Frustrating the baby

Just out of reach

Sebastian can’t really move, so his toys are often out of his reach. I used to watch him, and when this happened, I’d grab the toy and give it to him immediately.

But recently, since watching Mary interact with him, I’ve stopped doing this. Mary will encourage Sebastian to struggle to get the toy for himself. Sebastian stretches out with every muscle in his tiny body. He will kick the mat in an ineffectual manner but move a centimeter at a time. And when he finally does get the toy, it looks like he’s very satisfied with himself.

And then he will forget the toy.

(Just to be clear: there’s a limit to the baby’s frustration (dependent on age), and at some point, like if he starts wailing, Mary and I still just give him the toy.)

Mary calls this process: teaching the baby to manage frustration. And also: how rewarding it is to work for something and eventually get it.

I’m all about character education, and I think that all actual achievement follows from character. I am very impressed with my wife for finding opportunities for character education within the mundane and everyday.

Given her expertise, I am sure she will raise a baby better adjusted than me. Either that or he will be really neurotic.


Leave a Comment