Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Dogs in Space and Annoying Children
Another woman had a mother who was always telling her she was so pretty, so wonderful, so perfect, but wouldn't take the time to help her buy appropriate clothes as her body changed and developed with adolescence. The praise was meaningless if her mother didn't value her enough to spend time or money on this perfect daughter of hers.
Fake praise is like no praise, and when we receive no praise at all, we can turn into irrational creatures.
Most of the really irritating children that you know, are just desperate for attention. We criticize them for it, and yet if they were given the attention they truly needed, they would become much happier little people. The contradiction is, that when they misbehave and act annoying, the last thing you want to do is give them attention! You'd rather lock them in the basement until they fall asleep because they're so unbearable.
But just like a crying baby, that child is lacking an essential need, and even if he gets punished for his behavior, he'll keep it up because he craves any form of attention, even if it's negative. And if the annoying child happens to be yours, you've got your work cut out for you.
"But I give him plenty of attention!" you may say in exasperation. But perhaps the type of attention you think is enough, is not what he needs. Every child needs personal time alone with mom or dad, just to bond. They need to talk about all the crazy little thoughts that come into their mind and be heard and still loved even so. They need you to respond to their crazy thoughts as if they weren't crazy, to help them sort through the whirlwind of ideas that blows through their mind every day. Here's one example:
"So mom, like if our house turned into a space rocket and we found out that aliens were living in our basement, would dad be able to fight them even though he doesn't have a gun? And then if we blasted off into space, how would we breathe? And do dogs ever go to space?" Etc., etc.
If your default response is, "Why are you wasting my time with these stupid questions? Do your homework, and look at the mess in your room," you are on your way to creating a really annoying child. The questions will never end, and behavior problems will increase. I know, serious discussions about dogs in space are not what you planned on when you became a mother, but welcome to reality!
Smile, listen, talk, hear all that they have to say with patience, give suggestionanswer them with reassurances that no matter what disaster they can imagine strikes, that you will all be just fine because God is watching over you. Give them hugs and kisses, tell them how smart they are, what an amazing imagination they have, and how proud you are that they are growing so well. Also once you are done, thank them that they will now quietly go to their room and clean up and finish their homework for the night because they are so good and smart and strong. It's amazing how just taking that amount of your precious time out of your day can be returned to you in the form of a calmer, happier, more obedient child who wants to please you even more.
Of course there is a time they need to be quiet and get their work done and to respect your need for quiet as well, but if their basic need for your undivided attention and sincere praise isn't met a few times during the day, though you punish and criticize them, but you will never have a peaceful child under your roof.
My youngest is 12, and he still needs those moments, but the reward of a loving son who is a joy to have around is worth all the effort. Don't know what to say when asked about aliens in your basement? Email me to receive expert advice...