Ever heard a parent or an adult say “It’s just a baby”? Meaning that baby is NOT a person, a whole being and a new life that is already feeling and knowing.
Once upon a time I was an adult who disliked children. All I was able to notice about them was that they were messy, loud and out of control. Well, at least I knew I didn’t like them so I planned on not having them. I was one of those persons who look up at mothers of loud toddlers in a restaurant with a disdain and disapproving look in their eyes. I openly criticized parents of bad mannered children and I was very full of myself. But this has changed. When I met a right person I became more attracted by an idea of having my own children. And this idea grew on me until I was sure I was a right person to have a child myself.
When my firstborn was resting in my arms for the first time, the love that overwhelmed me was so powerful, sudden and exquisite. I cried and I couldn’t imagine not having this tiny and yet powerful new being next to me. My daughter slept on me and was with me all the time. I listened to her baby language and tried to decipher what she meant. To me she was a person, a being that has very intense feelings and a personality. I couldn’t ignore her and say “She is just a baby”. From the beginning I treated her as an equal and gave her respect and love she deserved. Oh, well there were those night when I was beyond exhausted and sleep deprived and my reactions to her cries were somehow less loving as I was on the verge of mental and physical ruin. But these were few and they passed. What counts is that overall I I saw her as an independent person with her own unique needs and preferences and not some silly demanding and manipulating child. I think that I created a healthy bond with her and later with her younger sister that will last a lifetime. A bond that will keep them out of harm’s way when they are older.
I encountered many situations where parents treat their babies and children as stupid persons who yet need to grow up to be humans or need to graduate to adulthood. While I don’t claim my girls to be as experienced as adults I never belittle them because they are young. I’ve seen many adults that are just plain stupid and the fact of being of certain age certainly doesn’t qualify you to be smart or wise. Yet children are often believed to be substandard people. I really think that treating them with love and respect is necessary. And although there are moments we as parents need to step in to help them process the facts or help them calm down there needs not be any physical or verbal violence and abuse. Treat them as you would want to be treated yourself!!!