Letting your kids be a bit more independent.
They say letting your kids go is one of the hardest things. Moving out, relationships, University. For some parents a bit of a sneaky relief (no more stinky bedrooms, late night pick ups and finally a full fridge!) but for others I’m sure it can be heart wrenching. Watching your little creation say “bye parents, your work is pretty much done” must feel like a kick in the gut. It’s part and parcel however and I guess as time goes on your can start to prepare yourself a little.
But how about letting your toddler have a bit of independence and starting to loosen the apron strings. Too early to be thinking about? I don’t know. Recently I have a lot.
My girl knows her own mind and she can certainly vocalise it. Her speech astounds me. On a daily basis we have new words, phrases and sentences (I am massively watching my potty mouth). This is positive. I feel we have less tantrums because she can tell us what she wants and what is wrong (when we say no to her this is an entirely different ball game)! I’m realising she isn’t just an extension of me any more. She is her and I kind of like it. However, flip the coin. She has opinions, wants, likes and dislikes. If she wasn’t as vocal, it would be a lot more guess work and often much easier to attempt to make her do what I would want. Is this an advantage? Actually I’m not sure.
A good friend of mine did a bit of research when struggling with her fiesty little 3 year old. Both very similar in character, they were struggling to always get along all the time. The solution all boiled down to my friend listening to her daughter’s opinions and wants and compromising. As long as the request did not affect her daughter’s safety, it was reasonable, was not down right brattish and also wouldn’t affect others negatively, then why not? The request was granted.
So, why should I not be the same with my little girl? Why not indeed. If she can tell me, I need to listen. If she can tell me she doesn’t like something, why should I make her eat it. I’m not going to be forced to eat spaghetti carbonara; it’s horrible and that’s my right so why should she?
If she tells me she doesn’t want a cuddle, then trying to squish her regardless isn’t really that nice. Would you want some huge person giving you a bear hug on the sofa when you are trying to watch Corrie? Probably not!
There is that fine line of course. She may not want a bath or to go to nursery. Well tough my darling they are going to happen. She may want my phone 24-7 and of course that isn’t going to happen. Nor is that second portion of cake.
However, I think so far it is working. I listen and respect her as often as I can. I want her to grow up and feel like her thoughts and opinions are valued and I am proud of who she is. Now getting her to listen to me. Hmmm, that’s a different ball game.