Having worked with children, adolescents, and their families over the past 9 years in a variety of settings has really opened my eyes. In my roles as a tutor/mentor, behavior management consultant, summer camp counselor, and therapist, I have learned immensely from those who I was suppose to assist. I believe that children and teens have such an unbelievable amount of resilience, despite the amount of adversity they face in their day-to-day lives. Their ability to love, care, and overcome obstacles, is nothing short of amazing.
With everything else to consider and worry about in life, it makes it too easy for adults to have a reason to overlook and discount the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of children and adolescents. Because at the end of the day, "They are just children, what do THEY know?" is easier to believe, than to take the time and make the effort to sit down and talk about the very real issues that these children and teens face.
If we want the next generation to be kind and to be strong, then we must nurture and guide the children we have in our lives. While they may be small in stature now and their voices weak, the very real thoughts and feelings they have and experience should never be disregarded or minimized. Although it may be challenging at times, it's important for our words and our actions to be congruent, and that we try our very best to model the behaviors we hope to see. The volume in which action speaks will always be louder than words, and so while children may mimic the words we speak they will also imitate our actions.
Please do not mistaken, children are not small adults. Children may be resilient, but they are in the process of growing and forming their identities, making them fragile to harsh words and susceptible to influences of all kinds in their environment. Since childhood, teachers and adults have told us some version of, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." Unfortunately, sometimes adults forget that children deserve just as much respect as anyone else.
Sometimes, things that seem "normal" is not so and should not be considered so. Just because it is something that you've experienced repeatedly, does not mean it is right or that it should be continued.
Were you frequently criticized or treated harshly as a child, and are now having to deal with unwanted past memories? Are the parent of a child and/or teen with whom you are having difficulty with, but want to establish a better relationship with your child going forward? If you answered yes to either of these questions, please do not hesitate to contact me so that I can help you explore options that may be helpful to you and/or your family!
"A person's a person, no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss