Does independence equal attitude for our kids?
Confidence is key. But we don't want to create little monsters.
As a single mother of two daughters, bringing up girls who are independent, courageous and not afraid to fight their corner is incredibly important to me. I want them to believe that as individuals, and particularly as women, that they can be anything they want to be. I want them to aim high.
There’s just one little problem…
In my efforts to turn my eight-year-old into a confident, independent young child, I appear to have created a monster.
Firm but fair
While her ability to jump up onto the kitchen counters, fetch down mugs, and make us both a cup of tea is useful, her feisty streak is bordering on arrogance. So convinced is she that she is practically a grown-up, that my firm but fair requests for her to do simple tasks such as clean her teeth before bed are usually met with heavy sarcasm, often accompanied by the rolling of eyes and the stamping of feet.
“Right,” she’ll say, her voice oozing with scorn, “so I’ll just abandon my hot chocolate, completely miss the end of this new episode of Hannah Montana, just to clean my teeth shall I? Fantastic.”
“Um yes,” I’ll answer timidly, “it is bedtime, so that’s the general idea, yes.”
“Of course,” replies Belle - cue stomping and dramatic fake jollity. “Bedtime, wonderful! Thanks for making my life so marvellous.”
These outbursts leave me in something of a dilemma. On the one hand I have to resist the urge to turn into Victorian Mummy, slap her legs and send her to bed with no supper, but on the other hand, she is so serious looking that I sometimes can’t help but laugh. And trust me, laughing does not go down well…
Strike a balance
There’s also a part of me that loves her feistiness. I know it’s supposed to be the lowest form of wit, but I’m rather fond of a bit of sarcasm, and often when she comes back at me with some kind of sharp insult I want to cheer – ‘you go girl!’
Like most things, it’s about striking a balance. I want to encourage her to be confident, independent and self-assured, but at the same time teach her boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Not always easy when much of her attitude to life is lifted straight from the Disney Channel.
So what’s the secret? How do we strike that balance? Answers on a postcard please…
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