A Glimpse Into The Toddler World:
There is a reason we call them the “terrible two’ s” right. Most end up pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to deal with the tantrums of a toddler.
GIMME A BREAK !! They are just kids
The first thing we forget is that they are actually kids, they are not even 5 right ?? We often deal with them assuming they are adults. Often labelled as stubborn or irresponsible. Yes, they are !! But not because they want to, but because their intellectual capacity is not that developed to figure out what is right or wrong.
Toddlers thinking is egocentric in a sense that it has revolved around them only. They do not develop the capacity to understand what an another person is thinking or feeling. So no matter how disturbed you are they keep demanding you for a lot of things because they just don’t understand. Their friendships also tend to be with people who are compliant to their commands. Then it’s only about who gives them and not about what they are giving in return.
Later on, they start to learn that relationships are based on giving and take. Children tend to learn by observing, practising and eventually trying to work it out in different ways before they figure out how it actually works. This ability to think is what actually helps them to be their own self. So unless it’s harmful, we shouldn’t be forcing them to use anything in a particular way. So if you are giving them a bat, be prepared that they are going to break things with it, or bend it before they actually use it like a bat. Before teaching them responsibility, I say let them learn to be a child. It only lasts a few years !! It’s something every child should cherish and also helps them to develop into an independent individual.
ABSOLUTE NO NO…..!!
1- Never Hit the Child:
You know it is not going to change them. But still, you act out at that moment because you don’t want to believe that you are a bad parent responsible for the child’s behavior. When you are doing this you are just changing the behavior of the child for that moment. But you are not teaching them anything but making it a bad memory for the child. Modelling in a wrong way as to how a behavior can be controlled.
The child, in fact, listens to you because he\ she is scared of you, and not because they understand the situation. By making them afraid of you, not only you lose their respect but also generate a lot of anger against you. It also makes them insecure.
Apologise to them once in a while if you make a mistake. They are very forgiving and it will teach them how to deal with their own mistakes as well. They will learn that it’s OK to be wrong once in a while and there is nothing to shy away from accepting them.
2- Never Compare or Criticise:
We know every child is different. Just because someone is better than us, it doesn’t make our child any less. Comparing them with others makes them lose their own identity and less motivated. We compare only when we are insecure ourselves and we are trying to live our lives which we wished we had, in them. We often forget what they want and justify our actions convincing ourselves that what we do is for their good.
A good support to the child doesn’t mean that you compare them, nor criticize them. It should be balanced with an equal amount of appreciation for the small things a toddler does. Never take it for granted even if they have done a simple thing for us, assuming that they have done it like every other toddler or because they are yours they are bound to do it that way. They may have your qualities but they are not you.
Make sure you appreciate them in every step of the way. You need to guide them if they are doing anything wrong and instead of giving a punishment, withholding things which they usually like will change the behaviour in the long run.
3- Never Push the Child, Beyond the Limits:
Especially in today’s school, where the teachers expect every child to be equal in all the aspects. It is difficult that when you start comparing your own kid's progress to others, we knowingly or unknowingly we tend to push the child to do whatever we want, without acknowledging why they are behind. Pushing will make them aversive to learning and in turn, lose interest in whatever they like. Instead, make the studying more enjoyable, and it’s easier if you are sitting with them without checking the clock, or your phone every half and hour.
The kids at this age cannot decide on what interests them. But they do develop a liking for particular games, or activities. Don’t be over enthusiastic to train them in everything they like.
Toddler enjoy the activities only if they have not accompanied by a set of rules. If they like a piano, that only means they just want to play it randomly and not become an A.R Rehman anytime soon. So chill. Let them do whatever they want.. When they are big enough they’ll come up with their own interests and ideas which you can encourage later on. Strict, rigid learning makes them believe that it may not be as interesting as they thought it would be and before they develop a passion for it, they get fed up or aversive about it.
4 – Never Neglect What They Are Saying to U…
Yes, in this WhatsApp world we are all busy checking our phones. Sometimes we do it more often that the toddler has to shout or do a tantrum to get our attention. It makes them feel that you are not giving them enough importance and in the end, you have to blame yourself for them not responding to you when you want them to listen. It’s not about the amount of time you are spending with them that matters, but the quality of the time that makes a big difference.
Most of us compensate our lack of time by buying them toys. But toddler who receive enough love and time from you are self-satisfied and don’t need toys to soothe them and hence become less demanding. It also helps them to trust you with their issues so that they can be more open to you without the fear of being judged or criticized.
5- Never Fight Them !!
Toddlers are self-centered, as I told you. So anything that happens around them is it good or bad, they tend to take it on them.
When they see their parents fighting, they tend to assume that it has got to do something with their behavior. Depending on the temperament they might end up being overly compliant to you trying to make it up for the fight. They might become rebellious, stubborn to get that attention from you.
Even if you are hitting them scolding them, they believe it’s a form of love and they might end up being abusers themselves or victims of abuse. They learn things by seeing us and how we behave. So before we teach them anything we need to control our own emotions and let them not affect our behavior with the kids.
So before we label them as stubborn and irresponsible, we need to accept that it’s just a passing phase. We cannot change who they are complete as most of it has to got to do with their temperaments. But we can control the extent to which it is being expressed with patience and love. There is no rule as to what is right and what works for one toddler may not work with another. The only thing which works universally is giving them love and time. It’s just a trial and error. Some failures are bound to happen. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. The fact that you are trying to do whatever you can is good enough.
I say lucky are those who have a perfect child, but blessed are those who have a child!!
So let’s embrace what we have and not worry about changing or making a perfect world for them. The world is harsh and they develop the strength to face it. Only if we give them the freedom to love, trust, explore and to believe in themselves!!