Empathy is not a reward, it's a need
Jasmine had a lot of to-do's that day, apart from taking care of his 5 years' son John who was at home that day. She took him along to the market to buy vegetables.
While she was busy putting vegetables in her basket, she saw John heading for a toy shop nearby. She ran after him.
He wanted a toy gun. Jasmine refused saying that he got a toy last week. She cannot afford expensive toys every week. But John was in no mood to listen. He desperately wanted that toy gun. He lied on the floor and started crying. Jasmine, whose mind had gone completely lost by then, found no better way than to pick him up, and leave the market.
Jasmine scolded John for being so stubborn. She left him alone crying when they reached home, and went on to complete her chores. After few minutes, John was okay.
I am sure all of us must have faced this situation at least once. And what Jasmine did is what we all do, and think we did right by:
1. Not accepting undue demands from our children, and
2. Leaving them alone to understand what they did wrong.
Positive parenting provides a better solution in these situations:
1. Empathise with your kids. We loved toys when we were kids, and they too. Understand their feelings.
2. However, that doesn't mean we should buy them toys. We accept their feelings, but not behaviour.
3. Be with them while they are crying, wait for them to be calm. Hug them if they want, but be firm and polite in telling them that you can't buy.
4. Don't feel embarrassed by people's reactions. Our relationship with our kid is far more important than on-goers' opinions.
5. Once they are calm, they'll listen to us. Make them understand that we cannot buy them toys often.
Reacting angrily or leaving John alone didn't make him understand:
1. That his mom can't afford to buy toys for him every week, and
2. His mom was with him in his difficult time (yes!! it was a tough time for little John).
Being empathetic with children give them the confidence that their parents understand their feelings. We have to teach them proper behaviour, but we are not here to crush their feelings. Let them show their feelings, just guide them to remain calm amidst difficult situations.
BUT WE HAVE TO LEARN TO BE CALM FIRST, BECAUSE WE ARE THEIR ROLE MODELS.
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