Karin wasn't allowed a bedtime story last night because she gave us such a fight going through the bedtime routine, and then she wouldn't stay put and she wouldn't lie down and she wouldn't go to sleep, so Anders and I were taking turns sitting with her, and at one point, she flipped over and glared at me and said "Du bestämmer inte över mig, mamma.*" Which means, roughly, you ain't the boss of me, mama.
"Yes," I shot back, "I am. Now lie down and go to sleep." But you know what? I'm NOT the boss of her. She's the boss of her. She's the one who decides whether or not she's going to accept or reject the things her parents require and expect of her. Regardless of the fact that she's causing grey hairs to literally SPROUT LIKE GRASS on my head.
People tell me all the time that it's great to have a child that knows what she wants and is so independent and sure of herself, and it's true, and I AM glad of it. But sometimes I just wish she'd just wear what I put out, and do what's she's asked and go to bed without an argument, and not take everything I say as a chance to do the opposite just for the joy of perversity. And make no mistake, there is JOY in her perversity. She gets something out of being contrary or she wouldn't do it.
So, now it's a matter of walking the line between allowing your children to do whatever the hell they want to and having social services called down on your ass for neglect. Muttering that mantra choose your battles is helpful but what about when all the battles are over my authority as a parent? I would also be doing my child a dis-service if I allow her to believe that all of her behavior is appropriate or allowable.
I firmly believe that my children need to be fed, bathed (reasonably often) and given a good night's sleep so that they can function on a daily basis. These aren't points I'm willing to budge much on. I can allow Karin to be her own boss in that she can decide whether or not she's going to come along willingly, but she needs to learn that her actions have consequences. It's one thing to allow kids to get away with things once in awhile, it's another to completely lose all track of what my JOB as a parent is: namely to teach my child how to navigate the world within a realistic framework. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, where are you when I need you?!
Really Good Writing Out There Right Now: This is Your Boyfriend from One Good Thing
*literally: You don't decide over me