My Daughter Is the Boss of Me

toddlerOne of my favorite expressions has always been, “I do not negotiate with terrorists.” There’s so much strength and resolve in that statement. It sounds so poignant and steadfast. And it makes total sense until you realize that toddlers are little terrorists.

And it seems like my whole life is conflict resolution and strategic negotiation tactics right now. My daughter, bless her heart, is a foe unlike any I’ve ever faced. She’s got those little gray/green eyes that look at me so hurt when she doesn’t get her way. Well, at least during those times when she decides NOT to pitch the biggest fit known to mankind. It’s almost worse than the whole debt ceiling debate going on here in Washington. Except instead of coming to an agreement that effectively does nothing, our negotiations at least bear some sort of positive fruit.


But it is not lost on me at all that I’m having to outwit a 2-year-old. I do not like bribes. In fact, I shun bribes in my home. But I do believe in choices. Thing is, why do I have to even give a kid a choice between eating veggies and any other thing that she’d much rather be eating and/or doing? Once, I asked her who the boss was and she said that she was. I quickly retorted that daddy and mommy were the boss, but she seemed quite content with her answer that she was, indeed, the boss and pretty much as long as she put up the adequate fight, her desires would be met.


She’s right. Most of the time.


I’m not sure who she got this trait from, so I’ll assume it’s a standard trait across children: My daughter hates doing things unless she has determined that it’s what she wants to do. I do not like being told what to do, so I feel her pain. I’m also a grown man who pays the bills. I’ve earned the right to be my own man on occasion. It’s amazing the things she will fuss and fight about tooth-and-nail UNTIL she’s determined that she’s adequately ready to do it, at which point she not only doesn’t put up a fight, she does so with little prodding and then will come sit next to you and inform you of her success.


How do you win against somebody who doesn’t even realize there’s a game going on?


As soon as I figure out her strategy, I’ll let you know. But I will win!


Or at least until I lose again.

Image via A. Britschgi/Flickr

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