Most of us have fond memories of our childhood. I know there are some who’ve had extremely traumatic experiences that they’d just as soon forget but for the most part, we tend to remember the good and forget the bad. Regardless, when it comes to our own children, it’s good to remember what it was like at their age. Especially in confrontational situations. It helps to put ourselves in their shoes and try to look at it from their prospective. We too easily forget what it was like at their age. Thinking back to when we were kids will help us to understand our own kids and how best to defuse a situation where they may be arguing with us, talking back or just have the attitude of “No, I don’t want to do that!”.
Rebels, every one of us!
There were many times when I was a kid that I was told to do something “just because I told you to”, or “because I said so!”. This would bring out the spirit of rebellion that’s bound up in all of us to the forefront (I think I had an extra dose of that spirit!). I didn’t like being told what to do, none of us like being ordered around. This is human nature. But when it comes to our kids, we automatically assume they should just do it because “we’re their parents and we know what’s best for them, besides we love them and wouldn’t have them doing something if it wasn’t for their own good”. Makes sense from a parents perspective but put yourself in their shoes and remember back to your own childhood.
It’s a matter of the heart
I know it would have helped me if my dad would have set me down and explained why it was important for me do such mundane tasks as mow the yard, take the trash out, shovel the snow out of the driveway. How “work” shapes us and makes us better, more productive human beings, gives us a sense of accomplishment, contributes to the family as a whole. How “earning” that allowance does away with any sense of entitlement. Yes, my lazy kid self would still not have wanted to do the chore but it would have helped just to have my dad take the time out and talk to me (as a side note, my dad did do this on many occasions and he may not have known it but it did help). Respect! Wow, there’s a concept. Try this with your kids and watch what happens! Another thing we, as parents, do NOT do enough is thank our kids and praise them for a job well done. Do you not remember how important praise was to you as a kid? It’s still important to us as adults but not NEARLY as important as it is to children. Want to see your kids face light up? Give them praise and thank them, even if the job was only halfhearted and not even completed. If that’s the case, a sense of guilt should kick in for not doing their best and the next time, you can bet they’ll do a better job, but not if you don’t recognize them for it. We are emotional beings and most often driven by emotions! Remember the emotions from your own youth and it will help you understand and connect better with your kids. We’ll discuss more about emotions and how it drives us in the next installment.
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