Have you ever had a day where you thought “Why does my child/children hate me?” Well if you know how to be a good parent then guess what, you have most likely asked yourself that hundreds of times. Why do I say that? Well it’s quite simple really, you’re doing something right.
Kid’s act out, act up, throw fits and so much more. As parents it’s our job to know why our kids are doing this. But most importantly it’s the kid’s job to do these things. See kids do these things at different stages for different reasons. Why? To test us. See every day not only are our kids learning new things but so should we.
When a child is still young (under age 8) and you’re out at a store with him/her, and a fit starts you need to ask yourself,
- Does he/she need it or want it?
- Can I afford it?
- Why do I think my child want’s this?
Now those first two will be the simple ones to answer. It’s that 3rd one that will be tricky. So now I have a true story for you.
One day my oldest son, an adult family member, a minor family member and myself had gone to a local department store to buy household needs. My son and I do arts and crafts together, so we go to that department to “window shop”. He spot’s a “Paint my Number Sun Catcher”,
“Mommy can you buy me this?”
I know he wants this, he/we have some at home undone, and I won’t know if I can afford it until I am done shopping. So I tell him, “I am sorry sweetie I don’t know if I have the money for it, but maybe I can come back later and buy it, Okay?” He breaks down crying, and starts to beg and plead with me. “Mommy please, you can buy my shoes later, and these ones still work” he sobs. This is breaking my heart but I stand firm. “Sweetie, you need your shoes, we can get the sun catcher later besides we still have some at home to finish. I know how much you want this one I can see that, but right now it has to be a no.”
Now you should notice that I addressed those 1st two “Ask Yourself Questions” But I didn’t touch the most important question, why do I think he wants this? Well I never did buy that sun catcher, but the adult family member that was with us did, and after I said no to my son. This upset me more than telling my son no, more then not having the money to buy it, and much more than the crying fit inside the store. But after my son and I got home I got the answer to that 3rd question.
“Mommy I wanted to make this for you, because I love you and it’s so pretty. I want you to have it.”
Oh that was a heartbreaking moment for me. So he wanted to make it as a gift. Now some of you might think that I should have just bought him the sun catcher. Others might think I should be thankful to the adult family member for buying it for my son. There are others probably thinking what was the point in the story?
The point in the story is that I didn’t find out when I should have why my son wanted something. That was my job, knowing the why.
Now on to a teenage issue. Teens and school. How to deal with the teenager that doesn’t want to go to school.
Before I start my story, let see the Ask Yourself Questions.
- Why do I think my teen/s don’t want to go to school?
- What has happened that I don’t know?
- Is there and what could the underlying issue be?
So my youngest son loves school, hates reading, and has a learning disability. A couple of years ago when he entered the 7th grade I feared that the mean kids would bully him. Well as it turned out I was right to fear that. What I didn’t know at that time was that he was picked on to the point that he never dealt with the normal 7th grade angst. The oh crap a new school, new people, and what 6 classes with different teachers for each class stuff. So that hit him when he entered the 8th grade.
So much that he started getting stress sick all of the time. He wanted nothing to do with school. So after going most of the year going back and forth with him, his teachers, the councilor and almost having to fight the school board we got to the bottom if his issue. He didn’t want to go to school to get teased. He didn’t understand certain things being taught. Teachers didn’t know how to help. I was even at a bit of a loss.
I mean how can you make someone do something that they truly don’t want to do. Where that person does not feel safe. As a person it’s hard, as a parent it is difficult. You must first put yourself into that persons place. See things from there point of view. Otherwise you will not get it. You can try to pull the “I have been there, done that” crap but you have not. Think about it. When you went through it you were not the other person. You were not learning the same thing’s or learning them the same way, exp. New core math.
Anyway I got a bit off topic, after all I did title this Lost in Translation. Why did I title this that? Well because as a village we have failed our children. We have lost sight of a key component in child rearing, family and relationships on the whole. Now what is that key component you ask? It is called Communication. So back to the ages and stages, the acting out, the boundary breaking, attitude having, non-respecting child/children. All of it, every last bit comes down to real, true communication. Those of you parents out there that say my child/children are disrespectful, you the parent need to pull your head out. Respect is a multi-road idea. You cannot expect respect from your child/children if you do not give/show them respect. Why? Because they learn first from you, you the parent are your child’s first teacher. You either show them how to have respect of you will never have it from your child. Plan and simple.
I have a few friends that will ask me, “Why do you let your son disrespect you?” Well neither of my sons have even been disrespectful. How does that work? It is quite simple. I have taught my sons that if I do something that they don’t like, they have the right to tell me. As I have the right to do the same to both of them. If I want them to be honest with me, I must first be honest with them. If I do it or have done it, I cannot expect them not to. They learn by my actions, my mistakes, they’re actions and they’re mistakes. There is nothing wrong, nor disrespectful about that.
Not only that but my sons and I talk about everything. Not much is off the table when we are talking. And if they ask me a question I answer it as best as I can. If I don’t know the answer I tell them that I am not sure and either I or we look it up. That way we can all learn something new.
Now I will tell you that my approach to parenting is not for everyone. But with me being a single mom that is disabled I find that my approach can be a better option for people. I don’t have the money to buy my sons everything they want, and you know what that’s a great thing. Because by them not having things handed to them they have or are learning how to work for what they want. So much so that my eldest son, during his High School days had thrown away the idea of ever going to college. Well due to some research and hard work, not only did he finish High School. But after two short weeks after he graduated High School he started his first day in college. Now he has his Associate’s Degree and is preparing to start classes for his Bachelor’s Degree. All without a penny from any family member. And I could not be any prouder of him.
So again I have last my topic. Do you know the best way to communicate with your child/children? Well do you have similar likes or hobbies? For my sons and myself we have computers and videogames. What a lot of people don’t learn about communication is that a lot of it can be done in the space of a moment. After all when a baby is first born its first communication is when it cries. That baby is telling you so much with its very first cry. It’s cold, wet, hungry, and wants to be held to feel its mom and her warmth and feel safe and loved. All with a single cry. As that baby grow and begins talking, it will communicate with its fingers and then words. It’s our job as the parent to know what that finger is pointing at and what the words are. As long as you never stop learning what your child/children is pointing at, and what they are trying to tell you then you will always be communicating.
Did you know that the best way to communicate with your child/children is to, get this, just be there? Kids don’t want the next coolest tech gadget, they want your time. So the next time your son or daughter comes in to bug you, stop what you’re doing and start communicating. Because after all if you expect them to drop what they are doing to do something you ask them to do, you have to be willing to do the same. Why is your child/children being disrespectful? Because you’re not respecting them. Why is your child/children hiding things from you? Because you’re hiding things from them.
So in closing if you want honest, respectful, and communicating child/children then you must be honest, respectful, and communicating parents. Otherwise it is not their fault if they’re not meeting your expectations because you are the ones that are in fact setting the example for them to follow. So next time you think about getting onto your kids for their behavior ask yourself. Am I showing this behavior? Am I the one that is being dishonest? Am I the one that is being disrespectful? Am I the one that is failing to communicate?