Having a strong-willed child can be...interesting. I remember when our oldest monkey girl was in kindergarten, Pete and I went in for a parent-teacher conference. Her teacher told us that our girl was meeting or exceeding all of her academic milestones. We were so encouraged! Then, she told us that our wee monkey needed to learn that she was the student and NOT the teacher. Ouch!
The teacher offered some helpful insight that really gave us a vision for our daughter. She said that with patience and guidance, our child's "enthusiasm" would make her an amazing leader one day.
Fast forward 15 years and we are so thankful for that wise teacher's advice. Our oldest daughter is a strong leader, but she also knows how to be a follower. She is bold yet gentle. Confident yet humble.
Little did we know when we were sitting in that kindergarten conference so many years ago, that we would have another, "enthusiastic" monkey in our future.
All of our kids have spunk, but Little Monkey is our most strong-willed child,hands down. Most days, parenting him requires extra patience and guidance (and an Advil or two) Sometimes, Pete and I are a sweaty mess at the end of a looong day of parenting. If Little Monkey decides he doesn't want something or that he does want something, it is takes a great deal of effort to convince him otherwise.
Like today, when he began to get very upset and quite vocal about wanting to eat inside of a restaurant we were at instead of outside. It was a lovely day and I was up for some fresh air. He however, was not. As soon as he started yelling, "I don't want to eat outside!" I felt all the eye balls in the dining room on us. My gut reaction was to take the path of least resistance and just ask for a table inside, but I knew that would only reinforce his behavior. So, we continued on to the outside table (which I am quite sure everyone eating inside appreciated). After a couple more minutes of protesting, Little Monkey calmed down. And then, as if on cue a little family of ducks waddled up to our table and enchanted us with their cuteness. It was a golden opportunity for me to point out to our little guy that sometimes we have to do things that we don't want to do, but something good can come out of it all.
Parenting takes us on a journey. Somedays we take the path of least resistance, other days we don't.