PROACTIVE vs REACTIVE
Like my son says «summer is freedom». Freedom to do the things we like best and find no other time during the year. Apart from travelling with family and friends, sunbathing and swimming in the Mediterranean I have also been diving. Diving into Adlerian psychology introduced by the most interesting Positive Discipline online training courses I have grown so fond of. This August I am completing the Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator course, which any parent can have access to through www.positivediscipline.com . Highly recommended.
The Belief behind the Behaviour
One of the most revealing issues this summer has been to find out why sometimes my son acts «weird» like he does when you least expect this behaviour? Like last night at dinner when he was kind of nervously trying to catch the attention at the table.
Luckily I now store an interesting copy of the Mistaken Goal Chart in my mobile phone and flick through it when we have an emergency. The Chart gives you «secret» information on the Belief behind the Behaviour, that is, when a child behaves like they do there is actually a hidden meaning that is not so obvious and can be mistaken at first sight. This chart is the most incredibly helpful tool a Mum or Dad can have at hand at all times.
When we parents do not get the hidden meaning right behind our child’s behaviour we react in consequence and what happens is that our over-reaction triggers their misbehaviour even more thus resulting in a never ending chain of wrong moves which complicate things even more when the intention is to soothe the child and restore the peace in the home.
I will use what happened during dinner last night as an example. My adorable son was interrupting at the table, making constant movements in and out of the dinning room, and acting nervously. He is quite an active boy and I am used to his action, his curiosity questions and engaging conversation. However, last night the behaviour was slightly different.
I brought out of the handbag my most favourite intriguing tool which has become part of my travelling kit, to find out the Belief behind the Behaviour tonight is signaled in the Chart as «Undue Attention». I was not completely oblivious of it, however, the twist now is how I try to be proactive instead of reactive as I now know when a child is acting like my son last night the hidden belief is «I belong only when you pay attention to me». He may not have that feeling of Belonging and Significance that we all need, he may not know that we actually ALL count. And as a result he is desperately saying to his Mum «Notice me, give me special service«.
Being a proactive parent here would be to understand that if we bite the hook and do things for the child he would stop temporarily only! However, the behaviour will remain and will be disturbing next time and over and over again.
Our compass is to focus on the feeling we are experiencing as a parent at that moment when our child is doing this. If we get annoyed, irritated, worried or guilty by our child demanding all the attention my immediate reaction cannot be to «rescue» him by giving him the one-to-one attention he is asking for. A more proactive response is to redirect by involving him in a useful task or to tell them how much we love them and we will spend time with them later.
When I feel guilty because my child is unhappy and try to fill his «hole» my child will never be happy. Nothing will possibly fill that hole now or ever. You may find it interesting too, that the same Mistaken Goal Chart can be applied to adult behaviour.
La vida, sin prisa