I’m no parenting expert- I’m far from it- but I’m always happy to share my experiences, tips and tricks. Somehow me, an insecure, anxious mess, is raising a confident, wild spirit of an individual and it makes me proud everyday watching his personality blossom. I am really pleased with the confidence Ted has around other people, in his abilities and with learning new things, and although I fully believe some of that is down to the natural characteristics he has likely been born with, I know that some of that too is down to the attitudes of both Rob and I and our parenting style. What we do might not be to everyone’s taste or standard, but it’s what works for us and what has helped in making Ted who he is.
I think it’s pretty safe to say we are quite laid back in our parenting style. Don’t get me wrong, if Ted does anything he shouldn’t he is definitely told off, but in terms of his routine we are fairly flexible and have always made his naps, bedtime, feeds, meals, etc. work around us rather than us around him. It doesn’t matter if Ted needs a nap at 11 and a friend wants to meet at half past- Ted will wait and nap later. If family want to see Ted one evening then he will stay up later and entertain so they can see him. He doesn’t need to eat a certain time and always eats what we eat. Our flexability in our schedule I think has really helped build Ted’s confidence, as living life on a strict schedule is not realistic and reflective of a normal life, and therefore our laid-backness has led to him being one chilled little man who takes it as it comes.
Being surrounded by a big family and lots of friends has really helped Ted grow as a little person and become sociable. From the day he was born he has been passed from grandparent to uncle to aunt for cuddles and he has loved every second of it. Spending a lot of time at nursery too, amongst other children and adults, has definitely encouraged him to come out of his shell. It helped that when on my mat leave, I refused to ever spend a day at home. We went out every single day even if just for a walk to the park and back. It’s not healthy for anyone to spend all their time with just one other person, and by surrounding myself with company, he always was as well. Even now every weekend we still have to fill with activity and venturing out. Although it can be tiring, the enjoyment far outweighs that. It helps that we have not been over protective of him either, and always given him the opportunity to spend the day with grandparents- and I’m sure they love that too!
I completely agree that children can sense emotion and any sort of panic, and it’s difficult to hide that when your little human is doing risky things (like climbing- eek!) for the first time. We have let him explore and learn from his mistakes, making sure that he tries again. Even if it is something physical, and I’m not sure he can do it, I let him try anyway- and 9 times out of 10 he proves me wrong!
I want this boy to know that he can take over the world- and I’m pretty sure he already thinks he can! The tantrums have started and boundaries are being pushed, but all of the stubborn in him is so worth it for all the fun-loving enthusism in him. I believe the best way to build confidence in Ted is plenty of praise, lots of opportunity, and learning from a wealth of wonderful people.