“Hey! What are you doing? Get over here!” Mom shrieked at her toddler in a horrific panic! The busy highway was lying straight in the pathway of her absent-minded youngster.
The closer Mom got, the more her toddler was amused by this new exciting game!
I’m sure you can understand Mom’s escalating anger with each step of defiance by her curious toddler.
Thankfully, just as her child was approaching the free flow of cars flying down the highway, Mom finally caught up with her young son!
In a fleet of emotions out it came…“Wack!”
Without even thinking, and with shaking hands, Mom spanks the bottom of the little human she loves the most.
She scolded him.
She punished him.
She scared him.
She unknowingly scarred him…
You see, in the young toddler’s mind, his Mom was playing with him. He expected that when she caught him she would laugh with him and she would hug him.
As he looked into his mother’s angry face his eyes welled up with tears. He felt an injustice was done. The worst part is that he was now in fear of the one person he trusted and loved the most — his mother.
Instead, he was left resenting her…
The exact one person he trusted to love him and guide him now terrifies him. He now knew one thing…“I can’t trust my Mommy.”
When you observe toddlers and young children, what do you see them doing most of the time?
Don’t you see them playing?
I know you’re aware that toddlers have no life experience, no idea how the world works. What this mother saw as defiance, her young child simply saw as play.
Dr. John Locke’s book, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, from 1693, made an argument that “a child’s mind must be educated before he is instructed, that the true purpose of education is the cultivation of the intellect rather than an accumulation of facts.” According to Locke, the ideal education would instill a strong moral sense. In particular, a child should be taught virtue, wisdom, breeding, and learning.
Doesn’t that idea make so much sense? Can you feel it in your soul to be the truth?
After all, even the bible tells us that children are our greatest gift and that all were created in the image and likeness of God.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Our job is to teach them life skills.
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
This means that by reacting with punishment without teaching them exactly what to do is completely backward.
Research shows that more than 1 million toddlers under the age of three are being medicated for ADHD or other behavior disorders.
What if you could make a simple change like this and transform these disorders into happy, healthy, cooperative kids?
Well, you can!!!
If you want to be an empowering parent, you must decide to educate your toddlers, children and even teenagers on exactly what to do and what’s expected BEFORE sending them into a situation.
Think about this…
If your toddler doesn’t know it’s wrong or dangerous to run across the street, isn’t wrong to spank them or even yell at them for doing it?
Doesn’t it make more sense to teach your toddler by role-playing the situation at home BEFORE your toddler has an opportunity to be in danger?
Although toddlers do not have the ability to think abstractly, yet, they do have the ability to understand simple directions, conversations, and rewards.
This means when there’s something important to you for them to learn, there must be something equally or more important for your toddler to earn.
If your desire is to avoid the terrible twos and to raise the most cooperative, happy and confident two-year-old you’ve ever known, you must begin to understand that they have needs and desires just like you and I do.
Did you know the phrase “terrible twos” wasn’t coined until the mid-1950s? Why? Because before this time, toddlers had a purpose and a role in the home. They were included. They were talked to. They were taught.
The faster a child could become independent the more valuable they were to the family. Go ahead and ask Grandma!
As I’ve been learning to follow God’s plan for parents by guiding and teaching my children in a loving and proactive way so I can prepare them for the world, I’ve learned that there’s no good reason to disempower a child by telling them “no” to what’s important for you.
Research shows that saying “no” too much, or ever, can breed resentment or plant seeds for future rebellion. According to Audrey Ricker, Ph.D., co-author of Backtalk: 4 Steps in Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids, using “no” too often can desensitize a child to its meaning, so save the word for life-threatening situations instead.
This doesn’t mean that you’re to say “yes” to everything automatically either. In fact, getting without giving defies the universal truth of sowing and reaping, and hurts our kids even more.
Think…how long has your toddler experienced life?
- Has your toddler ever:
- Been late for a meeting
- Paid a bill
- Replaced a cell phone
- Gaining weight
- Been burned by a hot stove
- Gotten hit by a car
- Set a goal
- Known how God works?
I’m sure you realize that out of the unending list of life ingredients, your toddler has experienced only a handful so far. Am I right?
Let’s say one life experience your toddler has had was falling off the couch. As an automatic result, he’ll be more careful not to fall next time. Right? That’s what you’d call an example of natural consequence.
Knowing this proves the theory that all children will choose life or choose happiness or choose joy over anything negative any time they’re given a choice to do, so as long as they have correct knowledge.
Give them the knowledge and trust them to fail or succeed. Fail doesn’t mean failure. F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning. Let them experience. Let them fail until they succeed on their own!
I know you probably have your own experiences of falling off the swing or you know someone who has. Don’t you agree your toddler still has the right to have fun on the swings when he goes to the park, even though falling off is a possibility?
I know you can see this in your logical mind…
But, let me ask you another question.
If you’re like most great mommies, you have a fear that your toddler will burn their hands if they get too close to the stove. Every time you cook, you panic. You may even go so far to put up a baby gate to keep him away from the kitchen when you’re cooking.
Do you agree that your toddler deserves to have the experience and enjoyment of watching and learning how to cook from you even though there’s a possibility of burning themselves on the stove?
It’s the same thing, just a different experience.
So, what are you going to do?
If you want to empower your toddler, you’re going to teach him what a hot burner is. You’ll take a few minutes to show how a burner can cause pain. Now you know your toddler will be safe around anybody’s kitchen. Even if they’re not as aware and worried as you.
Think about this every time you’re about to tell your toddler “no.” Think about this every time you’re about to distract your toddler rather than teach them about the danger they’ll inevitably have to experience some day.
The next time you know you’re going to be by a busy street, take the time to teach your toddler exactly what to expect BEFORE you head out.
Show, don’t tell. Role-play exactly what you want your toddler to do to receive the most amount of praise from Mommy.
Doesn’t it just make sense to teach your toddler and children how the universe God created works so they can succeed in life with or without you?
Your job is not to control your child’s behavior and protect him from danger. If it was, how is he or she ever going to know how to do all these things on their own?
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