The preference for guidance

I want to trust that my daughter will be responsible. Yesterday I set the baseline for clarity. I told her I don’t like to be told what to do. I never did. So before I even started school I would anticipate requests, advice, commands, demands. I’d stay one step ahead. That built a reputation for me of mature smart responsible. Even if I wasn’t yet.

So I asked Jackie what I thought would be a rhetorical question: “do you like be told what to do?”
“Yes”, she answers without a trace of irony. She was just confused I’d ask her that.
We have been functioning from a faulty assumption. I assumed she doesn’t like being nagged. Hoping for the time it will click, and she will snatch her independence. Meanwhile she wasn’t on a timeline. She liked the status quo.

We had a short talk about the importance of pursuing independence for her own sake.

I had forgotten this revolutionary idea: Our job as parents is to frustrate our kids.

I thought that nagging is unpleasant so I didn’t nag. I was so creative in finding pleasant ways to persuade action or change. That she loved my communication. Parents process their words to be better than their parents were and we find out we err in ways we didn’t even anticipate.

May we push kids to new horizons, motivate them to fly the nest and set boundaries for their health and our own sanity. There is still time.