Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parenting: Affirmative Toddler Transactions Helps In Shaping A Confident Adult

After a long time, here is a post from the world of psychology :-)

Do you have a toddler at home? As much as you are excited about the fact that your little baby is now up and running, you must also be exhausted at keeping pace with your toddler's incessant energy.

So what does being in the age group 1-3 years mean?

According to Erikson's Psycho-social model, the stage is known as Autonomy Vs Shame:

  • The child's universe expands beyond the mother - the primary care taker. The child understands that its universe includes different other things and develops a sense of curiosity.
  • It is at this stage the child begins to explore its environment.
  • The child develops a feeling of self-control and a sense of independence
  • Successful development at this stage, leads to autonomy and self-confidence.

During this stage, you will see your child wanting to do everything on their own. Adults at home are on their toes preventing the child from exploring as they fear the child might get hurt. Is it the right thing to do? How should we handle their enthusiasm? Let us understand how does a child develop a sense of control and independence at this stage? - Exploration and Achievement.

The child feels a sense of accomplishment when it climbs the sofa on its own. Have you seen the smile on the child's face when it does something naughty as we call it? To the child, he/she has done something incredible by carrying an household article from one room to another. It is natural for a child to meddle with things, carry articles, dump them in corners, climb over stools/tables/beds at this age. The child gains a feeling of self-control by experimenting with the objects in its world. When a child achieves its target it builds their self-confidence. If the child is not allowed to experiment then, the child develops a sense of doubt on its own abilities and feels ashamed.

What do we need to do as a parent?

  • Stop stopping the child from experimenting. Let the child explore its environment. By preventing, the child experiences self-doubt and grows into adult who lacks confidence in his abilities.
  • I am often asked the question, "How can I let my child play with electric socket knowing that it would dangerous?" I often see parents being over-cautious and stopping the child from doing anything. Be cautious but not restrained.
  • Ensure that dangerous objects are not within the child's reach.
  • Create an environment for the child to explore at home. It could be a small corner/room filled with objects that the child can meddle with. The objects need not necessarily be toys. 
  • Be around when the child is practicing to climb. 
  • If the actions your child attempts are too dangerous, distract the child but don't say NO to the child.
  • A bump here and there is a part of growing up, don't get anxious. 
  • Finally, it is the right age to get your child toys that help in development of motor skills.
It is seen that many adults who lack confidence have had protective parenting in their childhood. Nothing to take away from the parents, they did what they believed was best for the child. But now we know that by being overly protective we hinder the child's natural development process. Developing a sense of autonomy and good self-worth is essential to take on challenges ahead in life. 

Allow your child to explore, stay calm and smile with your child.