As our child grows, she’s developing her independence day by day. At an early age, she likes to eat by herself and now even dresses by herself. It’s common to hear her say “I’ll do it all by myself” and tries to do things alone. Even our relatives see how independent she’s grown. It is nice to see her develop this skill early on (who knows by age 4 she will wash the dishes and laundry her own clothes? :))
The drawback of this though is that she’s also developed an act of defiance. She’s expressive of her feelings and already knows how to say “NO” or just ignore what we say. By wanting to do things on her own, she even defies our “help”. It’s also common to hear her say “No, I don’t like”. As a first-time parent, it can be frustrating to argue with a child. Especially since we follow a no-spanking rule in the house. Aside from the occasional time outs, I discovered that giving her choices helps a lot in making her do what I want her to do.
By offering choices, she gets to practice her decision making and also feels that she has a say on her well-being. I believe it teaches her responsibility. It can be two positive choices, such as “Would you want to bring the rubber duckie or the little mermaid in the bathroom?” whenever she doesn’t like to take a bath. Or making her bring any toy that she wants to bathe with her. Sometimes we let her know of the consequences to guide her in deciding like when we were at her cousins’ house and she wanted to go up and play while still eating her lunch. “If you don’t come down and finish your food, we will go home already.” Since she still wanted to play with her cousins, she had to finish her food. It is better than shouting for her to come down the stairs.
Dealing with conflicts calmly takes a lot of patience and practice. I’m still a work in progress but hopefully I get to teach my child a few pointers on responsibility, independence and decision-making. It’s a conscious effort to use this “tactic” but I’m willing to try anything humanely possible to raise a happy, strong child and a happy, stress-free mom.