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I want to raise a kind child—but I don’t want them to be a pushover either

I'm trying to carefully balance that tightrope of teaching my daughter to be nice but to also be assertive.

I want to raise a kind child—but I don’t want them to be a pushover either

As a mom I find myself asking the same question: Where's the line between being nice and being a pushover? Of course, I never want my children to be a bully. I don't want them to be needlessly mean or cruel to anyone. I speak to my kids all the time about manners, playing fairly, treating everyone equally and being a good friend.

But how do I teach them to react to kids who apparently have never learned any of these things? Or worse, who just don't care?

With toddlers, a lot of kids don't have a solid handle on their emotions. They can easily fly off the handle at the simplest thing. Poured their juice in the wrong color cup? Watch a 3-year-old fling themselves on the floor kicking and screaming. Didn't get their favorite toy at the store? I've seen plenty of parents literally dragging a 2-year-old out the door.

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But I'm not talking about any of that. I'm talking about when kids are just plain mean. Or bossy or selfish.

Believe me, my daughter isn't above any of this. I've seen her take a toy from a kid. I've seen her tell someone to play like this, not like that. But I always correct her. I explain to her the importance of sharing and being nice to her friends. I always make her apologize and I watch her return to being a sweet little girl.

So when kids walk up to her and grab her toy out of her hands, I realize it's just a toddler being a toddler. And I wait for that little one to get corrected. I wait for them to issue an apology. I wait to watch that little one turn back to being a sweet little one too. But sometimes they don't. And no one says anything.

My daughter comes to me crying and I give her a hug. I remind her again about the importance of sharing and redirect her.

Then, here comes that little one again and I watch as that little one, again, snatches her toy.

Now, and I realize some people may disagree with me here, I don't believe in parenting someone else's child. If the parent isn't there to intervene, I may ask that child to play nicely. Usually, I won't say anything. I, again, redirect my daughter and move on.

But am I doing a disservice to my daughter? Where's the line in telling my daughter to be nice or just setting her up to being picked on? Should I force her to be nice to kids who aren't?

In an instance with a child like this, this isn't a kid who's just acting up or "being a toddler." This is a kid who is being a bully. And, unfortunately, bullies just get worse the older kids get.

More power to kids who are assertive and know what they want. Congrats to all the little ones out there who are strong-willed. As long as being strong doesn't come at the expense of others. Being confident in who you are doesn't mean having to tear others down. There's a way to be assertive without being bossy. To be strong without being harsh.

I'm trying to carefully balance that tightrope of teaching my daughter to be nice but to also be assertive. So I'm going to do my best to teach my girls to stand up to bullies without being mean. To be assertive, without being bossy. And to be strong without being cruel. I hope that others will treat them with kindness—and I hope they don't allow it when others don't.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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