StuckJanuary 5, 2011 at 1:00 am | Posted in Lollipop | 23 Comments
Tags: Challenges, Children, Conflict, Growing Up, Kids, Parenting, Personality, Perspectives, Relationships
Lollipop and I are stuck. I’m not exactly sure how we got here or how we get through.
But I know we’re stuck.
She’s four. She’s fiercely independent. She wears princess dresses and cowboy boots with unabashed confidence. She knows what she wants, and she goes for it. She’s smart; she’s creative; she’s a planner and a problem-solver. These are the qualities I love about her.
I know these traits will carry her far in life. But they perplex me. Because, at age four, they sometimes don’t translate well.
Sometimes, she comes across as stubborn. Or bossy. Sometimes, when’s she’s check-mating her brother out of dessert, the hooded frog towel, the green shovel, or whatever he has that she wants, she comes across as, well, manipulative.
That’s where we’re stuck.
This little personality of hers is powerful. It’s strong. It’s the root of the successful woman she will one day be.
But I find myself balking. At her independence. At her resolve. At her cunning. My first and strongest reaction is to thwart, to quash, to make her be gentle and docile, as I am.
But she’s not me. She’s her. I know that.
She’s her. And that’s who I want her to be.
But I don’t know how to guide her, how to nurture her, how to help her use her powerful personality for good. I mean, what do I know about being fierce and strong and confident? I play Scrabble and refuse to keep score. A pair of red flip-flops is the most adventurous thing in my closet. And I won’t ride a roller coaster for a million dollars.
Acknowledging where I am is a big step. I’ve read some books and come up with some things to try. That’s another big step. But making permanent changes in the way I respond and relate to my daughter is the biggest step of all.
And, though I wish I didn’t need to, I’m proud of myself for taking these steps. For taking them now, before it’s too late, before she feels the friction, before I lose her unflinching trust.
Before I’m still stuck. And she’s long gone.
What do you admire most about your child’s personality? How are you and your child different? And how do you both negotiate and nurture those differences?