Children sense if you attitudinally see them as the enemy and their behaviors as bad, bad, bad. Children know if you don't like them or see them as an energy drain, a nuisance and a bother.
As adults, we know this too. The only difference is that we've learned over the years how to pretend we don't feel what we feel, know what we know, or want what we really want. Children learn from us how to become the label that has been put on them.
You must give positive regard to children if you are to receive respect. We teach people how to treat us. It is incongruous to expect children to be respectful when you are not respectful in your attitude and your treatment of them.
It's like pushing a child to the ground, putting your foot on her shoulder and yelling "Get Up!"
Children's IQs are already highly developed by age two, so if you engage children of all ages in two-way communication, they can learn to "use their words" to discuss, rather than "act out," what they are feeling and needing to communicate.
You teach children how to be accountable for their behavior by simply asking them to share what's going on with them that is causing them to do what they are doing.
Asking "what" not "why" raises their emotional intelligence, and will eliminate habitual excuse-making. Once the thinking and the feelings are voiced and understood, the two of you can come up with an agreeable solution.
Age Appropriate Expectations
The number one mistake many professionals and parents make is treating children as if they should know better! Why would they know better?
When dealing with a situation, ask yourself this question: "Is this behavior normal and age appropriate?" Then ask: "Has this child previously been taught how to deal with situations like this?"
Children are open books. You tell them that if they do this, they can expect that, and they believe you! When you label a child, or think of him as a "problem" child, he believes you and will experience problems. If you tell a child that he can prove himself to you and earn your trust, and here's how, he believes you and will want the benefits your trust will give him as he earns it.
Excerpt from Make A Difference with the Power of Connection
©1990 to 2019 Mary Robinson Reynolds.
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