Dr. James Dobson says in his book, The Strong Willed Child, ”When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively.” This is a great word of advice but the key is when you are defiantly challenged. What about when you are not defiantly challenged? What about those times when there is this issue that keeps coming up over and over and at the root, it really isn’t that big of a deal.
Let me explain. We have coat issues in our house. My children do not like coats. They do not like sweatshirts. Or sweaters, or hats or sweatpants that are fuzzy on the inside. Apparently I have a different body temperature than they do. This winter I made a decision: No one is required to wear a coat (well Abbey doesn’t have a choice). The truth is, we live in North Carolina and they are not going to freeze to death. (The other truth is I am worried about what others will think about me if my children don’t wear a coat to school.)
Now I must say that I had a really hard time staying true to this. I started saying, “Now today, I would recommend a jacket, but it is your decision,” and then bite my tongue if they chose not to wear a coat. I thought when I started this that they would have a couple of cold days on the playground and then they would choose to wear their coats the rest of the winter. Actually the opposite happened. The other day, my children were playing outside, barefoot and wearing shorts (it was about 50 degrees) and I had to remember they are not going to freeze to death.
While fighting over coats is not an issue we are going to argue about, changing clothes is. My children wear uniforms to school and will often ask if they can change clothes when they get home. This turned into double amounts of laundry and random apparel all over my house for me to pick up. I will not budge on this. It took months of saying no before they stopped asking (they still ask about once a week).
The point is you can’t make everything a battle because then your home is just a war zone. Managing a home requires rules and expectations. Wisdom is knowing the difference between when what is critical and what is incidental and acting accordingly.