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This week I’ve been thinking about the sometimes, confusing behaviour of children. Like it or not, kids do act up, and it can be hard for children and parents alike.
Come to think of it, many adults (me included) can do stuff that sends you into a spin where you’re left wondering “what the hell just happened there?”
When small or big people act up by shouting, stamping their feet, snapping at you, crying somewhat incessantly or going from one extreme to another, it’s not easy staying cool like a cucumber. I know this from interactions with my kids.
When I deem them to be behaving ‘badly’, I can react in ways that either fail to help or only compound the situation, therefore delaying the arrival of any calm or satisfactory appeasement. As a so-called expert in human behaviour, you might think I’d have the hang of this by now. One day, maybe!
Two Essential Missing Ingredients
As I sit here now, writing this, I can see what is missing from these interactions.
When you’re stuck in a loop thinking about what your kids, partner, friends, parents or work colleagues ‘should’ be doing, it’s the same problem.
It’s the lack of a different perspective that keeps the wheel of disconnection turning.
When you get stuck seeing it from your perspective, there are two missing ingredients: empathy and compassion. Empathy is the ability to see something through someone else’s eyes. It’s different from sympathy. Brene Brown captures the difference in this most excellent video below.
Compassion adds to empathy by engaging a warmth, kindness and wisdom to a person’s suffering, that wasn’t there before. It takes courage to give empathy and compassion. It’s not always easy, but ultimately, they serve you well in life. They’re useful tools for the workplace, for home life, for friendships and for dealing with internal struggles about the kind of person you are.
Check out these articles, videos and podcasts below.
The Openforwards Blog Weekly Round-up
• Why do kids act up?Article by Alison Escalante, a pediatrician and writer on a mission to ‘help parents out of the shouldstorm that disconnects them from their kids.
• The complicated but necessary business of moving forward after loss. An article by Kate Harding discussing her experience of family life after the suicide of her husband.
• Should idlers exercise? Article by Idler editor, Tom Hodgkinson. The Idler is a company devoted to helping people to lead more fulfilled lives.
• Podcast interview with compassionista, Dr Mary Welford. How to be less self-critical using mindfulness and self-compassion.
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