Friday 23 November 2012

Following Your Child: Why It's Better

It’s ironic that I have my corporate career to thank for letting me tune into and enjoy my child. 

Early on, John Maxwell’s words stuck to me: if you can’t sing, don’t sing.  Maybe it’s because I can’t sing, but it made a lot of sense to me.   As a more senior manager now, I see that recognizing diversity and people’s different strengths are becoming the norm with tools like the Enneagram and Innate Intelligence Analysis.

Thanks to these principles, I am a better mom by seeking first to understand my daughter rather than working to improve her.  I try very hard to make the choices that are right for her, rather than my wishes for her.  This is never more important than the formative years of age 1-6, and that is also when it is hardest for kids to communicate what they really feel or need.    

When I began to consciously do this, the changes I’ve made are both big and small:

1.   She doesn’t go to a traditional school.  She used to.  I actually loved the school (my alma mater).  But I wanted to build Ladybug Girl’s self-confidence in herself since I noticed she would not even attempt to join in activities with kids who were better than her at it.  That’s how I discovered and fell in love with the Montessori principle of building a child’s self-esteem through independence, mastery, and the freedom to choose their interests. 
An excerpt from Ladybug Girl's scrapbook from her new Montessori school
2.  I am more patient with her and am more easygoing if things go differently from how I planned things in my head.  Ladybug Girl is a Dove or Peacemaker personality which makes her highly sensitive to relationships and people’s feelings.  One time I burst into tears and she put her hands on my wet face and laid her head silently on my chest : she was just one year old.  At four years old, she gets upset when I don't answer a ringing phone or text because it's "rude" and I will "make them sad".

So now that she has started slamming doors on me, saying “I don’t want to be friends!”, I know she just gets hypersensitive when she perceives my discipline methods to mean that I am rejecting her.  I never let her “calm down” on her own anymore because she needs assurance from me that I love her.  This works magic, I tell you.
Upset Ladybug Girl about to slam the door on me.  Watch the 15-second edit here

3.  I stop comparing her to other kids.  Ok, I try now at leastLadybug Girl has two cousins the same age as she is (4).  One is whipsmart with numbers and can add up to two digits.  The other is an olympic champion in anything sporty.  My Ladybug Girl has little interest in numbers and only learned to jump recently.  

Sure, we still practice... but only without forcing.  I stress less knowing that it isn’t a test of her abilities, but simply an indication of her interests.  And she builds the confidence she needs to trust in her abilities when things are tougher later on.  
Ladybug Girl and her super-athlete cousin -see the difference in jumping skills?  Ladybug Girl just learned how!

In our desire to want what’s best for our children, It’s so much easier for parents to fall into the norm of forcing their own expectations and behaviors on kids, to lead rather than to follow.  But I’m so grateful that parenting is advancing too, just as corporate culture is.  

And hey, no politics.  Can’t beat that.

I recently wrote a related post about the Dove personality and how I manage when it is so different from my own.  

For a running jumpstart in following your child, why not invest in the Innate Intelligence Analysis?  You can do this as early as 2 years old.  Check out their website here.


  1. "i don't want to be friends!"!!! awwwwwww ate trin the video broke my heart she is so cute :(

    1. It's only cute if you have the presence-of-mind to decode her :/

  2. She is too cute Trin! And I love this post!

    1. Thanks, Jen! Good to hear from a more 'expert' mom ;)

  3. Awwww..oh my gosh she is super adorable, Ton!!!! : )


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