Today I broke. I fought with my toddler for 2.5 hours to take a nap. She didn't nap.
I'm tired and exhausted of constantly fighting with my toddler. I keep reminding myself that I am the parent. My El is sweet, loving, kind, adventurous, fearless, and determined. For over a year I have bumped heads and locked horns with her. This power struggle has exhausted me. I've all but lost my own will. What am I doing wrong? A question I ask myself everyday, almost hourly. I am patient to a fault, or at least I was. My fuse is much shorter now after a year. I look at her and I see a big heart and a HARD HEAD! My mom tells me that I was equally tremendous and strong-willed. Payback? My mother-in-law once told me how impressed she was that I was always so calm and handled situations well with my first child. She was a easy, happy, stoic infant. Always watching and taking it all in. She would sit back and watch others, not really ever interacting with them. It was like she studied them before allowing herself to open up to them. Now that kid is outgoing and will interact with everyone! She rarely throws tantrums that are full of screaming and writhing on the floor like a possessed fish. Her tantrums are more like standoffs with some whining and turning up of her nose. I'm not sure which method irks me more.
Sleeping. Sleeping is a huge currently unresolved issue for us. She was a fantastic sleeper up until 16 months or so. She stopped sleeping. Napping is a rare occurrence. Sleeping at night is most often a two hour battle of the wills. Eventually we win, if you can even call it that, but at the expense of everyone's nerves. I have been given advise that could be compiled into a novel. I have researched late into the night for different techniques and "sleep training", which now I believe is nonsense. I'm glad it worked for you, BUT I've tried it all. NOTHING works on this kid.
I mentioned I had finally broke today. It was my first sentence...you see it up there. Yeah. Well, I called her pediatrician today. Explaining in detail our routine, how long this has been going on, all the 'training' I've been implementing, et cetera, et cetera. Her advise? Stop. Stop stressing and stop forcing naps on her. Keep with the night time routine and have quiet time during the day. I had tried this as well so trying it again isn't going to be difficult. All the things I was already doing or had done were reiterated to me; however the call was worth every bit of hearing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. When she finally does sleep, she SLEEPS! This means that there are no behavior or developmental issues. What a relief. Her pediatrician explained that toddlers out grow naps and as long as she does sleep there is nothing to worry about. My El is just strong-willed and is exercising her free-will.
I read this article today and found it encouraging. All the stress of trying to fit my almost 3 year old into some mold of what she should be like or doing has only caused discord between us. She is obedient and well-behaved, until she has her heart set on something, at which point her will becomes ironclad. I truly believe if I let go and become more calm and patient with her like I once was, then we should be able to weather through this storm with some grace and without me having an aneurysm!
My strong-willed child is a BLESSING. She is caring and such a great big sister. She is very worried about her baby sister's well-being and makes sure that we tend to her right away. Sure they fight over toys sometimes and El has trouble sharing. It's a learning process, this being a decent human being. If we popped out of the womb perfect and never misbehaved then why would we need a Savior?
1 Peter 5:3
You might wonder why I did not list Proverbs 13:24 along with those other verses. Before I can expect my children to do the right thing, I must be an example of the right thing. I do not disagree with spanking, I only wish it to be the very last resort. My love for God, my daily example of kindness, patience, and mercy will speak volumes to my children. Christ loves us. He sacrified His life for all mankind! He led His life in perfect example, rebuking when needed, forgiving when needed, and when it called for it, He he got physical in Matthew 21:12-13. My actions will speak louder than "Because I said so." My children will be my delight, because I'm teaching them through my example.
My prayer tonight is that I practice the same patience God has for me on my children. I want to be the example that Christ was when He walked the earth.
Goodnight and God bless,
A Girl of Many Hats
Do you have a strong-willed child? Please share your experiences and advise. Although, I wrote that I have tried everything, I'm sure I missed some. I am a fallible human being and am careful not to pretend to be otherwise.