Independent thinking and free expression in adults as well as kids are something that I have always espoused! What happens when my daughter flaunts them with good measure though? It’s now my turn to throw tantrums and behave like a toddler much to my little one’s consternation. She gapes at me with utter disbelief initially and retaliates in no time with her deft counterarguments and sharp repartees giving me a run for my money!
Within minutes, our building reverberates with deafening roars of arguments flying back and forth as our voices reach a crescendo and never show any signs of abating. With both of us watching each other keenly and wondering intently at who would be the first one to give up and diffuse the tension, we refuse to cave in, instead stick to our guns and rigid opinions. We feel righteous and justified in our perceptions and the positions that we have adopted letting one another know categorically that compromises and adjustments are out of question and ruled out completely.
I look at my five-year-old daughter – my eyes very clearly conveying that her obstinacy and recalcitrance would not cut any ice with me or yield her the desired outcomes. ‘She would do well to abandon her unreasonable obdurate attitude and listen to my words of wisdom and experience’, I mutter to myself! Her countenance was in stark contrast not in the least reassuring me. She oozed defiance with rebellion writ all over her in every cell and bone of her ‘skinny-tiny’ body.
Possessed with a staggering raw insolence that only kids are capable of she dares me to take her on and challenge her wits as well as her innate intelligence. I am unnerved and dumbfounded at my inadequacy as well as my lack of craft in handling her incredible ability to counter and contradict my statements. I am aghast at my daughter for having exposed my weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as annihilating my ego! Soon our house resembles a battle scene as she independently decides the dress to don, dismissing my suggestions with a firm no and making it clear in no uncertain terms that I should respect her choices and abide by her will. I soon realise that she has a mind of her own and as long as she doesn’t make bad choices, she can have her way and I don’t need to interfere.
Often parents are erroneous in their judgement and make the mistake of not letting their children make independent choices while interfering far too much with their personal tastes, preferences and their autonomous opinions or viewpoints and ideas which are only beginning to develop and form. Right choices and decisions always need to be applauded and commended. Appropriate gestures, words, and actions by our kids should be encouraged and appreciated instead of brushing them aside and overlooking as is usually done when parents and caretakers are in a hurry to complete their regular mundane tasks of everyday life. As long as kids are able to think on their own by judiciously leveraging their creativity, imagination, and intelligence to make smarter choices parents’ indiscriminate interfering and unwarranted meddling in a child’s life can be totally counterproductive and boomerang. We must understand that we only need to intervene when it is absolutely necessary and as long as the kids don’t make poor decisions or bad choices, we don’t have to care to interfere at all with their style of interpreting their own needs and emotions. Rest assured, they are quite competent to figure that out by themselves!
As I urge the two girls not to turn against one another just for a boy they get an understanding that as girls and friends they should encourage and motivate each other and especially join forces to put a united front when a boy is involved. They now recognize and know how futile and vain it is to fight over boys and in fact now say they will never give up on one another just to accommodate a boy. Their friendship is of utmost importance and simply cannot be sacrificed for the sake of boys. By fighting against their own gender, they would be committing a grave injustice and disservice to womenhood at large.