I know that I said that this series is not about nurturing others… but when it comes to self-nurturing, our daily actions and how we treat others has a direct impact on how we treat ourselves. We can engage in practices that are draining and end up costing us more in the long run…. this can especially be true when it comes to addressing children’s behavior.
I have received feedback from parents before that certain intervention techniques or practices would be too difficult or inconvenient. Parents will turn down pursuing these ideas because they don’t want to be inconvenienced now or spend the time now to do something that work and hope that their child will just “figure it out eventually” or “grow out of it.” I have to agree that some of the techniques I share may sound a bit crazy or strange, but I share them because I know that they have worked in the past and could be the way their child finally makes strides forward in their behavioral struggles. Doing nothing and keeping things as is, is incredibly stressful and certainly does not fill you with feelings of success or victory.
So why do I share this? Especially with a title that says to “Allow Your Child to ‘Act a Fool’?” I told you some of the things I share sound crazy. 😉
I’m simply wanting you to prepare yourself to keep an open mind and receive the ideas I am about to present to you. They may not be convenient. They may not be fun. They may not even seem like they are working in the short term. Stick with it and trust the process!
Children of all ages get into fits of rage, frustration, sadness, etc. This is so developmentally appropriate! The human brain does not reach full maturation until the age of 25 (assuming there is no experienced trauma). The last thing to develop is the frontal cortex, aka, logic center of the brain. Your child, threenager or teenager will lose it emotionally… they will “act a fool” from time time. And you know what… let them.
There is no point in trying to get your child to respond rationally when they are clearly emotionally volatile. They will most certainly say something impulsive that can stir your anger. If your child says shut up… stop talking. Not because you are obeying them, but because they clearly are unable to hear anything you have to say in that moment. Children want their parents to listen to them and to know that they will stand by them even when they are being ugly,mean, and inconsolable. When you choose to listen, wait out their extreme emotions, and don’t add fuel to their fire, they see that you are trustworthy, unconditionally loving, and care about their thoughts and feelings.
See how this is self-nurturing yet? In the moment, it will be very hard… but you are creating an opportunity for your child to be who they are at their worst and show them that you still choose to love them. This does wonders for your relationship and they will be more likely to come to you about difficult things in their life as a result.
This does not condone a bad attitude or negative behavior. You can always have a conversation later (when they are completely calm) about their inappropriate reaction or misunderstandings and have a teachable moment. And because you listened to them, they will be a lot more likely to listen to you.
Believe me? If not, you can go back to yelling, telling your child to grow up already, doling out punishments in their and your anger, asserting you get the last word, making sure they know you think they are being ridiculous, and demanding their respect.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts!