Going back to my previous posts, we mentioned how important it is to have a predictable environment- where you have set the routines for your child, and he knows what is going to happen most of the time, and has things to look forward to. It is simply because we want our child to feel secure. This is to say your child knows it too, not just you.
You wonder why your child misbehaves or reacts when you want him to do things. This is how things can get unpredictable at home. For example, you just decide that it’s time for your child to take a bath now while he’s playing, instead of what he’s used to (which is after eating dinner). You want it now because you suddenly need to finish some work. You tell him several times, and he whines and even shouts, and you finally escalate and drag him to the bathroom. Not a happy bath time at all. Sometimes we even put the blame on the child that he is being difficult, when in fact, this is not something he has gotten used to. And children need MUCH of getting used to to get themselves ready or feel safe.
How would you like it if someone tells you to move out of your house, bring all your stuff except your favorite equipment? You try doing it slowly, and that person starts counting, and only gives you until 5, before he does something terrible. Don’t we do that sometimes? We tell our child to pack away- to hurry packing up because it’s late. Because it’s bedtime. Because Mommy still needs to wash dishes and mop the floor. And finish three reports before 11:00 pm. Now, know what I mean?
Safety- Setting Limits at Home
Children as young as 2 need to know and understand the limits you set for them, as simple and appropriate for their stage as possible. We can do through constant reminders in a calm (not nagging) way. They can start recognizing visuals too so you may put up a poster of his routines. They are onto learning cause-and- effect relationships and identify with things that are hot or painful. We need to set up our house in way where our child can go discovering around without you having to say, ‘No, don’t touch that’ all the time. In short, child-proofing is the key.
And now, let’s talk about tantrums. My world is full of it right now- from my Facebook feed, my friends’ rants, families in the mall. When your child does her classic tantrum, and you think the best way to curb it is by shouting, try again. How about threatening if she doesn’t stop? Try better. Imagine a child receiving all those when she’s going through very real and very big and scary emotions at her age, and imagine worse- if pain is being inflicted on her so she can finally stop? Your home is not safe at all.
I can’t repeat myself enough when I say, respond calmly and lovingly every time your child goes into tantrums. You can’t just be calm one day and snap other times. You CANNOT let your reaction be based on how your day goes! And to do so, we need to be present with ourselves, be mindful of our emotions and what the tantrums trigger in us. (See Parenting Triggers)
Why the need for these three? Simply because this is how we build our child to be confident and secure. And when a child is confident and secure, he will, for sure, be successful in his endeavors in life.
The reason why a lot of children misbehave is that they don’t know what they are feeling, and worse- the adults or the people around blame them for feeling that way. They are broken children- those whose love cup wasn’t filled to the brim, who dealt with anxiety, unsure of how to act, and have misplaced values, who don’t understand why they deserved anger. These children will grow up to be adults later on, and we can only imagine how life would be for them.
We only have one chance at parenting, but in that chance, we have many magical days, tiring but all the same, magical, because our children are miracles. We affect them and they in turn, can change us for the better. We have the power to break or make them. You choose.