I was speaking with a parent the other day about her 6 year old son who was “misbehaving” and “giving her a hard time.” After she spoke with me about it for some time and explained the need to punish him with more and more stringent measures, I asked her to take a deep breath and get into a place where she felt she could see a different perspective. Then I asked, how would you have handled this situation if you came from a place of curiosity and asked yourself “I wonder what’s fueling this fire. I wonder why he is behaving in this way.” What would happen, if you said to yourself and others, “My son is REALLY having a rough time.”

I can guarantee that your child is not enjoying themselves when they’re laying on the floor screaming, when they’re having a “melt-down” or when they’re doing anything else that feels like “giving you a hard time.”

What would happen if you saw your child as an equal? I get that they are not the same as you, but what would happen if you treated them with the same degree of respect you would a friend or even another adult who is a total stranger?

So often we punish children or shame them when we don’t really understand what’s going on for them. If we sit down with them, take a few minutes to get where they’re coming from and work together on problems, we’re not only saving a tremendous amount of time and building a strong life-long relationship. We’re teaching them valuable strategies for solving problems for themselves as they get older. And I think we feel better about ourselves as parents, too!