– Written by Sylvia Arotin
We all have placed a label on our children at some point…”The bad child, the naughty one, the cheeky one, the one with the attitude, the one who is spoilt, the shy one” … The problem is, the more we label them the more we are fueling them to BE that characteristic.
The scary part is that we actually start to believe that characteristic IS the child. Let me tell you that the behaviour that is being displayed isn’t a reflection of your child, but is a reflection of one of their needs not being met. It is also a culmination of your experiences and thoughts of your child, which you have manifested. This isn’t to say your child isn’t acting that way but they are not that way themselves. Innately children just want to see us happy and be happy and fulfilled themselves.
They are also a reflection of ourselves (which can also be confronting).
Needs drive behaviour. If a child isn’t responding to a reasonable request, then their behaviour must be meeting a more pressing need. What do I mean by needs?
- Connection – they want to feel loved, accepted and like they belong
- Honesty – they feel like you are being authentic and intentional
- Physical well being – the basics like food, water, sleep
- Play – laughter, fun and discovery
- Harmony – peace, stability and integration
- Autonomy – choice, independence and freedom
- Meaning – purpose, stimulation and self-expression
So next time you go to label your child as “spoilt, naughty, attitudey or cheeky”… stop for a moment and check that the above needs have been met first. Understand that their behaviour and what you have now labelled their ‘character’, is not essentially who they are deep down.
It is NOT too late to change your perception and view of them; in turn the child will enter into a new light.
So, look for new opportunities to show the child a new picture of themselves, “the generous one, the kind one, the appreciative one”. Put children in situations where they can see themselves differently. Model the behaviour you would like to see. Let them overhear you say something positive about them.
Free them from the label…it is not a true reflection of your child.