The shopping center, the work visit, the family dinner, the dress time struggle, the dinner time debate, the bath time hustle….you name it, we have done it. And by done it, I mean, been met with behaviour that’s frustrating, upsetting, and seemingly impossible to manage.
Embarrassment, guilt, frustration, shame, exhaustion….you name it, the feeling has been there.
When I started this whole blogging thing, it was to mend a gap between what one learns in practice, and what one experiences in reality.
I started by writing about the internal experiences of adjusting to becoming a parent, the role change, the relationship change, the life change. I shared my experiences in order to normalize that the emotional, physical, relationship adjustments of becoming a mama, are not immune to anyone. Not even a professional who has learnt, taught and supported others through exactly this.
This was challenging yes, but I have to say, being a parent, doing the day-to-day raising of tiny little humans, in a society who often misjudges parents, is so much harder.
Behaviour is outward, its there, for everyone to see, for everyone to witness.
I found myself falling into a trap. A trap that I have explored with parents, normlaised for parents, validated for parents. The trap where, society uses a child’s behaviour to judge not only them, as good or bad, naughty or well behaved, but also their parents. A well behaved child means they are being raised by a well equipped parent. A badly behaved child means they are being raised by, well, a not so well equipped parent, and so on…
So you can imagine, the questions and doubts that have made a visit when sinking under this emotional trap myself.
You do this for a living, you should know what to do?
You’re a parenting expert, your child shouldn’t be misbehaving like this!!
You know that wasent the best way to respond to her…you should have dealt with that differently!!
Well, I call BULL!!!!!!
Behaviour is a form of communication, not an indicator of good or bad. Behaviour is our children’s way of expressing their emotions, their needs and their wants. Behaviour opens an opportunity for parents to connect, to support, to guide. Behaviour invites us to help children learn a new way, of managing the situation they are in, the emotion they are feeling. The little people we are raising, have developing brains. Which means there capacity to think and act in a way that we or society expects of them, is often limited when there are things like emotions, tiredness, hunger, unpredictable changes, overstimulation involved.
Behavioural challenges are normal. Of course there are cases where behaviour is indicative of other underlying difficulties. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that, behavioural challenges are normal.
Mama Being Frank…
Children are people too. They have good days, and bad days, emotions and thoughts, needs and wants, goals and priorities, just as we do. They are also little humans whose brains are in the early stages of growth, meaning their actual physiological capacity to e.g. think before responding, is actually not developed until much later than what most of us would expect from our little ones.
Dan J Siegel, Neuropsychiatrst and bestselling author of Whole Brain Child, says ‘The upstairs part of our brain, which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid 20’s. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain’.
Mama Being Frank…
Parents are human too. No matter, if you are a first time mum, with no experience with babies or children, or the parent who is third baby in, with a degree and practicings experience in the most effective and helpful ways of responding to a child’s behaviour….when are resources are diminished, or our emotional button is pressed…the rational, thinking part of our brain dims down, and the emotional reactive part of our brain fires up. Which sometimes results with us reacting in the moment, rather than responding, in the way we would have hoped.
So, as parents, all we can do is try our best to manage our own emotions, so that we are able to respond to our children’s communications in a way that promotes their emotional development and strengthens our relationship with them.
Ill leave you with this quote…
Follow the link below to read more on my website about how we can foster communication through behaviour.