A short time later, I decided to give him another chance, repeating the process with the exact same results. When I decided not to cave in and told him that my answer was still no and why, he followed this up with throwing a fit and then asking me one billion times if we could go outside, turning on the charm and hoping for different results. I repeatedly explained to him why it was we were not going outside until I felt like I was turning blue in the face. From there, upon the same question, I asked him if he understood why it was he was not getting what he wanted. He didn't really seem to have an answer. Brian listened to this whole conversation, and I wondered aloud how much of what I was saying was soaking into Erik's ears and brain. Brian's thought that some of it was but that Erik didn't seem to be able to help asking the same question over and over.
I had to agree.
Just how much understanding there is, however, remains unclear. While Erik is becoming quite talented at some things, he seems to be missing basic reasoning skills that other children seem to have that result in positive interactions and render discipline effective in any way. This is one of the many reasons we do not spank our child. I think it would prove to be confusing and hurtful to Erik without the proven ability to completely understand actions and consequences. I would always wonder if I did the right thing, as I could not determine how much he actually understood. For now, though, I continue to stand firm in my interactions with him, give time outs (which seem to break his heart at times), and hope that my explanations of actions and consequences sink in at some level to prepare him for the next situation.