Parents often tell me that they find it tough to raise their children differently to the way they were educated. And that’s absolutely true; cause childhood patterns stay forever unless you work hard to change and improve.
One of the most powerful ways to go forward and not stay “clung” on old-fashioned adult-focused educating models, is just practicing every day and using tools such as empathy, quality time, coherence, listening, etc.
Today, I will focus on an extraordinary easy tool that is, in turn, extremely necessary: KINDNESS
To be kind to your children will give you the key to overcoming many nerve-racking situations.
It seems that we adults are kind to everyone: the postman ringing the bell, the neighbors, the cashier at the supermarket, that boy that takes his dog out for a walk -dog that becomes the friend of yours-, the woman buying at the fruit shop, and so on and so forth. But we forget to be kind to our children.
Poor little things, they have to put up with our foul mood, stress, bad day at work, headaches, arguments with the couple, struggles to make ends meet, concerns about granddad’s health, etc.
All these things are NOT your children’s responsibility, so they should not cause you treat your kids badly just because you must swallow a bitter pill. Start working on how to manage your emotions, and next step could be practicing kindness with your kids, the same kindness that you have with others.
I am giving you some examples of real situations in which some parents just forgot kindness to communicate with their kids:
1- A father goes to the supermarket with his 6-year-old son. The boy grabs an ice cream box and puts it into the shopping cart. When father realizes, he gets angry, and he addresses to his son in a loud and defiant tone: “I’ve told you so many times that we are not going to buy ice creams today, what part of it don’t you understand??” Maybe the one thing that made an impact on me was the father’s facial expression; it showed disgust. The little boy stayed sad, really really sad, and although many could think that it was because of the ice creams, it was, in fact, due to his father’s manners.
2- A mother goes to the park with her two little children. After a while, they start arguing about who is going to use the slide first. She tells them that if they continue arguing they will have to leave the park. Seeing that arguments don’t come to an end, she decides to go home with children; she tells them she’s so fed up with them, that she’s exhausted and that what on earth was she thinking about to have kids… They are just siblings having conflicts, just as anybody else has. And what they need is kindness, understanding, and support, NOT a lack of respect.
3- A family goes to the beach with their 8-year-old girl. When they arrive, she decides to play on the sand, instead of taking a swim because she says she doesn’t feel like it. Parents put long faces and blame her telling that if they have gone to the beach was for her to swim in the ocean. They don’t realize that their daughter is a person as anyone else, capable and with the right to take her decisions.
4- A 10-year-old violin amateur goes with her father to the musical instruments shop to replace her old violin. As they enter the establishment, she puts her eyes on the one that she likes. But when they speak to the expert, he says that the one chosen by her has a poorer quality and that it’s not the best choice. She starts crying because she wanted the one she had chosen. She had already thought of herself playing it at home and the music class. Her father, watching her attitude, tells her that she’s a bratty and ungrateful girl and that she should have welcomed the expert’s recommendations and value her parents’ intention of buying her a new violin. Was it so difficult for that parent to understand her daughter’s feelings and explain why they couldn’t buy the other instrument in a kinder and more sincere way??
5- A little 3-year-old toddler was with mom at swimming class. He suddenly feels afraid of doing that fantastic jump that he so easily had performed last week so many times. At fourth try, his mother fills with despair and shouts at him that if he doesn’t jump right away, they are going to leave the swimming pool, quit swimming lessons and never come back. “You could last week but now you can’t??” she asks. It seems that it was so difficult to her to understand her child’s worries and needs.
In all these examples, parents should have communicated with their children in a far more different way, using correct manners to encourage approach, understanding instead of distance and anger.
And one useful tool they could have used is, in fact, KINDNESS. If all these parents had been kind to their children, having a quiet voice tone, being understanding and calm, stories would be entirely different, and children would have felt much better.
Why are we so kind to others and not to children?? Why we make children bear the brunt of every situation??
When your children get angry – BE KIND
When your children demand something you cannot buy – BE KIND
When your children have arguments – BE KIND
When you lose your temper for something they’ve done – breathe and BE KIND
When they shout – BE KIND
When you think they do not do what you say – BE KIND
When they cry – BE KIND
When they feel afraid – BE KIND
When they cannot fall asleep – BE KIND
When they fail an exam – BE KIND
When they don’t want to eat more – BE KIND
Life is too short. Don’t waste it being unpleasant to your children and put into practice your new mantra: KINDNESS.
I hope you put this into practice as soon as you can and when old fears come to your mind, you tell them: “Shhh, I am kind to everyone, starting with my kids.”
Love and enjoy the week!
Parent & Teacher Educator, Author, Expert in Respectful Education & Founder of Edurespect School