This may be a little bit obvious, but children are people too. I know, I know of course they are. However the way that we seem to focus on their behaviour in a negative light seems to point to us forgetting this a lot of the time. I know that it’s something that I forget too.How many times have you been out and seen a child throwing a tantrum? How many times have you blamed the child for that behaviour in a negative way? Have you thought that they need to be controlled? Now, how many times have you felt overwhelmed, scared or that you aren’t being heard? How did you react? Can you honestly say that you behaved perfectly every single time?
My guess is that your answer to that last question is no. After all none of us is perfect. However we seem to put this impossible standards on small children who don’t have the same skills that a grown adult would have. They don’t have the language skills to tell us why they are unhappy, yet we expect them to.
Of course I don’t think that children can throw tantrums all over the place without intervention. That’s not even acceptable from an adult. Children need direction, they need to be shown and taught better ways to communicate their feelings. They need to have their frustrations listened to, validated and help with resolving. Even as an adult, one of the most important things to do for someone who is struggling, is to validate how they are feeling, tell them that it’s OK to feel what they do.
Think to a time when you reached out to someone and shared your feelings about something important to you and they didn’t understand or dismissed your feelings. How did you feel? Were you able to brush it off, because you understood that not everyone can deal with emotions? A child doesn’t have this ability. So they act out, their only way of coping.
This is something that I do struggle with in parenting Mr 6. He has big emotions and so does his mother. We’re learning together. I do notice that he does become more calm when I respond to his emotions rather than telling him not to feel them. Of course it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have outbursts. He still screams when he is angry but the duration when I respond positively has been reduced dramatically.
Children are just little people. They still have wants and needs, they just need help communicating them. We need to stop placing our adult expectations on children who are still growing into themselves.
What ways do you think helps to validate emotions?
Do you think that we place unfair expectations on children?