Wednesday, September 30, 2015

And Now for the Main Event!

Parenting a stubborn daughter is like a heavyweight bout. I go twelve rounds with her, and she just won't stay down.

If there is one thing I've learned in my decade as a dad, it's that kids have a will all their own. It is paramount to hitting your head against a wall when trying to convince your child of something they don't want to believe. And I might as well, for all the good arguing with my kids does for me.

It is never as simple as "hey, you need to do this" and it gets done, and it's never "this is how it works because I've been around longer and know things"

Why would it ever be that easy?

That's just not how this parenting thing works. We've all heard the line about the relative ease of things worth doing, and there is no job more worthy of doing that raising a kid. We learn at every stage of development, and the straighter we can be directed as children, the better we can adjust to life after.

With Nat, it's always been "her way".

When she was two, she fought nap time until she could sleep her way; on the floor, mid play.

When she was six, she had her hair cut short because every day she fought having her hair brushed because she could do it her way, and do it herself. It ended up a tangled mess, and one day we finally had enough.

When she was nine, she sat in a college study where she was taught a geometry lesson about the relative strength of triangles to squares in bridge building, and then given a chance to build a bridge to test how well the lesson was taught. When she assembled a square bridge which failed immediately upon bearing a load, the instructors asked if she understood the lesson. She replied that she did, but wanted to build it her way anyway.

These stories continue on a daily basis, and every day we turn around and find her doing things "her way". Sometimes I find myself debating with her. Some days I find us arguing. Most days I hear the words "no negotiations" come across my lips, because honestly, why would I negotiate with an 11-year-old? Even that doesn't stop her from trying though. She's good, I'll give her that. She's the Ronda Rousey of stubborn kids.

As parents, we've discovered the importance of picking our fights, so at least I have her to thank for that. But when it comes down to entering the ring, I've got to be Cassius Clay. There's no backing down if you are going to teach your kids to respect authority. We like to encourage her independence, and we like to reward her creative thinking, but allowing her to use us as treadmills just won't fly.

Ultimately, we're in this for her, and some things are worth letting her fail on her own while others have to be lessons learned from our experience. So, we'll continue to climb in that ring until the day she's ready to take on other opponents, and one day teach the same lessons to her own mini prize fighter.

No comments:

Post a Comment