What we need as parents and teachers is a new paradigm for reacting to those moments when we’re truly disappointed in our children’s behaviors. We have some information here, if only we would reach for it. For you see, we were once children, too! Our children were never once our age, but we were once their age. If we can get in touch with that time in our life, we might be better able to understand our children. And through understanding them, we might just find ourselves a little less angry and a little less eager to use our anger as a scare tactic.
So, if we’re not going to react with anger, what are we going to do? We’re going to calmly take action. Maybe that action is to separate our fighting children by sending each to separate rooms until they are ready to play without fighting. Maybe it is to state firmly that hitting does not happen in this family. Children who hit cannot play in the family room. The family room is only for peaceful children. Hitting children can only play alone in their own room. Maybe we talk with her before the friend comes over and help her select toys she’s willing to share. And once children know and have agreed with the rules, then what we have to do is to take action every time a family rule is violated. We take action calmly, quietly, cheerfully even, but we try to consistently take action.
We don’t want our children to think they’re bad, we don’t want our children to think we don’t love them, but we do want our children to know that we have boundaries in all of our relationships and that we honor and keep those boundaries. In order for boundaries to be kept, adults need to demonstrate action. We don’t need to get mad, to raise our voices, or to make faces at our children, but we do need to let our children know what behaviors are within bounds and which ones are out of bounds. Those out-of-bounds behaviors result in children being limited in their freedoms. Skip the lectures; take action. Your children will feel safer when they know those boundaries are dependable, that you love them enough to secure their boundaries.
Director/Elementary 1 Teacher