Toddlers are rough. Toddlers are loud. Toddlers are moody. Toddlers are real.
They don’t bother hiding their feelings.
My son, O, has been experimenting with his hands – by experimenting, I mean slapping me when he is upset, bored, cranky, or tired. We have been working on gentle soft hands for a while. We’re also working on no hitting or throwing … And day by day, there are less instances where I’d have to remind him, but the ultimate win happened today.
After roughly 1 hour of running around and getting sweaty at Gymboree indoor gym, O was tired and was ready to go home. He displayed all the signs of a tired and cranky toddler. So, I went over to him, picked him up and said, “I know you’re tired, let’s go home, ok?”
When he’s cranky, he rushes to hit or smack me as soon as he hears something he doesn’t like. So, as usual, he shrieked. Started to cry, raised his hands and was just about to do a double smack on my face. I closed my eyes and cringed …
Then his small and soft hands landed on my cheeks. I opened my eyes and he was still crying but he was aware, conscious, that if he hit me, that would hurt me. And just as I was going to say “gentle hands,” he rushed in and kissed me on my lips.
It happened quickly. He was still upset. But I am so very proud of my son.
You do not have to instill fear or hit a child to teach a child right from wrong. We do gentle parenting, and look, it works.