You know how sometimes through life, it seems like you're going along fine and then one day, very suddenly and seemingly out of the blue, you notice a change in someone? And the change isn't an admirable one? I have to say, this happened recently to me. There always seem to be "phases" or "stages" that kids go through, and as a parent, I try to look at each phase with a critical eye. Will this pass soon and leave us none the worse for wear, or is a little well-placed discipline needed to correct this?
About two weeks ago, my husband and I noticed that whenever we told our son to start doing something he was supposed to do, or to stop doing something he wasn't, he would always respond with an explanation as to why he was behaving the way he was, but then he did obey after that. What was troubling was that before he obeyed, he rationalized his current behavior. (Thinking about it, isn't this something we all need to work on? God pricks our heart that we should be more something or less whatever, and immediately springing to mind are all the reasons we think it should be okay to be how we are.)
And THEN! I finally understood. One afternoon this past week, my little boy came up to me and plopped himself in my lap with one of his books. "Mommy, can you read a chapter to me, and then I'll read a chapter to you, until we finish this book?" Well, how do you say no to that?! So I started and read chapter one. Then he read chapter two, and then it was time for me to go start supper, so he finished the book by himself. But what I had read (and heard him read aloud) clarified so many things!
What to do about it? Other than some humanism and evolution (they decided the mountain they were climbing in chapter two was millions of years old), the Boxcar Children books seem pretty decent. Other than humanism and evolution. We need to first teach him how to recognize and combat those two pervasive philosophies, and then he can enjoy the plots and try to figure out the answers to the mysteries presented in these books.
I have to add this P.S. Most of the time, when Benny acts out, his sister Jessie or brother Henry get on to him. It's not like he disobeys and the adults don't even care.