Y1oto 3uyearrs tod­dler

Your Baby & Toddler - - Front Page -

4Chil­dren have great fears, and toi­lets are one of these. Not only are they afraid that they might fall into the loo or be sucked in by it, but also the splash­ing of the poo and the sound of the “plop” are scary for them. To over­come this, Cindy en­cour­ages par­ents to put some toi­let paper in the bowl be­fore­hand to lessen the splash. She also sug­gests that you give your child some­thing to rest his feet on, like a foot­stool, so that he feels se­cure. By do­ing this, you’ll also be plac­ing your child in the right po­si­tion for a suc­cess­ful bowel move­ment.

“Re­mem­ber, though, that your child’s gone from the se­cu­rity of his nappy to hav­ing noth­ing on at all — this is why some chil­dren only want to poo in their nappy, even once they can wee hap­pily on the loo. For those rea­sons, your child might only poo on the potty six months af­ter wee­ing in it.

Congratulations on your suc­cess­ful anal­y­sis: Of course she’s test­ing you! Your chil­dren’s job is to push the bound­aries with you as far as pos­si­ble, to ma­nip­u­late you into do­ing what they want you to do. Your job is to pre­vent this. This is why I have count­less con­ver­sa­tions with clients about why your chil­dren are not your friends. You need ap­proval from your friends for your ac­tions, not from your chil­dren. You may de­sire it, but you do not need it to be a good par­ent.

All chil­dren push bound­aries with their par­ents; it is how they learn about ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour. It is also how they make them­selves feel safe and con­tained. Giv­ing in to tantrums does not make them feel safe. It makes them more anx­ious, be­cause they don’t know where the line is, and scared if they see that you don’t know ei­ther. Some­body needs to be in con­trol. This is why two-to-fouryear-olds are es­sen­tially pre-ver­bal teenagers. They both re­quire a safe space to vent. This is not strange be­hav­iour for a two-year-old. Tacit ac­cep­tance of not hav­ing mom and dad at her beck and call would be strange be­hav­iour for her, and guilt is not a strange emo­tion for a par­ent.

The question is, what do you want to teach her? She is un­ques­tion­ably act­ing up to the two of you to get at­ten­tion on her terms. You can give it her, but can you cope with the prece­dent you’ll be set­ting? The tech­ni­cal term for this is pri­mary nar­cis­sism, and it is en­tirely nor­mal. Tod­dlers, like nar­cis­sists, are not very well known for their em­pa­thy and shar­ing skills. You need to ac­knowl­edge her anx­i­ety to her, even ver­bally. Tell her it’s okay to be an­gry; she may not un­der­stand all the words but she will un­der­stand the tone.

Stand your ground, and do not at­tempt to ne­go­ti­ate. Even if be­ing a stay-at-home mom was fi­nan­cially vi­able, do you re­ally think that would fix the prob­lem, or would she sim­ply find an­other way to push the bound­aries? The fact that she’s quite con­tent with the nanny tells you that she ac­cepts the sit­u­a­tion, and is not trau­ma­tised by your absence. It’s not ma­li­cious, it’s just be­ing two. En­sure that you and your hus­band are con­sis­tent with her, im­pose ap­pro­pri­ate con­se­quences and see them through, and she will set­tle. YB

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