“What do I do when this happens?
👉 siblings start fighting
👉 bedtime turns into chaos
👉 my toddler empties all the cupboards
👉 the house is a mess
👉 the chores didn’t get done
👉 my kids are ignoring me
👉 the homework isn’t getting finished
What we’re essentially asking is…
“How can I control the behavior of a child?”
There are lots of methods that work some of the time, for some of the children.
But I believe we are asking the wrong question.
Instead of focusing on fixing the child’s behavior what is we asked the question…
✨ “What can I do to come with empathy and compassion and try to understand my child better?”
Because here’s the truth…
Our kids might KNOW BETTER, and have the BEST OF INTENTIONS…but when it comes down to the moment they can’t remember how to be nice when something their sister said made them feel so hurt.
As adults, we often do the same thing. We set a great intention for ourselves but don’t follow through.
We decide we’re not going to eat any desserts when we go to that party.
BUT when we get there our favorite cookie is just sitting on the table. We resist for a while but end up eating it.
You could say we went against what we’d decided was best. We knew better but didn’t do better.
I’m not saying eating a cookie is the same as your kids fighting, but I am saying there are times when all of us (even adults) have the best of intentions but don’t follow through on them.
When we assume because our kids KNOW better and have promised to DO better — that from now they should DO IT.
We end up holding them accountable for a level of consistency and perfection that we aren’t able to live ourselves.
If it was as easy as KNOWING BETTER and saying we’d DO BETTER…then we’d all be…
✓ Eating healthy
✓ Regularly exercising
✓ Making great money
✓ Never losing our patience
✓ Getting everything on our to-do list done every single day.
It’s not that easy.
🧐 Knowing better does not always equal doing better.
But often we hold our children to this high expectation…
We think something like…
“Well I’ve talked about it with them, and they clearly know better.
They even said they’ll do better next time. SO if they don’t do better then it means they are being intentionally disobedient.”
It’s not that easy.
What would happen if we gave our kids the benefit of the doubt and assumed they were doing the best they could in that moment?
The focus would shift to seeking to understand our child and their behavior, instead of fixing the behavior.
Maybe we’d ask ourselves questions like…
✨ “How can I respond when my child does ____ (insert misbehavior) to create structure and order in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the healthy development of my child?”
✨ “What do I want to do when (insert misbehavior), so that I can respond in a way that serves my child, AND helps me create an environment that will help my child fulfill their potential?”
The child’s behavior is a symptom.
It’s simply telling us more about what’s going on inside of our child.
The behavior could mean they are hurt, upset, disappointed, distracted, excited, happy, tired, frustrated…we’ll never know if we don’t take time to connect and come with compassion and empathy.