There have been a couple of times this week where I have to say my daughter has been bigger than me.
I say this not with any shame but more that I am proud of the stance she has taken on a couple of issues.
I am also pleased that in doing so she has made me realise that it’s time for a little adjustment.
I have had a ‘first’ apology this week. It was necessary but it also felt quite emotional because I know that it was hard for her. I was very gracious with my acceptance and resisted the urge to further the debate and we had a big squidgy cuddle.
Having made the step of apologising I felt that it was important that she was made to feel she had done the right thing and feel good about doing so.
Arguing is another thing that she has mastered. So much so that we have come to expect it.
This morning she shocked me.
After a disagreement that would normally entail a storm off, she quickly stopped me in my tracks and became very reasonable in pointing out why she had taken the stance she had and wanted to merrily continue the conversation we were having.
No storm off.
This caught me completely off guard as I found myself still wittering on about what had happened.
It is so very easy to assume that a child is going to say something or react in a certain way.
This last week has made me realise that this is not always the case.
As an adult, I find it particularly annoying as I’m sure we all do when someone says ‘I knew you would say that/think that’. It implies that they know better about what we think and do.
That is precisely what we have been doing with her.
You get to know your child’s personality and behaviour so well as a parent that you can almost predict their responses and reactions to situations.
That is all perfectly fine but of course she is starting to change and mature.
It has really hit home that she is growing up.
With this realisation comes an awareness that we need to adapt our parenting to accommodate this little young lady.
It can sometimes be very easy to get into a way of parenting that fits a period of time. It works, everyone knows where they stand – all is good.
The Kid has now reached the age where she is becoming more and more independent. Also she is and has always been very strong willed.
Embracing the new found independence is a whole area for another time but what I am doing is backing off to allow her to step forward and do the things she wants to do.
There will always be times when we question our parenting and I feel that we are on the cusp of a new chapter right now.
One thing I have really noticed is her heightened sense of self awareness, self consciousness and embarrassment.
We spend much of our time encouraging our children, telling them how wonderful they are and praise them at every opportunity. We want them to feel good about themselves. We don’t want them to worry about what others think.
Of course she is going to start find her parents embarrassing. I’d be worried if she didn’t. Obviously, like all parents we have a little tease and pretend to do funny dances and that’s all fine. I think we may be moving towards the stage where it is more in private but that’s fine too. I’m always a bit partial to a funny street dance or walk from time to time but can generally judge if the mood isn’t there.
Having said that, she does have a wonderful sense of humour and is a fabulous mimic.
I have found it tricky that she is embarrassed when she sees someone she knows and stops in her tracks and behaves differently.
I find myself saying the usual thing ‘take no notice of what other people are thinking’.
Of course that’s all well and good for an adult but it is a learned behaviour that comes about from having achieved a sense of self and being comfortable in your own skin.
I find it useful at times like this to cast my mind back to when I was her age and to try to remember how I saw things and how I felt. I have encouraged my husband to do the same.
What I realise is that developing a sense of self comes with being exposed to many different life situations – good and bad.
She will do precisely as we did as we grew up and will make sense of things and become her own person as she grows.
In many respects we are going to be the sounding board for all of these developments and like so many other parents, we will be the ones on the receiving end of the backlash when things don’t go so well.
It’s about us as a whole family adapting to this slightly more grown up way of being.
It looks as though she is well on her way so I guess as parents we just need ‘to get with the programme’.
We shall once again be apprentice parents as we continue our ‘grown-up’ journey.
No funny walks required.
Do you find yourself having to hit the parent reset button from time to time?