I made cinnamon rolls this morning and Charlotte licked every bit of frosting off hers before pronouncing that she didn't want the rest because "it's just not good." Now, truthfully, it's a cinnamon roll. There's nothing not good about it. Similarly though, I'm not going to force her to eat it because it also has zero nutritional value. I got her a bowl of strawberries instead, but here I sit, pondering the choices I'm making as a parent.
Is it wrong to just give your kids the "frosting" in life and not make them take the rough parts with it? I think I know the answer, I know what my gut says, but I'm interested what you think. I, like you, want to raise strong, confident people that contribute to society, give back to their community, are loyal friends and gentle listeners. I want to raise people that accept, that don't judge, that are kind-hearted and level-headed. How does that fit in to, when they are say, 6, making them do things they don't want to, or NOT making them do those things? I don't think that Charlotte is spoiled, she certainly hears "no" enough, but I do think that we go out of our way to celebrate her because of all she does for Henry. So much of our lives revolve around him, and it's a constant balancing act. Partly, just being the big sister means accomodating the changing family needs. We didn't do much when Charlotte was two because, well, she was two. She doesn't remember that though and now, she feels like she has to give up so much because of Henry, which is true. I think that sibs of special needs kids all over are likely in the same boat. But does she realize that, or am I projecting that on her? Am I overcompensating by going out of my way to try and celebrate her when I should just be letting her figure out that this is her life now and she has to deal with it. And, now she's old enough that she plays the "you should do this because I'm a great big sister" card. Slippery slope...am I giving her frosting without making her eat the cake? Or better yet, is there intrinsic value in the cake alone, will eating the "cake" in life make her stronger, more patient, more likely to be kind-hearted and level-headed, everything I hope she will be?
For now, I have an extra, frosting-free cinnamon roll with my name on it. Today, and likely in the future, I will eat my daughter's cake.