Despite all the recession and budget talk that dominates the news, our local community centre was able to secure funding to hold a series of parenting seminars. Toddler 101 was first on the program and I took some (lots) of notes.
The evening was presented by Gillian Ashley-Martz, a Registered Clinical Counsellor, a mother of two and Certified Canadian Family Educator who has been working with families for over ten years.
A few dads were dragged to the class, but it was mostly moms and I was definitely the only one liveblogging it on Twitter.
The program started with a brainstorm of words to describe toddlers.
irrational, short fuse, demanding, manipulative, selfish, whiny, sensitive, strong willed, testing, stubborn, loud, serious, impatient, persistent
Those were the first ones tossed out by the moms, til I joked that I was “sensing a trend.” The tide turned, we remembered these are OUR kids we were talking about and a few glowing words were added.
silly, loving, smart, funny, energetic, curious
Still, you get the idea: life with toddlers can be a battle and this class was going to try and explain why it’s a battle and how the whole family can come out winners.
After the brainstorm, Gillian explained to us that our “toddlers live in the moment. They dont have the ability to see into the future and realize what’s going to happen, so they are obsessed with the moment and the present.”
This “in the moment” behaviour causes a struggle as the toddler relies on instinctive behaviour instead of thinking things through. Parents are, on average, pulled in to a power struggle of some kind with their toddler every 20 minutes.
Gillian reminded us that “never again will you see such a passionate child. They havent developed any defenses around their emotions. It’s all they’re about. What they feel, is what you see.”
Part 2 of Toddler 101: the toddler job description.