I was reminded today on how I may (or may not) adore one of the attitudes of my children, even when it’s a power struggle between the two of us. The issue this evening wasn’t a battle of epic proportion. It wasn’t even so much as an argument. My child had decided that she wasn’t going to do something. She looked at me, and just said one word. “No.” HUH? “No.” However, in this instance, I looked down upon her and I realized how I was failing as a parent.
I looked down upon that little girl of mine; her blue eyes looking up, steadfast, at my own. It wasn’t an argument between the two of us, although I could have easily turned it into one; one I would have won. However, in her mind, it wasn’t open for discussion. She had made a decision, and her decision was no. Looking down at her, that tiny child of mine full of this inner resolve, I decided that this was going to be a decision I allowed her to make for herself. The situation had zero consequence in the long run. However, it mattered to her.
As a parent, I know I need to pick my battles. I need to get better at that. I’ve learned with this beloved daughter of mine, that she needs to feel empowered. This child needs to feel as though she is responsible for making at least some of her own decisions, her own choices in life. From choosing which pair of underwear; which pair of socks; which pair of identical pants – she wants to make decisions. I know with her, after I explain the consequences of her actions to her – i.e., you’re going to be cold, you’re going to get wet – she will still need to experience that. She needs those experiences to make the correct decisions, the correct choices, in the future. She’s little miss independent. My other daughter, not so much.
My other child is the winner of the Miss Congeniality award for the last three years. (Not so much the first year, but that’s due to health issues.) She’s also won Miss Agreeable; Miss Helpful; and Miss Tattletale, for the last three years running. This child of mine will unquestionably wear the jacket that’s laid out for her, and willingly put on her clothing in the morning without demanding to have a choice. She’s easy. I never have to worry about her following the guidance I’m giving her, as her parent. I just worry about the choices she will make when I’m not there to make them for her. Isn’t easy not always better?
I’m finding that one of my daughters isn’t as understood as easily as the other. I find, that with all around her, they tend to judge and react verses see her for who she truly is. I see her being willful, yes, she is without a doubt. But, I also see the smile she gives me when she’s allowed to be who she really is. She’s a little girl that wants and needs to make decisions – choices. Choices for her own self. I see her become frustrated when she has to act like a square peg being forced into a round hole. I become frustrated for her.
I see a mental sponge. I see a little girl that absorbs everything and all I do, to the point I need to consciously think of whether or not I’m being consistent, even though my other little girl isn’t going to care. I see a little girl that becomes so incredibly focused on what she’s doing that she’ll ignore the grownups in her life that attempt to transfer that intense attention onto a different area. I see a little girl that is misunderstood by everyone, and at times, including me. I saw a little girl this evening that literally beamed at me because she got to make a decision for herself. She was so proud of herself.
I’m feeling guilt. I don’t have a favorite. In all honesty, I cringe even thinking that statement. I love each of my daughters, more than I ever thought it possible to love another human being. I truly love and adore each of my daughters equally. Just in different ways.
I know that no child can always be an angel. I also know that my other child is beginning to assert her own independence. She is beginning to say no.