I have been meaning to write and ask for your help on an issue I am having with my daughter. She keeps testing me on certain things and I don't know how to react in an empathetic way. So I will give you a few examples.
1. We are at the park. She loves playing in the sand box. But now she is putting it in her mouth, and showing it to me, as if to show she is doing what she is not supposed to...and what am I going to do about it. So I ask her to stop. And then, I told her if she cannot play without eating the sand, we will have to leave until she is ready to play with the sand again. That felt so uncomfortable for me to do. I hate using consequences.
2. Another example. We are at the park, she lies down and starts to lick the ground. My reaction is the same as above. She stops, but I don't like myself for how I wasn't empathetic. But how can I be empathetic when I want her to stop, when what she is doing is not healthy or safe for her.
3. Another example. She is running around, her shoe lace gets untied. I stop her and tie it back up. She tries to loosen it again. And we go back and fourth. I don't know how to deal with this since she will fall if her lace is untied. Thankfully we had a distraction that pulled her away from trying to continue untying the shoe (she saw a bird in the air).
What are your thoughts on this? How do you deal with these kind of situations using empathy? Clearly my daughter knows she shouldn't, but she is doing it to test me. I know just because of the way she looks at me when she is doing it. It's like she keeps doing it knowing that I don't want her to. Agh. What to do?
- You don't want her to eat sand.
- You don't like it that she is doing it anyway.
- You are concerned about her health.
- You feel like she is defying you(?).
- Is curious about how different textures taste and feel.
- Is curious about your strong feelings regarding this.
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