The age of two is often referred to as the "terrible twos." This is the stage when toddlers begin to assert their independence, test boundaries, and sometimes exhibit behavior that might be perceived as "naughty." While it's easy to chalk this behavior up to a child's natural development, there's an intriguing perspective to consider: could this so-called naughtiness be a result of parental programming? In this article, I will explore how early childhood experiences and parental responses may influence a child's behavior and leave a lasting impact on their psyche.
The Innocence of Infancy:
When a child is born, they are greeted with adoration, praise, and endearing words from their parents and caregivers. Babies are celebrated as cute, adorable, and perfect. The environment around them is filled with love, joy, and encouragement. These early experiences create a foundation of love and self-worth in the child.
The Journey of Exploration
As a child grows and starts to explore the world around them, they begin to stand, walk, and touch everything in their path. This journey of exploration is a critical part of their development. It helps them learn about themselves and their environment. They experience the thrill of standing up, taking their first steps, and reaching out to touch and feel objects in their surroundings.
The Introduction of "No"
However, this innocent exploration phase is often accompanied by the introduction of a powerful word: "No." As children discover their physical capabilities and start to interact with their surroundings, parents and caregivers understandably feel the need to set boundaries. "No" becomes a frequent utterance in a toddler's life as they explore and experiment.
The Subconscious Programming
Here lies the core of our argument: the constant repetition of "No" during the child's exploration phase has a profound impact on their developing psyche. The subconscious mind of a child is highly impressionable, and when they are repeatedly told "No," they internalize the message that their natural curiosity and actions are wrong or unwelcome.
Seeking Love and Approval
In their quest for love and approval, children often adapt their behavior. They start learning to obey and do as they are told, not necessarily because it's the right thing to do, but because it is the path to feeling loved and worthy. This adaptation is not a conscious choice but rather a response to the conditioning they receive from their parents and caregivers.
Childhood Wounds and Adult Programming
The wounds of childhood, such as the constant barrage of "No," leaves a lasting impact on a person's adult life. These early experiences become a part of their programming and influence their decision-making, self-esteem, and relationships. The desire to seek approval and avoid rejection becomes deeply ingrained in their adult behavior.
The "terrible twos" are not just a phase of toddler development but a reflection of the influence of parents and caregivers on a child's behavior. The constant use of "No" programs a child's subconscious mind to seek approval and love by conforming to the expectations of others. Understanding this connection can help parents and caregivers be more mindful of how they interact with their children during this critical phase of development. Encouraging exploration while setting boundaries with empathy and positive reinforcement can help children grow into confident and emotionally healthy adults, free from the burdens of childhood wounds carried into their adult life, which ends up being the way all adults run our life due to the childhood wounds programing.
Supporting a Child's Growth through Exploration
In our journey to understanding the "terrible twos" further and the influence of parental behavior on child development, it's essential to consider a parent's role in fostering a child's natural curiosity. While the introduction of boundaries and the word "No" is not really a part of responsible parenting, it is a programed conditioning of all our childhood life, yet there is another perspective to explore.
Some parents choose to adopt a different approach, one that encourages their child's natural sense of wonder and exploration. These parents opt not to clear the path of all obstacles and fragile objects that a child might reach or break. Instead, they embrace the idea that a child's growth is far more important than the mere objects that can be replaced. I use to get judged and constantly criticized for this kind of thinking.
The Philosophy of Unrestrained Exploration
I believe that a child's unrestricted exploration is vital for their overall development. I saw the world through a different lens, I always have, understanding that while a vase or a fragile ornament might be irreplaceable, "they are only objects" labeled by humans as important when they are not. I often thought that the opportunity for my children to learn and grow through exploration was invaluable.
The Value of Experiential Learning
Children are natural learners. They absorb information about their environment through touch, sight, and sound. Allowing them to interact with their surroundings, even if it means things might get broken, is a form of experiential learning that cannot be replicated by traditional teaching methods.
Fostering Confidence and Independence
By giving my children the freedom to explore, I followed this philosophy in order for my children to nurture a strong sense of self, independence, and confidence. I often thought my children would learn that their trust in them to make choices, even at a young age, and for in this trust I was hoping the results would develop within themselves a more secure and self-assured individual.
Embracing Mistakes as Part of Growth
A child's journey of exploration is not without its share of mishaps, that is a part of their growth. Broken objects are just a part of the process and these objects really hold no comparison to a child's worth taken into their adult life. I chose this path becuase I understood that mistakes are a natural and essential part of growth. I really believe that children must learn through their failures as much as their successes.
The "terrible twos" and the influence of parental behavior on a child's development are complex topics. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, the philosophy of encouraging unrestrained exploration can be a refreshing perspective for those who seek to foster their child's natural curiosity, independence, and self-confidence. Ultimately, the choice of parenting style should be guided by a deep understanding of the child's unique needs and the values parents wish to impart to their offspring. Whether through boundaries or through freedom, the goal remains the same: to raise confident, happy, and well-adjusted individuals.
I never believed in the "terrible twos" concept; I used to think, "When I heard this parental label, it's us who shapes them this way." A child at two years old is just beginning to understand the world, and they learn primarily through the environmental conditioning presented to them daily in our words and actions. When I'd mention this, I'd often face criticism and loud objections, as people would dismiss it as just a "naughty child." But to me, a child is born as a blank slate, knowing nothing of the world, unable to speak or walk - we're the ones who teach them these things. They don't inherently know what's good or bad behavior; it's us who impart this knowledge. It became evident to me that society often refuses to accept that they play a significant role in how their children behave at the age of two and beyond, and it has little to do with the child themselves.
Labeling the toddler years as the "terrible twos" can unintentionally contribute to a negative perception of this crucial developmental stage. It's important to remember that children are absorbing not just our words, but also the emotions and attitudes that accompany them, which can influence their self-esteem and emotional well-being.