PUBLIC AFFAIRS PAMPHLET No. 141
A ES I.S 2l AI
B Y J A M E S L. H Y M E S. J R.
in play, 29
spoiling the child, 17-18
Bad habits, 3, 12, 15-16
Crying,'3, 16, 17, 20-21
Dawdling, 10, 12, 14-15
Dependence (see Independence)
Development, 2, 3, 5-7, 25-26
Discipline, 8, 13-16, 19-22, 28
Do's and Don'ts for parents
avoiding comparisons, 2-3, 26-27
avoiding questions, 15
books as guides, 26-28
getting help, 3-4, 31-32
nagging, 8, 21
planning for breakage, 7-8
planning for time, 10, 12, 14-15
seeing things in perspective, 26
relaxing, 1-2, 3
wise use of rules, 3-4
Dressing and undressing, 13
is fun, 10-11
likes and dislikes, 10-11
new foods, 10
plan for time, 10
prizes for, 11
right equipment, 9-10
Enjoying your child
at different stages, 6
for what he is, 2-3, 25-26
playing with your child, 21-22
Fears, 16, 21
Growing (see Development)
building confidence, 4
in dressing, 12
in eating, 9, 11-12
meaning of "No" reactions, 13-14
breaking things, 7-8
don't touch, 6-7
handling genitals, 7
Jealousy (see Preparing for a brother
Looking ahead, 30-32
Loving your child, 19-21
threats of withholding love, 19
unconditional love, 19-20, 21
Manners, 21, 29
making noise, 5
toys and equipment, 5, 8, 30-31
with other children, 28-29
with parent, 21-22
Preparing for a brother or sister, 24-25
Punishment (see Discipline)
giving sympathy, 17, 20-21
love without strings, 19-20
nagging, 8, 21
setting limits, 28
popping out of bed, 15-16
sleeping habits, 16
too little attention, 18
unwanted attention, 18
Talking, 2, 6, 13-15, 26, 27
Timidity, 4, 14
Toilet training, 22
Toys (see Play)
)%alkinv. 4-6, 26
wanting to be carried, 5-6
ENJOY YOUR CHILD-
AGES 1, 2, AND 3
By JAMES L. HYMES, Jr.
IF your child is one, two, or three, he has passed his baby-
hood days. You are dealing with a real person-already reach-
ing out into his world and perhaps into his neighbor's. You
are busy trying to keep up with him.
This should not be too hard for you to do. After all, you
are now something of an expert on children. You have lived
with your child for a year or more. There is a lot you have
learned about children . and about him in particular.
What You Have Learned About Children
You know that they don't bruise easily. Now that you
have lived with your youngster you can honestly say to
yourself: "Cheer up!. Children are made of rubber and
steel." No single mishap makes a great deal of difference.
You can make lots of "mistakes" and children will still come
through all right. Of course, you want to do the right thing
James L. Hymes, Jr. is Professor of Education and Coordinator of
Early Childhood Education at the State Teachers College, New Paltz,
New York. He is a past-President of the National Association for
Nursery Education and the author of A Pound of Prevention: How
Teachers Can Meet the Emotional Needs of Young Children. During
the war he was Manager of the Child Service Department of Kaiser
Company, Inc.-Portland Yard.
Copyright, 1948, by the Public Affairs Committee, Incorporated
-A nonprofit, educational organization-
for your child all of the time. Everyone does, but you can't
always succeed. So relax. It is your basic relationship that
counts. If you and your child are enjoying each other, you
don't need to worry about using the "right" methods and
techniques. The more your child feels loved, the more the
"mistakes" will roll off his back.
You know, too, that your child is going to grow. You
were a good parent during all of the first year but you can-
not take all of the credit. You did your share but your
youngster was responsible for most of the growing. Do you
remember when he first lifted his head? Or the first time
he turned over, the first time he sat up or crawled or stood?
You were there to encourage and help, but the main thing
was not you-it was something going on inside of him.
Muscles growing. Bones getting stronger. Nerve endings
developing. Remember this in the months ahead. When-
ever you find that being a parent is a struggle; whenever
you seem to spend your days correcting, reminding, encourag-
ing, teaching: relax. The same kind of growth is still going
on inside. You can count on your child. He will get there.
Your child is different., That is another thing you know;
it is an idea that came up constantly all during the first year.
Whenever you talked with your neighbors, your mother-in.
law, with anybody, you discovered that. He did not sit up
exactly when other children did. He did not crawl exactly
when they did. He did not eat as much cereal or sleep just
the hours they did. He was himself-and that is important
to know. That is what you want him to be these next few
years. He may talk a little later or a little earlier. He may
cry more vigorously or be a little more easy-going. He may
be more stubborn or less. Thinner, fatter, shorter, taller
. . there is nothing "right" for him except to be himself.
You know this now, but it may be harder to believe in the
next few years. You and your child will be out in the public
eye more. You will have more chance to compare him with
others. More people will see him. Don't let comparisons
get you down or put your head in the clouds. You are not
entering your youngster in a race. Give him every chance
to be himself, and fall in love with him each day over again
because he is the way he is.
You know that you do not have to worry too much about
"bad habits." Your child had oodles of them during his
first year of life. Just think of sucking a bottle! He certainly
had that habit; it was the only way he ate for a- while and
he practiced it day after day. If ever a bad habit had a
chance to get a hold, this was it. And yet he got over it.
Crawling is another example. That would be a terrible
habit to have all through life. Your youngster had it but
he won't have it when he starts to school.
In the next few years your child is going to pick up a lot
of "bad habits" like these-things he does over and over again
because he is in a certain stage of growing. You can fret over
them, nag him, worry him, and worry yourself. Or you can
remember what you already know: a lot of bad habits just
disappear. You don't have to do anything about them.
You know that your child has feelings inside. You have
seen him when he is hungry. It hurts him and he cries. You
have seen him when he doesn't like a new food. He turns his
head away or frowns or pushes out his tongue. You have seen
what happens when you pick him up. He stops crying and
smiles and relaxes. Your child has his ways of talking to you.
It pays to pay attention. From now on he will use his tongue
more, but tears and smiles are language, too. The whole
body talks and it is wise to listen to it.
No Rules Cover Everything
You know all these things and more, too about children.
But there is one important thing to keep in mind: nobody
knows everything. There are no rules which always apply.
You cannot live with children mechanically, applying Rule
Three and Rule Seven and finding a rule which covers every
situation. You want to get as much help as you can from
the people who have studied many children but you must
feel free and comfortable inside yourself. For one idea stands
out from all the studies of children: Youngsters grow best
when they are with adults who are at ease. So be yourself.
Keep in mind the two big goals your child has for himself
during these exciting years ahead. He will strive for Inde-
pendence and Security. Be sensitive to his ambitions and
you will find your own right way of helping him.
GOAL NUMBER ONE: INDEPENDENCE
IN the years ahead your child will want to try his own wings.
He will seek every chance to become more and more of a
person. He will want his own way. He will want to explore
and discover. What is he after? Power. Out of these years
he wants power over himself, over people, and over things.
You do not have to be afraid of this seeking for power.
Power now does not mean he will be a brute later. It means
confidence in himself, a healthy sureness. It is the child
who feels "sat on" whose power is dangerous later. He always
has to throw his weight around to prove to himself that he
is a real person. During these years, through using his new
skills of speech and movement, your child can get the feeling
of success and achievement and confidence. This is the
foundation on which good human relations are built.
Sometime around the end of the first year (it may be at
twelve months or fourteen or sixteen or even a little later-
it does not make much difference) a child is strong enough
to walk. When a power like this develops, there is the strong-
est drive inside to use it. He will walk and fall, walk and
fall. Nothing will stop him.
There is nothing you can do to speed up the time when
your child will take his first steps. It is better not to try to
speed it up, better to let him set the time. When his bones
and muscles are strong enough, he will let you know. When
his body is ready he will start to walk, all of his own accord.
Your big help comes then.
You can be responsible for shoes. Your youngster's feet
will be growing fast. You have to keep checking on shoes
to make sure he is not cramped. (This is a good time to
take your youngster to your doctor. Let him prescribe the
kind of shoes that will be best for your child's feet.)
And once he has his feet pretty firmly on the ground, the
right toys may make walking even more fun. Push-toys are
particularly good. They give the beginning-walker some-
thing to lean against, a little extra support. A small doll
carriage with a handle that is low enough for the child to
hold comfortably is excellent. Pull-toys-wagons, trucks,
trains-are good for walkers too. It gives even more point
to being a walker if you can pull something along behind
you. Children this age usually love a basket with a handle
for the same reason. They can pile blocks and odds and ends
in it and feel even more important carrying it around.
Many of these toys that help walking make a noise: the
engine-on-a-string has a bell, the lawn-mower rattles, the
wagon squeaks. There is a good reason why the toys are
made this way, and you probably know it: children love
noise, all kinds of noise. Noise seems to feed into their sense
of power. One of your big adjustments as the parent of a
one-, two-, or three-year-old is going to be to learn to take
noise. It may be easier for you to do if you can see how
useful a little noise is to a child, right from the beginning on.
Two Steps Forward, One Back
It would be a great help to parents if, once children got
their hind legs, they never lost them. Unfortunately, children
do not grow that way. Even after they can walk,''there are
times when they still want to be carried. (This is true in
everything they do. When they can feed themselves, they
still want to be fed at times. When they can dress them-
selves, they still want your help once in a while. Even later
when they can read, they still love to be read to.)
The best plan, whenever you can work it out, is preven-
tion: Don't get too far from home. Don't let your youngster
get too tired. Don't carry him when he isn't asking you to.
When he wants to walk give him every chance to, even if it
takes considerably longer to get where you are going.
One Thing At A Time
There are many reasons why one child begins to walk at
twelve months and another at eighteen. Some children are
born with a slower rate of growing. They can be just as
smart as other children but their teeth come slower, they talk
a little later, walk a little later. It all goes back to mother
and father, grandmothers and grandfathers; you cannot
change or hurry it. Another reason is that some children are
heavier than others. They have more weight to support
and they wait a little longer until their bones develop.
A third reason is important to know about: children do
one thing at a time. It is the way they grow. In spurts.
This is true all through their growth. Something steals
the show. It may be playing with other children or feeding
themselves or, later, listening to the radio, or almost any-
thing under the sun. Some one activity uses up a lot of their
energy and there is not enough to go around for other
So far as walking goes, the lesson is very clear. If your
child is doing a lot of crawling, don't fret because other
children are walking. Or if he is doing a lot of walking, don't
worry because others are talking more. In all children at
all times something takes a back seat. Let it. Enjoy each
stage as it comes.
You will get a thrill out of your child's walking, but some
headaches will come along with it too. Once your child can
get around, the world is his oyster. Nothing is safe: the
cold cream on your dresser, the soap flakes in the kitchen
cupboard, the bottle of ink on top of your desk, the butter
on the table. (And incidentally, don't be shocked if your
youngster wants to handle
bowel movements or gen-
itals. This is not sex rear-
ing its ugly head; it is
simply a child fascinated O
with his world, his whole
world. It helps to keep a
basically healthy attitude
alive if you don't get cross .
or worried or frightened.)
Headaches, yes. But something wonderful is going on
which you wouldn't want to stop for worlds. In the first
place there is this sense of power again. The youngster is
finding out what he can reach and master and control. In
the second place, this is how ideas grow. Ashtrays, dirt in
the flower pot, wires, fluff under the bed-it is hard to believe
that world-shaking ideas grow from the likes of these. But
they do. You want your child to feel free to explore, to
discover, to grab hold of life with both hands. This is the
beginning. Your child has to know what his world is like,
its textures and shapes. That is what a young child thinks
Some things, of course, you cannot allow the child to touch
and handle because they are too dangerous. Some things
you do not want him to touch because they are too precious
to you. Keep one thing in mind: you do not have to let
children do everything. You have rights too, and you must
not feel guilty because you exercise them. But this does not
add up to saying "No" all the time.
Experience Costs Money
Your one-year-old or two-year-old or three-year-old is going
to break some of your nice things. It would be the first time
in history if he didn't. Step Number One then: Decide for
yourself what breakage you can take with a smile and what
would simply break your heart. In making your decision
remember that children cost money. It costs money to give
birth to them, it costs money to clothe and feed them, it
costs money to send them to college. It costs money for them
to be explorers and investigators too. Don't try to get too
much of a bargain during these first few years. You will get
what you pay for. And you have to be willing to spend some
money if you want to build a sense of independence, curiosity,
and a vigorous investigating spirit.
You do not have to spend
-. a fortune or resign yourself
a vto having everything broken.
Now that your child is mov-
.:-. ing about, remove the most
precious things. You cannot
take away everything and live
in a barn. But you will find
some breakables that you can
put up higher or out of his
usual traffic lanes or even
away for a few years. This
will save you from don'tt"
- and constant watching. It
builds into the child a much
better feeling about himself.
The constant "Don't" approach and the Great-Commotion-
When-Something-Breaks make children think of themselves
as bad, as no good, as not able. That is much more costly
than even a very good vase.
There is one more thing you can do. It does not work
wonders in stopping breakage, but it is still good for chil-
dren. Make sure that your youngster has lots of things of
his own that he can touch and bang and pile and lug. They
need not be expensive. Pots and pans are good, measuring
spoon sets, aluminum cups, soap dishes, boxes . the odds
and ends you have around the house are the favorite toys
of the year-old and the young two-year-old. And remember:
They love to play in water and will stand for long periods
at the sink, bubbling and squishing. And the feel of dirt
and sand and mud (when they are out-of-doors) is very
important to them. And many children are very fond of
soft, fuzzy, cuddly feels-a nice teddy, a soft doll. Give your
youngsters many chances to play with the soft and the hard,
the rough and the smooth, the firm and the runny. This
feeds into his developing sense of knowing the world and
mastering it, and steers away from keeping him unknowing
The drive to be independent is very real in feeding. Your
youngster will want to feed himself long before he is able
to do a decent, workmanlike job of it. His urge first shows
itself when he tries to hold the cup or the spoon, with you
holding too. It is not long before he wants to do it all by
himself and almost pushes you away. This can be a mess!
Milk spills, the food falls off the spoon before it gets into
the mouth, and the floor gets covered-to say nothing of
hands and face.
There are certain things you can do to make the physical
setting right. If you succeed there is less chance that your
child will be messier than you can stand. There is more
chance that he will like being independent and self-reliant.
The Right Implements
The right spoon helps. The best kind has a short, straight,
broad handle. The child can grasp it easily in his whole fist.
It has a wide mouth, like a shovel, is shallow, and he can
put it in his mouth sideways.
The design of a good fork
for children is almost the
same as the spoon. The A
handle should be straight, (lt
broad, and about as long as
the child's fist. The points are blunt, of course, and the
tool again is like a shovel.
A cup that has a wide handle, large enough for a child
to get his whole hand through, is another aid. (Don't make
the cup heavy by filling it too full.) A plate that is bowl-
shaped, with good uphill edges, makes it easier for children
to feed themselves. It is too easy to give up trying if, no
matter what you do, the food keeps running away from your
spoon. Young children need something to push against.
You will want a low, straight-backed chair that lets the
child keep his feet flat on the floor. (To sit with your feet
dangling is very tiring.) A table that puts the food at the
height of the child's stomach is another help. It is very
difficult, when you are first learning to feed yourself, to have
the food at chin level. You have to raise your arms too
high, you cannot control them so well, and it is tiring.
When your youngster is going on three he will want to
pour his own milk. (There is no better way to make eating
and drinking good foods fun than to let the child have a real
share in serving them.) Give him a small pitcher with a big
handle, and a full lip so that the milk pours well.
Eating Is Fun
With grown-ups mealtime is usually a happy time. We
serve food at our parties. We go to banquets to celebrate an
event. We have coffee and cake with our very good friends.
Too often, mealtime with children is a battle.
It does not have to be. There are many things you can
do to make it a time of good feeling.
Leave a lot of time. Don't feel you have to hurry your
child through a meal. Don't worry too much about his
dawdling. Let him play with the food a little. Let him spill
it, if he must. Let him use his hands, if he wants to. Keep
in mind your two big aims: you want him to like to eat and
you want him to like to do things himself. You can't achieve
either of these if you hurry.'
An attractive setting also helps: Quiet, not too much else
going on, no confusion, a pretty table mat, sometimes a
flower. Good color in the food helps too. And the con-
sistency of the food is important. Things that stick together,
for example, are much easier to handle. Soups and runny
dishes are the hardest. Bland flavors, rather than sharp tastes,
are preferred. And all children like variety: something raw,
something crisp, something chewy, something they can hold.
But most important is your attitude. During these three
years you will be introducing your child to many new foods.
This is a big part of your job, as important as helping him
to meet different people and to see many things. Start with
the conviction that he is going to like the foods. Why
shouldn't he? Eating is fun. (If you have many food dis-
likes yourself, your job is harder. Try to overcome them.)
Secondly, take it slowly. Introduce the new foods one at
a time. Serve a very small portion the first time, and serve
it at the same meal with foods he already knows and likes.
Thirdly, remember that no one food is all-important.
Fussing over milk or mashed potatoes or eggs or demanding
that the spinach be eaten is not worth while. In the long run
you want children to like all the good foods. But they do
not have to like all of them from the very beginning on.
If your child is off his milk you can get what he needs into
him through puddings and soups and cheeses for a while.
If he fights a particular vegetable, you can get the same
vitamins and minerals into him in other forms. It is so
much wiser not to make an issue out of any one food. Every
human ought to be entitled to some dislikes.
Some people rely on a bag of tricks: a prize if you clean
your plate, a picture at the bottom of the bowl, a star on the
chart for every egg, a flavor in the milk to disguise it. You
will do much better to steer away from this gadgety approach
to children. It may be a good way to get them to like stars
or prizes or pictures but it is not the smart way of getting
them to like good food.
Be direct. You want your child to eat. You know he is
going to like to eat. You try to serve him the foods he really
enjoys. The setting is right; it is colorful, relaxed, pleasant.
You take your time about it. You look for long-time gains,
not for a clean plate at every single meal. A positive, con-
fident, and reasonable attitude on your part will help your
child to eat well and enjoy it.
Back and Forth
Your youngster may want so deeply to feed himself that
he will seem angry if you try to help him. Then, when you
are feeling good about his independence, he turns right
around and contradicts himself. He wants you to help.
He will want you to help most when he is tired. Some-
times this comes after he has made a real effort at feeding
himself. Don't insist too much on his finishing the job.
Pitch in and give him a hand.
Most children want more help when they are getting sick
or convalescing. Almost everybody seems to like a little
more service when he is
not feeling up to par.
You do not have to
worry about these occa-
sional requests for help.
If your youngster has
been showing a real urge
to be independent, you
S( won't hurt him by baby-
I 1ing him when he is sick
or tired or convalescent.
When he feels better he
LJ will snap back to his
usual self-help self.
A lot has been written
about consistency with
children. Some people
--- feel that all the food must
always be eaten every
time. A clean plate with never an exception is the rule.
Some feel that if you help with feeding children, you
will always have to. This is the bugaboo of "bad habits."
If you think back to the first year of life this will not bother
you too much. You know that children want to grow, they
want to do things for themselves, and basically, they want to
please. You do not have to be stubbornly consistent to make
this true. It is true anyhow. So don't be afraid of occasional
exceptions. If it looks to you as though your child would
make out better with a little help, don't hesitate to offer it.
Dressing and Undressing
You have to allow a lot of time for children to take care
of themselves. This is especially true in dressing and undress-
ing. You do almost all the work with one-year-olds. Before
long, however, the search for independence will show itself.
By the time the youngster is three he is able to do a lot of
simple taking off, and he wants to. You can aid in this by
having big buttons, zippers whenever possible, bows and
buttons in the front, large armholes and wide sleeves, big
necks on slip-overs. In general, you want to work for roomi-
ness in clothing. Children's coordination is not yet well
developed. Easy-to-manage clothes are the answer. These
and time. It takes longer when the child dresses himself but
he learns more. '
The kind of clothing AN
you provide is important ,I
in building self-reliance.
Well-fitting shoes aid
your child to build good
body skills in balance,
climbing, and running.
Large armholes mean
more freedom to move, J J
to climb, to throw, to -.-* -
reach. Steer away from making a mummy out of your young-
ster in winter by wrapping him in layer after layer of
sweaters and coats. You will have a more alive child if you
can keep him warm without keeping him swaddled.
Again, of course, your attitude is as important as the cloth-
ing itself. The active child who is using his skills gets dirty,
his clothes get torn, and they wear out. If all this is a great
sin to you, your feeling gets over to the youngster. No one
likes to sew all day or scrub the grime out of clothes, but
you have to pay some price for having vigorous children.
One minor help is to get the toughest play clothes. you can
find, and the simplest.
The "No's" Have It
When your child first begins to talk, you are very thrilled.
The trouble is that once children start to talk they say NO
as well as YES. In fact, at first they may even say NO more
than YES. It can be very irritating. And. they can say NO
in more ways than one. You call them and they run away.
That is a good NO in any man's language. Or you ask them
to do something and they simply do not hear. That is effec-
tive too. There will be quite a lot of this during the next few
years. It stems out of children's feeling their oats. They are
testing out their power.
If you can see that this is part of the very thing that your
child wants most out of these two or three years-independ-
ence-it becomes a little easier to take. It may help you, too,
to know that all children do it. It is not your youngster
alone who is stubborn or resistant or negative. (You were
that way once, too, if that makes you like it any better.)
There is still another very reassuring fact: children as a
rule get over it. You do not have to worry at all about long-
time lack of respect. All through growing-up there are
periods like this. The child seems to have to say to himself
every few years: "I'm a big shot too. They can't push me
around." The child who says NO a lot when he is two is
by no means fated to be stubborn when he is twenty-two.
In fact, if you can learn to live with this naughtiness and not
be too upset by it, there is a better chance that your youngster
will be fairly reasonable when he is grown up. Many of the
adults who are wild and many of those who always have to
have their way were too trampled on when they were one
and two and three.
Do you just grin and bear it? That helps. The more you
know that this "disobedience" will pass, the better off you
will be . and your child too. Sometimes to be a good
parent you have to look the other way. Nobody wants chil-
dren to "get away with murder." But there is such a thing
as being too thorough. If you make an issue out of every-
thing, you and your child will both have worry-lines around
Some Helpful Tips
There are three techniques that may help. (Remember:
nothing works all the time. Part of the fun of being a parent
is creating your own techniques.) The first is a matter of
time. Don't wait till the last minute. If you want him to
come in from outside or to start to walk home or to get ready
for bed or to get out of the bath-no matter what-plan ahead
so there are some extra minutes in the schedule. Five minutes
for refusals, five minutes to get the job done may be about
the right proportion.
Another little technique: stay away from questions. "Do
you want to come home now? ... Do you want to wash your
hands?" These are an invitation for a NO. You ask for it
and you get it. When children get older there will be many
times when you really want to ask a question: when there
is a real choice, when they can make the decision, when there
are pros and cons you want them to consider. This is the
way the home gives good training in democracy. But it is
always good policy to avoid the questions when there is no
choice. Just a flat statement-"It's time to go home now ..
It's time for bed"-stands a better chance of getting results.
Number three: the less talking the better. If it is time to
go home, start out. If it is time to pick up toys, pitch in and
begin picking them up. If it is time to come to the table,
head for the table. Children one and two and three are
fast learning words, but they are not yet verbal. They are
action people. They may respond better to what you do than
to what you say. Words are not yet the only things that make
Those Annoying Ways
Young children have other little tricks up their sleeves.
Bouncing out of bed is one of the best of them. There will
come a time when your child is around two when he will
pop out as though on springs. This happens at daytime nap
and at night also. In one way it is the perfect expression of
independence. The child is saying literally, "You can't keep
There is one question to ask yourself: Are you expecting
too much sleep? Children do cut down on their daytime
naps as they get older. The child cannot be the only judge
of how much sleep he needs, but he has ideas and good ones
too. If he is not tired, if his body doesn't need sleep, the
popping out will increase.
What do you do? Give in a little, be firm a little, experi-
ment, see what works best with your child. Avoid harsh
measures if you can: spanking, tying the door with rope,
yelling. Don't expect miracles, no matter what you do. If
you make a little progress, that is good. You must not hope
to end the popping out of bed right off the bat. Be reason-
able: get the extra drink of water, sit by the bed for awhile,
talk a little longer. But then, at some point after due warn-
ing, without getting angry or upset, be firm and draw the line.
You have to do a little thinking about crying at this point.
A child's cry is real language. You know that from the first
year of life. Your youngster cried when he was hungry or
wet or lonesome; it was good to pay attention to it. There
never is any point in having people-children or adults-
be uncomfortable just for misery's sake. That is the reason
why you want to be as reasonable as you can in handling
your child's popping out of bed. His language-his popping
or his crying-tells you that he wants something. Certainly
just to be decent you want to give him what he wants if
you can. (Many young children's fears are tied up with
bed: fear of the dark, fear of wetting, fear of being alone.
You don't build real courage by ignoring these fears. Being
comforting, 'reasonable, decently kind is the safer way to
On the other hand, tears seem more terrible than they
sometimes are. The crying child howls and shrieks as though
the whole world were coming to an end. It is very easy, if
you are a sensitive person, to want to do anything to stop
the anguish. Children are not stupid. They can learn in a
jiffy that a bucketful of tears and an ear-splitting howl will
produceanything they want.
Crying is language so you certainly do want to pay atten-
tion to it. On the other hand, crying is only language. A
healthy, usually happy child will not die because at some
reasonable point you are firm. He does not like it and he
howls to let you know. That is his way of talking.
This raises the question of how children get spoiled. This
is one of the very real worries in many American families.
But children don't spoil easily. We all need a little more
faith in our offspring. They are good children.
By a spoiled child we usually mean a youngster who is
over-demanding, who has to have his own way, who cannot
take any disappointments. Such children are hard to live
with. Nobody wants to make children this way if he can
And it is not hard to help it.
One fact is basic to begin with: the younger the child the
more you have to give him what he wants. The infant can-
not wait, he cannot share, he cannot postpone. All his needs
are immediate and they hit him hard with full force. There
is no other way he can be. He simply has not grown enough.
This means that you never have to worry very much about
spoiling an infant by holding him when he wants to be held,
feeding him when he is hungry, changing him when he is
One-, two-, and three- .
year-olds fall a lot. It
hurts and they cry. You
are on safe ground when r
you really do sympathize.
There is not much dan-
ger of their being
spoiled and always want-
ing mama's apron strings.
Growth is on your side. "
It is normal in growing
up to become more able to wait, more able to hold off. You
stand a better chance of your child's making this normal,
expected, usual growth if he is a satisfied child. You lessen
your chances if you make him needlessly unhappy because
you are afraid you will spoil him.
There are a number of spoiled children, to be sure. Hdw
they get that way is a complex question but usually something
has happened to block the normal growth that is the best
safeguard against overdemands. Strange as it may sound,
many children who are spoiled got, not too much of what they
wanted, but too little. Severe disappointments or too many
of them seem to block growth. Some parents hold out on
their children too much because they are afraid they will
spoil them. They comfort them too little, hold them too
little, joke with them too little.
Normal growth is blocked in other children in a different
way. Children are held and fondled, not when they want
affection but when the adult wants to give it to them. They
are given all kinds of presents, not when they need them for
their growth, but because it makes the adult feel good to
stuff them with them. They are helped-in picking them-
selves up or in feeding or in dressing-not when they ask for
help but because the adult wants to give it to them. This
seems to stop the process of growth.
GOAL NUMBER TWO: SECURITY
THUS far we have talked about the many ways in which
your youngster will try his own wings, use the new skills
he has, be more of a person, want to have his own way.
But your child has another side too. It is just as real to him
and just as important to his good growth. This is his search
for Security. This is his second big goal and you must be
sensitive to it. He wants to grow up and he wants to stay
your baby, all at the same time.
On Being Consistent
Children would be simpler to raise if they would make
up their minds. But of course we parents switch back and
forth too. Part of the time we say in effect: "You'*re just a
little one. You're a little baby. Let me do it for you." But
part of the time too we seem to say: "Don't cry. You're big
now. Don't always want to come first. You're not a baby
anymore. Wait your turn. You're growing up, you know."
Children make it hard for us. We make it hard for them.
Part of the solution to happy living lies in making our
switches together. If we can want a youngster to be a baby
when he too wants to be a baby, we will all be happy. If
we can learn to say to him, "You're a big boy now," only
when he is really feeling like a big boy, everything will work
We all have to realize too that security is basic to real
independence, to real maturity, to being really grown-up.
Love, attention, interest, praise, comfort, assurance-none of
these slows down the growth process. In fact, they smooth
the way and make growth easy.
What every child needs is the firm and utter and complete
and thorough knowledge that he is satisfactory. There is a
name for this. It is called "unconditional love." You give
it to your child without any strings.
This suggests one of the important ideas for you to remem-
ber in those black moments when you are at your wit's end.
Never threaten by saying, "I won't love you any more."
Never. It is too severe a threat for a child to take.
He may say to you when he is two or three, "I hate you."
He may make a little fist when he is angry and hit you. But
don't take it too seriously. You are the most important person
in the world to him. To threaten to go away or to give him
away or to hold back on your love is the most drastic thing
you can do.
You are treading on the same dangerous ground when you
toss around words like "good" and "bad." A child wets his
pants or spills or breaks something. It is so easy to say,
"You're a bad child. You are naughty." And the temptation
to say it is strong because the child is really disturbed by
your words. It looks like effective discipline.
Children know that in order to hold your love-that most
precious and prized of all things-they must be good. Inside
of all of them is a sneaking fear that they may not be good
enough to hold it. Usually this little fear stays in its place.
It does not cause trouble and it may even be helpful. But
it is very easy to increase the fear, to make it flare up and get
out of control. Like a fire that is smoldering, a draft can
make it rage dangerously. If you tell a youngster too often
that he is bad or naughty, he can come to feel that he has
lost your love. And once that happens he has lost his most
important reason for wanting to be good.
Of course this does not mean that you love all the things
your child does. You would have to be an angel to do that.
All parents get angry now and again at the things children
do. They show their disapproval. They restrict children
and restrain them and deny them at times. But if you want
your child to grow with this important feeling of security
inside, there is a way of doing it. Restrain him in such a
way that he has no doubt that you still love him-that he
himself is all right, even if what he is doing must stop and
stop right now.
The words you use are not the important thing. It is how
you feel. A sweet smile on your face is no good if you seethe
inside. But knowing the importance of love helps you to
Steer away from severe punishments or severe blame or
great signs of disapproval or disappointment. Don't drag
out arguments or disapprovals or punishments for ever and
ever. Don't sulk. Don't stay angry for hours. These all
hit too hard at that important business of love.
One special time that you can give security to your child
is when he is hurt. This is easy to do when the hurt is ob-
vious, when the blood is running and the sore spot is there
to be seen. But the years of one and two and three are full
of falls, of disappointments, of bruised feelings where the
blood does not show at all. They are the real test of whether
you are sympathetic or not.
There always is a reason that is real to the child under-
neath absolutely everything he does. None of children's
behavior is meaningless. This gives you your cue as to what
to do when your youngster comes to you wanting sympathy:
Give it to him. Be loving. Be kind.
You may think that the fall did not actually hurt. You
may think he ought to be able to take the disappointment.
If that is your hunch, store it away in your mind but don't
act on it now. While your youngster is in tears, pick him up
and hold him, reassure him, be gentle and understanding.
You can be positive that is what he wants. Perhaps he should
want it, perhaps he should not. But the fact is that he does.
And that is what you act on.
You know the expression: "Oh, he only hurt his feelings."
You want to think it this way: He hurt his feelings . .
because feelings do hurt. They are a part of all of us. Chil-
dren, in particular, get lonely sometimes; they get afraid-
at night, in crowds, with new people, in excitement. When
a knee is hurt, you tend to it; when the feelings are hurt,
you want to fix them up too.
This is one of your very great and important jobs as a
parent: to be the safe port in the storm, the refuge when the
going is rough. Don't fail your child on this. When he wants
sympathy don't tell him to be a big boy. Save that for when
he himself is feeling big.
To be sure, children this age will do enough irritating
things to make your supply of sympathy for them run low.
They love water, dirt, and mud. They can make your house
a mess. They love touching, poking, and exploring. They
can break things like demons. They are slow. As they near
three they ask endless questions. Their table manners are
bad. They may balk at washing their hands. They are on
the go all the time. They are full of rough edges. You
could go on and on listing all the sins of one-, two-, and three-
It takes no effort at all for a parent to fall into the pattern
of reminding, correcting, urging, warning. Children's ways
lure parents into becoming pesterers. You find that every
second word you say is "Don't." Every third word, "No."
Every fourth word, "Mustn't."
This is something you have to guard against. Inside of
yourself you must feel unconditional love. But it cannot
stay inside. You have to be sure that it comes outside too
for your child to see and hear. Whatever you may feel inside,
nagging all the time gives the youngster too little chance to
know your love. It builds up the feeling: "I'm not good
enough . The things I do are wrong."
Be sure you have some fun with your child.
Laugh with him. Spend time together. Do things together.
Take walks or build or enter into his play. When he wants
you to, be a fireman or a truck or a choo-choo. Roughhouse
a little. These are the ways to let your good feelings show.
Maybe the way to do it is to
wear blinders. Forget about
some of your child's sins. Look
the other way. Don't hear every-
thing. Don't take too seriously
Half of what you hear. If you
can establish a kind of protec-
Sr tive deafness and blindness, you
sometimes feel more like laugh-
Iing and smiling and appreciat-
-a your child will get over most
of the things that seem like
faults at one and two and three anyhow.)
Keep this in mind with toilet training in particular. It
is so easy to nag children about keeping dry and keeping
clean, so easy to make them wonder if you really do love
them. The more you nag, the harder you make it for the
child to learn; and the more you nag, the more you shake
a child's confidence in himself.
You won't lose faith in your youngster if you can keep in
mind that toilet training is not a case of will power. It is a
business of growing, of the size of the bladder and the
strength of muscles. An X ray might let you know how much
growing has gone on inside. An easier way is to watch your
child's behavior; let him be your X ray. When he has grown
enough, he will have his movements in the toilet, he will
stay dry in the daytime, and you can help him stay dry at
night. Don't rush the time if it means nagging. Think of
two years instead of a few months. A Wilted soul is worse
than a soiled panty.
Many parents feel that thumb-sucking is one behavior they
"have to DO something" about. They cannot look the other
But thumb-sucking by one-, two-, and three-year-olds is no
cause for alarm. Many young children do it, and for very
simple and sound reasons.
Sucking has an honorable history in the young child's
life. It was the infant's royal road to security. He sucked
to get his food. All of the nice sensations he knew were con-
nected with sucking. It gave him pleasant, warm, full, com-
fortable feelings inside. And, believe it or not, babies are
born with a need to suck. If you feed them through their
veins, they still have to suck. It is a restful, relaxing activity
which is satisfying to them just for its own sake.
No wonder, with a history like this, that' one-, two-,
and three-year-olds turn to sucking when the going gets
rough. It is a source of comfort that they know of old. And,
finally, it is something they can count on to make them feel
Many children this age turn to sucking when they are
tired, when they are hungry, when they are excited, or when
they are afraid. There is no need to stop them. Already they
are tapering off. Infants get almost all of their security from
sucking. Ones, twos, and threes turn to it only at the difficult
times. As children get older still they will build new sources
of security and they will be better able to stand stresses and
strains. Thumb-sucking will stop of its own accord. But at
this stage it helps many a child to weather a storm to have
his thumb as a means of security right at hand.
There is one worry you can save yourself in all this: thumb-
sucking during these early years does not cause misshapen
Some Things to Avoid
And one waste you can avoid: steer away from the gadgets
guaranteed to end thumb-sucking-the bitter medicines,
bandages, cuffs, and guards. If your child is finding security
and comfort in his thumb, it is too bad to invest money in a
device that takes away his security. And the devices don't
work. The more you try to stop thumb-sucking directly, the
more it is likely to continue. The child turns to his thumb
to ease him over some period of strain. If you try to stop
him you just increase the strain. Don't restrain him. Don't
shame him. Don't feel bothered yourself.
Your best bet always is to prevent strain and stress. The
more secure you can keep your child's life, the less need he
will have to go seeking comfort.
Try to put your finger on the basic reason for the frequent
sucking: Is he getting enough love and attention? Is he
trying to keep up with someone bigger? Is he being nagged
too much? Are his days too full and too exciting? Do what
you can to lessen the strain.
Preparing for a Brother or Sister
One way is to be sensitive to the things that may upset him.
One such event which happens in the lives of many two- and
three-year-olds is the birth of a brother or sister. If the baby's
arrival is a total surprise, and if the baby seems to take all of
mother's time and get all of her love, this can be,a hard blow.
Sometimes it leads to more thumb-sucking than usual. Some-
times it leads to bed-wetting. Sometimes to more naughtiness
and hitting. These are signs that security has been shaken.
The more you can do to prepare your child for the baby's
coming the better. You do not want to start too soon. He
will find the waiting period harder to take than you do, and
more confusing. But as the birth day draws near, you can
let him help with the baby's room and clothing and crib. This
will lead to natural and easy conversation about the baby.
The questions he asks, or whether he asks any at all, will
depend upon his age. But simple direct answers to whatever
he asks will do much to make him feel at ease. Once anyone
understands something, it becomes less of a threat.
What you do is even more important than your words.
Be sure that in getting ready for your new child you find lots
of time to spend with the child you have. He needs you now
very much because he is aware of something exciting in the
air. He will need you particularly after the baby is born.
New babies take a great deal of attention. Their physical
demands are so exceptionally high. Keep in mind that the
new baby's brothers and sisters need a great deal of attention
too. Their emotional demands are exceptionally high.
Having a new baby brother or sister is a "giving up" time.
The child has to share mother and father and the time he
once had all to himself. Set out to make it a getting time too.
Have some presents on hand so that when baby gets gifts,
the older child gets something too. Be creative in thinking
up new privileges which only older children have. Be gener-
ous in giving of yourself, your love and affection. And be
understanding. Some jealousy is only natural and not serious.
Don't complicate a difficult adjustment time by being shocked
and angry if your child suggests that you return the baby.
What he really wants is your assurance that there is a solid
place for him too. A good hug is the real answer.
Most parents are proud of their children. Today there is
a special reason to urge you to go on feeling this way.
One of the important recent discoveries about children
is this: There are definite stages of growth that all children
go through. Dr. Arnold Gesell of Yale University, who has
made some of the most careful studies, sums up this knowl-
edge in one of his books this way: "The child's personality
is a product of slow and gradual growth. His nervous system
matures by stages and natural sequences. He sits before he
stands; he babbles before he talks; he says 'no' before he
says 'yes'; he fabricates before he tells the truth; he draws
a circle before he draws a square; he is selfish before he is
altruistic; he is dependent on others before he achieves de-
pendence on self. All of his abilities are subject to laws of
*Gesell, Arnold, Ilg, Frances L., et al: The Child From Five to Ten,
New York, Harper and Brothers, 1946, p. 35.
Some very valuable guides for parents come out of this
knowledge. We all know now that there is a speed control
inside of each child which sets the limits to what he can do
at any one time. No amount of reward or punishment can
enable a child to do something that this internal growth
does not make him ready to do.
This takes some of the pressure off parents. Our child's
ability to walk or to talk, to run, to build with blocks, is less
a matter of our being "good parents" or "bad." It is more
a matter of our child's rate of growing. And that he inherits.
We cannot slow it down or speed it up.
This new knowledge helps parents and children in still
another way. It is easier today to avoid the feeling that your
youngster is "bad" when he is really doing something which
all children his age do. We each of us raise our children
behind walls. We seldom see the troubles other parents have.
If you know that most children your youngster's age say "No"
or dilly-dally or climb out of bed, it helps you to have more
peace of mind.
Don't Take Books Too Literally
But this new information can be used to make it more
difficult for parents and more difficult for children. Some
parents use these stages of growth as a test to apply to them-
selves and to their children. If the books say that most chil-
dren walk at about fifteen months, some parents go through
the fourteenth month with one eye on baby and one eye on
the calendar. If the books say that children about two years
old have a vocabulary of 272 words, they get out the adding
machine along with the birthday cake. Children are held up
against the books. This makes it hard for a youngster to get
the full feeling of love.
Some children can say two or three or four words by the
time they are a year old. By their second birthday they may
be chatterboxes. Other youngsters, while making all kinds
of social responses, while eating and sleeping well and gain-
ing weight, while developing good physical coordinations and
playing heartily, may do almost no word-talking. Language
is such a public business it is easy to feel the child has let
you down. Some parents almost apologize. They say, "She
doesn't talk yet" with a hang-dog look.
The books lump many children's growth together. They
are guides, rather than yardsticks. They have to be because
each youngster is different. Each has his own rate of growth.
Each is entitled to a good wide margin.
If your child is too greatly different from most other chil-
dren, it will help you to consult your doctor or a psychologist
so that you can get the trained opinion of someone who sees
a great many children. But before you worry needlessly be
sure you are using the books as they are intended to be used.
Remember too: it is your total child that counts. Here is
a girl who does not talk yet. But she has beautiful coordina-
tion, a delightful smile, good resistance to disease, wonderful
curly hair. She gets real fun out of playing, she is affectionate,
she eats well. There is a lot to be proud of and pleased with.
That is what you put the spotlight on.
A lot in life takes us all down a peg or two. Many schools,
for example, focus on weakness. The second grader who is
poor in arithmetic has to spend extra time improving his
skills. The high school boy who stands out in sports has to
give them up to work more on his studies. Our homes ought
to be the one place in the world where we focus on strength.
They ought to be the one place where every member is made
to feel very good indeed because of all the powers and
abilities he has.
When you use the books about bringing up children, never
pick out a word or a sentence or a paragraph. See the book
whole. See your child whole. Look for what your child
does well. Feel proud of what he is and what he does. That
is the way to get over to him your proud feeling that he is a
very satisfactory person.
This does not mean that you make your child king. It
does not mean that you pretend that everything he does is
cute and wonderful. The child does not have to rule the
roost or be cock-of-the-walk at home to get a sense of security.
In fact, children themselves want you to set limits for
them. No limits leave the child too free. That is an un-
comfortable feeling. They want you to have standards for
them to meet.
When anything goes, children miss out on security. To
feel really good they need the sense of coming up to your
expectations more and more. This gives them the important
knowledge that they are growing up. And there is nothing
more deeply satisfying to the child than that.
You must draw the line at what you will take from your
child. Have standards. Just be reasonable in what you
expect. Adjust your demands to what a youngster your
child's age can reasonably do. Set limits but when you stop
undesirable behavior, don't tear down the child. Stop the
act but keep the child feeling good allout himself. And be
generous in your praise when your youngster does come
through. Nothing builds for better feelings than when you
can honestly say, "That was a good job. You're really
Your Child's Social Life
Your love for your child is rockbottom. He will want and
need it all through his life. You will show your love in
different ways as he gets older, but nothing takes its place.
New loves are added, new sources of affection and security
and companionship. But these new loves do not displace the
old. If anything, they enrich it, make it even more im-
portant. Something is added and nothing is taken away.
This process begins even in these early years of one, two,
and three. Your child will like to be with other people his
own age. It makes his feeling-life richer to be in the company
of other children his size.
It is not always easy for parents to work this out. Trips to
the park take time and planning. Inviting other children
to your house means more planning and arrangements. But
the effort is worth while. Your child will like company and
it really makes your life easier. Two children the same age
are simpler to take care of than one. They keep each other
At first when very young children play together, they don't
play together. They like to be near each other. They are
aware of what the other fellow is doing but there is not much
give-and-take. Even so, merely being in the same room with
a friend is the groundwork for more playing with each other
later. You don't have to urge one- and two-year-olds to play
together or to share: that will develop. They are playing
with their eyes now, and that is an important beginning.
When they start noticing each other more, you may be
disturbed by some of the things that happen. Children about
two are grabbers. If they see something they want, they
snatch it. It is not very polite play. Sometimes, to get what
they want or to hold what they have, they pull hair or bite.
That is not very nice to watch either.
Don't Be Impatient
When your child acts this way, don't feel you have an
uncooperative selfish animal on your hands. Don't be em-
barrassed and don't be angry. This is good normal behavior
for twos. It is what happens when children do not yet have
much language. (We can say "Please" and "Pardon me" and
"May I," but children cannot.) It is also what happens when
children are still too young to be able to wait long.
You can avoid some of this by not putting any great strain
on your child's capacity to share. That will grow and develop
in good time if you keep giving him practice in being with
others. But at this stage have lots of toys on hand. The hair-
pulling flourishes most when there are not enough toys. And
don't bother too much about preaching on generosity and
sharing. Your best approach is to give the youngsters some-
thing to do. Offer a substitute toy and the trouble is likely
to be over quickly.
Big Muscle Men and Women
Above all, the ones, twos, and threes are big-muscle-minded.
They want to be on the go. They need the opportunity to
develop their arm and leg muscles and the big muscles of
the trunk. It is almost impossible for one family working
alone to have all of the play materials a child needs to de-
velop these muscles and coordin'ations to their fullest.
The materials are expensive to buy but many of them can
be homemade or salvaged. Big packing boxes to climb on
are very useful. Nail kegs and strong barrels are good. Sturdy
planks to walk on are important. Where space makes it at
all possible, a group of fathers working together can make
much of this equipment.
This kind of parent-cooperation not only makes it easier
for each child to have the materials he needs for his best
growth; it also guarantees for each child companionship in
using the materials. And that is where the real good comes
in. Raw working material of this kind builds strong muscles.
If children use it together it also stimulates imagination, lan-
guage, and social activity. (Sandboxes, wagons, wheel bar-
rows, tricycles are more fun when used jointly.)
IT is good to start this cooperation early. When your child
is three, he will probably be ready to benefit by a nursery
school. The chance for the regular company of other chil-
dren, for the supervised program of stories and music, for
such experiences as small trips, painting, clay and wood work,
and the care of pets will be within his capacity.
There are almost no free public nursery schools as yet and
private nursery schools cost a great deal of money. But if
you get the habit of working with other parents, a group of
you together may be able to start a cooperative nursery
Also, even though your youngster is only one, two, or three,
it is not too early to be thinking of his public school days
ahead. When your child goes to school you want him to have
small classes, well-paid and able teachers, and a good build-
ing with a wealth of educational supplies and materials. Not
all five-year-olds in kindergarten or six-year-olds in first grade
have these. They do not come to all children automatically.
And if they do not exist in your neighborhood now, they will
not come into being overnight, just when your child is ready
to enter school.
One important job you can undertake for your child right
now is to join the parents' organization in your community.
If you begin to work with other parents while your child is
very young, there is a better chance that he and other chil-
dren will have the best when they are of school age.
The Big Goal
The more you work with other parents the more you will
realize how many problems all parents have in common. It
is no crime to have a problem. Everyone has them. You
cannot live with children without being stumped at times.
It is what you do about the problem that counts.
Just worrying is silly.
Using force and getting angry all the time are silly too.
These cheat you out of the fun of being with children.
Using all the help you can get to work out solutions is the
wise way. Today you do not have to work alone or work in
the dark. Your doctor and your dentist know a great deal
about children. There are good columns on bringing up
children in many newspapers and magazines, and there are
magazines just for parents. The radio has programs on child
care. Skilled nursery school teachers are glad to have you
stop in to talk with them. The Home Extension Bureau of
your state college of home economics publishes pamphlets
*Three national organizations can give you advice: The American Asso-
ciation of University Women, Washington, D. C.; The Association for Child-
hood Education, Washington, D. C.; The National Association for Nursery
Education, Roosevelt College, Chicago, Ill. Your state department of
education may also have help to offer you.
and bulletins. Many cities have helpful child psychologists,
and there are clinics where trained people can steer you
towards answers you want. Your federal government, through
the U. S. Children's Bureau, publishes many very useful
Use your whole team in bringing up your children. That
is the wise way. That way you can be sure that the problems
will not get you down. You will be glad you have your
youngsters, and your youngsters will be glad they are alive.
If you can get this feeling into these years of one, two, and
three, you have laid a wonderful base foray good life ahead.
WHAT TO READ
Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Building Your Marriage. Public
Affairs Pamphlet No. 113. 1948 edition. 200
Keeping Up with Teen-Agers. Public
Affairs Pamphlet No. 127. 1948 edition. 200
Gesell, Arnold, and Ilg, Frances L. Infant and Child in the
Culture of Today. New York, Harper & Bros. 1943.
Meek, Lois Hayden. Your Child's Development and Guid-
ance Told in Pictures. Philadelphia, Lippincott. 1940.
Spock, Benjamin, M.D. The Pocket Book of Baby and Child
Care. New York, Pocket Books, Inc. 1946. 350
Thorman, George. Toward Mental Health. Public Affairs
Pamphlet No. 120. 1947 edition. 200
Wolf, Anna W. M. The Parents' Manual. New York, Simon
& Schuster. 1945. $2.50
Yahraes, Herbert. Planning Your Family. Public Affairs
Pamphlet No. 136. 1948. 200
I ~UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA -
3 1262 07468 386 2
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