Y1oto 3uyearrs toddler
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