I struggled with this concept and expressed to the instructor that I view the entire house as my domain. The way I see it, the children occupy a portion of that domain but should adhere to my standards of how it should be kept. The therapist was quick to point out the flaws of my philosophy. I've thought of her advice many times since that class.
I'm in no way a clean freak, but I'm often frustrated by the chaos that exists in my daughters' bedroom. Perhaps even more annoying are situations like this:
Caleb still refuses to use this laundry basket as it should be used. (Those clothes are on top of the basket's lid.)
Or what about this one:
Though I'll let them go as long as I can, the posters will eventually come down, the clothes will go inside the basket and the clutter on the nightstand will be straightened. I'm often reminded of that therapist's advice, however, and do try to allow the kids a bit of dominion over that which I desperately want to control.
Natalie and I went to the mall yesterday to buy some much needed jeans for her brother. Since the jeans were such a good price, I picked up a pair for Alyssa too. Unfortunately, there weren't any in Nat's size. I don't at all subscribe to the notion that if one child gets something they all need to get something, but on this particular occasion, I did promise Natalie she could pick an outfit. After rejecting her selections mulitiple times, I suggested a cute outfit that was available in six different colors. I wandered over a few rounders, offering other suggestions as I went.
"I know what I want," she declared.
Of all the cute choices, she opted for this:
I thought of that class. I remembered the therapist's advice to allow our kids their own choices. I never want my kids to feel that they have to like what I like. But, of the options available, it was without question the last on my list.
"Are you sure you don't like the pink?"
"The red is nice."
"The purple is really pretty."
"It's definitely not my favorite."
It was no use. She was sold on the Kermit-the-Frog-green. I knew I had to honor her choice no matter how much I disliked it. So, we bought it. And she's been wearing the ensemble ever since.
Perhaps the pictures don't adequately capture the brightness of this hue. She glows.
"Whoa! What's with the green?" was Alyssa's reaction at seeing the new outfit.
"You're bright today!" was the comment from our gymnastics carpooling friend.
I don't like the color. Not one bit. I find myself cursing that therapist for teaching me that I have to allow my kids control.
I do believe she's right, though. And I do want independent kids. Even if they look like Kermit the Frog.