There’s nothing that upsets me more than adults misunderstanding children, then doubling down and making them wrong for it. However, I do understand… it’s a knee-jerk reaction. I also can separate the parent from the behavior, so if this is you, I’m on your side.
Often I meet parents that are very frustrated with their 3, 4, or five-year-old and just want to give up.
“This child is so demanding! Give me this, give me that now! etc.”
I get it! I’ve been frustrated with many of the 100’s of children I’ve worked with and even with my own child.
If these parents would just take a breath, zoom out, and look at what’s really going on, it would serve them well.
So let’s zoom out and have a look at how children develop.
How did a child get it’s diaper changed? Get food? Crying, whining, and being demanding right? Perfectly normal until we help them transition into using more effective strategies to get what they want.
If a child is still trying to get its needs met at 5-years-old using a baby strategy, it’s just a sign they need training.
They’re not broke, it’s not ADD, they are not out to get you, they are crying out for leadership.
If we don’t lead and provide a better strategy for getting his or her needs met, they tend to get locked into demanding behavior that will stunt their evolution. And they will double down on this strategy which will just drive the both of you nuts.
If your child is still screaming and demanding to get their needs met, slow them down and say something like:
“I hear you. Let’s say that again but let’s whisper it with a smile on our face.” This approach loosens up their pattern of being demanding and gives them a healthier strategy for getting what they want in a way that is civil.
We tend to get what we tolerate.
We also reinforce the behaviors we tolerate.
Don’t tolerate children using outdated strategies in an attempt to fill their needs, then make them wrong for it. Lead them gently with a smile and be firm. They may resist a little, but over time they will be happy you stepped up and led them to higher ground.