childproof or not?

As- Salaamu-Alaikum (Peace be with you.)

My sister does not belief in childproofing… I am living in my sister’s home. We will spend the entire summer here, my two year old, four year old and myself. The problem is my sister refuses to childproof. Her children are 22, 20, 18 and 12. She, unfortunately, does not remember the days when her kids got into everything. Under all of her sinks are poisonous cleaners, her doors to outside feature low, easy to open knobs,  she has a house full of china cabinets and collectibles.  And lots and lots of things for a toddler to touch and explore.  Except everything he touches is fragile.

My sister’s theory is that you should not have to pick up behind a child.  She believes FIRMLY that you should teach your child not to touch and to keep their hands to themselves.  Once the child learns this, then there is no need to childproof.  This is a great idea…in theory.  I would love to be able to walk out of a room and know that my two year old will resist all temptations.

However, I know my son.  I picture him literally about to bust, because he cannot resist.  He is the PePe Le Pew of collectibles.  “I must have it!”  He spends so much time in the naughty chair that now he puts himself on punishment when he sees me coming.  (Not a nice feeling by the way.)  If he has an item of particular interest, he will hold on to it with a fierce determination.  To guard his precious discovery he weaves through the house like an NFL running back and when I finally catch him he hurls the item away.  (If he doesn’t play in the NFL, I am going to be sorely disappointed.  The boy is really good.)

I admit he is not really trying very hard to control himself.  In the battle over her collectibles he is winning.  I noticed recently that she did move a few.  What’s a mother to do?  I think that it is developmentally difficult, for a two year old to resist temptation.  In this stage of his development he learns by exploring his world, using his five senses.  He sees, he touches, he smells, he tastes.  Everything.  In my opinion childproofing is best for children’s safety and for parent’s sanity.  If your home is childproofed, your child can explore in safe and healthy ways.  It greatly reduces the need to spank, and produces more positive environment for all concerned.  I met another parent recently who bragged that she never childproofed her home.  She states, I taught my children to leave my things alone.  I asked her how she accomplished this feat and she proudly announced, “Oh, I beat their little butts until they understood, I meant business.”  (She is a professional elementary school teacher)

I can only imagine.  How much “beating” would you have to do to destroy your child’s natural and innate desire to learn?  And what are the consequences for “beating” this out of him/her?


  1. Try this… when he does something he is not supposed to, take both his hands, hold them at his sides and firmly state “No!”. He will most likely immediately try to do it again and when he does, restrain his hands again at his sides and say firmly, “No! Do not touch the lamp!” Since the naughty chair is a joke to him, make him sit on the floor exactly where he committed the offence and when he tries to get up you put him back on his bum and say, “No! You sit there. You were naughty and broke aunty’s lamp!” Make him stay there for 1 minute of every year he is. This should work after a couple of weeks.


  2. And one other thing… your sister’s theory about teaching them not to touch does work – I taught my son but you have to have started it when your son began to crawl using words like, “danger”. My son could be left in a room while I went to the bathroom or to put something in the garbage and he would never touch. Children should never be spoken to in baby language – use the same language as you would talking to an adult – baby talk is bad for children.


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