Okay so it is 9:30 at night. Me and baba being awake since morning could really do with some shut eye. We are getting ready to sleep, putting the bed straight when Munna discovers this play dough tool in which you stuff in the dough, press it and it comes out the other end in different shapes. I was about to tuck it away when Munna starts insisting that he wants to make a star right now and then. So our rooms are upstairs and I store our home made play dough in the fridge lest it goes bad. With drowsiness weighing heavy on me, dragging myself down to get the play dough is the last thing I want to do. Knowing Munna, I thought it better he gets the play dough rather than try to reason with him with half shut down brain and end up with a toddler fit in the end anyways. He gets what he wanted, squeezes a bit of play dough out the tool, rolls a bit of it here and there and in 10 minutes he is like mama I want to sleep. He comes to bed and is out in few minutes.
So the story might not sound very significant to most of you but I was just reflecting on that moment today. In that given time, I could have chosen a warfare. An intense battle of egos with both of us ending up frustrated and resentful of each other. Instead I chose to be conscious and mindful of the situation. I chose to be mindful of the fact that my little one (turning three soon) was just beginning to understand his sense of self. He has been putting it to practice by wanting to be autonomous. Which means he is defiant, doesn’t yet understand his limits, he pitches into fits easy as the world doesn’t yet understand him too well (sounds like I am raising a teenager :’D). I chose to respect his newly found need to be independent by letting him do what he wanted to do. In turn he respected my being empathetic and responded to my need by not playing too long.
This goes to show our children reflect back our behavior on us. This idea can be hard to comprehend for many of us who have been traditionally raised to conform to rigidly to a set of rules.If you didn’t, you were labelled as “misbehaved” or the “bad child”.
We need to understand that it’s a tremendous privilege to raise kids. They aren’t ours to possess or control in anyway. We always want children to conform to our schedules, our times, our routines and our demands completely. We need to separate them from our self and regard them as their own little individuals with their own needs. This in no way means that we should allow inappropriate behavior or shouldn’t set any limits. We need to have patience and faith that age appropriate behavior will come with time and maturity.
All we need to do is consistently model our child by showing him empathy and tolerance. There are no quick fixes to a child behavior. Nothing makes a child more secure and confident by having parents who are understanding and validate his needs. This is what lays the foundation for trust in parent-child relationship and ultimately child’s compliance to family rules.
P.S: Reflecting on the play dough incident and writing this post made me realize there’s no such thing as terrible twos!!! Most of the time it’s our failure to understand and tackle the many developmental changes going in the child which result in a toddler behaving the way they do. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below 🙂