Professor's House

Raising Miss Little Know-It-All

As I get older, I realize just how little I actually know. Of course, I haven’t always felt this way. When I was a kid, I definitely thought I knew it all. I refuted just about everything my parents would tell me about the world, even when I knew they were right and I was wrong. I can only imagine how obnoxious they thought I was! Not every kid is a know-it-all though. Thankfully, some kids are more curious and eager to soak up whatever knowledge comes their way. Out of my three daughters, I have two of these curious types, and one know-it-all. It’s been a challenge raising her, but I know one day she’ll look back, as I did, and see that she too, knew very little as a child.

So, what makes a person a know-it-all? It may be innate to his or her personality. Perhaps birth order comes into play? My know-it-all kid is my first born, though I was a know-it-all middle child, so that might not be it. Are there more know-it-all boys or know-it-all girls? My older brother, who was our family’s first born, was a more stubborn know-it-all than I was, which takes us back to our birth order theory. Maybe I became a know-it-all because he and I were competitive, and I felt like I had to “out know” him. I wonder how many hours we wasted debating each other just so one of us could have the last word.

And, what kind of a student does a know-it-all make? If they erroneously think there’s nothing more to learn, they may not be open to acquiring any further information. I do remember arguing with a teacher or two about what I thought I knew to be right versus the actual facts. Looking back, I’m realizing that I was never a teacher’s pet. It’s no wonder why! I always say, if I went back to school now, as a forty-year-old, I would be do all I could to attain as much information as I possible. Oh, hindsight…

So, you may be wondering what it’s like go raise a Miss Little Know-It-All? Never boring to say the least! My first born was a challenge from the very start. She never slept for more than two hours at a time during the first year of her life. It took me that long to figure out that she’s just a very nosy person who felt like sleep was a waste of time. She’s still nosy, but being a tween, she’s finally beginning to make friends with sleep. I actually find her quite delightful now as I watch her personality unfold before me, but I would never tell her that! She would add that admiration to her arsenal of know-it-allness and attack us with it whenever she saw fit.

Because my oldest child has the personality she has, she set the standard for what I thought to be normal for all kids’ personalities. Therefore, I became an expert in dealing with her stubborn, wise guy traits, though it didn’t come naturally to me. Since she’s practically a duplicate of who I was as a child, my instinct was to argue with her every time she refuted what I told her, but eventually I learned not to engage in such behavior. Know-it-alls tend to block out what the other party is saying to them and only believe what they hear their own voice say, so debating with them is usually a pointless waste of time.

Paradoxically, my daughter has actually become more agreeable as she’s entered her tween years. All the gloom and doom warnings you hear from other parents who have already navigated the tween years about how difficult and annoying they’ll be have not come to pass in our household. Yes, my daughter is still a know-it-all, but I’ve learned to deal with her. Sometimes, you just submit to this personality type and let them believe what they believe. I don’t do it often, but you have to pick your battles. That said, she’s not officially a teen yet, and her know-it-all tendencies might ramp up as she gets older. If they do, I’ll have to adapt my parenting style to this new development.

Despite the difficulties of raising Miss Little Know-It-All, there are definitely benefits to this personality style. My daughter has always been self-assured, bold, and confident. I’ve always secretly loved this about her. My friend once told me that the traits that annoy us about our kids are those that we’ll admire in them when they’re adults. I definitely believe that to be true. I think these things make her a good leader and will help her greatly when she’s finally out in the working world. That said, my younger non-know-it-all daughters are also chock full of moxie, so I think all my girls are pretty cool.

I often wonder what kind of husband my daughter will attract. In my situation, I dated a variety of personality types, but fell hard for my husband because he wouldn’t submit to my know-it-allness. Previous boyfriends let me walk all over them and boss them around and I found it terribly unattractive. My husband challenges me and doesn’t allow me to get my way at every turn. I adore this about him, and I hope my daughter can find someone who treats her the same way. I know her husband will never be bored with her and he’ll learn a great deal from her encyclopedic mind and sassy attitude.

I can’t say many days aren’t challenging trying to raise a Miss Little Know-It-All, especially having been a former one myself. But, I know that even though my daughter may not know everything, she definitely knows a lot, and has taught me a lot too. Being my first born, she taught me how to be a mom, and that’s certainly no small feat. No matter what type of personality our kids have, we can always try to glean how their traits are going to benefit them, and the world, once they’re fully grown. And I happen to know that for a fact.

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