A child’s behavior is a complicated phenomenon. Unfortunately, when children are born, not one parent in existence is provided with an owner’s manual informing how to operate them. Each child is different from the other, requiring different methods of punishment, treatment, and levels of care. The one thing that remains constant is many parents do not understand that even though each of their children came from the same location and the same human being, each of these children must be dealt with differently. It’s not special treatment—it’s tailoring to a specific child’s needs, and it must be done in order to successfully parent and raise these children into fully functioning adults.
Unfortunately, none of us are experts at child-rearing. The whole “motherly instinct” everyone talks about is crap. It’s all a learning experience, and unfortunately, many parents have to study harder than others along the way.
For example’s sake, we’ll look at my situation. Each day that goes by, I feel like I’m having to learn how to parent all over again.
I am required to put on several different masks on several different occasions with my two boys, and I’ve more recently found yet another mask to wear with my youngest in particular.
One doesn’t do well with reading or spelling, but has to be babied through it when you study with him. If not, he shuts down and nothing gets accomplished. But, it’s easy to tell when he shuts down. His eyebrows scrunch together, and it’s over. Best solution is to have him go to his room and sit for a while, then try it all over again. He’s high maintenance in the learning department, requiring much special attention and extra time, but he’s very responsible and well behaved otherwise. Disciplining him is not really an issue, but I had to learn over a period of about four to five years that he requires nothing other than talking or a possible threat of his daddy getting involved in whatever issues I’m trying to correct.
The other is high maintenance in the behavior department. Punishment doesn’t work on him. The threat of punishment deters him for approximately five minutes, but the act itself, doesn’t deter him at all. Instead, it makes his behavior worse. The biggest issues, and the more recent light bulb that went off, is that he is extremely intelligent and bores easily. What I’ve realized is that he knows what he’s not supposed to do, but in fussing and explaining about what he’s not supposed to do, I’ve failed to explain to him appropriate behaviors.
The most important lesson I’ve learned when parenting any child is that they are born clueless. If you’re constantly telling a child what NOT to do, how do you expect them to know what TO do? And my youngest has been told what NOT to do a hundred times, leaving him bored of hearing it which leads to him not listening to a word I say. He knows what NOT to do, but he doesn’t understand what behaviors are appropriate to replace the things he’s not supposed to do. He just knows he’s not supposed to do something yet does it anyway, because that’s all he knows. He is the type that when he’s learning something new, he listens, which in turn means that when I explain to him the appropriate behaviors, he listens.
The most important thing I’ve learned, which remains constant with all children, is that when they’re having their version of a temper tantrum—whether that means shutting down and commencing with screaming if you keep at them or just plain going postal—you cannot reason with them. You cannot try to punish them or explain appropriate behavior with them. When they’re having their version of a temper tantrum, the best thing you can do is find a way to remove them from your sight until both parent and child calm down, and then proceed to explain things to them or provide punishment if necessary.
Good luck and happy parenting! :)