Understanding One Another

images0ET2QGJ4I recently wrote a story entitled “Miss Misunderstood” to address the pre-teen dilemma of feeling “no one gets me”. With this on my mind, many things that I observed fit into the same category making it clear, that it isn’t an issue limited to preteens and teens. Perhaps they react more vocally than other age groups, or perhaps for the first time they are feeling a disconnect with a parent. But  they definitely are having a hard time with something.

I had a conversation with a mother concerned about her child’s success in school. nosiyHis kindergarten teacher told her that he was one of the best and brightest students in her class. But he had just finished an optional summer school program and that teacher’s report was that he can’t stay focused, is easily distracted and doesn’t complete tasks. Obviously she was concerned that the two reports were so far apart. Before I could form a thought, the six year joined the conversation and very calmly told us that he couldn’t concentrate because it was too noisy. He was more interested in what the boys were doing and saying that was funny, than the paper in front of him. Without an understanding of the setting in the classroom, the description creates a judgment of the child that is if not inaccurate, certainly incomplete. He understood that what his mother was being told was different than his truth.

This happens all the time, doesn’t it? Judgments are made and voiced based on limited perspective. The teacher in this case had a class that was less structured and if that is her norm, doesn’t see that as anything unusual, where for the child, it may have been his first experience in that setting. When we make judgments in everyday life, and we do it all the time, the same thing happens. We are judging one another from our own perspective with a disregard for the situation of the other. Sometimes adults are strong enough in their own self-worth to stop us in our tracks and tell us that that was an unfair assessment, but too often, they leave hurt and holding a grudge or just plain angry.

Pre-teens and teens see the unfairness immediately. If you the parent are the culprit, they can’t avoid the situation and either let it all out or run away. Parents see tween behavior in black and white. I asked you to do this. You didn’t. You chose to disrespect me. The truth is they may have forgotten, and not out of disrespect.imagesIUHK70WV There is so much going on in their heads as they begin to mature. They can’t always prioritize and remember. Something fun and entertaining, or on the other side something devastating comes up and regardless of their intention to follow through with what they began, it doesn’t happen. Isn’t that why adults make lists? For the most part what is on an adult list can be put off until tomorrow and yet children aren’t afforded the same flexibility. And they are blamed for choosing to ignore their responsibilities. They feel misunderstood.

As a school administrator, I met with many parents, teachers and children. Often the discussion evolved around understanding perspective. Everyone has their own perspective and for them that is their truth. In any relationship, understanding comes from being willing and able to see things from the other’s perspective. 10519659_10152640477383628_8988237184025393490_nAll children from birth on, need this understanding to grow, and to learn to do the same with others. Seeing things from their perspective and explaining your perspective to them is valuable at any age. “Because I said so!” didn’t work when your parents said it to you and it doesn’t work now. Aha Parenting.com has a section for all age groups including school age, tween and early teens with many worthwhile articles on this and many other topics written to aid parents in navigating the route to successful, happy, secure children.

About the Author

11115609_10204369689187957_9074883143868021693_oC. Beth Hoffman has a master’s degree in education, and after more than thirty years as a teacher and administrator in New Jersey public schools, she is now retired, giving her time to pursue interests in angels, energy healing and living from the heart. She has studied Reiki, IET (integrated energy therapy), angel therapy, and Magnified Healing. She and her husband reside in the Lake Wallenpaupack area of the Poconos in Pennsylvania where they are blessed to spend time with their grandchildren, one of the inspirations for this book.

Just As I Am

 

When I was a kid, we played outside all the time. None of the kids were the same ages and it didn’t matter. We had a set of swings, a baseball diamond, and at night we played hide and seek after dark and caught fireflies in our hands. Mostly we rode bikes.   My brother was on the local baseball team and I kept score. He was a good ball player, so I remember good times, except for the coach’s son- he got screamed at constantly. I think back now that it must have been a difficult time, and wonder if even as good as he became, he ever enjoyed it.

A young man special to me has spent the entire baseball season in the outfield or on the bench. Because another child didn’t come to the next to last game, he was put on third base and he was awesome! For the last game, he returned to the bench or played right field. His spirit is gone as is that of the other 4 or 5 boys that have spent the season on the bench or outfield. They won’t return next year because it isn’t fun, and they are not as good as the others. It is easy to complain and place blame, but we all know that it happens.   If we are honest, we probably would say that those kids weren’t there because it was what they wanted in their heart. Maybe a parent wanted them to do something, or they wanted to be like someone else, or be with someone else who played. A few may be living their dream and struggling with realizing that dream. Whether it is baseball, or dance, gymnastics, or playing an instrument, few start out being as good as they expected. Immediate gratification is not available and practice is a necessity.

like you love yourself@funnyand.comThrough the struggles of learning something new, and dealing with a reduced self- confidence, children need the reminders of who they are. Encourage them to keep spiritual pride while going through the steps of achievement by reminding them of all their previous successes.   Some things may come easier than others, but they need to believe in themselves and give gratitude for each step forward which will help them to stay focused. In “The Trick to Raising Kids Who Love Themselves” By Dr. Sherrie Campbell she says,” If we are not happy with what we see in our children, in terms of attitude, responsibility and being grateful, then we have to look deeply at ourselves and what we are modeling for them.”

One of personal favorite poems from My Loving Self and Me ends,

I will strive to be the best me I can be,

And always along the way,

Love me just as I am.

Confidence and self love are crucial to trying new things because there is nothing at stake. They don’t have to win. They don’t have to be the best. They do it because it brings joy.