My personal three word horror story – “Strong Willed Child”. Boy, is T strong willed or what. It really is a euphemistic phrase since calling your own child names may seem demented. Her will must have been left for a whole extra hour in the foundry during manufacturing. Absolute statesman standard hardening!
Long story short, we have never been able to make T do anything that she has not signed up for on her own accord. Add to that, the sanctimonious positive parenting lectures and then fathom our absolute haplessness.
After many episodes of complete meltdown for baby and us, here are a few approaches we are beta testing:
#Choose the battles: The sharp little thing has grave opinions, on important things like clothes and schedules, that often contradict mine. But mere difference from my personal standard of perfection is no reason to start the war. It has really been our journey of learning to let go on issues that would not shake the earth.
#Give her choices: When the horns are locked, one thing that often helps with T is to give her a choice between ‘our way’ and ‘our way’ – if you know what I mean. It gives her the freedom of making a decision and she often signs up peacefully. Every time she takes this bait, I do an inaudible Scooby Doo whoop!
#Time-outs: Yups, good old fashioned deprivation sometimes helps. The hardest thing here is to decide the timeline and stick to it like we mean business. Any softening of stance from any member of the adult brigade (grandparents cave easy), can literally turn the tables on this one.
#Proverbial Carrots: The promise of a gift is not my favorite move. It feels too close to bribing to be morally acceptable. But then, some might argue that the idea is to make the kid ‘goal-oriented’. Wonder whether politicians put it like that to rationalize.
#Spanking: Yes, we do it. There are times when nothing else is strong enough. It’s either the bum or the palm. And it makes us feel like shit.
To my utter relief, the first three are starting to work on most occasions!