Kids seem to have such a great attitude to life and something we could learn from.
They naturally live in the present moment and utilise this skill well. It’s only when adults get involved that things change.
Have you ever observed how these little people are able to move in and out of negative and positive ‘states’ with such ease, so quickly and with no training?
I remember when my two were small and a trip to the supermarket was like World War 3 for me.
“Come on kids” I’d say we need to go food shopping, “Oh no” the reply came back “We hate food shopping”. [Negative state for the kids]
So they would drag their heels getting into the car.
I could start to feel inside that feeling and those thoughts “Oh no here we go again” and the tension would just start on the first rung. [Negative state for mum]
Now the kids always love to be in the car and so they are laughing, singing and saying “Mum put this song on” then when that song finished the other would say “Mum put that song on ” and it was like this all the way to the supermarket. They were having a great time. [Positive state for kids]
With all this “Mum do this and Mum do that” the tension in me which had started back at the house was now moving up the ladder. [Negative state for mum]
So we arrive in the car park and then the excitement about who’s going to push the trolley. “Me, me” they call in unison. [Positive state for kids]
“Nobody”, I shout back, “I’m pushing the trolley” and thinking these kids always play me up. And the tension is moving even further up the ladder. [Negative state for mum]
Moving round the supermarket the kids moved in and out of [positive and negative states] asking for sweets and toys in excited tones only to be met with a stern “No” from me as I was in no mood to be buying anything for them. [Negative state for Mum]
Shopping finished and back home. Off they go out to play with not a care in the world. [Positive state for kids]
Me; well I was left to put the shopping away and continue stewing in my bad mood [Negative state for mum] and resenting these kid’s for putting me in a bad mood and this state would continue for the rest of the day. [Negative state for mum]
I also know I’m not the only Mum or Dad in the world to have these sort of days and these kind of feelings, you can see it happening every day.
So looking back over the shopping trip ‘Mum’ went from one negative state to an even greater negative state and so it just kept escalating and it lasted all day.
The kids went from negative states to positive states in a matter of minutes and when they got home it was off out to play and positive for the rest of the day.
Well I really wish I knew then what I know now, those shopping trips and my life would have been a lot different back then.
What’s the answer to all this?
- Don’t blame someone or something for your mood, it’s your thoughts which create your mood. I thought the kids just wanted to play me up. My thoughts not theirs.
- Everything for a child is measured in degrees of fun. Supermarkets are 0 degrees in their book of fun.
- Stop just resenting and look for the reasons behind the behaviour.
- When kids’ behaviour is unacceptable say: “When you do X your behaviour is unacceptable”. When you speak to them in specifics it is easy for them to remember and correct it, as they know exactly what is unacceptable.
- When you speak to them in generalisations; “You are always naughty” they take it that they are always naughty and you know they aren’t always naughty, it’s just your frustration.
- When dealing with kids, think with a kids mind.
- Kids mind states only last as long as the activity they are doing. Supermarket negative state. Playing outside positive state. They don’t carry the Supermarket state out to play.
- For yourself keep ‘home states at home’ and ‘work states at work’. That’s work/life balance.
Clever little people these kids.