Friday, June 27

Pre-teenage children

I was watching my DVR'd Supernanny last night and this episode centered around 11 and 8 year old sisters who were complete pills to their poor practically single mother. The dad traveled for work Mon-Thurs every week. These girls were CONSTANTLY fighting with each other and the mom. Everything the mom said was subject to argument and a battle would ensue. It made me a little nervous.

Then the 11 yr old said, "My mom just doesn't know how to communicate with me. All I want is for her to love me." Mike asked me if I thought it was true or the girl was just being dramatic.

So I started thinking about the book I read a while ago called His Needs, Her Needs. I talked a little bit about it here. Let me give you a quote from the introduction:

"Marital conflict is created one of two ways: (1) Couples fail to make each other happy, or (2) couples make each other unhappy. In the first case, couples are frustrated because their needs are not being met. I call it failure to care. This book addresses the failure to care - failure to meet each other's most important emotional needs. Ignorance contributes to this failure because men and women have great difficulty understanding and appreciating the value of each other's needs. Men tend to try to meet the needs that they would value and women do the same. The problem is that the needs of men and women are often very different and we waste effort trying to meet the wrong needs."

How does this relate to the Supernanny episode? Well, I think the same can be true of any relationship, even if it is not man/woman. A parent/child relationship may have the same issues. This girl needed to feel loved. And even though the mom loved her, she was not showing it in such a way that the girl understood. The way to meet the girl's needs was not what the mom thought it was.

My hope is that if you establish the lines of communication early on and work with your child at each stage to understand what their needs are and help meet those, not just what you think they should be, it is a little easier when you get to the sticky part. Kids need to feel that they are being heard and they are respected too. When that doesn't happen, that is when you see the disrespect get out of hand. Not that I am saying that kids don't get nasty sometimes for no reason. Of course they do, but I like to think those times are limited and you can get through them if you show that you respect their needs.

It will be SO interesting for me to go back into the classroom with middle schoolers now that I have all these philosophies and see how it pans out.


Rhiannon said...

Yeah, it's a little harder to remember all that great philosophy when you have a brat kid in your face telling you what to do! Luckily, I don't really have to deal with those kinds of kids anymore! I also highly recommend the Love and Logic books. They are awesome, there is one aimed more at young kids and then older. We use some of the stuff with Ty and I love it! It takes the stress out of discipline. Great ideas to use in the classroom and on your own kids.

Rhiannon said...

Also, does this mean you are going back to teaching???

NaeNae said...

I agree with your philosophy. I think this is one of the main reasons I was so rebellious as a teenager. I didn't feel like my mom "listened" to me.

Angelle said...

Not back into the classroom yet, just for when...

Lisa said...

His Needs, Her Needs was a great book and I can see how it relates to raising kids. My oldest often tells me I don't listen all the way through what she is saying. I am constantly telling them not to interupt me or someone else, but then she catches me doing the same thing to her. As soon as she says something, I am reminded to stop talking and let her say what she has to say. She may only be 8, but opinion and what she has to say matters.

BTW: The 5 Love Languages is an awesome book. I learned more from that book than I did from HN,HN.