You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
You don’t know what you don’t know. To rid of behavior you don’t want to see in your child, you need to do MORE than just say, “Don’t do that.” You must also replace the behavior with what you want to see. You can’t expect your child to know what they don’t know.
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How can this be happening again? I ask myself as I sit with my head resting in my hands. Why is my child freaking out? Why do they do this? I take a deep breath and remind myself that they need me more now than they ever did as a tantrumming toddler.
When my children were 2, they would fall and I would let them cry for a while, give them a hug and help them to get back on their feet. Oh, how I wish it was still that simple. Now, they cry louder, they scream back, and they blame me for their unhappiness. Yes, we have all been there. You’re not alone. But are their fits that much different from the toddler years? Probably not, except now they are more verbal and way bigger. As a toddler, I would never consider yelling at my 2-year-old for falling, but I have to bite my tongue when my teenager is screaming at me. Instinct tells me to fight back, but I shouldn’t. What would that teach? Yelling at my child does not teach them how to respect others. Taking away their electronics doesn’t teach them compassion. Paying my child for good grades doesn’t teach them self-motivation. Telling my child, “No, you can’t do that,” doesn’t inherently make them understand what behavior is a Yes.
Instead of punishing our kids for bad behavior, we need to coach our kids to make more positive choices. Consider, we shouldn’t discipline our children without teaching them better behavior. We need to give our children the tools needed to replace their behavior with something more positive. Punishments only lead to a power struggle between child and parent. It causes rifts in your relationship with your child and honestly, it is an endless battle of you versus me.
So the next time you want to throw your hands up and pull out your hair because your child is acting in ways you don’t understand, consider that they may not know how to act any other way. It is our job as parents to teach them.
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