My daughter has been loud and outspoken since the day she was born. In fact, just moments after I birthed her, she took to the breast and refused to be taken off me, protesting loudly if I dared to even think about putting her down so I could go to the toilet.
Things didn’t change a lot from there. As she grew from baby to toddler, I was gobsmacked at her sass and the way she delivered her emotions – loudly and oh so proudly. Someone told me that this was her way of fitting into the second child role. To get her needs met, she had to make sure she was noticed. And that she was.
Fast forward a few more years, and I’ve watched this little personality grow into a wonderfully robust yet widely emotional human being who dazzles me with her daily theatrics and wows me with her passion.
She is the type of child that strangers comment on. Once, in a playground, a fellow mum watched my daughter express herself among her three brothers as they played, and remarked to me, ‘You’re so lucky to have an outspoken daughter. She’ll never get walked over.’ It made me smile gratefully and see my daughter’s stubborn, loud and dramatic traits as positive ones.
There are plenty of challenges when it comes to raising an outspoken child, but these days, I remind myself of the big picture. Sure, right now, her emotions can be hard to manage, she never backs down from an argument and getting her to admit fault in anything is a long and tiring battle, but I think this girl is going to be one hell of an adult when she gets there, and that makes me feel excited.
Staying true to my goal of keeping the bigger picture in mind on her more challenging days, I’ve thought of five reasons why I’m glad I have an outspoken child. And if you’re raising your own little fire cracker, you’ll want to take notes.
She puts her feelings RIGHT out there
There’s not a neighbour in my street that doesn’t know when my daughter is unhappy. Reaching the pitch of a fire engine wail, she makes it loud and clear when she’s been hurt, wronged, or drops her ice-block on the carpet. Whatever the cause, she knows how to get her feelings noticed, which when you think about it, is the opposite of what so many of us adults tend to do with difficult emotions. We tend to swallow them or push them aside, and deny them to other people. She on the other hand, knows the value in expressing them loudly and urgently, a habit sure to keep her healthy in the future and guaranteed to have people pay attention.
She knows what she needs
In the middle of the mother of all tantrums, just when I think I can’t take another minute of the crying and screaming, my daughter will look at me tearfully and declare, ‘I NEED A CUDDLE!!!’. And even if her behaviour has been deplorable and she needs a good talking to about it, I know that this loud signal from her is a need for comfort and security to help bring her back to equilibrium, which has to happen before any talking can be done. I love that this kid knows how to regulate herself – if she can do this as a young child, I have great hopes for her sorting through her worries and angst when she’s older. And yep, I will always be there to cuddle her if she needs the help.
She stands up for herself
I’ve watched this girl react when she believes she’s been wronged, and it’s impossible to miss. The battles these days are typical of a five-year-old – someone’s being mean or won’t play the game she wants. Rather than put up with the things she doesn’t like, my daughter isn’t afraid to let someone know and if things don’t go her way, she won’t back down easily. I like to think of her in a boardroom surrounded by male colleagues, flying the feminist flag proudly and refusing to take any s**t.
She looks out for others
Just as she won’t put up with poor treatment of herself, my daughter gets equally passionate about others not being treated well. Particularly when it comes to her siblings, she will let fly with rage if someone bumps into her younger brothers carelessly and she hates the idea of someone being laughed at and made to feel embarrassed. I love her for this empathy but most of all, I love her willingness to fight for the underdog and not let people get away with their unkind behaviour. I reckon this world could do with more like her.
She’s her own person
Probably like a lot of other little girls at school, she hates the idea of wearing the same uniform every single day. I guess it robs her of her individuality and freedom to express herself through clothing, and I can see her point. To offset this problem, she wears a different outfit under her dress and as soon as the bell goes at the end of the day she strips off and runs around in her cheerful t-shirt and shorts like the bright spark she is. In the real world, I like to think that this will see her standing out from the crowd in the best possible way.