This weekend, I remembered the importance of understanding my mindset, when one of my twins seemed to be "picking" on his twin and his little brother all morning long. Now, if you're like me, you know that when mamma is trying her best to clean up after breakfast, and make her own meal, a child who is (seemingly) hell bent on irritating his brothers is something that is infuriating. Within the course of 30 minutes, I stopped, Mr. I like to make noises to piss you off and run around the house screaming strange noises at you because I think it's hysterical, from doing these things to the others about 3 times.
Now, my initial feeling was irritation. I was annoyed that I had to stop him from pestering his siblings so many times, then something within me told me, "Dude, you know this kid. You know that when he is upset he does things like this as a way to release what he's feeling." With this realization, I set out to understand him and connect the behavior with the reason, give it a voice, and release it (because that really is what they need). With this, I remembered that that morning, he told his dad - after he specifically asked dad for scrambled eggs - that he didn't want scrambled eggs and he decided that he didn't like them, and that he wasn't going to eat them. This of course, made his dad angry, and dad reacted by telling him that he was too picky, hurting my son's feelings - I saw it in his face. Once this hit me, the behavior made sense - he was holding onto the hurt feeling.
You see, children (much like us adults) when annoyed or irritated, sometimes can't help but react in the ways that they feel, and with this, I set out to give his feelings a voice in order to release the feeling. I asked him if he was upset over the happenings of the morning, and he said yes. I explained to him that taking his feelings (that he was not completely conscious of) out on his brothers was not ok, and that it was ok for him to be angry and upset over the morning. I offered him ways to release (screaming, crying hugging - he's a big hugger) and after he was done feeling it, it was over. Just like that. Like it never happened.
So. Why do I tell you this? Well, because this realization is a result of understanding my mindset. Had I continued in the "normal" mindset that says, this child is doing this on purpose to make everyone nuts, or he's just a pain in the ass, and likes to see others upset, or anything else like this, I can promise you that the rest of that day would've looked completely different. I had to learn how to get myself out of the mindset that my children were trying to drive me crazy. It's not easy, but it is possible.
AND I'll tell you another thing, before I learned how to change my mindset regarding parenting, my kids and their behavior, NOTHING changed. The truth is that methods, tricks and punishments are a bandaid. All they do is cover the problems, but they don't resolve the issue if the issues are still seen with the same mindset. In order to get the results that you want with your kids, you have to start with your mindset, beliefs and stories, and go from there. I could've easily punished my son for irritating his brothers, but that would've lead to more hurt feelings, because he was not understood, heard or helped - and more behavioral stuff towards his brothers (which he, BTW apologized for AND shared his easter candy as a display of brotherly love *swoon right*) would've happened - but it did not. Everything starts with our mindset. What we think we see, and we see colors our world.
So the key is to understand your mindset and what you're contributing -to stop looking at your child's behavior and start understanding the emotion, because behavior is a communication. Look for the need in the communication instead, and always start there: the behavior is ALWAYS a communication.
If you want to learn more about behavior or mindset book a time to talk to me HERE.