Adaptable ... Not Always a Good Thing!

Liz Fogle

I think every parent's goal is to raise a child that is self-sufficient and independent. I know it is one of my goals at a mother. At an early age, we began to encourage Bug (my daughter) to try tasks on her own. Our desire was for Bug to try a task, before we jump in and do it for her. They could be simple things like: dressing a baby doll, putting on your shoes, or making your bed.

Along with the self-sufficiency, we’ve encouraged Bug to learn how to entertain herself. This is not to say we don’t spend time with her or play with her, but it isn’t always play time. Bug knows that mommy and daddy sometimes have other things they need to do and she will have to find something to do on her own. I love that Bug can use her imagination and play by herself. This relieves the stress of having to “entertain” Bug all the time.

Unfortunately, this self-sufficiency, independence, and entertaining herself is starting to backfire. While these are all great qualities, they can also make a child adaptable. This adaptable behavior is a serious problem when it comes to punishing bad behavior. Ugh!!!! Let me give you a few examples. Bug throws a fit about what I pick out for her to wear to school. She is warned, but still continues. Bug loses afternoon movie time. This punishment is not a big deal; Bug finds another activity to occupy her time and doesn’t give a movie a second thought. Bug gets in trouble at school and is sent to her room. No big deal! Bug sits on her bed and makes up silly songs. Next thing I know, she is performing a concert at the top of her lungs! Can we say adaptable?!?!

Ben (my husband) and I have decided that we could probably take everything away and Bug would find a spec of dirt to play with. I love her adaptability, but what is a parent to do?!?! Anyone else have a child like this? I know some people who have a teenage son like this. They say they can take every privilege away and he just doesn’t care. He adapts! Oh…please tell me this gets better with age?!?!

Well we made a great discovery last night (well my husband did)! We found something we can take away as punishment! Bug received an American Girl doll for Christmas. After a small incident, Ben took the doll away from her for 24 hours! This morning, Bug was standing looking at the doll with big alligator tears in her eyes. Man did I feel like the mean mommy! It broke my heart, but I had to be firm!! Bug will probably think twice about her behavior now (or I can only hope).

Oh I love my little independent child! I wonder where she gets all of these adaptable/independent characteristics?!?! Who am I kidding, she gets it from me! Is this what pay back looks like?

All kidding aside, Bug is a pretty good child! I have very few problems out of her. She is a good student and is respectful. I love that she is independent and thinks on her own. I just wish she wasn’t so adaptable all the time.



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