Flexible Parenting – Adapting To Your Changing Child

mom with her two young daughtersWithout a doubt, kids seem to change very fast. There is always a new challenge, and as parents we need to understand the phases our children go through, and to realize that we need to change our parenting styles to the situation. Parenting a child means being adaptable to the many changes each child goes through as they begin to develop and mature. Skills need to be changed and adapted as the child grows, matures, and explores new territories. There are some phases of development that each child should go through to be able to advance to the next level. It is unavoidable that sometimes this will get them into trouble. As a child grows they go from being bubbly, determined, and cautious to sassy, bossy, impulsive, and defiant. What a challenge it is to channel these energies in a positive direction. The same stubbornness that keeps your child in trouble is also the stubbornness that gives them the drive to master a new talent. Parents sometimes can have a hard time curbing their stubbornness without stunting their development.

Toddlers can be one of the most challenging times for parents. It seems that they will at times take two steps forward and one step back in their development. You may find it difficult to decide what is unacceptable behavior and what is normal curiosity and development. Your children also begin getting stressed about social situations when they are toddlers. They love to experiment but are often afraid of venturing out alone. Other times, your child may defy your good intents and do everything in their power to frustrate you. The same child, who may have been an angel for two or three months, may become a “terrible two” for a few months. It is critical in the development of your child that you know which phase he is going through. One phase will help your child begin their independence phase and may break your heart. Do not take this personally. It’s an important part of growing up and the phase will soon pass.

Phases can include a time when your child demands independence and will not want hugs, kisses, or cuddling. Soon though, you will find your older child pass through this stage and find them snuggling with you on the couch and asking you to play with them. A child will go through a reconnecting phase, unfortunately, they will go through these phases many times during their growth years.

If the child is in an independent phase, it may be difficult for parents because discipline problems be magnified and made even more difficult. Parents need to be aware which phase their child is going through. If they are going through an independent stage it may be better to stand back and coach from a distance. When they are in the reconnecting and bonding stage, now is the time to strengthen your position as parent. Establishing your position, as comforter, disciplinarian, comforter, and authority figure should be done when the child is being in the reconnecting phase.

If you are taking on a major training period such as potty training, it should not be started when the child is in their “independent or breaking away” stage. A child may react to family situations in a negative way. A new baby, family illness, or a change in their family lifestyle may make it extremely difficult for a child to cope. They have emotions and have feelings of stress too. It’s important to watch for signs and look for any triggers that may make it hard for your child to cope with everyday life.

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September 16, 2007

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