Yes, yes, yes! I love the point being made here that regardless of the child's personality, the parent can generally work harder to be more respectful of the child's ability to decide what they want, what they want to do, etc..
For example, my daughter has never minded having her hair washed, so she gets it washed all the time. My son at around 2 decided he didn't like it, I tried lots of ideas to make it ok with him to get his hair washed, but he is still not a fan of it most nights, so, I asked him if he would like a really short haircut that wouldn't get dirty as easily and he went for it, so he gets it washed once a week or once every 2 weeks (I ask every night and that's about how often he agrees). If he wanted his hair long and still hated having it washed I would either need to keep trying for creative solutions that would work for him, or let it go---it's his hair. Yes- it worked out easily for me, but that doesn't mean that if it had been harder I would've given up and washed the hair of a screaming/crying child-----well, I might have done it---BUT, it would not have been right for me to do so, and I would need to apologize later and figure out something better. Just b/c it's harder doesn't mean it's not necessary to respect your child's wants (those which do not pose any real threat).
So- yes, more spirited children are more difficult to parent (that's how they get the label
), but, you can still work toward respecting their wishes more.
Sometimes I too don't feel like doing more laundry, and cringe when they start playing in the mudd, but I have choices other than making myself a martyr (doing more laundry which I really don't want to do) or setting an arbitrary limit (no playing in the mudd today), I can go over to my child and say, "I don't want to do more laundry today, and I am afraid that you will get your clothes very dirty playing in the mudd" and see what they say (surely this would not work for very young children, which is why my young ones wear "play clothes" 99% of the time), if they still want to play in the mudd I need to determine what to do next, I could try to get their interest onto something else, or I could decide that a little more laundry won't kill me, and make a mental note to remember to put them in play clothes (and keep a set in the car).
On the "junk food" issue, my kids are allowed junk food when they want it, I do the grocery shopping here and I don't buy junk, at friend's b-day parties or at Grammy's house, they are exposed to junk food more and they want it and I let them eat it, though I haven't allowed them soda yet, they haven't really wanted it, and so, I haven't had to "let go" of that, if one of them balked at that arbitrary limit of mine (they don't even ask for it), I would have to admit that soda is not likely to kill them and give them a cup of it.
"Junk food" and TV are big limits that I see discussed here often. I tend to believe that if you feel strongly that TV is bad for kids, you need to get it out of your house, and if junk food is a problem don't buy it, then, when at other's homes--LET GO! That's how I avoid those "arbitrary limits", actually, in my house we do allow TV b/c I am comfortable with a small amount of TV watching and my kids are always more interested in going outside, playing with the art box, etc. anyway.
The thing is, I bet everyone here has some arbitrary limits, I think the idea is work towards getting rid of them, that is where I am right now, I do have a bunch of arbitrary limits that I am working my way through, I am working to be the kind of parent I want to be and giving my children the respect I feel they deserve.