Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Natural...Parenting...

One of the things I was HUGE about when Jon and I became parents was that I was going to listen to my kid. I am not and will never be the person that makes my kid eat things they don't like (I don't care how good they are for you) or sit at the table until they have 1 more bite of vegetables. I won't force them to sleep someplace they aren't comfortable and I won't make them hug or kiss people if they don't want to (much to some grandparents broken hearts). We don't spank unless you have put yourself into mortal harm and we don't use a lot of time outs (although it happens- she is still a 2 year old). Listening is something Layla does when we speak because it's something we do when she speaks. For the most part that works for us.

The thing is...I think people force their kids to do a lot of things they aren't ready to do. I also thing parents force kids to do things because they like them or believe in them when really they just don't matter that much. So your kid wants to wear a different jacket. Ok, it's a jacket, take the spare in the car just in case she's/cold and get over your concept that the little darling was going to match tonight. It's a battle not worth fighting.

I pick my battles.

Not to say Layla has never been forced to do something she doesn't want to do. But, usually we work with her to gradually work her into it and she knows that she can take a moment or two to buck an idea if she needs to and that I will listen and try to work around it to the best of my abilities.

I feel there is a huge difference between teaching your child obedience and teaching your child to conform to every rule. Some rules apply to everyone but sometimes, it's just not for you and I get that. I want my child to know she can contest things she doesn't believe in. I want her to know her opinion matters even though she's only 2. I want a child who doesn't feel forced to do what all the other kids do just because someone said that's what people do.

And I try to use what I know about my child to keep her from being in situations where she has to overcome being overwhelmed.

Last night we skipped Layla's Preschool Christmas Concert because half the house wasn't feeling well and the other half really just needed some time to run around in her pjs and decompress from a day at preschool. Preschool saps Layla's spirit sometimes. They force her to do things she is not willing to do. Friday they tried to force her to nap even though they knew Nana was going to be there at noon to pick her up, and she spent the rest of the day acting out. While every kid needs to nap, and we do have a nap schedule at school and home that match, I think forcing a screaming kid to lay down doesn't make them have peaceful and restful sleep, it makes them angry and exhausted...just like it makes us while we try to do it.

I get that Preschool has 12 kids in a classroom and the rules help them maintain order but my kid is a rule follower in general... she loves circle times and eating at the table and even getting her nose wiped. She's that kid. If she's fighting you, it's because she thinks something is adamently wrong with what is happening. She's 2, so that could be anything both logical or irrational but still... would it kill you to take 3 minutes to calmly explain it to her and wait for her to adjust to the idea. Because she'll probably do it...if you give her a second to do it on her terms.

Unrelated, next week will be Layla's last week at Preschool for awhile. We have the opportunity to have her stay home with Nannie for awhile and it seems like a much more natural fit for our family style and our budget. Parents worried about paying for daycare and power in the same month are not fun to live with I'm sure and mommy would be much more comfortable with a 3 yr old in preschoool who can communicate her worries and frustrations better.

I'm relieved that we've been blessed with the opportunity to let Layla go back to a natural flow of development that Mommy is much more comfortable with for awhile. Even if the natural flow destroys the house and eats too much sugar sometimes.

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