We had just gotten out of the pool and were getting ready for dinner
Her – “I’m being more helpful with Nonna.”
Me – “Good!”
We’ve had a few days here and there where she was being rather resistant to my Mom’s directions or ideas.
Me – “But I don’t want you to become a pleaser with her or anyone.”
Her – “What’s a pleaser?”
Me – “It’s where you do things that you don’t want to do just so the other person is happy with you and doesn’t get mad or reject you in some way. In other words, I want you to speak your truth.”
Her – “Ok.”
Me – “That being said, sometimes you don’t feel like doing something someone asks you to do but you consider it and decide you will. It’s like today. A student showed up without a racket and asked if he could use one of mine. I really didn’t want him to as he sweats profusely. I was hoping he would decide to go back to his place as he’s close, but I decided I could live with it and told him it was up to him. He used it. It was fine.”
Her – “If I really, really don’t want to do something then I won’t do it!”
She wasn’t talking about with her Nonna. She was talking about in life, generally.
Me – “Exactly. Speak your truth.”
It’s important to me that she is powerful in speaking up for herself. She’s heard this message related to her school teachers. She’s heard it for years before visits to her Mom’s where she’s around people who are older. She’s hearing with my own parents who are really wonderful with her. I’ve even encouraged her to speak her truth with me. She does. Sometimes she does what other people would label ‘talking back,’ but I allow for some of that as long as it’s not snobby as I think it’s important for the rest of her life.
I want her to learn to be cooperative while not feeling like she is doing it to please others. This means her learning to stretch in her communication skills.
It’s a learning process.
It’s not like most of us adults have this mastered. We stumble in being pleasers at times or in speaking up too harshly about our truth about something.
So we have to be patient with our children and give them plenty of room to speak their truth. I’d rather my girl speak her truth and learn to be cooperative as she grows up than be a pleaser who is scared of upsetting people who then has to learn to speak up for herself later in life.