Warning: You're Not at War With Your Child, Even If It Feels Like It

You’re at a birthday party and everyone gathers excitedly around the table. The birthday child’s parent brings the cake out of the kitchen…and realizes that he forgot to light the candles. He puts the cake down on the table and goes back to look for the matches.

The cake hits the table and your small being instantly grabs a handful. What an embarrassing moment!

You grab her hand away, but it’s covered with icing.

Your first thought: She’s trying to embarrass me and make them look like a bad parent in front of my friends. 

Your small being, however, is five. She doesn’t have the mental capacity for that kind of manipulation. In fact, she was just hungry and trying to get her needs met. Unfortunately, she did not have enough patience to wait until the cake was served.

Trust me, your small being is not out to get you. I’ve yet to meet a small being who was trying to make his or her parents lives difficult. There is no inter-family warfare going, although many parents talk as if there is.

Your small being is on your team, so please do not play against him or her. (Tweet)

Even when a family member does things we don’t like or enjoy, they’re still family. You might be able to avoid an aunt or cousin who upsets you, but you have a lot less flexibility with your small being. So, let that family feeling filter into your actions and words.

Specifically, continue to be compassionate as you discipline.

First, remember that you’re a family and will always love each other.

Then decide what actions need to be taken to rectify the situation. Maybe your small being doesn't get to eat any of this birthday cake. Maybe your small being needs to make a new cake and bring it to the birthday girl’s house another day. Maybe you realize that your small being simply needed a snack and you found a granola bar in your bag. 

Don’t let your embarrassment make you forget that you’re here to teach and support your small being. It’s easy to get angry and begin to spread your shame to your small being, but it’s not the right choice. This doesn’t mean you’ll let them get away with bad behavior, but you don’t need to add fuel to the fire.

After all, no matter what the behavior, your small being is your family and you’re on the same team!

Insight into Action!

Parents: When have you acting compassionately when your small or medium being has acting out of turn? How did it go?

Teachers and Professionals: When have you had to realize that your students are not out to get you? How did it go?

Feedback? Thoughts? Comments? Leave 'um below or email me at: Info@BehaviorAndBeyond.net.

With a little help we can all grow. If a special person in your life can use this information, then please forward this blog.

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