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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Sunday, 8 May 2011
My daughter is a champion arguer.
She comes by it honestly (*points finger squarely at self*).
My mother always said I should have been a lawyer.

Some of my battles with Rowan are family legend.
Her crafty answers would make a Greek philosopher throw up his hands in exasperation.
He'd run screaming from the daily 'what to wear' drama...

The problem is, that I have just been accepting the arguments as part of our relationship.
I even asked Rowan one day... "why are we arguing about this again, do you like it?".
She thought for a moment and said, "Yes."

We strive to be gentle parents, yet the head butting has always seemed out of place.  I am part way through Naomi Aldort's highly recommended Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and it has been eye opening. Life changing, even.

She talks about negating~ the fact that when we argue with our children, try to apply logic, or answers or dismissals... we aren't really hearing them, we are just trying to end the interaction *in the way we want it to go*.  And negating generally only leads to more protracted protests.

Without getting too deeply into the whole book (which I do suggest you check out!), I have been trying to listen more attentively and to validate Rowan's feelings, rather than protect my own.  And it is really kind of awesome.

Once we cast away our fears of being 'lenient', or 'giving in' (which, let me tell you, when in the same room with my mother is incredibly difficult!) it really is a game changer.

Case in point. At my mother's this past week, for a family funeral, the whole crazy schedule, high emotions and being away from home caught up with Rowan.  She was supposed to be getting dressed but instead was laying on the floor crying halfheartedly.  My mother was demanding she get up. My sister was cajoling her and teasing her.  When I stopped in my busyness, and invited Rowan to sit with me, she asked for privacy and told me she was crying because Auntie Brooke told her she would be 'cold as a smold' if she didn't get dressed.

Really? What is a smold?
It seemed absurd.
But whatever it was, the end result was that Rowan's feelings were hurt by her favourite Auntie teasing her in a vulnerable moment.
It didn't matter if I thought it was silly.
Or if Brooke didn't mean to hurt her.
(Arguments I could have used to negate her feelings).
I didn't provide a resolution for her.
I waited until she was ready and when she was, she asked if I would tell Brooke the problem.
I did, and Brooke apologized (while my mother scoffed).
And Rowan got dressed and went on with her day.

This is just one example.
But what a difference it makes day to day.
How *great* it feels to come out with everyone's dignity and sense of self intact
(and to spend less time arguing!).

It isn't easy.
I have had to back down, apologize, pay more attention, confront my fears.
And stand up to my mother.
But in just a few weeks, I am finding that it is improving my relationship with my daughter (which if you had asked me, was pretty good!).

So this Mother's Day I am grateful for new learnings and the open hearted love of my child who allows me to learn about this whole parenting thing alongside her!♥♥


Mary C. Nasser said...

Happy Mother's Day!
Wonderful post.

Great meeting you through the Etsy Blog Team. :)
I am following your blog now, too!
Mary C. Nasser

Jenny said...

Wonderful reminder! I actually have this book and already read some of it. I don't know why this information seems to have slipped my mind, but I need to get back to using it! My almost-4-year-old and I have been fighting a lot lately.

Sydney Wide Tree Cutting said...

I am out visiting new blogs today and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed yours!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it :)

MamaWestWind said...

What awesome realizations! I need to check out that book. And Happy Mother's Day to you.

Pumpkin Pie Baby said...

Wishing you a belated Happy Mother's Day! I've been considering reading this book after hearing about it on several blogs. I'm glad to hear it's helping you. My daughter is very similar to Rowan personality wise, and our biggest issue right now is the arguing and her not feeling heard. Sounds like this book might help us both!

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