How should I deal with toddlers?

Lisa Oz
Health Education

With toddlers, you need to remember that you are the grown-up. You need not take it personally when your child resists total submission. If you let your ego be threatened by your child's ego, then any attempt at conscious interaction is forfeit.

On the other hand, reluctance to be an authority figure is an equally dangerous parenting pitfall that many parents succumb to. We love our children so much that we want them to be happy. This is a good thing, but too often we equate being happy with meeting every single demand instantaneously, which is not good. It is important for toddlers to understand that they do not rule the house. Getting everything all the time does not make them happy. It makes them little tyrants. Toddlers need to learn to process disappointment and respond appropriately. Life will teach them that they do not always get what they want. It is far better if that lesson comes early and in a compassionate way from a loving parent.

Lots of parenting experts tell us that it's imortant to set limits with children -- and that children "seek out" limits. But many parents don't understand WHY.

Think of it this way: Your child wants to know if you mean what you say -- and say what you mean. Are you reliable? Trustworthy? Do you stand by your words? Being a reliable parent -- in your child's mind -- is at least as important as the actual limit you are setting. Toddlers crave this sense of security as they start to venture out into their new, wild world.

That's why it's important to be consistent in parenting. You don't have to be inflexible -- you can re-set limits if there's a good reason -- and explain to your child WHY you've changed your mind. But staying consistent proves to your child that you're reliable, predictable, and SAFE. And nothing helps your child blossom more than that.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.