At church, we often talk about the WHY behind the WHAT. I’ve often thought of that when it comes to parenting. Why are my kids acting up? What happened at school today cause this is not a normal reaction to the current situation? Why did that situation blow up so much?
My youngest boy has been giving me a lot of sass today. He ended up in a time out for 2 minutes because he wouldn’t listen to me. Then it got elongated a few minutes because of additional behavior problems. The behavior was his outward response to the fact that he was tired. As of right now, he’s been asleep for 1-1/2 hours. But let’s take it back a bit further. He was up 4 times (do I have an infant in the house again???) last night coughing and then woke up at 5am for the morning. So yes, he’s tired (and so is his mommy!).
Now that is a pretty obvious example but how about a more complex situation? My older boy started treating his brother and the neighbor kids poorly one day after school. I’d never seen that kind of behavior in him before. He was putting people down and using words I’d never heard him use before (yes, stupid is the “S” word in our house). Instead of punishing him for his behavior, I corrected it and then asked how his day was at school. I came to find out some other kids on the bus had picked on him (in the same ways). Now that makes sense. Then you add to it that he needs to EXPERIENCE how it FEELS to be on the other side of that situation…and it was perfectly clear to me why he was behaving that way.
It takes a lot more time to work through all those details, but don’t your kids deserve it? Next time something strange happens, take a few moments to calmly think through the WHY behind the WHAT.