Hang in there – the “trying twos” do have a purpose…no really, they do!

by Integra Naturopathics on June 1, 2012

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Perhaps it’s because our little Téa has entered this phase with a vengeance, but lately we are finding peace in reminding ourselves of the health significance of this, at times, nail-biting phase.

The change in behavior can be dramatic and happen almost overnight. “I don’t know what happened – one morning my little angel was gone!” Sound familiar? First time parents are down right freaked out, wondering how best to control this new, unruly behavior and how to manage social settings that might require the “S” word.  Many Moms will admit to cancelling play dates. A new perspective on this developmental stage will ease your fear of your toddler being forced to Share at your next gathering!

In our last blog, we chatted about the adrenal phase of maturation. Between 12 -18 months of age, our little angels transition from this phase to the thyroid stage. Most parents can identify precisely (much to their dismay) when their little one’s behavior changed– this signifies the thyroid’s influence over the body. Cool eh?

Remember that the thyroid gland is the master gland of metabolism, having a hand in cellular health for the entire body! Proper transitioning through this phase is critical.  Complete maturation of the gland is not until the age of 6-8 years old.

So what’s going on? The essence of thyroid development is the identification of self from non-self.  “It’s mine! No, me! I want” is typically perceived as the “selfish” nature of this age; some parenting books would have us believe this must be corrected or else the child will stay in a perpetual state of self-centeredness.  Relax; in fact, this type of emotional response signifies the ability to identify self from the world. Don’t get us wrong, as parents our role is to provide healthy, gentle boundaries  – but our role is not to suppress our child. Defined emotions should not be silenced, they need to be channeled. Creative play is essential to help the child in this huge shift in awareness. If a parent punishes or continually silences a child’s expressive nature, the ability to identify self from non-self is diminished.

What’s the big deal? Allergies and auto-immunity are two massive health concerns that have at their very centre, this problem. The immune system is mal-adapted and oversensitive, unable to properly identify what is normal from what is not. Certainly, there are many factors involved in dis-ease, but it’s time we bring awareness to the role of emotional health in overall wellness – especially in the early years.

From a nutritional perspective, avoid avoid unfermented soy for your child. We do not recommend soy milk, tofu or any processed soy foods. Powerful goitrogens, inherent to soy, are extremely harmful to a developing thyroid gland.  As well, the thyroid requires rich minerals such as selenium and iodine to flourish. Parents are naturally curious about healthy sweeteners for their children; choose raw honey or grade 3 maple syrup  – they are rich in minerals and trump refined sugar.
Most of all, love your little one through this time, and rest assured – this too shall pass. Instead of battling through it – transition through it, by understanding it.

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