For some reason, we have become terrified of our children having negative and unpleasant emotions. It is rooted in our beliefs of harming their psyches. We have identified the rigid structure and strong disciplinary methods of our own childhoods as being the root of all evil. We have gotten so used to blaming our parents for our adult difficulties that we are naturally drawn to practices that are completely opposite of what we grew up with.
The ultimate goal of parenthood is to help your child develop into a healthy, successful, and well-adjusted adult. This is something that is so obvious, but we overlook it all of the time. I think we can get so hung up on the baby part that we forget the big picture. We are not trying to raise babies. We are trying to raise adults who can function in the world. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want, you have to take turns, you have to follow rules, and you experience unpleasant emotions.
Life is filled with adversity, disappointment, hurt, frustration, sadness, and pain. Teaching our children how to successfully maneuver through these difficult emotions starts when they are small. Learning how to deal with negative emotions and deal with being upset is such a huge, valuable tool. It is certainly one I wish I had learned better in my own childhood. It would have helped me when I was an adult.
Many of us do everything we can to prevent negative emotions from occurring. If they are upset, we quickly jump to fix it. We give them what they want so they don’t start throwing a fit or to stop the fit they are having. Of course in the beginning and during the first year, this is exactly how it should be. But we should not still be functioning as if we are parenting an infant when our children are four.
In the grand scheme of things, we have a very short period of time to spend with our children as children. The rest of their time they will spend as adults living in the world. I don’t want to spend my time teaching my son how to be the best baby. I want to spend my time providing him with as much love as I can and equipping him with the tools he needs in the world.