Hello parents! How are you today? We think you’re doing a great job. We really do! But we understand that there are days when you feel like the job you are doing is anything but great. Dr. Harvey Karp, our Editor-in-Chief, also understands. In his DVD and book “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” he starts off by stating, “No one was meant to parent a toddler…without a lot of help.”
Dr. Karp describes four main struggles that parents of young children face:
1. Where is my fairy godmother? Believe us, we ask this question everyday. Modern parents are more isolated than ever before. Households used to be multi-generational, neighbors used to be friends and extended family was often close by. That likely isn’t the case for parents today. In fact, parents are clocking more hours (either balancing work and raising children or being the full time stay-at-home parent) than parents of the past. Dr. Karp (and Twigtale!) sincerely believes that you deserve credit for that. He suggests parents should find a social community for support if you don’t have a family system nearby.
2. It’s hard to see the big picture. You had a tough day with your toddler. And maybe your little one has had a few tough days in a row. It’s easy to become demoralized, but Dr. Karp’s advice is to let it go…and plan ahead. Even the most well behaved toddler will push boundaries because that is what toddlers do. But, if you are having struggles every day, try to figure out if your child is acting up because he is bored, over tired, over stimulated with TV, getting low blood sugar (hungry), etc.
3. Your child’s behavior can bring up your past. Watching your child achieve his milestones and experience the world for the first time can be joyful. But his behavior may also trigger a painful memory or bring up an issue you are sensitive to. Dr. Karp advises that parents self-monitor. Do you become livid over your toddler’s picky eating habits while you manage other tantrums with ease? Try taking a few moments to self-reflect on why this particular behavior is upsetting to you. Discuss your feelings with a spouse or friend, utilize community support, take time for yourself, and get more sleep. We know, we know – easier said than done – but these are all healthy ways to cope.
4. Temperaments can clash. You and your toddler both have personalities, and his may be much different from yours. You may be a homebody while you child is a social butterfly. Or you may be a party person, but your tot gets fussy when several play dates are scheduled in a row. Take a close look at where your personalities match-up and where they clash so you can anticipate struggles.
We hope that by identifying these common problems, parents feel empowered and confident in their abilities. We see you!
Dr. Harvey Karp is Twigtale's Editor-in-Chief. He is a renowned pediatrician, child developmental specialist, and one of America’s most trusted parenting experts. Website: www.happiestbaby.com. Follow him on Facebook, and Twitter.