Toddlers need your time more than toys
An article by the Peaceful Parent Institute states “when a child is chaotic, loud and screaming, they are most likely feeling insecure, anxious and angry and they likely need the adult to stop and help the child feel safe and secure.”
Among the many unmet needs of children, the one that slowly cripples them is the lack of attention from a parent or caregiver, hence straining the relationship between them. Social relationships play a crucial role in a child’s development, especially the relationship they establish with family.
Psychologist Erik Erikson theorized it was important for a child to build trust with a parent or caregiver at infancy, which helped them to bond and feel secure.
However, this only happens when the attention they need is given. In its absence, Erikson says the infant develops mistrust toward the parent or caregiver, eventually creating an insecurity that haunts them their whole life.
Though trust and relationships are built from infancy, nevertheless they must be consistent, meaning the child must have the security of falling back on family when they need to. Besides where else will they go?
It's unfortunate that modern Asian parents singularly focus on the physiological needs of children. They work absurd hours to provide their children the best kind of food, clothing, shelter and education, but never once think to sit with them over a mug of hot chocolate and ask them about their day.
But what are the reasons for their distance and emotional detachment? Foremost, instead of making work part of life, they have made life part of work.
Economic pressures are the common excuse, but also because we have been brainwashed to think material fulfillment equals happiness. Ambitious working mothers have it tougher as they have to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same level of success.
In the end, we find satisfaction and happiness in the simplest things and in a child’s case, it's even more so because what they really need is something every parent or caregiver can afford — TIME.
Dear parents, this is serious. Think about it. Subconsciously your children are learning from you that “it's alright” to substitute quality family time for fancy things.
Your children will grow up thinking “it's alright” if I don't go and visit my parents or go on family trips as long as I can buy them a big house, an expensive car or place them in a world class retirement home.
Parents, how would you feel then? Will a big house or expensive elderly care in any way replace the sound of your child's laughter? Or will anything replace the comfort of your child's hugs and kisses?
These are things you MUST think about today.
The writer is an early childhood educator based in Malaysia.