WOULD you be surprised to learn that chemicals trigger emotions in your body? Have you ever taken a look at your pattern of behaviour or your pattern of reaction? There is much more going on inside us than we can acknowledge, think about or put into perspective. Sometimes our usual way of dealing with problems needs modification. But our bodies (chemicals) are so used to the same feelings that it’s like an addiction. In turn, we can become stunted and unable to grow and learn more about ourselves, and others or move on from an emotional standpoint.
Have you ever heard someone use this phrase, “Well, it’s his way or the highway”. This example sums up an inflexible person – someone so rooted in their way of thinking that there is no room for consideration or manoeuvre. Many people fail to see the negative effect their static behaviour has on others – or the damaging impact it can have on children.
When you interact with children daily, it is wise to do some introspection. Take a look at what you do and say, in your quiet moment, and how you do and say it – how do you come across? When interacting with children, ask yourself if your approach is fair and in the child’s best interest? Or is it charged with your shortcomings, mixed-up emotions, leftover anxieties, and debris from childhood dramas? Our experiences can make or break us; even as professional adults, we can still carry past traumas in our organs, muscles, skin and glands.
Have you ever asked a child to do something, such as carry out a chore or go to the shop for you and, straight away, their demeanour changes? Their mouth pouts, their shoulders droop, they roll their eyes, and their body language tells you they are unwilling? You might say, ‘It’s okay, I will do it myself’, for a peaceful life. On the contrary, your reaction might be, ‘you playing a man in here, look! You best hustle and clean the yard before I knock you through that wall’.
Both children and parents have patterns of reaction, but adults being wiser, should recognise their harmful habits and cease using them. Parents can seek to devise and adopt a structured approach that works for them and their children; by understanding how these patterns are formed and stored in our bodies.
‘I started sleeping out when I was 17-years-old. My mum had little to say, and my dad couldn’t care less. He was always on my back when I was home, which led to arguments and scuffles between us. Once, he physically removed me from the house while my mother and siblings looked on in disbelief.
When we were small children keeping noise, dad would come in the room and pick on me; everything was always my fault, and even my siblings noticed. He’d overlook them and blame me.
Over the years, he hardly had a good word to say about me; even when I did well in sports and won a trophy of achievement, I failed to impress him.
Of course, as a child, I just got on with life – I went to school each day, had fun with my friends and family and tried to stay on his good side. But deep down, I wanted him to appreciate and understand me – that was all I craved until I became an adolescent.
The day I turned 14, things changed. Dad was having his usual go at me due to a slight meaningless mishap. I remember clearly. He called me a good-for-nothing and said he’d knock out my teeth. That’s when something inside me suddenly snapped. ‘Go on’, I urged him, ‘you’re always threatening to do it, do it now, knock out my teeth.
He lunged at me, and we wrestled before somebody got in between us. That was the turning point in our dysfunctional father/son relationship and the day I gave up trying to win his favour. I realised I had to stand on my own feet. Now I’m an adult with children, and I still cannot understand where his problem with me stemmed from or why I ignited that hostile flame within him. All I know is he took out his passion on me.
I sometimes wonder how my young days would have been if I’d received his support instead of his resentment and if he had shown love and acceptance instead of loathing and unconcern towards me? Would I be a better person and a role model dad?
I try to give my children a worthy perception of who I am and what they can achieve in life, with all I hold dear. I pay them attention and support them in every way possible. To cut a long story short, they get what I never had.
Miscommunication or toxic behaviours between adults and children can fester and lead to dysfunctional relationships – if not recognised and dealt with swiftly and effectively. In many cases, adults hold the key and can change negative aspects of their relationship with children with a bit of insight, wisdom and strategy.
For instance, adults can change their reaction patterns. If a child appears unwilling, so be it; but stipulate your terms and put your foot down. There will be no (whatever the child is into) until ‘whatever’ is completed thoroughly. Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your parenting. Encouraging good, co-operative behaviour from children far outweighs punishment, frightening tactics or threats.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY,
MINISTRY OF HUMAN SERVICES AND SOCIAL SECURITY