I am writing this piece as more of an observation than anything else..
Picture the scene… You’re sat in your lounge watching the latest installment of your favourite television show or out on a thrilling trip to yet another play park, then all of a sudden from your kids location are the instantly recognisable tones of your child crying in pain and anguish.
Now in my personal experience it’s what you do next that determines how well your child will respond to your seemigly comforting efforts. There have been many occasions this has happened to me and I have also witnessed many different parental responses to their children crying.
When I hear Bobby crying (which is very rare, I have to say) I take a slow walk over to see what the problem is, normally it’s because one of his toys looked at another one of his toys in a funny way, or his curtain had a crease in it or a lady bird flew with in a lightyear of his nose. You know, ‘the norm’. Other times its because he’s ran head first into his bedroom door and split his nose open. Either scenario my response never changes, I won’t run over like a shopper in a sale, I won’t be panicked by the sight of blood or injury, and I won’t tell him everything will be alright, not at least until I know that to be true. What I will do is act like there is no major problem, I’ll be calm and controlled, I will always make sure he knows that regardless of the injury sustained or the misdemeanor causing upset, I’ll act like I know exactly what to do. Weather I do or not is irrelevant, It’s how you portray your control to the little one that matters, they read further into this than you might think.
I’m speaking from experience as my son is now five, and we have had our fair share of injuries and tears, hospitals and GP visits. If you have a new baby the same applies, obviously babies are a little bit more complex in terms of not being able to tell you exactly what the issue is, But rest assured they are still human, they can still pick up on how you are feeling and if you are upset or panicked they can and will notice. Which as a result will prolong their discomfort, believe me there were times when Bobby was a baby that I wanted to scream because I had no idea what I was doing. Just breathe.
Although having said all this I have witnessed other parents have very different reactions to their child’s upset or pain, some parents will panic and cry themselves, which is understandable, it is upsetting seeing your child hurt, but won’t resolve the issue. I have also seen parents shout at their children rather than consul them, and I’ve also seen parents immediately seek blame from a third party before they’ve checked their own kids welfare. This last example really gets on my wick, the first question to your child should be, ‘What’s happened?’ Not ‘Who’s hurt you?’ It is this reaction that has kids telling fibs, and seeking to get others in trouble, a little bit like Cristiano Ronaldo on a football pitch. Obviously, if it is the result of some body else’s actions, then resolve it by mature means. However, children now a days need to take responsibility of their own actions, but they can only do this if the influential adults in their lives take responsibility of theirs. We’ve tried to teach Bobby early on the notion of ‘every action has a reaction.’ But at the end of the day he’s five, so he has a lot more scraped knees to come before he learns how to land safely. Basic right and wrongs, Do’s and Dont’s will slowly but surely sink in.
Let’s just rewind a fair few years, back to when I was a five year old kid, so we are looking at circa 1994 (ahem, apologies to my older readers). Back then we lived in different times. I’m sure you’ve all seen the memes on social media telling you that you could stay out ’til the street lights came on, and how you could drink straight from the garden hose. In those days we were free to climb trees, play football in amungst garages and curbsie, now that was the game of champions! So why was it that when I was a child, if I was crying it was an immediate assumption I had hurt myself by doing something stupid, not that someone had hurt me. I was given a wet flannel, told to walk it off and headed straight back out. So I ask, Have we gone soft?
Maybe we should look at our selves before taking to the blame game.
Do you know basic first aid? If not, learn. For advice head over to the NHS websites first aid section.
You should always try and be prepared for what ever parenting will throw at you for some tips check out some of my other posts by clicking these links Tips from the Inside, and More tips from the inside.