"As soon as I could talk, I was ordered to listen" - Cat Stevens
Sometimes turning things on their heads - turning things upside down - allows us to see issues differently and make important changes. Such is the case with two areas in child development. The question at stake involves the importance of learning about the inner world of the child.
The first area is captured by the quote above from Cat Stevens. We as parents are so eager to help our children, to socialize them, to give them information, to teach them how not to make the mistakes we did. So, often we impose our viewpoint on our children rather than listening to what is going on inside of them. Of course, there has to be give and take - we convey things to them, and they convey things to us. But perhaps too often we forget the second part of this give and take process - we forget to listen to our children! This is especially crucial with respect to what they are interested in. There is almost nothing more important than learning what your child is interested in.
There is a second area where it is useful to turn things upside down, and that involves the focus we have on behaviors. When dealing with children, one most often hears concerns about behaviors. Is he doing this? Is she not doing that? He's coming into our bed too much. She is marking on the walls with the crayons. And on and on. But what leads to behaviors? - Feelings! So we need to attend a bit more on the feelings which cause the behaviors. This is an important question for our society: how can we transform a culture from focusing on behaviors to focusing on the feelings which cause the behaviors?
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