Transitioning from the baby to toddler years, from a place where you do everything for them to teaching them how to do things for themselves is nothing less than a challenge, in my opinion. Every time I would push for them to have more independence, they would struggle, and then I would wonder if what I’m expecting of them is more than what their age can handle.
So far my oldest son is just like me, independent. He’s has taken the reins with maturity and independence and run with them. So one would think I would have the perfect compass to go by, right? All I’d have to do is pay more attention to when he achieves a milestone, so I can expect the same from the younger ones. However, that doesn’t always work either. For instance, my oldest rolled over at 3 months, sat up at 6 months, and knew his letters at 18 months all without my help. When my other sons achieved those milestones at different times, that’s when I learned each child is different and what one can do by a certain age doesn’t mean the others will achieve them at the same time.
The words “I can’t” come mostly from my anxiety-stricken middle son as well the baby of the family. The two of them combine to pose a challenge. The baby, actually not in the baby stage any more since he’s 4 ½, looks up to his anxiety-stricken brother. I think he would do a lot better, since he does have a strong-willed nature, to look up to his oldest brother, but that’s something I can’t control, only encourage. His “I can’ts” come from playing the youngest member of the family cards, otherwise known as the “baby card.” When the baby card is played, it’s a hard one to ignore because he is my last one. But I do my best. Seriously, I do!
Then, as I mentioned before, there’s my son who struggles with anxiety. His “I can’ts” happen on a regular basis, and when they do, I either get stubborn and make him follow through or take another direction to get through his insecurity. It all depends on the situation in regards to the approach I take. For instance, I planned for all three of my boys to go through 2 years of preschool since our Kindergarten is a full day. Due to his anxiety every morning, he cried the two years he attended, which made it hard getting through the morning routine. Then the last step of getting his shoes on was the ultimate challenge, and these were my stubborn times where I new he could do it and I was consistent in my expectation. I spoke with the Psychologist about our preschool mornings and was told with a child like him he needs to be pushed, children his age can put their shoes on.
Now that my oldest is in 3rd grade, and has a helpful nature about him, he helps me with his younger brother when it comes to Kindergarten homework and “I can’ts.” There are times Mr. Anxiety struggles with working with me, when it comes to homework. So I take the big brother approach to get him through it, and it works like a charm. Thank goodness for my helpful older son. He was born to be a big brother, just like some women are born to be Moms.
Being the doormat/people pleaser person that I am, I thought I would struggle with parenting, but thankfully my stubborn nature keeps me from doing that, especially when the words “I can’t” are uttered.
Photo graciously provided by nullalux, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved