Since my sister and I had a 13-year age gap, my parents only had a grandchild for many years. Sophie was the sweetest baby in our eyes, considering she hardly cried like a banshee whether she needed a diaper change, food, or sleep. She did not go through that reversed sleep routine and allowed my sister and her husband to get a lot of sleep even during the first few months of infancy. And since girls were naturally not big on physical activities, my sister said that she never had to run after her at crowded places.
However, there was a time when the news about several public schools being hijacked by kids with guns explosives broke out. My niece was only in preschool at the time, but my sister had a friend whose kid went to one of those schools. It seemed to traumatize my sister to the extent that she became a strict parent.
This strictness started by limiting the number of times that my niece could go to the toy store. Even if my parents would offer to do that, my sister tends to refuse most of the time, especially if she was not there. It hurt my parents a little at first because it seemed like my sister did not trust them to take care of their granddaughter, but they eventually understood that she was merely protective of her kid.
My sister also limited the number of park visits that my niece could do, even if available. The reason was that she was afraid of exposing her daughter to ill-mannered children. So if my niece wanted to play with her friends, their parents would have to drop them off at their house. This way, my sister could ensure that Sophie would not be able to mingle with strangers.
These things made a little girl slightly confused, but it did not bother her too much since she was still technically a baby. After that, however, the situation began going sideways as Sophie grew older.
When The Rebellion Started
Since I did my counseling practice in another state, I could not always go home to see my family. I could only talk to them over the phone sometimes. During one of those calls, I was asking my sister how Sophie was doing.
In the past, my sister was like a typical mother who was so proud of her child felt she could not stop talking about Sophie’s achievements. No matter how small it was, she would be boasting about it. However, Sophie was closer to the puberty age than ever, and my sister replied with a sigh.
I knew from that reaction that something was wrong, so I encouraged my sister to talk about it. After all, what’s good in having a counselor for a family member if she could not use my services? My sister hesitated a little at first, but she soon revealed that my niece started to rebel against my sister’s rules.
For instance, my sister sent Sophie to an all-girls school and signed her up for private transportation to and from school to not have to take the public bus and mingle with some kids from the public school. But she said that there were already several times when the driver would call her at work and say that Sophie was no longer on the campus, and no one knew where to find her. Then, Sophie would come home and tell her that she took the public bus and even befriended some children from other schools.
My sister was also adamant about her daughter being a straight-A student and joining all the possible clubs and competitions at school. Sophie did that for a few years, but she seemed to question that because she was getting tired of doing so much every day. However, my sister would not let her stop, so the little girl would make excuses to have some free time.
My sister asked me if I could give counseling to Sophie. I said, “Sure, but I think you need counseling more than her.” That surprised my sister, considering she did not think there was anything wrong with her parenting style.
“What you are doing is one example of helicopter parenting. You want to dictate every single thing that your child could do. It was acceptable when she was much younger, but now that she’s about to become a teenager, it might make her feel like you don’t trust her or that you are living through her. That’s probably one of the reasons why she’s rebelling against you,” I explained lengthily.
My words allowed my sister to view the situation from another perspective. Of course, it was not easy for her to accept that she was wrong and that she might be doing more harm to her child than good. But when she finally got it, she loosened the reins on her daughter significantly. Their relationship improved at once, and her daughter started confiding in her.
I hope this has helped you understand why kids break the rules, even if they are for their own good.