Memorial Day weekend was a fun time of family, food, and … more food, but because our kids don’t live anywhere near their cousins, this weekend made it more important that we spend time with ours and our kids cousins.
But there’s nothing like family – family whom you can be the most honest with, not hold anything back, but also – hold something back because you don’t want to piss of those closest to you. So this weekend offered a good opportunity to see my wife’s family and see how they parent.
And one of their kids is a gregarious type. Willing to wear her emotions on her sleeve. And it’s great that we raise girls who appear to be willing to stand up for themselves. And the family, when talking about her were all in agreement that she has a strong will.
So when the little girl asked to have a piece of candy, her mom’s instant response was a quick “No”. followed by a “harrumph” from the little girl, and an equally quick “ok, one piece”.
And in playing it back in my head, I think the mom quickly defaulted to “no”, but didn’t really mean it. That’s problem one. We need to mean what we say.
And the girl is slightly upset. Not much mind you, but just reactive with a frown – and then quickly gets her way. Again, not even intentional to throw a fit to get what she wanted.
So when you look back on it, you can see why this little girl is stubborn. She always gets what she wants if she digs in. If she throws a frown – gets it. Wants something really bad – most likely digs in hard, and then gets it.
Now I’m not in a position to tell my wife’s family how to parent, so no answer there. She may not even think there’s anything wrong. And if it’s not a problem with her, then it’s not a problem, but we need to mean what we say and we need to say it once in my opinion.
This will take some practice from us as parents, especially ones who are not used to thinking about every small response. So take your time, tell your kids “you’re thinking about it”, and let’s be more mindful of our responses.