Some mothers raise their children so easily and problem-free, that it must be a piece of cake. Others don’t, can’t, or won’t. The difference starts with toddlers and revolves around two principles.
Toddlers become self-developers as soon as their conscious minds open and they become aware that they too are persons deserving of treatment similar to what others receive. They change direction a little bit shortly thereafter when they discover boys and girls are different and they are one and not the other. They fall quite naturally into their respective sex roles.*
Quite subconsciously to them but visible to mom, they expect to see that others believe as they do. Born with self-love, girls seek evidence that they are loved. Born with self-respect, boys seek evidence that they are respected. They both measure it subconsciously by how they are treated compared to others.
First, they look. They are unaware of why, but they react to being treated differently than they instinctively deserve. Girls expect to be loved equally with others and welcome as part of some group, such as with mom or sisters. Boys expect to be respected fairly. Relative to others, they sense that all are not equal and that individual independence is important.
Second, they earn. Without early recognition that parents and others agree with them, they try to earn the confirmation they seek—girls loved equally, boys respected fairly.
Third they struggle. Failing to earn what they think they deserve, they ‘fight’ back rather than try very hard to earn confirmation of their worth. IOW, if they don’t get what they are born to deserve in their little hearts and minds, they struggle against the status quo. You know and have seen what that means for family quiet, peace, harmony, and mom’s frustration threshold.
It’s all part of self-development. When mom doesn’t go along to meet their ‘demands’, which are subconscious meanderings to see how far they can go or what they can get (self-interest), it can easily make mom sorry, frustrated, unhappy, and lost on what to do next or better. Especially if she’s tied up with something important to her or hubby’s self-interest.)
That’s where two principles come in to make handling children a piece of cake provided mom exploits them with her toddlers. Children need a mature-adult mixture of both principles as they grow up but they impact boys and girls differently.
1) Love comforts. It doesn’t teach except to be easy on oneself.
Comfort confirms a child’s self-image of who, what, and how valuable he is and, consequently, has developed. Also, mom’s applications of love both warm her heart and relieve anxiety in both mom and child.
Girls deserve and need more love than boys. It both confirms a girl’s inborn self-love (she’s worthy of cuddling) and establishes her self-respect (she is as independent as she desires) that is absent at birth.
2) Discipline teaches self-discipline. It doesn’t comfort but breeds self-confidence through achievement.
Discipline’s minor side is to behave in certain ways usually prescribed by social norms, authority, or in our case here, mom. However, the major component is to think in certain ways. Good discipline is not about doing what mom says although that avoids trouble, it’s about doing right and not doing wrong. (Mom won’t always be there to guide.)
Boys deserve and need more discipline than girls. Mom’s discipline is the bedrock of each boy developing his self-discipline, which is vital to the healthy sense of responsibility that adult men need to be mature and successful.
Girls are born with an innate sense of right and wrong. Almost like an inbred moral code, They need far less teaching than boys. Personal discipline is still required for girls, however, to prevent them from over using their ability and strong desire to express and spread love as solution for everything. They need to be disciplined to balance love and discipline when their children come along.
Carrying an undeveloped infant and giving birth endows mothers with a gift no one else possesses. The ability and willingness to forgive her own. It’s a weakness that too easily convinces that love conquers all. When mother depends on it, she aims her children toward immaturity in adulthood, i.e., adultolescents.
Both too much love and too much discipline discourage initiative. The former implies all is well and the child has little responsibility to help himself. The latter teaches that initiative brings on criticism. Too little love has the same end result; the adult looks for comfort from others. Too little discipline makes the child disrespectful of authority. All those conditions render immature adults.
Mature adulthood begins in the third year of life. Mothers are in charge and they have these obligations: to love and to discipline, to comfort and to teach, to confirm value and to prepare toddlers to successfully self-develop themselves.
It amounts to this. Love and discipline go together, comfort and self-discipline go together, well-loved and self-disciplined toddlers are mature beyond their years.
*I purposely avoid speculating about boys that act as girls and vice versa in early childhood. It’s outside the scope of this article.