We want our child to be polite, kind, listen to what we tell him to do, and not be the child who makes mistakes in school or bothers the other children in the park. All of us parents also know how difficult it can be and, above all, a daily job and sometimes beyond our patience.
Children are all different, go through developmental periods with different needs and need us to grow up healthy. Some have an easier temperament, others have characteristics that make them unique, but what they all have in common is the fact that they are children and are completely dependent on us, for the better or for worse. The secret to well-behaved children is parents and how they parent or, as I prefer to say, how they create moments of connection with their children.
The need to be seen and recognized by others is a basic human need that begins when we are babies. The ability to see and recognize the other is our responsibility as parents. The secret to “easier” and more cooperative children is that parents are able to “see” their children. I’m not saying this in the broad sense that we all know they’re children and don’t have the same abilities as us, but in the strict sense of looking at and thinking about the world as if it were their age. and their size. This implies being able at every moment, in every situation, to look at one’s child, to abandon our adult gaze and to put oneself in his place, or rather in his place. Believe me, it’s not always easy or natural, even for a mother and psychologist for over 30 years.
For example, being a two-year-old might mean seeing everything as new, exploring, or threatening, but we don’t stop there. It’s also having absolutely no concept of time, always understanding what happens when things fall to the ground, why things happen a certain way, not having the concept of before and afterwards, nor of the consequences. . Not understanding half of what they say and having trouble being understood. And to top it off, the almost total inability to manage the gigantic emotions that, from time to time, seize him.
In short, the secret to happy, well-behaved children is parents who are able to see the world through their eyes, understand their development, their limitations, and adapt their own expectations about their behavior.
Here are some essential tips so we can see the world through your eyes and make that journey easier.
to be realistic
It is important to understand where your child is in terms of development. A child does not hit because he is bad, but because of frustration, anger, sadness or even lack of motor control. A 2-year-old doesn’t throw a tantrum for revenge or spoil the moment, he throws a tantrum because he still can’t regulate his emotions. Try to keep in mind what is reasonable to expect from your child’s behavior and go for it, not the other way around.
Be consistent (at least most of the time)
I’m not talking about rigidity, think of consistency as a way to mark your child’s day, something like “we usually do things this way”, so routines can be important as cues that guide behavior of the child. When we change a routine, we challenge our child to develop their flexibility and resilience, which is naturally good, but we can’t expect them to be able to do that the first few times, it’s something he will learn and develop over time.
Be by your side even when the situation is difficult
Our children need to feel close to us even when they tell us “go away”, “I don’t love you”. It does not mean accepting all kinds of behaviors, but it means accepting that, like us, they have good and less good sides, but above all it means that our child realizes that he can show us both because our love is unconditional. He needs to be assured of our love even when he is going through tough times or behaving in ways we don’t like.
spend time together
Children need our attention and our connection! Set aside time each day to play or spend time with your child one-on-one. I know it’s often not easy, but consider this time as your most important meeting of the day. A few minutes a day will make the difference! Your psyche will take charge of getting this vital positive attention and believe that it will do whatever it takes to get it, which most of the time means it leads to bad behavior.
be a good example
We can’t expect a child to treat us with respect, to say “please”, to be nice, if I don’t. Remember that children are sponges and absorb much more of what we do than what we say.
Don’t have to repeat the past
Many of us were raised with less kindness and less respect. Some with punishments and spankings. But that doesn’t mean we have to repeat what our parents did because they didn’t know more or better. Today we can make a difference and create a fairer and kinder society.
The danger of “too” wise children.
A well-behaved child is not the same as an extremely obedient child who does everything he is told, never complaining. Since they don’t seem to cause any problems, we tend to assume that these children are fine. It’s not always like that. Many of these children carry with them the weight of the excessive need to please the other, because they felt that there was no place to be loved with faults.
This repression of emotions and feelings in a child, although at the moment it seems positive to be very well behaved, hides a huge load of problems in the future.
If you sometimes feel lost in this never-ending journey of parenthood, don’t think you’re alone. Some children have more “transient difficulties” than others, for different reasons. Sometimes they need help. Sometimes parents need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it will only make you a better parent and your child happier.
Baby Psychologist and Founder of ForBabiesBrain by Clementina