Whenever I ask a group of parents what they want for their children, the topic of respect inevitably comes up. Parents want their children to be respected, but parents also want to feel respected by their children. Many parents grew up not feeling respected themselves and most parents, it turns out, grew up having at least one experience (most had many experiences) of not being respected by an adult in their life.
I knew that behavior changes due to punishment when I was growing came from a place of fear. If I changed my behavior, it was only in order to avoid more pain. I wanted my children to do the right thing because it was the right thing, not because they were afraid.
Everywhere we look nowadays, children are being diagnosed and labeled with disorders based on their behavior, with acronyms being placed near their names. “Johnny has ADD, that’s why he can’t sit still.” “Sherry has RAD and that’s why she can’t attach to us.” “Vinny is on the (autism) spectrum.” But how does it help to label our children?
I kept pulling and yanking against him like those darned Chinese Handcuffs, for nearly half an hour. And my fingers were clearly still stuck inside. The child wasn’t dressed, lunches weren’t packed, and we were at a stalemate.
Finally, I had a moment of clarity. I let go of the outcome in that second- let go of all that needed to be done. I stopped struggling. We were probably going to be late anyway. I shifted from what I needed to something that was important and fun for him, connecting with him rather than my own agenda.
Continuing the conversation started with Scott Noelle, we’re exploring more ways that we can all build community support for ourselves and our families.
May you find deep healing for yourself through the challenges of your life, rather than in spite of them. The gifts will rise out of the ashes of your old life, your old worldview, and you will find a new and deeper wholeness. Just know it is there for you to claim after the flames have subsided.
It’s interesting how difficult finding community in your own backyard can be. We want to be connected to one another, yet we disconnect from others when they aren’t connecting with their kids in the way that we’d like them to connect. So how do we navigate those relationships? How can we balance our support between in person and online connections? In this episode with Scott Noelle, we’ll discuss this and so much more. Join us!
When we start to connect with our children’s stories- both through the telling and by listening in a different way to what they’re sharing about their stories- we open up to a new kind of relationship with our children. Sometimes the storytelling really helps a child to sleep more soundly. Sometimes transitions during the daytime get easier. But, new possibilities for understanding and changing behavior patterns almost always begin to emerge.
When our children are little, we know we must model for them, so we show them how to pick up their toys and sing clean-up songs to make it more enjoyable. We sit with them and do it together, showing that teamwork makes the job go faster and that we can help each other. But for some reason, when they are older, we seem to expect them to just do things on their own, without direction or help. And often parents aren’t even kind about it. “Go clean your room!” “If you can’t take care of your things, maybe you don’t deserve to have them!”
Rebecca Thompson Hitt, MS, MFT of The Consciously Parenting Project introduces the first guiding principle from her first book- All Behavior is a Communication. Parents who are making the shift from focusing on behaviors to focusing on the relationship will learn how they can begin making changes in how they understand what’s happening. Our children communicate through their behaviors. Are you understanding what your child is REALLY communicating? And is your interpretation of your child’s behavior helping you to connect? And is it helping them to behave better? Join us for this exploration. You’ll leave with some good reminders or new ideas to apply in your life today.