Untuk membaca blog ini dalam bahasa Indonesia, klik ini

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wonderful Two

The ages between 1.5 - 3 years old are a significant period in children's growth and development. In this stage, children begin the process of maturing intellectually and emotionally. They begin to realize that they have self-will and feel a wide range of emotions: happiness, sadness, disappointment, fear, excitement, etc.
Many labeled this critical growth period as the "terrible two", because kids who had been sweet as angels could change 180° in character.
Even ideal parenting could not prevent this phase. The best effort we can make is to help our children get through this phase as well as possible.
Just as a blind person who gains sight, so are children in this period. Suddenly they could 'see' so many things that could be explored, while at the same time everything seemed foreign and new to them.
As a first step, we can help them to identify their emotions and desires or 'wants'. Then give them a short and simple direction on how to deal with those things.
For example, a toddler starts screaming and crying. First, find out the trigger: is it because she wants something, or is there another cause? Let's say she wanted an item that's placed up high, making her frustrated because it's out of her reach, then what we should do is:
  1. Embrace her to calm her down first.
  2. Then carry her closer to the item she wanted.
  3. Communicate with her, saying something like, "Oh, do you want this doll? You're mad because you can't reach it."
  4. After handing the doll to her, look her in the eyes and say, "Next time, please tell Mommy. Point to the toy that you want, then Mommy will get it for you."
The case and solution may vary, but the example above is just to show you the steps that need to be taken. The most important thing is that our solution should fulfill these goals:
  1. Embrace and calm the toddler during her tantrums to give the child a sense of safety, since tantrums arise because the toddler still cannot communicate properly and is emotionally confused because she doesn't yet recognize the feelings going through her.
  2. Identify the problem and offer a solution.
  3. Identify her feelings and introduce her to the right terms, for example: frustrated, angry, sad, etc.
  4. Give a future solution, what she needs to do if she encounters another problem. Teach the toddler to try to communicate it first (tell Mommy, point, etc.), then assure her that we are willing to help her.
Don't miss this important phase of development. I encourage you to read books and other good references on this subject. That's why I won't go into further details on the 'terrible two', but I'd like to let you see it from another perspective.
A few years ago my husband and I visited the Linderhoff castle, which is located at Ammergau Alps, Germany. This castle was the residence of the 18th-century emperor of Bavaria: King Ludwig II.
Prior to my visit, I had seen photos of this castle, which is famous for its beautiful gardens. The problem was we came during winter. I didn't find the beautiful gardens depicted in the pictures, instead I saw bare tree branches with their tips covered in plastic. The reality was so far removed from my expectations.
It's still fresh in my memory that as we walked through the gardens, we had a chance to talk to the gardener. What I remember most is his answer when I asked him why the tip of every branch had to be covered in plastic. It turned out that it was done to protect each tip from drying out during the cold winter, so that when spring came, the branch could still sprout beautiful leaves and blossoms. So throughout winter the gardener had to be extra vigilant in keeping each branch from dehydration.
In my opinion, just like the gardener, "terrible two" is a period where we have to put in extra effort, but seemingly without any results from it. There are no pretty flowers to show from our hard work, there are only bare branches.
But if we can imagine a garden filled with brilliantly colored blossoms, then we will be even more careful in caring for each existing branch.
As surely as the sun rises, so does the day turns. This season will pass, whether or not we are prepared for it. How much we will enjoy the new season mostly depends on how we prepare for it in the passing season.
When springtime comes, we will see beautiful flowers blossoming, if we take care of the branches well during winter.
If we are negligent, we'll be more than likely to complain in the spring because we don't find any flowers on the trees, while we can look at the beauty in the gardens of others.
Just remember this, after winter will come the spring, when everyday the sun seems to shine a little brighter.
There are times when we can’t see the beauty yet, but if we do the right thing during the winter, we will surely harvest the fruit of our hard work. If we navigate our children through their hard time, we will definitely take pleasure in the outcome when the new season arrives.
So, there is no “terrible two”. There is only “wonderful two”, because to everything there is a season, a time for every PURPOSE under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV). (taken from "A Box of Chocolates for Two")

No comments:

Post a Comment