Oh yes, you read it right! It’s pure joy to raise a toddler. You have probably read so many articles regarding how hard this stage is, but for the most part, it’s also the stage when our cute darlings learn the simplest yet most beautiful things. Of course, it comes hand in hand with how you establish loving authority over them. A toddler would always want to explore and thus assert his newfound autonomy. At this time, parents usually brace themselves for their beloved toddler’s favorite word which is NO. For first time moms, it might come as a challenge when the day comes when you are so used to having your way with your baby and alas, you realize that your baby is now bidding for more independence. For even the usual feeding session can turn out into something else. Before you know it, you become like a salesperson convincing your child that it is about time to start eating. A simple NO would actually make them feel that they have already gained some control, and they love being in control.
Erik Erikson , a popular developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, came up with eight stages of development that a human being goes through from birth to death. According to his theory, the toddler’s autonomous behavior is a way of forming their own identity away from their caregivers. It is at this time that they realize that they are their own individuals, separate from their primary caregivers. This is the best time then to offer them choices, instead of asking them whether they want something or not. By doing so, your child is able to get the autonomy that he needs and you can trust him to keep his end of the bargain.
There is no step by step guide on how to properly raise a toddler. The best guidance is unconditional love. It is also important to accept that parents are not at all perfect and nobody is ever going to raise perfect children. So, it’s really not a problem if we say sorry to our child for things we might have overlooked. This in turn, would encourage them to say sorry as well. At times when they throw tantrums and you feel that everything is in chaos, it makes a difference if you stop, breathe and think. Giving too much attention on their bad practices only fuels them to do it some more. They are attention seeking individuals and they love the attention they are getting in whatever way they can. So it is the best time to lavish them with love, attention and understanding at the proper time. They have a long way to go and as parents they count on us to lead them the way. In spite of our shortcomings as parents, we are the best parents in our child’s eyes.
So the next time they throw a fight, take time and let your heart decide. This may be a difficult time for both of you but it’s also the time that they become adorably sweet and loving. The best part of raising a toddler is that they learn to reciprocate love. And that for me, is more than enough to explain why I love this stage.