Being a trusting parent can be hard. In general I go along with the old-school style of parenting: be tough, you can do it, chin up, no whining! In general, I’m in favor of getting a thicker skin and enduring a little discomfort for the sake of growth or even just for the sake of the family unit. (“There are 4 people in this family, and all of our needs are equally important . . . “)
But sometimes I forget that my kids are sometimes right about their limits (sometimes). Especially Victoria, who seems to have the self-awareness of an ancient Tibetan guru.
We were at the American Girl store yesterday, and she kept sitting down, not wanting to walk around with her friend. I was frustrated — we had invited this friend to a tea and then each girl had an amount of money to spend on a small item or service. Victoria chose a hairstyle that cost her entire holdings, and the friend chose to get her doll’s ears pierced (!), which left her a little money left to buy something else. Victoria would not shop with her, though, and instead sat quietly as I prodded her to get up and go with her friend (which was, to some extent, necessary for safety reasons — I couldn’t set either one of them loose in the mall store).
Finally she confessed to me that she didn’t want to walk around because she knew she would see something else she wanted and then she would feel bad. Me, I found that absurd and thought for sure that she could manage those feelings because she’d be enjoying looking around.
Well sure enough, after I forced her to keep going she soon became completely unreasonable about a dress she wanted. Soon she was crying on a bench, so jealous of her friend for having a little money left over to buy a goofy little bag, so sure that buying the dress would make her the happiest girl in the world and that no one else could want the dress as much as she. Had the friend not been there, I might have lost it and dragged her out of there fuming, but as it was I had to stay calm. The friend seemed to take it in stride — young children get that other young children cry for no apparent reason.
Well, she did recover eventually and made a point of telling me that she felt a lot better. I was still not happy with her behavior, but was glad that she had managed to pull herself out of her drama tailspin largely on her own.
Later I recalled what she had said when she didn’t want to shop — she knew she would feel bad. And she was right. And she had a plan for how to deal with it. And I told her, “pish tosh, what do you know?” A nice lesson for the fall, when we bring our more formal learning activities back.
In any case, she was so dang cute it was easy to forgive her, and myself. 🙂