Life can often be seen as a series of battles. I want to watch a movie, my husband wants to watch a football match, we battle. I want to give a client one solution, my colleague wants to give a client a different solution, we battle. I want ice cream after dinner, I swore to myself I was no longer eating ice cream, I battle with myself. However life does not have to be like this and the more we allow battles to creep into some areas of our life, the more they will creep into every area of life. When you are correcting your children it is important not to see it as a battle.
Connection above all
Consider the birth of a new child and how they experience the world. All they know is love. They cry and we help, they are hungry and we help, they are tired and we help. We show love at every turn. Then they start to talk and walk and their view of the world remains the same but our actions change dramatically. Now we start to correct them, we say no all the time. After the age of one, nearly everything we say to our children is negative, it is setting rules and corrections.
How can we expect a child to understand this dramatic change when even as adults we would struggle to cope with such a dramatic change? The reality is a child can’t cope with this and therefore we must stop viewing everything they do as in need of correction. They simply need connection.
How can we correct?
Of course, if your child starts to do something really bad you need to stop them. I am not telling you to let them run wild. I am telling you that you can view everything as a teaching moment not a moment of correction. If your child has just learned to walk and starts to go somewhere they are not allowed to. Approach them, meet them at their eye level, hug them, point them in the right direction and ask them to show you again.
If you look at every situation as a moment to reconnect you will fulfill the need that they have since birth. They need to be close and connected with you.
Today’s Toddler or Tomorrow’s Adult
Whenever you change behavior consider the impact it will have. Forget how it will change the behavior of a toddler, consider the ramification of the adult they will become. That might sound a little dramatic but it is true. As toddlers, we are laying the foundations for their future. What you teach them now will impact the type of adult they become.
With that in mind, you want to encourage positive behavior even if they mess up along the way. As an example, a toddler will often try to do something nice for their parents. Perhaps they will see you cleaning up the living room and they will start to pick things up too. They have no idea where to put things or how to, so they will get it wrong, but you want to promote this behavior. Even if the next 20 times they do it they don’t get it quite right, eventually, they will have learned that helping is appreciated and the more they watch you the more they will understand how to do it right.
The Lost Connection
Remember the baby who came into your world and how much they relied on your connection. That child still relies on your connection. Whatever happens, whether they make a mistake or are being bold, they are simply looking for that missing connection. Constantly support that connection instead of focusing on correction and you will have a much easier time.