Miss Rose is a strong willed young lady. She may not yet be 11 months old but she knows out to express her opinions, make decisions, and reject unwanted advice. Perhaps, as some would say, she is truly her mothers’ daughter.
Whilst many consider a child so young expressing what she wants and getting it to be a bad thing, I think it is a positive. I don’t see it as demanding, I see it as determined, self aware, and capable of communication. I want her to grow up with those qualities and I see no reason why it shouldn’t start now.
The important thing to me is that in most situations if she expresses an opinion it’s respected. I ask her opinion and listen to the answer in whatever form it comes. For instance Miss Rose was sat on her daddy’s lap and hungry so I opened the cupboard and asked if she wanted raisins? No, a head shake. Perhaps a breadstick? No, another head shake. Rice cake? No. Dried apricots? An outstretched hand and an open mouth, I handed her an apricot and she ate it happily.
This is fine, but as I said, there are situations where she isn’t given so much freedom of choice, she is allowed opinions but within parameters. At dinner time she is given a plate of food, the same as her father and I, though obviously cut into smaller pieces and not as hot. If she doesn’t want it she doesn’t have to eat it, but if she wants something specific on the plate and only that then I make sure she gets enough; if she only wants to eat the mashed potato then I just give her more.
I truly believe that this is doing her good. I think the fact her opinions and desires are respected it means she feels more capable to expressing herself and communicating, I also believe that as she grows she will understand that as she is able to get what she wants, within limits, that when she can’t she will understand that it’s for a reason not just an exercise in power.
I also think its helping with her development. At bedtime we have a routine starting with what we call “nudey rudey” time. This is where we go to her bedroom and she is stripped down to her nappy, and me to my undies, and she plays with her toys and climbs on me… Blows robberies on my belly flab… And she loves to look at her books. Sometimes she sits in front of her books, pulls one out and hands it to me. Other times I offer her books to which she shakes her head until I get to one she wants when she takes it. Either way I read the book she chooses. This, in my opinion, encourages her to develop and take an interest in communicating and the world around her.
What I need to be careful about is the fact she could quite easily turn into quite the diva and that is something I want to take steps to avoid. I want to respect her opinions without pandering to them. Encourage her to go after what she wants without turning into a brat.
She has taken to, when thwarted, lying face down on the ground and wailing. She wants to play with my phone, she can’t, wail. She wants me to pick her up when I’m doing the dishes, I make her wait, wail. As well as knowing how to tell me what she wants she has to know when she can’t have it and handle that blow with dignity. But I think we have time. She’s not even 1 and has no concept or understanding of the fact other people have desires and needs that at times will override her own. For now I’m willing to work on it. Her tantrum times are getting smaller as she realises it doesn’t work, and her pleasures from communicating are increasing.
Whatever happens I am raising a child with definite opinions and strong wills. I could try and suppress those qualities in her or I could embrace them and teach her how to live with them. For me trying to change a person is a none starter, no matter the age. Miss Rose is who she is and I love that about her so I choose to embrace it and everything it brings!
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!