Children are not born with a set of instructions tattooed on their derriere. As parents, we are bound to make mistakes and not use the best parenting strategies all the time. This is especially the case during the terrible twos and terrible threes. As our toddlers are discovering the frustrations of living in society, realizing that the world does not revolve around their little person; we, as parents, are exhausted and sleep deprived, which often leads us toward ineffective parenting techniques. Here are three famous strategies that we should simply avoid as they are utterly pointless.
1 – talking too much. Whether we do it when we try to explain to our tantrum-throwing toddler why he must sit on a time out or when we give multiple warnings before intervening, our mouth gets us in trouble. Perceived as nagging, incessant talking diminishes the importance of the message we wish to transmit to our child. When in doubt, the golden rule is to limit verbal input. Clearly state the expectation, in a few simple words, and walk away. It is not easy to do, but it will pay off. In the long run, this will help your child pay attention to what adults say, the first time around.
2 – letting the child decide. There are so many decisions to make in a day that sometimes it is tempting to let the child decide. Although this is fine in some occasions like what book to read at bedtime or what puzzle to complete, a child should not get to choose what is for dinner, when is bedtime or when he is ready to come out of a time out. As a parent, it is our job to set limits and deciding for our child is part of the deal. A child who has too many options will become anxious at too many possibilities or will believe that the world will always comply with his needs and desires. Either way, too much freedom will not be good for your child.
3 – worrying too much about school readiness. Your child will be in school for fifteen years, let him or her enjoy the few years of unstructured play he has left. Outdoor time, splashing in puddles or making mud cakes are valuable learning activities that will not come back. Don’t try to make your child grow up too fast because once childhood is over, it is over. Your child will have plenty of time to learn how to hold a pencil or to colour within the lines. For the time being, let him play.
Finally, when you think you need a break from your little treasure, consider taking a day off and sending him to child care campsite. Your child will benefit from interacting with other children in a semi-structured environment, learning amazing concepts like sharing and waiting your turn. In the meantime, you get to pamper yourself for a change. Why not go to the book store and browse some adult literature for a change?