Who teaches toddlers these things?

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It occured to me the other day watching my little boy shout ‘no’ for the 30th time that day…. who taught him that word? Me. With ‘no’ to things he’s not supposed to do from a young age. I also seem to have unwittingly taught him ‘don’t that’s rude’, ‘don’t be naughty’ and ‘you do it’. It’s a bit of a new one on me. Answering back. It’s like suddenly my sweet little boy is a sulky teenager. The naughty chair has become a delaying tactic at bedtime – if I do this, and get a warning, then next time you’ll take me back downstairs for a bit longer. Now I know I never taught him that and even with post-baby brain I caught onto that pretty quickly.

The one thing I love about parenting is seeing the element of competition between parents, and it’s not just in your community, it happens in families too, especially those who aren’t used to sharing with other children apart from their own. Whose child is the best behaved? Whose child gets the most attention from grandparents? Who chooses the best name? Whose potty trains first? Who eats first? Who drinks the best formula? If you work are you neglecting your home life? If you don’t work are they getting enough education? All of a sudden every thing you do with your child is taken out of context especially if you do it differently – you think you’re better. A night in the pub with ‘the mums’ and this story plays out for every single one in some form or another. I know for a fact that some of the things I have done as a mum have been used against me. Is that my problem? Or someone else’s self-esteem problem?

He’ll spend half his life battling against negative people and their opinions. It just seems so wrong that the battle starts out so young. Let’s be honest with ourselves all children follow a similar pathway – where they are right all the time, and everyone else is wrong. The toddlers grow out of it, it’s a pity some of the parents don’t.

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