We said no ….. So it begins

My daughter is in her room. Wailing and yelling in her bedroom about needing a bath. She has been for some time now. She is begging, pleading, demanding that she gets either a bath or a shower.

She is wanting to trade one bath now for not taking a bath for a week. As though that were possible or helpful.

After her begging for 20 minutes, my wife says “maybe she is expressing a need, maybe she does need this?”

Is it compromise or swallowing my pride?

I am immediately on the defensive. “So she begs long enough and we just give in!” I am upset. I feel this behavior is due to us giving in every time. I want to do the right thing. I also want the problem to go away.

I am torn between giving in to a brat or giving my child what they really need.

I think this is my biggest struggle with our daughter. She might look like me, but she doesn’t think like me. I know, roles reversed, giving in is the wrong thing. She is not me. I am not her. In that moment, my judgement is clouded by every judgemental parent, grandparent, and piece of parenting advice I have ever received.

But, roles reversed, what would they do? It’s easy to say “if that were my kid I would ………” It’s not your kid. You have never been this kid. How dare anyone, even me, judge her feelings and needs. (Though as a parent that is sometimes my job).

That’s not how this should work. It should be like; me, my parents, grandparents, all the way back to Moses. Kids should listen. This one doesn’t. I don’t know why. She acts like certain “needs” are on the same level with Oxygen. I cannot threaten, bargain with, give consequences to, or even beat the need for Oxygen out of someone. They will fight for it until the end and so will she.

This is so hard to deal with. It feels like every hill she is on is the one she is willing to die on.

So we compromise. “You can have a bath, but the water can only run for 2 minutes.” She immediately agrees and is off. No arguments for more time. The water runs until we say stop. No problem at all.

Did I give in or do the right thing?

She comes out a different kid. She is remorseful for how she acted and apologizes without prompting. I am stumped. If giving in was wrong why does it appear to be so right?

The thing that leaves me most conflicted as a father is, I feel I cannot say no. When I was told no, I could not imaging arguing and pleading. No meant no!

I have tried everything to get that point across. Nothing works. It’s an impossible dance and I don’t know the steps or a test that I have none of the answers to.