Dousing the Fire-breathing Dragon Within


A fire-breathing dragon – I became one of these, yesterday morning, you know the type, livid beyond imagination, anger that welled up like fire thoroughly all consuming my whole being.

It took all of my self control, not to smack the ‘living daylights’ out of her, her being my usually angelic if not stubborn, wilful, 5 year old.

It was not a good start, you would have thought I’d have learnt my lesson, I don’t function well on less than 7 hours of sleep, so going to bed at midnight only to be woken at 5 am, and then becoming a grouch  was completely my own fault.

Still as Georgia got dressed and ready for school, I sat her down and made two pig tails in her hair. I knew that she would not particularly like it; she has very fixed ideas that being pretty means having all her hair down – where she got this I do not know. But, it was PE Day today and having all her hair down was not practical, other possibilities of pony-tails and the like, usually ended up coming apart…so pigtails it was.

So there it was – forced upon her, two cute little pigtails that made her look like a China doll – only for her to say – “I hate it! I look like a boy!” How she worked that one out? I do not know!

As I stepped in to the shower, I willed her in my mind, to leave her hair alone. That took a lot of effort, that sneaky thought of the plaits off and her long hair every where…Needless to say, she was sprawled on her bedroom floor, with her hair all over.

And that was when I lost it!  How can a 5-year old be so challenging, adamant and plainly defiant?

As I warned her, rather illogically (isn’t it wonderful how hindsight is always 20/20), of the consequences of her being stubborn, I had to ask her dad to take her to school, lest I lost it some more!

I plopped myself down on the bed, my mind was just boggling, my chest heaving, the anger just breathed out of me.

Like some people who would open to any page in a bible or religious book, I turned on my iPhone’s Safari browser (it’s the modern form of seeking advice! – Didn’t you know? 😉 and typed in ‘Defiant Child’ – clicked on the first link which took me through to ‘The Defiant Child – Parenting Strategies

As I read through the advice, it made so much sense, I saw how we had sometimes reached ‘situations where the family becomes so stressed and exhausted that the parents stop nurturing each other and a great deal of anger develops in the family’

On reflection, I could have asked which hairstyle she preferred explaining the reason for my suggestions and probably talking it through.

I also realised, that we have so many asks of her and on one hand we treat her very grown up and so matured, and yet on the other, we expect her to listen to us and obey all the rules we lay down, BECAUSE she is only 5! How confusing that must be.

Now I just need to, as Georgia says “Keep it in your head!”  and as the Wise Way Tribe says “Breathe!”

Do you have a ‘wilful’ child? Do you meet ‘inflexibility’ with ‘flexibility’?

© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.


  • Hi Loi,
    Yes children can be wilful and defiant. It can be useful to prevent melt-downs and manage them when they happen. One of the things we do these days is to have the children put their clothes out for the next day, pack their bags etc, before they sit down to dinner at night. After that it’s too late and they are more likely to be grumpy/defiant. All this makes our mornings much smoother too. When children are stubborn it means they are feeling overwhelmed about something. I always *try* to take a step-back from the situation when they are in that state and work out what’s bothering them. Once I have the real source of the problem identified – then I know what to deal with. Hope this helps a little. 🙂

    • Hi Karyn, I know what you mean about taking a step back. Sometimes when in the thick of it, all logic goes out the window :)…having said that, I don’t know if it’s just the feminine ‘I want things my way’ at play though. At the most recent Parent meeting with school, it was mentioned that G does need to learn to compromise….I do feel for her friends 😉

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