Re: "I am 2. I am not terrible..."

I don't know if you guys have seen this long Facebook post floating around, but I've seen it a handful of times. I have a visceral feeling every time I see it.

“I am 2. I am not terrible…I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.”  From the diary of a 2-year-old:  Today I woke up and wanted to get dressed by myself but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”  This made me sad.  I wanted to feed myself for breakfast but was told, “No, you’re too messy, let me do it for you.”  This made me feel frustrated.  I wanted to walk to the car and get in on my own but was told, “No, we need to get going, we don’t have time. Let me do it.”  This made me cry.  I wanted to get out of the car on my own but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”  This made me want to run away.  Later I wanted to play with blocks but was told “no, not like that, like this…”  I decided I didn’t want to play with blocks anymore. I wanted to play with a doll that someone else had, so I took it. I was told “No, don’t do that! You have to share.”  I’m not sure what I did, but it made me sad. So I cried. I wanted a hug but was told “No, you’re fine, go play”.  I’m being told it’s time to pick up. I know this because someone keeps saying, “Go pick up your toys.”  I am not sure what to do, I am waiting for someone to show me.  “What are you doing? Why are you just standing there? Pick up your toys, now!”  I was not allowed to dress myself or move my own body to get to where I needed to go, but now I am being asked to pick things up.  I’m not sure what to do. Is someone supposed to show me how to do this? Where do I start? Where do these things go? I am hearing a lot of words but I do not understand what is being asked of me. I am scared and do not move.  I lay down on the floor and cry.  When it was time to eat I wanted to get my own food but was told “no, you’re too little. Let me do it.”  This made me feel small. I tried to eat the food in front of me but I did not put it there and someone keeps saying “Here, try this, eat this…” and putting things in my face.  I didn’t want to eat anymore. This made me want to throw things and cry.  I can’t get down from the table because no one will let me…because I’m too small and I can’t. They keep saying I have to take a bite. This makes me cry more. I’m hungry and frustrated and sad. I’m tired and I need someone to hold me. I do not feel safe or in control. This makes me scared. I cry even more.  I am 2. No one will let me dress myself, no one will let me move my own body where it needs to go, no one will let me attend to my own needs.  However, I am expected to know how to share, “listen”, or “wait a minute”. I am expected to know what to say and how to act or handle my emotions. I am expected to sit still or know that if I throw something it might break….But, I do NOT know these things.  I am not allowed to practice my skills of walking, pushing, pulling, zipping, buttoning, pouring, serving, climbing, running, throwing or doing things that I know I can do. Things that interest me and make me curious, these are the things I am NOT allowed to do.  I am 2. I am not terrible…I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.  -Author unknown https://www.facebook.com/MomBabble/photos/a.771916006211188.1073741828.771844086218380/1764455903623855/?type=3&theater

“I am 2. I am not terrible…I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.”

From the diary of a 2-year-old:

Today I woke up and wanted to get dressed by myself but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”

This made me sad.

I wanted to feed myself for breakfast but was told,
“No, you’re too messy, let me do it for you.”

This made me feel frustrated.

I wanted to walk to the car and get in on my own but was told, “No, we need to get going, we don’t have time. Let me do it.”

This made me cry.

I wanted to get out of the car on my own but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”

This made me want to run away.

Later I wanted to play with blocks but was told “no, not like that, like this…”

I decided I didn’t want to play with blocks anymore. I wanted to play with a doll that someone else had, so I took it. I was told “No, don’t do that! You have to share.”

I’m not sure what I did, but it made me sad. So I cried. I wanted a hug but was told “No, you’re fine, go play”.

I’m being told it’s time to pick up. I know this because someone keeps saying, “Go pick up your toys.”

I am not sure what to do, I am waiting for someone to show me.

“What are you doing? Why are you just standing there? Pick up your toys, now!”

I was not allowed to dress myself or move my own body to get to where I needed to go, but now I am being asked to pick things up.

I’m not sure what to do. Is someone supposed to show me how to do this? Where do I start? Where do these things go? I am hearing a lot of words but I do not understand what is being asked of me. I am scared and do not move.

I lay down on the floor and cry.

When it was time to eat I wanted to get my own food but was told “no, you’re too little. Let me do it.”

This made me feel small. I tried to eat the food in front of me but I did not put it there and someone keeps saying “Here, try this, eat this…” and putting things in my face.

I didn’t want to eat anymore. This made me want to throw things and cry.

I can’t get down from the table because no one will let me…because I’m too small and I can’t. They keep saying I have to take a bite. This makes me cry more. I’m hungry and frustrated and sad. I’m tired and I need someone to hold me. I do not feel safe or in control. This makes me scared. I cry even more.

I am 2. No one will let me dress myself, no one will let me move my own body where it needs to go, no one will let me attend to my own needs.

However, I am expected to know how to share, “listen”, or “wait a minute”. I am expected to know what to say and how to act or handle my emotions. I am expected to sit still or know that if I throw something it might break….But, I do NOT know these things.

I am not allowed to practice my skills of walking, pushing, pulling, zipping, buttoning, pouring, serving, climbing, running, throwing or doing things that I know I can do. Things that interest me and make me curious, these are the things I am NOT allowed to do.

I am 2. I am not terrible…I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.

-Author unknown
https://www.facebook.com/MomBabble/photos/a.771916006211188.1073741828.771844086218380/1764455903623855/?type=3&theater

Let me be clear. I don't disagree with the post, but a lot of it has me saying "yes, but..."

I believe in balance. As a parent, I also understand that balance is hard to achieve. I find this particular post frustrating because it seems so much like parent-shaming. I am glad that the author has taken a moment to view things from a 2-year-old's perspective. This is incredible valuable, for anyone empathizing with their children and trying to understand them better.

I feel like this "diary entry from a 2-year-old" demonstrates perfectly why it's important to teach autonomy and agency, why it's important to demonstrate respect, why we Just A Moment Publishing are such huge proponents of Gentle Parenting and teaching our children to be mentally strong!

The balance comes in when you, the parent, examine whether this really is something you have to do for your child, or if exercising a bit of patience and understanding on your part can turn this into a wonderful moment for your child to learn. If you truly are short on time, and need to do it all, then a bit of respect and communication go a long way to saving you from a half-hour tantrum.

"You seem sad and upset. I know you wanted to dress yourself, but we don't have time right now. I'm sorry. You can dress yourself when we go to grandma's house later today, okay?" - By communicating with our children, we can teach them how to communicate their thoughts and feelings more effectively.

  • "You seem sad and upset" - identify feelings
  • "I know you wanted to.... but we don't have time...." - explanation and acknowledgment of their feelings as valid
  • "I'm sorry" - sympathy, allows them to feel understood
  • "You can dress yourself when we go to grandma's later today" - specific compromise so that they won't feel like they'll "never" get to do it.

By teaching our children how to identify and communicate their feelings, we are teaching them empathy. We are showing them how to be vocal about their wants and needs. We are teaching them how to resolve conflict.

By validating their feelings, we are building them up! We are helping to establish healthy self-esteem.

By suggesting a compromise and following through with them, we are establishing trust.

Respecting our children is simple and yields so many benefits, not least of which is - you'll likely see fewer tantrusm.