Number 2 is the most intelligent child I've ever met. Luckily, he is basically good natured and obedient. Because he is also one of the most stubborn. He believes that 'consequences are necessary, because it's our job to teach you how to be a good person, and stay safe.....' , he just thinks he should also be entitled to mete out a few punishments.
He rails at the unfairness of it all. I can put him in time out, take away his toys, put him to bed if need be, and he has no recourse, save behaving well and accepting consequences without escalating. We've explained that adults have responsibilities and consequences. That as you get older, you have to do more, and get in bigger trouble if you don't. We have battles because he's big, and can do what other big kids do, but balks at the added responsibility. Especially galling to him- we don't give him 'enough' chances any more. So, he's been trying to find a way around this whole societal deal, or at least forge a plan for a future that renders him untouchable. I'll be good for now, but when I grow up.....
First, it was 'I'm gonna be a boss like my Mommy and my Daddy. No one can tell them what to do.' Well, Mommy and Daddy have to follow the rules, AND they have lots of extra responsibilities because they are bosses. Extra responsibilities?? That was no good.
I told him that following the rules, and performing our responsibilities affords us privileges. That I have my house, my truck(they love my truck) and my good job playing with them because I have worked hard and followed the rules. He thought that was OK, but was not pleased when I said if I stopped doing the right thing, I could lose all those things and privileges.
Last week, he started with 'I'm going to be a police officer. No one can give them a consequence, and they get to give people consequences. I explained police are not exempt from the laws they enforce, nor do they give out the punishments. Then, I explained the justice and legislative systems. That left him trying to decide between judge and senator.
A couple days later, he'd realised this wasn't foolproof. He'd have to pick whether to make the rules and , or mete out consequences. Besides, police was a cooler job. Then he asked if those people had to follow the rules. Yup!
'Well, Tea, if I was a really big king of most of the world, no one could tell me what to do. Explained Libya and Egypt to him. Even despots don't get a pass.
'Well, Tea, no one can tell God what to do.' 'Right, Hon.' 'But God never dies'- (another recent conversation). 'Right, Hon.' No line of succession possible there. He had found the end of the road, and he would still have to follow rules and be responsible. After a few moments, he brightened. 'I met God. I did.' I waited, silently. 'He told me I looked like a good boy.' 'You are a good boy, Hon'. (Conversation with God was later confirmed by Mom- a priest who said exactly that to him.)
He's currently relying on that relationship with God, and trying to figure out how to get God to let him off.