I gave birth to what most people would describe “a strong-willed child”. I personally hate this term. It’s just a nice way of saying that my daughter is out of control. Sometimes she is, but she’s also only three. She hasn’t learned how to properly express the emotions that she is feeling. Most adults I know don’t do too great of a job at this either.
The amount of times that I have gotten irritated looks at restaurants makes me sad. I get sympathetic glances from other shoppers almost every time we are out. I see judgement from other moms whose kids are sitting obediently in the shopping cart while mine is running 12 paces in front of me. We get eye rolls as I drag my screaming child from the playground.
“You’ve sure got your hands full”
“She must be ready for a nap”
“Honey, do you need some help?”
I try my best to make sure that my children know what is and is not socially appropriate. I know that my job is to raise functioning members of society. You know how that happens though? Through learning! You aren’t just born knowing how to behave.
My strong-willed child is filled to bursting with life.
She wants to see and touch everything. She wants to know how things work and why, why, why. That is okay with me. Her energy is not a burden on me. I am sorry that others assume it is.
My strong-willed child has found her voice and is learning how to express herself.
She hasn’t quite learned pitch or volume control yet….but she is working on it.
She is learning what she likes and what excites her.
Today it is dinosaurs and pocketbooks. She needs them all! We are teaching her the difference between wants and needs.
My daughter is active.
She thrives on activity. Being trapped in a shopping cart while we get groceries is torture for her. Holding hands when we are walking through a parking lot is almost as bad as severing a limb. One day she will understand why we ride in shopping carts and hold hands to cross the street. Until it clicks however I will just keep teaching.
My strong-willed child is a fighter.
She knows what she wants and she tries so hard to tell you why she wants it. Sometimes the only way a three year old can try to reason is with a tantrum. I’m sorry that its not socially acceptable to kick and scream in the coffee isle at Target but my three year old doesn’t understand that yet.
Please don’t feel bad for me. I don’t feel bad for me. My daughter is my hero. She needed her big personality to fight a big nasty monster inside her little body when she was just nine months old. Her personality and spirit are a blessing.
Please keep your irritation to yourself. I imagine those of you who are irritated at my child’s behavior were once three years old yourself and probably weren’t always on your best behavior either.
Please do not judge me. Do not judge my child. Do not judge her behavior. I don’t care that she acts differently than your child. I will not break her little spirit just to avoid judgement from other people. Would you do that to your child?
Everyone has reasons behind the ways they behave. Have you ever considered why children act certain ways? Have you ever considered that maybe there were things in my child’s life that make sitting still seem like torture, or being quite seem like the end of the world?
Have you ever considered that maybe I am NOT a bad mom? Maybe I am actually pretty good one. I am letting her learn and explore and grow at her own pace. I am not forcing adult behaviors on her at age three. I am letting her be a child.
Yes, some days I pray for naptime to get here sooner. Yes, some days I use the Wal-Mart grocery pickup because its far easier than going into the store. Yes, some days I wake up still exhausted from the day before. But these are NORMAL parenting things. These are not a result of having a “strong-willed” child.
When I describe my daughter I like to use all the positive words that go along with her big personality.
She is brave and strong. She’s imaginative and creative. She loves big and she hurts big. She’s opinionated and assertive.
What she is not is a bad child.
There are so many bigger things going on in life than having to stress over someone else’s perception of my parenting abilities or my daughters behavior.
Do you ever feel this way? Like everyone else thinks you are getting it wrong but you KNOW you are getting it right? Mama, do not let anyone make you question yourself or your abilities. You were blessed with whatever temperament your child has because God knew you could handle it. That child and his or her personality was picked for YOU.
Let your child be who they were meant to be. Who cares what everyone else thinks?