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How to Teach Children and Learn from Them Too

The bottom line is children and adults both have a lot to learn from each other. Children are a reflection of the adults around them. When they behave “badly” they are simply acting human. They need to be taught the skills to deal with life’s challenges in the best way possible. When we (adults) act “badly,” we also need some guidance. This article spells out the things that I’ve learned. Teaching and guiding children takes a lot of patience, but it’s work that is well rewarded. The goal of this article is to help us all to understand children, to teach them well, and to learn from their natural common sense that we often lose sight of.

How to Handle Children When They Act Just Like You Do

When children act “badly,” the first step is: don’t get mad. Observe. What is going on? Analyze. Why is the child acting that way? The child is likely experiencing one of these: frustration, anger, sadness, exhaustion, jealousy, disappointment, boredom, the need to exercise, over-stimulation, loneliness, lack of control, fear, worry or some other distressing emotion. These are emotions and states that all humans experience, not just children. But they are even more difficult for children because they lack the skills to handle them. That’s our job as adults to teach them and to model those skills in action. So how do you handle it? Try these steps.

    1. Observe and remain calm. 

Now with regards to the thing that you want, perhaps there is a compromise or alternative or way to not feel bad about that. Let’s think about that together.” Then ask the child questions to get them come up with their own solutions. You may need to work on it, but have patience.

The time when this is very hard to do is when you are feeling one or more of these challenging emotions at the same time as your child. That’s when you need to remember your responsibility to set the right example. At the next opportunity find a way for both of you to get a break to rejuvenate. This will keep the pattern from repeating.

Things to Learn from Children

If you are lucky enough to be around children, you’ve probably noticed that they behave differently from adults. I suggest that many of these behaviors would be beneficial for adults to re-learn. The next time you are around children, stop and notice. What can you learn from them? How would being more like them help you to be a better person. Here are some things that I’ve noticed about children that inspire me to be a better person:

What else can you add to this list? What are your thoughts? Looking forward to your comments!

Written for Dumb Little Man by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Popular articles
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