pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets.

throwing toys.

refusing to be buckled in a car seat.

hitting &/or biting other children.

extreme tantrums that come from nowhere.

peeing/pooping in underwear despite being “potty trained”.

whining for what seems like the entire day.

Frustrating milestones. Even more frustrating the first time I experienced them.

I used to get emotionally invested in these moments. How was I responsible for what was happening? Would he always struggle with anger management? Would he take his pacifier to college? Where had I failed? What could I do better?

Now I have perspective. For each challenging behavior that my 2-year-old exhibits I can label it as “just a stage”. I don’t have to assume that I am responsible for how he is acting. Or project what he will become based on behavior he is displaying today. I have more confidence.

Fortunately for my 2-year-old, the 3rd child, I’ve seen it all 2x before. I can truly recognize that how he is acting is typical for his age and that “this too will pass.” Unfortunately for my 6-year-old every stage he experiences is new territory. I’ve never been a parent of  a 6-year-old before. All these decisions are being made for the first time (poor first child…guinea pig scenario).

 Be encouraged mom if you are parenting your first child. Give yourself grace. That developmental challenge you are struggling with today will pass. You don’t have to take it personally.  There may be a good way to “handle” it that you haven’t tried before…that’s when you should ask a friend who has kids a little older than yours.

I make sure I have a few friends who have children a stage or two before mine. When I get to a tough stage with my 6 yr old I ask them if his behavior is “normal” and what tips do they have for handling it.  Why not learn from their perspective & experience, right?

What stage are you struggling through right now? Are you feeling responsible to move them out of it? Are you confused on what to do? Do you have a friend with kids a little older than yours?