It’s almost amusing how panicked parents become when they suspect their child might be spoiled. The well-loved child should be spoiled with kisses and affection, but there comes a point as your baby reaches his toddler years that he needs limits to avoid becoming the sort of spoiled we worry about. If you’re starting worry about your own little one and his incessant needs, he might be a typical toddler who wants reassurance or you might be teetering on the edge of spoiling.
By the time you have a toddler rather than a baby, his crying patterns are well established. There are tears of sorrow, tears of rage, tears of exhaustion and false tears of whining. Whining become an art form for some toddlers who can sound like their hearts are breaking until they are swooped up with dry, smiling faces. Watch your little one closely. If you tell her no for that extra cookie or put her down to pick up the extra basket of laundry, does she almost immediately tune up? Are they real tears or is she just whining rather than crying. There are times toddlers need the loving arms of mom – when they are sick or hurt, for example, but there are many other times they just want their way.
We all know not to give into tantrums, but there are times for all of us that we might cave – just this once. However, the danger is caving more than “just once” can lead to a reward system for your little one. You say no, he says yes. You say no, and he throws himself on the ground screaming. You become embarrassed, hand him the desired item and hurry away from the stares of strangers. He was rewarded for throwing a fit, and you’d best believe he’ll use that to his advantage as often as he can.
There are many parents who love their babies dearly and are afraid that saying no will make the family uncomfortable. Yet toddlers should be hearing no on a rather frequent basis. Toddlers are inquisitive little creatures who want to explore the world around them. They should be doing this with a guide, however, who can steer them away from danger even if it means a few tears along the way. Letting a toddler do as he pleases all of the time and never saying no or always giving in when pressured is a true recipe for a nightmare as the child ages.
If you’re arguing with a toddler and he’s winning most or all of the time you have two very large problems. The first is that there is never a need to argue with a toddler. You make the edict and he follows, with coercion, threats or force if necessary, but toddlers learn to do as they are asked within reasonable limits. If you do find yourself arguing with a toddler and he’s winning it’s because you’re either fighting battles that aren’t worthwhile or you’re scared to put your foot down. Parents have to have thick skin. Your choices aren’t going to be popular a lot of time, but as the adult in the relationship, you have to trust in your decisions to do what’s best for your child.
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