The 4-year-old who was NOT a princess

Ruth2monthsOk, she kind of is. But she had me read M. R. Nelson’s book, Petunia, the Girl Who Was NOT a Princess, to her class today for her birthday. This was my second time reading that book to that particular class. I reminded her that she’d selected it the last time, and perhaps she might want to spice things up a bit, but no. When my daughter wants something, it’s really pointless to argue. Mommy, do not bring another book, she warned me. I tried to vary the performance by having my husband read the story this time, but he’d read one page to the class when she interrupted and said she wanted mommy to read it. So there we go.

We are celebrating her fourth birthday today. My husband and I both went to her class, in part because she was very clear that “Birthdays are when your mommy and daddy both come to your class.” We had her party yesterday at a bouncy gym where they let the birthday child sit in a throne. She asked about this several times, was she going to get to sit on the big chair, and I think it may have been the highlight of the event. She is quite the little character. Her “executive leadership skills” are sometimes difficult to deal with, but I also think they will serve her well in life. I want to be careful not to completely train her out of them. No, it’s not OK to scream at your mother or babysitter if we pull the wrong pajamas out of the drawer. On the other hand, it’s not a bad thing for a girl to know what she wants and believe she should get it.

Do you have any girls with “executive leadership skills” in your life? How are you civilizing them while keeping the spunk?

In other news: Have you ever successfully raised your rates? Do you have advice for other freelancers or entrepreneurs on how to lay the groundwork now to raise rates in 2016? I’m writing an article and would love suggestions. As always, email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.

Photo: Total blast from the past…

15 thoughts on “The 4-year-old who was NOT a princess

  1. The way I see it, it’s not that the kid is bossy, it’s the way in which the demands are made. I focus on how the request is made. If it is not unreasonable, and pleasantly done, I usually comply. If there is screaming or whining, I say, “I can’t understand you when you talk like that.” It usually fixes the problem. I hope I’d do this for a son as well. The behaviors you describe above seem like they’d be just as obnoxious in a boy as in a girl.

    1. @omdg- I agree that obnoxiousness is such in both girls and boys. I just worry that I might be influenced in my discipline by the social perception that girls need to be nicer and more accommodating than boys. Men are allowed to ask for what they want whereas women are taught to be nice and self-effacing about it. I want her to keep knowing and asking for what she wants. I’m trying to teach her a sense of perspective; the placement of butter on her toast is not worth a tantrum.

      1. I completely agree. I don’t have sons, so I don’t have any frame of reference, of course. I do worry that my daughter is very physical and will be encouraged to…. not be once she gets to kindergarten. Hopefully my daughter will take after me and continue to be outspoken about what she wants, but it certainly isn’t the easiest path as, as you point out, some people have different expectations for girls. There are pros and cons I suppose no matter what.

  2. When my kids whined or (nearly) screamed, I feigned “the foreigner” and treated it like it was a foreign language. “I’m sorry, I can’t quite understand you, perhaps a little more slowly?” They hated it, but it worked, they rarely whined or worse. When little friends started to whine, my kid said “uh, my mom doesn’t understand whining, just talk normal” And BTW, DS#1 had a thing with pockets, his pants HAD to have pockets. Whining, demanding, foot-stamping. He drove it home one day: he came in to us with “a stem in my nose”. After he blew it out (learned how to blow his nose that day) it turned out to be a teensy toy. “Why was it in your nose?” “Because I didn’t have pockets to put it in.” Oh, yes, he had pants thereafter.

  3. I heartily approve of her book choice, of course! My own budding executives are getting a lot of coaching on handling differences in strategic vision right now….

  4. I’m with omdg and ‘Nother Barb…if the request is reasonable and polite words are used, then I can roll with it. I actually kind of like when my son comes up with creative ways to get both our needs met. Last night, my need was for him to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth before bed. He refused unless he could do it in the nanny’s bathroom. I asked him to make his request politely using ‘please’ and a non-whiney voice…. and we both win. He learns the art of negotiation (a legitimate skill in the business world) and how to get his needs met (without being a brat). And I get to practice being flexible on how my needs get met.

    1. @Amy- we wind up picking a lot of battles too. One major sticking point, right now, is that the 8-year-old has a highly attuned sense of fairness, and will insist on whatever the 4-year-old gets, even if he doesn’t really care. I’ll point out that he doesn’t care (you didn’t even want the leftover pancakes until she mentioned it!) but there seems to be a “no quarter” mindset…

      1. Yes, we are dealing with the fairness thing with my 5 year old now, too. He wants everything little brother gets, even if he has no interest in that thing whatsoever, or he chose a better alternative. “NOFAIR!” is thrown around a lot, and my answer is “no, its not fair. fair is not the point”
        I don’t have girls so can’t speak directly to your topic, but would imagine it would be the same, as stated by others. It depends on the tone & nature of the “ask”. I actually love the creative negotiating my boys come up with sometimes! Way more likely to work than a tantrum.

  5. My daughter has some mad exec skillz! 🙂 I highly recommend the book “Raising your Spirited Child”. I wish I’d read it much, much sooner!

  6. I have a very opinionated 4 year old girl, and I am fine with her decisions, so long as they’re not completely unreasonable and framed politely. I do the same thing – tell her I don’t understand her if her requests are made in a rude or whiny manner. On the other hand, my 12 y/o boy is the one who is always on watch for things being fair. I try to explain how yes, a particular thing is fair, or actually this particular thing is in your favor, but it never gets through his thick skull. It’s incredibly frustrating. Even when he’s making out better than anyone else, it’s not fair to him somehow.

  7. Hi!
    This is a bit late… But my 4 yo (in 3 weeks!) is also the oldest of two and quite opinionated… None of my acquaintances are surprised: they all say she takes after her mama 🙂
    And since I do believe that knowing what I want helped me quite a bit in life, I want her to keep this strong voice! So, when her bossiness gets way too much to handle, I put myself in her shoes amd try to see it from her perspective. And sometimes she can even be talked to other approaches. But it is worth the effort to make her beleive she can and should get what she deserves. Keep it up!

    As for raising prices: i’m in the corporate world, so it is different, but for what it’s worth: we raise the prices/adjudt scope ocassionally. Not often, but following a benchmark with respecive industry services. We don’t apply it on sold or booked work, only to new work. And if there are any concerns, we share that this new pricing reflects the standard industy benchmark.

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