Diva…Demanding… Devilish. Think I am describing Madonna or Lady Gaga? I’m not; I’m just listing words I have heard moms I know call their daughters in the last few weeks. Can a 9- month-old be a diva? Is it possible for an 18-month-old to become high maintenance? Or is it simply conditioning and what we will refer to as old fashioned “over-indulging?”
I know kids can be demanding, and I know they can be difficult, but I think the challenge is how we react to these traits. And what I see is parents giving in to the child because it is easier than the hard work it takes to address these situations as they pop up one at a time and work through them. I wonder if I will be able to do it.
Will I set boundaries early and often, to see good habits being worked on in the early months of my child’s life? I caught a segment on the Today Show recently where they featured a woman who had a 15-year-old who just expected to always get his way and have things handed to him. It was a nightmare for his parents when this didn’t happen. I wasn’t surprised by the situation, I just thought to myself , “Can you trace this back to years of over-indulging this child? Did it start with the first six months?”
It’s not something parents set out to do, but think about every trip to Target and the life lessons that are presented. Their child picks up something that is not on the shopping list. She whines and nags that she wants it and in order to keep the shopping trip on track you give in and buy it. Now what will happen next time? What about the next trip to the Harris Teeter? The child has learned that whining, badgering and throwing a fit gets her what she wants.
I have a friend, who allows her daughter to eat one piece of dog food from the dog bowl each day. Was this really easier than teaching “no” means “no”? Why is “no” such a bad word days? Why do we fear our children ever experiencing a moment of unhappiness? I have another friend who doesn’t do “tummy time” because her daughter doesn’t like it. No baby likes tummy time in the beginning, but you do it because they need to strengthen their necks and arms so they can move on to crawling. I hated seeing my daughter whine and fuss when I put her on her belly in those early weeks, but I did it because it was what she needed.
When I think about what our jobs as parents are, making my kid happy all the time is not at the top of the list. My list starts with things like – teach good eating habits, develop a love of reading, encourage a servant’s heart. I want my daughter to be happy, but know that there are boundaries she can’t cross. And at 7-months-old, we have already begun our journey together.
Now my friends all tell me that my daughter will do all of these terrible things and that I will give in and let her win, but I hope and pray that is not the case. I am ½ German and ½ Portuguese and this is not a good combination for a child who expects to push boundaries and win! I don’t fear the word ‘no’ and I don’t fear temporary unhappiness in my child. This is a long journey we are on together and I think a few early bouts of unhappiness may make for longer stretches of love and understanding down the road. Only time will tell.
Don’t forget to register for the latest and greatest CSP Giveaway from our friends at Jami Masters School of Dance!
To kick off the new season, Jami is giving one lucky Smarty a free dance ensemble including a dance outfit, leotard, tights and a pair of dance shoes valued at $85. Your little dancer will love going to class in a leotard by Bodywrappers, dance shoes by Sansha and tights by PrimaSoft. Click here to get all the skinny & to register. Good luck, Smarties!