Am I a controlling, H.E.L.P.ing, or enabling parent? Is Little Man and Angel, Textbook, Sensitive, Spirited, or Grumpy toddler?
These are the questions asked in ‘The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers’ by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau.
I don’t have absolute answers. I really think I tend to be more along the lines of the H.E.L.P.ing parent thanks to the first Baby Whisperer book, with definite moments in both the controlling and enabling direction. As for LM, I’d say we have a pretty spirited little toddler on our hands.
The book is structured so you can pick and choose what you want to read as long as you read the first three chapters. So, last night, I read the first three chapters, which included sections with quizzes to determine what kind of toddler I have out of five categories and what kind of parent I am out of three.
Of course, no toddler is going to fit 100% into one category, which the author acknowledges over and over again. Like adult personality types, there is usually one categorization that most closely fits each toddler.
Also, no parent is perfect. We all have our good, bad, and in between moments. Tracy does seem to think some people adjust to parenting a little more naturally than others, which I suppose I agree with. In which case, I think I am one of the ones who needed a little more direction, but I think I’m learning!
As for how this book is helping with LM’s bedtime issue, it encouraged me to take a step back and think about what I might be doing to enable or cause this change in behavior: I was spending a few minutes trying to calm him, at the end of which, I would say firmly “that’s enough, bedtime“.
Now, I know that, generally, one might assume LM fears his crib, but I can tell you, with certainty, that’s not the problem. He spends at least half an hour every morning playing in his crib until I come to get him and same thing after his naps. This morning, he didn’t even want me to take him out of his crib right away because he wasn’t done playing. So, I think the problem has more to do with my behavior. My behavior must have sent the message that I expect a certain amount of whining before he goes to sleep. In short, I was reinforcing negative behavior.
I am not really sure where I should have begun, or if this was the right approach, but today, for LM’s nap today, I sang one short verse of a song into the monitor. Guess what? It worked! It comforted him. Maybe he’s been thinking I was upset with him him when I left the room? I’m not really sure, but I do think the book helped.
All in all, I highly recommend the book. I love that it doesn’t tell you your child is just like everyone else’s, you don’t know your own child, and there are definite responses that work for everyone. That’s simply not true and she says that. This book gives you a few pointers, but basically arms you with the tools to problem solve your unique child and situation and trust yourself.