It’s Ira’s birthday, her mother Meena has been shopping for over a week and she gets her a beautiful pink dress. Meena has invited all of Ira’s school friends. She goes to a nearby preschool and is turning 3 today. There is excitement in the air. The entire house is decorated with balloons with a white and pink theme.
The pleasant aroma of french fries and pizza is adorning the celebration time. All set for the party!! Meena rushes to dress up herself and Ira before Ira’s friends arrive. “Ira come fast let’s get ready! Your friends must be coming shortly”. Reluctantly, Ira comes to the room. She still wanted to play with the balloons. She looks at the pink dress and makes a sulky face “I will not wear this dress. I don’t like it.”
Her mom tries to explain to her that she had specially got the dress for her. She visited so many shops before purchasing this special dress for Ira’s birthday but Ira refused to understand. She takes out another outfit and insists on wearing the dress of her choice. Her mom tries to make her understand that she should be wearing a special dress but Ira refuses to understand. She is all the more adamant that she wants the dress of her choice. What should Meena do? Why is Ira behaving like this? Is this kind of behavior acceptable from a three-year-old? Can you imagine the pain experienced by the mother? The problems will stay, but we need to focus on the solution and find out what is to be done in such a situation?
Please understand that a three-year-old child is making her choice. She is able to decide what she wants. She may or may not be correct but she has the confidence to express her desire. Today’s child is very different from yesterday’s child – he or she can express their feelings.
From the age of 18 months to 3 years, children realize that they have skills and abilities, try to explore their surroundings and even try to walk away from the mother to explore. They pick up toys to play with, making choices of clothes to wear, to eat etc.
Such skills illustrate a child’s growing sense of independence and autonomy.
Psychologists like Erikson and Piaget talk about how it is critical that parents allow their children to explore the limits of their abilities within an encouraging environment, which is tolerant of failure.
xInstead of making the child wear her clothes or feed her, the supportive parent should have the patience to allow the child to try until she succeeds or asks for assistance. The parents need to encourage the child to become more independent while at the same time protecting the child so that constant failure is avoided.
Meena acted wisely and let Ira wear the dress of her choice. After wearing the dress, Ira wanted to try the dress that her mom had got for her. She found herself looking lovely and agreed to wear the dress her mom had got for her. Suddenly the doorbell rang and Ira rushed with her mom to open the door and the room echoed with the jingles of “Happy birthday to you.”