Christine Gross-Loh Author, Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us
“M-a-t” “M-at.” “Mat.” My 6-year-old pored over her Bob book, painstakingly sounding out each word. I listened and worried; her older brother was able to read those same words at a much younger age.
It’s natural to compare our children and fret over their development. We are encouraged in the United States to look at a child’s expected milestones and make sure they are meeting them on time. It wasn’t until I started researching global parenting that I discovered how many of a baby’s and child’s stages and milestones actually aren’t universal.
I frequently talk with parents I work with about the power of allowing and truly accepting a child's emotions. Something "magical" often happens when children's emotions are welcomed and validated. No matter how many times I see this process unfold between children and adults, I am never not inspired and in awe of it!
I recently had a "magical" experience with my 4-year-old niece, Lucy, that I felt inspired to share. She and her 9-year-old sister, Seara, asked me to be the judge for their fashion show contest. They each dressed up three Barbies in the most fashionable outfits they could find and I had to decide who won each round. I initially felt hesitant about the fact that I had to chose one niece to be the winner, because I didn't want the other one to feel bad. Then I remembered that I'm capable of handling any reactions and feelings they show AND that I should practice what I preach to parents and be willing to accept whatever emotions they might feel.
Crystal Andrus Morissette is a parenting expert and worldwide leader in the field of self-discovery and personal transformation. She'll talk about 3 kinds of emotional archetypes that you may be operating from as a parent. If you are bringing unhealthy baggage from your past into your role as a parent, you can identify your inner "Emotional Age" in parenting and move toward a healthier parent-child relationship.
Does it really matter if we understand a child's behavior? Or should we just try to change or get rid of a so-called "bad" behavior? There are many differing opinions on this, but what I've learned firsthand in my work with children and families, is that when we don't listen to the communication behind a concerning behavior, we can miss a profoundly important message that can have long-term negative effects on that child.
You probably wouldn't use old-school phrases like "Wait until your father gets home" or "I wish you were more like your sister" with your kids. But there are lots of less obvious ones that you should avoid, for their sake and yours.