If you are a parent or if you have ever interacted with children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, then you most likely have witnessed many of the milestone behaviour within autonomy versus shame and doubt stage from Erik Erikson’s stage of psychosocial development, such as wanting to dress themselves, feed themselves with their fingers, you may have even struggled to hold them amongst a pool of tears because they can’t and won’t find their drink bottle (even though you know that they haven’t even started looking for it and it’s on the kitchen bench!) It is at this point in development that young children will begin to express a greater need for independence and control over themselves as well as the world around them. According to Erikson, children at this stage are focused on developing a greater sense of self-control.
Your toddler at this age is gradually wanting and yearning for an increase in their independence they want greater control over what they are doing and how they are going to do it. Toddlers that are in the thick of this developmental stage will often feel the need to do EVERYTHING independently!
Things such as picking out their own clothes, deciding what they will and won’t eat, toys and games that they want to play. This can create SO much frustration for many parents and understandably so, you want your toddler to look super CUTE but instead, they look like a red-hot MESS!! The simple fact is, this is not only an important milestone in development for your little one but an essential one, for your toddler they are developing their personality further, their sense of style and all whilst creating personal autonomy.
Mindful parenting is an essential part of being a parent. Mindful parenting is a lifelong practice. It is about becoming less attached to the outcome and more mindful of what is unfolding in yours and your children’s lives.
Some core characteristics of mindfulness are:
Observation – Being mindful aims to shift your focus of attention away from thinking to simply observing, observing your thoughts, feelings and the sensations around you.
Being non-judgemental – This is an important aspect to adopt as we all can relate to trying to control what we’re experiencing at times. When being mindful no attempt is made in evaluating your experience or to say ‘that it is good, bad or terrible, right, wrong, or a failure.’
“This takes time to develop because accepting all of one’s experience can be a challenge. But by bringing about a kind, gentle curiosity to your experience is one way of starting to become non-judgemental.” Quote taken from the Centre for Clinical Intervention.
“Two year old’s aren’t terrible — they’re torn.” Janet Lansbury.
Children do not, indeed cannot, make their own way unguided.
There are consistent bodies of research now that specify, that children learn best from setting limits for their behavior.
BUT how do you do that peacefully and positively? How do you teach your children to consider others, to take turns, to not hit, punch and throw things?
A couple of months ago I wrote a heartfelt post about our 4yo daughter.
I was struggling with her behaviour, meltdowns were long & explosive, her sensitivity to everything outside of her control was exhausting, her quest for affection meant that there was NO personal space EVER (I’m also still Breastfeeding our 16mo) in all honesty I was completely worn out, my heart was heavy, and I was at breaking point…
Guiding your children’s behaviour; In our home we use the ‘time in’ approach for our girls ‘red light behavior’ ie. Hurting each other. We have always felt that a ‘time out’ approach does not validate our daughters’ feelings, it shuns them from their family for experiencing ‘big’ feelings that they are struggling to control and it only teaches them that its ‘not ok’ to be upset.
Yes a preference for infants and children are us, their mamas BUT I wanted to talk about how indispensable our partners are.
Lets go back to ‘Attachment Parenting’ this is a style of parenting that has been happening since the dawn of time.
Imagine for a moment that aliens have abducted you and you are entirely dependent on two of these strangers in a strange world with a strange language. You are completely dependent on them for all of your needs, hunger, thirst, and comfort.
Motherhood- A ‘hood’ that many of us may see as a spiritual journey. One that challenges us & reminds us of our daily practice… practice that can be rigorous & at times exhausting. Our infants and our children are our teachers repeatedly forcing us to live in the present moments..
Anxiety is part of our survival instinct. When faced with a threatening situation, our brains and bodies respond by kicking into safety mode. Our adrenalin starts pumping, which helps us get ready to escape the danger.
Fearful and anxious behaviour can be common in children – especially as they come across a new situation and/or experience. Most children will learn to cope with their different fears and worries.
However, they may need a little extra support when: