For the past few weeks, I have really seen the fruits of my parenting with conviction. What I mean by that is there are certain things that I just don't waiver from when I am saying, "No" to things. For instance, when it comes to food. That is a BIG one for me. I cannot stand when children don't eat the food that is placed in front of them. Ever since D has been eating, I have firmly said that she has to eat whatever is on her plate except for maybe olives and onions which she has indicated that she does not like and I think that is fair.
I've really been pleased that there have been a few times now where she has voiced her displeasure at having to eat salad for dinner or having to eat arugula. Yet, I do not budge. I just firmly but kindly say, "please eat them." And there is no fighting or arguing. She knows she will not be leaving the table unless she eats her food.
I have been practicing and practicing equanimity and just speaking in an even tone. There is no reason to get mad at things. There is no reason to get mad because she doesn't want to eat something. When I get mad, the situation gets elevated because I think to a child, it seems like we are lashing out and hurting them and then they just can't hear you. I just say very matter of factly, "you need to eat that." And she knows she needs to eat it.
Another good experience that I've had was when we recently went skiing. When D started out learning to ski, she'd wanted poles because everyone else has them. We explained to her, very kindly, that when you are first starting to ski, you don't need poles. Plus, they can actually be a hindrance. We went skiing with a friend of hers who's parents are very generous and bought the little girl a whole ski set with poles. She doesn't need them. D said to us, "She has poles!" We simply replied, "Don't know why her parents bought them but you don't need them so you will not get them." End of story. Well, it's been a couple of years since D has been learning and she has been doing very well. She can keep up with us whilst skiing and because we are skiing easy runs there can tend to be some slow spots where we kind of have to push through the snow so now we see that she could use some poles. Before our last ski trip, she asked if she could rent poles this time. We want her to feel like her decisions matter so we said sure. She got them and she was so excited.
Here again is where the parenting with conviction comes in. She knows that I still don't think she needs them so she knew she'd have to carry them herself and she did. Never once asked if someone would carry anything for her. Also, after her first day of skiing with her poles she said to me, "Mama, the poles sometimes hurt my hands when I use them...but I still want to use them." And I simply responded, "Oh, you'll get used to it." She was happy and we had a lovely time skiing.
As I mentioned in my previous 9-year change post, right now is an important time for D to feel that she is heard and that she can have her way sometimes and we are trying to do that. I am so thankful for our teacher and his reminder for equanimity. It is just so much more peaceful just to speak about things rather than get mad. So much more effective.