A required skill as a parent of a toddler is an ability to cycle through diaper changes with minimum fuss. Sometimes, these end up being a joy because your toddler is willing to humor you. But, the real test is how you respond when they decide to fight it. How do you respond when faced with fire?
My natural reaction is to face fire with fire and just insist she gets it done. But, as you can imagine, this doesn’t sit well with her. Besides, as she grows bigger and stronger, it is evident that it isn’t a winning strategy anyway.
The trick with influencing kids is to be adept at distracting them. That doesn’t come naturally to me. So, I frequently find myself starting with the forceful reaction and then changing course. This morning, I managed an abrupt transition from “C’mon – just get this done already” to a song that worked like a charm.
I first came across the quote “when tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water” seven years ago. It is incredibly relevant to me and is one I think about every time I feel I reacted inappropriately to conflict. The challenge with changing your default reactions is that it isn’t easy to “practice” these responses easily. And, without practice, you don’t ever really learn to change that behavior.
But, thanks to these diaper changes, I have an opportunity to work on this every day.
Here’s to getting better.