“I am NOT eating my chicken! I don’t even like chicken!”
That was screamed by our 4-year-old daughter, Marin, last night at dinner. She proceeded to push her chair back away from the dinner table and cross her arms with determination. She probably would have gotten out of the seat and stomped out of the room but she still uses a booster and she was strapped in. After that initial declaration at the top of her lungs, she continued screaming and crying for the next 25 minutes.
Enjoyable and relaxing meal for all.
Immediately after dinner we left for Maguire’s baseball game. All the kids had bags of popcorn to take with them except for Marin.
For Marin, we brought her uneaten dinner. We brought the entire plate and a fork for her eating convenience. It’s not that she doesn’t like chicken. She actually loves chicken, but for whatever reason she didn’t want to eat it. She just wanted to eat popcorn. We told her she could have her popcorn after she ate her dinner, just like everyone else had done.
One of us was going to win this battle. Unfortunately for Marin, I am more stubborn than she is. I have red hair, for goodness’ sake.
By the middle of the baseball game, everyone else was happily crunching away on their popcorn. Marin just sat there with her arms crossed. She cried and whined. She kicked her legs and screamed for her popcorn. Eventually she approached me and asked for her chicken.
“Daddy, I LOVE chicken!”
I already knew that.
My heavens, these little people like to test us. How much easier it would have been to just give in and allow her to eat the popcorn and not make her eat the chicken first. There would have been less screaming and carrying on. Passersby would not have stared at us. It might have been easier.
But what about next time?
I refuse to be one of those fathers who routinely gives in to my kids. I refuse to put up with bad behavior. I do not want to give in to their demands, no matter how loud they might be. Next time Marin will know that I mean business. She will understand that a healthy dinner must come before treats. She will know that screaming and carrying on is not going to get her what she wants.
Will she try it again? I’m sure of it because she has my headstrong blood running through her veins.
But I am more stubborn than she is, and I plan to stay that way.
All the best,
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