We can get kids to behave and act accordingly if we acknowledge what they feel towards something and act from there
Working with toddlers, who developmentally is in a phase where it is all about me and myself, is bound to get you in a middle of a fight. Children act like cats and dogs. With their early (and some premature) social skills, they can get into a misunderstanding with one another.
Their misunderstanding oftentimes results to physical expression like pushing, hitting, worse case biting, simply because some of them have yet to learn how to express feelings verbally. Some find it difficult to take in others in their world because they have limited understanding of how their actions can affect other people. Upon writing this article, I find it always amusing that my perspectives on why children act a certain way if not always apply to adults as well.
Why do adults fight? Basically the same reason as stated above. Let us just add that adults do have a more conscious effort at it sometimes. Anyway, let us go back to social skills and the art of positively dealing with feelings and other people. Take for example my daughter, being an only child, needs more practice in dealing with a younger cousin and other playmates. This summer, one of our goals was for her to learn how to 'share' things and deal with difference of opinions more positively. When cousin visits, it will be an hour of hospitable behavior, and missing each other. After that would be chaos of "this is mine", or "it's my turn to play" and the other one ignoring the request.
Listening to others, taking turns, respecting feelings, learning that our actions affect others, expressive language of saying our feelings, demands and wants are all skills. Being skills, it needs experience and practice for one to be able to work at it effectively without causing conflicts. In my daughter's case, social skills practice was going with Mom to work - which for a certain part of summer was a 'funhouse' inside a mall. She was exposed to different children â€“ some younger, some older - and what worked for a while was observing how she communicates. As an adult, it is our role to 'model' behavior. Values are caught not taught as they say. Seeing how my child would react if a boy wanted her toys, would allow me insight on what/ how to teach her.
Basic insights I had with the month of summer "socialization" class: first, children need us to identify feelings and how to deal with them (without judging the kids for feeling that way). I overhear a few yayas say "Baby share your food" and when baby refuses, "Ay ka dalok sa imo". Says who? Maybe we can put it in a way that says "You really like what you are eating, and you want to eat some more. Maybe we can get you more after." Or, I would say, "Try giving one lang, and if you still want some more afterward, we will get you." The kid is obviously on a perception that what he has on his hands is all there is (their sense of all things being concrete or Piaget's object permanence) so reassure him/ her that there is more of it if they need it. There is no need for calling the kids certain names, because certainly wanting something is not being "dalok". Why punish children for feeling a certain way, when we can get them to behave and act accordingly if we first acknowledge what they feel towards something and act from there.
Another example would be toys. For our younger kids, who would most probably like 'similar' objects, have an extra pair of toys they would like. This would prevent future squabbles over the single 'red truck' that everyone loves. Same goes for buying a sibling a toy, as much as possible buy one for each and if budget is limited, Mom should make ways for cheaper toys as long as both kids have one. Prevention is always better that being in the midst of two squabbling kids (or worse, one feeling less "wanted" "preferred" or "heard" than the other).(To be continued)