Conscious Parenting, Earthway Parenting, Gentle Parenting, Toddlers

Reacting and Responding To Your Toddler

“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?

When there is a good balance between emotional involvement and setting consistent limits on your child’s behavior, rather then an authoritative overly controlling stance in your parenting, you are then able to teach your child how to learn balance and control over their own behavior.

Think about it, if you are overly exerting yourself and controlling the situation ALWAYS, then your child does not learn how to explore, or play, follow their heart or just BE.  She is always needing to conform to what YOU want, so she might not ever know what it feels like to be ‘herself’ without the fear of your ‘disapproval.’

BUT when there is warmth in your words AND within your actions, even whilst maintaining that you have clear limits for their behavior, then you are showing your child that you care enough to keep them out of harms way, and that you care enough to lovingly set limits and boundaries for her behavior.  You are guiding, and allowing them the space to develop their OWN self control.

When our now two year old daughter was around eighteen months old she was in ‘ explore, climb, throw herself on the ground & scream just because stage!’ As much as she appeared to want to be in charge, all she really wanted was loving boundaries.  She was transitioning from being a baby to a toddler at lightening speed, she was uncomfortable, scared, unsure & confused…BUT she would ‘try’ it ALL anyway!!

Now as an even feistier two year old, I’m finding that the more stressed I become & the louder my fear is projected (when she’s climbing on the kitchen bench for example!) the more genuinely upset she then becomes.  She’s feeding off my emotional reaction & then ‘reacting’ the same way.

This opens up the discussion for me to talk about YOUR reactions.  In owning your OWN reactions, for example yelling and/or smacking.   Knowing that it is unnecessary to ‘react’ and so much more empowering to ‘respond’ (responding may look like you getting down to your little one’s level, or hugging to then reconnect) to your little one’s behavior, you are OWNING your reaction.

An empowering way to OWN your reaction can be as simple as to apologize, to go down to to your child’s level and apologize for the way that you reacted.
This alone can be incredibly empowering for your child.
BUT also empowering for you.
This is ultimately about you taking responsibility for your own actions, AND you are teaching your child to do the same.

This will allow for a discussion to take place, and it will ALWAYS create the space for renewed connection, as well as an opportunity for positive role modelling.
Your actions & words as a parent, as an adult, create far more meaning than the ‘lectures’ and discussions that you will ever have.

“Think before you react, use your words wisely & don’t forget that  your body language will always express far more then your words ever will”

Love and Light, Nikki x