Tactical Parenting: Encouraging Toddlers
Numbers are only for easy reference.
Toddlers: This part will become more complex than readers may like. Tough to study. However, the toddler phase is the most important to stabilize a child’s personality around the quality that parents expect. Heart and mind are the most open they will ever be to parental input. The earlier a child learns something, the more indelibly it’s imprinted. I advise mothers and yet-to-be mothers to study several times that which follows.
- A child’s development process begins in the third year of life as a toddler’s conscious mind opens further and further, first signified by the child recognizing who they are. They take on the aura that, Hey, I’m a person too; pay attention to what I have to say. And, they expect to be respected just as they see others respected.
- Parents produce what they hope to develop by generating the firmest of foundations in toddlers. Teach morality early because toddlers buy in more easily to good teaching before they can recognize examples to the contrary. (Better they know what’s right than to follow deviations of others.)
- Gently convey parental convictions. Teach principles about life that parents value and each child’s maturity can handle, such as right and wrong, boys don’t hit girls, everyone sits quietly in church, and responsibility comes before entertainment. It’s vital to stay within each child’s level of maturity. Think thrice before expecting toddlers to act as adults.
- The overriding principle about teaching is this: Match child’s new responsibilities with their maturity so the child can easily succeed. Success is far more important than both achievement and fulfilling responsibility.
- Lessons learned through success are lasting. Failures impact kids two ways, and they often view mistake as failure. Fail themselves and they learn from experience, which they learn to deal with by improving. It’s part of their self-development ‘package’. Fail to meet parental expectations and they feel inadequate and tend toward unworthiness, which is the birthplace of tween and especially teen problems for parents.
- Self-image begins to form in toddlerhood. That much of who and what they think they are at any given moment determines their behavior more than parental direction—except as the latter may be forced of course.
- Additionally, after toddlers realize how boys and girls are treated differently, self-image includes how they like themselves as male or female. Unless parents belittle them, self-like develops in boys as the result of how they do and accomplish things right now, today, this moment. If parental feedback isn’t the opposite, a girl’s self-like develops as the result of how she relates to others according to her hopes, desires, and wishes for today and for doing better next time.
- Subliminal hardwiring of the subconscious mind that began in infancy continues until the reflection of adult treatment is made less important than the toddler’s appraisal about treatment versus that deserved. Thus, the reflection of how he is treated slowly fades and is replaced by new programming as his conscious thoughts start to prevail and swell over time.
- Instinctive self-development swells toddler thinking to pay more attention to themselves. It’s the most fertile time for parental expectations to become more guidance than dictate. The latter has the undesirable effect of belittling as unacceptable the child’s expectation of who and what he is. Guidance confirms that he’s openly accepted to compete for his own place in the family.
- Toddlers make their own decisions about themselves, which form and develop into an ever expanding picture of self, and which instinctively includes the freedom to continue developing.
- A toddler had no conscious involvement with earlier formation of self-esteem but his conscious mind soon learns from experience. He concludes from how he’s treated plus his accomplishments just how much and thoroughly he likes or doesn’t like himself. It’s no longer one-sided based on treatment in infancy. Self-conviction about successes and failures fulfilling responsibilities determine their self-like.
- Gifts intended to enhance self-esteem fail to do what’s intended. Self-esteem can’t be changed. Self-image is earned and unearned gifts don’t uplift it either.
- Toddlers think they deserve to be handled like others treat each other. But yet, parents have to exclude toddlers from certain adult events. It’s much easier to do if parental trust has been given and toddlers have learned to respect parental interests and decisions that are hard for toddlers to accept.
- Consequently, the environment toddlers live in, together with their accomplishments and relations, helps to form high or low self-image, which is the governor of their behavior for life. IOW, we follow our own; we all choose, decide, and live according to the self-image we develop previous to the moment.
- The toddler opts to believe what happens to him more than blindly accepting what the actions and words of others try to convey. Although not fully aware of what he does, independent thought about his status and value forms both from and into a revised picture of self.
- Within a short time boys and girls become more conscious that they receive different treatment. Each comes to deserve their own unique version of adult and sibling interest and respect. In addition, trust begins to show up as different by sex. Self-image forms more intricately around the displays of parental and sibling trust, which improves the toddler’s interest in those around them.
- Self-esteem, as reflection of how they are treated, slowly stops growing as the toddler’s conscious mind begins to pay attention to its own conclusions. They start to alter with conscious thought the opinions they perceive in parents and siblings.
- Parents should start immediately—if not before—to respect the toddler as a person. Later, when they identify as boy or girl, respect as such should follow. Parents naturally show interest in their children but it doesn’t mean that respect follows. When child perceives a parent’s trust and not just interest, it bounces or reflects back as interest in parent and respect for what they say and do.
- Toddlerhood lasts until first grade. Respect in the form of interest, nurturing, and allowing self-development work best. As each child seeks to self-develop, boys expect no assistance. Girls seeking to master the art of relating with others expect guidance but not excessive oversight.
- Early on the toddler’s self-image is an undeveloped negative. It’s why interest and trust are vital to be shown by parents before the picture starts to solidify as negative self-like.
- When high self-esteem and low self-like are different or reversed, children proceed conflicted. Alternating, they bounce from liking to not liking themselves. When SE and SL are both high, they confidently face the world as movers and shakers. When SE and SL are both low, confidence seldom finds them except for niches of particular appeal to them.
- When SE and SL are both super low, kids and adults feel urgent need to resurrect their image tarnished by self-loathing or -hatred. (Out of which can far too easily come depraved killers and others of their ilk.) Super low self-like works similarly with girls but with less dynamic results.
- (WADWMUFGAO. Teens and adults who loathe or hate themselves feel good about themselves when they make others feel the same way or they make them wish they felt the same. They seem motivated to make someone pay for their misery.)
- Each child seeks to self-develop. They first explore what they should aim at. As soon as they recognize that they will grow into an adult, that’s what they want to become. Personal and self-image development follow that course. As they figure out what kind of adult, they look for samples, ideas, and models and tend to duplicate those they admire of their own sex.
- As self-image develops fully as a super-teen, self-like displaces self-esteem. How they like themselves as a person becomes far less important than how they like themselves as man or woman and filling their various roles in life.
The toddler instinctively develops the picture of who and what he is in his world of people. As a subset, it includes his determination about liking and disliking himself as man, woman, and their roles in life. Throughout life, each person’s continually changing self-image, unchangeable self-esteem, and consciously derived self-interest guide their speech and actions and in effect govern their behavior.