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My daughter is too nice. Babble.com’s Bad Parent column.

My daughter is too nice.

By Sasha Brown-Worsham |

As a kid, I was a terror. 

“You were a bully,” my husband says. And since I have known him for two thirds of my life, I trust his take.

I was the child who was sent to a child psychologist by my kindergarten teacher after I led a revolt against the art teacher. No purple paint? Let’s stage a walk out! I led fifteen miniature humans on a 200-foot walk out the door of our small private school, all with a wild-haired art teacher in her twenties running behind us. I think we were the first and last class of her career in education.

So, how did I end up with the sweetest kid in the playgroup, the one whose natural personality is one of joy and – worst of all – sharing?

Consider this scene from last week’s playgroup: the big redheaded girl is crawling towards us. She is at least twice the size of my petite daughter, though they are the same age. Sam – my kid – is holding out a toy, a bright smile on her face. Big Red grabs it and turns her back to Sam, gnawing on her newly snatched booty.

“Give that back to the little baby,” her mother says, prying the toy from her daughter’s drool-soaked grasp. Immediately Big Red erupts, tears spilling down her cheeks, which are red with anger. The mom hands Sam her toy back. Sam holds it out to Big Red again, smiling.

This scenario plays out again and again in all of the playgroups I have joined. Every parent wants a baby who shares. But not me.

During the past year, I have amassed much playgroup wisdom. I have learned there are the sharers – babies like my daughter – who find no greater joy than handing a toy to another child, allowing them to gum it, finger it and eventually return it (usually at their mother’s behest), at which time the sharers will hand it back. Then there are the other babies, babies like Big Red. They crawl over blocks, towers and stuffed animals like Godzilla in Tokyo. They snatch, pull and gum the other children’s toys without even glancing at their victim.

“I think it is just her personality,” Big Red’s mother explained. She is embarrassed, but I am jealous. How did I – harbinger of the largest sense of entitlement in the East – end up with a sharer? Did I do something wrong? Spend too much time during my pregnancy smiling?

I want Godzilla. I want a baby who knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it. I want a baby who will eventually run a Fortune 500 company, become rich and let momma retire. At the very least I figure a bad attitude combined with a sense of entitlement and desire to squash the little people should earn her a shot at being Vice President.

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About Sasha Brown-Worsham

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Sasha Brown-Worsham

Sasha Brown-Worsham's writing has been published in Runner's World, Parents, Parenting and many more publications. She also writes a marathon blog for Fit Pregnancy. She lives and works in Boston, Mass., where she also tries to keep her pre-schooler from killing her infant.

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18 thoughts on “My daughter is too nice. Babble.com’s Bad Parent column.

  1. katydidmama says:

    Wow. You’re sorry that your child is not mean, pushy, bullying, and selfish?! I think that might be one for the record books. Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll turn into a biter–then you can have fun explaining to the other parents that “it’s just a phase” while you try to find another playgroup. Sheez.

  2. SheezIndeed says:

    I think you may have missed the fact that this is intended to be largely a humorous piece.

  3. mcglory13 says:

    A lot of the “bad parent” articles seem to boil down to: I’m sorry my kid isn’t a better reflection of me, or just like me, or whatever. I thought the fun part of having a kid was this mystery individual who reveals themself to you over time. Like those pellets you throw in the water and then they expand into an octopus. Or maybe a diver. Or some kelp. But at any rate, I didn’t realize we were supposed to be trying to clone ourselves. Jeez. As I said with the weirdo santaphobic lady, you are not your kid. Let your child be who they are.

  4. whoami says:

    I was about to say that you were crazy (who WANTS their kid to be a bully?) but then I realized I have a touch of this too. My son at five is oversensitive and easily driven to tears, slow to warm up socially, doesn’t show enthusiasm over much at all, and has a wicked and sometimes inappropriate sense of humor – and is an awful lot like me. I have to confess that I’ve occasionally looked at my friend’s sweet-as-pie daughter who is a lot like the writer’s daughter and thought, “Man, how boring must that be?” I can see how it would be far, far easier to have an agreeable, even-tempered, outgoing child, but I love my quirky sardonic hard-to-impress little guy not in spite of his flaws but almost because of them, so I can see how another parent could feel the same way.I bet the girl’s dad likes her a lot more as she is than as a mean grabby hellion, though.

  5. nsyzdek says:

    I have a cheerful giver as well, so I completely empathize with the author. While she has no problem letting me know what she wants (and can get downright demanding about it), she waffles easily among her peers. I’ve watched her on playdates shrug off the transgressions of other kids on her personal space or the toys she’s playing with. If it gets physical, of course I jump in. But I sure wish I didn’t have to. We don’t want our kids to be bullies. We just want them to have the confidence they need to stand up for themselves.

  6. bookmama says:

    You’re missing the forest for the trees, my dear. Your daughter IS a total rebel – she’s doing the exact opposite of what you wish she’d do! She’s taken your challenge and thrown it back in your face, with a little grin besides. Take heart; she’ll be cheerfully turning your life and expectations upside down for decades to come.

  7. camamma says:

    I think as mothers of daughters, we want to see our girls stand up for themselves, as Nsyzdek says. My little one is in awe of bigger kids, but around our house she drives the bus. And I have to say, I am proud of her for being focused on getting what she wants! And it isn’t all biology. We adopted…And the wee takes after me when it comes to getting her way!

  8. acarman72 says:

    Do I know you? I am pretty sure I must… Big Red is my daughter. My 24.5 lb, red headed, 11 month old who wails and screams and body flails when she doesn’t get her way or another child takes her toy. My 3.5 year old son however? Small, polite, wants to make everyone happy. I have both sides.

  9. spiritdancer says:

    You are blessed to have a daughter like this and since you say you were the opposite maybe she came her to teach you as well as others about the power of love. Do everything you can to protect that beautiful spark of light in her. She obviously came to teach something we would all be well to heed. Don’t squash the love. Let her love shine, the world needs it!~ Will SpiritdancerMyDreamPower.com

  10. Anonymous1234 says:

    This article is pathetic. The writer is trying to draw a deep psychological conclusion from her child’s behavior – implying that this good behavior is somehow bad. Interesting that the writer makes some sort of leap that the leader of a Fortune 500 company was in fact an aggressive baby or toddler? This is one of the most bizarre and yet entertaining things i’ve read in a while. Let’s look at another perspective.Did it ever occur to the writer that a child who exhibits this type of behavior could become a nemesis to society, perhaps this is an indication of signs of aggression which will lead them to be unhireable or worse, get them locked up.Come on. Get real.

  11. Anon says:

    Um. I hope this was meant to be humor. Otherwise … cripes, lady! Let your kid be who she is. She will be, no matter what you think about it.

  12. Anon says:

    I will just repeat what someone said before. This is meant to be humor. I think the idea that the writer is drawing “deep psychological conclusions” is more humorous than anything. Did you not notice that most of that section was tongue in cheek? She compared that behavior to the VP, for goodness sake. Clearly the writer is not trying to draw any conclusion, but is just being ironic, something that has completely gone over the heads of some of the commenters here. I think you are the ones who need to “Get real” and “get a grip.”

  13. BBBGMOM says:

    Humor or no, the little girl sounds like me – “sweet” and scarily compliant as a child. My mother was/is like the author – pushing me to be pushier. It all worked out in the end… I just save my pushiness for when it really counts. And when things are fine, I just bask in the affection and appreciation won through being such a nice gal over the years. Now my daughter is more like my mother… all a vicious circle, I guess. Or mean genes skipping a generation or whatever. Seriously, though, It All Works Out.

  14. twinbabiesdad says:

    Maybe you’re just better parents than yours were.

  15. tiffer says:

    Maybe you DO want the bad kid. I mean, all those documentaries about someone who grew up to be an awful adult always start with a childhood friend, parent or other relative saying, “He/She was such a sweet baby! I just don’t know what happened!”I thought it was a funny article. I have one of those bad little non sharers and he’s still charming as ever.

  16. bored says:

    your daughter still has plenty of time to turn into a total bitch.

  17. timetostopreadingparentingblogs says:

    I’ve decided after reading this that everything written on any parenting blog is just an excuse to talk about how great one’s child is. Sometimes people find various ways of dressing that up, as the author here has tried to do, but ultimately you’re just flippin’ through your brag book.In any case, be careful what you wish for!

  18. proudmamaspinning says:

    I have a too nice daughter – age 11, in 6th grade. Too nice was on her report card as if it was something she need to work on along with her straight a’s. She is bullyed at school, but is wise beyond her years and very mature. She cares about the earth, animals, people, etc. She wants to be president so she can bring more joy to the world because she knows she can. She smiles alot! Hugs and kisses me a lot. She is beautiful, a dancer, a caring individual. She loves tea, reading and fashion. My list of her attributes could go on and on. My Point – each child is different and grows up to be a different individual – thank God! Enjoy the journey of watching where their personality takes them and by all means – brag about your kids any way you can!!!! because they get their self esteem from you!

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