I’m sitting on the plane with my family. I’ve just finished a sticker book with my 3 year old, and now it’s my husband’s turn to entertain her with some books about a creepy cat looking girl (or girly looking cat, don’t ask). Meanwhile, 2 rows in front of me, another 3 year old has been screaming her lungs out for the last 30 minutes.
The plane is full of kids, and sure they get anxious. I mean, who wouldn’t? I would love to set myself free of all the good manners and other rules, and scream for a second. Just to let out some energy built from sitting for too long. So, I get it. Kids are kids and will always be kids.
There’s not much we can do when a baby is crying, apart from feeding, changing, and cuddling. But with toddlers and preschoolers it’s a different business.
Whoever told parents to “not to give in” to toddlers’ needs (or demands), should be locked in a plane full of crying toddlers, and their parents, for the rest of his/her life. Seriously.
Unless she wanted to smoke pot, or eat another human being alive, for human race’s sake just give her what she wants.
Why are parents told to build the whole system of rules and bans? They later find themselves trapped in a life of stress, tantrums and feeling of parental failure. It doesn’t do anyone any good.
Don’t get me wrong, rules are needed. They make kids feel safe, they create a much needed order. Just like routine does. Not only do they bring security to kids, they seriously make the whole parenting act easier by organizing everything that’s messy. But unless the little munchkins put themselves in real danger, or want to play with grandma’s 200 old crystal vase, why are they told “to stop”, “don’t” or any equivalent of “get lost”.
So how to create rules that make sense?
Every time you say “no”, at least try to answer “why”. If you can’t explain the reason behind your command, or when it sounds silly, then it most probably the rule is probably useless. So while when they bang on the window, you can explain “because it might break, hurt you, and we’ll have rain and wind in the house”, it’s not so easy when a 3 year old wants to sit in an empty bath tub to pretend she’s in theatre. Why wouldn’t she? Because we don’t play in the bath tub? Yes, but why? Um, no idea – sorry, you’re right, go ahead and play.
My main thought on parenting since I’ve become a mother is that in order to make my daughter trust me, respect me, and grow up to be reliable, and independent, I have to to treat her with respect and trust her. I realize it’s not a way to parent for everyone, but promise you it is worth trying.
And what a relief to all the fellow travellers.