Friday, September 24, 2010
The life of an infant is enviably structured; everything is tailored to the child’s personal needs. When she wants a warm bottle, a clean diaper or an undemanding playmate, an attentive parent obliges. With the end of infancy, however, this comfortable patterns changes. No sooner does the child emerge from her parents’ protective cocoon –tentatively walking talking and asserting her independence- than the pressure to conform to the grown up standards of family and society begins.
Suddenly the toddler is faced with a multitude of new ideas to comprehend and tasks to master. He is urged not to soil his diaper at all, but to recognize the purpose of the potty chair and anticipate his need to use it. Play no longer means grabbing a toy from another’s hands to use or fling away at will; he must learn to share his toys and to consider the feelings of others. And parental praise, in the past so forthcoming, is now lavished or with held on the basis of the child’s actions.
The fast paced lessons of early childhood, like any process of maturation and change, bring with them predictable bouts of bewilderment and insecurity. A child’s stressful feelings may take many odd forms: stubborn battles at bath time or bedtime, thumb sucking, toileting accidents after months of being trained. All thought you may not immediately link such episodes to your youngster’s development; these behaviors too are a normal- and often necessary- part of growing up.
Happily they are also transitory, usually lasting only as long as it takes for your child to become comfortable at her new level of accomplishment.