Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes...

I have a stubborn daughter. Actually, that might be unfair. I have a daughter who adores rules and order, and until I understood this pivotal aspect of her nature, we butted heads - even more than we do now! It irks her terribly when she sees rules being ignored (exceptions are at times given to herself, however) and she can't help but bowl in and solve the problem or demand that justice be served. When there are no clear rules, she is a nightmare. Every unstated or unwritten regulation will be tested and tried to the point of extreme exasperation. Once any boundaries have been outlined and discussed at length however, things are usually reasonably plain sailing. Unless of course she sees a loophole in said law, and then said law is put on trial, resulting in even more extreme exasperation.

She's actually quite lovely, really!

Her somewhat anti-social behaviours have been the target of our parenting bootcamp at regular intervals since she hit an age where it became obvious that it was needed. Basically when I realised that the reason little old ladies had stopped cooing over the curly-haired cherub in the pram was because she was turning them to stone with her withering glares.

We do a lot of role play. You know: "when *** says / does *** what would a good friend say / do to solve the problem?" Basically all of the feel-good blah that you read in parenting books. We didn't have much choice though, because only the playgroup Biter (every group has one - is it your kid?) gets more social derision than the rude little monster that sticks its tongue out at anyone that glances sideways in its direction.

Anyway, I think we might be making progress. She still has to make a conscious choice to be polite. She isn't naturally predisposed towards pleasantness, and still needs to vent a long spiel of negative happenings in her day before she is relaxed enough to sleep. A bit like poor old Eeyore, actually.

But she is thinking about her actions. She has realised that other people have feelings. She has realised that her behaviour influences other people's feelings - beyond manipulating parents, of course. She realised that a LONG time ago! And she is coming out with some classic comments, usually said in a loud, indignant voice.

Like this one:
"Mum, that lady didn't have a smile, so I gave her one of mine. It was a NICE smile, and she's STILL grumpy. Must be a pretty bad old day SHE'S having."

**cue mother to die a thousand deaths**

"Mum, those kids aren't 5. I think they're actually only 3. They're not allowed on that equipment without an adult."

"Excuse me, can you get out of the way? Slides are for going DOWN, not UP."

Note, there is no screaming or tongue-sticking (AKA 'The Tongue Dance' - Rule Loophole #213) just clear, stated opinion. Not particularly welcome, but not entirely offensive at this stage either. I no longer fear she's heading toward a childhood spent as a social pariah (though to be fair, she probably wouldn't care, as long as she was justified!) and she might actually be grasping some pretty important concepts about human behaviour. If she's smart - like her father - she'll use them well in life and charm her teachers and superiors. If she's not - like her mother - she'll just have to put her bossiness to good use and BE the freaking teacher!

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