Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Terrible or Terrific Twos?

by Malina

I was warned. I was scared. The twos were coming. My sweet baby boy was going to become a raging willful monster.

When it didn't happen, I was told that it was really the threes that were terrible for some kids. "Just you wait!" they said. I was a little skeptical.

My son is almost eight and I'm still waiting. Except now I'm being warned about the terrors of tweens and teens. At this point I just smile and nod at the warnings. It's true I don't know what the teen years will bring. But I'm not going to be afraid. I have good kids.

Maybe I just got lucky and was sent a perfect child. (er, no.) Maybe I'm just a perfect parent. (definitely no.)

Maybe its because I refuse to let negative labels be applied to my kid(s). I believe they are good. I expect them to be good. And I remember to reject the puritanical view of children when it is thrust at me as their nature.

"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." (Articles of Faith #2) As a member of the LDS Church, I do not believe in original sin. I also do not believe that children are inherently evil. We are children of God and I believe God is good. The scriptures teach us that we must become as a little child to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Am I clear enough that I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that children are good, that they are pure?

How does that change when they become a toddler? We don't believe the age of accountability is until the age of eight, yet I regularly hear people referring to little kids as monsters, devils, terrors, snots, etc. It upsets me especially when it is the child's own mother, father or grandparent.

Children model their behavior on yours. They learn how to act from you. They also internalize what you say about them and how you treat them. If you are bossy and rude toward your child, they will be bossy and rude towards you. If you want them to learn to say please and thank you, say please and thank you towards them. It's your choice how you view your kids and how you treat them.

It's the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have others do to you. And it applies to parenting.

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