try walking in my shoes

‘Try Walking In My Shoes”-Reading between the lines of what your child is not telling you

Have you ever wondered what your child is thinking and feeling when we try to establish rules, discipline, or when we lose control and raise our voice? “Put yourself in my shoes” suits us perfectly well when we are in question and we want to justify our own actions, but this saying applies for the other side too. At least once a day would be quite enough to spend some time in their shoes, in order to understand them better.  I’ve tried it today, and this is what kind of thoughts came to my mind, I believe this would be the things our boys and girls would want to share with us, if they were able to articulate all their feelings and needs:

  1. “There’s not one right way to do something. If you are open to learning from me, I’ll be happy to show you”.

Children have a different point of view for the world and everything that happens around them. Their thinking is pure and consisted mainly of emotions, and they are free of prejudices. It is quite refreshing for us as adults to respond in their way, so why not let them show us. The process of learning goes in two directions, the students can teach their masters too.

2.”I don’t make you lose your temper. You lose your temper.”

When you start yelling or even imposing some punishments, think about this, is it possible that you are tired, exhausted, hungry or maybe preoccupied with some other problem, so you all of a sudden snapped? Usually the fault lies with us, they are just kids trying to solve their problems asking for our help, time, attention. Living in a busy world made us eager to multitask and we are forgetting that it comes with a price. So next time, before raising your voice, ask yourself, is it really his/hers fault?

  1. “When I am enjoying the moment I don’t really notice the mess I am creating, because that would distract me from my own experience.”

This happens with the adults too. Just think about those moments when you are so consumed with your work, or your reading for example, it seems as though the whole world disappeared, time flies by and you forget to eat, to make some arrangement scheduled for the day. It can happen, for example, to push aside your glass of water, and the mess is made. We are not that different, except for the fact that we are cleaning our own mess and we do not have a parent to remind us to be careful. And to be honest, every mess made can be solved in a short amount of time.

4.”When I close my eyes and my world goes to dark, it feels to me as though everything and everyone I love disappears. That’s why I resist it so.”

We know what the process of sleeping means and how beneficial it is for our bodies and wellbeing. That knowing is something that we are so used to that we can’t imagine that someone (our child) is experiencing it as something else, something scary. I have never explained to my little boy what sleeping is, I’ve never thought that it needs to be explained. When he is resisting to sleep, my reaction is: he has an energy outburst, he wants to play, he wants my attention, etc.. but never ever have I imagined that he may actually be afraid of it.

  1. “You shouldn’t apply general parenting techniques on me, I am unique.”

Every human being is a unique person and we all respond differently on anything. I have noticed that yelling and threatening  are not useful with my boy. He gets even more stubborn and does not want to cooperate. On the contrary, when I remain calm and explain him what his actions are causing and why am I so upset, surprisingly, he gets me in a second, and he corrects his behavior with no problem. So whenever your technique is not working, try something new, apply some other method.

  1. “There are at least three things you cannot control about me: my eating, my sleeping and my toileting.”

I have never understood why do we always feel the need to impose control on some of the most natural processes of our children. I am aware that control is beneficial for us, but still, if we give it a thought, who on earth would want to be told when to sleep, eat or go to the toilet.

All of the above mentioned are physiological needs and they happen when they happen, so why should we impose order for them instead of letting them control our schedule.

We should only notice what are the time intervals when our tiny human is hungry (3,4 or more hours), let them be awake till we notice that their body wants to sleep (yawning), etc…

In that way, it would be less stressful for everyone, and the basic needs of our child will be satisfied in their natural order.

7.”What gets me into trouble usually starts up as a mix of healthy curiosity and enthusiastic experimentation. The mess kinda happens!”

Sometimes I wish I would have that childish curiosity to explore the world and to try and provoke some action just to see what will happen. You have to admit that is so fun! We know almost everything and we are sometimes forgetting how it feels to make an experiment in order to learn something new. Just remember that when they are learning by making something, they learn better and that knowledge remains forever, so why not cut them some slack.

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  1. “The only thing I learn from punishment is to avoid the action that caused it.”

I have never been a fan of punishments as a way to discipline. The only thing they do learn is that a parent can impose fear and make them feel vulnerable and scared. Do you want them to be fearful, and to feel weak?

9. ”When you are speaking to me in a loud and angry voice, you are doing it from up above. It makes me feel even smaller and vulnerable.”

Have you ever given it a thought? How our children are so much smaller than us? Imagine that  you have a heated argument with your boss, who as is it happens is much taller than you. You can’t  look him/her in the eyes since your neck hurts so you have to bow your head down. How does that makes us feel? Inferior, weak.. That is definitely not a good position to have when having an argument, right? Next time, get on your knees, in order to make them feel and appear equal.

  1. “Crying is a plea for help to attract your attention. Don’t ignore it.”

The only thing that is more terrifying than a crying child is a child that cries silently.

What would you think if no one comforts you while you are crying? That they don’t care, right? Show them your love, a child should never even consider that their parents do not love them.

  1. “Trying to teach me a lesson in the middle of my upset, is a wasted attempt.”

This was proven true for me thousand times. It is useless to make sense or explain something while your child is throwing. Even if I try to please him and meet his needs, he reacts like he is not present at all. Therefore, I’ve found out that the best way to deal with the situation is to let your child calm down on his own. Gently explain that you know he is upset and it will pass soon. Remind him to breath and when the storm passes, give him a hug and then do the “lessoning” thing.

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Author:
Daniela Miovska
My Quiet Spot

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6 comments

  1. Can you please do one from my kids pov when they are raging and hurting siblings? Just looking for another aspect to the millions I have considered already…

  2. I needed this, I sometimes wonder what my little person is thinking when he looks at me. I believe all of the apply to him especially the one about sleep. He fights until the last moment yet he always finds my arms to fall asleep in.

  3. Great article to think about and apply! I especially enjoyed your #7 about getting into mischief and really just being curious. Sometimes, while I’m watching my little one, I see how excited she gets over things that are brand new to her. I love seeing her laugh at a new mess, even though I’m thinking about the amount of cleanup time it will take. I definitely will be applying the thought, “Try walking in my shoes,” the next time I am having difficulty staying cool, calm, and collected. Thank you!

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