Thursday, April 23, 2015

Don't Pinch.

I have a confession to make.  My daughter is a pincher.  Whenever she does not get what she wants, she pinches.  I tell her it's time for her nap and she pinches.  I take the crayon chunks she has eaten out of her mouth and she pinches.  And it hurts.  She chooses that soft fatty part under my upper arm, grabs a hold of it and twists until she gets a reaction.  And I am not her only target.  Her brothers get the worst of it.

"No no, Ro Ro!  That hurts Ro Ro," my three year old will say gently.  She yells back loudly and gives him one more pinch for good measure.  My sons will look at me for guidance, unsure what to do with their spunky sister.  I have not been so sure, either.  Is she terribly behaved or just outspoken?  Is she defending herself or going on the offensive to get what she wants?  Regardless, it has to stop.

I have begun to talk to her about being gentle and using her words.  I tell her, "No pinch, be gentle," and show her how to be loving rather than tough.  At first, she looked at me with confusion.  She would pinch and watch my face to see what would happen.  "No, baby.  That hurts mama.  Ouch!" I told her each and every time.  Then, suddenly, my words sunk in.

She pinched when I told her it was time for a nap and when I reacted, she looked at me with a pained expression. She threw her little head into the crook of my neck.  She rubbed my back then sat up to blow me kisses.  She actually felt sorry for hurting me.

As the days and weeks have progressed, she has become increasingly affectionate.  She is still forceful and sure of what she wants but she is aware of our need for love.  She pets her brothers' heads as if they were puppies and regularly hugs and kisses us.  She is incredibly nurturing.  It is almost as if she made an honest effort to change.

Our children are who they are.  We can see their personalities as something to live through or something to direct.  My daughter is very driven.  But instead of just using her drive to get what she wants, she has redirected it toward making us feel loved and cared for.  Is that too much credit to give a one year old?  Maybe.  But I think that we, as parents, must constantly redirect and focus their skills and attributes in a positive direction.  Persistance, strength, drive or sensitivity could all seem negative if they are only used for selfish pursuits.  What if you, today, could begin to help them see how to use those same things to change the world?  

Which of your children's personality traits challenge you the most?  How could you reframe them in a positive light?

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