“I don’t want to go to bed now mommy!”, shouted, little Alice, thumping her little feet hard onto the floor, stomping off into her play area , as her mother cajoled her into getting to bed, at 8.00pm. All of 5 years, her face was red with rage, and she moved away without a care!
“ I hate you, you didn’t give me chocolate sandwiches for snack. The tomato sandwich was horrible…Yuck!”, squeals Jay, a 4 year old Preschooler, who howled at his mother, as she picked him up from School. She had packed a healthy cheese and tomato sandwich, as Jay had eaten a chocolate sandwich just the previous night, for dinner.
In the 2 scenarios above, many of you might be seeing a reflection of what goes on at home either occasionally or most often, on different themes --Mealtime, Bedtime, play time , study time, Outings to the mall/trips, Relative’s home visits etc. This list can run into pages!Kicking, shouting, Hitting, Screaming and Temper tantrums have become such an acceptable hallmark of childhood in our country today. Some of us, even sing praises of such behavior in a noteworthy fashion. The concern is – Is this how children are supposed to act , when growing up? Is this how we want them to respond, in reply to teaching them their values/ behaviours ?
Emotionality in kids begins to develop the moment they are born. They start learning the emotional skills they need to identify, express & manage their feelings. “How you talk, What you do, How you Respond”, is being absorbed by the child second by second from the time the child begins to notice you. From the “pitch” of your voice to the “mannerisms & actions” you take – Everything is being recorded like a photographic memory. Because children are very young then, they “Process what they see/hear – just as It is. They lack the maturity or reasoning to associate with WHY was something done or said”. Hence, what they process, is also what they Produce when faced with a similar situation. They will imitate exactly what they have seen. This constant chain of responding in a “Set”pattern – without Parental intervention – can be damaging , Lifelong.
As parents, It is so important, to accept that children WILL behave in a certain negative manner initially. It is helpful to tell them, that you Understand them, and It’s okay even if they DON’T UNDERSTAND at that time, WHY they said or did something inappropriate. Secondly, Observe & provide timely Clarity to the child on how he or she behaved and what can/could be a more appropriate response.
This feedback will ONLY help if its consistent, as young children need Repetition to form any habit or modify their behavior.
Most Children’s emotional dysregulation is because they cannot identify what they feel or how to convey it. Also, all children yearn to be Understood, unconditionally. Don’t we all yearn for the same? HELPING YOUR CHILD UNDERSTAND HOW HE/SHE FEELS & ACCEPTING THEM AS THEY WORK THROUGH IT – IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF LOVE & RESPECT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILDREN.
It will empower them to be their most authentic beautiful selves!