Catch up on shows with The Coast On Demand
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 11:49 AM
I’m not much of a gardener. I don’t know what the opposite of a green thumb is but – whatever it is, I’ve got it. My plants - the ones that are still alive, anyway – they hiss at me as I walk past. Occassionally I yell at them to try and buck up their ideas. “Look at you, you stupid plant – wilting, yellowing, dying. You stupid plant! D’you know how ashamed I am to have you on my front porch! If you don’t start straightening up and greening up, throwing out some flowers, I’m gonna belt you around the buds!” Is that going to work? Of course it isn’t. Even with my stunted horticultural knowledge, I know that this plant isn’t wilting and dying because it hates me – it needs something – repotting or fertilising or watering or something else.
The same thing is true for our kids. One of the basics of parenting is that if a child feels right, they act right . Kids don’t misbehave usually because they hate you, it’s because something is wrong. If a child is constantly misbehaving and causing problems, then you need to get the bigger picture. The behaviour is a symptom of something that’s not right. That doesn’t mean you automatically excuse or ignore the behaviour - you deal with it - but you look for the underlying symptom. And it could be something like they are over sugared and over caffeinated or bored or they are being bullied or something is going down at school.
Quite probably they have an unmet need, or they think that they are at risk of not having their needs met – and a big one is that they feel they aren’t getting the attention and love from you that they need. You might be thinking “I spend hours trapped in the house with little ankle-biters,” but how much of that time is spent face to face, down at their level, engaging in conversation? Yes, you might be with them all day, but they might be in the next room, being baby-sat by the Teletubbies, while you’re in the kitchen. As well as quantity time, there needs to be those moments of quality time.
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