This weekend the two of us ran a few errands and had an hour before dinner time and nothing that needed to be refrigerated so we decided to stop by the park on the way home. Vann Park is the nearest to our house and is a good size for him so that’s the one we frequent the most.
We hop out of the car and he starts to head straight to the swings; no surprises there, he’s pretty anti-slide these days.
Vann Park has two sets of swings — one is in an area filled with tiny little rocks that instantly fill your shoes and feel like shards of glass and the other with harmless mulch. Other than the material the swings are above and the color of the swings they are exactly the same — same number, same height, same type.
He of course is heading to the pit of glass so I pick him up and steer him to the other set of swings.
“No momma. Swings!” he shouts, threatening to get tearful.
“I know honey. We are going to swing. Let’s swing over here on these. So much fun,” I say lightly as he tears toward the rocks full speed ignoring my now pleading message to go to the exact same thing but a few feet to the left.
I scoop him up from the edge of the rock filled swing area and before I even get turned around the waterworks and screams begin. In my head I’m starting to argue with myself.
“Just go to the rock swing, it isn’t that big of a deal” versus “He needs to learn to be flexible and that everything doesn’t always go as planned, or exactly as he wants it.”
So I bring him over to the other set of swings and a full fledged meltdown is already underway. He’s kicking so hard I can’t lift him into the swing. So I set him down on the ground. In seconds, Miles has made a break for it and is running at a record setting pace to the other swings.
I decide to have a face off. I stand one set while he stands at the other. No one else is at the park to witness what I know isn’t cruel and unusual punishment but feels so much like it.
After a few minutes one of us gave in, which do you think it was? Yep it was me. And we had a great time swinging. He even tried out the big swings and loved it. Michael joined us and we had a great hour of playtime before dinner.
I was talking to my mom later that day and retold the story. She knowingly laughed. “That’s so you” and then retold one of my many examples “strong-willed” behavior.
At 4 I insisted I was running away. At the time we lived on top of a great big hill pretty far off the country road. My dad told me to go ahead and run away thinking there was no way I’d make it anywhere near the end of the driveway. They kept a watchful eye on me as I made the trek down to the end of the drive assuming I’d stop and turn around.
I didn’t even slow. My dad ran down the road to catch up with me and brought me back screaming and crying. I was throwing a royal fit so he was holding me in a “basket hold” until I calmed down. More than an hour into it and I hadn’t slowed. He finally gave up.
Please tell me this isn’t my future!
Any ideas for dealing with strong willed or stubborn children? Anyone else have these same battles?