Parents, Understand the Why
- I started reading the Blinks for the book Unlocking Parental Intelligence. The need to read a parenting book was triggered by my 3 year old son ping-ponging from one mess or altercation to another over the holiday weekend. Don’t get me wrong, he’s pretty good most of the time but absolutely exhausting the rest of it. When faced with a problem I don’t know how to solve my default reaction is to Google for answers.
- The key message I’ve taken from this book is when your child is throwing a tantrum or “misbehaving”, you should stop and think - why are they reacting this way. You should stay as objective as possible at the behavior you don’t like and ask them why they are doing X. Why are you shouting? Why did you just dump your cereal on the floor? Why are you pulling your sisters hair?
- OK, maybe on that last one in the case of causing physical harm to someone else you can intervene more swiftly. But the key idea is to start investigating why they are choosing that behavior.
- Kids are not born knowing the difference between “bad” and “good”. Technically, all behavior is just a behavior but we adults tend to label things as “bad” or “good”. Try to stay as objective and calm as you can when your kids are acting out next time. And then inquire as to why they choose that action. If you listen and keep asking why, you may be surprised as to their response. And that response can give you insights into what to do next.
- One example recently, my 3 year old son took a pen to our couch and started drawing lines on one of the cushions. He knew he shouldn’t do that and it was upsetting to see his behavior. But instead of just shouting to not do that, I got down close to him, asked him to stop, and then asked him why he was doing that. He said “because I’m mad.” I then explained how when we are mad we don’t destroy our things and that led to a conversation about how to react when we are angry. Now, I’m sure this can happen again but it felt a much more productive use of my time and energy than just yelling at him to stop.
- Give it a try. Ask ‘why’ next time you see your kid doing some “bad” behavior