When a Stranger Called My Daughter “Naughty”…
I almost lost my S@%!
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Our little ones are going to test our boundaries — probably on a daily basis. It’s part of their learning and growing. In fact, their ongoing development requires that they push back at certain times and in certain situations. Did you know that a child in midst of a developmental shift may seem resistant and uncooperative, and even mean sometimes?
Think about yourself for a second… The more problems and challenges you have going on in your day, you probably feel more grumpy and irritated, right? Maybe even short-tempered. But that doesn’t mean you’re a grumpy person.
So please, let’s try and stop the labels, and let’s start seeing the best in our little ones. They will start seeing themselves that way too!
While I almost lost my cool with this stranger in the following account, I’m thankful to have had this moment with my daughter. Here’s what happened…
We were outside a CVS and on vacation. We just picked up some fun snorkeling and beach gear and were on our way to the beach.
As we were leaving the store and walking outside into the parking lot, I told my little lady to hold my hand, and she pulled away. (Sound familiar?)
She is super independent. I knew she wasn’t going to run away from me, but I also knew we were in an area that had a lot of drivers that I didn’t trust behind the wheel. Plus, she’s small. It’s simply a non-negotiable for me, no matter where we are.
So I stopped, took a deep breath, put my bags down, and came down to her level.
I started to have a conversation about safety with her, and she wanted to hear none of it. At the time she was holding the snorkel gear and goofing around with it, so I told her to hand me the snorkel gear. She became even more upset and then came the crocodile tears.
Rightfully so… the world wasn’t going according to her plans, so she was really upset about it. Completely understandable for this age.
Then… along came an older lady entering CVS who said to her husband (in ear shot of us mind you — standing right next to us), “Oh she’s been a naughty girl”. The husband said, “No she isn’t.” (thank you husband). And the lady proceeded to say, “Oh yes, she’s being naughty. Look.”
I know my sweet little girl heard her too.
I closed my eyes, took another deep breath, and opened my eyes (and I’’m pretty sure I shot her a stank eye — which was my middle finger without giving it). This wasn’t helping my situation. And really, what business was this hers anyway!?!
BUT I made sure to look at my baby girl and tell her she was by no means naughty. Then I proceeded to tell here that we were simply at odds right now.
“You are a sweet girl. I need us to hold hands while crossing the street, and I know you don’t want to. I need us to be safe when we cross into the parking lot. I’m always going to look out for your safety just like you look out after mine.”
Her sweet face softened. I told her we are a team, and I will always have her back. The look of understanding I got from her will forever be in my mind.
Then I asked her what can we do here? She said, “I don’t know.” I told her I had a suggestion and asked if she would like to hear it. She said, “Yes.” So, I suggested that we each hold part of the snorkel gear together and walk across the parking lot to the car. She smiled and liked the idea.
So, to the lady who said my daughter is naughty, shame on you. She’s 4. She’s trying to express her independence, and I’m teaching her to do that in a safe way.
She is kind, smart, outgoing, brave, strong, sweet, independent, shy, silly, serious, caring, loving, spicy, funny, and so much more. But the one thing she is not is naughty.
So… next time, please just walk on by and save your snarky judgmental comments for private. Thanks.
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Last But Not Least…
I’m officially wrapping up my final projects for my child behavior certification, so if you’re not quite sure how to navigate those tough moments when your little pushes you to the limit, don’t worry… I’ve got ya! Go here to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me.
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Oh, one more thing!
Every other week I share 5 things on how you and your little can get the most out of their first 5 years of life in my newsletter — The Healthy Little Note.
If you have little ones, I’m sure you’ll love it!
You can check out the most recent issue here.
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