December 03, 2017
Parenting a rebel is exhausting.
In theory, I love the idea of raising a kid who thinks for themselves, argues with unimpeachable logic, and questions every standard.
But dang. I need a nap after exchanges like this:
Me: That's it! I'm taking away all your dinosaurs! [starts taking away dinosaurs]
Kid: Elephants and frogs are not dinosaurs! Can't I keep them?
Me: Fine. You can keep them.
Kid: And the monitor lizard.
Kid: And Liopleurodon. Not a dinosaur. It's an ancient sea reptile.
Me: Well, that's true….
Kid: And Arsinitherium. Prehistoric mammal.
It’s not always a battle of wits either. Other little rebels need to test every personal safety rule, in every possibly way, just to make sure there’s no exception. Can I climb on the counter? How about if I use a stool to get up? How about if I take my shoes off? How about if I just kneel on the counter? How about if I stand on the stove instead? How about if I stack two chairs on top of each other and am technically not on the counter?
And then there are the rebels who absolutely MUST dress themselves. I actually love the hilarious outfits they come up with - like this hairstyle:
Zany dressing usually doesn’t bother me much, since my general standard is that clothes should be appropriate for the weather, occasion, and activity. But even with that fairly low bar, I sometimes face insurrection. It’s nearly impossible to convince small children that wearing fuzzy pajamas and rain boots to the park on a 90 degree day is a bad idea. Having lost that argument, I figure they can just swelter while slipping off the slide they’re trying to climb up and learn the lesson on their own.
That’s where all this rebellion comes from anyway - pushing limits and learning the “why” of things. Parenting children through learning the reasons behind the rules can be emotionally, physically, and intellectually draining. But it can also be inspiring - because occasionally our little rebels discover rules that really do need to be broken.
For example, some things all kids love are only on clothes designed for boys, and other things are only on clothes designed for girls. At Mitz Accessories and here at Princess Awesome, we watched our children break down stereotypes about gendered interests - and then we decided to help them do it. Our companies create clothes that reflect the wide range of children’s interests, regardless of gender.
Teaching kids how to push limits in healthy ways - ways that test the reasons behind rules - develops flexibility for both them and for us, their parents. When my children have shown me that my rules are arbitrary, I’ve changed them. Every day my kids force me to question what I really value and to make sure that my values are prioritized correctly. I hope they take that lesson to heart - that as values change, rules must change - and that they can make the changes happen.