One of the many sources of shame in my childhood was my mother's regular disappointment with my inability to handle my personal care to her standards. From hygiene to care of my clothing and personal space, I was consistent only in my lack of skills and, well...consistency.
Why couldn't I do what she expected? Why can't your kids get those routines of self-care programmed in place and then just carry on? Why do you have to hover, remind, and nag?
"My anxiety and I have just learned to live together. She is the longest relationship I have ever had." ~~ Jae Nichelle, from her spoken-word poem, "My Anxiety is Like a Friend-With-Benefits"
How do we avoid being "that" parent or "that" teacher -- the one who plants the seeds of anxiety in the early years?
I mean, we can't pretend that none of us is this kind of adult. Otherwise, why do half of all anxiety disorders begin as early as age 8?
I heard someone say the other day that a solution for society's ills is teachers in our public schools helping children develop empathy and compassion. Leaving aside my awareness that this comment revealed a vast lack of knowledge about what most teachers' lives are like these days, I simply responded, "There's an easier way to foster that development, at a more optimal time, though -- from birth up to three years of age." The astonishment I saw on the faces of the three others in this conversation, in turn, astonished me.
I thought everyone knew that, not just child development geeks like me.
I recently saw and shared this great meme on Facebook. With some editing liberties, it said:
When we only look at behavior, we stop seeing the child. We look only with the intention to judge: will we reward or punish the behavior? "When we look behind the behavior, we see that little struggling human...who needs our help with something." ~Rebecca Eanes
Are kids really crazier than usual on the Full Moon, the Blue Moon, or the Super Moon; after the grandparents' visit; after a weekend, or a Wednesday; or...when?
No matter what the circumstance that seems to create that "crazier than usual" question in you, the answer is probably, "Yes. They are 'crazier' than usual."
Ships passing in the night is a poignant image for a missed opportunity at romance. Does it also describe you and your child or children?
From birth, you are your child's berth, her slip at the marina, the dock she is tied to. Are you as connected to your child as he is to you?
From two Whole Foods aisles away, I could hear him screaming. It was head-splitting, even at that distance. There were no words; just the angry, piercing screams, over and over. The only breaks seemed to be for the purpose of pulling in new breath for the next scream. My diagnosis from a distance: toddler tantrum.
I remember a cartoon I saw years ago, of two vultures in a tree. One turns to the other and says, "Patience, my a**! I'm going to kill something." A quick search showed me it's still pretty popular. I found dozens of memes, some with drawings and some with photos.
Parents and teachers of four-year-old children: do not despair! Your child's attempts to rule the roost are normal! predictable! and part of learning to be a healthy adult!
Four-year-old children, whether boys or girls, all become Little Emperors -- rulers of their known universes.