Right now, BabyE’s self image reflects off of my countenance and behavior towards him. At this age the best way I can make sure he has a positive self image is to take a gentle and positive approach in my daily interactions with him. Lots of hugs, kisses, and cuddles will let him know he is valuable. Responding to his big toddler emotions will let him know he is important.
|Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers|
The most essential definition of this style of gentle parenting is empathy and respect. This is consistent with what Jesus taught is the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. This makes each parenting decision easy to evaluate. How would I like to be treated in this situation? Am I treating my child in a sub-standard way just because he is younger, smaller, or less able to communicate?
The thing I like to keep in mind is that I am raising this child to become an adult. I hope he will be one that has empathy and respect for his family, friends, and the world. I’m not raising him to be a three, four, or five year old who obeys his mom and dad the first time every time. That’d be convenient, but that isn’t the end goal. Instead I hope teach him to always think for himself rather than blindly obey. I want him to question everything, even what I teach him. Most of all I want him to be who God created and calls him to be.
The most important thing I can do as a parent is nurture and preserve my relationship with him. I hope to grow a person that I like and respect and want to spend time with. He will be a minor for a mere 17 more years, a child for far less. However, I will be his mom, God willing, for many decades. I look forward to our relationship then as the continuation of the one we are now founding. Even thought he is now so young, there is no room for disregard. With empathy and respect I will mirror the self worth I hope he will grow to see.