Friday, January 21, 2011

There is most definitely a will...

Scarlett has recently taken to never eating, throwing her head back in tantrum mode and wiggling her bottom in my arms when being carried, each accompanied by a scream, yell and cry.  She is asserting her will and I am trying to respect it and encourage her to make her own decisions while showing her that I still have the final say.

I have been catching myself telling her "no" before she touches the fireplace screen or rips the straw out of her juice box and turns it upside down.  I want there to be a action before my reaction but it is so hard to stop myself from stopping her from making the "wrong" decision.  She hears my "no" and what could have been a simple spit out of food becomes an angry tantrum of spoon throwing and yogurt in the hair, nose, eyes, carpet, shirt, and chair.

Scarlett's Godparents, two people whose parenting style I very highly respect, give their children choices.  They speak to their children like adults with a full realization that they are still children.  By giving their children options and choices they are letting them assert their will while still giving guidelines as to what the correct choice might be.  They are teaching them that each action will have a consequence, good or bad, depending on the choices that they make.  Although Scarlett still lacks the attention span or a full grasp on the English language,  I want to start giving her choices.  I want her to be able to touch the fireplace screen, to get ash on her hands and soot on her face.  My immediate "no" is strengthening her willful nature, her reaction to "no" is harsher than my allowing her to fall into the unlit fireplace, realizing on her own that falling is a consequence of brushing her hand along the screen.  By stopping her from making a choice I am hindering her ability to choose and further hindering the lessons that come from choosing.  I only hope that the older she gets the more I am able to distance myself from the "easy" route of stopping the wrong choice for her before the choice is even made.  I hope that she never looses her willfulness and that by allowing her choices now, I can help guide her to make the right ones in the future.

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