Potty training. I doubt I’m alone when I say it’s the bane of my parenting existence.
Because it’s not just the task at hand — with a child that’s highly suspicious of toilets, at that.
It’s the pressure.
Pressure to prepare the child for “what’s next” (ie, places where diapers are frowned upon. Like junior high school, for instance).
Pressure to keep the child from falling behind peers.
Pressure to be reminded that on average, those kids in Japan are getting potty trained way earlier than kids in this country.
Teachers, sound familiar?
As parents and teachers, we all set forth with ideals to cultivate empowered, autonomous, thriving kids. But as the pressures rise like flood waters seeping into the bottom of a boat, we start to bail out everything to do with process in a desperate frenzy to get results.
And that’s generally when treats, bribes, and punishments start taking a more prominent role.
The biggest concern with this isn’t that we’re trying to help our child make progress in their development. It’s that we start working from a place of fear instead of understanding. When we’re driven by fear, we no longer start with the individual child and his needs/readiness. We instead start with ourselves: our timetables and our pressures. We listen less and dictate more.
We can start with the child while still inviting him to move forward in his progress. But whether it’s potty training or reading or multiplication facts — be sure to reflect & check that fear at the door!
featured image: Mark Michaelis