Have you ever wanted your little boy or girl to do something so bad that you tried everything to get them to do it – but in the end just got nowhere?
I’m going to call this the “But you’re my mommy!” syndrome.
It strikes kids everywhere, from babies with wills of steel when it comes to how they want to eat (no bottles thank you very much!) to preschoolers who insist that you have to help them pull up their pants every time when you know they can do it themselves.
Rebelling against mom is just part of being a kid, possibly.
My son paired up with another little boy for his swimming lessons this summer. I thought for sure that sweet boy would be swimming after a few lessons, as he was so close when we started. But what do you know, he flat out refused to do everything the instructor asked him to do, ending most lessons in tears of refusal. His mom tried everything from encouraging and applauding to offering rewards and finally in desperation, threats.
Then when all seemed hopeless, dad stepped in and had him swimming the very next time they hit the pool!
When my sister visits us, she loves to take my son under her wing and teach him to do something new. Last year she had him gliding on his balance bike all over the community. This summer she took him to the pool every day she was here, and she had him swimming before his next lesson.
Perhaps part of the attraction of another person’s encouragement is that the pressure is off. After all, we mommies are constantly with our kids, urging them to do this and that. Suddenly fun things like practicing swimming become a chore.
There’s no sense in rebelling against a fun auntie or playful daddy.
Thanks to my sister goofing off in the water with headstands and summersaults, my son decided he wanted to try some tricks, too. In his excitement, he took a deep breath and launched himself into the water, floating face down over the steps for a count of 10. Then he was grabbing dive rings underwater. Then finally he was kicking and moving his arms and actually swimming. It all happened without trying.
It was fun and games – he didn’t know she had an agenda all along.
He might have been swimming eventually with my urging and encouragement, but it would have certainly taken a lot longer and would have been less fun.
I’m just glad when that growth happens, when he wants to do something new for himself. And if I have to call in some extra fun to make that happen, so be it. We all win in the end.
And it’s a good reminder for me to keep it light, too. Especially when I really want him to do something.