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"The adolescence" of early childhood.

There is an age, around 2 to 3 years old, when our young children seem to acquire a new rebelliousness. I like to think of this stage as "the adolescence" of early childhood.

The word adolescence has its roots in Latin, meaning growth and movement. It refers to a stage of expansion and change.

Just like in youth, around the age of 2, our little boys and girls begin to become aware of their surroundings, their thoughts, and their desires. They begin to develop a certain degree of autonomy in certain everyday activities, and they want to explore them as much as possible.

Just like adolescents, these little ones will want to explore and experiment, socialize, and learn. We can see them enjoy being with other children, and they begin to develop their first social tools.

But the flip side? In this exploration and discovery of their desires and thoughts, they will often resist our actions or instructions. Perhaps going home from the park becomes an impossible mission, or choosing a shirt becomes a difficult task. Sometimes it seems like they don't know what they want, and in the most unexpected situations we find ourselves with outbursts of anger (more commonly known as tantrums).

How can we respectfully accompany them? Just like in adolescence: a lot of patience and clear rules.

I like to marvel at each stage of growth. When we are aware of what is happening in their brains, we can understand that putting on shoes takes longer or that choosing the color of a glass to drink water is a difficult decision. They are making their first decisions! Think about how hard it is for you to make a decision (an adult with a mature cerebral cortex).

On the other hand, I also understand that non-negotiable family rules have to be clear. For example, I can get angry because I wanted the red glass instead of the blue one (and Mom just served me milk in the blue one), but I can't hit or throw the contents of the glass because I'm angry.

I invite you to fall in love with this stage, being aware that the first experiences of introspection, deciphering desires, evaluating consequences, and so much more are being built. As parents, we have the honor of accompanying them in the process.


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