Ok, this post is a little premature given our daughter is only 3.5. However, even now I’m beginning realise the horrid, startling, fact that No – my daughter is nothing like me.
This is a bitter pill to swallow.
If you had a great childhood, you want to impart every excitement, interest and passion into your child because you remember what you were like and therefore, you think they will be thinking along the same lines.
As a child I loved to read, I loved to play alone making up imaginary games. I loved sport and music and trying out all manner of different activities. I was and am scatty and hairbrained, I didn’t really care about my appearance and I was not what you would call a ‘girly girl’.
As a parent, I impart these things on my daughter. I focus on what was important to me, assuming that she will think the same way. I introduce her to umpteen books, she’s got involved with gymnastics and been horse riding twice. I’ve asked her whether she’d like to try martial arts. No. I’ve asked her whether she’d like to go horse riding again. No. I ask her whether she’d like to play rugby or football in the garden, or try and ride her bike. No.
If I ask her whether she’d like to play mummies and daddies, I know she’ll say yes. If I ask her if she’d like to dress up in a princess outfit, I know she’ll have the shoes on before I have the chance to get out the Cinderella dvd.
This is awkward.
How do you play and engage with a child who isn’t your mini-me?
The answer – you watch how they play and engage with others and take those cues.
I remember doing a small jigsaw puzzle with my daughter a year ago. I was trying to get her to work horizontally across the picture, whereas she wanted to work vertically. It really hit me that not only is she the girly girl that I never was, she also learns differently to me.
I watch her play and engage with my other half and I can immediately see less frustration as they are on a similar wavelength and use a different logic to solve problems.
One of your jobs as a parent is to teach and impart knowledge. However, if your brains are wired differently, it isn’t as easy as you think.
So what am I doing about this?
I’m learning to take a step back.
As a naturally competitive and dare I say it ‘pushy parent’, it goes against my instinct to just accept the differences and not try and change them. But, I think it is so incredibly important to allow a child to grow into who they are destined to become and not live the dream that their parent had mapped out for them.
So, I’m off to buy some more pink bracelets and some clip-clop princess heels for my little diva. Maybe I’ll buy a pink football too………just in case.