Merriam-Webster online provides two definitions of the word obstinate:
1 : perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion <obstinate resistance to change>
2 : not easily subdued, remedied, or removed <obstinate fever>
I have an OBSTINATE little girl.
"Really?" you may be thinking to yourself, "Not the sweetie-honey-cutie-honey-sweetie!" (That is her Daddy's favorite nickname for her--it's a Cutie Sandwich you see, with honey spread on both sides and sandwiched in between some sweeties. Yes, they are obnoxiously lovey with each other. :o) )
And I am here to tell you YES. Yes, the sweetie-honey-cutie-honey-sweetie. Oh hell yes.
Even many of you who know Miss Morgan in Real Life may not have seen this side of her very often, if at all. She's generally quite easy-going, about 99% of the time. But wow. That other 1% of the time--she is IMMOVABLE. Obstinate. And it's been very hard for me to keep my patience with her lately.
So this morning, I asked myself this question: What do I know about this child? And came up with the following:
- She is focused, especially inwardly;
- is very smart;
- loves to help out;
- wants to be left alone when she is thinking something over;
- wants to be left alone when she is sad or angry;
- has a good sense of humor;
- is easily overwhelmed by too much information;
- it's very difficult to break her outside of herself sometimes to get her full attention;
- yet pays attention when I least expect it;
- and she communicates a fair amount, but I suspect there is much more going on in her head than she chooses to let on.
Then I tried to find a tool in my Parenting Toolbox that would help me communicate and solve problems more effectively with her.
She doesn't care for role playing, because I think it's too private or intense for her. She doesn't like to discuss problems or solutions for more than a few minutes. She seems to want to get any discussions over with as quickly as possible so she can return to her own thoughts and pursuits. Distraction or changing the subject is out, because she is way too persistent for that.
I think what I need to work on is boiling down MY words (oh so hard to do!) to just the bare essentials. I need to ask her for her ideas, and I need to use more "playful parenting" to take advantage of her sense of humor (now where did I put that book?). And what I mostly need to remember is that she actually can't hear me sometimes and that the best way to get her attention is to touch her and get in her field of vision, and then just wait.
And when she's done being obstinate, she goes right back into Cutie Sandwich mode. I need to remember that, too! :o)
This post has been brought to you by one very frustrating week.