I always want to write something to inform you and that is personal so you understand that I face these things and continue to work on myself daily. Sometimes it takes me until the end of the week to figure out what the topic should be. Last week I had some trouble with my favorite 3 year old. Parents are not given a manual for child rearing and no matter how many books you read (or blogs) you are not prepared for it until it hits you. I will say that the more informed you are the better only because you can acknowledge it and work on it as it comes up for you.
So back to my favorite 3 year old… do you know they lied when they said it gets better after 2? Oh no 3 is where it’s at! My son has his own opinions and feelings and he is able to be verbal and when he can’t find the words he is physical. This affects our functioning at home, in public, and at school. There are many ways to deal with it and people across lines of social economic status, culture and age handle toddler behaviors differently. So yes this is very much about culture and I will talk about how these intersections come into play when child rearing.
My guy was in school throwing his shoes, rolling on the floor, and telling the teachers that he was not their friends. I received phone calls home and I’m thinking well no way because he doesn’t do that at home, now because I work with children I asked what happened before? How were you able to redirect him? And offered some tips about what we can do at home and school to end his behaviors and allow him to communicate. No, that’s not the black thing to do, that’s not the old way to do it. In the black community you would hear things like “if you embarrass me in public imma embarrass you”. And you would be chastised physically. Why? Well, “because I raised you to do better” so he should do better however when speaking to the teachers I realized they are explaining to their student why something is unacceptable and consequences for behaviors. They are doing behavior charts etc. previously because I won’t say that we are still doing this, you would get a “beatin” for acting up in school, especially for throwing something flipping a table, chair, or anything? I know as you guys read this you are replaying some experience in your head and can hear verbatim your parent’s words. This comes from an idea of being embarrassed by your children as they are a reflection of you and they should respect you at home and in public. There is no understanding for why you behaved in such a manner. No conversation you learn not to continue the behavior because you feared the consequence not because by flipping a table could hurt someone, or you and you don’t want to hurt your friends. Or to try and talk through what made you so upset in the first place and how we can work on saying that before flipping the table. As parents we internalize our children’s behaviors as a direct reflection of ourselves. We even attribute certain behaviors to each parent as if the child doesn’t have his own identity.
Now just for questions sake? How do you suppose a three year old knows he’s embarrassing you? Or is intending when he is crying in the middle of Walmart that he is disrespecting you? I say three year old because there are some important developmental factors at play. Not the 10 year old boy kicking his mother. This is because she didn’t lay down a framework of healthy communication and emotional expression while that child was developing in his earlier years. Again, we are not given manuals. In fact at that point they are not thinking about you. So something culturally shunned upon is comforting your child when they are in a fit. I will give my son a hug if I see that he is unable to calm his body on his own. “We” see it as spoiling. I believe you cannot spoil your children with affection. That’s beside the point; there is a difference when a child has gone from temper tantrum to the inability to contain their flood of emotions.
In this culture where children are beat for their behaviors at outside of the home we are completely missing the underlying issue that is causing the behaviors…Did you know ADHD and Childhood Trauma symptoms are similar in fact almost identical? This is why we tend to listen to half of the parents who are so adamant to have their children diagnosed with ADHD. And doctors who prescribe medication without knowledge of trauma history and don’t make therapy a requirement for medication. Children communicate through play and body movement. Parents should look for signs and ask questions. Parents are so focused on their child’s behavior they haven’t stopped to inquire what’s going on in their world. Many times the parents are the perps.
Communication between school, spouse, and any supports are the best tools. However, children don’t communicate in the same ways we do. So, Puppets, story time, dolls, action figures, the best tools to get your children to let you into their world. You can find trauma in play and sexualized or aggressive behaviors.
I didn’t go into the history behind beating and slavery, but do some research. Tell me what you think.
As always With Love,
For the Culture.