Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Emotional Life of the Toddler

I picked this book up recently at a thrift store and am so glad i did. My little dude is different than most kids. He does some scary things like dart away from us wherever we go. If we put his feet on the ground, he's off and running and in the opposite direction of us. I read that a child will tend to go 50 feet from his mother and then return or stop because that is the end of his comfort zone. My guy is not this way. He'll completely leave us and not bother to even look back. It really worries us because he hates being confined by grocery carts, strollers, and our arms. My baby who isn't a baby anymore doesn't like to be held unless he's getting milk or reading a book and of course when he's hurt. He also has intense emotions and will scratch his own face when he doesn't get his way. All of this breaks my heart. I have felt like I've done something wrong that he doesn't want to be around us and then I read this:

"In the balance between the exploration and attachment behaviors that define secure base behavior, very active, fearless toddlers show a clear preference for exploration. Parents learn to cherish the brief moments when the child is so tired that she needs to cuddle up for a while. This does not mean that these tiny adventurers have no feelings of love or wish for closeness. It is simply that at least for the time being, action and novelty exercise an irresistible pull. For them, secure relationships consist of the willingness to take risks away from the parent. It is as if the parents' love for the child fuels the child's love for the world..
This is not fanciful thinking: toddlers raised in sterile institutions show little energy or interest in taking off because they have no loving base to take off from. Secure, actively exploring toddlers can risk leaving the parent's side because they rely on her ongoing availability. Rather than needing to stay close for protection, they take off fully expecting that the parent will be there should the need arise." - "The Emotional Life of the Toddler"

...and i feel much better. :-)


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