Shhh… Baby Under Construction
A Child Grows According to Inner Promptings
It is a common mistake for parents to bombard the consciousness of their babies from birth on.
We hear radio commercials advising us to "talk to them!" and "read to them!" for whatever reason! To make them smart? To make them attentive? To make them somehow superior? The truth is, an overabundance of outer stimulation delivered directly to the child by parents or adults in charge can distract him from his own inner stimulation. His development, attentiveness and intelligence is dependent on himself. Contrary to current trends, parents really don't need to bombard their babies with attention in order to stimulate them.
Children are born with the intense ability to absorb and interact with all they find in their environment. This ability is due to a mysterious inner force operating within them. Adults are generally unconscious of this driving force, but to effectively guide and assist the child, they must become conscious of it. The source of this inner force is inborn enthusiasm, otherwise known as "Joy of Life." It manifests as curiosity, interest and attentiveness.
For the purpose of keeping the child in touch with his inner life, it is important to:
1. Lessen needless distractions.
2. Provide a calm / peaceful, (stress-free,) environment.
Frustrations mount for both parent and child when parents try to introduce inappropriate skills too soon. It is common for adults to have unreasonable expectations, especially during the first thee years if they are unaware of the universal stages of child development. For instance, as babies become toddlers parents might begin commanding, cajoling and openly complaining because their two year olds seem so disobedient. These parents blindly attempt to instill proper behavior, (and usually for their own personal convenience,) not realizing that at this specific phase, the child is incapable of following direct commands. However, they need to understand that toddlers are not ready to follow commands or learn skills through direct instruction since skills and abilities are developed according to nature. In other words, Children develop according to a natural progression of inner promptings, rather than outer.
Another thing parents can do to avoid stress and tension is to avoid over-correcting the child. Children learn by trial and error. Its wise give them the leeway to make mistakes. Also, In the early years, destruction is as important as construction, as towers of blocks, for instance, are knocked down before they are built up. By allowing children to experiment, parents can help them preserve the joy of life and connection to their inner selves.
Parents forget or are unaware that the child is just beginning to perceive, incorporate and absorb the world; the world he was born into: Your world. In time he will make it his own. But, for now, natural processes of skill development are unfolding. By observing these processes in action, we can discover the true nature the child. The interesting and basically unknown truth of the matter is this: the power to perceive, absorb and incorporate the environment into his own consciousness / mind / brain requires freedom of movement and action within an environment.
It is fascinating (and exhausting) to observe a child as he explores, discovers and experiments on his own. We need to have the willingness to learn about the child, rather than feel a need to teach, instruct and thereby bombard the child. For instance, babies do not require us to teach them how to talk. They learn to speak by observing people conversing with one another. They do it themselves by unconsciously by absorbing all they observe. What they absorb on their own becomes ingrained into their very beings in an indelible way.
The child is programmed by nature to follow parents and adults in charge.
This knowledge should help a parent treat his toddler with patience even when he forgets a boundary. Perhaps your child toddles off a curb and into a busy street. You don't know what caused him to go into the street, but the boundary can be reintroduced by physically implementing what is expected: You can take him by the hand and lead him back to the sidewalk or pick him up and carry him back. Criticizing, yelling and shouting in frustration and anger is unnecessary. Adults should realize they are very large and intimidating to a child. Patience and acceptance grants a child emotional stability.
It is important to allow the child to develop according to nature and his own personality. After all, we do not yet know him. He comes with his own consciousness and inclinations. In this way, we can avoid deviating him from his natural course of psychic growth and development, which surprisingly, can easily happen.
Children are easily distracted by adults or technology.
Children can become addicted to us or to technology. I do not believe it is a good idea to set a screen in front of child when, say, dinning out or traveling in a car. The child, who would otherwise be listening to conversations, interacting with family members or friends is engaged in the abstract reality of a screen. In this way, he not only becomes mentally lazy and inattentive to life around him, he becomes addicted to this easy source of stimulation.
It is a subtle endeavor to assist the child as he builds himself and develops the abilities he will need in order to contribute to society and live an independent life. Knowing when to step in and when to step out is based on the ability and willingness to keenly and quietly observe the child, almost like, or exactly like, a scientist observing a specimen. What are his stimulations? What are his needs? How can we assist him toward robust health of body, mind and soul? Interacting with our child should be guided by respectful restraint and sensitive observations. And we do not have to overdo the love thing. He absorbs our love and care as we dress him, feed him and take care of him day by day.
But basically, we need to put that baby down and do our work while watching him closely in our rearview mirrors … so that he can do his work.
A calm educational and organized environment is the key, rather than a boisterous, chaotic one. Parents today buy overly colorful, noisy plastic toys that practically carry on programmed robotic conversations with the child, but what they need most are concrete things of the world, such as appropriately sized rakes, brooms and shovels. Through practice, toddlers learn to use objects for certain purposes, such as spoons for food, rakes for leaves, shovels for dirt and cups for water, etc. They also need everyday objects to manipulate and sort as they learn to classify and differentiate the varying shapes and objects in their environment.
My advice for parents:
Toddlers seem to thrive on watching us do whatever we do. They are driven to emulate our behaviors whether we are in the kitchen, garage or garden and driving on the road, etc.. It seems they were made for any and every aspect of life around them and learning as much as they can. We can show them what we are doing and include them in our activities of cooking cleaning, yard work, etc.
It is important understand that a baby is stimulated from within by a mysterious force involving nature. By observing his child, the parent will clearly see how he is stimulated from within to absorb, manipulate and explore everything he sees hears, smells and tastes and feels in his environment. For instance, If you give him cups and tubs of water for pouring, spoons and plates of food for tasting and stirring, he works quite contently. Most babies love bath-time or outside water-play for this reason. And Its okay if they get wet and muddy outside with bucket and hose.
Its also okay if they get oatmeal and corn mush all over the cute shirt and pants they are wearing. Don't freak out about these outer concerns for now. Soon enough, he will learn through his own volition how to avoid dropping food all over himself and learn how to stay clean and dry. Learning through his own volition is the key to a child's psychic development. However, this topic will take another Hub to cover. So, this is enough for now. Thanks for reading and contemplating … especially if you are a new parent.
And remember: Shhhh ...
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