Let’s explore some of the other considerations about raising well behaved kids in addition to the ones in the article and what impacts their abilities along the way.
When I was raising my own children, one of the things I had to learn along the way was to release the need for control. Not that easy for me, though I had been given a child who was going to test every piece of my being.
Us humans can get caught by the “shark music” that drives our survival instinct aka ego or subconscious mind. That was certainly my situation.
Mind body connection.
Unfortunately, our subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real and pretend or perceived threat. It’s our mind body connection in action.
It’s important to appreciate that our child is operating from their survival instinct especially in their first six years.
We know that we are there to love and protect them. They don’t know that. They learn, through how they are treated and nurtured.
We can get caught up in hierarchy thinking, meaning I’m the adult, you’re the child, you must do what I say so that I can keep you safe. The problem is, that’s competing with their need for autonomy and self-identity, which is why we can end up in this tussle of wills.
While a child looks like a fully formed and perfect being. It’s only partly true. On the outside, apart from growing taller and changing proportions as they grew, we have what we are going to have, for the most part.
However, on the inside, a child is born with only 75% of their brain, and it’s been programmed for survival only. (in business and marketing terms, it’s minimum viable product). They literally know nothing of living. They are sponges absorbing every little thing along the way. Testing and measuring to see what works and what doesn’t.
The thing is that their behaviour is only about them.
Too many of us take things personally, and then respond as if their behaviour and choices are against us.
First four years
The reality is, in the first four years, they don’t even have the software to care about what is important to anyone else. Their only focus is to live to the next moment.
It’s why they appear to have no common sense. They don’t. They are reliant on us for their survival. Our job is not to frame them into a model of what we think is right. Our challenge is to support them build the skills they need according to their personality and preferences.
The shortest way to achieving a well-behaved child is to work with their rhythm and flow. Getting to know them. Supporting them to become the best version of them.
Too often our own survival programming prevents us from being the adult. We end up competing against them from the perspective of our inner child aka protector.
When we can accept, appreciate, and acknowledge that our child is an individual not in competition with us. What they need is our protection while they learn, instead of judgement of what they don’t know yet.
It is natural to get frustrated.
It’s our response that is where we have the most opportunity.
Accepting what is, instead of resenting what isn’t.
It’s the lesson I was forced to learn so that I could love my son as he is. Unconditionally, warts and all.
Failing to meet expectations
It can feel tough to love a child who is so often failing to meet expectations. However, when we accept that our feelings are natural and we are normal, we give ourselves more bandwidth to cope with what is in front of us.
It’s giving ourselves the compassion of validating our feelings, even when we don’t like what is happening around us. We then get to make even better choices about how we respond.
The key is to PAUSE in those moments where we FEEL that reaction coming up. In the beginning it’s likely to take conscious and intentional practice. Chances are the reaction has been a habit for a really long time.
Amazingly, when we pivot the focus of our management from our child’s behaviour, to curbing our reactions, our child has more room to trust us and enables them choices to come closer.
If you’re finding the challenge of managing
your own reactions is driving you crazy,
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We are our own limitation.