Thursday, September 21, 2006

I've never owned a dog (sigh), but I understand that unruly dogs can be helped by attending obedience school, where trainers whisper at them, or something.

What if, instead, your dog is too obedient? And what if it's not a dog, but a 7 year old girl?

(Daisy, if you're reading this, quit it! Shooo! Go smoke a cigarette!)

So, yeah, what I'm really complaining about is that Daisy follows the rules too much. I know, I know, boo hoo for Mike, his daughter is too well-behaved. Honest to god though, this is not an optimal situation.

Daisy really follows rules to excess. She uses them as a crutch and sometimes as a form of self-punishment. She's the kid telling other kids not to misbehave, and the one kid who who blindly follows some absurd guideline that she may have even misheard. For example, she has complained multiple times that she doesn't get to play at lunchtime because they were told to pick up 10 pieces of litter before playing. Since there is hardly any garbage on their playground, she sometimes spends her entire lunchtime searching for nonexistent litter. It's futile and sad. She readily admits that no one else really follows the rule.

Consequently, I find myself in the unexpected position of having to tell my child to loosen up a bit. I'm explaining that good judgement can trump rule-following. I'm trying to teach her to question authority.

Is this even wise with 7 year olds? I think it is, but maybe I'll be creating a monster, taking my sweet obedient child and turning her into a cynical rebel, or, more likely, my lectures will have no effect.

I didn't expect to have this problem.


carey said...

You're doing the right thing. I was always a "good girl" and because of that, when I finally got rebellious and cynical, I found I could get away with tons of stuff. Oh, wait, maybe that's not a good example. ;)

patsy said...

i never heard of a child who was to good. can believe that a child of yours will alway be so GOOD, give her time.
she must be her mothers child.

Will said...

Maybe you can explain the airplane oxygen mask procedure... If she doesn't take care of herself and eat, then she can't help other people... or mother nature, for that matter.

Mike said...

Carey, I'll take whatever steps I can to ensure that my daughter doesn't end up with her forehead glued to her knee, like you.

Patsy, well, she's not an angel, she just needs to stop using rules as a crutch instead of thinking for herself.

Will, if I explain the airplane mask thing to her, I think she'll freak out the next time she gets on an airplane. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, an obessesive rule follower. that is pretty common, it's the inability of that age group to see beyond literal. Yes, by all means teach her to question authority and reason what is good and what is not good for her. All those children, especially girls, who are not taught to question, well, they are easily misled. Start the lessons immediately. zelda

zelda1 said...

let me see if it is working

zelda1 said...

It works, it works, it let me post. YEAH!

Tasty said...

That was me, once upon a time. I remember that it was because I wanted approval, praise, and to never-ever-ever (ever) get yelled at. Those days are over. Yell all ya want. I trust myself.

OK, so there was no advice in there. But, I really like and trust myself, so I guess my words o' wisdom are: "It will work out how it's supposed to." Heh.

Mike said...

Zelda, advice accepted. And welcome back to non-anonymity!

Tasty, I sure hope "it'll all work out like it's supposed to" because that's sort of my guiding principle of parenting, since I don't really know what I'm doing at all.

Velvet Sacks said...

One of my daughters always managed to live within the rules by bending them just enough to slip through a loophole. In this situation, she would have picked up one piece of litter, ripped it into 10 smaller pieces, then gone to play with a clear conscience.

The 4th Sister said...

Mike keep working on her. I am sure in a few more years you can make her a cynical, rebellious teenager. Then you will have lots to post!

Mike said...

VS, looks like the Blogger gods are finally straightening out the commenting situation. Welcome back. Anyway, I love your daughter's approach. Smart and sneaky.

4th Sister, yeah, it's a fine line between raising someone who thinks for themselves, and raising someone who thinks they know it all. I'm almost positive I'll screw this up.