Phase Two Parenting – A Toddler With Wants and Emotions

     I have noticed a dramatic shift in how we go about our day-to-day and what’s involved. Let’s just say parenting has become its namesake. We shifted into the second phase of raising our son. Phases? Yep. The first phase is what I’m going to refer to as “The Simple Phase”. This phase started when Bub was brought home from the hospital and ended somewhere here recently. It involved raising a child who was a number of things; above all of which was not mobile. His needs were basic: comfort, physical contact, simple nursing, the ease of a diapy change, etc. Most of our time was simply spent bonding and enjoying an immobile small human that would smile and coo at our nonsensical banter.
     Those days are long gone and enter in phase two of our journey. Phase two consists of a Bub that is now mobile (crawling and standing); has more complex needs, and is now starting to understand that his actions come with consequences, be it good or bad. A few examples being when I drop food on the floor, the puppies circle vulture-like under my highchair. Or I pull daddies records off the shelf and he has a mini panic-attack at the sight of 30 records scattered about. Basically, that his manipulations of his environment have a reaction. Simple science for a little guy. (Did I say simple nursing earlier? Now it’s an acrobatic performance that may or may not contain biting. What? My teeth are coming in and Mom’s nipples are chewy!)
     Just when I was enjoying the first phase and really diving into getting things done, phase two initiates without my consent. And that’s what has me nervous. I know exactly how I want to go about handle his new abilities and emotions. He’s slowly started to differentiate wants from needs and when the wants are not exactly baby-safe or boundary-crossing, enter in the whole new phase of parenting. A phase in which our idle techniques go front and center.  We definitely want to practice gentle and non-violent parenting, but it’s the execution that has me a bit frayed.
     This is a good time to bust out the old paperbacks and do some studying. While I have read and researched quite a bit online, putting it to practice is a whole different beast. I know I’ll be tested well beyond what I’m accustomed to, especially considering how I was raised, which was a more authoritative dictatorship: Mom ruled the roost while dad deferred to mom. I plan on being much more involved in the decision process.
     I have always been a dominating but loving dad to my pups, but it’s different with Bub. I’m not going to be dominating or bully my child into submission. Here’s a small quote of mine I posted elsewhere:

     “I will not be condescending to my child. Instead, I will kneel down and teach him so he can learn, discuss with him so he can understand, and treat him as the equal he his.

     This is what I want to live by when raising Bub. This will become my mantra. My go-to saying when I know I’m getting frustrated and overwhelmed with the demands of a toddler that’s pushing my boundaries.  That quote is the very essence of gentle parenting. I will give him options instead of demands. It works every time in my head, but I know reality has something else in mind. Prepare to be tested!

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