I've heard, and have come to agree with, the idea of the Terrible Two's being nothing compared to the Tyrannical Three's!
We've had such a time.
As a parent I'm so strict. I've vowed not to have a snotty bratty kid and have enforced many a rule on my preschooler.
1. She has to be academically superior.
2. Always polite
3. Always obedient
4. Always pleasant
5. Always eat healthy
Seeing it in writing is making me feel worse. I can't even come close to fulfilling those rules MYSELF let alone expect my 3 year old to do it!
All of this came to a head a couple weeks ago. Neither one of us were happy and there was no way Hannah could accomplish my unrealistic demands. Sometimes Matt would look at me like I was from another planet...(I was getting that look from a lot of people!)
Hannah was rude to her friends and adults
...and I was acting the same way.
She'd want to wear sweat pants with a dress and I'd adamantly oppose.
Then one day I stopped and thought - Why can't she wear that hideous plaid headband with a bow with her t-shirt and jeans? Besides the fact that it was ugly and didn't match - what was my reasoning for refusing her? The more I thought about it, the more I realized:
1. I wanted to be in control.
2. I cared too much what other people thought.
and those are BAD reasons to parent!
So, since then I've REALLY tried to put myself in Hannah's shoes and have attempted to ask myself the above questions before I start an argument. (Am I being controlling? Do I care more about what others think than my daughter's well-being?)
It's a great thing that she wants to express herself. So what if it's not my favorite headband. It doesn't have to be something I love for her to like it, right?
So what if she doesn't want to run up and hug someone she never sees to greet them - I don't really want to either!
Instead of YELLING at her to CALM DOWN when she gets frustrated - how about I put myself in her shoes. I wouldn't like being stuck in my shirt either!
CAN I JUST SAY after changing MYSELF...I HAVE A DIFFERENT KID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was ruining her with my demands.
She is a new kid. She knows she can express herself to me safely.
Do I fail?
Do I still struggle with my controlling nature?
Am I treating my child WAY better, giving her an environment to grow and flourish.
Is she happier?
YES YES YES!
It's amazing. We have no more fights about whether she's going to wear a barrette or a pony tail or over what outfit she'll wear. She is still disciplined and still sits in time out - but it's not because she won't cooperate when it's time to practice cutting with scissors!
Please don't think I'm a nazi mom. I, like every other mother, want my child to be the best she can be. But, I'm LEARNING the correct way to do that. She and I have VERY similar personalities and I do NOT flourish with the parenting I was giving her. It's just SO AGAINST my nature to do things differently - but it's imperative if I want to have a relationship with my daughter. PARENTING IS MORE ABOUT CHANGING YOURSELF THAN IT IS ABOUT CHANGING YOUR CHILD!
And I'm always up for a good challenge!