Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding and The Authentic Parent Series. Go to proactiveparenting.net to download two free chapters from her book and learn about other Proactive Parenting programs. Find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.
The First Question
When you got pregnant, did you have a dream of how parenting would be for you? Did it turn out that way?
Did your partner share that dream?
I was a dreamer. I was very young when I got married and wanted to do the whole natural thing. Mr. Man wanted that too. I had two home births. Not because I was brave, but because, at that time, I was terrified of hospitals. When you have sons, you quickly loose that fear! We were also vegetarians.
My dream was going along smoothly until the day when Taller, my second son, grabbed a rib off someone’s plate at a party. He LOVED it. I mean he stood there and just kept eating more and more of them. He began asking for meat every day. I had two choices. Stick with the total vegetarian plan or pay attention to the clue my wee one was sending me. Turns out it was a good thing I paid attention and changed our diet. He’s hypoglycemic. He needed protein every day, and does to this day. For me finding ways to fill his protein needs in a vegetarian world was more than I wanted to take on.
The lesson I learned: Children will challenge your dreams. They’ll interrupt your plans. They’ll tell you in ways you don’t expect that they have a need.
I’m not suggesting that you radically change your life, unless you find you need to. I’m not suggesting that you change your daily meal plan; unless your child, like my wee one, has a physical requirement that demands you make different choices. All parents get to decide how they want to respond to the choices they are required to make.
I am suggesting that a child’s behavior doesn’t only fall into the “correct it now” category. Behavior can be sending you another message. Parents have to look at the whole picture and factor in everyone’s emotional and physical reactions when trying to figure out what’s going on.
I am suggesting that because children are young, they use whatever they can to send you their unconscious truth. They may be able to say it in words, but sometimes it is being expressed through physical reactions or behavior.
Okay, what are your thoughts and stories about the question I asked?