Saturday, April 20, 2013

Splash! Less Talking and Less Emotion

The two biggest mistakes parents and teachers make in dealing with children are: 

  • Too Much Talking and 
  • Too Much Emotion. 

Talking is bad because it either doesn't work or leads you down the wrong path, through the Talk‐ Persuade‐Argue‐Yell‐Hit Syndrome.

Why is too much emotion destructive? When they are little, kids feel inferior and they crave your attention.

Sure, they can be cute and lovable, but they are also smaller, less privileged, less intelligent, less skillful, less responsible and less of just about everything than their parents and the older kids.

Children are constantly testing parents on a number of levels. They check the boundaries and limitations. They like to feel they have some power but also they want to know that their world is controlled and regulated.

By repeatedly getting your attention throughout the day means that they must be important to you and you must consider what they are doing as important to you. But it must also be safe and acceptable behaviour.

Repetition and re-affirming!

Have you ever seen a small child go down to a lake and throw rocks in the water? Children can do that for hours, partly because the big splashes are a sign of their impact.

They are making things happen. At this stage, it doesn't have to be a good or bad effect, so long as it's an effect.

Key Concept - If you have a child who is doing something you don’t like, get real upset about it on a regular basis and she’ll repeat it for you, ad infinitum.

Your being Upset and reacting is the Effect i.e. "The Big Splash"

So what does rock tossing have to do with what happens at home? 
If your small child can get big old you all upset, your upset is the big splash for him. It's normal 'testing the boundaries' behaviour. It doesn't mean that he has no conscience and is going to grow up to be a criminal or worse, a politician!

It's just that having all that power temporarily rewards them and it feels good to the inferior part of the child but at the same time, it demonstrates that the parent does not have full control of the environment, and that's not what the child wants to feel.

If the parent does not have control of the situation it can cause a raised level of anxiety in the child i.e. disruptive behaviour that is not dealt with properly can create a higher level of anxiety in children.

Parents who say, "It drives me absolutely crazy when she eats her dinner with her fingers. Why does she do that?" may have already answered their own question.


There are a number of ways you can control your child's behaviour and teach them discipline, within a loving /caring relationship and without the raised emotional levels.

You can ruin any good practices and these approaches by talking too much and getting too excited. These two mistakes, of course, usually go hand in hand, and the emotion is usually anger, born of frustration.

Switch off the Faucet and stop the Flood!

Parents who understand and sense that they need to break the cycle of unwanted behaviour i.e. the child's action versus the parent's reaction.

They know that the cause is purely to have an 'effect', so they can turn off the talking and the emotional upset like a faucet. Thus, stopping the escalation into a flood (mainly of tears!).

It is not easy to do and it takes practice and raised awareness. Be alert that you are being drawn in to an emotional state by the child's behaviour and don't go there.

It helps if you have a partner, friend or family member who can help you recognise the signs and have a quiet word with you, until you can better recognise them yourself.

Make sure your children look to you for leadership and guidance as well as love and affection, and not for a sparring partner they can wind up at will and watch the Splash!.

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