Better Understand Your Child

The Missing Key To Really Successful Child Behavior Guidance

By Bob Lancer

When an adult regards a child’s behavior as disruptive, disrespectful, or defiant, the adult commonly complains, “That child needs more discipline.”  How rare is it that one will say, “That child needs more understanding.” Sometimes more firmness may indeed be in order, but even then the root-cause of the problem stems from a lack of deep and accurate understanding of the child.

Sometimes the child who behaves in a problematic way needs less sternness, not more, to express her higher potential. He may need to be forgiven for his human mistake or weakness.  She may need more harmony in her home.  She may need more close time with her parent. Sometimes he needs to be taken home from the adult party that forces him to stay up too late.  Sometimes she needs protection from a school bully.  Sometimes he needs a deeper level of loving emotional support to adjust to the arrival of a new sibling. Sometimes she needs more loving involvement to help her to remain constructively engaged in positive activity when boredom sets in on a long car trip. Often the child needs a parent to set a better example, to demonstrate better emotional self-control, to face the damage done by an addiction, to adopt a healthier life-style.

A child’s being consists of more than one level. Your way of interacting with your child may make sense on one level, while destructively clashing on deeper levels. When a child feels a sense of authentic, loving connection at the core of his being with a parent, teacher or care-provider, the child receives an essential form of nurturing necessary for her finest behavior and attitude to blossom.

Regard your child’s behavior as a manifestation of your understanding of your child.  When a behavior problem crops up, instead of reacting automatically out of annoyance or anxiety, calmly consider what need this may be expressing. Observe your child with open eyes, an open mind, an open heart. Your deeper insight will dawn. This lets the child lead you in the way the child needs to be led.

Relating with a child in a more conscious, “connective” way represents a crucial, yet typically overlooked key for solving and avoiding behavior problems. Clashing with a child’s deeper sense of who she is and what she really needs sends causes that to feel lost and confused about who she truly is and what is really good for her. The pain of this sends her behaviors, moods and attitudes down to lower levels and the confusing influence of it blocks her from developing and expressing good, healthy choice-making for herself.

Understanding a child well really comes down to feeling. The adult needs to be in touch with his/her own deeper feelings to accurately sense the child’s feelings. This practice leads the child to recognize and respect his own feelings and the feelings of others, which guides him into caring, respectful forms of self-expression.

Your child really is an open book, but you have to open your eyes, your heart and your mind to read that book accurately. Automatic, habitual, emotional reactions do the opposite of this and close that book shut.

If you feel frustrated by your child’s behavior, instead of blaming your child for your dissatisfaction with the results you are getting or not getting, try embracing your child with more aware, open, deep attention to sense his feelings and more accurately read your child.