Toddlers Growing up Too Fast?
It’s not uncommon for toddlers to want to do what they see their older brothers and sisters or parents doing. Also, media hypes specific activities, and toddlers (and people of all ages) can be enticed. How should you handle it when your toddler wants to do things that are typically done by older children and/or adults? The answer, of course, is that it depends on what; specifically, your toddler wants to do.
Does your toddler want a get mani/pedi? If your budget can support it, let your toddler try a mani/pedi. If your budget does not support a professional mani/pedi, you yourself can give your toddler a mani/pedi. Don’t let mani/pedis become a “necessity” for your toddler, however. Vanity curried early can spell disaster.
Does your toddler want to watch a PG 13 movie? Find out why the movie is rated PG 13. Can you accept your toddler being exposed to whatever that is? If so, let your toddler, on occasion, and always with parental accompaniment, watch the PG 13 movie. After the movie, you may want to visit with your toddler about the content of the movie and put it in its appropriate context (i.e., “when you get older . . . “.
Does your toddler want to go hunting? If yours is a hunting family, then it may be appropriate to take you toddler hunting as long as s/he does not have a real gun. A water pistol will suffice. Ensure that your toddler is properly dressed and thoroughly supervised throughout the hunting expedition. If yours is not a hunting family, then you need to explain to your toddler about your family’s values regarding hunting. In this case, it is not appropriate for your toddler to go on a hunting trip.
Does your toddler want to taste alcohol? Find out what the law is in your locale. It is legal for toddlers to taste alcohol as long as the tasting is carried out under parental supervision? Is it against the law for alcohol to be consumed by toddlers, even under parental supervision? What are your family’s values regarding alcohol consumption? Generally, allowing a toddler to taste alcohol is not recommended; however, if you are considering accommodating your toddler’s curiosity in this regard, move forward with caution and only after considering applicable laws and your family’s values. And, as with PG 13 movies, you will need to visit with your toddler about context (i.e., “Alcohol is consumed by ADULTS because they enjoy the taste, just like you like apple juice. However, alcohol can make you feel weird and get sick. It can also do other bad things if somebody drinks too much of it. So, that’s why we’re very careful about alcohol.”).
Toddlers are full of curiosity. It’s healthy to let them explore their world and satisfy their curiosity . . . within reason. Each family must draw their boundaries (“within reason”) in a manner that is consistent with their beliefs, values, and lifestyle.