4 min Read
When your toddler reaches a milestone, don’t overdo it
June 17, 2013
4 min Read
June 17, 2013
Parents sometimes brag about the ‘fact’ that their
young child sleeps through the night. Never mind the
bags under their eyes that stretch to their chin, a recent
survey reveals that the majority of those parents could
be exposed as frauds.
The website Netmums surveyed 11,000 British
families last August and laid bare that one-third of
parents lie about the sleeping behaviour of their child.
Moreover, it reveals another reality: only 27 percent of
three-month-old newborns sleep through the night.
When it comes to babies or toddlers, something
strange happens: parents easily distort the truth about
basic milestones like sleeping, crying, walking and
talking. Why do so many parents have a tendency to
spin the actual development of their child?
It comes down to an undeniable social pressure to
perform. Perform? But sleeping, crying, walking and
talking are simply inherent to a human being. All kids
are going to do it! And still, a baby – just out of the womb
– unwillingly ends up in a rat race. As a parent you
constantly hear: “Does yours sleep already?” and “Does
yours walk already?”
“That speaks to how little faith today’s parents have in
themselves, how little confidence they have that they can
be good parents, and how seriously they – compared to
prior generations – take the task,” says Alvin Rosenfeld, a
renowned American child psychiatrist and co-author of
The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap.
Sleeping, crying, walking and talking are nothing
special, so don’t brag about it, he says. Besides, these
accomplishments also have no predictive value. For
example, children who walk early are not automatically
a budding Usain Bolt. And a brilliant orator does
not necessarily lie in a child who spits out impeccable
sentences at a relatively young age.
Can bragging be harmful? Says Dr. Rosenfeld,
“We all take some vicarious pleasure in our children’s
‘accomplishments’. That encourages them. When we seem
to appropriate them for ourselves and make the kid into
a machine for manufacturing bragging rights for us, I think
we harm them.
“Excessive bragging can hurt the child if he or she
feels they are loved only for their accomplishments, not
for who they are as human beings.”
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, July 2013.