Monday, 4 February 2013

...on treating them with respect



Toddlers are not mini adults but society unconsciously expects them to be well behaved at all time, to make rational decisions regarding their actions and to manage quietly their emotions.

Paradoxically, those sky high expectations often don't come with basic forms of respect from parents. I don't think that adults voluntarily fall into power trips with their children. How can you not act this way when pretty much everything around us lead us to think that toddlers are "second-class citizens" whose needs should not be taken seriously.

A 2-year-old's language skills are still developing but is it a reason to come out of nowhere and aggressively take away a toy from its hand...even if that wooden block was making the most annoying sound ever when slammed on the vintage rose wood coffee table?

Would I act like that if Dan was slamming a wooden block on the coffee table (Why would he do that you may ask? No idea.)? No, because I like to think that I treat Dan with respect (Well, as with toddlers, we are only human so shit can happen...sorry Dan for sometimes taking un-respectfully the "wooden block" away from you).

In my imaginary world with "unicorns and rainbows", I believe that the best way to avoid most power struggles with toddlers is to show them the respect that we would love to get.

By going beyond the "no" and clearly explaining why an action is inappropriate, by showing them that we trust their ability to make certain decisions, by setting the example and expressing polite responses, by not overreacting and by understanding that sometimes it must be a pain in the ass to be a toddler.

It is possible that I will have a different approach after Alice's first screaming fit at the grocery store for a piece of chocolate. I don't predict the future but, as I ride a unicorn across a glittery rainbow, I hope that I will remember that text and treat Alice with the respect that she deserves.

* * * * *

I made Alice this colorful pinafore to attend a birthday party two weeks ago. 

* * * * *

di: Alice already loves her!

mjb: Making the face was difficult but I can't wait to work on another one. 

astrid: Yes it is :)

lina: I'm already feeling much better...but Dan is not feeling well :(


kimu said...

I feel like a big part of it is empathy - how would I feel if someone came over and grabbed something I was playing with out of my hands? I mean, obviously there are times when for safety that parents have to take a dramatic action. Most of the time though, having a little bit of empathy and working through issues and discussing what's going on goes a long way for us. My son (almost 3 now) still has tantrums sometimes, but I feel like respect for each other and empathy go a long way towards smoothing things out.

Julia said...

yes! this is such a great post. hard to remember in the moment, i'm sure, but still. so important to keep this in mind (and i love her little outfit!)