Toddler Induced Insanity [tod-ler in-doost in-san-i-tee] noun, plural - a derangement of the mind led by, influenced by, or produced by a small child who has an insatiable hunger for love and affection with rapid irratic changes in mood and temperament.
If you have ever lived with a toddler, you have probably succumbed to the horrors of toddler induced insanity. To know if you have this disease, it is important to understand both the symptoms and causes.
Unfortunately, there are no treatments, but there are ways to help cope with your new found disease. Here are the top five, which I learned after my years of thorough research through babysitting, nannying, doing foster care, and raising my own toddler.
#1 Remind Yourself of Your Goals
Too often we focus so much on the here and now, we forget about what our goal is as parents. If you are like most people, your goal is to raise a fully functional healthy adult. When disciplining or teaching keep that goal in mind and not be too focused on the frustrations in the moment. Is it really that important that your child learns to be potty trained by two yeas of age? If they potty train closer to three, will they be a less fully functional healthy adult?
There are a lot of annoying behaviors toddlers do, but be careful disciplining them based on your level of annoyance, rather than on what the transgression deserves. Often we react because it is easier, rather than asking ourself, "Is this a teachable moment?" A child squealing may cause a harsh reaction out of annoyance, but a calm reminder may be just as effective. If they ignore your reminder, then that falls in the area of disobedience, which should be treated more harshly than forgetting a rule such as no screaming in the house.
#2 Choose Your Priorities Carefully
You cannot tackle every area in your child's life at once. If you try, you will go insane and be saying no constantly. As you often hear, you need to pick your battles. When my oldest was younger, I made the decision that I was not going to stress with her love for playing in the dirt and mud. Clothes were washable, plus we had bigger fish to fry, such as lying and whining. Lying and whining can carry into adulthood if not addressed, but I knew one day she would stop playing in the mud. I can say at fourteen she is a very clean teenager, yet I never discouraged it. The whining has stopped completely with aggressive action and even when she is caught in disobedience, she has learned to be humble (most the time) and be honest. All areas that will help her excel into adulthood.
#3 Stop and Laugh
Too often we get so caught up in the busyness of motherhood we forget to enjoy our children, especially our toddlers who tug at us, scream at us, throw themselves on the floor. Their curiosity cause mess and destruction. Life gets overwhelming. Sometimes we just need to stop, watch them be goofy and smile. Forget about the messy house, the dirty dishes, the errands that need to be run. You are only going to get so many years to cuddle like this, take advantage of it. The time will be gone and you won't say, "I wish I had a cleaner house when my babies were little," but you might say, "I wish I enjoyed them more."
#4 Keep Perspective of Who Your Toddler Is
Too often we punish children for being who they are. My oldest is like me in many ways, but she is my opposite in others. It was very early on when I realized I was punishing her for not being like me. I had to realize that she was louder, more outgoing, and a born leader. Instead of punishing her for being these things, I needed to learn how to "train her in the way she should go." I learned that although she was outgoing, she needed to learn when to control the urge to talk to others, specifically at school while the teacher was talking. She enjoyed leading people, but instead of punishing her when she was bossy, which just frustrated her, I needed to teach her how to lead by encouragement not bossiness. Take a look at your child's good and bad qualities, then teach them how to use those habits in the best way possible. In most cases teaching will suffice, punishment is reserved for direct disobedience, lying, and harming others.
#5 Keep Perspective of Who You Are
Too often we lose sight of our job as mothers or caretakers. You are first and foremost a child of God. God has called us to be servants. Too often we think so much about who we are as individuals and become resentful for the time that others take up in our life, including our own children. I often hear mothers say, "I just want some me-time." Yes, it is nice to get "me-time," and we shouldn't feel guilty when we get the opportunity to have some "me-time," but we shouldn't expect it. Often it is our mindset that causes us to feel resentful of our own children. We just want to go the bathroom by ourself or take a shower in peace. This time will fly by so quickly and you will forget the frustration of not getting any peace. By feeling we are entitled to that time will only cause resentment in our heart to form. By recognizing that God has called us to be servants, it will remind us that "me-time" is a great thing to be thankful for, but not anything we are entitled to. Don't allow bitterness to creep up during those long months when you feel like you don't get reprieve.
So let's be okay with the fact that we do in fact suffer from Toddler Induced Insanity. Stop and laugh about it, let ourselves cry, but ultimately, we are in control of what we think and how we react.
This Christian mom is far from perfect, but continually strives to grow and develop. She is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and focuses a lot on personal growth. She loves to share what she has learned through her studies and her own failures, as well as walks alongside other mothers as they learn together the ins and outs of parenting.