Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Delt the Trump Card

George and I were on our way to have some really nice quality time to ourselves for the first time in a while a couple of days ago. Trinity and BellaSky were in great hands. We weren't going to be gone for long but as I was saying goodbye to Trinity, it slipped out. Ok Trinity mommy and daddy are going now listen to ______ &_______. She says ok...As if it were part of our routine. What does that mean? Why did I say that? We had about an hour and half to ourselves I didn't feel like processing it.
Later that night we stepped out again for an hour. Before we left a bath was being talked about. I asked Trinity if she wanted to take one and her answer was no. I said ok. Conversation was over. Trinity received a very beautiful dress that she didn't want to take off and shared how excited she was to wear it to sleep. They didn't think that was a very good idea. Understandable. I get it, one should sleep with pj's on..In our house it is all sorts of things on, some times nothing on. George whispered if she doesn't want to take a bath or if she wants to sleep in her clothes let her.
We come home about an hour and 15min later and it was announced that Trinity took a bath as if Trinity should be proud. I jokingly said was there any bribing involved? She even washed her hair and she was wearing her pj's. Like it was this huge accomplishment. I looked at Trinity and I could she see she wasn't proud at all. The next day we were eating dinner and George asked Trinity what made her change her mind about taking a bath. She didn't answer. I reworded the question. And she said she didn't want to take a bath and she was sad that they didn't listen to her. She said that they said, "Mommy said you had to to listen to _____&______. And that is when she took a bath. The trump card was pulled. I looked at George and I felt so bad, that I told her that. I responded to her by saying, You were just doing what mommy told you to do, how did that make you feel?" She expressed how sad she was. She admitted having fun once she was in the tub.
But to feel like she had no control over what she thought was good for her. To know that adults think they are doing what is best for a child is really not at all. No one takes account for what the child wants. If a child were to stick up for themselves they would be called disrespectful. To not even ask her for what she wants..I set the tone for that.
I was thinking about why I said that and I realize sadly that because I know who Trinity is, I was basically asking her to not be herself for just that day. Just make it easy for everyone. I didn't want her to be herself because I felt that no one would be able to handle who she is and they wouldn't cherish it and honor her. But it was me that didn't honor her. It was me who disrespected her. I apologized for saying what I had said and that I wouldn't say it anymore. She asked me what she should do if she were forced to take a bath again. I said well you can ask the person if they would want someone else telling them what to do and how would they feel. She liked that.
Family is tricky...Not every one she comes across in her life will treat her the way she deserves to be treated. How do I protect her from that. I don't know that I can. That is living and learning. She will know who is safe to be herself and who isn't. She will figure it out herself. I will be there to love her through it.
Before I leave anywhere maybe I should announce, Listen to Trinity..:)


Anonymous said...

Hi Nat - one day when she is older she will work and have to listen to others because that part of the job that one way to explain it. Not that is bad for her, but because she has to respect the boss. Sometimes baby sitters want you to do what they think is best -not only for the child but to help the parents too, being clean and smelling good is a good thing that another way to explain it,. Maybe taking a bath is a type of bonding with whoever is giving the bath.(family members) If she had fun while taking the bath that is reward in itself, explain to her that sometime you can do things you don't want to do and you find that it can be very rewarding after doing it. I think I trying to say, as she gets older she may not always make the right decisions but to learn from them (good and bad). I guess in this case she did something that initially she did not want to do, and it had a good outcome. Sometimes as a parent you do things because you know it right, the child may feel differently but you do it anyway because its what is best for the child. – would you let you child cross in the middle of the street because she want to, there has to be guidance too.
Try and always put the positive outcome on the situation to always keep it positive – Love DAD

Natalie said...

We are planning for her to be the boss.;^)

Galavanter said...

{{{HUGS}}} Natalie! I love how you are talking with Trinity about this, it sounds like you have such a great relationship.

In reading the first comment (and I DO hear the love and concern in this comment), I just wonder about all the opportunities to learn this throughout life. Trinity is learning to trust herself and in doing so will be far less likely to be a victim of abuse along the way. And far into the future, she will be deciding to work and choosing to do what is demanded of her (or find a better fit for her) - it will always be her choice because she is being raised to honor her own choices. (And, I have a hard time equating choosing not to take a bath with either a dangerous street crossing or listening to others on the job.)

As far as a bath being a good bonding experience, that can be true, when ALL parties consent. When one party is being coerced into doing what someone else thinks is best for her, she looses the opportunity to bond through the experience.

Our daughter, at age 14 was coerced into doing chores at our home while the grandparents were staying with the kids a year ago. Part of the problem she had was that she would have pitched in and helped out greatly, but wasn't even given the opportunity to do so before her grandpa assigned her some chores for the duration of their stay. I'm sure my husband's parents wish they could turn back time and approach the relationship as respectfully as they would an adult. Our daughter is still finding it hard to trust her grandparents over something which seemed to them to be so simple "children must do chores and adults must be the ones to assign them". We are all working on healing the relationship, but it is taking a long time.

Best of luck to all of you in keeping the relationships fabulous!