Little Man used to ask permission to do things - go upstairs to play, go outside, go to the park, draw, finger paint, build with his blocks, get a snack - whatever. I liked that. It gave me control. I knew where he was. I knew the magnitude of the mess. I was able to prevent dangers.
Lately, Little Man has stopped asking permission to do things. If he wants to go outside, he does. If he wants to color, he does. If he wants to paint, he does. Often he colors or paints on things he shouldn't. This, of course, is not okay with me because now I can't protect him or the walls or table tops.
When he does something he shouldn't then I'm forced to scold and correct his behavior. Which had been working just fine.
Me: No, no we don't color on the walls.
Little Man: Okay. Why not, Mama?
Me: We only color on paper. So, we need to clean the wall.
Little Man: You do it.
Me: Don't sass Mama. That's not nice.
Little Man: You clean the wall Mama, I'm not doing it.
Me: That's it Little Man, you're in time out.
Not anymore. He has learned to do something and I don't know where he learned it. It's not a new technique - teenagers and politicians tend to use it too often. He now apologizes BEFORE I'm aware he's done something wrong.
Little Man: Mama, I'm sorry. I accidentally colored on the wall.
Me: Little Man, how did you accidentally color on the wall?
Little Man: *shrugs* It just happened. I'm sorry Mama. I love you.
Me: I love you too.
When did he learn that sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission? Is this something that is just innate in all of us? Is this just something that 4-year olds, teenagers, and politicians do?
I don't want him to think that it is better to apologize than to ask for permission. I also don't want him to not come to me at all. It's a fine line that I'm having to learn to walk. He's crafty.