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Parenting With Sensitivity

Standard

I have a two year old who’s a little bit different. She hasn’t received any diagnosis and passed a hearing and speech evaluation, but she’s just not quite like other two year olds. She displays several markers for Autism as well as a variety of ‘unusual’ — but cute! –behavior. 

We are attempting to potty train this nutty little girl. So far we’ve come across a complete lack of success. She pees down her legs and doesn’t seem to notice. She will be interested in panties ad interested in sitting on the potty, but pee just never happens. Today, Grandma decided to help while I was mopping the kitchen floor. From the other room, I could hear her yelling at her and my little ladybug crying and saying “all done”. Grandma didn’t want to let Little Miss off the potty insisting that at 31 months she “has” to potty train. 

Long story short, I flipped out. 

I believe in gentle parenting. In treating children with kindness and firm guidance, but never with cruelty or force. Unless, of course, they are in harm’s way– that is another story entirely. Forcing a little girl to sit on the potty will, in my opinion, do more harm than good. She will go when she is ready. And this brought me to a thought- how many of us actually parent with sensitivity to our children’s needs? Are we doing what is convenient for us, or what is best for them? I recall a quote that goes something like, “What’s best for the child is not always what’s most convenient for the parent”. 

What do children need? Food, shelter, clothing. But also love, guidance, a superior role model. A strong pair of arms, a loving touch, a gentle voice. 

Forcing your child to do things they are not yet ready to do may harm the special bond you have with your child. Forcefulness breeds mistrust, anger, and general unhappiness. Raising your voice breeds fear and hurt. Take the time to not only tell your children that you love them, but also to show them that you love them. I truly do not believe that a well-loved, gently disciplined child can be spoiled. There is no such thing as too many kisses! 

On that note, the other day Grandma said to me, “your children are far too attached to you!”. This idea appalls me. Why, I ask, would you have a child and expect them NOT to be attached to you? You bear them, you birth them, you raise them. You are, in every sense of the word, their world. And certainly the intense attachment of a two year old can be overwhelming at times. The passionate love of a baby or toddler can be frustrating when your hair is undone and your house is in shambles. But that love is a blessing, the most beautiful gift a parent could wish to possess. So parents, parent gently. Be sensitive to the needs of your children. Parenting is not an easy task. Your days may be long and your nights may be sleepless, but childhood is short. This too shall pass!