How Communicating With a 2 Year Old Has Made Me Better
Let me start off by saying that I love my daughter. She inspires me, makes me laugh and is generally a fun person to watch and be around. However, she has her moments. She can easily change her mind or her mood at the drop of a hat and has the knack for throwing a tantrum about the most inconsequential thing. I have come to realize that negotiating with a two-year old can be a power struggle as we each try to exert our control over the situation. I can also honestly say that my daughter has made me a better professional. Here are some examples…
- Forcing the issue – My daughter wants to address an issue at that moment. I cannot sidestep it, nor can I push it off until later in the day. However, by doing so I have to quickly come up with an argument (or reasoning) as to why playing with Play Doh 5 minutes before preschool is not a good idea. I have to think on my feet and try to resolve an issue quickly and effectively.
- Finding common ground – Sometimes a parent and child are two diametrically opposed forces. We each want to achieve something, although the end result may be completely different. How do we negotiate a solution? Sometimes I give in, or sometimes she has to, or we each have to give up something. I have come to realize that the resolution comes from the issue or topic itself and how much it means to the stakeholder (i.e. me or my daughter). Her reaction often shows me her passion about an issue and whether or not it is worth a struggle.
- Focusing on low hanging fruit – I cannot draw a hard line in the sand on every issue. Yes, brushing teeth every night is necessary, but if she is having a rough night, we can skip it. I find it important to prioritize the importance of the rule vs. her behavior/emotional state to determine what is important. Just because I have a plan, does not mean she will adhere to that, and I must be able to modify my thoughts or there will be constant conflict.
- Maintaining composure – I find it important to step away and take deep breaths. Our words have an impact, and while we can get upset, we must do so constructively. We can never take back some hurtful words or actions, as this could mean more negative responses in the future. I also try to take the high road whenever possible.
- Positivity breeds positivity – This one is simple. If you come into a situation with a smile on your face and a positive attitude, you will typically get an equal response. I find that my attitude can impact my daily interactions with my daughter more than anything. We also end up having more fun and less conflict.