Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

September 23, 2012

WHOLE FAMILY: Have a strategy for that ‘busy-little-guy’ stage

You won’t hear me using this phrase, though I’ll write it here so you know the topic: The Terrible Twos.

I’ve been a parent now for nearly nine years. Ten years ago I knew I would never curse my future children with words like that. First off, I’m wired to question everything, especially pop phrases, so if everybody is saying it, likely I am not.

Secondly, I knew enough even 10 years ago to know there’s some sort of phenomenon along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecy. Say it enough, pursue it, and you’ll get it. I wanted no part of fashioning a “Terrible Two”— for his sake and mine.

Now, we ARE rounding a corner over here at The Price’s — about to ease into our baby’s third year, meaning he’s almost 2 years old. We’re at the stage that’s more than “toddler” but not quite “preschool,” and I’m not sure what to call it. Maybe “busy-little-guy stage?”

Busy, funny, passionate and eager-to-learn Elijah is a short-stature explorer, scientist and social experimenter. He’s curious and emotional. And he’s a CHILD, not a terror.

But I will not fib: There have been times lately when my busy little guy’s completely age-appropriate but wildly socially unacceptable behaviors get to me. Like his screaming, say, when he’s frustrated. “What in the world?” I think, and from the kitchen I yell to an older child, “I don’t care what the problem is — just make. it. stop!”

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to know THAT is not good parenting.

It struck me I had been remiss to not anticipate this busy-little-guy stage and all its glories. Silly me, but I wasn’t prepared. So I needed to be a quick study and get proactive. I needed to one, REMEMBER and two, STRATEGIZE — because this stage is here.

So. One, REMEMBER: Those busy-little-guy behaviors — screaming, crying, crumpling to the floor — are developmentally appropriate. Here’s what askdrsears.com says about them: “A toddler has an intense desire to do things, but his mental and motor skills have developed more quickly than his ability to communicate … He doesn’t yet have the verbal skills to express his frustration.” (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/discipline-behavior/bothersome-behaviors/temper-tantrums/taming-toddler-tantrums)

Normal. So that means now comes the two, STRATEGY.

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