We are totally inundated and overwhelmed by sensory input in our culture. Any time one of my daughters is acting out, I always question whether they are on sensory overload before I decide how to handle it. A little alone time, some snuggles, brushing their hair, scratching their back, and a lot of calm reassurance goes a very long way in slowing down a colossal meltdown.
This is the part where some might say I’m a doormat and let my children get away with anything. Actually, I’m quite the opposite. My children even call me strict because of my boundary setting. My job is to be their guide and I take that job seriously.
My grandparents’ generation believed if you didn’t punish children you weren’t raising them right. Whether they lacked the knowledge and understanding that a child’s behavior is just an outward reaction to what’s going on inside or not, they were wrong. Instead they just created another generation of people with giant traumatized holes inside, self-medicating their adult lives away.
BOUNDARIES VERSUS PUNISHMENT
I practice being an empathetic mother who believes children need boundaries, teachable moments, and love. Not anger and punishment. I have practiced both as a parent and I promise you love and boundaries always wins. At weak moments the old anger and punishment pops up. It’s a reaction, not a response to their behavior. It never feels good in my gut when I react to them in anger so I do my best to make amends as quickly as possible. Because they also need to learn that we’re all human and we all make mistakes. That is when my children truly see my soul and my deep, unconditional love for them.
I hope as a culture, moving forward, we will see how teaching our children healthy lessons starting in infancy and committing ourselves to showing them love, tolerance, patience, and kindness will create a new generation of passionate thinkers who know how to self-regulate and not take their anger out on others.