like it.”)

    I correct people when they use it to shame or guilt my boys. Growing up is going to happen, so let’s let it happen in due time.


  7. I’ll never understand what the rush is for people! There’s so much less time for them to be babies and toddlers and small children than they’ll have to be big kids and grown ups. I’d much rather let my kids find their own way to things instead of pressuring them into things with that type of language.


  8. Ugh this is so true! Hugs! It is so hard watching them grow…and everyone (including them) want to rush it. I obv. don’t have kids, but I am very active with my nephews and know how hard it is to watch them grow, while (of course) wanting them to grow.

    I love the idea of saying “you’re ready now” instead of “big boys do this”.


  9. I totally get what you mean. H is 18 mths now and we haven’t slipped into that zone yet but I do remember it happening with Saxon. I do think part of the use comes from rewarding them. Little kids actually want to be big kids so if they start toilet training and you say “wow what a big kid” then it puffs them with pride and gives them incentive to try hard. (I’m talking 2+ age range btw). I try never to use it in the negative but then we try to stay away from negative talk in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree totally! Next time when someone compares my boy to anyone or anything, i will ask them if they do the same with their kids! People should mind their own business!

    Liked by 1 person

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