making friends

March 19, 2011

I’ve always known my daughter has a very “aggressive” personality. From the first day we left her in the church nursery and two kids came out bleeding from the face, to last week when she tackled a boy twice her size for no apparent reason, I knew I had a scrappy one on my hands. 

In her defense, she has always been very active and feisty and like most kids, has an infatuation with faces, so she is constantly trying to touch other kids’ faces or give them “kisses.” Now that she’s older, we’ve been teaching her not to bite or hit. But she also knows what she wants and if she locks on to something (or someone), she is like a heat-seeking missile programmed to seek and destroy (or lick, one of her other favorite activities). 

This is why, as best I can tell, her 2 best friends are boys. We are part of a play group with 4 other moms and there’s a good mix of boys and girls and a variety of ages from a 2 month old baby up to a 3-year-old boy. And my kid just naturally gravitates to the boys. She likes to push things down and yell and throw and run and hit things and do all the things boys do. And it’s not like she is malicious or mean-spirited. Her form of play is just very physical, very…aggressive. 

Most of the time we find it amusing, and can spend a considerable amount of time just watching her wander through her world, destroying everything in her path. (I am dead serious, just as I typed that last sentence, I heard a loud crash and looked over my shoulder to see her throwing a DVD case against a wall, busting it into about 10 pieces.) 

But other times, those evil moments when that aggressive and feisty personality turns on you, it is a bit like trying to harness a wild fire. Only you aren’t just trying to harness it, but you’re also trying to apply the sheer force and energy of the flames toward something positive and beneficial. And the task can be daunting. 

So that’s why, between the “no’s!” and “don’t throw that!” or “be nice to the dog!”, I find myself mumbling “all this attitude will come in handy when she’s older and the boys try to mess with her.” Or my other favorite, “someday we can direct all this energy and competitive spirit toward a sport of some kind.” 

But for now, all we can really do is watch her personality develop and try to show her how to be kind and respectful, without stifling her God-given strength, determination, and strong will. And prevent her from drawing any more blood.

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