My parenting goal has never been an obedient child. I say that because I don’t want a child that blindly obeys my every command. If I raise such a child, I know that I have failed.
When you force a child to always obey you, you take away its independence. When you force a child to obey you make it feel powerless. Feeling powerless is frustrating, terrifying and unpleasant. Every situation becomes a battle, not necessarily over who’s wrong and who’s right but over I’m the parent and I will assert my dominance over you. I will “show you who’s the boss” and you will obey me because I am the parent.
I don’t want that. It has never been my aim, my goal. I want to raise an independent child, a child who is strong and confident in his own abilities. A child who knows how to make decisions and isn’t afraid of doing so. In order to teach that I have to take a step back and let him lead, let him make decisions even though I may not always agree with them. I need to make him feel empowered rather than powerless. I want him to choose to interact with me and the people around him in a positive way because he wants to, not because he is forced to.
And so I give him opportunities to choose, opportunities to be the one making the decision. Not always, but when it’s appropriate. Is it appropriate to let him choose his own clothes for the day? Absolutely! Is it appropriate to let him choose wether to cross the street all “nilly-willy” or use the crosswalk and check for traffic? NO! (Sometimes age and knowledge trumps the big person in the little body, as in situations where he might die if he makes the wrong decision). Btw, don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I prefer to call him the big person in the little body instead of the little person. It’s just a way of keeping the perspective of respecting him as a person “even though he’s only 2” And so I choose to treat him with the utmost respect, letting him be part of the daily decision making and hopefully as he grows older I’ll be able to reap the rewards of not having an obedient child, but a child that chooses to do good, to be good, and to get along (for the most part)