Monday, July 25, 2005

UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN

This is a follow-up to a previous post.

I was writing about how the Armed Services sometimes are able to reform kids on the wrong path:
They don't do it with "understanding" and "reasoning with them". they do it with rules, discipline, and consequences that are dependable.

You see, the big trouble with "understanding" is that it assumes that, if only we communicate that understanding, the kid will then respond by stopping the behavior that caused the problem.

Wrong.

While, of course, it's important to demonstrate that we don't consider the emotions that are powering the mega-dumb decisions that kid is making to be outside of our frame of reference, it's not US that needs to show understanding. We, after all, have been young. And hormonally-driven. And overly trusting of others. So, many of us have made mistakes.

But we have an advantage that the kid doesn't - age and the perspective that comes with distance from the events.

It's not us that needs to show we understand - it's the kid that needs to learn to understand the world beyond their own self. And how their actions affect it.

In other words, the kid needs to grow up beyond absorption with self and his/her own pain. They need to learn about empathy for others, responsibility, and taking the long view.

1 comment:

John said...

Great blog you've got here.