Toddlers and Milestones (uhmm…I mean Tantrums)
I am so excited to indirectly respond to my husband’s lack of understanding of child development here on this post. He often chastises me for over- looking Liam’s, our sixteen-month-old son, tantrums. He is the third baby that I have borne and reared in the last seventeen years; in addition; my husband needs to realize I remember a thing or seven from Human Growth and Development (which he has never taken). From the age of one to the age of two, babies change and grow so fast emotionally, physically, and verbally.
Parents can search endlessly on the web to find information about child development. I usually search for information and articles based on Liam’s behavior and development at the moment. Yesterday, for example, I decided that I should take Liam to Anya’s (my seventeen-year-old) chorus concert. Of course, I believed he would be easily entertained by the music and by the crowd. I was wrong!
For the first five minutes, he enjoyed being passed around by all the pretty teenage girls who were fussing over his cuteness. However, after that, he wanted to roam free inside the Abbeville Methodist Church.
Before I could grab him, he crawled under the pew in front of us and made a run for the pulpit. He squealed in delight, ran as fast as he could, and climbed up the pulpit steps. As sweat beaded down my forehead, I remembered how much I struggled with this stage of development. Could actually catch him for the next two year while carrying around my vast plump physique? I certainly can as long as I remind myself what to expect with Liam’s development now and in the next few months.
What Milestones should I expect for Liam in the upcoming weeks?
Liam is 16 months, but here are the 18 Month Milestones:
1) He should be able to drink from a cup.
2) He can hold and use a spoon.
3) He can walk and stand without assistance.
4) He has begun to pull up on furniture and other low lying objects.
5) He readily babbles with random words mixed into the noise.
6) He can point to a few body parts as they are being named.
7) He tends to follow simple directions like: SIT down or don’t throw that dirt.
8) He helps Chris, my husband, put on his clothes each morning by holding his arms up or trying to put his feet inside his shoes.
9) He will hold crayons and try to write with it.
10) He often expresses his emotions, especially when he has separation anxiety or frustration.
When I look back at this list, my husband would really be concerned about the emotional expressiveness. When Liam has a tantrum, Chris calls them his “Greene fits.” I ignore his negative jab towards my family’s emotional stability, but I would like to address the topic here. A toddler’s parents need to understand the brain development involved with the TANTRUM. Socially and emotionally, toddlers experience a variety of feelings and express them based on behaviors that most adults deem as “bad.”
Chis and I expect that sometime between Liam’s first and second year of life, he will:
1) display his emotions (tantrums, aggression, etc.)
2) demonstrate his frustration
3) feel and express jealousy
4) want to do tasks himself
These actions are normal for his age just as it is normal to:
1) copy adult’s actions
2) play alone with his toys
3) give hugs and kisses
Most parents deal with the issue of how to handle tantrum behaviors. I have found several articles that suggest parents NOT react to the child’s tantrum. The tantrum is an attention seeking behavior and refusing to give the child attention during the tantrum eliminates the desired outcome of the behavior.
Finally as I reflect on Anya’s chorus concert, I realize that Liam pitched several tantrums because I would not let him run loose in the sanctuary. I walked to the back of the room and tried to distract his attention away from his tantrums, which worked for a few minutes. Ultimately, I took Liam to the car and let him drink from his sippy cup and eat goldfish. As Liam gets older, he will understand consequences for his actions, but right now, I do not want to reward his tantrums with the attention he seeks. Each parent has different parenting styles, but my choices for correction will change as he grows. I firmly believe that the parent’s response should align with a child’s development.
Please feel free to comment to this post. I look forward to chatting with you.