Thursday, January 31, 2013

From the child's perspective

Being a child is a confusing time  as the child does not know all that we know about the consequences of actions. Even we don't recognize those consequences in the heat of the moment with our own actions . We may feel justified in being angry and acting upon that anger. We say idle things and don't stop and think. Then there are  of course things we say which have no evil intent at all and the receiver doesn't understand where we are coming from and they get hurt, angry etc. That has been my experience anyway. dealing with my kids I think on their station in life.....children. They act like children. They push our buttons. They are not patient in waiting for attention. Yes,  I send kids to their rooms. I even ignore some behavior as I know they are just trying to get my attention. It is hard to explain. What I can explain is that when there are times of calm, I try to engage the child in conversation of how things are going for them. "So.....Ingrid. How is that screaming thing going today?" "So....Stefan, how is that provoking your sibling to anger thing going?" Seriously. When I talk to them in calm times, their consequences make more sense to them as they have had the opportunity to discuss their struggles with sin in a calm, safe environment. I don't dwell on their action as I wouldn't want anyone dwelling on my sin, but we do talk about it throughout the day. The focus then really is on their repentance and taking charge of their actions some themselves. I am not a huge spanking person myself but there is a time and place but it seems to me that spanking should be very infrequent.  That is a whole different topic for another day.  

 If there are fits about food, I have them leave the room to their roomI might take their food into the kitchen and tell them they can eat there when they are in control of themselves. "IF you can pull yourself together darling, the food is here and this is all there is to Your choice dearie. Screaming and fits are not welcome at the dinner table darling. They give me indigestion and a headache."

 I do think children are often times viewed as non people.  Taking time to look into their eyes and ponder what is going on on the other side of their faces helps me to consider their perspective on the world. They only have their experience to deal with thus far in life and they are attempting to make sense of their world and the rest of the world's response to them. It can be a lonely time really I think. Most of society views children as things and not people. This is my soapbox and sadness for children really. It is perhaps just another take on approach of childrearing. We are NOT their friends and I do have to remind them of this from time to time, especially the older ones, and it also turns into an opportunity to review their Catechism.  

Dwelling on their sin.   Well, I have witnessed this to mean that the adult carries on and on about the child's behavior and thus give the impression that the child is not understanding their actions and it is necessary to fill the air with their sin and....go on and on about it.    Going on and on about a child's actions out loud in front of them might be helpful to the frustrated parent but it really is not helpful to the child.   In this case too I try to picture how I feel when someone goes on and on about some offence I have committed.   It doesn't help and in fact alienates.   

Considering the child's perspective has been one of the most helpful thing to me as a parent and a human being.   This applies to all people and not just children.   Perspective helps all relationships.  It takes effort but it is worth it.   


  1. I prefer to speak with my children about inappropriate actions in quiet moments later also. Taking the emotion and excitement of the moment away allows the child to think rationally about their own behavior. I DO tell them to stop what they are doing, if it involves antagonizing someone else. They are banished if the behavior is disruptive.

    Great post.

  2. yep, I think you hit the nail on the head - so hard sometimes though to not respond to their sin with some of my own. Such a good reminder. :)

  3. Oh, I am not saying we will always be able to not sin in return. It seems like a growing, evolving experience mostly for me. I know they grow too, but this parenting thing can stretch me anyway more and more.