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Recently I read an article about yelling and punishments. I got that article just on time, because I yelled at my daughter yesterday. I wasn't feeling well and she, as usual, made me run after her during lunch time. Yes, I did despite of the fact that I am on my journey of becoming a positive parent. I did wrong and apologized to her later.
I learnt a very interesting point from that article - We should ask kids to try to name their feelings. Whenever there is a tantrum or misbehaviour, there is something else behind it. And kids don't know how to tell clearly what they are feeling because of their underdeveloped minds. There is a hidden need, and the most important need is love from us, "connection" as we call it. Whether they are hungry or tired or afraid or need love, they are going to cry or shout.
I think we as adults also do the same. We rarely express in clear words what we are feeling. Our actions are the result of judgments stored in our sub-conscious minds. We never sit and think what we are feeling. When we ourselves don't know clearly what we are feeling, how are we going to name it, and how can we make our kids learn to name their feelings, and react accordingly.
That's what happened yesterday. I was feeling pain and uneasiness. I didn't tell it to myself (I didn't name it). I was running on sub conscious mind level, and the moment my daughter started her tantrums during lunch time, my sub conscious mind directed me to scold her because she always does the same at meal times.
What I should have done at that time was to leave her hungry and let her come to me saying she wants food. Let her know what she was feeling. At that moment, both of us would have named our feelings, that was, sickness for me and hunger for her.
This awareness of what I was feeling could have brought so much clarity in my mind. I could have looked for different options, whether to react angrily or just sit down and wait for her to come.
Another thing I learnt from that article was never do 'Tit for Tat' to kids. Because that's what they are going to learn. Yesterday I told my daughter "If you aren't going to listen to me, I will do the same to you." I thought this is how I am going to make her learn to listen to me. But I was wrong. I can hear the same words back from her. That's not positive parenting!! We need to make them learn the right behaviour but 'Tit for Tat' is a bad loop, which is never going to end.
Naming or recognizing your feelings is a very important part of emotional intelligence. We never learnt it in our childhood because there was no such school. I am not aware if any of the schools teach emotional intelligence to kids now, but I am determined to learn it myself first and then teach it to my kid. Start it simple. Name your feeling, sit down and think of the options on how to respond. And then act. Then I can have complete control over my actions. And that's how I'll teach it to my daughter.