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Yesterday, my husband and I took our lil’ girl grocery shopping. This is one of her favorite outings – she gets the small trolley, fills it with all sorts of things she thinks we should buy, and pretends to be mommy while holding her doll in one hand as she pushes the trolley in the other – undoubtedly injuring many other shoppers and ending up in my apologies to them while I look down in embarrassment.  However, we tend to indulge her, letting her have her fun, and smiling as she explains the pros and cons of products she picks up off the shelf.

Yesterday, however, was not so fun. My lil’ girl decided to give in to her rebellious self and proceeded to drive us crazy, asking for things to eat and throwing them on the floor, asking for things to drink and not drinking them, and more of her maddening acts of defiance. This led to arguments between her daddy and I over which battles to choose – do we let her have her fun and ignore the little rebel, or do we stand our ground and have her throw tantrums in the middle of the grocery store.

It’s not easy, deciding which battles to fight with your kids. You start your morning early, with your lil’ one insisting on wearing the hideously colorful outfit he/she picked out for school and you think to yourself – is this worth fighting over this early. You know that the day will bring more battles, tantrums, arguments – which do you want to fight and which do you want to ignore and hope they’ll go away on their own?

My take is this – pick your battles wisely, the ones you want to win because they’re important to you. If their act of rebellion will lead to injury, go ahead, fight. If they’ll hurt someone else, physically or emotionally, then stand your ground. And, anything that goes against important values you want to teach them or principles you want to instil in them, then put your foot down. Otherwise, just weigh in on whether it’s worth the stress – if not, then turn around and walk away, that seems to work with my lil’ one. When she realizes I’m not giving her defiance any importance, she decides that it’s not worth the battle either.

Diplomacy works – even with kids – so let that be our first resort before engaging in all out war. Sometimes, it pays off and we spare ourselves the oncoming migraine.