Week Forty Eight
What happened to your confident little child with the winning smile and the ready wave? Somewhere around your baby's first birthday you may find that she has her first attack of the shies. While becoming more socially aware, she may already have experienced some form of stranger or separation anxiety, and this makes her naturally wary of new social experiences.
Rather than labelling her shy (which is a tag she can potentially carry into adulthood), give her the time and room to 'defrost' in new social settings so that she can check out what's going on and to get comfortable before striking out on her own. Try to resist the urge to push her to play; she may just need the emotional safety of your lap for half an hour or so before she has enough confidence to get down and explore.
Get the lowdown on shyness
'Pester power' isn't restricted to older children nagging you for the latest chocolate bar in the supermarket; in fact you may be surprised to find that your baby is already beginning to test your limits when it comes to whinging and whining to get what he wants. When should you give in, and when should you stand your ground? Only you can judge what you think is reasonable, but generally it's best to always stick to your guns -when you say 'no', you're prepared to stand by your decision and not be worn down by your young child. The best way to avoid this situation completely is to decide ahead of time where and how you want to set limits for your child. Once you've thought it through, you'll be able to confidently stand up to the onslaught of nagging and never consider caving in. Good practice for the years ahead!
Read more about discipline and your baby
No means no!
With parenting (as with most things in life) it's best to begin the way you intend to finish - meaning, you should always aim for consistency in your parenting decisions. Whether it's the big things in life, like swearing, or the little, like throwing balls inside the house, try to always maintain the house rules - no matter what age your child is. You'll only send her mixed messages if you allow her to get away with certain behaviour just because she's young. You don't need to bring out the big guns; just use a gentle approach by steering her away from the behaviour you want to discourage.
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This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz