In many ways, we can learn from our youngest selves.

Toddlers live in real time. 

There is zero pretense, no games and no holding back. Toddlers demand to be heard and because of this we listen. 

Is it possible we complicate things as time moves forward and our egos develop and dig in?

Toddlers are beautifully absent of ego.

They are pure and raw and untainted. 


They make emotions simple and direct. And perhaps, we should be learning from them.

We can learn the following relationship secrets from toddlers:

1. Toddlers Lay It Out:

Toddlers are vocal. They have no problem saying, “Hey, this person did this to me.”

They get it out and lay it out.

They walk over to their parents or the powers that be and proclaim what has been done to them, wait to be validated and then move on.

For example, a small child sashays up to their mother and says, “He just took my toy. I want it back.”

Of course, as adults, we try and teach them the social nuances.

We aren’t supposed to be so vocal when someone takes something that belongs to us or upsets us. But don’t worry, we are going to make this right (for now). Later on in life, you will learn that when someone does you wrong you should deal with it differently, or should we?

Toddlers believe it should be addressed if another person hurts or upsets them. 

2. Toddlers Make Their Demands Clear:

Forget mincing words and acting like the victim, toddlers demand.

They tell you if they are hungry, if they want something, or if they want to leave.

They want and demand to be heard.

You love me so you should listen to me.

We quiet them and shush them but down deep we wish we could have asked to leave the party earlier too.

Toddlers believe it’s perfectly fine to announce their needs.  

3. Toddlers Conflict Resolution:

Toddlers make it pretty clear they want their wrongs made right.

After they proclaim a person upset them they wait to make sure you have tallied their score.

He or she did this to me so you better make it right so I can go about my day.

It’s an appropriate lesson for all of us. We tell them to make up with the child they are upset with. We teach them to resolve conflict immediately. How many of us do the very same thing?

Toddlers wait to resolve conflict before they move on to their next activity.

4. Toddlers are Authentic:

You won’t find any false pretense in little ones.

What you see is what you get. In fact, they walk into a room proudly announcing who they are. If they are quiet. They remain quiet. If they are bold and precocious they play it out. If they are wound up they unwind.

It’s magical because little people never fail to show us who they are. They proudly deliver themselves every single day.

Toddlers do not pretend. They only know how to be authentic to themselves and who they truly are.

5. Toddlers Understand Fewer Words Have More Meaning:

How smart are our smallest people?

They don’t look for a lot of words to give their relationships meaning. 

Their world is uncluttered. 

They understand very clear and simple relationship words, such as ‘no,’  and ‘yes.’ Or “We’ll talk about that when you are rested” or “Was that a very nice thing to do?”

Toddlers live in a clear cut meaningful world which does not involve over-talking.

6. Toddlers Understand Timeouts:

You don’t have to be young to need a timeout.

Actually, time-outs might help adults as much if not more than little people. 

We all need boundaries. Only when we are little we understand how crucial they really are. We realize we need to go from eating to playing to working to sleeping. We understand toddlers get emotionally exhausted and need to recharge.

Toddlers just get time-outs. They may resist them but deep down they begrudgingly walk over knowing they need one.

7. Toddlers  Crave Consequences:

Children crave boundaries. It makes them feel secure.

Relationships need the same type of boundaries to reinforce safety.

Children want predictable people in their lives. So do adults. They want to know they can rely on the ones they love.

No child wants to get in trouble but understanding the same limits will habitually exist in their world makes it a reliable sanctuary.

Toddlers crave the consequences which define their world and make it consistent.

It’s no mystery that children teach us some of the most valuable lessons in life. They shape us and make us into far better human beings than we would be without their influence. They humble us, they make us laugh, and they teach us.

Children teach us what we have forgotten.

This bears repeating.

Children teach us what we have forgotten.

That life and love though immeasurably complicated are at the same time, immeasurably uncomplicated.


(Photos courtesy of Pexels)

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