Every person is unique. We have heard this time and again. We all have our own peculiarities. We react to situations differently. We all exhibit our individuality. Our dear toddlers are no exception. In fact, it is around this age when they start to develop and show their own personality. We see a particularly jovial child and compare him to a somber, serious looking one… and we have the tendency to judge him as a cheerful child, while the other one is called moody.
This is important advice: parents, don’t label your child. Being called a “difficult child” or a “shy child” is very limiting. We should aim to be encouraging rather than restraining. Being labeled is like being judged for life. It is like your future is laid out already. A difficult child’s” actions may be dismissed as acting up or just misbehaving as usual, instead of being addressed. A “shy child’s” parents may go around saying that their child is an introvert since childhood…always has been, always will be. So instead of encouraging the child to get out of her shell, reaching out to others, and making new friends, they are conveying a message that she has always been like that… and will most probably be the same for the rest of her life. This leaves very little room for her personality improvement.
Don’t confuse understanding and getting to know your child with excusing and accepting problem behavior. Understanding her doesn’t mean that you will side with her no matter what. It doesn’t mean spoiling her rotten and expecting the world to adjust to her quirks and impulses. Yes, you love her, and you will stand by her no matter what, but she will still have to find a way to fit into the world, no matter how unique and wonderful she is. An example: if by chance, your child has a tendency towards aggressive behavior towards others, her parents should find ways to modify her conduct rather than making excuses for her. It part of our obligation as parents to make sure that our children can happily and successfully thrive on their own and peacefully co-exist with others.
Also, don’t compare children. Comments like “I wish you were more like your sister” or “you’re brother is …, why can’t you be more like him?” may only be words to us. After a while we’ll forget about it, but the damage it can do to our toddler’s self esteem is inestimable. Let us not assume that she’s too young to even understand. Words are powerful, and they can get into one’s subconscious and contribute to that someone’s life programming.
Our toddler is a little person. She has the ability to think and feel. It is only right to make an effort and try to understand our toddler. Rearing a child doesn’t only involve feeding, and bathing a child but also getting to know her, and encouraging her to be the best that she can be. =)