The post below was written by Dayna Martin over at one of my favorite yahoo groups:
Someone was writing in to talk about how difficult it can be to do things for our kids when they are being "rude." I love Dayna's response so much. I cut and pasted a brief sentence from another poster, and then typed Dayna's reply.
Thank you so much Dayna for permission to put this on my blog! :)
-=-It doesn't feel joyful to just do whatever she wants me to do when she is asking so rudely!-=-
Living with a very highly sensitive 7 year old, I have had a lot of experience with these feelings. Over the years I have come to understand that Tiff is doing the best she can to express her desires at any given moment. Yes, there are times when she "demands" things like you describe your daughter doing. I try to focus on the needs under Tiffs "behavior".
Something that has worked great for me has been to "hear" her sweetest, most loving voice whenever she asks for things, no matter how she is asking. I know that if she is tired of hungry she is going to sound what we've been conditioned to think of as "rude". I don't let that cultural voice control my thoughts about my little girl.
Most of the time she asks for things in a way that others would view as acceptable, but yes, there are those times that she screams for things and says things like, "Get it Mama!! Now!!" I answer her unconditionally.... meaning, she gets the same loving response from me most of the time (unless I am tired or hungry) and I say, "Ok Babe... one minute" and speak kindly and gently to her. She deserves this unconditionality from me even at times when she isn't at her best. She knows she can trust me in this way.
I know it isn't "About me" when she is being grumpy. She's doing the best she can and doesn't want to feel that way, so why make it "about me" and talk to her as if I am training her and scold and correct her on top of the yuckiness she is already feeling? Imagine how hard that it for kids from their perspective? The last thing anyone wants to hear is someone rambling on endlessly about how much you hurt their feelings in how they asked for something. Seriously, maybe it sounds different than anything you have ever heard before, but I make it about meeting her needs and pull myself out of the equation just for that moment. I become her partner and help her get what she wants and answer respond to her unconditionally.
I know that Tiff's requests are age appropriate ways to ask for things when she is tired, hungry or frustrated. Devin, my almost 10 year old doesn't ask like that anymore. He outgrew it a couple of years ago and he is the most loving, kind little guy now. Believe it or not, he almost always says please and thank you having never been "trained" to do so.
Just know that by responding lovingly, no matter what isn't saying that the way she is asking is "fine with you" (you're just not focusing on that) or that by not commenting on the "rudeness" you are not "teaching" her how to be polite. This is cultural conditioning talking, lying to you. Seriously, you don't need to correct or scold or "train" your kids at all. You only need to model and love unconditionally and open your heart and know that she is doing the best she can in the moment considering her age and the conditions she is faced with.
Some folks may think that a child will never learn manners with this approach, but in my experience, the opposite is true. Kids who are responded to and their needs are focused on, learn to treat others with love and understanding. They grow up to be loving, caring individuals who are willing to compromise and focus on others getting their needs met and respond to others without having their feelings so easily hurt by someone else.
We live in a very narcissistic society. Have you ever asked yourself why? How many times has a cashier or waitress been grumpy, and you have wondered what it was they didn't like about you, or wondered what you did to "cause" them to treat you this way? This way of looking at others is generally a response to the way you were "trained" as a child with the parent constantly commenting and focusing on how your behavior affected "them". Think about it... In reality others behavior is usually about them and something they are going through and it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
We have been led to believe that a mainstream parenting approach (like on the show "The Nanny") "teaches kids how their behavior affects others", but in reality kids learn that everyone outside of themselves is behaving in the way that they are somehow because of them, or something they did or said. In short, it creates Narcissism. The total opposite of what we think we are creating by constantly correcting their behavior. Lift the shroud my friends and see what is happening by parenting in the way you have been brainwashed to think you have to.
When my kids are out and about in the real world, if a waitress is grumpy, they never internalize it. They don't get upset or angry and say, "she's not getting a good tip". They say, "wow, poor lady, I wonder what happened to her in her life to make her so grumpy." Tiff often says, "Mama, I bet she forgot to eat breakfast". They open their heart and fill it with love and understanding for others and then let it go, and in turn, they are virtually invincible emotionally and very in control of their emotions and feelings. It's amazing really.
When I was a kid if someone was grumpy, I would ask myself what I did to create that in them. I would in turn become grumpy too. I would get so sucked into others feelings and somehow make it "about me". My own happiness was so conditional on others happiness. It was frustrating because for years I would try to control others emotions and become something I was not so that they would be happy...... so that I could be.
How did we get so mixed up in our culture when it comes to parenting? I don't know, but all I do know is, we are all here to help with the shift in consciousness in regards to this parenting paradigm. We are all pioneers on the forefront of change. I am so happy to be here with all of you.
Thank you for listening.
~Peace & Love, Dayna