To start with I recommend you consider the following areas:
You may not remember what it was like to be a child, but empathy is an amazing tool to build close, satisfying relationships. To increase your ability to manage your child’s behaviour in an empathic way try the following:
- Have someone feed you sloppy food from a spoon or allow a friend who’s in a hurry to brush your teeth and comb your hair.
- Try to make someone understand that you are tired or hungry or interested in having a look at something … without using words.
- Try to explain to someone that you are frightened or anxious or jealous … without words!
- Get down on your knees and see what the world looks like from there.
- Imagine what it would be like to be strapped into a buggy and pushed in and out of boring shops through vast crowds of people for up to two hours at a time.
- Take a ride on a tandem making sure the person in front of you blocks out your view completely – or sit in the back of a car from where you can see nothing but the back of the seat in front of you… for an hour or two.
- Put on a pair of thick gloves that are two sizes to big for you then attempt the following:
- Doing up buttons
- Tying shoe laces
- Fastening a Zip
- Imagine what it would be like if things just happened all around you all day… no one explained what was happening next, asked your permission or your opinion and repeatedly bossed you around and told you to hurry up!
Dads, if you want to manage your children’s behaviour well, first you have to see life through their eyes. You may think it’s child’s play but it is not always easy being a child!
Dads, do you have any idea what you can reasonably expect your child to be able to do at various ages and stages of development?
- Can a 9-month-old baby be expected to understand ‘No’?
- Should an 18 month old be able to manage the stairs safely?
- Can a 2-year-old share?
- Does a 3 year old understand ‘cause and effect’?
- Can a 5 year old understand how to keep safe on the roads?
- Is a child just lazy if they still wet the bed at 6 years old?
- Should a teenager be able to resist peer pressure?
If you don’t, you may find yourself supervising your children inappropriately and disciplining them unfairly. You may end up wrapping them in cotton wool or giving them responsibility they cannot handle. You could damage your relationship and wreck their self esteem into the bargain – so find out – ask – phone a friend – I bet you know what kind of performance you can reasonably expect from your car or your footie team!
There are plenty of resources out there on ‘Child development’ – try your local bookshop, library, or do an Internet search to access them.