Wednesday, September 29, 2010 long will I be smarter than them?

Chickie scares me.

She's sweet and smart and fun, and I really enjoy her. But she's also got an independent streak a mile wide. It bothers me, and scares me, that she seems to be trying to figure out just how much she can get away with.

Our current issue is that she goes into her brother's room when he's trying to sleep. She goes in there very quietly, and she stays quiet while she's there. I can just imagine her little mind thinking, "Mommy won't be able to hear me this time!"

But if he is still awake--or she wakes him up--he protests. Loudly enough for me to hear. The kid likes his sleep, and he gets pretty indignant when his sister messes with it.

Even if Zoodle stays asleep, though, I have my secret weapon. When Chickie pushes Zoodle's door open, his white noise machine gets louder. I've started recognizing that sound, and I know it's time for me to climb very quietly upstairs, catch Chickie in the act, and give her a consequence. She's spending a lot of time grounded in her room lately.

The reason this secret weapon works is because I'm smarter than Chickie. It's quite convenient, being smarter than your kids.

So what happens when she gets older...and suddenly Mommy isn't smarter anymore? Honestly, it scares me. I'm sure I'm not the only parent who worries that a child's rebellious tendencies at age four will get ten times more serious by age 14 . I was a compliant child. It's hard enough for me to handle her preschool rebellion; how would I deal with teenage rebellion?

I know--it's silly to worry. She's four. All I can do is try to be consistent, try to teach her what's right and give reasonable consequences for the bad decisions--and the good ones--she makes. I've got to take it day by day. And I'll pray. A lot.

And hopefully most of her independent nature will eventually go in a positive direction, with her being a leader instead of a rebel.


Unknown said...

I have been thinking about the very same issues with my son, Ian. He is only two and is already fiercely independent. I worry about what is going to happen when he gets older. Hopefully I will be able to teach him a little restraint before he becomes old enough to outsmart me. If not, I fear I am going to be in trouble.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I totally feel you on this one! There are times when Teagan's smart little manipulative brain terrifies me- while making me insanely proud.

Kerri said...

We have a 7 year old who has an "independent streak" also. She was talking in full sentences and letting you know exactly how she felt by 14 months. And the older she has got the more challenging in becomes on some levels. I joke to my husband that we may have to turn the basement into a giant padded room for me when she hits the teenage years. But she is smart, funny & knows what she wants so we are hoping with guidance (and lots of consequences for unruly behavior) she will eventually see the light. Hang in there!

Mellodee said...

The sad truth is parents may not actually be smarter! What we are is more experienced and bigger!! But, hey, the good news is that somewhere along the way, they learn to use their smarts for GOOD rather than EVIL! LOL!! Courage!

Lola said...

I can so relate! My near-4-yr-old said to me last week:
"Mommy, can you see the ghost in our house?" I said no but that sometimes little girls see things that Mommies can't see so she replied "Well, the ghost said it's ok for me to say 'damn it' when I'm in my room by myself". :-| See, she's created an imaginary thing to give her permission for the things I have said are not ok....exactly what will happen when she's a teenager? Oh yes, I am so there worrying right along with you.

Vixbil said...

I relate to this whole heartedly and pray every day for wisdom on how to handle the challenges all 3 of my children may throw at me and I just pray like you that their personalities develop positively :-)

Janell said...

I too am right there with you. My three (almost four) year old also has a stubborn, independent streak a mile wide. She does little sneaky things like that too, and lately I've been worried because she will lie to me and I honestly cannot tell, because she's that good at it. Granted, she doesn't fully grasp what lying is and why it's wrong, but she definitely knows that sometimes a lie might postpone getting caught at something, so she uses it.

She's also completely precious and loveable and fills my heart with so much pride and joy.

Although I am sure there will be bumps along the way, I am also sure our strong willed children will go very far in life!

headscratching said...

I know it's hard to wish for, but maybe it is better if she goes through a rebellious period when she's 14. As long as there are no seriously life-altering consequences, it will allow her to grow into the person she becomes. It's preferable to having a kid with delayed maturation who doesn't really start to rebel until they are 24, or 34...

Just a thought. ;)

Graciegreen said...

Totally different four year old who was fiercly independent is now forty(!)has grown up to be the mother of an even more independent four year old. I remember those years of raising her. It was not easy but it was so entertaining. Oh, and I love your one minute writer blog. I try to write every day!

Call Me Cate said...

This is an area where I know nothing so I won't give my thoughts.


All I can say is that I think you're doing an amazing job of laying the groundwork with Chickie now. And her independence, while terrifying, is also a good thing. I hope you'll find ways to encourage it when appropriate - I was an independent child but my parents "successfully" broke my spirit. At 32, I'm still working on regaining it.

Other than that, I just have to hope that in the next 10 years they come up with some really great ways for you to combat teenage rebellion. Like tranquilizers in her soup! (Kidding! Unless you think it's a good idea...)