“They” say as a parent you should “pick your battles.”
“They” say arguing with your child just demeans your position of authority, as you posture down in the mud with them and their emotional opinions devoid of education, perspective and common sense.
“They” aren’t me.
I like to be right. So much so that (SHAMELESS PLUG) I have a podcast with my brother where I bloodily argue points to prove exactly and exhaustively why I am right.
It’s a sickness I have. But I own it. And I contain it. I don’t argue with my kid about food, clothing or toys as that would be a preference-based debate, and I am proud of the fact she has tastes in these arenas.
Bottom line: Really, I argue when she is wrong because I don’t want to raise a dumb kid. Here are a few choice examples where the line was drawn in the sand. And then the sand got kicked and there were many tears.
Her: (Finds set of poorly hidden baby shoes) I want these shoes on my foots.
Me: Your “feet.” And I’m sorry love but those shoes are too small now. They will give you owies.
Her: I WANT THESE SHOES ON MY FOOTS! (tears and dramatic posturing)
Me: You can’t wear shoes four sizes too small or your FEET will lose blood flow and until there is a Princess with stumps, LISTEN TO YOUR MAKER.
and this one:
Her: I want to wear the orange shirt.
Me: This one? The pink one.
Her: THAT SHIRT IS ORANGE.
Me: This shirt is pink and you can either agree or we can burn all your dresses until they are a smoking pile of glitter and ash.
Almost forgot this one:
Her: (In the backseat playing an interactive music App on her iPad) Don’t do that with your chin!
Me: You told me to play the violin and even though I am DRIVING, this is the correct way to play air violin – one hand helping the fat end balance under my chin and the other hand fake sawing the violin with a stretched chunk of horse hair.
Her: NO. CHIN!
Me: (Reaches back and in one smooth motion plucks iPad from her fingers and tosses out moving car window.) Fine, I didn’t actually do that. I just told her MOMMY ISN’T PLAYING THIS GAME ANYMORE. Not as dramatic, but man, she missed my incredible air accordion which is punishment enough.
I know these battles will rage on as she gets older, stubborn and smarter than me. I won’t always be the clear winner. I have to be okay with that. The ongoing challenge will ensure that I never become lackadaisical in my old ways and old age. I will NOT swallow my words or bite my tongue and I certainly hope she follows my lead. I want her to eclipse the master and learn to fight well for what she believes in.
Ultimately, I want her to know that nothing tastes as good as being right feels.