Our three year old is obsessed with Dora. If she could watch it every waking moment of the day, she would. She has a Dora princess dress, a Dora plush doll, a Dora doll on a horse . . . the list goes on.
Up until a few weeks ago, Manfriend and I did all of her haircuts. As evidenced by the way-too-short bangs and crooked ends, we’re not exactly professionals.
So when she asked to cut her hair short enough so “we could see her neck”, it was time to seek professional help. We coughed up $10.99 and headed over to the local Fantastic Sams. She even wore her Dora dress so the gal would know how to cut it. She kills me.
Decked in her Dora dress and looking more like her than ever before, she ran around town asking complete strangers if they loved her new look. Wouldn’t it be great to have that confidence?
A few days later, one of my friends surprised me.
“I can’t believe you let her do that,” she said.
Why wouldn’t we? It’s not like she was asking for a pony – it’s just hair!
Why is it so difficult for some parents to allow their children to make their own decisions?
It likely stems from the same reason a parent would take issue with their young daughter coming home with a tattoo and a shady boyfriend. It boils down to a loss, or perceived loss, of control.
Manfriend and I never talked about raising our daughter in an “accepting”environment, it just… happened. Likely because he and I share the same values and wish to raise our daughters to be independent, hardworking and compassionate gals. One of my favorite parenting books, Raising Happiness, talks a lot about open communication and teaching your children to be emotionally literate and confident.
I’m told I was as outgoing as my daughter as a child, but as I grew older I grew less confident of my abilities. Perhaps without my parents realizing it, they often criticized everything I did and how I did it. I grew to believe I wasn’t athletic, a terrible cook and too much of a dreamer. I’d like my daughters to grow up knowing they can and should try anything and do it to the best of their ability.
I tend to worry more than my partner, and I’ve come to accept that it’s my role in this family dynamic. I’m here to comfort, Dad is here to push our girls to their personal limits. I’m like this due in great part to what I mentioned above. My dear Mexican mother worries about everything. I learned how to do many things as an adult, including mountain bike, ski and run competitively. If I mention to my mother that I went on a mountain bike ride by myself, or completed a half marathon – instead of saying something supportive, she chastises me for putting myself in danger.
“Why did you ride alone in the mountains? Don’t you know a mountain lion could attack you?”
You can’t make this stuff up.
I don’t intend to react that way with my daughters.
While Manfriend and I often have to remind ourselves our daughter is only 3, we also don’t want to disrespect her in assuming she doesn’t understand what we’re talking about or can’t make her own decisions.
No, we won’t agree to a pony or ice cream for dinner simply because she asks politely, but we certainly won’t squash any of her dreams.
Certainly not over a Dora haircut.