… from the bungalow

Promises Guide: 21-25 (5 of 20) – Little Bird


This post comprises five promises from a dad to his son on five separate pages. At the bottom of each promise is a link to the next promise, or you can jump directly to a page within this post. Comments left will be visible on any of the five promise pages.

21) “I promise to encourage your sense of persistence, even when I perceive it as stubbornness.”

Ever since he could walk, Little Bird has had a perfectionist streak. If something didn’t go the way he wanted it to, he’d want to do it over. I remember walking out of a dollar store to our car when he was a toddler, and he didn’t get to step off the curb the way he wanted to. We needed to get home, and he didn’t like the way I held his hand and sort of pulled him along as we stepped off the curb and crossed the parking lot. He cried the whole way home and for about half an hour beyond that because he wanted to do it over. Do overs: that was his thing. It still is to an extent and he’s almost 8. And he can be very persistent about doing something his way. He bargains, negotiates and blackmails to get his way. Well, he tries. And he never backs down when he thinks he’s justified, even when he knows he’s embellishing the truth (lying). I’m still learning how to redirect that stubbornness, but I admire his persistence. I’d rather not “break” him of it. He just needs to find ways to use it to his advantage.

Do This

Think of some ways in which you perceive your kid in a negative light, then put a spin on it. With a little perspective, opposition becomes critical thinking, manipulation becomes cunning, and mouthiness becomes outspokenness. That doesn’t mean let a mouthy kid talk to you disrespectfully. (I don’t tolerate that for one second!) But modeling appropriate behavior is way more effective than yelling or punishing. A little perspective goes a long way when it comes to maintaining your cool, and your sanity.

Take me back to the list!
Continue to the next promise–>


Author: Chris

Introspection to a fault. College administrator, parent, soapmaker.

7 thoughts on “Promises Guide: 21-25 (5 of 20) – Little Bird

  1. This is a great tip! I’ve been there many times. It’s hard when you are feeling rushed, and when they argue with you I think it’s normal to want to squash that little perceived rebellion underfoot. I have to remind myself that this is how they develop a sense of power, an “internal locus of control.”. I have to remind myself that it’s in their nature to try to get what they want. It’s a tough line for me, trying to navigate how much debate to put up with. I have ended up just saying “no” or enforcing my will for no other reason than out of some vague “I’m the parent and that’s how it’s going to be” mentality. Thanks for the reminder on the importance of perspective.

    • Exactly, Jody! That’s the way I was raised, and it’s difficult for me to get past that. Karin sometimes asks me for a rationale when I say no to something the kids have asked, and even though it feels like she’s challenging my authority in front of the kids, I have had to back up. Sometimes I have a valid reason, sometimes I don’t. If my answer is some vague sense of “I’m the dad,” as you mentioned, I have to eat my words.

  2. As always, I love getting an in-depth look at each of your promises and the insightful call-to-action that accompany each one. I love the one about setting a positive example. It is difficult to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge some of the negative behaviors we see in our children are taught by us! I am trying very hard to be more mindful of this. And when I ask myself that hard question, the answer is painful but I realize I can help the situation by working on my own reactions.

    I love your refreshing honesty and openness in these posts. Thank you for staying dedicated to these promises and sharing them regularly. I know how much time and effort it takes to write such thoughtful blog posts. The work you are doing is so beneficial and valuable.

    • And as always on my part, I appreciate your thoughtful, supportive comments so much, Rachel. Even though it’s important to me to continue writing these posts for the sake of transparency and accountability, it’s still really disheartening to feel like they’re going relatively unread. They’re getting regular views, but so far the response has been underwhelming. Thanks again!

  3. Well written. Articulate. Lots to ponder there.

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