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I usually give this talk to moms at the one year check up. I often have mom’s break down in tears when they find out other moms feel this way. I hope this will give you some encouragement.

Moms and dads have different relationships with kids. Dads usually have a relationship where they are throwing kids in the air and chasing them around the house ( the playful, fun relationship). Moms usually like a cuddly huggy kissy relationship. The first 6 monthsof life ,moms usually get lots of hugs and kisses, but when babies become mobile around a year of age everything changes. Babies turn into mister Destructo and moms have to start saying “No!” all day long. Babies also learn to do temper tantrums at this stage, and most moms start feeling like they are the mean Witch of the West. Moms usually start having some trouble with depression, and so I want to reassure you that if you are feeling depressed, you’re probably doing a good job as a mom!

Your job is to teach kids right and wrong. The way they learn this is by mom saying “NO!” and disciplining them 50 billion times over the first 18 years of their life. The best discipline techniques for toddlers is usually time out (I’ll talk about the secrets of how to do time out in a later blog). So, for example, your toddler plays in the toilet- you say “No!”, and put him in time out. A minute or two later you let him out, and he goes RIGHT STRAIGHT BACK TO THE TOILET!! So, you do it again, and again, and again…and after a MILLION times he finally learns.

Now, this is why this is so important. This does not feel very important, but you must realize what you are doing here. You think you are teaching him not to play in the toilet, but you are REALLY teaching him “you cannot have sex untill you are married!” You’re teaching him you cannot do everything you want to do, because it is wrong, and THIS is how they learn it-by YOU constantly disciplining him over the first 18 years of his life. The good news is the temper tantrum stage only lasts 18 years (yes, the same thing happens when they are 16 years old , except instead of throwing themselves to the ground and kicking and screaming they learn to slam doors and say mean things).

Now here is the pep talk part,the Tantrums ARE FAKE (fake at age 1, fake at age 16)!!! They don’t hate you and they don’t even really think you are mean. They are frustrated because they can’t have their way, and they are trying to manipulate you into getting their way. If you let them manipulate you as toddlers, you will pay for it when they are 13. But if you discipline them consistently, and just ignore your depression, when they turn 18 they will go off to college, call you on the phone, and tell you ” Mom, you are the best mom in the whole world!”

So take heart moms, what you’re doing is critically important, and will pay off. If you’re depressed, you’re probably doing it right!

Image used under Creative Commons License – Flickr user Amy Wilbanks (April 13, 2014)

Gary Auxier

Gary Auxier

Doctor Auxier was born and raised in the Phoenix area. He married his high school sweetheart, Annette, and has been happily married for 42 years. He has 5 children and 11 grandchildren (with 2 more on the way). He went to medical school at the University of Arizona, did his specialty training as a pediatrician in Phoenix, and was the Chief Resident at the Maricopa County Hospital his last year. For 10 years he was a solo pediatrician in a small town in Colorado, but moved back to Arizona in 1990. He has been with Gilbert Pediatrics for the past 17 years. He is a certified instructor in mountaineering, has served twice as a scoutmaster, loves the outdoors, and is teaching his grandchildren to ski. He also loves playing bluegrass and folk music, and plays mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, and fiddle (sort of). He has been a volunteer at the Chandler Care Center free clinic for the past 15 years, and was awarded the Coy Payne Lifetime Achievement Award by the Valley of the Sun United Way for his volunteer work there and internationally. He loves his job as a pediatrician, and loves to help parents navigate the terrifying and wonderful world of parenting. Name: Gary Auxier Age: 60 Occupation: Pediatrician Children: Laura, age 35; Daniel age 33, Bethany age 31, Patricia age 29, and Annie age 27 , 11 grandchildren (and 2 more on the way!) Family: married 43 years to Annette, my high school sweetheart Hobbies: bluegrass and folk music, skiing, mountain climbing, playing with grandchildren Currently Reading: Guide to the Old Testament Fascinated By: new parents Favorite Food: Mexican Born: 1953, Phoenix AZ Raised: Phoenix, AZ Education: Medical school: U of Arizona, Internship and residency Phoenix Hospitals Affiliated Pediatric Program, chief resident Maricopa County Hospital Pet Peeve: parents who neglect their kids Dream: I know a lot of people say this sort of thing, but I'm actually living it -I have a happy family, and love my job; I guess I'd love to ski more and be a scoutmaster again, and want to serve a mission for my church. Current Favorite Quote: No success can compensate for failure in the home
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