Being a former Child Life Specialist and currently a Love & Logic facilitator, I’m a bit of a tough love advocate. Now, I’m definitely not one for “cry it out”, nor will I tell a toddler to “suck it up” when they’re upset, but these days it seems like we’re unconciously raising a bunch of weenies by offering all sorts of crutches to cope with life’s struggles. Here are a few that I deem totally unnecessary.
1. The Wipes Warmer
- Puh-leeze! Please don’t take offense to this is you have one, but let’s give kids a fighting chance. Yes, the chemical soaked wipes are cold, but they touch your heiny for a nanosecond before we’re either done or they’ve warmed up against your hot baby skin.
- The Safeheads Helmet
This one kid of cracks me up! I discovered this little “gem” on instagram and thought, “How will kids learn to be careful and watch what they’re doing if they’re raised in a bubble?” This is a helmet you put on your child the moment they start crawling or walking to avoid head bumps and bruises. Do I want kids to get concussions or need stitches as tots? No! but, do I think a little head bump or a tumble from time to time is good for their overall growth and development? Yes!
I once nannied for an 11 month old who constantly bumped his head, fell over backwards and tripped over his own feet. He always had scratches, black eyes, or bruises and his mother said something so wise, “I just figure that’s how a new walker is supposed to look?” She’s right!
3. Bottle Warmer (past infancy)
Warmed/Heated milk is best for baby to consume in their early days because it’s easier to digest, soothing, and easy on tummies; however, if you find yourself heating baby’s milk after a certain point (say 1 year!) you’re conditioning the child to need heated milk. Then what are you going to do when you’re out and about and you have to buy bottled water to help you put the formula together and there’s no way to heat it anywhere in sight? Yikes!
I’m amazed with how early I see parents using Ipads, Leapfrogs and other electronic devices to “entertain” their kids, i.e. keep them occupied during mealtimes. Does this help once they’re toddlers? Absolutely! But, should a nine month old be staring at a light up screen to get through their food pouch? No. This is definitely a crutch used by parents that’s not for the child’s best interest.
5. The Beck and Call Parent
I’m an advocate of attachment parenting, which means responding to your baby’s cues. Keeping baby/toddler close and meeting their needs at the ready has been proven to raise responsible, confident, secure children. That being said, I know a whole camp of parents who consistently find themselves running up to the day care f school to bring forgotten lunches, homework, coats, PE shoes, sunglasses, snacks, etc. Being this parent makes you the crutch that stifles child’s growth towards maturity and self-responsibility.
Let’s take a step back and evaluate our choices regarding our young children. Are we being good parents by removing all potential obstacles and any, and all, experiences where they may feel hurt, frustration, disappointment? If so, we’re robbing them of the opportunity to learn that sometimes life is hard and we have to develop coping skills, be it physically or emotionally, to cope with life’s struggles.
Stay gold Ponyboy,