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Friday, 13 June 2014

Toddler Psychology

There are two stages in the development of a child that throw many parents: the first is toddlerhood, and the second is adolescence. Both stages are very much alike. In each stage, a life force emerges which propels the child to push his parents away. The goal is independence—the teen wants to stop being a child; the toddler wants to stop being a baby.

Fired up by his new speech and mobility, the average toddler is a whirlwind of activity, and everything is an adventure. Imagine for one minute what it must be like to be a toddler,¦everything is new. Kitchen cupboards filled with all sorts of things are especially attractive, knobs and buttons on the VCR and dad's computer are extremely interesting; even the drain in the bathtub is fascinating as the water disappears. And since toddlers are still babies, almost everything is tasted and smelled. Toddlers are absolutely free spirits. They have no interest in toilet training—it doesn't bother them a bit to have a full diaper. And forget self-control, because toddlers do not have a conscience yet. Oh, they may listen to a 'no' when mom is right there. But the moment mom is out of sight, toddlers do what they want to do. They operate mainly on the pleasure principle: if it feels good and it is fun, they want to do it.
Knowing a little toddler psychology can go a long way toward turning this challenging stage of life into a wonderful experience. Here are some tips for helping you to manage and enjoy your toddler: 

The Right Attitude

It helps to have the right attitude during this stage of development. During this stage, creativity, imagination and curiosity are being born, and you need to understand that your toddler is not being bad as he explores his world. Suddenly, he is not a baby anymore and the whole world is open to him. This is very exciting for a child so young, that he has barely any self-control and cannot cope with any frustration. 
Limit Your 'No's'

This is an easy stage to overwhelm your child with a ton of 'no's,' because toddlers are forever getting into things. But if a parent proceeds in this manner, a child soon learns to ignore all 'no's.' So you are wise to limit 'no's' to the important areas of a toddler's life. To limit 'no's,' it helps to child-proof your home. For example, cover electrical outlets, put cleaning supplies up high and out of reach, tie together the knobs on the stereo cabinet, remove your expensive china statues from the end tables, place the plant in another room so the soil isn't eaten or spread throughout the house, cover the sharp ends of your coffee table with foam, and lock the basement door so your toddler doesn't fall down the stairs. The more you can child-proof your home, the happier you and your toddler will be. I have also found that the use of expandable gates is very helpful in child-proofing a home.
 

Have Reasonable Expectations

Time and time again, I see parents expecting far too much from their toddler and then launching into a program of punishment when their toddler can't comply. Don't spank, slap hands, or wash your toddler's mouth out with soap or place pepper on his tongue and lock him in his room. And remember, when your child smiles while you are scolding him, he is not defying you: your toddler will often think you are playing a game with him. 

Avoid Prolonged Day Care

If at all possible, avoid 11 hours of day care five days a week. Toddlers need to bond with their parents and feel adored during this stage in order to grow√Ę€¦day care workers will not adore your child and be thrilled with each of his new accomplishments. I realize some families have few options, but do what you can to avoid having your child spend 11-hour days away from mom and dad. For example, some parents rely on relatives or grandparents to pick up their child from day care and thereby shorten the time a toddler is away from family. 

Read Up On this Stage of Development

I don't know why, but many parents avoid reading about toddlers and teenagers. These are the two most difficult stages of parenting, yet many parents choose to wing it. Somehow, many parents think parenting skills and parenting knowledge are things you're born with, and that suddenly when you become a parent, you'll know what to do. Wrong! Parenting is the great equalizer. It doesn't matter whether you're the president of a corporation or driving a bus, we all have to learn how to parent and what to expect at different stages.