Many parents will be very familiar with the defiant phase, or “autonomy phase” as it is also known. It is that time in family life after you thought to yourself, for a brief moment, “Yes, we passed the baby phase, our child can walk, communicate. From now on, everything will be more relaxed.” And then sometime between your child's second and the fourth year, he comes to visit: "Mister Defiance". That is what nutrition and fitness blogger Melanie from Germany affectionately calls this unwanted guest who is currently visiting her three-year-old daughter!
Melanie describes this phase as “No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong”. Her blog explains that as parents, you simply have to endure these times and try to find a way to “survive”. The part of the brain responsible for these regular outbursts in our little ones is called prefrontal cortex. It regulates our emotions, unleashes them or holds them back. But in children, it is just not quite as developed. This only happens over the years and with experiences, as Melanie reports.
And that is not all there is to it. In stressful situations, emotions completely take the wheel. Speech and cognitive thinking are simply switched off and to the child, there is no difference between fantasy and reality anymore. The result: outbursts which are not comprehensible in our mature eyes.
Melanie and her partner have actually found their very own way to “survive” this phase. It was rather by chance, out of helplessness and pure despair because their dear long walks, among other things, but also their relationship became more and more uncomfortable thanks to "Mister Defiance". They simply went back to being “carrying” parents, just as they had been right after their daughter’s birth. And indeed: since closeness and therefore the “cuddling” hormone oxytocin aid in calming down the child, this works really well for the three of them. Thanks to the Tula toddler carrier they are able to simply be close to her in difficult situations, to offer her a retreat, to strengthen the parent-child-relationship and to relax more easily together. It is exactly those short phases of quiet, of inhaling and breathing deeply, as Melanie describes it in her blog, which sometimes even result in their daughter being able to briefly explain herself. Why? Because her emotional control center – and thereby "Mister Defiance" – is calm again due to the cuddling period.
Since Melanie is an enthusiastic athlete herself, she cannot only comfort with the Tula toddler carrier, but she can also satisfy her urge to move – which you can basically count as an additional unit of training for her leg muscles due to the extra weight. And as a side effect, the extensive walks strengthen their relationship as a couple as well. Hence, carrying becomes a win-win situation for the whole family.