Top Parenting Tips to Understand What Your Child is Thinking

Wouldn’t you love to know what your child is thinking?

I believe understanding what’s on our kids’ minds is key to easy parenting.

And it’s not as hard as it sounds because generally, there are TWO THINGS that are top of mind for children at all times:

Watch the video or scroll down to read more…

These two things are:

1) Connection

Relationship and connection are a child’s very top concern. Do I feel connected and safe with this adult? Am I feeling seen, heard, loved and understood? Is mummy going to be kind? Is daddy going to be understanding?

2) Self-Expression

The second thing on children’s mind is: Can I be me here? Am I going to be able to express myself and do the things that I love doing? Am I going to be able to use my body in a way that I want to use it? Am I going to be able to be authentically me and express what I feel?

Now it’s this second concern to express themselves, authentically, that causes most difficulty in families, because children often want to express themselves in ways we don’t like!

To us it can feel inconvenient, noisy and rude –

Here are 10 examples of things children are often thinking about – each of them giving rise to behaviours we don’t like:

  1. Children are interested in different sensations and often like to find comfort in their own body, so they might suck their thumbs or pick their noses.
  2. Children sometimes want their own space, and they’re not particularly interested in being nice so they often push siblings away in, quite frankly, an unfriendly manner.
  3. Children love moving these amazing bodies they’ve been given – discovering what they can do and practising it. Sitting still can be hard for them and they genuinely love to move – often a lot more than we want them to.
  4. Some children want to explore their strength and pit themselves against others. They can get into fights and hurt each other.
  5. Children are very in tune with their fears about this world – This means that they often don’t want to do things that we want them to do and they can dig their heels in and come across as ‘stubborn’.
  6. Children feel deeply the need to connect, primarily with us, and so they will wake us in the night in order to do so.
  7. Children want frequent reassurance of our love for them. When they see us giving our attention to others – such as siblings, relatives or friends – they will often create a distraction so that we divert our attention back to them again. We call this attention-seeking.
  8. Children’s imaginations are very alive. They often get drawn into daydreams, or they make up stories to fit what they wish had happened, which we may think of as lying.
  9. Children love exploring the full range of their voices – how they sound, how they reverberate, different pitches and different levels – so they can be very loud.
  10. Children tune in to the unspoken tensions, worries and stresses in families, and they can often act them out. When children ‘act out’ what’s going on in a family, very often we don’t like to see that.

Looking at this list, it’s clear that what’s top of mind for kids is a far cry from what’s top of mind for us as their parents!

We don’t necessarily want them to be picking their nose, being loud, being unfriendly, telling their version of what happened (what they wish had happened), running around, acting out unspoken tensions, asking for attention etc.

Why is this important?

Because, if we don’t allow some of these things, that are important for children, they will fight back and become ‘difficult’, angry or aggressive.

Here are three things we can do to improve this situation and make our lives as parents easier: Allow, Adapt and Acknowledge.

#1 – Allow

We can allow children their self-expression, where possible. For example, I advised a family with five-year-old twin boys to get some noise-cancelling headphones so they could simply let their boys use their voices in the way they needed, whilst not being disturbed themselves.

#2 – Adapt

You can very often help your child to adapt what they want to do to express themselves, so that it’s also tolerable for you. So, for example, you might arrange for your children to have wrestling matches or pillow fights, so that their need to pit themselves against each other and express their strength can be practised safely.

#3 – Acknowledge

When it’s not possible to allow or adapt, we can still acknowledge and show understanding for children’s need to express themselves in a certain way. This can be very helpful. Let’s say you can’t allow your child to take their scooter out for a spin right now. By spending time genuinely acknowledging their wish to go out and have fun, you’ll help your child feel better about the fact that they can’t actually do it.

Allow, Adapt, Acknowledge: three ways to help your child with their self-expression and what’s top of mind for them.

Download it on this link: https://www.oonaalexander.co.uk/reset

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Solve the Struggle with Your Kids

parenting-3d-cover_500

The 6 Wise Parenting Powers

Download my no cost guide to raising a secure and happy family.

By signing up you're agreeing to receive the guide, a few emails to help you get started and my irregular newsletter, with useful articles and resources, news of free parenting trainings and special offers on my mentoring services. You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.