I don’t know about you, but sometimes, in those moments between sleep and awake, I get ideas, lot of them. Here’s what crossed my mind this morning. How many of you think that when a child is born all systems are turned on and ready to go?
The truth is all systems are inside the body, BUT not everything is ready to go, not yet. Each system, visual, auditory, spatial, and others all need to be activated. The body’s activation process is wondrous and totally out of our control. Yet, we get mad, yell, and blame our children when they don’t behave at the pace we assume they can.
There are many things that contribute to a child’s behavior. Parents are aware of the physical, emotional and social development that occurs, but tend to forget that brain growth has a direct affect on the physical, emotional and social behavior. That’s what I want to share today.
Is Two Really Terrible, or is it Terribly Affected by Development?
Many parents say, “My two yr. old never listens. She goes back time after time and does the same thing! Two yr. olds are explorers, and have unique development happening inside them that can be misread by parents.
1. A 2’s brain development causes vestibular and spatial interference. At this age a 2’s auditory system is growing which creates auditory interference and balance issues. The interference may cause her not to hear you from across the room when the TV is on, or when other kids are playing and you’re talking. Her spatial and balance issues make her unsteady. She falls and drops things a lot.
2. The NO a 2 uses can mean one of two things. Constantly saying NO is how a 2’s learns when it’s appropriate to use the most often used word in my parent’s vocabulary—NO! Or it can mean, “I can’t take in any more of your words. I need you to break your request into several parts so I can process each part individually.”
3. 2’s need routine. Is routine included in your discipline? I created a seminar that shares how to correct a 2 -3 yr. old in a way that allows them to hear you, happens quickly so the correction can keep up with their attention span, and corrects behavior, all at the same time. It’s called Gentle No’s for Toddlers, http://bit.ly/PatUMg
He’s Off in His Own World
Parents say, “My 7yr old seems overwhelmed all the time and cries a lot. The following two things are produced by the huge emotional-logical shift going on in the brain at this time and can cause a child to feel overwhelmed and cry.
1. 7’s live deep inside of themselves. They act like they’re off in another world. No parent can change that, but you can work with it. You have to draw a child out by touching his shoulder and make eye contact.
Also, acknowledge what it is that you’re interrupting by asking him to do something. That increases cooperation and listening. Here’s an example.
M: Looks like your book is really good! How many pages until your done with this chapter? C: 2.
M: Okay, please empty dishwasher when finished. C: OK.
I’m a realist, it doesn’t always go that smoothly, but it’s a good start.
2. 7’s are hypersensitive. They can’t really tolerate mistakes. They get terribly embarrassed. So they decide, why try? It’s best to watch the admonishments at this age. Of course, you’ll still need to correct behavior, just make corrections clear, simple and speak in a gentle way. Here’s an example.
D: When you don’t listen, I get frustrated. What signal will you choose to use that will let me know that you’ve heard me?
C: I’ll touch my nose?
D: And if you still don’t listen, what happens?
C: I need to give up what I’m playing with for 7 minutes.
As you can see, there are many reasons why kids don’t listen, and it’s not always because they’re misbehaving. The examples show you ways to increase cooperation and listening, and are better than constantly saying, “Why don’t you ever listen???!!!” Just thought you’d want to know.