Friday, March 30, 2007

“He’s just doing that to get my attention.

Yes, you got that one right. Children want our attention. This attention getting behavior means there is something she needs right now, and she wants our help to get it. He is bored and wants someone to play with. She is tired and needs us to help her get ready for bed, but she doesn’t want to miss out on anything that we might do when she is asleep. He’s showing off in front of his friends, saying things he never says around you to gain some acceptance from his peers.

Children do need our attention. The root of the word means to notice, to focus on, or to bend to care for another’s needs. Notice me. Focus on me. Stop what you’re doing and help me out right now. Their needs are rarely on our time table. As soon as we begin some kind of project, that seems to signal our unavailability, and their need jumps to high, demanding an immediate response. The phone rings and we sit down to talk and now our toddler who was playing quietly on her own loudly insists we stop and focus on her.

Sometimes the need is critical. His fussiness has driven you crazy all day, then in the middle the night, he spikes a fever. Oh, now I get it. Or she was dragged on way too many errands and she has a meltdown because she can’t take this any longer. We need to get home where we will both be able to relax. Other times, we gently help children learn that everything isn’t about them. They eventually learn to be respectful of others and wait their turn. They learn to take care of themselves and figure some things out on their own.

A child’s behavior may also be telling us something deeper. He’s not doing that to make us mad or to make trouble for us. He’s frustrated or disappointed or hurt. Or she’s excited or curious. Most behavior is saying something about what this child needs or wants. We say they are “acting out,” but the behavior is calling us to attention - hey, stop and notice!

At these times, we can acknowledge the feelings that the behavior is expressing. And we can ask questions. “You seem frustrated. What would really help you right now?”

Everyone needs attention. So do we. We need to take care of our selves, too, so we will have the patience to respond to others.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How this works - We're here to support each other

Some of you are seasoned bloggers and some are newbies.

Katrina writes - "How does this work? Do we post comments about what you've written. If so...very true and as a stay at home's nice to have something like this just to remind me. Thanks for sharing this with me."

I will be creating posts that you can respond to or not. Your comments will come to me and I will add them here for all to see. Some of your comments and questions will also give me ideas of things to write about.

I hope that my posts can help get some dialogue and mutual support going between us. Raising children is always a big responsibility and many of us find our selves doing this with very little help. Even in our busy neighborhoods, we sometimes feel isolated. There seems to be a lot of pressure today to go it alone, to have all the answers, and instinctually know what's best for children. Yes, we know our child better than anyone else, but there are many complicated choices.

Children can't wait forever. They are looking to us for guidance. They need reasonable limits. They need our help because we have rich life experiences that they have not had yet which influence our daily decisions. Some of us have had positive role models who have taught us about how to love and mentor children. Some of us have wonderful people in our lives who partner with us for the benefit of our children. Some of us do not have these things. Whether we have support or not, we still need each other to figure out what the best next steps are for us as parents, family members, friends, and teachers. Children need us to work together

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Children Can't Wait

They do - all the time! They wait for us.
“Wait a minute. I need to finish this first.”
I’ll be there in a bit.”

Children need to learn to wait. After infancy, one shocking life lesson is that the world does not revolve around them. Children need to learn to wait their turn. They want that toy now and don’t want to “wait your turn!” Waiting is hard. Ask anyone who is stuck in a long line or in traffic.

Sometimes children can’t wait. The bathroom just isn’t close enough when they realize they need it. There is no food ready when their hunger complains.

There are also critical periods for learning. Sometimes children are eager to have their questions answered, “Why?” Sometimes all of their patience and curiosity is focused to pay attention to the details of a new problem.

Some times they really can’t wait!
They can’t wait to really know how much we love them!
They can’t wait to tell us a special story about their day.
They can’t wait to give us a hug of appreciation!

Children do need to learn to wait. But, their childhoods pass so quickly. What can you do today to let your child know he is special?

Children can’t wait.