Saturday, October 30, 2010
Holy strong willed girls! So, remember about how we got home late from the dance last night? Like at 7? Well, I kind of made a fuss with Miss E about getting straight to bed and she stayed awake until 9:30, uncovered, in a tank top and shivering to SHOW ME who was in control. Alright. I cave, Miss E, I cave.
Needless to say this morning was rough. First we were tired, second it was an extra early soccer game, third it was freezing cold and raining, fourth we failed a bit as parents. It was the perfect storm. Our failure was not getting ready early enough for the soccer game so it was a rush, I didn't help her get dressed so she ended up wearing only her shorts, jersey and a lightweight sweatshirt. Did I mention it was about 48 degrees and raining? She wouldn't put on extra clothes, and once at the field didn't want to warm up, and plopped down in the grass which was actually very wet mud instead of our chair. Ah yes.... that is how the game began.
As I was trying to chat with the other moms, Miss E had just had it. I kept nicely trying to get her to put on a long sleeve top, a coat, maybe sit in a chair instead of the mud but it just wasn't happening. We were spiraling into dangerous territory. Fortunately at this point my parents showed up. Now, my parents are the most amazing and wonderful grandparents. I knew they wouldn't be upset that they drove all the way to watch a rainy soccer game that their granddaughter was throwing a fit at, instead they just love and accept the kids as they are - tantrums, moods and all. My mom finally got Miss E to put on a shirt and some pants, and got her sitting in a chair. She did play for all the parts of the game she was supposed to although she was clearly tired.
Now, I know that there were some parents there who watched me cater to her as she threw what can only be described as a spoiled brat fit, but this is how I have learned to never judge other parents. Miss E does not respond to conventional discipline. In fact, yelling at her, threatening her and applying more pressure to the situation makes things much worse. I often describe her and Peter as gasoline and fuel. They are both hotheaded and want to be in control and in charge of the situation, and oh you should hear some of the fights those two have had. So instead of doing what most parents would do, I catered to her, doing whatever was needed to get through the soccer game and then this afternoon and evening we talked about choices. And what happened. And how sitting on wet grass gives you wet underpants. And about how I am there to help her when the situation gets beyond her control and that next week, I get to pick her clothes for the game. No yelling, no screaming and I think in the future it will work.
So many parents want to control their children. Kids are not allowed to scream, yell, say the wrong thing, act out in a public place, etc. etc. etc.. But the fact is, children are their own people. You can't and shouldn't control them any more than you should control your spouse or your friends. Kids need to learn how to reason, make choices for themselves so they can control their own behavior, or in the case of Miss E today, learn when they are beyond the ability to control things for themselves and need to ask for help. I hate it when people say "you just need to force them to behave". Why would you want to do that? Why would you want to force anyone to behave a certain way? I just don't get it. Fortunately for me, I have Miss E, a child who - starting earlier than 2 - could not be forced, bribed, begged, cajoled, bullied or threatened into doing anything she didn't want to to do. Yes, it is frustrating at times but so much better in the end. She is learning how to make her own choices and down the road, that will benefit more than any spanking I ever could have given her.