Okay this is an old post from my other blog. But it’s a sentiment that still rings true.
This morning I saw my daughter take the candy canes out of the fridge and put them in her pocket. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that I told her she couldn’t eat any until Christmas Day. Naturally I should be upset that she disobeyed. On the other hand, there’s a little voice inside my little head telling me that she is not taking no for an answer. That’s an important life lesson right there.
As adults, how many times have we been told no? Did you listen every time? Or did you continue to pursue the very thing you wanted? Do you give up?
Obviously as adults our lives and the situations that encompass them are a little more complex so while we hear ‘no’, there is sometimes room for negotiation and persuasion.
Being told, “Don’t eat the candy canes until Christmas Day” is a very clear and direct order. And it is very clear that there is “right” and “wrong”. So I can appreciate the difference, but still, something inside me brings a smile to my face that my daughter isn’t totally submissive. Her little brain is working.
Without doubt, I have to make sure that she doesn’t become a disrespectful twat without crushing her soul and her will to live. It’s a delicate balance.
When my 5 and 3 year olds are arguing I try to show them some negotiating skills and create “win-win” situations.
There are times when I’m asked a question and I give my answer. On occasion, in my mind, that’s it – case closed. In my daughter’s mind, she is still looking for alternatives with a view to changing my mind. Sometimes I’m just not open to negotiation, but she still insists which just sends me into a tizz. And then I feel guilty.
I know that our children need to feel “disappointed” sometimes – it helps them become well-rounded individuals and ready to face the big bad world where disappointment is aplenty but when do we introduce disappointment? Too much, too soon and they’ll be crushed; too little, too late and that creates a whole other myriad of problems.
But it doesn’t end there – for different reasons my 3 year old is in on it too. I think my 3 year old has had a brain surge of some sort of late. Apart from the regular bouncing off the walls routine, he endlessly asks questions. And I do mean endlessly. About anything and everything.
“Mummy can I have an apple, no a sandwich, do we have any bananas? Oooh how about some chocolate?”
“Mummy how do you make a house? How do you make a tree? How do you make a car? How do you make a fence? Is this an effective way to drive you insane?”
“How do you spell cat, dog, money, Thomas, chair, television, mummy, daddy, car???? B-U-G-G-E-R O-F-F!!! While it doesn’t actually escape my lips my inside voice is screaming it.
Every parent wants their children to be inquisitive, question things, negotiate, debate – these are all traits that come in very handy as an adult. I do want to bring these qualities out in my children and my worse nightmare would having the opposite affect and quash these qualities but right now my brain hurts.
Parenting certainly is a double-edged sword.