Have you ever been at the playground and witnessed a child pushing past everyone else in line for the slide? Maybe even physically attacking another boy or girl for no reason? You may be thinking “That kid is a rotten apple.” Or “they could use a time out.” The truth is that any child can exhibit these negative behaviors and it is up to us being parents to pay attention to why our child’s reactions are changing and to teach them how our deeds affect others.
What are the causes behind Child’s Reactions?
One of the first steps in helping your child to care about others is to understand what could be causing them to be so indifferent.
According to numerous studies, there are many factors that have an effect on your child’s reactions. During developing stages, individual differences, their environment, emotional needs not being met, and limited skills and knowledge are just some of the things that may have an influence on your child’s reactions.
If your child is often misbehaving, and disregarding others, take a step back before you start passing out the consequences, and ask yourself a few of these key questions.
- What could be contributing to this behavior?
- Are they trying to communicate something?
- How should I respond?
Once you find the answer/answers and are able to help them address the issue, it will likely result in your child turning a 180.
Why is empathy so important?
At work, home, or even when encountering strangers, relationships are an essential part of our lives. Communication is the foundation needed to function not only in the society but on a personal level as well. It is our emotional intelligence that allows us to cultivate better connections with others. Teaching your child how to deal with their own emotional needs will help them to better understand others, leading to happier, healthier lives.
What can I do?
Most children learn visually first, so it is no surprise that they will act and respond the same way they see you do. Being mindful of your own emotions can help show them the correct ways to respond to negative situations.
Using your words to communicate how you are feeling is the best way to teach them how to do the same. Just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you are suddenly void of all the emotion and it is highly beneficial for them to see that and to recognize it is a natural part of life. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your child will help them realize that everyone is affected by things differently.
Asking your child to describe what they are feeling and genuinely listening to their concerns is a good way for them to begin and recognize the same feelings in others. If they understand why they are feeling a certain way they are less likely to become frustrated and act out undesirably.
When your child acts kindly towards someone else or makes an observation regarding how someone may be feeling, this is them responding empathetically and should be openly acknowledged. The same goes for if they are unkind. You should let them know how, what they did, could have made the other person feel. Let them consider how they might feel if someone hurt them. This should help them practice thinking of others before they act.
Remember not to expect too much of your child, especially if they are upset. They are still growing mentally and emotionally. If some adults can’t make sense of their own feelings, how could you expect your child to know themselves, much less think of someone else? Wanting to feel understood is a strong desire in children and grown-ups alike, so be mindful of your child’s reactions and they will likely develop the emotional intelligence needed to relate to others.