My wife and I have been attending a required parenting class at Cade’s new school that has been life changing for me and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been to a lot of parenting classes and seen plenty of videos but this one has challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before.One of the main focuses is dealing with attitudes rather than behavior. Bad behavior is a result of a bad attitude and if you ignore the attitude and focus on the bad behavior, you are ignoring the problem and dealing with the symptoms only. You know how that works medically and it isn’t any better with children, in fact it’s worse.
Another thing this class focuses on is asking questions to see what the child is thinking, how they are feeling and why their behavior is bad. This was illustrated to me this week. Every morning lately Cade has been saying, “I don’t want to go to school”, which is weird because he loves school. Jen and I have gotten frustrated and started telling him to stop saying it because we know he doesn’t mean it.
Finally yesterday when Cade said it again, Jen asked him why he felt that way, yeah we finally got it right. His answer? Welling up with tears he said, “because I just miss you guys so much and want to be with you”. This wasn’t a manipulative act either because he wasn’t in trouble. It was his heart revealing how much he loves us and feels loved in our home.Wow! Talk about a wakeup call. Here all this time I’ve been getting frustrated with him and irritated that he is saying this and all along it was just because he loves us.
Again I say, parents ask questions. Yes, Cade still needs to go to school, and yes we want him to love it, to learn, and have fun, which he does. But we must never forget to find out what is in his heart and what he is thinking and feeling. Children have emotions, feelings, and thoughts that often get ignored in our desire to make them do "what is right" (in our opinion) regardless of the situation.
Parents learn from my mistake and ask questions and please, please, please, listen to them when they answer.
God Bless you in this most difficult yet rewarding task,