So here we are in a foreign country, toddler and me shopping in a department store. They say timing is everything, and so after 5 minutes of harmonious bliss, toddler decides to tests the boundaries and let’s go of my hand in an effort to navigate her own way around the store. Maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of Law & Order, but no toddler is letting go of me, especially in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. So what ensues is a battle of wills. A 2 year old desperately trying to let go while screaming ‘help’ to concerned on lookers versus a determined mother half dragging an unwilling toddler across the department store floor. I don’t have to tell you who won….I hope you know.
Parenting a toddler may be physical and mentally intensive, but the advantage is I control the environment. I determine the boundaries. I am the deciding influence on my toddler’s life. As my child grows and transitions into preschool, the boundaries of my influence slightly decrease. Once my child enters school my influence starts to compete with other sources…teachers, friends and the playground all start to vie for influence over my child.
I haven’t yet hit the teenage years with my kids, but I’m hoping if I stay consistent in my parenting and keep setting the boundaries, the hard yards I have put into these early years will begin to yield their benefits and just as my toddler knows I am a force to be reckoned with when it comes to her well being, she will also understand as a teenager when I say no to the car keys….don’t worry I’m not naive to believe there still won’t be kicking and screaming!