Sports can be hard for some, easy for others. At least there is a playbook.
There is no real playbook for emotions and definitely no play book on how to deal with our kids emotions.
Emotions, now that is a whole new game to play. Some of us are good at hiding them, good at expressing them, etc., but all of us go into the game with no playbook and we just wing it and soak up plays as we go.
What I mean to say is that we do not know where emotions will take us, we just know we will feel them or run across them at some point.
Then there’s the developing child. They have it the hardest.
They have to appease their parents and caregivers, figure out themselves, answer internal questions about so many new things/feelings, like do we really appreciate how much work THEY do?
I posed that last question because I see too often where parents and caregivers set expectations for children based on their age. Like a common saying is something along the lines of ” he is 14, I expect him to clean his room like every other 14 year old”.
I mean yeah you’re right, but what’s missing here? Well I always like to say that if you and your child argue over the same topic 100 times, maybe it is time to stop arguing over the topic and just have conversation about why the pattern still exists because trying to exterminate it is obviously not working.
But that is hard, very hard; some parents feel- If I do not address the behavior then I am not teaching my kid what is right/wrong.
You may have the thought “I want my kid to be successful, responsible, and productive”. Well I got news. YOU want that. I’m sure they do to, but not in your way. Here is where expectations comes in; we too often enmesh expectation of children with the way things should be and when that “should be” doesn’t happen all hell breaks loose.
Don’t should all over yourself and you kiddo.
You’re probably reading this like, “Well what do I do if I cannot directly address something that continues to happen?” The answer I can best provide is -change the language.
Language and perception create reality.
Instead of focusing on what the child ISN’T doing, maybe shift the focus on the emotion that could be tied to the behavior and why it constantly makes an appearance. For example, we don’t set gardens by just throwing the plants on top of the soil, you actually have to break some ground, get deep in there you know. Your expectation of your child and the very behavior you want them to stop doing is the untouched soil. Nonetheless, their experiences and how those influence their actions is the soil broken up and being worked on to make way for new plants (behaviors).
Try empathizing with your child.
“Taking out the trash feels like such an inconvenience! Of course you don’t want to take it out, no one does. It is normal to drag your feet when it is time for chores/homework/etc. It helps so much when you do help around the house and it feels good to be part of something. I appreciate you so much when you help and maybe I don’t show it enough. -Then hug your kiss your child. Then see what happens…
No matter their age, your child needs and wants your approval. It is build into human DNA.
Here’s the formula for your play book:
S= Make Sense out of the behavior
N= Normalize the thought or behavior
E= Put yourself in their shoes. Empathize with your kiddo, they are human too.
Sometimes it helps to have a therapist walk you through this.