How to better understand people
In most cases, fussy eating is a part of growing up. It's an expression of independent thinking and a need for mastery and control over one's environment, body and choices. But, I don't hear parents celebrating! Fussy eating can be exasperating.
But let's take a step back and think a little bit about what we would be doing if we were presented with limited food options that didn't appeal to us. Have you ever travelled some place where the food wasn't really stuff you'd eat? How did the locals treat you? Did they force feed you? If they did, I'm sure you wouldn't visit right? (1 star review!!!) We might be curious about the strange new foods there but we'd prefer to try them at our own speed.
Here are some tips to help you adjust your 'speed' and help your kids try the 'local' cuisine in your household.
The first thing is to keep your cool around meal times to minimise stress for your child (I know you will be stressed enough for the both of you); otherwise, Kids will...
Every emotional storm has a lifecycle. This pictogram is one way to visualise the antecedents (things that feeds the storm) and the factors that siphons energy away from the storm.
I suggest using it as a way to develop your understanding of how the storms in your life live and breathe.
The short version of this post, is that we cannot extinguish an emotional fire. Unless it's ready to be extinguished. In most cases, we have to just let it pass. Now that's highly inconvenient. But like in nature, a storm is just a storm. Nothing more, nothing less. It's only when that storm happens to pass over some hapless township and causes havoc that it becomes a disaster. The nature of the storm hasn't changed though. This is not dissimilar to what we observe when children (or adults for that matter) experience an emotional storm...once it starts, it is very difficult to stop.
So what can we do about it? Well we can work to understand it's nature for instance. What feeds the storm? What saps it of energy? What gives it momentum. If we can learn more about it's lifecycle, we can start to plan and put together a 'disaster kit' so to speak. We can do better though. Prevention is always better than cure, but sometimes we simply have to batten down the hatches despite our...
I talked about this in episode 001 of the Huddle Wisdom podcast and expand on some key ideas here.
1. Backchatting is neither good nor bad; it is simply something that indicates the difficulties a child has with the demands of the environment. Therefore we ought to feel personally attacked, but it's difficult for us adults not to be offended by the insolence of the know-it-all child.
2. Be the adult. Breathe. We must try to remain calm and rational; lest we become part of the 'paddy' fest. Nothing ever gets solved by getting angrier and angrier.
3. Set the culture in your house. Set the rules of engagement. Praise your children when you catch them following the rules. This is more likely to reinforce the behaviour you want to see. It's better to praise behaviour you want to see than admonish behaviour you don't want to see.
Listen to Episode 008 on the Huddle Wisdom Podcast for a little more...Dealing with Backchatting.
If you want to get a better handle of empathic connectedness that helps you deal with various tricky situations like backchatting...
In the heat of the moment, us adults just want to rid ourselves of the emotional fire our kids have ignited for us.
For many of us, it's incredibly difficult to keep our composure and not add fuel to flame, lest do or say something that we regret later.
The H.A.L.T acronym is great and easy to remember.
H is for hunger - are we hungry? are our children hungry? None of us do well when we're starving. So let's make sure we feed the beast! Make sure the kids get something to eat when they get home from school. And there's definitely something to be said of making sure they get 3 square meals and something to snack on in between (fibrous fruit and nuts is great to sustain their energy levels).
A is for angry - we have to empathise with that, acknowledge that feeling and validate them. But we have to pick our moments when we want to discipline or teach. Wait for the flames to peter out first.
L is for lonely or lost - sometimes when our kids are...
Sometimes we make impulsive decisions in the heat of the moment when our lizard brains get far too ferocious. It's not all our fault, we were designed so that our limbic systems kick into gear when we sense threat or danger in the environment.
But sometimes we need a wizard to keep our lizard brain in check. We need a wizard to be able to assess threat with a little more nuance so we're not making decisions that we might regret later.
Of course, it's important that our lizard brain helps us to stay away from danger or deal with danger if it is imminent. But sometimes we use our lizard brain too much when we're making decisions in the future, and we over-estimate threat; that's when our wizard brain is more useful.
The reality is that we need both lizard and wizard. But i think it's better that the ol' wizard is riding the lizard than the other way around!
Tune in to Episode 7 of the Huddle Wisdom Podcast where I talk about this a bit...
I learn a lot from my patients. I catch myself saying things that I wouldn't normally say to myself, not because I don't believe them, but because I'm notoriously bad at following my own advice.
The question I have for you and for me, is do you (I) apologize enough? I know that I don't do it as much as I should because doing so means taking responsibility for the bad things that happen, and also the good things that happen. I have to take ownership for acts of commision or ommision that have caused harm whether on purpose or inadvertently. There's something inherently difficult about that. Perhaps it offends our sense of what is just, right and wrong. But life is complicated, it's not black nor white. Saying sorry makes us feel vulnerable, exposed and I think the willingness to be vulnerable signals strength in the end - I mention this not as a means to justify, but as observation. In the same vein, I want to forgive more. Isn't it tiresome holding on to past...
Sometimes kids have a hard time talking to you about things when they need the most help. Learn to use emotional intelligence and empathic connection to gain co-operation without the friction.