I consider myself very lucky that (for the most part) Bridget is an easy-go-lucky kid. In someways she is almost too compliant. She wants to please, never stops and questions a directive. I understand that most parents would be woo hoo! But being Bridget’s mom it becomes a more complex issue. This was illustrated in a way I hadn’t thought of the other day.
Bridget has always had a game of hide mommy’s cell phone. It was cute, she always hid it in the same place. It became a game. Until she hid the remote to the TV at Christmas that we still haven’t found. Then the game had to stop being funny. More recently, she had to be “disciplined” in school because she had taken a classmate’s backpack and hidden it within the classroom. Bridget was not being malicious but trying to express that her friend belonged with her and not in another classroom. She thought she was being silly, and never thought about the upheaval she had caused. Fast forward to the next afternoon and we find this on our porch.
Me: Bridget is this Friend’s water bottle.
Bridget: Yes no yes. (She puts her head down)
Me: Bridget, you cannot take Friend’s things. Remember yesterday when you took Other Friend’s backpack? Your friends won’t want to play with you if you take their things.
Bridget: Bailey took it.
Me: No, the dog did not take Friend’s water bottle.
Bridget: I don’t know. (Begins to tear up)
Bridget makes more excuses, I get frustrated and tell her that she cannot use her IPad for the remainder of the day. I then take the picture and send it to the three most-likely people Bridget would have taken it from. Their reply: Not ours!
About an hour later my mother-in-law comes home. She had taken Bridget off the bus, so naturally we thought she had known about the contraband. “Where did that come from?” My MIL inquired. Now I as completely confused. Didn’t Bridget come off the bus with it? Um, no.
Apparently someone had left the water bottle on our porch. The why is still a mystery. What I did learn is Bridget needs to learn how to advocate for herself and not be so compliant/go along with whatever someone says. It seems like a small thing, this water bottle. Yet the what-if scenarios plague me:
- What if she gets accused of stealing and cannot explain that it was not her?
- What if a peer tells her to take the teacher’s pen and she doesn’t understand that this would be wrong?
- What if a boy hurts her?
- What if… put your fear here.
Recently her teachers have started a no hug program. Bridget loves to hug. She hugs everyone from the cashier at Market Basket to her Grandmother. She has no stranger danger. Which is awesome, really. But also scary.
The issue is finding the balance between making her compliant, making her understand how to tell the truth without losing the essence that is Bridget.
Keep her safe but keep her Bridget.