I sometimes think I would be a wonderful hostage negotiator because of the ‘professional’ motivator I am to our daughter. I can listen calmly, I can rephrase to suit the situation, I can cajole and humour her and I can turn any demand into a game. In short, I have a whole toolkit of silly, yet necessary, strategic games to get her to do the mundane things that life requires.
It can be as simple as ensuring she cleans her teeth for the full 2 minutes (we have tried musical timers, sand timers, musical sand timers… etc) or as complex as getting her to say ‘hello’ to someone when they come to the house (we are working on the ‘always social’ things we must do to be polite and ensure people don’t think you are a moody little madam).
Last night, I asked her to take her homework folder through to the front room (she was heading there anyway). Instead of a breezy ‘ok’ I got the ‘why me?’ ‘why can’t you do it?’. How did I get her to do it you ask? I asked her to hold it under her arm and pretend to be a penguin…it can be quite exhausting I assure you.
Nothing is really straightforward with our wee lovely, there is always an edge, always an angle and my goodness she is a master of getting out of doing things. She is not a boring or lazy child, far from it, I think she simply lacks the motivation and self-esteem to realise that these are the things we need to do to succeed in life. We need these social niceties to try and fit in – to find our way in this difficult world. That by making life for those around you easier, calmer, better, you make your own life easier, calmer and better too.
I really want our daughter to know that everything is possible, all it takes is a little work. I want her to know that she can dream and achieve that dream, that the crushing self-doubt that she feels on a daily basis will pass, that the strategies we adopt will work.
Basically I want her to know that we can make the impossible, possible…together.