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Why Defiance is Actually a Virtue

When my daughter was two and a half years old, she started going through what I like to refer to as “the full-on rebellious phase.” You know what I’m talking about . . . most parents know all too well . . .the “No no no! I don’t care about what you are telling me to do even if continuing to do it means losing my leg, because I am a little dictator and the entire world must revolve around my every whim.”  You know . . . the phase where life seems to go from a calm democracy to a dictatorship overnight? “Let’s get dressed, C.” “No.” “Please hold my hand as we cross the street, C.” “No!” “Please stop screaming and get off the floor of the grocery store, C.” “NOOOOO!” “Time to take a nap.” “No, no, no, no.” You get the gist.

When she would have one of her tantrums, my husband and I would inevitably look at each other with mutual understanding—the major question in our minds being: “What is life going to be like when she’s a teenager?” Her total defiance drives me nuts. I mean it makes me completely and utterly CRAZY. I try to argue with her logically. I try to explain my points with calm and reason so that she understands why I am not letting her do something that will end in a broken arm. I try to be understanding of her needs and her emotions, while remaining firm in my rules. And I admit, I may even “occasionally” break down and totally lose it! What can I say? I’m human.

But I have a confession to make. Secretly every time she disobeys me, I smile inside. Deep down inside, I feel at peace because I know my daughter is strong. She knows what she wants, and she has a will of steel. Because if she can have the courage to stand up for what she believes in now against me, her mother and one of the most important people in her world, even if it is because she wants to wear her dress inside out, then she may have the confidence to stand up for herself later in life. Maybe she will be able to say no to her professor, her boss, her client, or her partner. Maybe if I am lucky, her fierceness will stay with her, and she will remember that this courage and confidence are a very important part of who she is. And in this #MeToo world, that would be no small thing.

Laura Drewett is the CEO and Co-founder of Pourquoi Princesse. She’s also a mom to a boisterous, vivacious little girl and a calm, cuddly little boy. An American, she lives in the south of France with her husband and kids.

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