“Show them who’s boss” :(
I have heard so many parents / people so many times say – to a new Mom. Oh is he/she a good baby?
This question always baffles me- What does that mean? Good baby? Ummmm – A baby is not bad or good. A baby is just that a baby- a perfect little bean that was gifted to you. A baby is born completely innocent and helpless. It is our job as parents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, and passer buyers to help this baby grow and learn.
These little babies will turn into little toddlers, and then children, and then teens- and they will not know how to manage the emotions they are feeling. I know this because most of us adults do not know how to manage our emotions and we either turn into raging lunatics or we self medicate or the fight or flight kicks in and we do one of those things.
Here’s the thing- we have to learn how to teach our children to handle emotions. We have to learn to show them that it is okay to have the feelings they are having. We have to learn to validate those feelings, instead of scolding. Instead of disciplining our children for having the feelings they are having.
So many times people will say to children – “Why are you crying? You have No reason to cry” They will say things like: “Seriously, why are you yelling at me? I’m the one trying to help you?”
They call kids names: “Cry baby, Ball bag, girl, sissy, baby, wimp”
None of these things are true! Just because our kids are kids doesn’t mean they aren’t validated in the feelings they are having. We as adults have moments that we have feelings that we can’t explain. How would it feel if someone told you that you were crazy or didn’t have a reason to be feeling that? First, I am sorry if you are being told that, 2nd I am here to tell you that you are validated! It is not unhealthy to feel!
Take a moment and talk to your child when they are having the melt downs. Bend down and reassure them that they are loved! That you are sorry they are feeling that way, ask what you can do. They will probably fight you, but please do not take it personal. Your toddler / child isn’t trying to hurt you. You are the safest place they know. This means that you get the good pretty stuff with the not so pretty stuff because they trust you. It is your job to show them that you are going to be strong for them. It’s your job to show them that you hear them! You see them! That no matter what they are feeling you will love them.
So many times as parents we take these things personal and that is when the “disciplining” comes into action. When our sweet Chan was 2-4, he would get over stimulated and he would have such big big feelings. He would try and pinch me, pull my hair, yell that he didn’t love me and that I wasn’t his mom. I would always just hug him and tell him that I was sorry that he was feeling that way and I would practice taking deep breaths with him. I would reassure him that I loved him no matter what.
A lot of people would say things like- I had no control or that he needed his ass beat- He needed to be disciplined… He didn’t need to be disciplined! I didn’t need to show him who was boss! I didn’t need to bully him. I needed to try and understand why he was feeling that way? What were the triggers? I learned very quick that I needed to have snacks with us always. I also learned that he didn’t do well when we were in a rush. He got overstimulated if we did more than 3 stops in one day. Naps were imperative. I learned that he struggled with lots of walking and would get super tired really quick. He preferred to be carried. (I know people will tell you and they told me- You are spoiling that baby)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you are NOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT spoiling your child. You are learning who your child is. You are teaching your child how to handle his or her emotions. You are showing them that you hear them! You see them! You love them!
Now he is 5 and he has learned to take deep breaths. He has learned to express himself with words and he has learned that it is okay for him to feel all the feels. He knows that. He is strong and is very sweet and is in a a very good place for it. Had we done what everyone said- spanked him, showed the 2 year old who was boss, set limits, you know really put our foots down. He would probably be an aggressive 5 year old that hit and said cruel words.
We do not need to show our kids who is boss- We need to show our kids that we see them! We hear them! We love them. They do not need to know you are boss- If we show them all those things we will show them how to respect, how to love, and how to be strong humans. They do not need to fear us, they need to respect us. That fear tactic will only work for a while- There will come a time when they will no longer be afraid of you and they will have no respect for you. Show them from the earliest of ages that they are important and you respect them and they will always respect you.