Bringing the KIDS back to our children
Check out the picture above. What do you see? Better yet, what do you think you see? This picture was taken a few years ago by a news agency in the Philippines. It is one of a series of pictures about the great flood in the capital of Manila then. The picture shows the plight of people who have left their homes and evacuated in a school gym that was on higher grounds. Now that you know, what are you feeling? Are you sad about their plight? Do you feel helpless? Angry, even? How about anguish? Depressed, maybe… What Do I see? I see a ray of sunshine in this world gone underwater. A glint of hope in a world of turmoil. Peace and even happiness in a world of chaos. I see KIDS BEING KIDS!!!
Now, back to where I am. The good ole’ US of A…. For almost 20 years I have worked with children, this year has been the most challenging for me. Not because of the so called illnesses, conditions, syndromes, or disorders that afflict them. Those are easier. I could study those in a heartbeat. It’s about behaviors. And NOT the children’s behaviors. Those are easier to manage. I love working on those. So, who am I talking about? It’s the ADULTS! Mind blowing isn’t it. It’s the adults that surrounds our children. Parents, educators and by golly, even other therapists and healthcare providers. It is their behaviors, especially how they react to children when it comes to negative behaviors and failure. They forget that, like the picture above, that at times, children should be allowed to be just kids. That they are not cruel, insensitive little human beings. That they are not defenseless and fragile as they look. As the picture shows and a midst all the day’s events, they are actually having FUN!
Parents..hmmm.. I get the idea that they need to protect their children but why is it that we see them in therapy? Its called overparenting. This happens when parents protect the children too much that they do not experience the natural consequences of their actions. I’m not talking about things that could actually physically hurt them badly. I am talking about instances such as bribing them with food to get things done even though their work can be done by kids smaller and younger than them. Not putting any kind of demand on them. Lowering expectations rather than challenging them. Being their friend instead of a parent. Not letting them experience any kind of failure at any level. Well, how do you think will they act when they first fail at the age of 18 or 20 years old? All these types of behaviors just maim the children’s ability to cope with this world and learn for themselves.
How about educators? That includes teachers,, principals and school staff. Their problem? They’d rather do SCHOOLING VS. EDUCATING. Academics, academics, academics…that’s what they deal with. Negative behaviors in school..well that’s dealt with suspension, suspension, suspension…let the parents deal with it..aaaarrggghhh!!! The teachable moment has been missed!!! An example, pushing and shoving..I do believe a developmentally appropriate negative behavior among kids, if there is such a term. Hey, just try to remember when you were one, especially if you are boy. Well, it looks like that nowadays, pushing and shoving is assault…a criminal act…I guess, that’s why they suspend. But have they ever thought that these may be just children being kids? kids having problems communicating that they push and shove instead? Give them a consequence right there, on the spot. Sending them home is not an option..you have missed the teaching moment by then. And if it is their communication, then show them the proper way right there as well. They are kids not little bitty criminals.
And finally, other health care providers including therapists and physicians. They have given way to the insurers. The kids are not seen as a whole but in parts. Hey, everything is connected to everything. Its a whole person. They don’t interact with their environment with just their head, they have to bring all else into it. The one thing that still amazes me is this, each of us health care providers need to start knowing what each other do if we are going to be effective as a network…and if we want KIDS TO BE KIDS.