Monday, July 7, 2014

Compromise.


Compromise.

Growing up, I never thought that I would be the parent of compromise. In fact, I would even venture to say that when our daughter was a tiny baby I thought that I would grow to be this strict what I say goes type of parent. After all, that is my personality– stubborn, thick-headed, and pretty much impossible to change when my mind has been made up.

But having kids, watching them grow, and actually building these close relationships with them has an interesting way of changing your thought process.

As time goes by, I find my, our parenting, change in more ways than one—for what I believe is a positive. We want to do right by our children and raise them to succeed in the world, but we also want them to be able to confide in us, trust us, and most importantly feel as though they are able to come to us in any time of need.

That's equally as important to us as them respecting our decisions in our household.

Let me tell you a little story.

The other day Elliana came downstairs and asked her papa for some cereal for breakfast. One thing you have to know about this girl is that she loooves her some cereal. And we are not even talking about all that sugary sweet stuff {that she doesn't even knows exists thank goodness}, but just the whole grain cheerios, the rice puffs, and triple O's.

Funny thing is, I grew up on cereal. Either cereal is really just that good, or she just happens to take after her mother. Either way, this girl always wants cereal. The thing about the weekend is that we normally make big breakfasts–pancakes, waffles, eggs, omelets, etc. And by me, I really mean Andrew. It's my relaxation time away from the kitchen. So when she asked for the cereal and Andrew said no to her, she became upset. A tantrum ensued and next thing I know, I am sitting there talking to this crying child about cereal.

For a second, I thought about how I was going to handle this—do I tell her no, you are eating what everyone else is eating, or do I give in and let this pitiful child have her beloved cereal.

Compromise came in my head.

Before telling her what she can or cannot have, we discussed the situation. We talked about what happened, what words were exchanged, and how she behaved. I asked her how she felt and her thoughts. I then proceeded to walk her through a different scenario—one which I hoped she would remember to use in the similar situations in the future. You know, probably tomorrow or in a couple hours.

"E, when you find yourself wanting something and one of us says no, simply say this: Can we please talk about it. We want to hear what you have to say, and we respect what you have to say. You have choices just like your mama and papa do, and although we as parents have to help you with making the right choices as you grow, we also want you to have a voice in this house and to approach things in a calm manner."

A three year old, I thought. I'm having this in depth conversation with a three year old. 

I asked her to tell me what I had just said and practice a scenario with me. She did just that and I was amazed at how well she understood the message in our conversation.

We proceeded to go downstairs where she asked her papa to talk about it. She asked if she could eat a little of the eggs and toast and fruit, and also have a little cereal on the side as well. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that, and he said that was completely fine. And it was. And that's exactly how breakfast worked out, and it was nice.

No one "won" in this situation and no one was forced to do anything. By talking it through, we heard each other out, and we made her feel like she was heard. How often do we remember feeling as though we were never "heard" as children? Too often.

Compromise. We are learning to dive into this with an open mind as our oldest grows greatly independent, and we are discovering that it's a far greater world than the one we had envisioned for ourselves as parents.

Finding that balance in parenting is so important, and when you actually walk that line, it's really absolutely rewarding.

Compromise and all.

4 comments:

  1. I loved this! I hope to be this type of parent. Thanks for the point of view!

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  2. That's actually a really good example. I find myself in that same situation often now with my 3 year old and I've never even attempted to have this kind of in depth conversation with him because I wouldn't think he could understand, but they definitely understand much more than we give them credit for. I admire the way you parent!

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  3. You both handled that really well! I would have done the same thing, especially since I am a lover of cereal as well. {I'm eating some as I'm reading this, actually!}

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  4. I'm going to share this on Facebook. Have you seen this British nanny thing that has gone viral? I hate it!

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