For all the frustrated parents, I know your pain. My 20-year-old was once 3-years-old.
I’ve also worked with hundreds of children over the past 20 years here in Japan. (mostly 3 to 10-years-old). I’ve been frustrated many times.
Please be patient. It gets better. The little ones don’t stay small forever.
Let’s look for a moment through the eyes of a little one.
If they could speak articulately and fluently, they may say something like the following…
Mommy, please don’t be mad at me. I really have no idea what I am doing.
I have no sense of time. One minute is six hours and six hours is one minute. You have no idea how strange this is. Now you know why it takes me 2 hours to put on one sock.
As much as I try to feed myself neatly, it’s useless at this point. My motor skills are not fully developed so my judgment, balance, and measurement of space are not so great. Please be patient and I will follow.
People around me are three times bigger – this is scary! They also talk to me using a voice from an animated Disney movie which I find strange because they don’t talk to each other that way. How confusing.
All the big people can speak with ease while I’m left feeling tied up and held down by my inability to express myself. Now you know where some of my tears come from.
I can’t really hear you the way you want me to because of the amazing imagery, colors, sounds and feelings frantically swirling throughout my entire being. Sometimes I can’t even hear myself. Around 8 or 9-years-old I will be better prepared.
I really don’t have much control over my body yet and it’s very frustrating. I am so clumsy and sloppy. Sometimes I wish you could just do everything for me… sorry.
Sometimes I pee and poo in my pants. It feels nasty and if I could prevent it, trust me, I would.
Sometimes I don’t need you to “fix” me or make me “happy”. What I could really use is a hug with no words. This will create a safe space for me to work out my own “happiness” and “fixes”.
When you get angry with me, it is terrifying with a capital “T”. It’s as if my whole world just became dark and scary and I am all alone in it. I’m too young to survive emotionally in that kind of environment. The same thing happens when I see you and papa fight.
Please stop saying to me “DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” Why is because I don’t. I can’t. I will not fully understand you until I’m in my mid 30’s. Plant seeds in my head instead, and water me with love. I promise I will turn out better this way.
When we spend time together, can you please come down to my level physically? Towering over me is frightening even if I don’t show it. This is especially important when you feel angry with me.
If you can take only three points away from all this today, it would be the following.
1. This current situation is not permanent like concrete. I am evolving.
2. All I need at my core is to feel safe and secure.
3. Please understand, I don’t need you to do “anything” in order for me to love you. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to buy it. You don’t have to trick me into it. I love you because you are my mom and I am love. Little people like me are here to teach you this… You are enough.