As parents we may think children are demonstrating poor behavior when they are simply trying to demonstrate and express their needs. Parents and educators have power over children in our current culture. Power over simply means hierarchical. Think about our organizations, business and western world in general ~ hierarchical models.
We are teaching our children dominance through existing structures without including the development of skills for understanding their own behavioral process. Our culture lacks the speaking literacy for a developing child to understand and connect to what is being said in the way that they perceive information. We receive information through our senses of feeling, seeing, touching, tasting and hearing sounds. Now imagine hearing the use of feel in a sentence that does not accurately describe any feeling at all or misuses words to describe feelings. Some simple examples:
- I feel we need groceries. (Replace, I think instead of I feel)
- I feel you should go and play. (Replace, I think instead of I feel)
- I feel your brother needs to have a sleep. (Replace, I think instead of I feel)
- I am feeling unheard when you ignore me. (unheard is not a feeling, replace with sad)
- I feel safe when you don’t run ahead. (Safe is not a feeling, replace with calm)
- Bullying is bad. (Replace with ~ I believe if we are not sharing our common needs for kindness, consideration and acceptance that our relationships will be violent.
- You’re a bully. ( Replace with ~ When I see you post pictures of bleach to Amanda’s RIP facebook pages, I feel rage and disbelief as I have a need for kindness and consideration for Amanda’s family and friends.
- We have a rule of no bullying. ~ We have a common need’s in our relationships for dialogue, listening, cooperation, consideration, understanding and have agreements for trying to meet these needs.
Therefore it is adults committing to learning what it is they want their children to learn first:
- How to express what is alive in them truthfully.
- To become aware that their child is meeting their own needs and that those needs are different from the adults and to shift into valuing those needs mutually, simply by acknowledging them. (Children do not want to be invisible and think about it: ~ adults discuss their process with their partner/friends, etc. who do children have to process it with ~ no one! Therefore imagine what is going on inside the child – isolation, feelings of being alone, not seen, not heard, not valued, not cared about)
- Value based communication and leadership
- Feelings literacy
- Needs/values literacy
- Listening Skills (listening without trying to fix it, without interruption and how to reflect back that the child sees that regardless, they are beautiful)
- Making concrete requests that have specifics that are doable – not vague.