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Why has my son become stubborn about learning?
Q: I have a 3-year-old who is, all-in-all, a pretty good little boy. He knows his ABC's, 123's, colours, left/right, blessings, prayers, etc. But lately when he is asked to recite his ABC's, colours, or 123's, he will say the opposite or refuse to say them. I have tried to recite them and have him join in and he will, but he refuses to say them without me, or says every colour is ORANGE. He has an 8-month-old little sister; I am not sure if this has anything to do with it. I try to include them both on things and sometimes I will do special things with him separately so he can feel important or like the centre of attention. Help! How can I help my son understand that these things are important and fun?
A: I think your good little boy is trying to tell you something: “Don’t push quite so hard, mummy.” It sounds as though he is very bright and also as though you have given him plenty of encouragement to learn new things. That sort of maternal teaching is very helpful to young children. It helps set the stage for life-long learning and forms a solid foundation for the formal learning that will be expected of him in school later on.

There are at least two reasons why he may resist doing this when you ask him to show others what he knows. One is that he is shy and doesn’t like being put on the spot. The other is that he has figured out how much this means to you and can feel in control of the situation if he refuses to recite. I wouldn’t make a big issue out of it. The important thing is how he uses the learning, not how readily he demonstrates to others what he has learned.

And you are wise to single him out for special Quality Times with you. This is especially important now that he has a baby sister.