Before my days in parenthood, I used to see unruly children and think of all the parenting tactics I'd use to prevent my child from ever being like that. Oh, the ignorance and naivety! Now, I sometimes wonder if I'm just one of those clueless parents that winds up on "Super Nanny", leaving Nanny Jo and millions of viewers to think, "Sheesh! That mom has no clue how to control her child or parent properly! What a wreck!"
As much as my little gal can make my blood boil and push all my buttons like a pro, she also has this really sweet side to her. She can be very tender with Lila, she has moments where she asks for a snuggle, she has to kiss and hug anyone who comes to visit before they go home, she has been talking a lot about how cute her new little cousin, Kaleia, is and how gentle she needs to be with her. She is also one of the funniest and most fun kids I've met. (This morning she came out of her room and pronounced, "Pee-ew! I smell nasty like garbage!")
So what gives? What's with the extreme temper and attitude in contrast to her sweet and fun side?
After nearly three years of a Kenner-fied life, I'm only starting to realize the following: our children are not a reflection of who we (as parents) are. They are their own persons with their own personalities and their own unique way of communicating. And so I'm realizing that Kenadie is no exception. I'm not meaning to say that I'm not responsible for helping to direct her behavior to be appropriate, but I'm realizing that her behaviors are her way of communicating--not a reflection of who she is or who I am--and instead of focusing solely on disciplining her and wondering she seems to love to misbehave, maybe I should be spending more time listening to what she's telling me when she acts up. Such thoughts have been circulating in my mind today after I read this article about talking and listening to our children.
I know, it's a no-brainer, right!? But parenting really is harder than it looks when put into practice. So.....I'm going to try and be better about taking the time to listen to Kenadie and speak to her in her "love language", because she is really too fun and full of life for me to spend any more of my days in frustration. Wish me luck!