Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nature or Nurture?

You all know the long debate between the two theories. Is it nature or it nurture? I think it's a little bit of both with nature taking the lead. My daughter is just like me and she's only five years old. She is motivated by goal setting and rewards. I found this out very early on.

She is very very smart but she was also very challenging when it came to potty training. We had a really hard time getting her to want to use the potty and she was fast approaching her third birthday. I was pregnant and I did not want to have a toddler and a newborn in diapers. However I also subscribe to the belief that potty training should not be a stressful experience. I believe that it affects a child's psyche if they are spanked while potty training.

Finally I read somewhere that setting a goal with a reward was one of the ways to encourage children to go to the potty. I had already tried the Prudence video and the book. So I told her that as soon as she went potty every day we would have a party. I also made her a poster so she could visualize her goal. I put stickers on it, a picture of Chuck E Cheese off the internet, pictures of her potty here at home and the one at the sitters, and panties. It was hilarious but it worked!

When she finally got to her goal I would give her a Chuck E Cheese Party. A potty party! I kid you not. The very next day after I hung that poster next to her bed she started going to the potty and she met her goal. She was potty trained two months before she turned 3 and she had a Chuck E Cheese party a month later.

We got her potty trained during the day but she still wore a pull up at night. We went through that for almost a year and then I tried the same approach. I made a poster with little boxes with numbers in each box that made a circle and in the center was a picture of her with her cousin at Chuck E Cheese. Once again, it worked. She stopped wearing her pull up at night and every night that she woke up with dry panties she got a sticker. She had a Princess party at Chuck E Cheese.

So now we are at a different phase in our life. We believe in co-sleeping. We've been sharing a bed with her and now with Seth. We also kept unconventional bed time hours and they go to sleep a lot later than most kids. Now that we're getting ready for her to go to school I'm working on getting her to bed earlier and in her bed. I put up a calendar and I'm giving her a star for every night that she sleeps in her bed. When she reaches 10 stars we're going to Chuck E Cheese. No party, just a visit. When she reaches 20 stars we're going to the Aquarium downtown, her favorite place. She's on night #9 tonight.

It's amazing! She is a goal setter and she visualizes her goals at such a young age. We have so many similarities in our personalities. She's loud and I'm loud. You could say it's nurture, but she was already like this at 2.5 so I think it's more nature. What's interesting is that I don't know who in my family is most like me. My parents weren't goal setters. Is it something I was born with? Is it in my DNA and did I pass it on to my daughter? Interesting questions to ask. I'm not sure I have the answers.

1 comment:

saadia said...

It's DNA - all hers! I believe when our children are born that they are already the person they are going to be when full grown. As they grow, they pick up the traits that best suit them then they mix in a little bit of learned behavior, that's where she's getting the goal setting from - by watching you. At least your passing on good traits - goal setting is great because it keeps you focused. When we're focused we make good choices. The way I see it, that will serve her well as she gets older.