We, as mothers, want to bring out the best in our children. We use a combination of techniques to mould the little being into a fine person with a healthy mind and heart.
“Active” parenting starts at around 2 (the terrible terrible twos). This is the time when the innocent little infant starts absorbing and processing information. Some information is processed the way you would like it to be. While some is just the opposite of what you were expecting.
Handling a toddler needs you to be quick in wits, on your feet and fast to reply/react. Coz you are not always prepared. Its like your throat is on the line. One wrong reaction can lay down a meandering path of distress for you.
Example: You notice that your baby has started crying a lot recently. She whimpers on almost everything. Is irritable and is always cranky. She can shed tears at the drop of a hat. It was fine for a day or two. But now it has become so irritating, that you just snub her, threat her or even punish her each time she starts whimpering. You end up with not only a more howling baby but also feel guilty! You almost giving up on the “best mommy” tag your infant used to give you each day with that glorious smile while you used to breastfeed her!
This is just one example of the many trials and tribulations you are put through while handling a toddler. So I wont discuss how you should react in that one particular situation. I will give you the sutra of how to overcome all the trials in general. You can extrapolate this principle to any of your toddler situations. It will help you emerge peaceful out of all of them.
One of the most glaring differences I see in mommy techniques is whether a mom focuses on the cause of the problem or the effect. A crying kid can be consoled in three ways-
- you soothe the crying with some peaceful calming happy words and if the child stops crying you award him with his favourite snack.
- You snub the kid and lock her in the bathroom.
- You try to figure out the “Cause” of his meltdown and attack that.
Hopefully by now you have read enough Nirvanama articles that option B doesn’t cross your peaceful mind!
Though option “A” sounds nice too, it really is option C that is going to give you a long-term solution to the meltdown.
Finding a “cause” is not as straightforward as it sounds. Like most other positive mothering techniques, it requires patience, effort and perseverance. However, the implications are so long lasting and thorough that it seems worth the struggle soon!
I would define a “cause” as something that is the root event or emotion that is making your kid behave a certain way.
Lets demarcate “cause” “effect” and “event” from the following example:
“Your baby cries each time you or your partner leaves for work.”
Going for work is an Event. Because that’s what triggered your baby to start crying. It’s the immediate thing that preceded the crying episode. However, its not the “Cause”
Baby crying is obviously the Effect.
The Cause in this case is insecurity. The only person who understood him completely is leaving him! Imagine his plight! That’s why he expresses his unrest by doing what he knows best to get your attention- howl and cry!
What you do next will define you as the “cause” mom or the “Effects” mom.
If you target the “Event” (which was you leaving for work)….what you will do is leave quietly when the baby is not looking. The caregiver (ie the person looking after the baby when you are away) distracts the baby while you quietly sneak out.
This will surely make sure you avoid the howling episode when you leave for work. It might make you feel good also for a few days as no mom loves to leave a crying baby at home!
However in a few days you will notice how your baby starts crying for every reason in a few days. Even if you step out to the market for 5 minutes, it raises an alarm in the mind of your baby. The baby starts feeling that you will sneak out when he is not looking. So he clings onto you even more!
Try resolving the “Cause” and you will get tangentially opposite results. The cause of your baby crying is that he feels unsecure without his mom around. So instead of sneaking out, take out 10 minutes before leaving for work to sit with your baby. Tell him that you are leaving for work and will be back soon. Your baby will cry louder and make leaving difficult for you for a few days. But don’t give up on the policy of telling your child each time you plan to leave him for a few hours or minutes.
The first few days will have you cursing me for suggesting this technique to you. However in some time you will see that your toddler seems okay about you leaving him for work. Now he knows that you are leaving but you do come back in the evening- just like you promised.
Slowly over the next few days his insecurities are put to rest. He will still show he doesn’t like you leaving for work. But he will not be insecure about your absence. The howling episodes will be for lesser duration and intensity. And that just means bliss for you, doesn’t it?
See, how by knowing what is the real cause and resolving that you get a diametrically different child? An insecure stubborn child Vs a secure happy convinced kid – such a stark difference in the same kid …just by knowing the right technique.
So next time you need to tackle a behavior that catches your attention, take a minute to thread out the “Cause” and “Effect” in the situation.
And go on to Become a happy nirvanama with a happy nirvana kid!