The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: How Your Babies Control Their World ... and You!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How Your Babies Control Their World ... and You!

Babies control their world in two ways: with their elimination and their verbalization.  That's all!  Psychologists long ago figured out (I'm not sure how) that when babies place deposits in their diapers, they feel they are giving something back to the people who take care of them.  I think I can subscribe to that logic... a little.  The verbalization is another story, one that is easier to understand and accept.  Many times, I see the dialogue between babies and their parents. Baby coos; parent coos back.  Baby says, "Mama" and the mother goes berserk.  The baby has just learned his first word, and his first means of verbally controlling his world.  As the child grows, the elimination control intensifies through age three and the potty training battle, and the eases off through the rest of his or her life (thank goodness!).  If you were to plot that, you'd see a pyramid with the potty training months at the top.  Verbalization, on the other hand, has a different plot.  It starts out gradually and intensifies into the teen years where the children learn they can control their world through acerbic retorts or kind remarks.  How parents "reward" their children's verbalization through the formative years indicates whether they will get more retorts or remarks later in the child's life.  Lesson learned here?  Reward the kind remarks when they are little with hugs, thumbs up, and a return of the kind remarks.  And as tough as this seems, ignore the angry retorts by walking away or turning around.  When you "reward" certain behavior through negative attention, it will escalate.  When you ignore that same behavior, it will eventually disappear or at least decrease in frequency and intensity.  Always reward positive communication and ignore the negative communication.

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