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My Daughter Isn’t Bossy. She’s a Follower, And That’s Ok

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Lots of people stick up for bossy girls (and boys).

Don’t call my daughter bossy, she’s a leader!”

Bossy, bold, being a leader, brave, (whatever you want to call it) are all qualities that seem to appeal to our society.

But, what if your kid isn’t bossy?

What if your kid is a sensitive little follower, and copies other kids in a bid to make everyone happy? What if your kid is a people pleaser? Of course, us adults like if a kid follows our lead. But, if a kid follows and copies other kids, we see this behavior in a negative light.

Does being a follower make your kid a sissy? Weak? Unoriginal?

No!

I’ve always been openly verbal about my opinions (hello, I’m a blogger). But, my five year old is very different.

She just doesn’t boss other people around. She will if it’s important enough, but it’s rare. She fights with her sister, of course, but around other kids, she’s pretty cruisy.

I’ve heard a few times that to copy and follow others around is actually a form of survival of the fittest. “Let me see how I can make people happy so that I don’t get… well… you know… killed.

Throughout history, copying and an eager-to-please mentality is probably what saved the lives of a fair chunk of many populations, in the likely event that their civilization was invaded by another. The few brave head strong ‘bossy‘ people out there, while I admire their courage to stand up for what they believed in… well, that leadership trait in them was often either what led them to the top, got them killed, or made them very unhappy in life. For most people, it was just easier to assimilate and move on.

I know if you’re a deeply passionate and opinionated person, who was raised in a modern democracy, like myself, the idea of being go-with-the-flow when it comes to culture annihilation, or anything you don’t believe in, is an abomination to your soul… But imagine if you weren’t such a feisty person? Maybe there are some battles that are just not worth fighting for?

Parents with follower type of children should be careful to make sure that their children also have the capacity to stand up for themselves, or to seek help, when they need to. But, we don’t need to artificially toughen these kids up. The ‘follower‘ type behavior can be considered a virtue, when it is cultivated with awareness. Follower children make and keep friends easily. They’re good team players and they like feeling part of the community. And remember that all children naturally copy each other as a way of learning about their society.

Sometimes follower type of kids can get into trouble, especially when they follow the wrong types of people. If your kid is a follower type and their judgement isn’t that great, then rather than trying to toughen them up into ‘leaders‘, just try letting them hang around with the right sorts of people and set good examples.

Give ‘follower kids‘ good company. If they go to school, let their teacher know about this tendency to follow and see if the teacher can help to encourage them to hang around kids who will lead them in the right direction.

Children should have the chance to interact with people of ALL ages, not just kids their same age. When children have the opportunity to hang around younger kids than themselves, then the older kids can become the leaders. When little kids hang around older kids, then the little ones get the chance follow more. Some of my daughter’s favorite people are my own best friends!

All kids are perfect the way they are. Bossy or followers or somewhere in the middle. As parents, we can nurture the qualities that we want to see blossom. I can see that my daughter is happy being a little follower. I’m also happy to let her be like that, even though at first, that sort of behavior was not familiar to me at all!

 

 

A Hundred Compliments and An Insult

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I just finished teaching two weeks of a winter semester university course.

It was a blast.

Each day I had a different group of students and I was teaching iPads, which is like, the most fun thing ever. All day, I heard, “Wow!” “This is so cool! This is awesome!”

There was lots of laughter and groups of students collaborating together. We played games and learned how to tap into technology as a teaching tool. By the end of every lesson, many of the students went away thanking me. They gave me all sorts of compliments and told me that this workshop had been so fun and useful. “The best class they had gone to in a long time!Read the rest of this entry

Oh, Shut Up and Let Me Use My Phone!

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We were driving through the beautiful countryside yesterday and my husband said, “Hey Kate, stop looking at your phone and look at the scenery.” I was in the worst mood ever (we were joking about it) and I said, “Oh would you shut up and let me look at my phone!” I’d seen the pretty scenery a million times before and it was the first time I’d had a chance to check my phone all day.

Somehow, my husband can get away with being on his phone whenever he needs to. But when it’s my turn… Forget it! They all need me then. It’s not fair!

It’s ok, I get it. My family likes my presence. Read the rest of this entry

Nobody Loves You As Much As I Do

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I scooped her up and whispered in her ear, “Nobody loves you as much as I do.”

We were giggling and being total goof balls at the grocery store.

I nibbled on her neck and said it again, “Nobody loves you as much as I do!

She paused, made a more serious face and softly rested her head on my neck, wrapping her tiny arms around me.

Oh God, what a melt moment. I almost cried. Read the rest of this entry

What My Five Year Old Really Thinks About Gay Pride

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I was hanging out the laundry on the balcony, when I overheard my five year old ask my husband why we were so excited over everyone’s rainbow profile pictures (from Facebook). He gave her some explanation and used our friends, David and Andrew, as an example.

I can’t remember exactly how my husband explained it, but it totally made me giggle, because she just sat there with a blank face. My daughter said nothing. She made almost zero reaction to the thing that we were so excited about. Then she bounced out to the balcony to ask me when we could see David and Andrew next. Read the rest of this entry

Yoga and Meditation: The Simple Science of Why It Works

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Make a tight fist.

Hold it.

Hooooold it.

Hold it until it becomes uncomfortable.

Keep holding.

Now relax.

Make a fist again.

Was it easier to make a fist the second time?

That’s the way yoga and meditation work for the body and mind. You give the body and mind a break from ‘the grind‘, so that you can come back again, stronger and sharper. Read the rest of this entry

I Miss You Already

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Tonight, I sat down at the computer to find that my 5 year old had left the photo library open. She had been looking at old photos of her and her sister.

“Oh, just look at those two!” I thought with a smile. I just wanted to reach through the screen and pinch those little cheeks.

The photos were only from 2 years ago.

Look at the house! Everything looked so much brighter and new. Less stains on the carpet and less clutter from toys.

And, those beautiful cherubs… Oh, how did they change so fast?! Read the rest of this entry

What I Learned About Expectations After Traveling With My Kids for a Week

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We took a last minute week-long trip to Sydney and we had a blast. But, the trip wasn’t what I thought it would be like. The ‘getting there‘ part was not just most of the fun, it was practically ALL of the fun. I’ve traveled with my kids before, but this was our first, sort of fun holiday, that included planes, trains, buses and tourist attractions. Usually when we go somewhere, we have an agenda, but not this time.

Our plane was delayed… that didn’t bother them too much, they kept watching the planes and asking which one was ours (they asked at least 800 times).

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What was really funny/not funny was that the few things I had planned out and paid a lot of money for, like our trip to the aquarium… Read the rest of this entry

My Daughters Have Never Watched Frozen (Or Any Movie)

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When I was an 8 year old, it used to take me almost 2 hours to fall asleep at night.

Why?

Because I used to sit there and fantasize that I was a mermaid!

It was the early 90’s. I used watch ‘The Little Mermaid‘ at least a few times a week.

A few years later, I was having trouble falling asleep because I was flying on magic carpets. When Disney’s ‘Aladdin‘ came out, I watched it just as much as I had watched ‘The Little Mermaid‘. If you asked me then if I had loved these movies, the obvious answer was ‘yes‘.

Just because I loved these movies, were they really that good for me???

Well, they certainly made it hard for me to fall asleep at night! Read the rest of this entry

Dear Dog Owners, Please Don’t Assume That My Child Loves Your Dog

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I like dogs, I really do.

My kids like dogs too, but only when the dog is on a lead, is close to their owner and isn’t acting like a lunatic.

If the dog is frantic/running around without a lead, or if the person walking their dog isn’t carefully keeping their dog close to them, my kids hate it. Sometimes people purposely let their dogs get close because the owner thinks that my kids want to pat their dog…

When my kids feel confronted by a stranger’s dog, they scamper up me like I’m a tree, grabbing every bit of clothing, hair or body part of mine that they can cling to, or, they hide behind me and whimper. When dog owners see the frazzled state we’re in, their most usual response is, “Oh… don’t worry, it’s a friendly dog! Your kids should get used to dogs.Read the rest of this entry