The biggest problem with your child’s behaviour might actually be your own expectations.
This might be a hard pill to swallow. It is common, perhaps normal, to have high expectations of our children – we want them to fulfil their potential and experience the best that life has to offer them. In a world where we have a vast array of information telling us what our child ‘should’ be able to do by a certain age, and what the age-appropriate milestones are, it’s not surprising that we forget to listen to the child right in front of us.
Just because your child can do something doesn’t mean they can always do it, or always want to do it.
It is common for parents to justify their desire for their child to do something based on whether or not the child is capable. Using a child’s capabilities as a yardstick for their actions misses out on lots of Yes – you’re actually shutting down on finding a Yes to increased connection, peace and joy.
Take putting on socks and shoes. Lots of parents think, “My child can do it perfectly well themselves. I don’t know why they make such a fuss of it when we’re trying to get out the door and we’re already late.”
Here’s why – your child is trying to communicate with you in the best way they know how.
When you do your child’s socks and shoes it probably meets their needs for connection and attention. They feel loved. And this is important to them before they head into nursery, school, or wherever. Especially if the mornings have become stressful or there have been recent changes.
Instead of spending time and energy trying to get your child to do it themselves why not spend time and energy meeting their needs for connection and attention? You’ll both feel so much better for it and you’ll also be less late!
This doesn’t just apply to putting socks and shoes on. It might be table manners, food preferences, bedtime habits, language, resistance to walking and wanting to be cuddled, purposefully leaving a task half finished and so on.
Behind every unwanted behaviour is a positive intention.
When you’re faced with a situation in which you know your child is capable but, for whatever reason, they are behaving differently; take a moment to pause. Take a deep breath and let that breath flow all the way out of your body. You may not have time to reflect and work out what is going on behind the behaviour in this moment so go ahead and extend grace to your child. Say to them, “That’s OK. Would you like me to help you?”. Later on your can think through what the positive intention behind their behaviour might be. Once you know this then you can take steps to find a Yes to meet their need. And in all of this I encourage you to trust the process of childhood – your child is growing up in exactly the right way for them.
If you’d like more information on how I can personally support you on your Yes Parenting journey, please click here.