Respect Your Little Ones
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Imagine you are only less than 100cm tall, and you are being screamed and shouted at by a 160cm tall adult everyday; how would you feel?
In my field of work, I do not just see adults; I see a lot of young children too! It always break my heart when I have to coach or counsel young girls or boys who are only 7 or 8 years old. They are still innocent and new to this world, their mind is still functioning at the subconscious level. That means, whatever is happening in their life right now, it goes straight to their subconscious mind as fact; functioning as their basic understanding and belief about this world.
Most of the time, parents send their children to me because they are having trouble communicating with them or because they think their child has behavioral, concentration or attitude issues; they would like me to change their child.
However, after talking to so many children, I learned that the the issue really isn't coming from the child because at such young age and so little experience on earth, they are not mature enough to know what is right or what is wrong; they are most of the time influenced by the environment or people around them.
Imagine this, you are only 7 years old, your body is still developing, your height is less than 100cm tall. Everyday, your parents scream and shout at you, repeating things like: "Why are you so lazy?"; "Why can't you focus?"; "Do your homework!"; "Do you know how stressful am I?"; "Do you know how much money I have used on you?; "I fell sick because of you" ...
A 7 years old, who is still exploring the world, learning about his environment, hears this every single day; how do you think his mind would function?
Young children will never understand your intention of nagging is to help enabling them to do well in school, or to keep them healthy. Whenever you raise your voice, they can never absorb what you are trying to say; they only understand that as "I am a problem, my parents hate me".
Almost all young children I see think this way, they feel very sad and very disappointed, NOT with their parents, but with themselves. But at 7 years old, what can you do about this disappointing feeling of yourself? You don't even know how to articulate or express it, your brain isn't developed enough to do so. You just know that you don't feel right; you feel very uncomfortable. When you feel uncomfortable, can you focus on your studies? When you feel uncomfortable, wouldn't you want to distract yourself with games or something that is very easy to do/ play?
As an adult, when you realize someone hates or dislikes you, how would you feel? If you know how being disliked or neglected feel at work or at school, imagine how your child feels everyday at home? When home is suppose to be a place for you to feel safe and loved.
Your child is going to misbehave, he is going to make mistake because this is how he learn and make sense of this world. Your child is going to have trouble concentrating because his curios mind has a lot of wonders about this world. Children's brain are not designed to sit on the chair for 8 hours at school and another 5 hours at home just to study and learn from books. Even as adults we can't sit for so long just to read and write, how can we expect a 6 or 7 years old to do so?
Perhaps as an adult, instead of making our children become whom we want them to be or make them do as we say; just to make our own life easier, we could at least have a little respect for them by seeing them not as a child but as a human who need guidance and assistant. Perhaps as an adult, with a more developed brain, we could at least set the intention to talk to them in a tone that allows open discussion. That's because your tone decide whether the child's brain will be opened to listen to you or be closed.
When the brain is opened, it means that your tone is activating the creative learning part
of the child's brain that allows him to pay attention to what you are saying, and have the willingness to learn and take action. However, if the mind is closed, it just means that you have activated his fear region of the brain, thus the reluctance to do as you say or the tantrum.
Communicating with a child needs a lot of patience because their brain is not as developed as ours and they understand things differently. So take your time to talk to them, reason with them, throw them questions and have an open discussion with them. Their curious mind will be very interested in what you have to say because the curious mind wants to know. However, nagging and scolding never interest anyone, even an adult.
And did you know your way of communicating with your child goes a LONG way? It can affect their adulthood. I see a lot of adults who come in with various kind of issue such as decision making issue, relationship issue, anxiety issue, confidence issues etc; and most of their problem rooted from their childhood unpleasant experience with their parents or siblings.
So learn to respect your child, their brain is not developed enough to fully comprehend our society norms. Have respect and be patient when you talk to them and they shall learn the respect from you and behave so. Be the example you want your child to be because your child imitate your facial expressions, your way of talking, your behavior and attitude, in order to adapt themselves to our world.