Discipline
How to Correct Your Child’s Behavior with Connection

How to Correct Your Child’s Behavior with Connection

We frequently fix our children’s behaviour by making them feel terrible (shaming, punishment (fear conditioning)s, time outs), yet this is ineffective in the long term. Here’s what actually works.

Until our children are around a year old, everything of our contact with them is focused on meeting our mutual desire for connection, because, let’s face it, it isn’t much else. They haven’t yet spoken, walked, or done anything that may jeopardize our needs (except for that sleeping thing, but oh well). We give them stories about the world, ourselves, and them, and everything we say revolves around love.

However, they then become active. They start to move about. They start speaking. And our language shifts in the blink of an eye. No. Don’t. Stop. Don’t get your hands on it. It’s not a good idea to go there. This isn’t the place for you. That’s something you can’t accomplish because you’re too little. You won’t be able to get there.

The issue is that newborns and toddlers are not able to distinguish between themselves and their behaviours, indicating how sensitive they are to their wants and feelings. They have a need, they have a feeling, and they take action. When we say “no,” we are negating their own essence. This is the amount to which the word “no” has an impact on someone. This is the age when we are all (unwittingly) drawn into the societal paradigm of good/bad. And we are always striving to be “nice” to those with whom we are linked since otherwise, their relationship with us would be jeopardized.

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Correcting Through Connetion

We all make mistakes. When we do, it’s important to realize that the concept of right and wrong is merely a construct created by society for correction; though this could be helpful in some situations, the idea also bears with an assumption: “I know better than you.” Nonviolent Communication teaches us that there are no rights or wrongs – only differing perspectives – meaning they shouldn’t exist when our connection is what gets lost as consequence.

Why We Need To Correct Children

The reason for this is both easy and sad: we were taught as children that being an adult implies knowing more than others who are younger. It’s because we’ve been taught that our role as parents is to “repair,” and as a result, we perceive most things as “broken.”

When I met a beautiful mother whose kid had an exceptional talent, he would lay out the pieces all over the flower, stand in the midst of it all, and gaze at it from above whenever he approached a problem. He’d squat down after a few minutes and just arrange all of the pieces in their proper places. They thought it was wrong when they first saw him do it. They said, “This isn’t the correct method to solve a riddle.” They genuinely wished to assist him and fix his method. Thank God he didn’t pay attention. Can you imagine the tremendous ability he would have lost if he didn’t have it?

Not everything that is done uniquely needs to be done in the same way.

When Correcting Children Goes Wrong

When I was younger, I went through a brief phase in which I really wanted to assist my mother, so I began washing the dishes. I didn’t do a good enough job once. The counter was not properly wiped, the crumbs were still all over the floor and so on. Guess what – not only did I quit doing the kitchen as a method of assisting my mother, but it’s also a task I despise to this day.

She corrected and corrected, believing she was teaching me valuable skills, until there was nothing left to correct, since the tiny me concluded that if she is the only one who does it correctly, she may as well do it herself.

Attachment Through Sameness 

Although not from Nonviolent Communication, Attachment Theory, sameness is one of the six ways children bond. It is an existential necessity (!) that we would not live without. The reason we learn to talk and walk is that we are all alike. For this reason, we imitate what we see our parents do, and it is for this reason that modelling, rather than correcting, is the finest thing we can do for our children.

We separate ourselves when we correct. When we are accurate, it’s as if we’re saying, “You’re not like me, but here’s how you can become more like me.” Instead of “you are not like me and this is fantastic – show me how I can be more like you” or “this is awesome!” say, “you are not like me and this is wonderful – show me how I can be more like you.” Let’s see if we can do it together even better!”

Kids Do Not Need To Be Corrected All the Time

No. They aren’t. Constant connection is what children require. Connection is the finest, if not the only, source of positive motivation and, without a doubt, the best incentive to accomplish things in this world. Our activities are committed to making everyone happy when we work out of love, out of our innate urge to make ourselves and others around us happy.

When we act out of fear, guilt, or shame, we are meeting the needs of our loved ones from afar, which leads to resentment, wrath, and frustration. This always comes at a cost, since just as all good wants and feelings must arise, so do unpleasant needs and feelings.

How To Properly Correct Children

When parents feel compelled to “correct” our children, one of three things is likely to occur:

  • Our little one had lost contact and had no idea how to reestablish it; she is acting as if she is disconnected.
  • Our little one just did something that we don’t think she should be doing to fulfill her own needs.
  • Our little one tried to satisfy our requirements, but it didn’t work out.

Connection

Connection is the first and only helpful response in the first scenario (which is a classic “terrible two” situation). Validation of sentiments, sympathy and empathy, a safe haven for venting or cuddling. Whatever those young ones require to know that they are loved EVEN WHEN their behaviour is not tolerated, EVEN WHEN they are more difficult to deal with. The more we practise these types of reactions, the fewer negative emotions our children will experience. Anger, resentment, and frustration are all indicators of unmet emotional needs; the more of these needs we satisfy, the less these emotions will govern our lives and relationships.

Meeting Needs

The second scenario, which begins as soon as those tiny ones begin to do things and never truly stops, has a million linking possibilities that, like a product, will lead to behaviour “correction”:

She’s attempting to touch something she can’t? “Wow, you’re tenacious!” “Here, take this.” Is she attempting to get somewhere she can’t? “Oh my!” said the speaker. You’re lightning quick! Let’s race in that way to see who can arrive first!”
In any case, mention something good! It’s a lot simpler than you think.

Correcting To Meet Your Needs

The third possibility is straightforward: never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever

Making their loved ones happy is an innate urge that we all wish to instil in our children as parents. And our kids are always trying to make us happy – everything they do is to fulfil their wants, and our happiness is one of those demands.

I’ll give you an example: as soon as my little one learned to walk, bringing water to his father and me was one of his favourite things to do, for whatever reason. Water was all over the house and there was nothing left in the glass by the time he came to any of us with a glass of water in the first few months.

So, what’s the point? It’s not about the outcome; it’s about the goal. It’s enough for me to gently mention that I’m thirsty today, and three seconds later I’m greeted by a toddler who is ecstatic to be able to assist his mother. We made him feel capable, significant, and trustworthy from the beginning, and this is what he evolved into.

How You Can Stop Corecting and Stop Connecting

The presence of connectedness in the language we speak must be increased. And there’s no limit to how much we can link — the more we connect, the less we have to fix.

  1. Always connect before communicating (go closer, make eye contact, embrace) and remember that your child is simply trying to satisfy her own needs.
  2. Use positive language wherever possible.
  3. Avoid phrases like “you’re too little,” “too little,” “too young,” “too short,” and “you can’t.”
  4. Allow your joy to shine! “Wow! You’ve done it! Let us now descend”! “Wow, you’re really considerate!” “Thank you very much!”, “you’re so inquisitive!” Let’s have a look at…” I have a fantastic idea.
  5. Celebrate your children’s existence, and they will reciprocate. Because they don’t have to, happy childrens are less inclined to resist.
  6. Celebrate your children’s existence, and they will reciprocate. Because they don’t have to, happy childrens are less inclined to resist.
  7. There is no such thing as right and wrong (challenge me in the comments if you disagree).
  8. Only focus on connection (does what I’m going to do foster love? Or does it obliterate and do harm? Is it truly worth the money?)
  9. It’s important to remember that it’s never about today’s toddler – it’s always about the adult to come.
  10. Remember that we would never characterise an adult we look up to as obedient, polite, quiet, or easy to handle. As a result, let us not look for this in our children.

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