Is today the day? The day I finally just give up and let these kids run amok? They don’t listen anyway so, what on earth am I screaming at the walls for? 3 has recently developed a little sass and her response to my asking her to do something is to smile at me and just continue on her merry way, doing whatever the hell she wants. Okay then.

So where do I draw the line? How long do I stick to my guns? Is every single battle worth it? I say to you my dearest reader, the answer to the last question, in order to survive this parenting journey, is most definitely: no way!

Recently I vented to my therapist that it was really difficult to have my daughter sit at the dinner table and eat in one sitting. She asked if eventually she would eat, and I said yes, I don’t give her any other food in the night until she eats enough of her meal. She asked me then how important it was to me that she eat at the exact right time, or if it was more important that she was eating. In order to decrease my stress, she asked me to consider letting my daughter eat when she was hungry instead.

I found out it is very difficult for me to let go of control. But I tried it, because I started to stress about dinner so much. If she is not eating, I ask her to leave the table and come back when she is hungry. Sometimes she will change her mind and eat, other times she wanders around. But eventually she comes and eats albeit an hour or two later. I choose to fight the battle of no snacks until dinner is finished, but I am letting go of the battle to eat dinner at the right time with the family. So far, so good.

So, which battles to choose? My thought process goes something like this:

  1. Is this a matter of life and death? Okay it doesn’t have to be that serious, but as previously mentioned in my last post, I ask myself what the worst outcome will be. If its not disaster, maybe it can wait.
  2. Will it affect the health of my child? Similar to the first question but more so about their actual well-being. Will they be mentally or physically harmed if they don’t do what I ask? If no then maybe I can let this fight go for the moment.
  3. Am I just trying to be right? Sometimes I argue because I want to be in control or to be correct. But is that always healthy? Probably not. If I find that I am, for instance, arguing facts with my 6 year old, maybe its okay if I let him believe his wild stories he makes up because sooner or later he will figure out what is real and what isn’t.

Children try to push their limits and we are expected to define the rules of life for them. Some people I know choose to keep rules and boundaries fairly vague for their offspring, and others, like me, prefer to have concrete lines around everything. I am trying to find a balance between the two methods, and not every method is right for every child. Which is why a lot of us are left standing alone in the kitchen, screaming internally.