Tell Me About It: 'Special' will come on its own

Posted: February 08, 2013

Question: I have a favorite song I sing to my 9-month-old daughter. I would like to discourage other family members from singing this special song to her. Is that a realistic thought? If so, how is the best way to handle it?

Answer: Controlling, yes; realistic, no. The best way to handle it is to resolve not to try so hard to handle things.

A song you sing to your child will be special because it is, not because you've decided it will be.

There will never be a shortage of totems, symbols, or special moments between a parent and a well-loved child. As an involved parent, you are the principal figure in your child's life - or at least tied for it.

So you don't need to force the issue of your special place. In fact, in doing so, you risk looking past the meaningful moments and mementos that your lives together will produce organically - and, in this case, you also risk interfering with the crucial connections between these other family members and your daughter. Hold those reins too firmly and, in time, your daughter will chafe as well.

This might seem like a big answer to a small question, but I believe the most important gift you can give a child is openness to whatever gifts your child brings to you. A small matter like a "special" song is a chance to practice the subtle art of letting your stories write themselves.


E-mail Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax.

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