Recognize And Correct Your Childs Behavior.
Amirah has been an only child for the past seven years. For the most part, she has spent the last 7 years around mostly adults. Granted I have two friends who have children her age, but we didn't spend every single day together. So when we have dinner and just everyday life, it would be Amirah and our friends around. Now that Amirah is seven years old and really beginning to define her personality, I have been realizing how much being an only child has affected her.
My daughter has been going through the, "I think I'm a comedian" phase. Although I enjoy watching her wit and comedic timing, I cringe when she does it with adults. She thinks my friends are her friends and therefore she is way too comfortable when speaking with them. It's not her fault because I've been really trying to find the root of this behavior and I know what it is. As I stated before, she has been the only child around a bunch of adults that she now views as her equal. They joke and play with her and always have, so now she thinks she can joke and play with them as well. We have had so many conversations in front of her as a child, forgetting at times that she is actually listening to what we are saying. Sometimes I'll be on the phone talking to someone and she will correct me or fill in my sentence from across the room. Now I'm not one of those moms who thinks that it's cute, so I correct her every time she does it. However I have to take responsibility in knowing that I created this situation unintentionally because there hasn't ever been another child in the home for her to relate or converse with.
So I've been having constant conversations with her and explaining that she is not an adult and cannot involve herself in adult conversations. I've also been speaking to my friends about the things they talk about in front of her and how we have to realize that she is only 7 years old. Of course, the conversations aren't inappropriate in nature, but they are inappropriate because they don't involve her. I'm one of those people who do not like when children comment on adult conversations and I cannot have my daughter being that kid.
Parenting is always about being open to change and recognizing areas you need to develop. I never realized how my daughter being an only child would affect her social growth. On one hand, I'm very proud of her maturity level and her ability to articulate herself. On the other hand, she needs to be a child and have the concerns of a child and nothing else. I think it's really important that we take the time to positively redirect our children when they are doing something that isn't productive. It's never too late to change the way we parent or the messages we send our children. We want them to grow and we want to be able to show them how to recognize and change behaviors. This past week, I spent a lot of time correcting my daughter any time she commented on my adult conversations. I also stopped letting her watch certain shows on Disney and Nickelodeon that have teenagers in them. She wasn't happy about that, but I need her to understand that she is seven not thirteen. There is a huge difference and I don't want her watching shows where kids have boyfriends and talk back to their parents.
A major part of parenting is controlling your children's influences. Even when something may seem innocent, you really have to pay attention to the messages that are being sent. I like to think of myself as a really good parent, but I'm not perfect and I'm learning as I go like everyone else. Always remember to reflect and redirect when one method isn't working. I'm very proud of the little girl I'm raising and I am constantly making sure that I am conscious and aware that she stays a little girl as long as possible.