I confess to having a writer's block for this blog right now. Perhaps it is the relentless summer heat? Perhaps it is my career transition?
I will vent today.
I just got back from visiting my parents. On the plane ride home, there was a young couple traveling with their two lively young boys - perhaps 1 and 3 years old. I cringed, over and over, as I heard their sharp, rebuking voices to everything the children did:
HUSH! GET DOWN! NO! NO SNACK! STOP TOUCHING! SIT STILL!
I gave them compassionate smiles, I affirmed "Oh, what dear boys...," but, mostly, I winced.
We have to stop this! We can't keep raising our little ones with this negative tone.
I think of a line from therapy - "Reactivity breeds reactivity" - are you getting the results you desire when you speak so sharply to your little one? I wonder, what do you feel inside yourself when someone speaks harshly to you? I freeze up, I feel blocked. I do not feel receptive, I do not hear.
What are our children feeling when we speak this way, over and over? Have you ever thought about how much of their behavior is being tamped down? Reprimanded? Angrily assessed? What must that be like to have your every movement negated? What are children learning from this? What do they "take away" from this experience?
It is developmentally right on for a one and three year old to be frisky in their seats on an airplane. It is developmentally right on for children of this age to have new, challenging behavior during this very new experience.
Expect the unexpected. Use a lighter voice, a softer touch, and a sense of humor. Pack some special books and activities for your travel. Teach them how to handle stressful new situations by modeling the appropriate behavior.
There - that's my vent. Thanks for listening!