If you're a parent you need to realise this
Here are a few questions for you.
At any point in your adult life have you ever:
- Decided to do just what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it?
- Told a lie to get yourself out of trouble?
- Felt really angry or upset and needed someone to help you get through it?
I think I can safely predict that you answered ‘yes’ to all 3!
Here’s another question.
- Is this starting to make you think of a little person (or persons!) that you know??!
Of course it is.
The truth is this: you’re basically an adult version of your child.
All too often, we adults see and treat children like mini adults. Especially when they start to walk and talk (although not exclusively; some studies have shown that parents of even very young babies have expected them to be able to manage their emotions by themselves).
We expect children to behave no matter what situation we put them in.
We expect them to always tell the truth, to always say sorry when they do something wrong and to always be kind and polite to everyone they ever meet.
Anyone else think that, when broken down like this, these expectations are way off?
As adults, what we need to do more often is see ourselves as big kids. Big kids who are able to do more (most of the time) think more rationally (most of the time) and have more control over our emotions (most of the time!!!)
When you start to see yourself as a bigger version of your child, you’ll be able to put yourself in their shoes when they’re having their more difficult moments, to think about what might be behind the behaviour they’re displaying, to ask yourself what you would want from someone if it were you – and then do that for your child.
The thing is, if your expectations aren’t realistic, your child won’t meet them and you’ll be disappointed. Everybody loses.
But if you keep in mind their age and stage of development when you set your expectations, your child is more likely to meet them and you’ll be happier. Everybody wins.
“Children do not need us to shape them; they need us to respond to who they are”