I have the most incredibly cute 3-year-old toddler boy. His smile is infectious, his kisses are big and slobbery, he loves to hug and cuddle with me, and he is extremely encouraging and flattering. Yet, he is stubborn as a bull, defiant, and extremely headstrong. How in the world am I supposed to deal with him?!
Last night during dinner, just like many nights before, he gave me a hard way to go to eat his dinner. He was constantly standing up and moving around, playing with the food on his plate, chewing the meat and spitting it back out, and picking through everything. Before you say “well, maybe he just didn’t like what you made”, I made his favorite foods: chicken nuggets, corn, and rice and beans. Just the night before, he demolished (literally) a plate of rice at my grandmother’s house. So I really couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t eating his food. To make matters worse, me threatening his life (which normally works) just made him look at me. It was super frustrating. But, this also sparked a heated debate between several people and I on whether you can change/alter the characteristics and personality of a child at a young age.
I was never one to believe in astrology signs being able to spell out the characteristics of a person. But, as I got older and actually dated more, I came to realize that although they aren’t 100% accurate, they tend to be pretty on point. I say this to say that my son is a Sagittarius. And so is his father. Their characteristics traits are curious, outgoing, friendly with a great sense of humor, loves change, stubborn, hard to settle, creative with their hands yet won’t sit to learn, careless and inconsistent, and in these two particular men’s cases- extremely defiant. Everyone says that my son is a spitting image of his father and grandfather; I don’t see it. But- my son acts exactly like him. It’s so crazy. How can I change his personality? I can’t make him not be stubborn or defiant. One of the debaters said to me last night “if you correct it while they are young, you can mold them into who you want them to be”. I don’t agree with that- I believe that trying to change my son into how I want him to be will only make him sneaky and manipulative. The other debater made the point that “personality traits are different- those change with what you experience and the situation you are in”. Which is true- but for adults. Now- kids do pick up habits from other kids through social interactions (school and playground play) but that isn’t their personality. My counter argument was “can you mold and change the characteristics of a sexual predator or a child who identifies with the opposite sex”. Characteristics and personality is who a person is- there is no changing that. You can tame it (which was my defense argument) but actually changing it is impossible- short of a brain injury causing them to lose their memory. But would that even alter who that person is?
Can we really change who a person is- mold and shape their personality at a young age? I can teach my son values and morals- not to lie, to help others, to be nice to friends, to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, to give selflessly, etc. But can I change him being stubborn and defiant and energetic? Do I want to? And even if there was an actual way to change a person to be who we wanted them to be, HOW would we do so? I do not believe in beating my children. I was beat ferociously as a child and it didn’t do much other than make me believe that my father hated me. So I don’t have any intentions on repeating that pattern with my children. I will however threaten them into compliance. That normally works pretty well. But if I decided that molding his characteristics would be beneficial to me as his mother and make it easier to parent him, how would I do so? And would it change the fun, energetic, happy, creative, friendly and helpful little boy that I have now? Maybe I should just change the way that I deal with him in order to make my life a little easier. I know that I am instilling great morals and values in him because when he is with others, they praise how much of a polite, helpful, and friendly young man he is. Dealing with his stubbornness and defiance is annoying, but those traits and qualities will help make him a great business man in the future- so would taking those away from him be beneficial?
I guess the bottom line is- can we change who people are? And if we can, is there a way to do it that won’t affect them in a negative way?
Be legendary King’s; be extraordinary Queens!